Archive for February, 2014

The Internet is fucked

Powerful thoughts from Nilay Patel over at The Verge.

American politicians love to stand on the edges of important problems by insisting that the market will find a solution. And that’s mostly right; we don’t need the government meddling in places where smart companies can create their own answers. But you can’t depend on the market to do anything when the market doesn’t exist. “We can either have competition, which would solve a lot of these problems, or we can have regulation,” says Aaron. “What Comcast is trying is to have neither.” It’s insanity, and we keep lying to ourselves about it. It’s time to start thinking about ways to actually do something.

I’d say that most of society’s frustrations in the world today could probably be summed up the same way.

Slice of Life #6: Car Tech Site

Idea: Infotainment amenities are becoming more important to consumers purchasing vehicles. Unfortunately, most car manufacturers highlight their in-vehicle tech systems via bullet points and terse video demos on their websites. Car review sites rarely go into depth about these systems in the same way they do regarding the engine specifics and handling of the vehicle. Yet, nearly every vehicle I’ve ever ridden in seems to provide infotainment systems that suffer from significant user interface shortcomings or actual bugs that frustrate the experience of enjoying your ride. Considering the new efforts by Google and Apple to implement technology into dashboards, you’d think such focus would be a higher priority.

I want to know things like, is inputing destinations into the navigation frustrating or impossible when the car is in gear. I want to know how well speech recognition works. I want to know whether the act of plugging in my iPhone to charge triggers the iPod autoplay function, even when trying to make a call. I want to know if the lack of physical buttons in lieu of a touchscreen increases my risks on the road due to janky feedback responses. All of these are issues I’ve experienced in the vehicles I’ve been in in the last few years. And because critics aren’t reviewing these items, they don’t seem to be getting fixed.

The myth of the engagement ring

Happy Valentine’s day. College Humor does a great job of breaking down the engagement ring myth. This Slate piece further explores this background.

More evidence that practically every tradition of ours is 20th century marketing. But in this case, the price of the item makes this myth particularly pernicious.

WSJ changes the minimum wage argument

(Link to google to bypass WSJ paywall.)

The president’s call for a $10.10 minimum wage applies the worn-out notion that higher wages create more jobs. Despite repeated minimum-wage increases over the years, we have seen a continued flight to the sidelines by people who are unable to find jobs because they don’t exist. Many jobs don’t exist because employers refuse to hire people at such wages. Isn’t it obvious that, with a higher wage, McDonald’s $1 menu, for example, would cost $3, few would buy it, and Mickey D would have less revenue and far fewer jobs?

Catch what they did there?

No one is arguing that increasing minimum wage will create more jobs. In fact critics usually suggest the opposite. But by turning this notion on its head—that is positing this issue is about job creation—ensures that analysis from this perspective will undoubtably fail.

What individuals are actually arguing is that raising the minimum wage is good for overall macro-economic health of the economy. While a job may be lost tomorrow due to the increased overhead costs of employment, the economy will make up for it through additional purchasing power of low wage workers who now have additional money in their pockets to make the same purchases. Don’t let reframers of this issue distract us.

2014 Olympic Uniforms made in America

In 2012, I wrote about the US Olympics uniforms being made in China.

I figured it’s only right to point out that the 2014 Olympics uniforms are sourced, manufactured and assembled in America. Good on Ralph Lauren.