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Comment: Re:Clock Radio! (Score 1) 566

by ThosLives (#46789393) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Mine is similar - I have a GE AM/FM alarm clock radio with red LED segmented display, but mine is a bit newer - I got I think in 1993. 21 years is pretty good - 100% fully functional (go go pre-ROHS analog radio!) and still keeps accurate time. Only thing wrong with it is the tab on the 9V backup battery compartment broke, so the door falls off if you lift the thing off the nightstand. I refuse to keep my phone by my bedside, so I still use the alarm function.

Contrast to a new one - it was either Emerson or Panasonic, can't remember which - I bought while on an extended work trip where I was put up in an apartment. This was in 2008, and the clock was so inaccurate it would gain 15 minutes a month.

Comment: Re:Living in 1925 kinda sucked (Score 1) 516

I'd rather choose "Make it easier for people to make their own widgets or form companies to make widgets."

IP laws, some zoning laws, licensing laws, tax laws, accounting laws, and the like all make both making your own stuff or forming companies difficult; limited availability of low-cost machine tools and education makes it difficult to do stuff yourself. These are the things I would reform, not minimum wage or windfall profits tax.

Comment: Re:Living in 1925 kinda sucked (Score 1) 516

I suppose I could have been a bit more precise: when I said we don't need higher incomes but things to cost less, what I should have said was "things to cost less relative to income, regardless of level of income." That said, my original assertion still stands: raising minimum wage will not reduce costs of items relative to wage in the long run (in the immediate short term it does, granted; but prices for most goods change much faster than wages so catch up quickly.)

Incidentally, removal of barriers to market entry is exactly the method to "rein in" corporate profits: profits are a sign of an inefficient market. Huge profits can only exist when it is too hard for competitors to enter a market - no invisible hand necessary. (Note: "too hard" to enter a market doesn't always mean something like a regulatory barrier; if a company out-innovates others, that is also a type of barrier.)

Comment: Re:Living in 1925 kinda sucked (Score 1) 516

Price floors have never worked in all of history; I don't know why people think a wage price floor is a good idea. At best, with minimum wage, the long term effect is "nothing".

We don't need people to have higher incomes; we need things to cost less.

Somewhere along the way, society went from improving standard of living by creating new efficiencies to improving standard of living by taking as much profit from others as possible. The former is a sustainable non-zero-sum game, where the latter is zero sum and results in massive wealth concentration.

Raising minimum wage won't reduce the cost of rent, won't reduce the price of a new car, won't reduce the price of a gallon of milk, won't reduce the cost of health care. The only thing that will reduce prices is removing barriers to entry for things that don't need barriers - not adding more barriers.

(I wish, for instance, one of the provisions of the ACA was a new medical school in every state for instance and/or reduced requirements for general medical practice - bumps and bruises kind of stuff. That would reduce costs, not simple spreading costs among more people.)

Comment: Re:An overview, IMHO: (Score 1) 516

Give it another 10 years and the gap will be getting near the,"let's form an angry mob and kill the rich guy, we can feed the whole city off of what is in his house.

I don't know many rich people that have a food warehouse in their residence. People tend to forget that most of the wealth of rich people is "paper" wealth - it still has to be converted to real goods and services at some point in time.

In the extreme situation you proposed - how are you going to ensure that farmers are still going to be producing food, and food delivery people are still going to be delivering food, so that taking the stuff in a rich person's house can still "feed the whole city"?

If there is a situation as you describe - all that "paper" wealth of the rich vanishes immediately... so are they really wealthy? The wealth of the rich really does depend heavily on the willingness of the masses to participate...

Comment: Re:OLPC vs EEPC (Score 1) 111

by griffjon (#46472671) Attached to: Is One Laptop Per Child Winding Down?

As I said many, many times during OLPC's early years, they should have brought it to market globally as a secondary source of revenue and driver of innovation. Props to focusing on education products for the least-served, but the OLPC created the industry niche for netbooks (and arguably, then, tablets), and then after hyping it up, refused to enter the market. They quickly got lapped by hardware that wasn't as open or as rugged, but was available to anyone for a low price. Once the netbook market got churning with the usual for-profit entities, they rapidly blew the OLPC out of the water in almost every user-experienced feature.

I'm still sad about how that worked out.

Comment: Doomed to repeat (Score 1) 111

by griffjon (#46472637) Attached to: Is One Laptop Per Child Winding Down?

"Papert and Negroponte distributed [computers] to school children in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. The experience confirms one of Papert's central assumptions: children in remote, rural, and poor regions of the world take to computers as easily and naturally as children anywhere. These results will be validated in subsequent deployments in several countries, including Pakistan, Thailand, and Colombia. [...] Naturally, it failed. Nothing is that independent, especially an organization backed by a socialist government and staffed by highly individualistic industry visionaries from around the world. Besides, altruism has a credibility problem in an industry that thrives on intense commercial competition."

Oh, wait, wrong decade. That quote was from the 1992 attempt to do this with Apple II and Logo instead of OLPCs, Sugar, and Scratch.

My bad.

Comment: Re:Free from the life-suck that is Diablo II (Score 1) 270

by dark_requiem (#46337567) Attached to: How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?
Meh. Even without the real money auctions, and reasonable loot drops that don't force you to go to the auction house, and even if the story wasn't the weakest of the three, and even if the gameplay was fun, and even if the skill and player stats system wasn't geared towards noobs, and, hell, even if they allowed LAN play and offline single-player, I still wouldn't care. Torchlight II. Had all the desireables from day one, none of the corporate crap that encumbered D3, and it was made by some of the same folks who made D1 and D2. So D3 is largely irrelevant to me anyway. Of course, I still don't play Torchlight nearly as much as I did D2, but I'm long out of school, I have a job, and a nascent business, and I live walking distance from crazy fun beaches and trails, so this is to be expected. Now, I WISH there were more hours in the day, so I could do all this and still have time to game. Considering relocating to Venus, but that seems like too many hours in the day.

Comment: Re:Start teaching civics again too! (Score 2) 304

by dark_requiem (#46331427) Attached to: Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance
Oh, they still have civics classes. Took one in high school. Basically, you're taught "this is how the government works, this is how it has always worked, and it always works correctly, and it's the best government in the world." Critiques from students such as "well, here's a real world example that shows it doesn't work that way" or "well, that doesn't strike me as best, particularly in a place that bills itself as the land of the free" are met with hostility because it disrupts the all-important curriculum plan, and you'll be dismissed without discussion. The class was essentially state-sponsored indoctrination, coaching kids to uncritically accept the government as ideal and immutable. Critical thinkers need not apply.

Comment: Current, meh, but previous... (Score 2) 177

by griffjon (#46190305) Attached to: At my current workplace, I've outlasted ...

At my previous place of employment, I had trouble writing out my "goodbye" letter to the team remaining, as most of the good stories involved people who not only weren't there, but no one left even knew them.

That might be a sign, btw, for any managerial types, to worry about your staff turnover. Just sayin.

Comment: Re:A tax on advertising, though... (Score 1) 210

by ThosLives (#45787191) Attached to: Could an Erasable Internet Kill Google?

I'd rather go the other way, get the government out of picking winners/losers here and institute across the board apt tax while wiping out income/capital gains/inheritance taxes (keeping ss and gas taxes because they correspond with payout).

Depending on what your goals for a taxation system are, that's downright terrible. I agree with wiping out income tax, but not all capital gains tax. (I would eliminate capital gains tax on investments that produce new wealth - like profit made off buying new machines to build new products, but keep the tax for all "buy low sell high" gains) Inheritance tax I'd change along with property tax in general, which I'd change to be percentile based; that is, your tax rate is higher if you are in a higher percentile bracket of total wealth.

Consumption taxes are bad, because you are taxed if you have to consume (or the system must have complicated exemptions for "minimum allowed consumption"), but if you have extra to spend, you will (on average) consume less (in nominal terms) if consumption is taxed and you have the option of not consuming. Unless the taxing entity (government) adequately creates evenly-distributed demand with its tax revenue, consumption taxes will be a drag on the economy.

Comment: Re:We should all like this Bitcoin *concept* (Score 1) 276

by Coryoth (#45618365) Attached to: This Whole Bitcoin Thing Could Be Big, Says Bank of America

You are solely focused on bitcoin as an investment opportunity rather than its intrinsic utility.

Sure, but as far as intrinsic utility is concerned it doesn't matter when I get involved with bitcoin ... well, in fact it does: right now the price instability and general uncertainty mean it is far better to not get involved, wait for all this nonsense to sort itself out and join the game once everything is settled, stable, and bitcoin is actually being used purely for its intrinsic utility. In other words, it's better for me to ignore it for a few more years at least.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.