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Supreme Court of Assholedom: The People vs. Steve Jobs

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 23:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

When the Supreme Court of Assholedom decided to consider the case of the late Steve Jobs, we instantly collided with a problem we’ll call the Edison Conundrum. This dictates that the question of whether or not a person is an asshole can be complicated by the utility of that person’s assholedom.

In other words, if being an asshole is part of what brought us electric light, motion pictures, the phonograph, or (more pertinently) the iPhone, do we excuse the assholedom? Or do we just share in it?


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Market Share vs Profit

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 21:43 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

I truly feel that a simple, focused and powerful product line is what’s not only better for the company but also consumers. Seriously, if you had to buy a Samsung phone, which would you buy?


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Comments:

  1. Surely not all 42 of those Samsung phones are for use on the same network. If I go into an AT&T store, for example, how many of those phones will I really have the choice of? Just like the iPhone 4 is divided among GSM and CDMA networking protocols, are there unique aspects of the Samsung phones that drive availability on different networks?

  2. Depends. Question: You don’t have 1 gazillion dollars for a phone. Can you get an Apple? No. Can you get a Samsung. Sure.

    Case closed.

  3. Yeah, the Samsung phone I have is a €20 (unlocked, contract-free) flipphone kept for visitors who don’t have a phone that works here. Can’t buy that from Apple.

    But having more models does spread out your design and engineering talent and means that on average a model will have less talented people working on it. And it’s not just hardware models; Samsung also has several OSes in the mix that have to be adapted and supported. Apple focuses all attention on just one new model each year.

  4. I bought the iPhone 3GS for my wife and I for $49/ea. They were on sale. The iPhone4 was out and the much-anticipated iPhone5 was thought to be coming out any day. I’ll upgrade to the 4 … probably when the much-anticipated iPhone9 is thought to be coming out. I simply don’t have the inclination or resources to be up-to-date any more.

  5. Barry Schwartz has written a lot about the problem of too much choice. It leads to paralysis not empowerment. Same thing with laptops, Apple is so clear and simple: macbook, pro or air, covering almost all users. This array of phones is baffling, who has time to figure it out, not worth it just buy a iphone.

  6. @benjaminsa

    It’s all good, sadly lots of people can’t afford an iPhone. Yes, that’s true, there are countries, where an iPhone costs more than the average monthly salary. Plus, giving up your soul for the provider for 2 years.

    Same with Macbooks. Limited choice means 90% of the people can’t afford it. Also, as the quality is not much higher than some other laptop that costs half the price it is even wasteful.
    Choice is baffling. However, as we learned from “communism”, lack of choice is even worse.

    Some people are rich enough to gladly pay more just to save time. Some people are not rich enough.

  7. @Roland Hesz

    The assumption of the conversation is that we are talking about consumers who can afford to buy a smartphone, so it is the relative difference. Yes iPhones cost more (I don’t and won’t own one) but one reason people buy them despite the higher cost is simplicity.
    I did not, and Barry Schwartz is not arguing for communism. I am not saying no choice, but rather arguing against too much choice.

  8. @benjaminsa Looking at the selection above, there are about a dozen not smart phones.
    I don’t like Samsung, and I don’t necessarily agree with that huge range of slightly different models, but one of the reasons I bought an HTC Desire HD (which actually costs the same as an iPhone) was that it had a bigger screen than the iPhone, and that I was able to buy it without an oath of fealty.

    For me the iPhone is one end of the extreme, and Samsung is the other.
    And the main proble with the iPhone – well, not a problem actually, it’s just a result of the lack of choice – is that there is no entry level phone.

    Two different business models. But seeing that Samsung does pretty well, and Apple got mightily scared of them, and of HTC shows that there is a validity to their business model.
    And mocking a successful business model is like saying “the iPhone has no future”.

  9. It’s pretty easy.

    I have a G2x from LG, and it runs Android. That’s important. I could have had an iPhone, running iOS, or a Windows phone of some sort. The thing is, out of all of the models available on my carrier, the one I bought was both inexpensive and had high specs. I didn’t particularly care what company it was.

    The iPhone is a categorically different thing from the generic Android phone, so it really comes down to which one a person wants. iPhone? Easy choice — get the newest one. Android? There are a lot of choices, so look at the specs and price. Nobody really says “I want to buy a Samsung phone”.

Fannie, Freddie executives score $100M payday post bailout

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 21:39 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote]:

Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received the biggest federal bailout of the financial crisis. And nearly $100 million of those tax dollars went to lucrative pay packages for top executives, filings show.

The top five executives at Fannie Mae received $33.3 million in 2009 and 2010, while the top five at Freddie Mac received $28.1 million. And each company has set pay targets of as much as $17 million for its top managers for 2011.

That’s a total of $95.4 million, which will essentially be coming from taxpayers, who have been keeping the mortgage finance giants alive with regular quarterly cash infusions since the Federal Home Finance Agency (FHFA) took control of the companies in September 2008.


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To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 17:58 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

[Quote]:


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Comments:

  1. Lets not Newter America! Gingrich is such a prat, that if he is somehow elected President, we will welcome back the hypocrisy of Obama, and the brainlessness of G. Dubya Bush…

  2. Funny, I thought that was Cheney dream of a corporate Police State and Wolfowitz’s fantasy of the U.S. as the next great world empire that was the greatest danger.

  3. Clearly this man has earned a fortune for his antics. That it has the unfortunate effect of pouring gasoline on the overheated debates within American society seems to be of no concern to him.

JPMorgan Joins Goldman Keeping Italy Derivatives Risk in Dark

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 17:56 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote]:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), among the world’s biggest traders of credit derivatives, disclosed to shareholders that they have sold protection on more than $5 trillion of debt globally.
Just don’t ask them how much of that was issued by Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS.
As concerns mount that those countries may not be creditworthy, investors are being kept in the dark about how much risk U.S. banks face from a default. Firms including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan don’t provide a full picture of potential losses and gains in such a scenario, giving only net numbers or excluding some derivatives altogether.

[..]

JPMorgan said in its third-quarter SEC filing that more than 98 percent of the credit-default swaps the New York-based bank has written on GIIPS debt is balanced by CDS contracts purchased on the same bonds.

So if they can’t pay the bills… They are protected by someone else who cant pay the bills either?

And what’s this “net-risk” bullshit? If you net it all out there’s only about 50 dollar total exposure worldwide, right?


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Comments:

  1. It’s OK, those banks are too big to fail, so they won’t go under.

  2. And the remaining 2% on $5 trillion is er…$100 billion. So that’s all right then?

The Face of Modern Slavery

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 15:43 by Desiato in category: News

[Quote]:

By my calculations, at least 10 times as many girls are now trafficked into brothels annually as African slaves were transported to the New World in the peak years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The stories in Nick Kristof’s column will break your heart, but I think this column is required reading.

Next time I get ticked at the NYT for their subscription fee B.S., I’ll convince myself to pay them again just to support Kristof’s salary and the fact that they give him this megaphone to get his stories out.


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Comments:

  1. Appalling story, and one that will be repeated until children and women are not treated as property.

  2. A punishment that fits the crime….even castration is too weak.

  3. It happens all over the world, not only Asia.
    In the Netherlands a number of girls in Amsterdam’s Red district are there against their will – mostly from the eastern part of Europe, lured to the west with the promise of some more everyday work, bartender, waitress, secretary, hostess, whatever. Same happens in Germany, Italy, France.
    And lets not forget the underground place they just found last year in New York.

    And not only sexual slavery but the good old, work on the field type slavery is here to stay.
    There were a huge number of cases in Italy where Eastern European workers [mostly romanians] were kept as slaves on tomato fields.
    Then there is Saudi Arabia where the same practice is very common.

    Human trafficking is a lucrative business.

US millionaires say ‘raise our taxes’

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 12:05 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

Nearly 140 millionaires have asked a divided US congress to increase their taxes for the sake of the nation.

“Please do the right thing, raise our taxes,” the entrepreneurs and business leaders wrote to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders on Wednesday, noting that they benefited from a sound economy and now want others to do so.

According to Wikipedia there are anything between 2 million and 16 million “high net worth individuals” with household assets of more than $1 million. Where are the rest of them?


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Comments:

  1. Having a million dollars in household wealth and being a millionaire are two different things in my view. In many cities in the US/Europe a middle class house can be as much as $400,000 or more. Combine that with other savings and your nearly a millionaire. However, the income from these properties may be little or none, ie, your house costs you money, taxes, etc. and doesn’t earn any.
    The real millionaires are those people who have an annual cash flow of more than $1,000,000.

  2. Amazing – I didn’t know so many millionaires where freedom hating communists!

  3. @Fred: Technically I agree and this is probably why wealth taxes are so unpopular, because of the sterotypical little old lady living in an aging mansion in a fashionable part of town. But to quote the Wikipedia article:

    “A report by Capgemini… for Merrill Lynch on the other hand stated that as of 2007 there are approximately 3,028,000 households in the United States who hold at least US$1 million in financial assets, excluding collectibles, consumables, consumer durables and primary residences.”

    So let’s exclude the Gauguin and the Bentley, but include the villa in Cap d’Antibes…

  4. Catch-22. How many people do you think are willing to publicly sign a statement that implies “HELLO, I’M A MILLIONAIRE!” ? You may think rich Americans are crass, but exactly the ones willing to be taxed more may not be that crass, and may not want the info out there in the public eye.

  5. @Desiato – There were a few of the 138 who signed with their initials only, presumably for reasons of privacy. Personally, I do not think all rich Americans are crass by any means. Some of them are clearly cultured, enlightened and well-educated, engaging in extraordinary philanthropic works, and very worried about the state of the world and the U.S. in particular.

New Italian government does not include a single elected politician

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 12:02 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The emergency administration, which is meant to govern Italy until elections are due in 2013, is made up of bankers, lawyers and university professors but not a single elected official – an extraordinary development for a Western democracy.

Crisis caused by groupthink among economists best addressed by appointing economists to head governments, say all economists.


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Comments:

  1. If it no longer has elected officials, it’s no longer a democracy.

  2. It has elected officials.
    The concept is that until there is the new elections, they pick a group who:
    1) has no political stake in leading the country
    2) is made up of not politicians, but people who actually know what they are doing
    3) is selected by the elected representatives of the people

    Number 1) is very important. As they have no political stake, they don’t have to worry about whether they will win or lose the next election. That means they can actually do what is necessary.

    And it still is a democracy. And it works.

  3. “As they have no political stake, they don’t have to worry about whether they will win or lose the next election. That means they can actually do what is necessary.”

    No, it means they can do whatever they want. They are accountable to no one. Remains to be seen if it works.

  4. @Rob
    I have seen such a situation up close twice in my own country.
    They are not “accountable to no one”.
    And yes, they did a superb job.

Young jobseekers told to work without pay or lose unemployment benefits

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 12:00 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)

[Quote]:

Britain’s jobless young people are being sent to work for supermarkets and budget stores for up to two months for no pay and no guarantee of a job, the Guardian can reveal.

Under the government’s work experience programme young jobseekers are exempted from national minimum wage laws for up to eight weeks and are being offered placements in Tesco, Poundland, Argos, Sainsbury’s and a multitude of other big-name businesses.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says that if jobseekers "express an interest" in an offer of work experience they must continue to work without pay, after a one-week cooling-off period or face having their benefits docked.

Young people have told the Guardian that they are doing up to 30 hours a week of unpaid labour and have to be available from 9am to 10pm.

Which leaves them no time at all to look for real jobs. But then again, why would any company hire an employee if the government provides them for free?

Anybody want to bet these “apprenticeships” count as employment in government stats? In a few months there will be proud claims unemployment went down despite the economy in the shitter.


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It’s alive!

Posted on November 17th, 2011 at 10:39 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

Whatever you do, don’t blink!


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Comments:

  1. Aie! The Weeping Angels still scare me.

  2. Me too! But they’re definitely my favourite villains :D