Monday, September 07, 2015

Windows Tablets Are the "Beige Boxes" of 2015

Remember the beige box of the 1990's? Every PC sold was a beige box with a beige monitor. It was the epitome of Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad.

I've been monitoring Windows tablets lately, and I'm completely uninspired. It's not so much that I need a new one, but I love tech and if I found a decent deal, I'd get one. I probably have all the tech I need: MacBook Pro, iPad Mini 3, Dell Venue 8 Pro that I never use, and a new Note 5.

The Dell's biggest weakness is it only has a micro-USB port. Even with an adapter, it doesn't have enough power to drive a portable hard drive, which I use to backup files on my work computer. At work, we're still running Windows 7 and Office 2010. And we don't have wi-fi. When I lug my work laptop around with me, I have to physically plug it into a switch or I have no connectivity. Sometimes I think "Enterprise IT" is Greek for "You will work on obsolete shit determined by Baby Boomers with no IT knowledge and an r-selected irrational fear of change". Or "old Unix guys" who 30 years later STILL haven't adapted to a Windows environment they somehow ended up in charge of.

I've thought about getting a Windows tablet with a full size USB port to carry to work, so I can use features of a newer version of MS Office. I could bring my Mac, which has Office 2016, but I perceive it as being too big to lug around all the time. And the iPad doesn't have a USB port.

So anyway, I've been keeping an eye on tablets lately. And few of them are exciting. I kind of like the Surface, but I perceive it as being overpriced. Sure, it "starts" at $499 (Surface 3), but that's for 64 GB and 2 GB RAM. By the time you get a decent sized storage and 4 GB of RAM, now you're up into the $800 range, and you don't have Microsoft's overpriced specialty keyboard yet. I guess you could get a generic Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, but that's extra gear to lug around.

So I look at the available tablets, and other than the overpriced Surface and Surface Pro, all I see are the equivalent of beige boxes. Or black slates.

Then of course, lets say you buy one. One of the difficulties of the PC world is all the crapware that comes pre-loaded. At least Apple doesn't include crapware (unless that's how you define Apple's software). Well, except for that stupid Stocks app that still comes with the iPhone. Has anybody anywhere actually used it? I imagine people who are serious about stocks would use a much more powerful, specialty app.

New PCs usually come with the 60 day trial of Office, McAfee and Norton trials, download managers (who uses them), music apps, and so on. Now they're coming preinstalled with Facebook quality games, which are very stubborn about uninstallation. It took me a while to get all the crapware off the 2-in-1 I got my wife for Christmas. Thank you, Toshiba, I paid you for a computer, not the extra crap you installed, none of which I actually need.

Aaron Cleary, The Fed Funds Rate, and Economic Growth

It's almost religious dogma among the neo-Keynesian economists who determine economic policy that lowering the Federal Funds Rate is supposed to spur economic growth.

Aaron Cleary, an economist in his own right, took on this assumption. He found no data to support it .

The economists running our economy have no idea what they're doing. They are making it up as they go along.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Narcissists and Shootings

Michael Trust, author of How To Deal With Narcissists, analyzes the recent Virginia reporter shooting from that perspective.

It takes very little to get along with most people. Most normal people can even fake civility with those they don’t like – and do it plausibly. If you are nice to someone, and notice they are intolerable in return, that is prima facia evidence there is something very wrong with them. If it is that noticeable, that you can’t ignore it, then that is a sign that they are not in control of themselves, and anything could happen.

The scary thing about a narcissist is that they will work to undermine you, maybe even kill you, while trying to appear normal to your face:

They will not choose to confront you directly, in honest competition. They will seek to get the upper-hand, and confront you only in such a way that you are powerless. The thought of losing to you is unbearable to them, and they will do anything – even the unimaginably craven and cowardly, to avoid it. They may try to catch you unarmed, when they have a gun. They may put something in your food, while pretending to be your friend. They may take years to do it.

I read Michael's book earlier this year. I found it very insightful, and it helped me understand some events in my own past. I've come across a few narcissists in my time, and this understanding helped me close out those chapters, which up to reading Michael's book, never made sense.

How to Deal with Narcissists: Why They Became Evil, How They Think, and Strategies and Techniques to Take Control

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Is The Deal With Leftists And Death Threats?

A while back, Matt Forney recently wrote a piece for Return of Kings about why you should avoid women with tattoos. I read it. It wasn't one of his better pieces, but it circumstantially validated my own experiences. And a writer claiming to be a doctor checked into peer reviewed papers and discovered "science" validated 4 out of 5 of Forney's points. The other point was "no data".

I read Forney's article and moved on.

But the leftists didn't. At least, not until they got through their "two minutes hate". I'm sure it's all forgotten now, as these same people have found another source of "two minutes hate". But while Matt Forney was their target, he got a bunch of death threats. As his publisher for the article, Roosh reported Forney was at an undisclosed location outside the U.S. and invited mainstream media to contact himself for interviews. As far as I know, that hasn't happened.

I've seen this happen to other people in the manosphere. They post something that becomes the target of "two minutes hate", and get a bunch of death threats. I'm sure most won't carry them out. That requires too much focus for these emotional hypochondriacs. Most of them probably hope somebody else will handle it.

They seem to thrive on anger. There is a lot on the Internet that I disagree with. I tend to just ignore it. If I know something is going to make me angry, what's the point in spending any of my precious life dealing with it? I consider myself mature and balanced enough to not require "trigger warnings".

When a leftist gets death threats (and there is evidence these are occasionally manufactured for pity and attention), they scream for justice. When a non-leftist gets death threats, that's somehow OK.

For some reason, these emotionally unbalanced SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) seem to think it's OK to wish death on people they disagree with. I don't get how this is considered mentally healthy. Now they're apparently offhandedly hoping it can happen with Donald Trump's run for President. I disagree with a lot of politicians, but I don't think I've ever wished death on any of them. If I did, I sure as hell wouldn't say it out loud or publish it where it could come back to me.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Collapse Fatigue

I tend to follow blogs like The Economic Collapse Blog. They're usually interesting. But after years of reading predictions of when there is supposed to be a stock market crash or the collapse of the dollar, I realized I'm starting to experience fatigue on this subject area.

Michael Snyder has written a lot of posts about the possibility of a crash this fall (2015). That time is approaching.

The problem with predictions is they normally don't come true. I read something early last year where Porter Stansberry predicted the collapse of the dollar in July 2014. The dollar is still going.

In July, 2010, when I used to listen to Alex Jones, he put out a "Red Alert" predicting a war involving Israel "within 2 weeks!" I'm still waiting.

I'm glad I don't make predictions very often. It's embarrassing to be that wrong in public.

An Economic Case For An Imaginary Relationship

Aaron Cleary examines "waifu" and crunches the numbers.

His conclusion? It can cost the average man up to $720,000 to find a wife. This isn't just drinks and dinner, but also the opportunity costs, time, and sanity.

Consider not just the various financial, time, labor, and opportunity costs associated with finding a quality real world girl.  Consider the lack of drama and the mental pain associated with having an "imaginary girlfriend."  Not only do you save yourself $700,000 in explicit and implicit costs, you also save yourself; 
Being stood up, Being shot down, Drama, Temper tantrums, Girls cheating on you, Girls leading you on, Bi-polar freaks, Feminism, Blue ball
and every other form of scourge and fire-laden hurdles you and every other man had to jump through during his teens and 20's.

Then, of course, calculate the lost time and opportunity if you find a wife and the marriage fails. Cleary doesn't have experience with that. I'm not as diligent as he is, but I can speak from experience how being stuck in a bad marriage and being forced into a divorce can set your ass back on your goals, health, and finances among many other things.

It is survivable, though. And I have mostly recovered.

I don't advise you to life your life strictly by the numbers. Many people see that "It can cost over $200,000 to raise a child" and decide not to have them. That's based on a lot of assumptions though, which are easy to work around and overcome. You don't have to buy a $600 crib and $40 onesies that MAY be worn once if the child doesn't outgrow that size before you get to it.

It's the same with wife hunting. When I dated, I usually made it a point for the first date to do something that doesn't cost money or is inexpensive. Meet at a park and take a walk, or meet for coffee (not expensive stuff like Starbucks). Some guys advise you not to pay for dinner until after she has put out. I typically wouldn't pay for a serious meal until the 3rd date or so.

I guess if I were in my early 20's today, waifu or sexbots would probably seem like an attractive option. I'd rather have an abundance mindset and game though. They'll get you farther in life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Food Banks and Douchbaggery

I'm seeing quite a few posts on blogs I follow about food banks lately. As our economy tanks, more and more people need resources from food banks. Many are seeing lines form early in the morning, and run out of food.

When I lost my job in 2010, my ex-wife started getting food from a food bank since my unemployment check didn't come close to matching my salary. She overheard some people in line talking about how they'd hit every food bank in the area, then turn around and sell the food.

While I'm sure this isn't a representative sample of the entire food bank "industry", I'm certain those in the area of Jersey where I lived at the time are not the only ones visited by people who take a free product meant for needy people and then sell it.

A proverb I often use is "Never underestimate the capacity of people to be douchebags." If the economy does in fact tank, we'll probably see a lot more of this kind of thing.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

What Is The Deal With People And Asking For Then Rejecting Advice?

I hate when people give me advice I didn't ask for. I might mention something offhandedly, then all of a sudden for the next two hours I'm listening to some stupid lecture on a bunch of stuff somebody thinks I need to do, but I'm not going to do. Usually because it doesn't apply to my situation or my style of handling things. Or I lack the time, energy, focus, money, etc to carry it out.

Equally annoying is when somebody complains to me about some situation, actually speaks the words "What should I do?" Then, when I point them to a book, blog, YouTube Channel, or something that I believe will give them exactly the answers they need specific to their situation, I get rebuffed with "I don't like that kind of stuff." OK, fine, hope you enjoy living in the crap you were just complaining to me about.

Several years ago, I was let go from an engineering job. A friend of mine was let go by the same company a couple weeks later. The job market sucked. I got my real estate license and worked that for a few months until I picked up a job in Virginia and relocated. Six months later, I was working again. My friend was unemployed for two years before he finally got a job again.

At one point, Ramit Sethi was doing his "Finding Your Dream Job" program, and even though it was an expensive premium, he had some really good free information. I sent the link to my friend, who immediately dismissed it as "sounds like a scam".

I wanted to respond "All right, stay unemployed. No sweat off my balls."I let it go.

One thing I've found is advice from other people is worth exactly as much time, effort, and or money as they're willing to put into helping you follow it. Especially unsolicited advice.

After my divorce, a lot of people would tell me I should sue my ex-wife for custody of my children. I finally started replying "Great! And how much are you willing to contribute to my legal fund?" That usually shut them up. I've found that's a better tactic than politely explaining why you can't do what they're so insistent is right for you. Take out your calendar and ask when they'd like to come over to help you sort through it all. Force them to put some resource or other where their mouth is.

I've made it a point to never give advice unless it's asked for. And even then, it's rarely worth the effort unless the person asking is serious enough to be held accountable. Otherwise, they're just looking to vent. And I don't mind that. It would be nice if people knew themselves well enough to understand the difference between "I genuinely would like advice or assistance" and "I just want to talk about my feeeeeeeeeeeelings".

One thing I've found when I'm deliberately looking for advice is to seek only those people qualified to give the advice. For instance, I'm giving some thought to getting a Master's degree in Cybersecurity. I'm not asking people without a Bachelor's degree whether this is a good idea. I'm approaching contacts and friends who have both 1) A Master's Degree and 2) work in Cyber Security. "Folk wisdom" does not apply in this case. I don't want platitudes; I want to know if this is a wise choice from people who know my skills and abilities as well as the field. I have asked my wife because it could affect our finances, which qualifies her to consult with me on this decision.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ryan Holiday on Voice and Video Texts (And He's Right)

Ryan's thoughts: If You Do This, You're A Monster

Ryan is right. When voice and video text features started rolling out on my phone, I immediately thought "What use could I possibly have for this?" I still haven't figured it out. But Ryan has. It's to annoy people far worse than not capitalizing words, shortening words, and using poor grammar:
Let me get this straight. You think you’re so important than instead of spending 5 minutes assembling your thoughts into coherent and clear sentences, you thought it’d be better to send an unedited 3 minute stream of consciousness audio file that we, as the recipient have to download and listen to? Instead of actually calling and interacting with someone like a human being, you thought it’d be better to just record it and lob it over.
I often wonder that about people who have to shorten words. Do they think they sound cool? Are are they two lazy to pronounce the extra two syllables in "conversation" and have to shorten it to "convo". Yeah, two syllables is that much more work. It must be exhausting.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Can't A Man Just Order Electric Without An Upsell?

I'm moving next week. I need to arrange for utilities at the new place. So I called the power company. That experience wasn't too bad at first. It was at the end when things got ugly. First, the rep asked me if I wanted to hear about "green energy". I said "No, thank you." The rep kept going, something about "we have a lot of green energy initiatives..."

I said "No, thank you. Anyway, will it cost me more?"

"Well, for most people it's about $20 more."

"Then, no, thank you."

When "green energy" can compete in the market on its own two feet, great. I'm not paying more for it though.

Then I get asked if I'd like to be transferred to another call center that can help me set up services and find me savings. On the surface, that sounded like a great idea, although I was thinking they'd help me figure out who to call to arrange for water. I was naive.

I end up in a phone call marathon with a guy who is trying to upgrade my Comcast service. I figured we'd arrange to transfer that ourselves. He keeps telling me about all these channels he's going to hook me up with.

I keep saying I don't give a crap about channels. I mostly watch Netflix and Hulu on my Roku. And I don't think in terms of channels anyway; I think in terms of a few shows I enjoy watching. I don't care about HBO and Showtime and the sports channels are as useless to me as the Ophrah Winfrey Network. I just want a fast Internet pipe so Netflix doesn't stall.

Then he says they need to run a credit check. I said "I'm moving in a week. I can't have any inquiries on my credit report right now."

"OK, we can do it without a credit check for $100."

"I'm moving in a week. I don't have an extra $100 right now."

I ended up getting off the phone. I asked if I could call back later.

But seriously, all I wanted to do is make sure the lights and air conditioner work when I move next Wednesday. That's it. I didn't want a "green energy" pitch or to pay Comcast any extra money.

It's getting to where you can't conduct business with ANYBODY without them trying to upsell you or sell you products from one of their partners.