Thursday, June 25, 2009

CCF comments on the Nanny State

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The Center for Consumer Freedom writes about the rampant increase of "nannyism" in our government, where in the name of "it's good for you", lawmakers are trying to literally control every aspect of your life because you might prefer something different for yourself.

They quote H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it." He got it right over half a century ago, and it's far more true now than ever before.

The above link also links to three YouTube clips of a TV interview that the article summarizes: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

I'm pretty much in agreement. If I want to eat really tasty food and give up the chance to live an extra year in a nursing home, that's my right. The government can issue press releases telling me that they think I'm making a bad choice, but they have absolutely no right to force me into agreeing, or raising my taxes for daring to disagree.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Israeli dew collectors

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Ganked from Also read the article it links to.

An Israeli tech company has developed a passive device that allows plants to collect dew and excess rainwater, while also cutting off sunlight to weeds. Farms using these (at a cost of about $1 per plant) can use 50% less water - a real boon when growing crops in the desert.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

iPhone 3GS and whiney pundits

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Yesterday, Apple announced the new iPhone 3GS. It looks like a really nice new model - faster processor, more memory, a compass, etc. Apple announced pricing of $200 for the 16GB model and $300 for the 32GB model (and $100 for the older 8GB 3G (no "S") model).

But these prices are for "qualified customers only", meaning they are subsidized prices. You can get them if you are a new AT&T customer or if you are approaching the end of a contract (making you eligible for a new phone at subsidized prices. If you're not "qualified" and don't want to wait for your contract to expire before upgrading, then you have to pay full price (See the fine print at the bottom of this page) which is $400 higher. But in an unusual gesture, AT&T is offering "early upgrade" pricing of only $200 higher for customers who have less than a year left in an existing iPhone contract.

As far as I know, this is standard for the cell phone business. If you want to buy a new phone and you're nowhere near the end of your contract, then you have to pay full price, which is several hundred dollars higher than the subsidized price. That was the case with both of my phones from Verizon and is (as far as I know) the case for all phones from all carriers in the US.

But apparently, many iPhone users are completely clueless about this, or they just enjoy complaining. This afternoon, I ran across this article which was apparently written by someone who has never done business with a cell phone company before. He makes it sound like existing iPhone customers are being punished, because they have to pay more than new customers. (He doesn't make any mention of the fact that existing customers can get the same price if they wait for their contract to lapse.) And the people commenting on the article seem to be taking it as a personal attack by Apple Corporation itself.

To these people: get a life, get a brain, and learn to read contracts before signing them. You're not going to get something for nothing, no matter how loudly you scream "but I want it and I want it for free and I want it now". If you want to act like a 6-year-old child, then my only answer to you is "go to your room until you learn some manners."

If you want to complain about industry-standard pricing practices, fine, but this is hardly isolated to the iPhone. If you don't want a contractual obligation, then you aren't going to be able to get a subsidized price. But given the hatred Apple got in return for selling the first-generation iPhones without a subsidy (for $600), I doubt the whiners would like that either.