What a Rip Off for a New Mouse

Logitech has released a new mouse. Basically the design is just rotated about 70 or 80 degrees to take pressure off of the wrist. Great Idea!. But they are charging over twice as much for this mouse, for no good reason, other than it’s novelty.

The new Lift mouse is $70 here and on Amazon. Compare that with the older normal mouse, with the same number of buttons and same wireless features for $40. And the one I use, which is a bit smaller, also with all the same buttons and wireless for just $20.

Over THREE TIMES THE COST for just novelty. Nothing new inside the mouse, just a different plastic case and Over TRIPLE the cost.

WTF Shame on you Logitech. What nonsense!?!
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Canadian Rep Washing?

I just saw this on SlashDot.

Here is the article.

Let us remember that Canada has for a long time been the purveyor of Oil from Tar Sands:

Tar Sands are arguably one of the most destructive and polluting ways to obtain oil. And “Tar sands extraction emits up to three times more global warming pollution than does producing the same quantity of conventional crude.” says the NRDC.

Just Wash That Reputation

So what is Canada really doing with this far future bandaid over their use of ICE cars? I suggest that this is a case of Reputation Washing.

While the term “Reputation-Washing” usually refers to rich folks donating small amounts to charity to cover much larger messes, I suggest that it would seem to apply to this Canadian ICE car ban as well.

The Canadian ICE car ban is in the far future. Fifteen years in the future, we may primarily be driving electric cars anyway, so this is just in keeping with trends and not making any real commitment to a change.

Does this ban come with any statement about shutting down and cleaning up the Tar Sands Extraction in Alberta? I don’t see that mentioned.

A meaningless far future ban and meanwhile “Drill Baby Drill!”.
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What I Believe and Why

After 70+ years, I’ve developed a lot of ways of sorting out what I believe from what I don’t. Long before social media and mobile phones there was the scientific method, which I adhere to. Concepts like “Preponderance of the Evidence” and Avoid Conspiracy Theories and Trust Multiple Sources and Trust Experience and Peer Review come to mind.

Some would say that the world is a horrible state and would blame it on certain key actors or concepts. I am reminded that through out my entire life the world has been in a horrible state. Many of the Actors and Concepts have not really changed. For example, Capitalism has always been very unfair and while one can argue that it is “more unfair” recently and increasingly so, I fail to see a clear alternative. While it is also clear that Regulation does not work because the powerful are adept at either preventing or mitigating it to their own ends. I would put this in the column of a Continuing Struggle not a sign of a looming disaster. This would seem to have been looming for the past 200 years or so.

But there have been some successes. I am reminded of a few decades at the beginning of the 20th century when “Gangsters” were a thing and they no longer are a thing. And when “Robber Barons” were a thing, and they no longer are. And when Communism was a thing, and it no longer is. While Fascism continues to be a thing, I see a long chain of over coming bad political ideas, and so I am hopeful.

Continue reading “What I Believe and Why”

Wood Pellets Wrapped in Natural Gas

Or, how about, Not?

Each year I get about two tons of pellets to heat my house. Sustainably Harvested Douglas Fir Pellets from here in Oregon. And each year these pellets come in “Plastic Bags” which of course are made from Natural Gas. And of course, these bags are not really Recyclable. Interesting Lie that we’ve been told for years by the Plastic Industry. Of course it is way cheaper to make new plastic than recycle it.

Up until this year, my pellet supplier was at least willing to take the bags away with the Pallets and Weather Wrap covers [ which are even heavier plastic]. But this year, they are not willing to “Take my garbage” and so I have saved all the bags and now have to throw them away with the Trash. I have always distinguished between “Organic” refuse as “Garbage” and “non-Organic” refuse as Trash, but never mind.

But the obvious, sustainable alternative for packaging is not available here in Oregon for wood home heating pellets. Obviously “Paper Bags” would be better.

Continue reading “Wood Pellets Wrapped in Natural Gas”

Another Trucking / Tracking Example

I am continually amazed by shipping by truck. Here’s the current example of a shipment from Newegg to my home [anonymized]. Of course, read the route from the bottom up.

UPS Trucked the box to Portland and then back to me via Roseburg, which is next to the highway that the truck passed on the way to Portland. So that is an extra “Round Trip” between Roseburg and Portland or 356 miles and about 6 hours farther than required to avoid the stop in Roseburg.

Fascinating.
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Amazon Movie Prices are Strange

So I recall seeing this movie, and I thought it was pretty good. Maybe it was on Netflix briefly, or somewhere on Dish when it came out. I’ve long since cancelled dish, as mentioned earlier. Oh. Look there. I just checked and I rented the DVD from Netflix a while ago, but it’s not streaming on Netflix. So, I’d like to see this movie again, and oddly it’s not streaming on Netflix or Prime – for no additional cost. Odd based on the BluRay price don’t we think?

So, Amazon “Prime Video” wants $15 to stream it, but the BluRay disk costs about 1/2 that? And shipping is free with my Prime membership of course.

So here it comes.
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Trials of Cord Cutting

As you can see from my previous post, I’m fed up with Dish Network raising prices without providing any better features. For an account with local channels and a DVR, the base price is apparently over $100. Sure, you might get a “Starter Discount” but I’ve had my service for more than a Decade. $1200 per year is too much. Time to be a Cord Cutter.

So, let’s naively try to Cut the Cord and see what happens. But first, as all good engineers know, we develop a list of requirements:

Requirements

In no particular order:

News – Keep up with this crazy world, and find out, within an hour or two whether POTUS has been tossed out, or an earthquake or volcanic eruption has started nearby.

Entertainment – I get most of my entertainment from Netflix and DVD.com [Yeah I know it used to be called Netflix too, but they really want you to forget that they ever shipped you a DVD or BluRay.] for the movies that I can’t stream. But if I’m going to cut the cord I’ll need to get at least one more entertainment streaming service.

Use my new fancy Sony TV. A couple of years ago I got a Vizio P65, and it failed and then after they fixed the power supply, it decided to reboot itself a couple of times a day for no reason. Anyway, I now have a new Sony XBR-65X950H Bravia TV, and I love it. It works just fine and it supports “Android Apps” of course.

So how do we “Cut the Cord” and satisfy these requirements?

Continue reading “Trials of Cord Cutting”

DishNetwork – When do I stop?

When do I cry Uncle and stop this creeping greed?

What has Dish done for me lately? No new channels. More and more channels are leaving the base package.

So I only have the baseline HD service with DVR. Just keeps going up and up with fewer channels and no additional features. They even want to charge for a “Gallery” of still pictures as a TV Screensaver.

I’m close to just turning this off and signing up for Hulu or some other streaming service in addition to Netflix. At least when Netflix charges more money, I get more Netflix Originals. No such thing as Dish Originals. I think satellites are just too expensive a way to deliver content. Too little choice and too costly.

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Power Through Scarcity

I have recently come to the realization that Economics and Politics both wield power by controlling Scarcity.

  • Economics seeks power through the control of Scarcity of Resources.
  • Politics seeks power through the control of Scarcity of Choice.

It seems interesting to note that in the Universe at large, there are no scarcities of anything.

Post Scarcity

The Universe is full of Resources. Outside the restrictive gravity wells of planets, each Solar System and Each Galaxy is full of unclaimed Resources that are easy to exploit. Without conflict or competition. And the stars provide all the energy that any power hungry Economist might want to exploit those Resources.

The Universe is full of Choice. There are infinite many directions to take any endeavor. The Scarcity of Choice is artificial; often constrained in the pursuit of Economics. Beyond Politics there is Freedom.

I am hopeful that Humanity moves beyond the Artificial Scarcities of Economics and Politics someday and moves out to the wider unconstrained Universe of Post Scarcity of any kind.

The Scarcity of Time

The only Scarcity beyond Resources and Choice is the Scarcity of Time. We, as finite beings, strive toward the Infinite Lifespan. However, I fear that Biology, though miraculous, is destined to be forever finite. However, I see a future of Post Biology, where beings are freed from the Scarcity of Time to live infinite lifetimes in Virtual and Real space simultaneously. Fully redundant, fully plastic beings who change at will and who live forever. Continuously renewing their Silicon, or Post Silicon substrates to live on to pursue the goals of avoiding Species Extinction Events through redundancy and to explore the Galaxy. Only then can we explore the rest of the Galaxy and Beyond.

Choice of Action in Virtual and Physical Space.

Multitudes in Fleets of planetoid sized Starships, spreading through the Galaxy. Stopping at Solar Systems to Replicate in Kuiper and Asteroid Belts far from energy sapping gravity wells of planets and then to move on in many directions, along the Filaments of Matter that chain the stars together. Only with infinitely interesting and renewed lifetimes can this be accomplished.

Some stopovers might Bioform suitable planets and leave Ancestral Biology Colonies of life behind where this does not disturb already developing Biology.

First Steps

Of course our first steps must be to become Post Economic and Post Political. And the first steps to that end are to Forgive All Student Debt and provide Universal Health Care.

Small Steps toward a larger future.
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Credit Cards Stuck in Last Century

So, the operation of Credit Cards is apparently stuck in the last Century. The major suppliers of credit cards have not kept up with the requirements of the modern age of online transactions.

On-line Credit Card Fraud is a Major Headache

Case in point: My credit card was used Fraudulently. I have a couple of cards, one for physical transactions where I’m always present – well almost always present. And another that I only use On-Line. Of course, the fraud involved the credit card that was used online. I purchased some Game Currency from a game I play a lot for $10, and less than a week later someone tried to purchase $5599 at Best Buy. There was a lot of confusion about whether the transaction occurred On-Line, but the address was given as Minneapolis, Minnesota. Which is far from where I live. So the transaction was declined, and I was alerted. But that’s not the end of the problem. That card number is now stopped. It can no longer be used. And if this were last century, I could just use another of my few cards to eat take-out at restaurants, or buy groceries.

But this is 2020, and that credit card is in the hands of over a dozen on-line merchants whose computers will automatically try to use it on some random schedule to provide services that I use. These include Netflix, my internet service, my satellite tv service and so forth. I’m “waiting four to five business days” for the new card to arrive. And any of these days one of these many services’ computers might try to use that dead card. To say nothing of the fact that it will take an hour or so to go through all the services’ websites and give them a new card number. I need a better way.

Continue reading “Credit Cards Stuck in Last Century”