Droid vs iphone – late to the party, but with an opinion

Well it’s happened at last. I’ve supplemented my apple world with an android. Picked up a Samsung Galaxy S5 as a separate work phone. I’ve never been particularly anti-droid, but having invested in a stack of products with the half eaten fruit on the logo, it was just a pain to think about adding a product into the mix that did not integrate.

It’s so nice being able to bounce anything on display on the mac’s, pads and phones directly to either of my TV’s. And it’s nice that all my music and videos work on all my devices. Things like the cloud and sharing photos has also been so easy for so long.

I had the choice at work of getting another iphone or trying out the Samsung, and my inner geek got the better of me, and so I plumbed for the robot.

And it’s quite impressive in a samey but slight differenty sort of way.

I really like the slightly larger screen, it does make videos and gaming slightly better. But the form factor is slightly more annoying. Slim is nice, but wider and taller is just wider and taller. I got the Samsung flippy case, and that is great, except why the hell does closing the case end a phone call, that is just stupid. You open the case to make a call and then you need to close the case to hold it up to your ear.

Bending the case backwards to hold it up to your head, is somewhat like holding a spring loaded device up to your ear. There is pressure between your fingers and slightest mis-fingering could turn the phone into a projectile.

The rest of the case design seems okay.

There are some nice touches in the OS, along with some really stupid, Microsoft quality missteps. Too many ways to get to the same thing.

I love the micro SD slot though. Took a microsd card out of my pc and slapped it in the back and now have all the movies I care for on the phone.

Photos and music from my i-world are not going to make it to the droid, as there are “ways” of doing this, but none that are sensible. So my personal phone is going to stay apple for the foreseeable.

The Samsung does offer wifi cell phone calling, which means that in a crap cell reception area it pulls and pushes calls over an available wifi network transparently (expect it does gloat after every wifi call,a feature which I was able to turn off), which does go some way to mitigate the overall crappiness of every single smartphone in the world (why can’t smart phones also be good phones, as opposed to good pocket computers and poor phones, EVERY SINGLE ONE IN THE WORLD IS)

Overall the droid is a nice toy to hack around with, but not materially different that the iphone and so no real reason to move. But I’m glad to have one of each, as now I can geek out just that bit more…..


Does the end of net neutrality mean the dream is dead?

Capitalism at its best offers a fantastic way for innovative ideas to get their moment in the sun.

The availability of capital to be risked has taken the world from kings and serfdom to a relatively amazing place. The modern industrial universe is on the internet.

So allowing the “owners” of the internet infrastructure to decide who gets to play and can charge different rates for different access is in effect removing the ability of disruptive technology to get a foot hold.

Why would a cable company want Netflix to thrive, it’s killing their old business model?

Why would a bank or insurance company want a financial service aggregator to thrive, they are forcing down prices.

Why would Google want a distributive search service to thrive, it’s could decimate their ad revenue?

Why would anyone who is in a position of power today want to allow new ideas that directly impact their current revenue stream to happen?

Well quite simply they would not.

Today a small number of very large business are intertwined and deliver the backbone and on and off-ramps to the internet. The law has until now required them to openly offer their services without consideration of the type of use their customers are putting the systems too. And this has allowed millions of new ideas to grow and be tried. Many have failed but some have become the best ideas of their time. Each one if them was disruptive, but with the end of net neutrality in the future many new ideas will not be able to compete, as the incumbents will have the ability to make disruption untenable though now legal aggressive pricing tactics.

Anyone who thinks this will not happen when net neutrality is removed just needs to look at every single other time when anti-competive ideas have been legal. Asking the wolf to guard the hen house never works. Business will always use every advantage it has, if it’s allowed it will be done. If its almost allowed it will be done. The only time a business acts ethically is when there is a material advantage in doing so. Many businesses talk about doing good, but that is simply because doing good things can be good for the balance sheet. Business is a matter of survival of the fittest, and when you allow the biggest to have a huge advantage they will always take it.

This is why rules that allow new ideas from new people to gain a foothold are so incredibly important. In the same way that the oil and car industries held back alternative fuels, electric cars and high speed rail, giving Comcast, Cisco, Google, AT&T and the rest of the current crop if internet giants a way to make new internet based ideas unprofitable can only be bad for capitalism. The rise and fall of the roman empire tells a deeply relevant story.

Let’s not allow the rise and fall of the internet to read the same way.


The only way is to “keep it moving”

Economics always seems very complex, and there is a reason for that. Like all mathematically impossible situations the only way to explain them is to make them seem too complex to explain.

Through all of human history the idea of exchange goods for services has required all the systems we see today, including, laws, education systems, policing, security etc.

Until a few decades ago the idea was that you would exchange services for things of equal value, such as a lump of gold or silvers or a bushel of corn. And to save carrying huge bags of gold around, notes were passed between people saying that they promised to provide the actual gold in exchange for a service. These notes of promise were called money. And to be able to make money you used to have to have a store of precious metals equal to the amount of money you printed.

And then someone has the really smart idea of getting rid of the need to actually have the store of gold to be able to print money. This allowed as much money to be made as was needed, to grow the economy. The only issue is that if anyone ever wanted to swap his or her money for gold the whole system would collapse.

So to make sure a collapse doesn’t happen there was an implicit need to make sure all the money keeps moving around. It’s like musical chairs where there are less chairs than people, so as long as everyone is moving there is no issue, but if the music was ever to stop there wouldn’t be enough places for all the money to sit, then the value of money goes down (inflation).

To make sure the money keeps moving governments used to tax money that was sitting still. This has two important effects:
1. Taxing money means it keeps moving by itself (moving to the government who could spend it on services)
2. Made it preferential for people to keep their money moving to keep it out of the hands of the taxman.

Today we have a huge issue in that the amount of tax applied to money that is not doing anything is too low to encourage people to keep it moving. This means that too much money is just sitting in banks making money without doing anything, and this is really bad, as sitting money can be seen for what it is, and that is a promise that can never be kept.

It’s okay to be rich; actually it’s the best thing to be. But the value of money will only get less if it does nothing of real value. Capitalism is without a doubt the best system the human race has ever had to build the quality and length of human life. But capitalism demands that capital be used to build stuff, it fails if it sits around doing nothing.

Tax lazy money to keep the capitalist system healthy. Either it moves to the government to spend, keeping it moving. Or it forces people to use their money to build things. Either way is much better than notes of promises that cannot be kept sitting in places where its lack of true value can be seen.


Car Renters Against Thrifty Car Rental

I hate Thrifty car rental with a passion

So what is the business of a car rental company? You would think it’s to rent cars, and you would imagine they would love customers who book in advance and then arrive at exactly the time they booked for to rent a car.

Well this is not the business model preferred by Thirfty car rental.

Last week we were in Vegas for a few days and decided it would be great to go for a hike in the Mohave desert, and pop in to Fry’s, my favorite geek out store on that side of the US. So we duly looked for a day’s car rental. We found Thrifty were at the airport, and so called them and booked a car for the next day. All confirmed and ready to go.

So the next day we dutifly took a taxi to the airport and went to the thrifty car rental desk, where we were told that they were not honoring reservations. Why I asked? Did you not have cars? And the stunning response was this “oh we have cars, but we are holding them in case any of our premier customers decide they might want one”.

So the facts were we had booked a reservation, they had a record of our reservation, they has cars available, but they chose to be assholes and not rent cars on the off-chance that a regular customer who had not made a reservation would want one.

The faster Thrifty go bankrupt the better, as far as I am concerned.

I will NEVER rent from them again. And I advise everyone I know will to NEVER rent from them again.

There is nothing worse than a business that does not understand why it is in business. Thrifty car rental, I wish you nothing but bankruptcy, your business model stinks.

I called Thrifty’s service department to complain and was unable to speak to a manager as none were in. I have not received a call back from them or any apology for their stupidity.

I think I’m going to found CRATCR, Car Renters Against Thrifty Car Rental, POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!


What the hell is going on! oh right the same as always.

What the hell is going on!

Like most kids around the world, when I was at school I learnt of the history of the Brits who travelled to America to find solace free from religious and social tyranny.

It was held up as the pinnacle of freedom. A country driven to see all people as equal and to allow each individual the freedom to live their lives as they wished.

Of course the next chapter in that children’s history book did explain that all wasn’t perfect, with oppression of native people, rampant slavery, racism and sexism issues and a history of political corruption and political cowardice that pretty much matched the rest of the world. I know now that this chapter is taught very differently in America.

It seems that maybe teaching the issues of the past more completely may have been a great way to help people to learn to stop repeating them.

The issues of today, seem to be all too familiar from that children’s history book.

Yes I’m looking at you corrupt Supreme Court, and you, paid for politicians, and you business owners who think you have rights greater than other individuals, and you irresponsible gun rights advocates, and you manufacturers who ship jobs oversees to save a buck irrespective of the long term social costs, and you climate change deniers who put your short term profits ahead of long term health and social need, and you union leaders who limit growth of your members to line your personal power bases, and you war profiteers, and you bigots who subvert the meaning of religious texts to support your bigotry…. Hmm it’s a long list when you think about it….


No it’s not okay to fill news hours with uninformed opinions

What happened! I though CNN was a news channel. But it seems the same disease that removed all music from MTV and VH1 has now cross the species barrier to news. There is no longer any news on the news channels.

We have actually reached the point where the news covered on the comedy channel is more completely researched and more newsworthy.

I know it’s terrible that a modern plane goes missing, it’s beyond terrible, but that is not an excuse for 25×7 uninformed talking heads to chat about the disaster.

CNN, MSNBC, FOX News have all gone from news to tedium.

I wonder if this is what happened when Rome fell.


%d bloggers like this: