If you’re at all interested in wireless technology, you should read this. The first lecture (from 2005) starts with a very approachable history of [W]CDMA and cellular technology, including some of the process that went into the technology. About the only way you can a record of the decisions, trade-offs, and design choices that went into technology these days is by being part of the working group or reading comments in IEEE discussions. That’s incredibly boring. The first lecture, on the other hand, is straight from the source.
Choice quote from Dr. Jacobs, and remember that at the time (2006) George W. Bush was president:
I was with the President of China about three years ago, we sat next to each other to do the informal chatting before the formal part started, and his first question was how many more generations did I think that Moore’s Law had to run. I don’t think the President of the US would have asked that!
– Dr. Irwin Jacobs (co-founder of Qualcomm)
(would Sarah Palin ask that if she were President? Hell no. She doesn’t know what actual laws are, let alone Moore’s Law…) But forget about Palin for a moment, this quote reminds me of a Forbes article I saw a while ago:
In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the U.S., almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.
Yay for America. Our politicians and our aspiring politicians suck. But this post isn’t about China or the US, it’s about a Royal Academy of Arts lecture. Go read that thing.