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Comment Re:Not a surprise... (Score 3, Informative) 269

California still has an energy crisis, at least in SoCal...just no one talks about it because there is no evil corporate villain to blame... electric costs are still 12-24 cents/kwh depending on time of day and which utilization level one is placed. Water rates are also getting quite high...Unfortunately, the solutions (controlling imigration/total population, overall development density, and using nuclear or low-cost fossil fuels energy go against the orthodoxies of the prevailing ruling class) we will be stuck with 3-6% energy inflation for as long as the eye can see.....naturally, everyone is getting taxpayer funded solar panels to minimize extortionate rates.

Comment Limiting providers fine - kickbacks no (Score 2, Insightful) 173

There may be situations where a landlord has a good reason to limit who is accessing and modifying the cable/wire infrastructure of a property - so, a blanket ban on such is probably not a good idea.

On the other hand, I don't have any problem with banning the kickbacks/payments that encourage the practice at the cost of renter choice.

Comment Re:Does that count people like me? (Score 1) 188

I don't watch much TV -- not because I don't want to, but because there is very little of real value to watch.

The only decent news is CNBC squawk box which is only on from 3am-5am pacific time (before the east coast markets open).
There is only 3-4 hours of reasonably interesting drama or sci-fi tv created per week, and then only for about 30 weeks/year.

The rest of TV is mostly dancing idiots on parade....shows made by idiots meant to entertain other other idiots.

So, assuming 1hr of news 5 days/week for 52 weeks/yr and 3hrs of entertainment over 30 weeks/year, that adds up to only about 400hrs of worthwhile television per year for the entire year....or just a little over 1hr/day.

Educational TV? Where do you get that? Publicly funded television stations are so politically biased that you can't trust the science in them -- many of the shows are more about political indoctrination than anything else. I don't let my kids watch PBS.

If I want informational shows, it's usually best to buy them directly off teachingcompany/great courses....or find the rare youtube channel with someone who actually knows what they are talking about presenting ideas....

So, basically, anyone watching an average of more than 2hrs/day of TV....I just feel sorry for them and move on.

Comment UBI is completely the wrong approach (Score 1, Interesting) 1052

Problems - too many workers, workforce needs better education or retraining, population living longer is increasing healthcare costs while making it harder for younger generations to move up the ladder of career success, population and politicians are incentivized to raid future savings for spending today

Solution - Not UBI, it doesnt really solve problems and it has side effects that might make it a net negative.

- Encourage older workers to mentor younger ones and leave the workforce earlier while encouraging younger workers to spend more time getting a rigorous and real education before working- How? not free public colleges (government already has history of destroying education), find a way for older folks to have a direct investment over long term in younger employee performance - students pay portion of future earnings for 20yrs as soc security type payments rather than take college loans?)
- reduce social programs for those in their prime working years and not disabled, while increasing incentives for older workers to retire earlier, e.g we take care of you if your under 25 or over 55, but not for more than short term emergencies with those in between
- The only ubi type payments would be in the form of some kind of national profit sharing plan. As long as government has a deficit, no one gets a dime. payments also reduced while government has debt. Automatic refund if income greater than expenses and no debts. Simplified flat tax or vat type tax system while keeping some incentives for kids and home, building communities.
- Somehow citizenship needs to be more important with greater benefits and also be harder to get. Maybe everyone really shouldn't have an equal vote. More national and state incentives to limit population growth, especially illegal immigration.

Comment Re:Pay TV only, that is (Score 1) 175

Realistically, however, for many of us - if it isn't available on amazon instant video, the shows or movies will never be seen - even if they are free or widely popular on netflix or theaters. cost/value isn't the issue - distribution medium and software/hardware/content aggregation is.

Comment Re:Taxes are lower? (Score 1) 639

I guarantee you that the long term effect of increased tax rates will not be a sustained increase in tax revenue. The economy is dynamic and will shrink those areas affected by the highest taxes. Scientific studies have shown that regardless of historical tax rates or how taxes are structured, total national tax revenue is always comes out to between 15-20% of GDP.

Historically, the USA has had total annual expenses in the 16-18% range, only reaching 20-22% in times of war or national emergency.

Guess what we are currently spending? Guess what economists forecast as total spending required to meet entitlement obligations in the next twenty years. We're spending around 20% now and could easily reach 25% if entitlements remain as is.

Fix spending. Then, we can talk about taxes.

Comment Re:Conservative? (Score 1) 639

If you have a friend who is splurging on luxuries and going further in debt constantly....and who you have lent money to previously in order for him to clean up his mess....and, then he has the gall to ask for an even bigger loan and you know he has no intent to cut expenses on more than a cosmetic level nor had any change of heart?

You tell the bastard to cut expenses and develop a record of being fiscally prudent before you consider giving him another dime.

That is what the tea parties position on taxes is. Cut spending first.

And, for this you and others vilify them and say they are too stubborn to negotiate with....

Comment Re:Conservative? (Score 1) 639

Tea Party Conservatives want a balanced budget, entitlements and all. That's why both democrats and republicans have been so focused on demonizing them, distorting their arguments, and why establishment republicans did their best to keep Ted Cruz from winning (he was the only tea party supported candidate).

Comment Google needs to be kept in line (Score 1, Informative) 151

This is all about Amazon. They wanted to create an a popular android clone, but are held back by the fact by the restrictive licensing restrictions that Google puts on app software developers and hardware manufactures. Want to built hardware that can load the play store, than you can't build hardware that uses any other android store. Want to pre-load the maps app? Than it must come with google play services which requires the play store. Basically, Google is forcing everyone to accept itself as the middle man for apps.

WSJ had an interesting article last year about the restrictive licensing that Google is forcing android developers and hardware makers to sign/implement -- it essentially kills any chance of clones like the Amazon fire from succeeding.

So, yeah, we're back to 1990.....Only this time, Microsoft -> Google, Netscape -> Amazon, Internet Explorer -> Google Play Store or any of the major google android apps.

Comment Fire Phone deserves more positive reviews (Score 1) 80

Purchased the fire phone for myself and my two kids. They instantly had access to the family collection of Amazon Music, including CD's that we had purchased decades ago that Amazon had transcoded to mp3 for free. They could tell me what they wanted me to get them by adding items on Amazon to their own dedicated wish lists. They had access to email, a generally good phone with decent display, networking functionality battery life, and camera. The only thing wrong with the phone was that it didn't connect to the Google App Store. No big deal..use 1 mobile market for any absolutely must have app that wasn't on the Amazon market place.

Our total cost for three phones was amazingly cheap, roughly $400, for which we received $300 in credits towards amazon prime subscriptions which we have paid every year since the service was first offered. No paying for the following 3 years.

The phone also notifies us when Amazon orders ship, when fedex packages arrive, and doesn't spam us with ads or treat all our information as their product -- Amazon is actually pretty decent with privacy on the phone, as opposed to Apple and Google. I honestly also have no interest in being a subscriber of the Google store or buying any media from Google. Amazon has a much better marketplace for songs, books, and videos...and it gives a great selection of free books, music, and movies with the prime service.

So, sure, if your young with no kids your responsible for and just trying to use the latest android features in the cheapest manner possible - get a google phone. For the rest of us, Amazon actually did a surprisingly good job with the fire.

Comment Using the appropriate device for one's purpose (Score 1) 328

Smart Phone - Mobile Communications Central + quick access to any information needed and ability to do common tasks remotely (not sure why anyone really needs to upgrade this more than every 2-3 years)

Amazon Tablet - General Video Consumption Device (we only turn on the TV when viewing family movies these days) that can also be used for decent video conferencing, Also great for some specific android apps that are designed for larger tablet screens, can substitute for laptop for most purposes, especially when traveling light. (can probably go 4-5 years between upgrades)

Phablet - Those who somehow need to take the worst aspects of both smart phones and tablets and combine into one, but definitately a reasonable choice for when one gets older and using small smartphone screens is no longer appropriate.

Computer + Large Monitor - For doing everything else, especially for extended duration. Build it well and it can go 4-10 years between major upgrades.

Laptop - When you are willing to pay double for less performance, substantial reductions in upgradeability, and a smaller screen in exchange for using less space and being able to move a computer easily.

Comment Re:Mind boggling (Score 1) 167

Not's not that shareholders don't want you to take chances, especially if higher profits emerge down the's who is held accountable.

If you just regularly have meager profits, the worse that will likely happen to you is that the board of directors will fire you - but even that risk can be ameliorated by maintaining good relations with board members, ensuring your friends get elected to the board, keeping aggressive investors from becoming stockholders, and/or getting the rest of the board to "buy" into your strategy. For the most part, this is the safe path to take.

Alternatively, you can take a big risk to potientially generate huge profits down the line - which will help your career if it works out, but if it doesn't, you'll face a situation that will look like:
* Large investors with lots of money lose some of it on your stock
* One of those investors might get upset and point out that CEO's are protected from being liable for loses only if they follow the law and perform their primary responsibilities.
* They point out that your primary responsibility is to safeguard and look after the interests of shareholders and that you _didn't need_ to take the risk that you did.
* They ask a judge to remove your legal protection and personally sue you for whatever $ the investor lost.

Given that situation, what choice would you make as CEO?

This is a big reason why smaller companies with closely held shares generally grow faster. If we want larger publically held companies to act different, we have to change the decision calculus - however, I'd hardly expect any proposed law changes that increase corporate executive legal protections to be popular.

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