Wednesday, 13 February 2013

By on February 13th, 2013 in Barbara, essays, science kits

08:15 – Barbara’s mom is home and seems to be doing okay. Frances stayed with them last night and will also stay with them tonight so that Barbara can go out to dinner with friends. Today, they have a home aide coming in to spend the day with them. Then Barbara will stay with them tomorrow night, all day Friday, and Friday night. Barbara and Frances are hoping that by the weekend their parents will be able to get along at night without one of them there.

Science kit sales have slacked off a bit, but are still running at several times the rate of a year ago. Two orders for chemistry kits came in overnight, which takes us down to half a dozen or so in stock. Those should take us through at least the weekend, when I’ll start building another batch of 30. Fortunately, we’re still in good shape on biology and forensics kits, although we do need to get bottles labeled and filled for the biology kits.

15:33 – I don’t usually bother reading stuff like this, but I read this opinion piece about the long-term unemployed all the way through. Like most leftish opinion pieces, this one shows prima facie that the author isn’t capable of thinking things through. He actually believes that Obama’s plan to boost the minimum wage is good news for the poor and long-term unemployed. In fact, it’s a catastrophe.

As late as 2007, the federal minimum wage was $5.15/hour. Even that was too high, pricing many would-be workers out of the market. It’s now $7.25/hour, which has caused a catastrophic rise in unemployment among the poor and low/no-skilled. And Obama wants to boost it to $9.00? As someone once said, the minimum wage doesn’t guarantee anyone a job at that hourly rate; all it does is guarantee that you can’t legally work for a lower hourly rate. And the upshot of the latest increases in the minimum wage have shown that beyond question. If Obama gets his wish, the effect will be more of the same. More unemployed poor people. More long-term unemployment. More people homeless or on welfare. With friends like Obama, the poor don’t need enemies.

And the other thing that annoys me is that most such articles mention that a family of four whose wage-earner is paid minimum wage is below the poverty line. So what? They never mention that a family of four with two wage-earners who each are paid minimum wage is well above the poverty line. And that’s the calculation they should really be making. If mom and dad both work for minimum wage, they can support those two kids at a lower middle-class standard of living. And what about single moms? Well, how about they share an apartment, which takes them both, with their children, to a lower middle-class standard of living.

If Obama were really concerned about the poor and long-term unemployed, he’d be pushing to eliminate the minimum wage, or at least reduce it to the $5.15/hour level that prevailed in 2007. By pushing to raise it from its already ridiculously high level, he’s dooming millions of low/no-skill people to permanent unemployment. He’s also dooming their children to being permanent members of the underclass.

And he’s making jobs disappear permanently. Most current minimum wage jobs are easily automated. The business decision is often whether it’s cheaper to pay a cheap person or make the capital investment to automate that job. And once that job is automated it’s gone forever. One day in the not-too-distant future, you may walk into McDonalds and find the only employees are the manager and his dog. Everything else is automated.

48 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 13 February 2013"

  1. OFD says:

    Bob and I had a brief chat here yesterday on high school sports stuff and here is another guy who told his coach to sod off:

    Ray Manzarek, whose 74th birthday was yesterday:

    “He originally wanted to play basketball, but he only wanted to play power forward or center. When he was sixteen his coach insisted either he play guard, or not at all, and he quit the team. Manzarek said later if it was not for that ultimatum, he might never have been in The Doors.”

  2. Chuck W says:

    The Doors were awesome. I have always felt that Manzarek was the kingpin of that outfit, just as Charlie Watts was the key behind the Stones. It sure wasn’t Morrison making the brilliant decisions. The Doors just naturally and seamlessly made way for each other to do solo parts, with Manzarek bridging it all.

    Jagger was happy singing progressive jazz (and was incredibly good at it) when he was thrown together with Watts unexpectedly one day. Watts convinced him and a couple others that they should do something more for the money, like rock and roll. When you read histories of the Stones, everyone in the group deferred to Watts to make the big decisions—one of the biggest was rejecting Keith Richards’ desire to see Steve Marriott, who quit Small Faces, replace Mick Taylor. Marriott stepped out in front of Jagger at the only performance Marriott ever played with the Stones, and that was the last time Marriott was ever seen with the Stones. That also could explain the tension that has always bubbled between Jagger and Richards.

  3. Chuck W says:

    Arrrgh! I installed Avast anti-virus on the Windows machine, as a Windows administrator I trust said that is now superior to AVG. I have the Windows machine location set to the US, although I have certain things set to European standards, like date, time, and week display starting with Monday (not the Jewish calendar starting weeks with Sunday, which the US has adopted). Nowhere have I told this Windows installation that I am anywhere but in the US, and nowhere have I specified German as my preferred language. However, when I install software, it often defaults to German as the installation language. Usually, after installation, it then defaults to English as the operational language. Not Avast. Even though in the options, there is “English” in the list, it says it cannot install English as the operational language.

    I do pretty well in German, but Avast keeps popping up dialogs with recorded announcements in German telling me of something it has just done. I cannot find how to turn that off in all the German dialogs. Crazy. It is the only program that refuses to work in English. And how is it getting the idea that I want it installed in only German?

  4. Ray Thompson says:

    He’s also dooming their children to being permanent members of the underclass.

    I disagree. He’s dooming (rewarding) their children to live off someone else’s money in the form of welfare. More money ripped from my wallet and dumped into the hands of others who don’t give a rat’s ass about working.

  5. Dave B. says:

    The business decision is often whether it’s cheaper to pay a cheap person or make the capital investment to automate that job. And once that job is automated it’s gone forever. One day in the not-too-distant future, you may walk into McDonalds and find the only employees are the manager and his dog. Everything else is automated.

    I vividly remember eating lunch once at a fast food restaurant that employed people making minimum wage. The manager and assistant manager were sitting at the table behind me, and discussing the schedule for the next week. Being bored and eating alone, I eavesdropped. The minimum wage had just changed and they were figuring out how many hours to schedule their employees the following week. They used a simple formula. Last weeks sales divided by magic number equals number of hours scheduled next week. The minimum wage went up that week, so the magic number moved proportionately. That is to say hours scheduled went down. I predict that if Obama gets his way, the number of hours worked by minimum wage employees will decline by about twenty percent.

  6. OFD says:

    The thing that O-Bummer and the usual lefty suspects are doing is totally deliberate; they intend to destroy the economy and the current system and replace it with a full-bore fascist/socialist oligarchy and it is well on the way and militarized. Their problem will be that, like other such systems, it won’t work very well after a while, and when they can’t pay their bullyboys and thugs and cops and soldiers anymore, GAME OVER!!! This will most likely happen a lot faster than it has in other regimes around the world, so look for interesting chit to occur in the next “president’s” term of office.

    “Marriott stepped out in front of Jagger at the only performance Marriott ever played with the Stones, and that was the last time Marriott was ever seen with the Stones. That also could explain the tension that has always bubbled between Jagger and Richards.”

    I believe that tension was there long before that, dating back to the days of Brian Jones; got a nanosecond glimpse of it during a recorded concert when Richards took a few seconds too long riffing a solo and partially blocking Jagger; man, if looks could kill! Mick’s gotta have the whole show all the time; them other dudes are just his backup band.

    Saw them when they were touring with Billy Preston back in the Sad Seventies at the old Boston Gahden; me and my buds were drinking Jack’s and smoking hash in the seats. Big fat Boston cops couldn’t have cared less; probably making beaucoups piastres on the OT pay detail there.

  7. Dave B. says:

    Obama’s proposal isn’t just dooming the poor uneducated low skill workers. The job vacuum won’t just hit them. It will hit middle class college kids hard as well. Increasing numbers of college kids won’t be able to find work, thereby forcing them to borrow more. Not to mention all the people out there whose first job was working minimum wage at McDonalds, and have subsequently moved on to bigger and better things. Also the cost of automation will drive the little guys out of business. I’m sure the big chains would adapt to the $9 minimum wage much more easily than the smaller operations. To say nothing of of anyone who would think to start a new mom and pop operation.

  8. CowboySlim says:

    What wasn’t discussed regarding Obamanation’s minimum wage proposal is that the majority of illegal alien, crimmigrants work off the books, so it does not apply to them.

  9. OFD says:

    It’s gonna be like the stereotypical banana republic, only on a huge-ass scale and with a billion or so firearms.

    I intend to go out and about with a decent movie camera, mikes, and of course, personal protection, and make some flicks during this caper. My own job will be gone unless I can convince the PHB manglers to keep me on as one of the security-cleared machine tenders of the big iron that powers the cloud for the PHB elites and their ilk. The One Percent will be OK, per usual, and their stooges and lackeys will live in gated compounds guarded by Blackwater types and laid-off cops.

    Eventually things will stabilize and I can flog my movies somewhere and make millions, which I will ask for in silver and gold, of course.

    I’ll hire Anthony Bordain as my personal chef and he can get the Hollandaise exactly the way I like it on my Eggs Benedict.

  10. ech says:

    Right now, U-6, the total unemployed, discouraged workers, and those forced to work part time is at 14.4%. I’m sure that bumping the minimum wage will help all of them find jobs.

  11. Chuck W says:

    Well, I sure do not think increases in minimum wage at the very time of the greatest economic slowdown since the Great Depression was a good idea, but I definitely do not believe that chart demonstrates a causal relationship between hikes in the minimum wage and increases in unemployment at a time when all industry was shedding employees and many were going under or ceasing operations altogether due to factors completely unrelated to minimum wage.

    Jude Wanniski, the late Conservative economist who coined the phrase “supply-side economics” for Republicans, maintained there was little or no effect on unemployment by increasing the minimum wage. His research indicated that many states with the highest minimum wage standards, actually had some of the lowest unemployment figures. My cursory look at that just now, shows it is still the case—New England being a prime example of high minimum wage and relatively low unemployment.

    As Wanniski maintained, lost jobs will be in the area of people looking to hire workers around the home. If they honestly report wages they pay, they may be persuaded not to hire work to be done. But businesses are a different matter; the work must be done, or the business fails. Businesses closing because of increases in minimum wage increases are so low as to be virtually non-existent or not measurable according to Wanniski prior to his death in 2004.

    It may sound logical to conclude that higher wages mean fewer people employed, but the overall economy appears to be more flexible and accommodating than a hard-line drop-off.

    I don’t favor a minimum wage at all, but if we are going to have one, it should be high enough to be realistically useful, and it should be linked to cost-of-living increases as Nobama last night requested. McDonald’s around here starts at about $10/hr, and this is a depressed area. That seems a more realistic guiding figure to me than $9.

  12. Miles_Teg says:

    Generally speaking I don’t support the idea of a minimum wage but I am suspicious of businesses that want to drive employee’s wages as low as they can. I would want to pay my employees a wage that would motivate them and keep them loyal to me. I detest employers who screw their workers but give themselves nice bonuses.

    My elder niece worked at a burger chain as a teenager and she and her store (mainly due to her performance) got many awards – including from plain clothes company inspectors sent round to evaluate the stores. But some nark in middle management decided to sack her when she turned 17 (or 18 or 19?) and they had to pay her a bit more than a pittance. Katherine’s store didn’t want to do this because she was such a good performer, but the middle manager got his way.

    While I disagree with minimum wages I do think employers who try to screw their employees deserve to go out of business.

    And don’t get me started on tipping! I absolutely detest this practice when it is expected because employees are paid so poorly. I’d rather pay more for things and not have to tip. I do tip sometimes, but only for excellent service. If a taxi driver doesn’t annoy me by inane chatter and questioning I usually tip 10-15%, even though it’s not expected in Australia. And I tip the woman who cuts my hair $5 a visit – but she’s been cutting my hair for a quarter of a century or more.

  13. bgrigg says:

    My son is a victim of the latest minimum wage increase in BC. For years we were set at $8/hr, and he managed to snag a job working in a kitchen for $10. A year later, the beleaguered BC Liberals announced a $2.25/hr minimum wage increase. Rob got the extra $0.25/hr, and had his hours cut. So now he makes minimum wage, takes home less money than before, and naturally the cost of goods subsequently went up so he lost buying power, as well. That will help the working poor! Morons. And the worst part is if they don’t get reelected, it will be much, much worse!

  14. Chuck W says:

    Back to MP3Tag—it DOES copy tags accurately when selecting multiples. My files are named starting with the track number in parentheses (01) so the old tracks being copied from, end up being in identical list order as the new clean language ones. Not sure how MP3Tag knows which tag to put with which file when copying multiples, but I am likely never to have the need to find out. It just works with my naming method.

    But, I ran into a bit of a problem. Some time ago, I upgraded Exact Audio Copy, and had not saved the configuration that I had before upgrading. The new installation used a new configuration format that was incompatible with the old, wiped the old so I could not examine it at all, and thus there was no way for me to go back and look at my old configuration. That meant that I guessed at a lot of settings, trying to remember what I had before. Well, it turns out that one of my new settings was to use ID3v2.4 tags, instead of ID3v2.3. This ended up causing problems, because WinExplorer cannot read v2.4 tags to list the Artist/Album Title/Duration/etc., which is used in the radio project by people programming the music. This just came to light when I edited a comedy record and copied the finished files to the music vault. No info from the ID tags would display in Explorer.

    A little research indicated that I had a lot of EAC options improperly set. I spent a good deal of time at the Hydrogen Audio site, and combed all the settings to get them back to what is needed for maximum compatibility. I was saving pictures in the MP3 tags, and had other options set that increased file size unnecessarily.

    In short, forget using ID3v2.4 tags, as Windows (including Windows Media Player) cannot read them. Stick with ID3v2.3. Don’t use UTF-16 unless you are using programs that require it for some reason. Let default UTF-8 prevail. After correcting that, and telling MP3Tag to use v2.3 tags and not v2.4 (their default), tags are again being read by WinExplorer, and everybody is happy.

    I also use the program TagScanner a lot, as it has built-in file playing capabilities. I suppose I should go through its preferences to make sure I don’t defeat myself with settings in there. I’ll do that Real Soon Now.

  15. Chuck W says:

    ”Liberals announced a $2.25/hr minimum wage increase. Rob got the extra $0.25/hr, and had his hours cut. So now he makes minimum wage, takes home less money than before….”

    How is that the fault of the new law? If the business cut his hours more than that necessary to keep him at the same pay level, that is the business’ fault, not the change in law.

  16. Marie says:

    Minimum wage for my state went up to $7.85 on January 1, 2013. I work in the library of a public university where we employ about 15 student assistants. We used to be able to employ about two dozen assistants, but every time minimum wage increased, we ended up needing to let a few students go. This time around, we couldn’t let anymore students go because 15 is the bare minimum we need to keep our doors open, so instead we just cut all of their hours down by about 20%. The students are not happy as for some of them, it’s the difference between eating the couple days before the next paycheck or not.

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yep. So in effect by cutting their hours 20% you’ve actually cut the staff from 15 to 12. You’re just sharing the work (and cost) of 12 actual jobs among 15 people.

    If Obama gets his $9/hour minimum wage, which fortunately seems very unlikely, it really will be bloodbath for minimum-wage workers. We’ve already seen the effects of the boost from $5.15. Many people who used to work 40 hours/week at minimum wage have either been let go or had their hours reduced. The effects are particularly bad for young people, many of whom get their start in minimum-wage jobs and will now be unable to get a job at all. That cascade effect will continue to harm them throughout their adult lives.

  18. Roy Harvey says:

    Chuck, way back in the days of the old board you posted an overview about EAC and Lame, a sort of everything-you-need-to-know summary of settings and such. If you get a chance to do an updated version it would be appreciated.

  19. Marie says:

    Indeed. The only reason we retain 15 instead of 12 people is because we have to schedule around the students’ class hours. To actually cut it down to 12 physical people we would need 12 kids with the absolute exact hours we need and no wiggle room when people call off sick.

    And now the university is throwing around the idea of the library being open more hours. I can’t imagine how they think that is possible without giving us more money to do it with.

  20. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yep, that’s what’s happening across business and academia. “Do the Same with Less” or even “Do More with Less”.

    To some extent, that was good at first. It let a lot of organizations painlessly cut out a lot of deadwood without really affecting getting the job done. But a lot of places have now gone too far. What I see happening is people like you facing impossible decisions about what to do and what to leave undone. Most prioritize and use their limited resources only on the high-priority tasks. Again, that’d be fine except that a lot of tasks that really do need to get done are assigned lower priorities and are never completed.

  21. bgrigg says:

    Chuck W says:
    14 February 2013 at 00:44

    “How is that the fault of the new law? If the business cut his hours more than that necessary to keep him at the same pay level, that is the business’ fault, not the change in law.”

    Pardon? Businesses aren’t actually made of money, no matter what the government, or you, think.

    They had to “give” raises to more than a third of their staff, against their will, or “at the point of a gun” as people here like to put it. How is that NOT the fault of the new law?

  22. OFD says:

    Do a LOT more with FAH less is the current mantra of biz and gummint. And if U can’t hack that mission, there’s a line of people behind you who will drop to their knees instantly and kiss your feet for a shot at that job.

    Soon enough, hordes of peasants and riff-raff; at the other end, our lords temporal, just like feudal times.

    Break out them claymores!

  23. brad says:

    The thing that O-Bummer and the usual lefty suspects are doing is totally deliberate; they intend to destroy the economy and the current system and replace it with a full-bore fascist/socialist oligarchy and it is well on the way and militarized.

    I think you give them far, far too much credit. I suspect that they actually believe that things like the minimum wage will help the lower-income groups. They actually believe that Obamacare is a good thing.

    They, like almost all progressives, simply cannot accept that their good intentions may actually produce bad results. “Meaning well” should be enough…shouldn’t it?

    Their collective suspension of disbelief is helped by the fact that they don’t actually know anyone earning minimum wage. Heck, they may not even know anyone who has contact with such people? Living in their little bubble, it is easy to imagine the rest of the world as it “should” be, rather than as it actually is.

  24. OFD says:

    You’re right; I was amiss in my identification of O-Bummer and his minions as being in charge of this operation; they are minions themselves, and work first, last and always for what the late Gore Vidal called the Property Class, and what we have heard recently called the One Percent. Everything that is done is designed to keep that class in power; increasing the minimum wage on the face of it looks like an altruistic and compassionate thing to do, but in reality, as we know here, it will further exacerbate economic and social distress, which will in turn bring about whatever responses necessary to maintain control. It won’t actually help anyone among the working and poorer classes, which is the last thing these people care about anyway.

    Their attitude toward us, the not-so-poor, and the poor, is one of total indifference, when they are not actually openly contemptuous and mocking. And it is in their interest, always, to keep us and the poorer elements of the population, which we outnumber, at each others’ throats.

  25. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, if I ever make it into the One Percent, I promise I’ll still be the same old me.

    Well, okay, I may oppress someone once or twice, just to see what it’s like. But I promise not to oppress any of you guys.

  26. OFD says:

    Thanks, Bob. I promise the same thing. I might oppress a couple of lefty types just so they feel at home and what they claim they’re used to, but I will even cut them a little slack.


  27. Chuck W says:

    bgrigg says:

    Chuck W says:

    “How is that the fault of the new law? If the business cut his hours more than that necessary to keep him at the same pay level, that is the business’ fault, not the change in law.”

    Pardon? Businesses aren’t actually made of money, no matter what the government, or you, think.

    They had to “give” raises to more than a third of their staff, against their will, or “at the point of a gun” as people here like to put it. How is that NOT the fault of the new law?

    Well, it is just too, too bad that raising minimum wage may be a business cost increase some manager or owner does not like, but that is no different than increases in taxes, increases in rent to the landlord, increases in utilities, increases in prices of raw materials or services used by the business. They also have to “give” those increases, perhaps “against their will, or ‘at the point of a gun’ as people here like to put it.” In fact, I would posit that if a business would rather pay the other increases than minimum wage increases, that is an indication of what their priorities are, and is—in itself—full justification for minimum wage laws. You know, this libertarian mantra frequently bandied about that anything is okay as long as it does not hurt anybody else, and the associated fairy tale that no one will do anyone wrong if there are no laws or rules, is something Libertarians are fond of dishing out, while refusing to accept that hurting other people is not just a physical action, and in most cases, whether consequences are physical, financial, or emotional, they cannot be fully remedied after the grief is inflicted. If there are no rules or laws, people are going to act as if there are none, as is repeatedly evidenced in developing economies with few laws and not the right ones, plus as was painfully clear when Western society moved into the Industrial Revolution, with even children working as virtual slaves, until laws and prosecutions put a stop to it.

    Since the time I was 22, I was in management, and I have NEVER worked in a place that voluntarily raised my pay, even though, time-after-time, it was proved that my efforts were crucial to the business’ success, because when I left, the area I was in charge of, faltered badly due to upper management’s self-inflicted ignorance of what I actually did and how I did it. My pay increases were *always* the direct result of the unions in the place raising their wages, and top management raising ours in management proportionately to keep themselves ahead of the union. During my entire broadcasting career, I never received merit pay increases—only cost of living and ‘keep up with the union’ increases. Even my indication to my bosses that they would lose me if I did not get paid more, were of no avail. My increases came from moving to other employers. And those were always significant increases. Strikingly, a couple of my former bosses got mad as hell for my leaving. They wanted me to remain and be underpaid by them. The only job where one is assured of raises is commissioned sales, because the more you sell, the more you make—although I have worked in organizations where even the salesmen had trouble collecting their full due. Another way to insure one’s self of getting increases and bonuses is to be at the very top echelon of a large, failing corporation while the ship is sinking. That can be very rewarding for the top few, even after the ship has sunk.

    No longer will I work at jobs that require effort beyond the hours I am actually paid. That was a conscious decision on my part after decades of putting in 50 and 60 hour weeks for 40 hours pay with no merit increases. While teaching English, I never did any work outside the actual classroom time with the students. When we got a new book to teach from, I read the relevant chapter once, and only once, on the train into work (and always found errors in the books),—but never looked at it again, except in the class. Same with the video work I do now. I am either doing work and getting paid, or not working.

    This thread started with a chart purporting to show a connection between minimum wage increases and increases in unemployment, which few economists accept any longer. But it has drifted afield to accuse those minimum wage increases of actually making employees poorer. No, in both the restaurant and library cases, they were strictly decisions by management to make the employees poorer—or perhaps to ‘show the government’ who is boss.

    For every sob story you can come up with about people supposedly being hurt by an increase in minimum wage, I can come up with another, of people being helped by it. In Indiana, we have a thing called the Common Wage Law, which sets minimum wages for various types of jobs to be done under contract on public works projects. A guy with a contract to do drywalls for several projects in Indianapolis, was mandated by the Common Wage statute to pay $39.91/hr for that work, but he allegedly paid as little as $10 an hour; and he also—after getting caught and being confronted with his non-compliance—allegedly falsified checks to show he paid the necessary back wages to workers when he had not. If convicted, he will do jail time for the offenses. And IMO, that is well-justified.

    It is too bad that the cost of doing business goes up continually, but that is life and that is business. If costs go up enough, some may face the necessity of closing their doors and going out of business. But minimum wage increases should be no more difficult to cope with, than any other business cost increase. And, IMO, more dangerous are the managers and owners that will object vociferously to minimum wage increases above other business increases. They prove the point that minimum wage laws are necessary. If they cannot survive paying what our elected representatives consider to be a fair wage for the lowest paid of workers, then so be it. This isn’t slave or child labor country anymore.

  28. Miles_Teg says:

    I’m a bit conflicted by what Chuck has said. Yes, whenever employees, often through their union, ask for pay rises it is *never* a good time, according to the employers. Not ever. Never. The economy is in a bad state, competition is too intense, other costs are killing the business. Even in good times. That makes me pretty cynical. And the widening gap between base grade pay and the pay for top executives is pretty sick. There certainly should be such a gap but it’s just getting too wide IMHO.

    On the other hand, if people on minimum wage don’t like what they’re getting they can always set up in opposition, or move somewhere else, or move into a different line of work, or just live off fat or their retirement earnings, as I will soon be doing.

  29. Chuck W says:

    Roy Harvey says:

    Chuck, way back in the days of the old board you posted an overview about EAC and Lame, a sort of everything-you-need-to-know summary of settings and such. If you get a chance to do an updated version it would be appreciated.

    Not much has changed, really. EAC has a completely new generation which fixed some longtime problems that were so long-running that other programs had come to accommodate them. That mostly had to do with passing quality settings and tagging info to LAME, and creating non-standard CUE sheets.

    The tough stuff is when something does not work right—like the ID3v2.4 tags not reading in Windows Explorer and Windows Media Player (not corrected in Win8 according to what I find). The person creating the daily music list at the radio project started using Explorer’s capability to read Artist/Album/Duration info (especially Duration) and told me that lots of files were not displaying tag info. That led to my discovery that v2.4 was not readable by Windows, so we had to drop back to v2.3 in the EAC set-up.

    EAC now properly passes setup information to LAME and no longer needs that long line of command instructions to get quality and rip settings correct. I only have “-V2” in my command line now. Everything is processed and tagged correctly.

    The Hydrogen Audio site has discussions of most of the EAC setup options, although they have not updated it to the new EAC release.

    By the same token, if you are happy with an older EAC installation, take the time to go through ALL the setup tabs, and copy everything that you have. None of that will be available when you upgrade to the new EAC incarnation, which cannot read the old saved profiles.

    LAME is pretty much a finished work. After they fixed the serious problem of bad coding for a certain frequency range about 5 or 6 years ago, and a few problems with tag creation, the changes to LAME have only amounted to optimizing the speed of encoding for multi-threading processors.

    Biggest problem remaining is non-standard international characters, but that is a problem throughout the computer world. Countries using “non-standard” characters, like Russia and Asia, seem to have no problems within their countries, but interfacing with the rest of the world is the problem. Hopefully, that will eventually be resolved so a computer can be taken anywhere in the world and work without modification.

    Google EAC and LAME on the Hydrogen Audio site, as it is still the best resource for the two.

    Although I am not crazy about it, MP3 is becoming a broadcast standard. More and more stations are ripping to MP3 and then importing that to their playout systems. I don’t know of any station in Germany that uses anything but MP3—it IS the standard there, having originated with Fraunhofer. A lot of places in the US have held out by using WAV files, but as editing software becomes capable of dealing with MP3’s more effectively, and field recorders are capable of encoding MP3 in real time, almost everything is being shuttled around as an MP3. Even some national program producers are offering MP3 as one of the delivery options. And one-by-one, they are dropping the mailing of CD’s of their programs to stations. We have to get everything via downloads from their servers or from dropboxes where they put the files—and WAV’s are thus no longer an option.

    The radio project uses MP3’s at CBR 192kbps or LAME VBR at 192kbps. Until recently, audio was carried between the studio and transmitter via MP3 CBR 192 (thus the choice of 192 for CD ripping), but a few weeks ago, we changed from MP3 to a proprietary system made by an outfit in Indianapolis called Tielines. The real reason we changed was due to the impossibility of getting packet loss problems eliminated—even by commercial business providers who ostensibly guarantee the quality of their service to below a certain level of packet loss and jitter. Saying it is guaranteed does not stop the packet loss, and the providers cannot fix it. I have been saying for some time that the Internet backbone in the US is in real trouble, and we have proved that. Unless you lay your own fiber line from the studio to the transmitter (some stations do), it is impossible in Indianapolis to get packet loss much under 3%, and jitter way up there for a trip of less than 10 miles. Tielines has solved those problems for us completely. It’s expensive, but not nearly as unaffordable for us as laying our own fiber line from studio to transmitter.

    We did not think we had a quality problem with the 192 MP3 stream feeding the transmitter, but we discovered that the improvement in audio quality was stunning. Clarity and definition have undergone a quantum improvement. Tielines is actually an Australian company, but their face to the world is in Indianapolis. Incredible products.

    Last point. I have experimented (because of some advice coming out of the UK) and found that setting Audacity to export WAV’s at 24-bit (still 44,100khz) increases the quality quite noticeably. I voice the weather for the radio project that is played every afternoon into the evening. When I record it in 16-bit, the quality sounds okay, but in 24-bit, you can actually hear the room echo, clarity and definition is so improved. It still gets encoded to VBR 192 MP3, but you can tell the difference in the MP3. I have not done any playing around to determine if it makes any difference to rip CD’s to 24-bit WAV instead of 16-bit, and it will probably be a while before I have time to do any experimenting with that. LAME will accommodate both 16- and 24-bit as input, but a lot of programs balk at playing 24-bit WAV’s.

  30. OFD says:

    But I kept getting told to get off my duff and go out and vote for and work for libertarians.

    No matter; I’m done with the whole election charade under the current system. Complete format, reboot and re-install.

  31. Chuck W says:

    That’s not going to happen. Like the Germans, if there is ever a revolution in this country, people will line up to buy tickets and watch.

    Look, I have been in those meetings where the decisions on pay were on the table (and I was a party to the decisions). I have also had the experience of living in two different cultures, and I can attest without equivocation, that, with very few exceptions, employee pay is the LAST place management in the US wants to put money. Their thinking is “what do you get for it?” And they cannot think of one damned thing they will get, and thus oppose those increases stridently. Buy new equipment, sink money into building improvements, take on new hires—those will yield a return—but money spent on in-place employee pay raises is money down the drain to them. Cost of living increases? Why management are Republicans; like Romney, they don’t believe the cost of living is going up. Like GHW Bush, they don’t even shop for themselves. How would they know?

    Those businesses that need expertise and lack it, are the ones who will pay for it. That is why moving companies—IMO—is the best way to really increase one’s pay. People who are already in place are at a distinct disadvantage. Only your leaving and causing your company to go out and find what it costs to replace you will teach them how much you were really worth. And in my case that was always significantly more than they were paying ME in the old job.

    Ever tried to move jobs for better pay and working conditions? I have. More than six times, actually. It is damned hard in my field to do that in the US. Although I could usually make a move within 6 to 8 months after deciding to do so, one time it took well over 2 years (during the Carter era, when NOTHING was moving or selling). I don’t know about Australia, but it is not so easy to move between jobs in the US when one is dissatisfied, except in IT. And for those people at the bottom of the wage scale, it is even harder.

    I have noted before that Germany has ‘works councils’ rather than unions, and almost every large business has them. They are taken very seriously by management, because it is not an adversarial situation, as with US unions. Not having sat in management pay decision meetings in Germany, I am not familiar with what goes on. But Germany somehow protects a large middle-class. Nearly everyone makes between €45,000 and €65,000/yr. Not sure how they do that, but there it is. We do not have anything like that in the US, and thus you drive through sections of town—any town—with decaying property, empty houses and buildings boarded up with obvious damage to them—that stuff you just do not ever see in Europe. My dad had a client whose business was bought out by a Dutch company. My dad was in charge of negotiating the US end of the deal. One of the things the chief Dutch negotiator mentioned was how much poverty there was in America. You cannot drive through a town in the US without seeing it. And you never see the equivalent in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, France. My parents travelled a lot in Europe when they were alive and capable, and my dad, of course, agreed with the Dutch guy—very easy to see ramshackle in the US; very hard to find it in Europe.

    Now you want to know who lives in those beat-up, run-down houses in the US? People who do not make $45,000/yr. They are the ones at minimum wage. You can go through all the reasons why those people should not be making more, but the fact is that there is much, much more visible poverty in America than in Europe—even Eastern Europe is shedding its poverty-stricken look. Hell, even people in China are doing better than many minimum wage workers in the US.

    Want a country that isn’t fit to live in? Then keep the poor poor, like they do in the US, and you will eventually have it. That minimum wage—it’s such a pesky problem for businesses. After all, like Bill says, they are ‘giving’ that money to those minimum wage people. Why should they deserve more? And that is EXACTLY how US management feels about it.

  32. bgrigg says:

    Well, BC lost 16000 jobs last month, and have been steadily losing jobs since the wage increase went in. Food and gas have both shot up as well, but it’s all the fault of the business, not the government.

    Chuck, sometimes I think you went nuts in Germany.

  33. Miles_Teg says:

    People shift jobs a fair bit in Australia, sometimes it’s their choice, sometimes the company’s. The old generation stayed at one job, the younger move around a lot. My family are a case in point on both sides.

    My father left school at 15 in about 1939 and went to work for the Adelaide Electric Supply Company. He then joined the RAAF at some time during WWII and went to Britain to train as a radio operator on bombers. Fortunately for me, he qualified the day after the war in Europe ended and wasn’t shipped out east. He had plenty of stories to tell about the Brits (and the Yanks, he transited through the US – and remarked on the vast differences in the pronunciation of “Coca Cola” on the opposite coasts.)

    He returned to the AESC, which Sir Thomas Playford (may peace and blessings be upon him) nationalised in about 1946, forming the Electricity Trust of South Australia. He met my mum there, they married, she was forced to quit her job, and he stayed there till he retired in 1988. Mum didn’t have paid employment again.

    My sister became a teacher in 1971 and hasn’t shifted employer since, my brother became a public servant in 1974, ditto, me 1980, ditto. I’m looking forward to retirement in May because my workplace and occupation has become quite unpleasant, and I have enough dough not to work again.

    The next generation is the one that has changed. My elder nephew, who is 36 years old, has a BE in structural engineering and is highly mobile. I think he’s changed employers about eight times since 1998, every time his choice, and has returned to previous employers. I’m not sure what he earns, but I’m sure it’s a fair bit more than me – and I’m happy with my pay.

    My elder niece has taught in several private schools, then taught in the United Nations International School in Hanoi for four years. The school before UNIS told her they’d never take her back if she left them, which didn’t bother her in the slightest. When she finally returned to Adelaide a couple of years ago she immediately got a teaching position at one of the elite private schools (as did my younger nephew/her younger brother – straight out of teachers’ college.) She had her first baby last year, on *her* schedule, and has just returned part time to her teaching job. (Her school tries to avoid having part time staff, but they made an exception for her.)

    My younger niece finally has a decent job as some sort of research assistant at one of the unis. She’s been a bit of a disappointment on many fronts – she’s by far the smartest person in the family, but hasn’t made much so far. Let’s hope that changes soon.

    My younger nephew got a position at the same first rank college as my elder niece, they liked him but for logistical reasons couldn’t make him permanent – they kept offering one year contracts, so after two years he reluctantly applied to another top ranked college nearer home that would make him permanent.

    So that’s what’s going on. The old dinosaurs of my and my parents generation are most likely to be a bit like Japanese salarymen, the younger ones switch jobs at the drop of a hat for various reasons. Being good at your job certainly helps.

  34. Miles_Teg says:

    Bill wrote:

    “Chuck, sometimes I think you went nuts in Germany.”

    Chuck was probably nuts well before he went to Germany… 🙂

    Seriously, I’m with Chuck on most of this. There’s something toxic about the way employers and politicians in the US think. Not that Germans are perfect, but I think Germany would be a better place for most people to live and work than the US.

  35. OFD says:

    It can be very harsh here for a lot of people. The elites don’t even know we exist and maybe some day the not-so-poor will finally realize we’re in the same boat as the poor; feudal serfs. When the State which supports the elites wishes to do something to us, they do, with impunity.

    Chuck doesn’t think we will ever have a revolution; I am betting that he’s wrong; when the store shelves go empty after three or four days and the Grid is down for longer and longer periods and the not-so-poor start to suffer like the poor have been suffering, we will see some fireworks. There are a LOT of very angry and bitter people out here who’ve seen the light to some extent now, and there are also, as we have discussed here before, probably at least a half-billion firearms. Plus tens of millions of veterans, and many hundreds of thousands of combat-trained/experienced vets. A high percentage of them, as I can personally attest, are extremely angry and bitter.

    I suspect that a lot of the folks who have made life harder and more miserable than it would otherwise need to be will end up swinging from lampposts, or, more likely, shot out of hand. And frankly some of them, as the old Western movie line goes, ‘need killin’. (in self-defense, of course)

  36. Chuck W says:

    Well, I believe I gained my sanity in Germany, after having been brought up in the most hypocritical nation on Earth. This Libertarian/Republican mantra that all of our problems originate with government and we have too much of that, is fiction. It is not government that is the problem, it is the people—and by that, I mean the citizens of the land. Government is not responsible for the loss of manufacturing in the US, guys like that criminal Nixon, Icahn, and Romney are; and Bloomberg/Murdoch for originating and supporting the former publicly with unresearched and unverified lies by reporters who not only do not know anything about what they report on, they are wickedly opposed to learning that first thing of the subjects they write about—while they have always admitted privately that they are on a mission with an agenda. Then when political or economic problems arise, what happens? Loud cries from so-called Conservatives for more of the same crap that brought the problems in the first place.

    Less regulation! Okay, we gave the airlines less regulation. What did we get? Seats so small that only anorexic midgets can sit in them, and tickets that are only good for THE flight you purchased them on, and if you happen to have some personal emergency that prohibits you from taking that flight, you have to pay all over again for another ticket on another flight. Thanks anyway, but I’ll take the days when airlines were regulated, and a ticket between 2 points was good on any airline, on any flight for 6 months. Give business an inch and it will take a mile and charge you full price for NO service—AND get away with it! Thanks rich Conservatives. And we need even less regulation? Wake up! Marx was right and we are seeing it before our very eyes! Only a very few have the wits about them to recognize it, though.

    Our problem is not the need to limit voting to the rich and property-holders—that is who already controls government, and they are the problem! It is mightily clear from this board alone, that there is massive hate of poor people in this country. Is that ever going to get any better? Not a chance! Every solution presented by those poor-haters is aimed at keeping them poor. Raise minimum wage? Hell no! Let them rot.

    If we have a revolution in this country, it is going to be wicked, because it is going to be the poor, on insufficient wages to sustain themselves—let alone a family—who go after anybody with money, food, a car, and a nice house. They will not be rioting against the government, they will be after anybody they perceive as well-off.

    What have the damned rich done for the country? Why they let the Nixons, Icahns, and Romneys send all the jobs for those without advanced education, out of the country. No opposition; no plans for those left jobless. THEY are the bastards that created the jobless who now need welfare to survive. But yet, they are the loudest complainers that such welfare even exists.

    The US is not a melting pot of successful integration. It is a country of people with deep-seated hates of other groups, and that hate is growing. At least in Europe, every country is of such a like and uniform ethnicity, that each country cares about the people who live in it. The Austrians may not look out for the Italians, but they leave the Italians alone to look after themselves, and there is no hate by the Austrians of the Italians as a group. In the US? Well, let’s just say that for one, I NEVER heard a Polish joke in Berlin, but I hear at least one a month here in Hoosierland. Except for Boston, where various ethnicities seem to get along, because there are so many of them, MOST of the people around me in places I have lived in the US, literally hate Hispanics. Why? Beats me. I don’t know a single one of them personally who does not have a job, and some of the more successful ones are getting elected to public office. They know this hate as well as my Catholic friends know the hate and discrimination they experience from others over their religion. When I lived in Minnesota, the hate of native American Indians was all around me. They were treated like scum—and dammit, I am 1/8th Lakota Sioux, although I pass for white and stay away from the firewater.

    Hispanics in the US are not going away. Nor are the Irish, Italians, Swedes, Polish, or Germans. Better figure out how to make life work for them and get them out of the ranks of the poor. Back in 1999, I said on this board that the US would not remain the world leader. The situation has only deteriorated since then. Here are some facts as they stand today:

    World’s biggest economy? Europe
    Most Fortune 500 companies? Europe
    Where is the most US capital invested? Europe
    Where do US businesses make most of their profits? Europe
    Of the world’s top companies, how many are
    –located in the US? 140
    –located in Europe? 179

    Only 1 in 5 Americans holds a passport, and of them only 1 in 3 has ever used the passport to visit another country. Yet people on this board, most of whom I suspect have never been to Europe, criticize anything and everything European, while the Europeans run circles around the US. I am living proof that their health system is far superior to the US, AND affordable. Every month, I go through the same damned crap, trying to get the drugs prescribed for me, and every month I go without at least one of them for a week. In Germany, no problem getting a 6 month supply, but in the US? Forget it! You get 30 days, and if all your prescriptions do not come due on the same day, you will make multiple trips to Walmart or wherever to get one batch at a time. Right now I have been without one prescription for a week; the pharmacy blames the doctor’s office, and the doctor’s office blames the pharmacy. My life in the US is filled with hassles I never had in Europe.

    So call me insane if you want. I know that the US is seriously broken and opposing minimum wage is not going to fix it, it is going to make it ultimately worse. Problem is, if you believe differently, and I am right, it will eventually be too late to fix it. America needs to get off its ass and take care of its people and economy like Europe has. But my prediction is that it won’t.

  37. OFD says:

    I am certainly not calling you insane; I agree with most of what you are saying but do not believe throwing more money down various rat-holes or some kind of neo-Marxoid solution will do the trick; it’s all too late for that stuff. We don’t have the money anymore and the Marxists are on the run. Their record speaks for itself, in the mountains upon mountains of corpses they created around the world over a century.

    As for Europe, they have their own problems, which are about to get a lot worse. And in reading about the best destinations for ex-pats to find opportunities and freedom, there are no Euro countries on the list; the ones that are mentioned most often are Chile, Uruguay, and Singapore.

    Yes, it will be the poor and not-so-poor who eventually revolt; and it will be considered criminal at first and responded to with the full force of the State. Until the State can’t pay its cops and soldiers anymore, that is.

    To paraphrase the old Doors/Jim Morrison lyric; we got the numbers AND we got the guns.

  38. OFD says:

    This sound familiar to anyone here?

    “”We absolutely are in uncharted territory,” said Larry Hyatt, of the family-owned Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.. “Our store is 53 years old, and we have never seen anything like this. We have had some spot shortages and busy gun times in the past. This is a level (of demand) never before seen.”

    And this?

    “The Department of Homeland Security is set to purchase a further 21.6 million rounds of ammunition to add to the 1.6 billion bullets it has already obtained over the course of the last 10 months alone, figures which have stoked concerns that the federal agency is preparing for civil unrest.”

    And then we have this mentality, which apparently blows off the victims of this piece of shit:

    It’s coming, folks. Not this week, probably not this year. But it’s coming.

  39. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    So call me insane if you want.

    You’re insane, Chuck.

    More to the point, you’re a socialist, so of course you like Europe better.

  40. Chuck W says:

    I am not a full-fledged anything. Nobody has all the answers, but everybody has one or two. OFD is right, Marx did not have it completely right. But a portion of it sure is. Just as a portion of libertarianism is. The anti-social FU attitude and no United Nations is insane. The world is working more closely all the time. Borders are dropping. Any nation that refuses to work and cooperate with others is on a suicide mission, as is any country that tries to dominate the world, as the US currently does. They will be drained of their resources and lifeblood and impoverish their citizens. The fact that my first brand-new car cost $2,400, and the equivalent car today is more than $24,000, shows how far along the US has come in that impoverishment.

    As for a degree of socialism, it is absolutely, positively, and unequivocally unavoidable. There WILL be cooperation in man helping his neighbor. This every man for himself attitude prevalent in so much of the US, will fail eventually and utterly on the world stage, and hopefully in the US. Some socialism IS going to happen to all the West, including the US. Get used to it; it is already here, and the last election was certainly no resounding rejection of it; in fact, it has turned out to be an endorsement that has quieted even the most vocal politicians opposing it. As for me, I don’t waste my time subscribing to, or following the impossible. The old-style isolationist libertarianism is dead. It will never even get a smell of support during my remaining lifetime, because it does not possess the ability to deliver what the populace wants or needs.

    Let’s watch and see how the future unfolds, and then my sanity will either be validated or nullified. Since 1999 I have been spot on. We are not going to wake up tomorrow to some kind of isolationist Libertarian Utopia. We are going to wake up to more socialism than we have today. And that is being a realist, not a socialist. So far, in my reading of Emma Goldman, I have found nothing that I disagree with—except her early-life endorsement of violence and assassinations, which she later resoundingly rejected. Now history has called her an anarchist, not a socialist. Whatever it is that she was, count me one of those.

  41. Miles_Teg says:

    How long can modern ammunition be stored before it can’t be considered reliable?

    I’m about as socialist as Chuck is, which is to say not at all. Online political quizzes put me close to dead centre on the Left vs Right axis and moderate Libertarian on the Authoritarian vs Libertarian axis. We have “socialist” medicine here and I like it better than what I’ve heard of in the States. Many things here aren’t perfect but the only thing I can’t do here (legally) that I might like to is to drive on the wrong side of the road and own and use guns worth having.

    People here have a better idea of what’s going on in the rest of the world. Not as good as the Europeans but mucho better than in the US. I remember reading US newspapers when I was there. Practically nothing about stuff going on outside the US. A friend who was living there at the time, born and raised in southern England, was asked if English was her native language while she was living in the US.

    Chuck, I have the same problems with medications here. It can be very difficult to get more than a month’s supply at a time. You can’t get a prescription re-filled for 21 days unless you have an unbelievably good excuse, but I’ve managed to accumulate a small stash so I don’t usually have problems.

  42. Miles_Teg says:

    When the stercus hits the air conditioning y’all wanna come here, I can promise you. Europe may be okay, but we’ll be best by a mile.

  43. brad says:

    I agree with Chuck that “pure” socialism, or “pure” libertarianism, or, indeed, the extreme form of any particular solution is not realistic. Life is not that simple; the best solutions are often compromises between various positions. That said, I also agree with whoever said: “Just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean that the government should do it”.

    We’re seeing that here in Switzerland now, with regards to child care. Child care is hugely expensive, to the point that it can actually cost more than one of the parents earns in the same amount of time. This is obviously a problem, and many people are crying for government intervention.

    The catch is – and what the proponents fail to see – is that this problem is *caused* by government intervention. The reason that child-care is so expensive is because of all the government regulations that they must follow. The solution to a problem caused by the government is *not* yet more government intervention, but rather less.

    It’s much the same with health-care. Why is it so expensive? Largely because of government over-regulation. Get the government out of the picture, let the market work, and watch the costs plummet. Of course, no politician brimming with good intentions can understand that government “help” just makes a bad situation worse.

  44. Miles_Teg says:

    I don’t know about the current situation, but until recently childcare workers were paid a pittance. Not at all worth doing the training.

    Australian “socialised” medicine works fairly well, to the extent that there is overwhelming support for it. The conservative parties would like to get rid of it, but dare not.

  45. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    How long can modern ammunition be stored before it can’t be considered reliable?

    Many decades. I remember reading about a study done by the US Army back in the 1940’s (I think) when they were considering changing over completely from corrosive primers to non-corrosive primers. The conclusion was that ammunition made with corrosive primers was more stable than that made with non-corrosive primers (at least those of the time; presumably newer NC primers are better), but that the difference was pretty minor.

    Put it this way: if ammunition made in 1963 had a failure rate in 1963 of 1 in 100,000 rounds, that same ammunition today might have a failure rate of less than 1 in a 10,000 rounds.

  46. Dave B. says:

    The catch is – and what the proponents fail to see – is that this problem is *caused* by government intervention. The reason that child-care is so expensive is because of all the government regulations that they must follow. The solution to a problem caused by the government is *not* yet more government intervention, but rather less.

    I couldn’t agree more. In a small town in Indiana, there is an unlicensed daycare where two sisters without formal education care for and teach small children. These children do well because the small business owners love their job, not because of any government rules. The parents selected this daycare because they evaluated all their options, and this was the best they could find. I think these kids as a group will fare much better in school than any Head Start class ever will.

  47. bgrigg says:

    I came here to say basically what Brad said. So…

    Well done, Brad!

  48. Dave B. says:

    It’s much the same with health-care. Why is it so expensive? Largely because of government over-regulation. Get the government out of the picture, let the market work, and watch the costs plummet. Of course, no politician brimming with good intentions can understand that government “help” just makes a bad situation worse.

    The two parts of the US economy where costs are growing the fastest are healthcare and college education. I’ll go farther than Brad though. Too much government regulation does make it more expensive. Also, the cost for both keeps growing because nobody pays full price.

    I think the majority of people in the US should do some form of post high school education or training. However, a four year college degree clearly isn’t for everyone. A two year college degree or a trade school or apprenticeship program is far more appropriate for many people.

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