Archive for the politics Category

It’s not your program!

Posted in politics with tags , , , on September 12, 2010 by maxpower3141

I’ve been busy lately – all work and no posts make Max a dull boy.

Oh well, anyways I just bumped into this case on one of my favorite websites; To put the story short for you the idea is that a guy was selling autodesk CAD (tm, C, R whatnot) sw he found in some garage-sale of a bankrupt company on ebay (or something equivalent). The sw had never been used and autodesk sued the guy for “selling something that wasn’t his”.

So, what’s going on here? Once you buy something shouldn’t you be able to resell it always? Especially if you didn’t use the product yourself? For example if you buy a cd with music you can sell it later, provided you didn’t make copies of it for yourself. Is there a difference here? Well, the SW company will say that you did not buy the product, but merely a license to use it – therefore they could have a different price for those who want to license over to those who want to resell it – retail anyone? Makes sense?

How about concert tickets? You buy a “license” to listen to the musical performance once, but you are always allowed to sell this license to somebody else in case you can’t make it. On the other hand the cheapest levels of airline tickets are such that you must use the ticket yourself – why? I guess any changes to airline tickets cause some costs to airlines (the name, well the identity, of the user is important here, so they have to do something actively if it changes), but on the other hand this should be a minor cost (that could be put on the licensee). On the other hand airliners say that this way they can differentiate themselves on pricing, but again everybody knows that airline ticket-pricing algorithms are just CRAZY, with some tickets actually ending up costing to the airline, where other tickets then compensate the difference – this means that if you are buying your ticket on the last minute you get high price fighting for the last seats of the airplane and end up paying part of the trip of your fellow travelers that did buy their tickets on time – nice no?

So what’s the end-result? Consumer benefit? Uh, maybe not exactly. One of the issues here is that big companies have way too much money compared to their employees and hence big companies should pay more for the same sw (/other stuff as well) than the employees as individual consumers. This is because the companies themselves know this (of course – they are not dumb). The field is littered with examples.

So the verdict you are waiting for? Uh, the thing is that this situation sucks – basically I think that this is a variation of the issue of durable products I touched on my post about why Capitalism Sucks. It is in the best interest of the sw-company to get into a situation where the client has to pay a tax-like small license fee preferably as often as possible and buying this service on discount on ebay constitutes cheating this system. Putting aside utopian fixes to problem of capitalism (and human happiness) I think this problem would be solvable inside a capitalistic system as well – just make the rules clear: if your company sells products as services then make the customer go to your website to get the license – selling this kind of license in a box is equivalent to entrapment and should not be allowed – you sell a box means you give rights to the client to resell the box. I mean, should people really start reading the EULAs? πŸ™‚ Come on.. πŸ™‚

Ok, back to sleep – I leave you with this photo:

Odd CG-scene by me a looong time ago

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How to fix politics – ie. save the World

Posted in politics with tags , on August 21, 2010 by maxpower3141

Today a group of armed assailants invaded a luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Braliz.

These are the kind of news that wake us up – why? Because it could affect us; Things like the Monsoon floods of Pakistan do not shock us, as we do not go there. So we shake it off with a “how terrible” – comment.

But things like this attack on our turf really make us think – What’s going on? How did we get here? And how can we fix the situation?

Well, in order to cut the story short, I will summarize the two news-items (and many more) into a single thought: We are screwed and the problem is poverty. Fix poverty and both of the problems above are avoided. Simple, eh? Of course this would solve a host of other problems as well.

Of course fixing poverty is not easy, but I’m afraid it is our only sane way out of a nasty deadlock – we still have some time to fix this, but of course we should keep in mind that the more we wait, the more severe the problems will get. Surely you can see problems caused by both local and worldwide poverty in your neighborhood?

No? And if you really try hard?

Another picture here:

One-fifth scale replica of the Statue of Liberty at Île des Cygnes

Why Capitalism sucks ?

Posted in politics with tags , , on August 17, 2010 by maxpower3141

Simple question, with some nice bias built into it.

The answer is this: It does not lead to the best products in most product categories. It does work exceptionally well for products that are still being developed and improved, but a lot of the products are not this way.

It fails especially in producing durable products. I remember hearing from a friend, who had been talking to a local retailer in a small town, that they had to stop selling a particular brand of shoes in the store, because the customer wouldn’t come back for a looooong time to buy new shoes after buying a pair of that particular brand.

Therefore capitalism actually favors those kind of products that have shorter lifetime and keep sending the customer back for more. This ultimately leads to products with somewhat sloppy design and a lot of cut corners, that want to impose a certain type of tax for us. Just think about print cartridges – you know, the ink stuff? Ends up costing you tons of money if you print at home! With most computer equipment this is alleviated by the fact that the new computers are faster than the old ones, and therefore it is a smaller risk for computer manufacturers to build something that actually lasts – the optimal solution is one, where the computer usage starts to get more cumbersome and slow after a long time, making you long for that upgrade. Sounds familiar yet?

The thing is, that this list could go on and on, but I guess I have made my point already. So what can we do? Nothing? Well – that’s my first thought, since sadly capitalism is the only system we know that even remotely works. Of course in these sort of problem scenarios, we should step back, look at the big picture, identify path to solution and then go work on the details that one day will lead us there, but unfortunately political sciences – being the worst failed science of all – is somehow utterly incapable of employing this sort of thinking.

I think it might be due to capitalism – it seems very much, that in our modern western society, capitalism has employed politics as one of its tools in self-optimization, not the other way around.
Which is why Capitalism sucks.

You’ve got the power!

Posted in politics on August 4, 2010 by maxpower3141

So reading some news today I came across this one:

Mexico drug cartels use gory videos to spread fear

The first reaction was the common one: How awful.

Then I started thinking about the problem setting itself: How have we come here? What is the problem? What is the solution? Who should do what?

Of course voting for anything nowadays is completely broken so obviously that won’t do any good – so what can you do to make this better?

Well the next time you are about to purchase illegal narcotics think about this:

When you do drugs (I guess mostly cocaine in Mexico’s case), you are actually contributing to the killings and misery of Mexico’s already poor people! Nice, no? Because you (and admittedly many others) put money on it, these guys are getting killed! πŸ™‚
I wonder if any of those potheads* ever think of that, no? They are, in surprisingly direct way, responsible for this human misery – lovely. Money is power, or better said, application of money is power. If you have it, please think of the consequences of it’s use, please? Pretty please?

(* ok, I don’t know if pot makes a significant contribution, but it might – just needed a buzzword there :))

Vote with your wallet! And go to the Andes and find out yourself from the natives how coca is supposed to be used!

Of course all of this is extremely simple reasoning, but perhaps not very many people think about it when making the purchase. You’ve got the power – use it wisely.