Next Up: Blount, Casey, Gollapalli, Peng, and Saigal

painting the fence.jpgOnce again I have the opportunity to say how impressed, grateful, and (to be honest) happily surprised I am by the range and quality of another week's team of guest bloggers. Also, as one of this week's team, Don Brown, accurately observed in a note, I feel increasingly like Tom Sawyer about the whole thing, delighted to find so many smart people willing to do such good work. (Cf, "Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?" In the illustration at right, that's me, lolling on the barrel, while one of the Guest Blog team goes purposefully to his task.) But I digress.

Thanks to Adam Minter for an exceptional seven-part series on what the world of "recycling" looks like, on the other end of the used-can-and-bottle bin, and on who is exploiting whom; to Don Brown for his exceptional series on the realities of air traffic, which I think will leave all travelers thinking differently about their next air trip; to Lucia Pierce for her keen explorations of what one exceptional culture, that of getting into high-end colleges, reveals about two others-- America's and China's. And of course to Deborah Fallows on general (and exceptional) principle and also for talking about large and small aspects of China's changing culture. Thanks to all for painting the fence so well.

Now please welcome:

Keith Blount, who four years ago, as a self-taught programmer, unveiled the (Mac only) Scrivener writing program, and in recent months has put out an even better followup 2.0 version, plus a beta release for Windows. Over the years I have lionized and, when lucky, befriended the creators of "interesting" software, starting with Bill Gross (of Lotus Magellan) and Mitch Kapor (of Lotus Agenda) and continuing through many others, including Tom Davis of Zoot. Several weeks ago, Mark Bernstein, creator of Tinderbox, appeared as a guest here. I have never met Keith Blount, who lives in Cornwall in far western England; but his program is by far the best tool and environment for writing -- as opposed to "document prep" -- the computing world has yet produced. And it costs all of $45. If you think I'm nutty, check out the book writers' testimonial page for the program. More on Blount here, and an early review of Scrivener here. I expect he will talk about what it is like to run a small software house, the endlessly fascinating relationship between software and thinking, etc.

Liam Casey was the central figure of my Atlantic cover story "China Makes, the World Takes" back in 2007. He grew up on a farm in Ireland, worked for a while in the US, and more than a decade ago moved to southern China and put himself in the middle of China's industrial and "outsourcing" dealings with the rest of the world. Since then he has won an "Entrepreneur of the Year" award from Ernst & Young and has spoken at universities and conferences in many countries. You can see him in a recent Bloomberg interview here. I imagine he'll tell us what it is like to be helping design, produce, and ship the products we'll all be buying six months from now.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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