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Comment: Re:I worked in bars (Score 1) 44

by swb (#47953029) Attached to: SteadyServ Helps Keep the Draft Beer Flowing (Video)

For some reason, I would have expected some kind of automatic valve system that would allow multiple kegs to be connected at once, switching over to the next keg when one went empty.

There are a lot of high-volume bars with few taps, I can't imagine the nuisance of constantly switching over to new individual kegs.

Comment: Re:"Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (Score 4, Insightful) 168

by swb (#47945573) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

There was one club around here kind of like that, a truly world-class golf course that has hosted 3-4 majors in the last 30 years. Their clubhouse was a dump and it allowed them to get serious golf members who didn't care about embroidered hand towels.

The irony with a lot of the old-money exclusive clubs is that their courses may be challenging for amateurs, they're not capable of hosting major men's tournaments. Not enough yardage. A big name professional came in for a one day, high dollar "seminar" and the story was he was driving balls off the tees past the greens.

Frankly, the "opulence" is way less than you think. The facilities are more like a shop-worn high-end hotel, 5 years overdue for a remodeling. There's no models as waitresses, the clubs have to compete for waitstaff against real restaurants that turn a lot of tables. If you're a hot waitress you'll make a ton more money at a trendy new place that's booked three weeks out or some corporate expense steak place where a tab for four runs $500+.

I'm often at a loss why someone would join -- they're nice, but not THAT nice. Most decent cities have more good restaurants than you can visit fast enough before the celebrity chef moves on to some other new, high-end place. The facilities aren't that great and for the kind of money it costs you could certainly get into a lot of other luxury experiences.

Comment: Apple's post-peak celebrity embraces (Score 4, Insightful) 314

by swb (#47945403) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

Why does Apple keep investing themselves in post-peak celebrities?

Dre, Iovine and U2 may be influential but how much currency do they have among future music fans? Is it because the decision makers at Apple are all in their late 40s-to-50s and are merely caught up in the fandom of their youth?

Shouldn't they be forming partnerships with artists with a ton of pull with 20-somethings? Do kids in their 20s even listen to U2, or is it something that 40-something moms crank up in their minivans along with an illicit Marlboro Light on their way to pick up the kids at soccer practice?

If U2 had any hip credibility, it was 30 years ago. Can you imagine Apple rolling out the Macintosh in 1984 with a celebrity lineup of the Everly Brothers and Bill Haley & the Comets?

Comment: Re: "Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (Score 4, Interesting) 168

by swb (#47945159) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

The grounds crew is usually made up of 2-3 well paid full-timers who manage the entire grounds operation along with another half-dozen full-timers who are better (but not well) paid people who do stuff like maintain a fleet of equipment, oversee the massive irrigation systems, the extensive chemicals used to keep the grass up and then oversee the dozen or so seasonal low-wage hourly employees who do the grunt work.

There's a lot of irony in the club business. I've heard a lot of stories -- pictures kept screwed down so the members won't steal them, floral arrangements strategically timed so that the bridge ladies don't take them home hours after they get put out, members blackballed for getting caught loading their trunk with snack items like bottled soda/beer/chips and the never ending calls from members nitpicking their monthly bills over things like "I didn't have desert that night" or "we only ordered one drink". Not to mention the few whose accounts get sent to *collections* over unpaid dues/bills.

While they are really wealthy people there (I've seen new members come in and just write checks from a blue vinyl checkbook for $80-100k initiation fees), I think there's an awful lot of "keeping up appearances" that goes on -- people whose money ran out yet try to maintain an illusion of wealth, or climbers with short-term leases on Mercedes, rented luxury houses and the hope that they can snag some money from the truly wealthy for whatever shell game they're running.

Comment: Re:"Affluent and accomplished" is not the criterio (Score 1) 168

by JWSmythe (#47944195) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

There was a lovely country club where I lived for a while. Out of curiosity I stopped by. It was only something like $5k/yr. I could have afforded it, but I didn't see any good reason to get a membership. They had a pool. I had a pool. They had a golf course. I don't play golf. They had tennis courts. I don't play tennis. They had their bar and sitting room. I have booze and a TV at home. They offered free wifi to members. I had Internet service at home. The buildings and grounds looked very nice. That only goes so far. "Ok, I'm sitting in a nice building."

I can't see wasting money just to say I have money to waste.

Comment: "Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (Score 5, Informative) 168

by swb (#47944099) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

I've done work for country clubs and "keeping the grass short" is very expensive. The equipment and grounds crews for a 18 hole golf course are both extensive.

Most operate at least one full-service restaurant and bar area, sometimes more than one in certain seasons (ie, fine dining room and a more low-key grill type food service) and they staff them like they were going to be 3/4 full despite being empty or only 1/3 full much of the time. Food waste is huge, plus they usually feed their employees a separate meal.

A lot of clubs have big, old clubhouses that are maintenance nightmares. They don't get replaced because its a multi-million dollar expense that has to be paid for through assessments on members and there's a romantic attachment to the clubhouse because someone famous played there 100 years ago.

And your $10k initiation fee? That's a joke, $10k is for some low-rent club with a bowling-alley class snack bar. Try $100k, which usually buys stock which is refunded to members when they resign the club. It's usually $2k/month with dues, food and beverage and golf fees. And this is for a better Midwestern club, I'd double those figures on the coast, or more in certain places.

The fees aren't to keep people out, either, even if they have that effect, they're just to keep the place running. The members openly practice discrimination on who gets to join, you don't just apply for membership, you have to be asked and sponsored by a current member. But despite the veil of exclusivity, most really make ends meet by renting the place via their banquets office and low-cost "social" memberships that enable use of the foodservice areas. They need them to keep the place running.

Comment: Re:Not a problem... (Score 1) 311

by geekoid (#47940917) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

"They are dangerous with high amounts of crime. "
not really.

"They discourage innovation"
More innovation happen becasue there is more communication.

" little room for building things"
depends on the city. Cities created to support manufacturing usually have a lot of ware housing, and older building; both of which are perfect for start ups.

" They have nosy neighbors who try to mandate what you can do in your own home."
when the byproduct of what you do leaves your walls, then they have every right to do that, and visa versa.
There are also nosy neighbors in the suburbs.

I'm no against suburbs. In fact, I love the suburbs, and hate living in cities.

Comment: Re:Not a problem... (Score 1) 311

by swb (#47940805) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

I thought the one with the population density of Houston was more interesting as it implies a more livable density than Manhattan. A slight reduction in density might allow for grow-local kind of agriculture, too.

There might be actual incentives to encouraging the development of a megacity. The energy savings in transportation would be huge and there's probably a lot of other economies of scale to be gained. If other populated areas became equally less dense the environment might improve.

The downside is that all big cities have a gross aspect to them, especially poorer ones.

Comment: Re:It's not the space, it'd the food. (Score 2) 311

by geekoid (#47940531) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

The problem is not waste, it's distribution. Even with the current level of waste, everyone could eat 3 meals and snacks, everyday.
Getting it to people is a lot harder.

If we ended all food waste right now, there would not be 1 less person going hungry.
Hell, we can't even get food to people going hungry in the US without a political shit storm happening from people who think it's the same thing as communism.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.