The only reason I use checks anymore is because of mistakes made by others.
I have another reason for paying by check. It's because I'm forced to by idiotic government agencies that are still stuck in the past. For example, I just got my Minnesota license plate renewal form mailed to me. It said I can pay online electronically or mail in a check. I go online and I'm told that I will be charged a "handling fee" of $2.95 if I pay electronically. What a bunch of clowns must work at the DMV! Since when do you want to encourage people to pay in a way that requires manual processing labor? Most businesses are long past this, but I guess the government would prefer to grow and keep as many people on the payroll as possible rather than become more efficient and shrink headcount. I of course paid by check to avoid the extra charge, so some paper pusher will end up manually have to open my letter, enter my information into a system, manually deposit the check, etc. Way to go DMV.
And state government says our taxes aren't high enough and that they need to be raised again. Whatever.
When we get to streaming 8k 3D lossless video to every person in the world, that is when the bandwidth rise will entirely flatten out. At least that's my prediction.
I base that assumption on the idea that I don't see anything currently out there more intensive than video, but then again, maybe we'll have invented transporter imaging technology and be sending high resolution maps of every atom in someone's body around the net. So I leave open the idea that I could be wrong about the curve ending.
Most of us will never see even one. How many of us have even seen a 10G link?
I have. Many of you working in core IT will soon if you haven't already. They are all over the place in the heart of the biggest networks. This is because of the way common network architecture is done. Most networks at major corporations or institutions have a central core of some sort where all the VLANs run. That core is typically carrying traffic from most of the network segments all over the company. Sure, local traffic out at remote sites won't be going back there, but most of the server traffic in a headquarters datacenter will be running through a core like that. And when you have hundreds of servers hitting the core, nothing but 10G will cut it, which is why it is becoming so common in the heart of the corporate datacenter.
So it really comes down to what you do. On the client side you won't see this for a very long time, if ever, because most clients don't even use 100 MB in most circumstances. But it's all over for core corporate IT.
pointing out that MS has become like IBM in how it operates.
I agree the article was good, but I don't think saying Microsoft has become like IBM goes far enough. Yes, it has IBM's bad tendencies, but they have some even WORSE ones! For example, I don't see IBM trying to enter every new tech category that comes along. Yet Microsoft does, even when they are years late and have no strategy that will make their late entering product superior.
For an example of how bad this really is, ignore their late entry into smartphones, tablets, Internet search, and standards compliant browsers. It's worse and more widespread than that. They are even trying to get into things like network load balancing and authentication devices. Why? They aren't a company that specializes in that. As an example, take their Unified Access Gateway (UAG) product line (which many have never heard of, but one of the things it does is unified authentication and access control at the edge of the network). It gets blown away by F5's Access Policy Manager in performance, customizability, ease of use and feature set. Microsoft is a software company... why are they trying to compete with a company like F5 Networks, a company that specializes in advanced network devices like load balancers, Layer 7 firewalls, load balancing between data centers, and access policy management?
By trying to be first in everything Microsoft is starting to fall behind in everything. Even IBM wasn't that stupid, and they've sold off things like PCs/Laptops once they saw the writing on the wall. It's time for Microsoft to do the same. If they focused on the core areas they are really good at, which are Windows, Office, Enterprise Software (Exchange, SharePoint), Servers, and Development Tools, and dumped all the other stuff (Bing, Music, Consumer Electronics), they'd be insanely profitable and hopefully become even better and more focused in the core competencies. And they wouldn't even have to face Apple or Google for the most part... they play in different areas.
I know some would say that if Microsoft loses it's dominance in consumer devices it will lose the enterprise, but it doesn't have to be that way. We're still waiting for the year of the Linux desktop, but that hasn't kept Linux from being a smash hit in the datacenter.
I don't think the issue is whether people can be taught for low amounts money. Clearly they can. Just have a HUGE number listening online, and you can make a living easilly by spreading the cost among them. Per student, it will be very low.
The real problem is the cost of evaluating what students know. You can't give someone a master's degree unless you can evaluate that they know their stuff, or else the degree becomes worthless. And evaluations require tests. True, you *could* make all the tests multiple choice, but what about times when a hands on test in a lab environment is needed? What about times when creativity is required in the answer, or designs have to be drawn, etc, and it can't be fit into a multiple choice test? A computer can't grade that. Humans have to. Hiring TAs for 160,000 people is going to raise the cost far above $100. Unless he plans to just do multiple choice, in which case, his students will likely be good at memorization and not hands on application. And cheating may also be easier with 160,000 people taking anonymous multiple choice tests.
And I would also argue a lot of good educations require hands on lab training too, which is something else that becomes costly when you think of test lab infrastructures for so many people.
Unless you have candles. Because that's seriously about the only light source that will be left to us, unless LEDs suddenly make a huge technological leap. In the US, congress banned the incandescent light, and a ban on Mercury would eliminate all flourescent lighting (including all the new CFLs). So yeah, back to candles. Government people are such morons.
While I generally agree with your post, and would prefer to have unlocked phones that could be moved from network to network, one thing I will say in defense of American cell phone companies is this: no other country has had four companies cover such a vast geographical area with such a dispersed population. It's easy in these small, densely populated European or Asian countries to have lots of competition in the cell phone market. You want to become a competitor? Just set up a few hundred to a couple thousand towers in the major metro areas and you've covered 95% of the country. It doesn't work that way in the US, where to be a national carrier you need orders of magnitude more towers, at least. We are lucky to have as many competeing companies as we do given the barriers to entry. And the funding of this vast infrastructure, constantly replacing it every few years to support the latest data speeds, does in part explain the higher prices as well.
The only part where I flat out say "dumb Americans" is our culture of debt. We are so addicted to financing everything and never paying for anything up front that we can't even buy a cell phone without it being on a plan. The cell phone companies were just responding to the market: almost no Americans will buy phones if they have to pay for the whole thing up front, but they will buy them if it is part of a monthly payment plan. So while I think the smaller number of companies and price can to some degree be explained by geography, the whole phone contract thing is all about us being stupid debt-heads.
On a slightly different subject, this whole issue is very similar to how the Europeans also ask why the stupid Americans don't use trains. Again, it ignores the geographic realities of the country. In the northeast, where land is relatively scarce and the population is large, you have lots of trains, just like Europe. In the rest of the vast United States, where population density is pretty low, trains make absolutely no sense. They're hard to fill, and they take WAY too long to cover the distances involved. In a country like the US, cars and planes are the only things that make sense. And the marketplace reflects that.
You do realize that even if the taxes you propose are imposed:
- 1. They won't collect as much money as they say they will, because taxes generally hurt economic growth and/or cause people to hide money and
- 2. even if they got as much money as they expect, it won't help because congress always raises spending even more than the amount they get in new taxes. Always. Every single time. It's a historical fact. Let me repeat it again: every time they raise taxes, they raise spending even more, so they still will have deficit spending and won't have enough for the telescope.
So in summary, if you want a space telescope, the best thing you could advocate would be dramatically cutting spending elsewhere, and then maybe we would have money for that. Perhaps if we weren't a foodstamps nation with a record number of people claiming benefits we could afford this?
The SSA can invest collected SS taxes in the longest term Treasury bonds available, 30 years. This week 30 year T bonds [treasury.gov] averaged 3.8975% annual return. That's 116.925% interest. In addition to the principal, and any initial discount.
That would be a really cool return if it weren't for the fact that it is the government paying it. You say the government will get 116.925% in interest for social security. But since that's invested in government bonds, that means the 116.925% interest will have to come from the government. How, exactly, is it going to do that? Boost taxes by that much?
Your whole statement is laughable on the face of it. You've made it sound sophisticated and talking about it as an "investment" in bonds with such a great return, but that would be like me claiming that I, CrazyTaco, am going to invest my money in CrazyTaco bonds that generate 117% interest over 30 years, and that's how I'm going to be rich and retire. Sorry, you don't make money by creating debts to yourself. If they were bonds to something else, like a corporation that was very successful, this would make some sense, but since the government is loaning money to itself, it's not going to happen.