Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thinking about buying an Android phone?

Thinking about a new Android phone? Worried that you'll buy at the worst possible time, just before a great new phone is released or just before a new version of the Android operating system? Well here is some guidance, both for iPhone and Android! Not sure this helps or hurts, but here it is.

From Phandroid:
"How to Buy Into Android at the Worst Possible Time"

This humorous guide touches on a troubling trend in Android phone sales. While Google keeps updating the Android operating system regularly, many Android phones, even very high end Android phones, don't see those updates.

Why? It's because phone manufacturers develop custom builds of the open source Android operating system, to differentiate their phones from those of competitors. But once the phone has been sold they would much rather see you buy a new phone to get the new OS than have you keep your old phone.

Furthermore, who pays to develop the new OS for the old phones--given that there is no payback for a phone that has already been sold???

There was a recent spat about this involving Samsung (although this applies to some degree to all manufacturers and cell carriers). From XDA Developers formum:
"The Samsung Secret - Why U.S. Galaxy S Phones run Android 2.1 Still"

The only solution is to buy devices with the pure Android OS, unmodified by the manufacturer or carrier. Phones such as the Nexus One or Nexus S.

Buy a Google phone, select your carrier, possibly with a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan. Use your phone on WiFi whenever possible, to minimize cell tower data usage. Save money in the long run. And get updates directly from Google when they become available.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What is a dollar?

What is a dollar anyway? Who would know? Better yet, who should know?

Well, for starters I would think that the Fed Chairman should know, right? Think again. From the Wall Street Journal:
"Ron Paul to Bernanke: ‘Define the Dollar’"

"Despite his various criticisms, however, Mr. Paul had one question for Mr. Bernanke: 'What is your definition of the dollar?'

"The Fed chairman, who has spent significant time on the receiving end of congressional scorn over the last few years, didn’t blink, framing his answer in terms of everyday consumers.

"'It’s the buying power of the dollar which is what is important,' Mr. Bernanke said, noting that 'consumers don’t want to buy gold; they want to buy food and clothes and gasoline.'"

Notice that Bernanke NEVER ANSWERED THE QUESTION. Does he not know? Or if he does, why wouldn't he say?

So what should the dollar be? Perhaps a claim on real assets (such as gold) the way it once was? No one believes that anymore. Or do they? From Zero Hedge:
"Stunner: Gold Standard Fully Supported By... Alan Greenspan!?"

According to Greenspan, "We have at this particular stage a fiat money which is essentially money printed by a government and it's usually a central bank which is authorized to do so. Some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money which is produced, either a gold standard or a currency board, because unless you do that all of history suggest that inflation will take hold with very deleterious effects on economic activity... There are numbers of us, myself included, who strongly believe that we did very well in the 1870 to 1914 period with an international gold standard.'"

The article continues, "And a further stunner: Greenspan himself wonders if we really need a central bank. Now our only question: why couldn't the maestro speak as clearly and coherently during his tenure which resulted in our current near-terminal financial state. And as a reminder, courtesy of Dylan Grice, if and when we do get a return to a gold standard there would be a need to reindex the monetary base to a real time equivalent price of gold, putting the price of the precious metal at about $6,300: 'The US owns nearly 263m troy ounces of gold (the world's biggest holder) while the Fed's monetary base is $1.7 trillion. So the price of gold at which the US dollars would be fully gold-backed is currently around $6,300.'"


Remember, however, that although Greenspan talks a good game now, and did before he was Fed Chairman, he never backed up his words with action when he was in a position to do something about this. He never said stuff like this when he actually was in a position of power to change our monetary system. He may be right now but he is a gutless coward, in my opinion.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't be that guy

Is there someone in your life, maybe someone you work with, who does things "by the book" regardless of whether that makes sense or not? Yes, we all know people like that. They drive me nuts.

Legislators and police are big on this. Here is one example of trying to apply some common sense to break out of the "follow the rules at all costs" mindset. It amazes me that anyone would oppose this bill. From Fox 5 Atlanta:
"Motorcycle Traffic Light Bill Proposed" by George Franco

You know what pops into my mind when I see obsessive, follow-the-rules people? The crazy prison guard from the movie A Clockwork Orange. You remember the guy. No? Well, here he is. Enjoy! From Vpmatt, on YouTube:
"A Clockwork Orange: The Best of Chief Officer Barnes"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Father Naus, one of a kind

Yes, I am partly a product of private schools. That's why I'm so stuck-up and such a nerd. :)

However, there ARE some very good things about private schools. Father Naus, one of my Philosophy professors at Marquette University, is one of them. He is a luminous human being. (I struggled to find the right adjective to describe him, and luminous is the best I could do.)

Marquette Magazine had a nice short story on him, and about some reading he recommends:
"Marquette Reads: Rev. John Naus, S.J."

Father Naus is a truly funny person, and his Christmas list is legendary. I thoroughly enjoyed the class I had with him (Ethics, if you're curious). He said that all Jesuits were clowns but he was the only one man enough to admit it! He joked that his dream in life was to play Edelweiss absolutely perfectly on the piano and then his life would be complete so he could die right then. "Luckily," he said, "I don't play the piano very well!"

How pathetic is this?

Not sure this is even true, but it's funny! It's funny because it's always easy to laugh at how dumb other people are. Surely I would never do anything like this! (Ignore all the other stupid stuff I do, please.)

"Having An Argument With Your Unborn Child On Facebook"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Song of the Day: Iris Dement - Our Town

Here is a haunting, emotional song.

Iris Dement - Our Town

Gotta have more Kromer!

To paraphrase Christopher Walken (Gotta have more cowbell!), I gotta have more kromer! So, with that in mind...

I love this video. Not only do I love my kromer, but I recognize most of the places in the video--this is where I'm from!

From Wisconsin Public Television:
"In Wisconsin February 24, 2011- Stormy Kromer Hat"

Having a bit more fun as I watch the video, I had to link to places that remind me of home.

Here is the sign that is shown at 0:27 of the video:,-90.202322&spn=0.000478,0.002036&z=19&layer=c&cbll=46.471534,-90.202322&panoid=EqDrj0kB85hY5bdrP3KRQA&cbp=11,191.69,,0,5.62
Note that although this story seems to want to focus on Wisconsin, Stormy Kromers are made in Ironwood, MICHIGAN! And in this shot the car is heading to Ironwood, not Hurley! :)

At 0:34 in the video, we are here:,-90.182101&spn=0.001915,0.008143&z=17&layer=c&cbll=46.449865,-90.182091&panoid=qgYyM6AnT02gqU1_sEpllg&cbp=11,202.6,,0,-9.82

At 0:36 in the video we are here, looking at all the strip clubs on main street in Hurley:,-90.180384&spn=0.001915,0.008143&z=17&layer=c&cbll=46.449867,-90.180374&panoid=qAgj8R8IqMhbzQHPJ2XeTQ&cbp=11,109.49,,0,-4.84
Note that again, perhaps subconsciously, they seem to want to head towards Ironwood!

Bobby Jacquart, and Jacquart Fabric Products, shown at 0:38 in the video, is here:,-90.142372&spn=0.00408,0.008143&z=17

The gas station shown around 0:52 in the video is here:,-90.181789&spn=0.001915,0.008143&z=17&layer=c&cbll=46.449869,-90.181804&panoid=1LWYRTuwKdSLSX451cJeCg&cbp=11,315.57,,0,-7.69

The shot on the bridge as you cross from Ironwood into Hurley at 0:42 is here:,-90.178324&spn=0.001833,0.008143&z=17&layer=c&cbll=46.449908,-90.17831&panoid=q6gjcn6KzTEBAckjcGONBg&cbp=11,247.68,,0,0.14

And turning around and looking back to Michigan at 0:44 is here:,-90.178324&spn=0.001833,0.008143&z=17&layer=c&cbll=46.449908,-90.17831&panoid=q6gjcn6KzTEBAckjcGONBg&cbp=11,130.64,,0,5

After that a number of locations are repeated, so I won't keep going with a link for every single location. :)

Notice the Green Bay Packers colors on the kromer shown at 3:36 and at 7:10 in the video!

The sign shown at 3:58 of the video is here:,-90.142758&spn=0.003666,0.016286&z=16&layer=c&cbll=46.463238,-90.142748&panoid=1tpYpO6ZzLe1r1e1mG5oRA&cbp=11,249.62,,0,-2

I love the old-timer around 6:04 of the video. My kromer (one of the original Milwaukee kromers, by the way) is one I've had for probably 15 or 20 years now. Sadly, living in Atlanta now, I don't need 3 or 4 kromers like I would if I still lived in the U.P. :(

I love the story at 6:20 in the video. Sad, but touching. I guess you'd have to have a kromer to understand.