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Comment Re:Huh... (Score 2) 157

And if they're in front of, say, a PC or Android tablet instead of their phone? If you want to ensure they get the message, you have to send it over IMessage *and* whatever other platform they use (most likely Skype or AIM). Or, you could skip iMessage and just send it on the other platform, which they'll likely have installed on their PC, tablet, and phone, so they'll get it wherever they are without you having to send it twice. That's precisely the scenario I talked about in my initial post, and it's precisely why my die-hard Apple friends have abandoned iMessage (and Messages on their Macs and iPads) as unreliable.

That's the real problem though isn't it? If I'm going to send a message to somebody, I have no idea what device they're in front of, or if they're near any device at all. I'll use the messages app either on my phone or on my Mac and that message will get to them on their phone (at least) whether it's an iPhone or not. I'm not going to send two messages because SMS is the least (or may be better said "most") common denominator. I'm certainly not going to use Skype unless I know for a fact that they do. Other friends or associates might prefer hangouts. Some of them may have Skype installed on all their devices while others may not. Frankly, I don't want to keep track of that.

Your friends may use something instead of the messages app on their iPhone for long group chats when they know what everyone else is using, but I doubt they've abandoned it for all texting.

Right now there is no universal protocol for messaging, but most people have a phone which is capable of sending and receiving SMS/MMS messages. That is your safest bet, or you could, you know... call them.

And to be clear, one doesn't explicitly choose to use iMessage or not. The built in messaging apps will use iMessage to communicate with other apple devices when they can, but will use something else when they can't. Instead of creating an iMessage for Android, Apple could simply allow the messages app on the iPhone to use an AIM, Yahoo, or Google account like the Messages app on the Mac does. But again, none of of those are universal.

Comment Re:Huh... (Score 2) 157

How is GOOGLE Hangouts not vendor locked? Besides I'd change "Hangouts works everywhere" to "Hangouts works every now and then". We've had a weekly meeting with remote developers for months now and have gone back to just using a speakerphone because of all the issues we had with hangouts.

Comment Re:Huh... (Score 1) 157

Are you thinking of FaceTime? That's the closest Apple equivalent to Skype, not iMessage.

Anyway this can get a little confusing. iPads, iPhones, and Macs all have a "Messages" app that can use iMessage as a protocol to communicate with other Apple devices. Messages on OS X can also use Yahoo, AOL, or Google messaging accounts. Messages on an iPhone can use SMS to send messages in addition to iMessage.

So you could always text somebody on an Android phone from an iPhone using the messages app. If somebody with an iPhone wasn't able to text you on your android phone it could be because that in their contacts they had an email address or something associated with an iCloud account you had and Messages was using that to send the message rather than your phone number.

In the past, someone trying to send an IM to your android phone using messages on OS X wouldn't work. But then a couple of years ago, Apple added a new feature called "SMS relay" to the iPhone that lets it forward messages from OS X over SMS to people on non Apple devices. The catch is that the iPhone has to be on the same wifi network as the mac for that to work.

Comment Re:Errr (Score 2) 412

When you're spending billions of the public's money on a highly visible program, failure puts continued funding in jeopardy. Failure in this case would be loss of life. I think the public can tolerate failure if it follows initial success and there is reason to believe that further attempts would also be successful.

Getting congress to agree to spend any significant money on an actual Mars program is a long shot anyway. If it weren't for fear of the Soviets gaining supremacy in space, there probably wouldn't have been funding for the Apollo program either. If you somehow manage to get funding for a Mars program and that first mission fails, kiss the program goodbye.

Musk can be more cavalier because it's his company's money he's spending.

Comment Re:PUBLIC STREETS belong to the public (Score 1) 767

When you pick a place to live, is your decision based strictly on what's contained within the property lines of that specific location? Of course not. The neighborhood and everything about it plays into that decision. If part of the reason you bought a property there is because you wanted quiet streets that are safe for your kids to bike on, then you would be pissed too if some app is routing rush hour traffic through your neighborhood on streets that weren't designed for that amount of traffic.

Comment Re:That's just too damn bad. (Score 1) 767

I specifically said "It depends" and "sometimes", so no I don't know for sure what the mix of funding sources for road maintenance is in that area. I seriously doubt the poster I was responding to does either when he claimed that "we are all paying the taxes necessary for you to have a road to your home". You said "much of" but your neighborhood would be unusual if most of the road funding comes state gas taxes and registration fees. There was a time when user fees paid for close to 70% of the road maintenance and construction in the US but it's barely over 50% now and is probably much less when we're talking about residential streets as opposed to freeways or highways.

The people in that neighborhood aren't seeing a significant increase in traffic levels because of that road closure. They are seeing an increased level of traffic because Waze is directing people to use streets that were never intended to handle that much traffic. Without the road that is under construction that level of traffic would be on some major arterial road somewhere else, not on their streets.

On the block I live on there is a busy arterial street on one side. We knew that when we moved in. On the other end is a quiet street that abuts a park. We knew that too. The value of the homes on our block are set accordingly. When our kids take off on their bikes, they know to go to the quiet end of the block. My son rode his bike to school until he started high school in a different part of the city. To suddenly have hundreds more cars coming down our street during rush hour isn't just an annoyance, it would be a safety issue.

Comment Speed Bumps or other traffic calming measures. (Score 1) 767

At least where I live the city will put speed bumps in as along as most of the people living on the street are OK with it and are willing to pay for them. It's not great for the house living right next to the speed bumps as they have to listen to cars slowing and accelerating.

There are other traffic calming measures such as making the streets narrower, - even if it's just at intersections. Sometimes you can get the city to post a lower speed limit.

Comment Re:Because they do it at all (Score 1) 280

Pension funds work roughly same way. A mix of past contributions, investment income, and current contributions pay for current retirees. It's not an account that the employee has with a fixed amount of money in it.

The free market depends on a level playing field which rarely exists (at least not for long) without collective bargaining and regulation, - and then it's no longer a free market. Then you have a mixed economy which I think is a reasonable solution.

If I win the lottery, I can consume more, but have I increased my productivity? If I short sell a stock, have I produced anything? If I'm living off my parents' investment income, am I producing anything at all?

Yes, on average you have to increase productivity to allow more to be consumed but it doesn't mean that right mix of things are being produced and that the products and services are getting distributed effectively. I'd argue that large segments of society over consume while other large segments under consume. My belief is that GDP can go down and quality of life can still improve. How much of what gets produced ends up in a landfill? How much do externalities end up costing society?

And obviously, there is not a direct link between production and consumption. Just because 20 widgets are produced, doesn't mean 20 are consumed. And that's why the economy IS so much about money. Because money is the means by which widgets get consumed. If most of the money ends up in the hands of 1% of the population, it will be a big problem eventually. It's a problem because 1% of the population can consume only so many widgets. Increasing productivity does nothing unless the population as a whole has the means to purchase those widgets.

Comment Re:Because they do it at all (Score 1) 280

Oh sure, crap can happen.

But **on average**, by nature of the "progressive" taxation system, of course those at above-median income will have to pay more, probably far more, than they take out.

But not necessarily more than they'd pay on their own for the same services if they were only available from private providers operating for-profit businesses. The wealthier you are, the less that is true but I'm guessing that even engineers enjoy the added benefits of paid family leave and more vacation per year that the more progressive society provides. Even though I make a decent income, it would be a net gain for me if my taxes were 50 percent, but I didn't have to pay for my kids' college tuition, our health care, save for our retirement, and a had a couple of extra weeks of paid vacation per year.

Besides, you don't get away from that issue in the US system even with the lower taxes. On average, a US citizen is going to pay more for health insurance than than they will ever get back in services, otherwise health insurance companies would go out of business.

Another benefit from a more progressive society is there is less of a gap between rich and poor in the first place so there is less need to subsidize. And finally, even the wealthy benefit when society as a whole is stable, healthy, and well educated.

Comment Re:Because they do it at all (Score 1) 280

If daycare were free, what would your wife do?

My wife may have wanted to stay home anyway to be with the kids. She's lucky that she works in an industry where she can make decent money for part time work and she can take a few years off and still be employable. That's kind of rare.

There is a significant financial risk for women who do stay home. If something happens to their husband, - he dies or is no longer able to work, they're screwed. After a few years at home, it's going to be much harder to find a job that makes up for his lost income.

If a woman is dependent on her husband for income, it also puts her on unequal footing. Getting divorced if she's unhappy with the marriage is problematic since she's less able to earn a decent income on her own. If she had maintained a career that's not as much of a problem.

Comment Re:Because they do it at all (Score 1) 280

In a progressive country like Sweden, 70% of the workforce is unionized so your janitors are probably making a decent wage. The degree to which their benefits are subsidized by engineers and the like isn't as much as you'd imagine. And just because your dual engineer income family might be paying in at a high rate now, doesn't mean that they both will still be healthy and employed for the remainder of their working years. Crap happens and they may well find that they are getting out much more than they put in.

Comment Re:Because they do it at all (Score 4, Insightful) 280

In the US, it's not being taken from you to begin with. You can also live off a single income if you're engineers. If both of you work, you can just bank the 2nd income.

Your claims are absurd. They sound like old Soviet propaganda.

They aren't "claims". Those are the laws, policies, and the stats. You pay less in taxes in the US, but you're getting less in return and just having to pay somebody else (more) for those services. For health care, you're paying insurance companies and your paying with lower wages because your company is paying the insurance companies. Your either saving for your kids' college education or they're going into debt or both. Instead of the government managing a pension fund on your behalf, you have to pay into a 401K, IRA, or equivalent.

I guess if you consider health care, retirement savings, and college tuition for your kids to be optional expenses, then yes, you come out way ahead in the US.

I'm an IT director at a 100 person non-profit. I'm making a decent wage, but not a fortune. My wife works part time (less than 20 hours a week). We have what's considered to be an upper-middle class income. She was working very little when our kids were really young. So it's not like the lifestyle you're describing is foreign to me. But, by the time our kids get through college I'll be just a few years from retirement and I wish we were socking more away. We don't live extravagantly and we have virtually no debt. If 50+ percent of our income went to taxes and we didn't have to worry about health care costs, college tuition, or saving for retirement, I would take that deal.

I know lots of people my age and older that have virtually no retirement savings. 68% of working age people in the US are not participating in an employee sponsored retirement plan. Presumably some of them don't need to, but I'm guessing that's a small percentage. We are headed for a real crisis.

Comment Re:Because they do it at all (Score 2) 280

Not exactly. For example, in Sweden it also goes to pay for health care, university level education, and other social programs while in the US much of that is coming out of your own pocket along with retirement savings. You could argue that it comes out even in the end or that maybe we even come out ahead in the US but that wouldn't be true. The average Swede has about 10% more disposable income along with about twice the amount of vacation per year.

Along with that Swedish families get 480 days of parental leave per child, - much of which is paid and can be taken anytime up until the child is 8 years old.

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