PT Barnum’s Art of Money Getting

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I am reading PT Barnum’s “Art of Money Getting.” It contains a surprising amount of common sense advice, such as the following on the dangers of keeping up with the Joneses:

In this country, where we believe the majority ought to rule, we ignore that principle in regard to fashion, and let a handful of people, calling themselves the aristocracy, run up a false standard of perfection, and in endeavoring to rise to that standard, we constantly keep ourselves poor; all the time digging away for the sake of outside appearances.”

You can see this in chasing the latest gadget (/cough iPhone /cough) or kids emulating the lifestyle of their favorite celebrity.

Despite the passage of time, the advice still rings true and the patina of age in the examples show that the problems of today are nothing new. It’s the kind of book you would like to give to your own kids, and would wish someone had given you earlier in life.

It is a free ebook on the Kindle but you can also get it in a number of places such as: ART OF MONEY GETTING.

Creative Commons License photo credit: def110


St Louis shows alternatives to tear gas and violence

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Occupy st louis e1319564719448

The images of police in full riot gear and use of tear gas on Occupy movement protesters make me shake my head. The former is heavy handed while the later is an excessive use of force. This excellent article describing the disbanding of the St. Louis Occupy camp (via tywkiwdbi) shows there are alternatives:

The first thing they did was the one that baffled me the most, at first: they gave the protesters nearly 36 hours notice, as opposed to the 20 to 60 minutes’ notice other cities gave. … Early afternoon on Thursday, they gave the protesters 24 hours’ notice: as of 3pm on Friday, the no structures in the plaza rule was going to be enforced, and as of 10pm, the curfew was going to be enforced. So, unsurprisingly, Occupy St. Louis put out a huge call for as many people as possible to come to the plaza by noon, to be trained in peaceful civil disobedience; local civil liberties lawyers showed up to brief them. Needless to say, the cops did not oblige them by showing up at 3pm. …

So, when no cops showed up anywhere near 3pm, the protesters had their biggest rally to date (as I suspect the cops were thinking, “getting it out of their system”), and then started to drift away. Rally organizers advised people to be back before 10pm, to block the enforcement of curfew. Sure enough, by 10pm, they had 350 people down there. And scant minutes later, people were jazzed up and ready to go, because outlying scouts reported that the police were gathering, en masse, with multiple cars, multiple buses, an ambulance, and a fire truck, only a couple of blocks away!

And sometime around an hour, hour and a half later, the cops just disappeared, dispersed, without ever having gotten within two blocks of the plaza. So the confused protesters declared victory, let most of the troops go home, and fewer than a hundred of them bedded down for the night in their tents. An hour later, somewhere around 150 cops showed up. I’m sure people in those tents tweeted and text messaged and phoned for reinforcements. But between the late hour, and the fact that people were exhausted after having been out there all day, and that it was the third call-up of the day? Nobody showed.

Ah, but the cops did more than just show up after two head-fakes and with sufficient numbers … they did right exactly what the Obama administration told everybody else to do wrong. They didn’t show up in riot gear and helmets, they showed up in shirt sleeves with their faces showing. They not only didn’t show up with SWAT gear, they showed up with no unusual weapons at all, and what weapons they had all securely holstered. They politely woke everybody up. They politely helped everybody who was willing to remove their property from the park to do so. They then asked, out of the 75 to 100 people down there, how many people were volunteering for being-arrested duty? Given 33 hours to think about it, and 10 hours to sweat it over, only 27 volunteered. As the police already knew, those people’s legal advisers had advised them not to even passively resist, so those 27 people lined up to be peacefully arrested, and were escorted away by a handful of cops. The rest were advised to please continue to protest, over there on the sidewalk … and what happened next was the most absolutely brilliant piece of crowd control policing I have heard of in my entire lifetime.

So, “order” restored, camp disbanded. No concussions from baton blows or flash bang grenades. No tear gas in the face of octogenarians. And protesters still get to protest. Neither side escalated to violence.

Via The Infamous Brad – Gods Help Us, St. Louis Did it Right #OWS:


Why can’t I check my Apple repair status online?

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Dear Apple,

You know I love you, right? I buy your computers. I buy your phones. I’ve stood in lines. I buy AppleCare. I buy ProCare. I bought MobileMe subscriptions.

I’ve had good experience with your Geniuses. And I love being able to get my systems repaired when there’s a problems.

But… how do I say this?

WHY CAN’T I CHECK THE REPAIR STATUS ONLINE?

As good as your in-store experience is, calling your store on the phone is … pretty bad. I start off by stating that I’m calling to check a repair status, and both times (with different agents) I got a terse, “well, what’s your name?” I understand that you need my name. However, I don’t start off with “I-need-to-check-my-repair-status-my-name-is…” First, because my name is not “John Smith”; I’m going to have to spell it for you. And second, because I figure your associates may need to pass me to someone else, or change screens, or what-not. So, I pause before telling your agents more.

And what is with the indefinite repair times? The first time I called, on the day I was told to check back when dropping off the MacBook in store, I was told that there was another part that needed to be ordered (that’s fine, thanks for looking out for me). However, that’s when we started going round and round about when the laptop might be ready:

When do you think the part will be in?

We get shipments daily.

Do you think it will be in tomorrow?

Probably not.

Ok, so… when do you think the repair will be done?

We’ll call you when it’s ready.

I’m sure you will. But, uh, can you give me some idea of when it might be ready? Just generally speaking… By the end of the week? Next week? Next month? I rely on that machine,

It may be by the end of the week or early next week.

So, I waited and called on Monday, when I got the second terse, “well, what’s your name?” I provided the info and after waiting a bit, I was told that it may be ready in a couple of days and I will get a call. I replied that I was told that they were waiting on a part and asked if it had come in?

I didn’t ask that, you only asked for a status check…

/sigh. True enough. However, come on! Why does calling an Apple store have to be like calling a badly run mom-and-pop? I asked if there is an online way to check repair status?

Uh, no. We don’t have that.

While I doubt that I’m the first person to suggest this, I’ll do it anyway: Apple, could we please have an online way of checking repairs? Pretty-please?

 


Lemony Snicket on Occupy Wall Street

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Lemon

The search for meaning in Occupy Wall Street and related movements continues. Unlike prior movements looking for: the right to use the same facilities and accommodations as others; the right to worship as one wishes, the right to collectively bargain.

This movement is all over the place. Getting pissed off that the economy sucks but not everyone is hurting is, well, positively French. And, “yes” I am writing that with tongue firmly planted in cheek. However, the anger that the economic pain is not being equally shared is approaching something more akin to the French Revolution.

Instead, I see complaints more akin, “you’re rich and I’m not, hence you’re hurting me.” I am not saying this is the entirety of the protest. However, there is a growing undercurrent of this. The latest example is author Lemony Snicket’s poetic, moving and occasionally bone-headed “Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance.” Read the rest of this entry »


Hey Facebook, Screw You Too!

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IN YOUR FACE PRYSTEN!

I have realized that I just don’t like Facebook anymore. With its recent update, I no longer get the full stream of my friends posts (even if I individually click on them and select everything), and they don’t see all of my posts either.

And it finally struck me what is so annoying about this: Facebook is like a moderator at a party constantly turning off conversations it deems not interesting enough.

Excuse me, but was I talking to you? No. I’m talking to my friends and family. I didn’t “friend” you, Facebook.

It’s bad enough that you are listening in on our conversations, without you also editing them by promoting and demoting threads! And your practice of demoting threads to the point they don’t even appear on my friends’ radar? Bite me!

Congratulations, Facebook. You have become MySpace: your annoyance factor has outstripped your utility (and you did it without even adding flashing backgrounds).

Creative Commons License photo credit: thomasrdotorg


Calvin and Jobs revisited

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I was going through my amazing cool stuff folder when I came across Jacob Lambert’s and Gary Hallgren’s fabulous Calvin and Jobs comics – a mashup of two greats!

Ah, good times.

Calvin and Jobs Parody by Jacob Lambert and Gary Hallgren

Read the rest of this entry »


Siri Seriously?

Filed under: Editorials, iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: , |

Uhura Uniform, Dearly Photographed

One of the flaws with voice control on the iPhone (before the amazing and magical iPhone 4S — let’s hope anyway) was the delay before you could give a command.  Press the main button and hold for 1… 2… 3…  screen comes up 4… /boop-boop. Finally, it is ready.

Yes, this is so much better while driving. Ok. It probably is. However, holding a button for 4 seconds to show the phone you really mean to issue a voice command is, well, lame.

Look, what I really want is Star Trek, okay? Tap the communicator, instant /boop-boop, and talk!

Can you imagine if they had to stand there pressing the communicator for 4 seconds before it turned on. Well, there would have been a helluva lot more dead crew members.

So, with Friday’s iPhone 4S (“S” for “It’s not the 5 Sucka!”), I’m hoping 1) voice control works, and 2) it doesn’t take so long to activate that I just never want to bother using it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Orin Zebest


It’s good we didn’t get a bigger screen. It’s real good!

Filed under: Editorials, iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: |

And so the pendulum swings back.

Dustin Curtis’ article discussing how a bigger iPhone 4S screen a would have been a bad thing is getting passed around the net.

This isn’t an attack on Dustin. And I don’t think Dustin is wrong. I just don’t recall anyone complaining about an bigger screen when the iPhone 5″ speculation / mockups / case designs / leaked front panel suggested a four inch or larger screen for months and months. Nor do I recall Apple fans rejoicing over smaller seven inch tablets saying “FINALLY my thumbs can get a break!”

However, now that the iPhone 4S has been announced with the same screen as the iPhone 4, it’s a good thing Apple wished the bigger iPhone into the cornfield, a real good thing! /eye-roll

 

photo by: Paolo Camera


On the Apple dashed hopes and celebration treadmill

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Apple Planet

In anticipation the iPhone 4S release on October 14, 2011, I think it is fitting to discuss the stages of disappointment, acceptance, and finally celebration of Apple products.

With each launch, Apple has a high bar to meet, this was especially true in years past when blurry photos, leaked manufacturing components, inventory notices, and unannounced products weren’t being left in bars with each iteration. Without solid information, fans were left with rampant speculation and hopes. Unrealistic and unmet hopes in most case.

In 2008, I was furious that Apple did not usher in the Apple tablet. Getting a thin Macbook was poor consolation. The “Air.” How pretentious! Sure it was thin enough to fit into an inter-office mailer, but where was the tablet? Read the rest of this entry »


Farewell Steve

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You turned the present into the future. Thank you.