Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Customer appreciation

You normally hear about companies when they've screwed up, so I wanted to make sure I recognized a company when I had a good experience.

I have a Plantronics Bluetooth headset, one of the ones with a case that contains an external battery. I lost the case the other day, and contacted Plantronics in the faint hope that I could buy one as a replacement, despite it not showing on their website for purchase separately.

The response I got was that, as a one-time deal, they would ship me a replacement free of charge, but if I lost this one I would have to pay for further replacement.

Thank you, Plantronics, for excellent customer service.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cognitive dissonance

The big news today was apparently the Newt Flat Tax Scheme; and that it would “benefit the rich” because their tax rates would drop from 35% to 15%. This is a bogus argument – the rich don’t pay 35% on their income. For one thing, that’s a marginal rate, not an effective rate – they pay that rate on their income over a certain threshold; look at a tax table sometime. And weren’t we all complaining that Warren Buffet (say) pays an effective rate less than his secretary? If Warren Buffet’s tax rate is lower than his secretary’s, he benefits less from a 15% flat tax than his secretary. It’s likely that he would prefer to stay off the flat tax due to the lack of deductions outside the personal one.

A flat tax with only a personal deduction will not benefit the ultra-rich, because they have enough money to be able to afford decent tax planning. It will notably benefit the middle class, who have enough money to worry about their tax rate, but not enough to be able to afford a shelter. It neither helps nor harms the poor, as in either situation they don’t pay enough income taxes to matter (the payroll taxes are another matter, but those are notably regressive for other reasons).

And I thought we all wanted to support the middle class?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Youtube is freedom

Instapundit linked to an interesting /. article about how TSA is “facing death by a thousand cuts.” One of the commenters hit on something else interesting, that has ramifications outside of the airport

As for the TSA what is killing their asses is the YouTube. Being giant douchebags really isn't easy when everyone and their dog and their dog's squeaky toy have a camera in their phone, and its kinda hard for a congress critter to stand up for the TSA when all of their constituents have been passing around links to the latest TSA goon attack, like the screaming 3 year old or the 96 year old they went after for having a soggy nappy.

It’s been said that the US lost the war in Viet Nam in the living rooms of the US. 40 years ago it took major time, effort, and money to bring graphic images into the lives of ordinary americans. Today, all it takes is a cheap video camera and a Youtube account. And the trite wisdom of two of my favorite movies comes into play: “You can’t stop the signal,” and “The more you tighten your grip, the more [people] will slip through your fingers.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011


The Transformer dock includes a couple of USB ports. They generate enough power to charge my thunderbolt, which as any Tbolt owner knows is very important…

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tech toys

The big brown truck of happiness brought me my latest gadget toy today, the keyboard dock for my ASUS Transformer. This allows the tablet to be converted to an Android-powered netbook, adding 2 USB ports, a full-size SD card slot in addition to the tablet’s micro-SD slot, and roughly doubling the battery capacity while attached. The hinge mount allows the combination to clamshell closed, an when open functions as an ergonomic wedge to angle the keyboard slightly when it is on a desk or tabletop.

The main negatives are a sub-size (they claim 90-odd percent) keyboard making tying cramped, and a very sensitive touchpad pointing device. Since the keyboard is still better than an on-screen kb and the touchpad has a hard key to quickly disable and re-enable, I can live with this.

The best part is that Amazon had it for 2/3 of list for Black Friday, and I have Amazon Prime.

The day Freedom was axed

I (virtually) hang out in a lot of places where the concept that the America of the Founding Fathers is, if not dead, close to it. The more optimistic holders of this opinion try and rally support to fight back; and I’m not going to say they’re wrong. The fight is not lost. Anyway, one of the perennial topics of discussion is where the line is, was, or will be when Freedom was compromised.

IMHO, Carrie Nation did it – when it became acceptable for the power of the Federal Government to bind by law the options of We The People to control our own bodies (by them restricting what we can consume recreationally). The rest of the lost freedoms follow – the privacy abuses of the War on Terror™ follow from the War on Drugs™, which descends from that axe-wielding heroine of the progressives.

Once again, the enemies of freedom have had nearly a century to work, and the forces of freedom are just now counterattacking. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will the Constitution be restored in our lifetimes. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. For that matter, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t living in a time of unprecedented freedom – for all that we’ve lost since 1787, we’ve gained plenty more, especially if you’re not a rich white hetero male…

Well, isn’t that interesting

For all y’all who think HR822 is DOA in the Senate:

[Brian] Miller sees a real possibility that the Democratic-controlled Senate will approve the bill, possibly as an attachment to a piece of essential legislation, such as authorization for Defense Department appropriations. “My understanding is that our side is two votes short of enough votes to keep that from happening,” he said. “But there are a number of undeclared senators, including (Pennsylvania’s) Bob Casey, who advertises himself as a moderate-to-liberal Democrat but is pro-gun.

That’s remarkably pessimistic, even for a man who makes his living by scaring people. I personally think it would be highly appropriate to attach to the Defense Dept appropriation…

Also note the flat-out lie about felons being able to obtain permits.

Finally, good on the NJ Republican delegation for voting en masse for HR822.

H/T Cemetery