Friday, 9 August 2013

09:06 – ESR long ago predicted that Android would kick Apple’s iPhone ass. I saw some recent figures yesterday that illustrate just how right Eric was. Apple’s worldwide market share of smart phones is about one unit of every seven sold. Android pretty much gets the other six. Blackberry is rapidly becoming an asterisk, and is now trying to sell the company. For what it’s worth, which isn’t much.


I got a couple dozen chemistry kits built yesterday, which gives me a bit of a breather. Today I need to cut purchase orders for stuff we’ve run short/out of. I actually did the first one last night. We’re completely out of the 650 mg sodium bicarbonate tablets that are included in both chemistry kits. The last time I ordered those, a year ago, I paid about $12 for a bottle of 1,000. The place I bought them from last year no longer carries the 650 mg tablets, only 325 mg tablets in bottles of 100 rather than 1,000. So I checked around and found that the price had gone up significantly and there were few sources offering the 650 mg bottles of 1,000. Amazon stocks them at about $18/bottle, a 50% increase in one year. They had only four bottles in stock, so I ordered all of them. A bottle is about 40 kits worth, so we’re covered for another 150+ kits once those arrive. A quick look at my inventory sheet tells me that the only other chemistry kit components we’re critically short of are purple Sharpies and 9V batteries, so I’ll get a gross of each of those on order as well.

This weekend, Barbara will continue labeling bottles for a new batch of 60 biology kits, and get started on labeling bottles for a new batch of 60 chemistry kits. I’m also expecting an order from a state distance-learning virtual school for 40 custom AP chemistry kits. That may or may not happen, but I suspect it will. If it does, I’ve told them we can ship within 30 days after receipt of order/payment, so things are likely to get even busier around here.


09:11 – Wow. I just checked Amazon, which now says it has nine bottles of the sodium bicarbonate tablets in stock at $19.99/bottle, versus the $17.79/bottle I paid less than 12 hours ago. Geez.

27 thoughts on “Friday, 9 August 2013”

  1. Amazon’s prices do seem to change frequently. I ordered a book which retails for $39.95 earlier this week and paid $26.64. After I bought, the price went up to almost $28.00 and now it’s back down to $26.51.

    The thing that surprised me is Amazon shipped it from a warehouse that was about 20 minutes from my house.

  2. Wow. I just checked Amazon, which now says it has nine bottles of the sodium bicarbonate tablets in stock at $19.99/bottle, versus the $17.79/bottle I paid less than 12 hours ago. Geez.

    Amazon *always* uses dynamic pricing. Be sure to get the price of what you want BEFORE you sign in. Otherwise, I think that Amazon runs a price check on you and sees how willing you are to pay more than the going rate.

    Plus they might have had an alternate supplier when the first supplier ran out. But the alternate supplier costs more!

    I frequently go look at the “new” pricing on stuff to see what the price trends are. For instance, I just bought a Canon PRO 100 B+ (13″x19″) printer for $260 plus $31.49 shipping from one of Amazon’s third party suppliers. The Amazon price with free shipping is $328.20. Amazon is becoming the ultimate flea market out there!

  3. I’m on my second Android smart phone. The first was an original Motorola Droid that i had for a few years. I think it’s cool that Android is based on open source software, but that was not the primary decision maker in my choice of phone. The things that drove my decision were cost, being able to replace the battery and being able to upgrade the memory card.

  4. The things that drove my decision were cost, being able to replace the battery and being able to upgrade the memory card.

    I have an iPhone 5, 64 gig. Bought Apple care with the phone for $100.00. I can replace the phone twice within two years for $50.00. So for $150.00 I get a new phone and battery. My phone will definitely break after I have owned it 23 months. So I have a new phone for two more years. After fours of being with one model I figure it is time for a new model.

    So being able to change the battery or upgrade memory was a moot point in my case.

  5. Who is ESR? Anyway, he/she is correct, offer something for free of a good quality and the market will flood to you. All pricing is a race to the bottom anyway.

    Just because the licensing cost of the operating system is zero, that does not mean that the cost to the phone manufacturer is zero. I have no idea how many device drivers come with the O/S and of course there are all those nasty little freebie apps that advertise to you.

  6. ESR is Eric S. Raymond, the driving force behind the Open Source Initiative. He’s one of the two biggest names in FOSS, along with RMS (Richard M. Stallman). ESR is a libertarian; RMS is a Marxist.

  7. The email service dominos are falling; first Lavabit and now these guys:

    Do they make any money from their service or is this a freebie?

    I saw an article yesterday that claimed $20+ billion of computing services are moving outside the USA because of the NSA:
    http://talkincloud.com/cloud-computing/nsa-prism-costs-us-cloud-services-providers-billions

    This whole digital privacy thing needs to go to the SCOTUS. If they can allow abortions with respect to a person’s privacy, why not email?

  8. “ESR is a libertarian; RMS is a Marxist.”

    ESR is also a pretty down-to-earth regular guy who’s written a couple of decent books, too; RMS is a creepy PITA.

    SCOTUS won’t touch the NSA and digital privacy stuff; the Chief Justice has already been gotten to at least once by this regime; the only good guys left there are Scalia and Thomas. They’ll be replaced by two more Bolshevik apparatchiks.

  9. Well, most of us libertarians are pretty down-to-earth regular guys who’ve written a couple of decent books, and most Marxists are creepy PITAs.

  10. Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

    Am I just reading this wrong? What right does the NSA have to read our email? This text screams that we have a right to privacy to me.

    It also says no seizures without a warrant which is very clear to me also. There is massive governmental (federal, state and local) thievery going on out there.

    The War on Some Drugs appears to have corrupted our nation. This will not end well unless there are changes.

  11. The one downside to Android over IOS: Android users don’t buy many apps, so many Android apps have data mining tools built into them to subsidize the cost of designing them.

  12. @Lynn: The key word here probably being “unreasonable.” What we consider unreasonable, the NSA and other Fed Gestapo types may consider, and do consider, perfectly reasonable, in our War On Some Drugs, and our War On Terror (i.e., terror committed by other entities, whether sovereign states or other-than-state actors, most emphatically NEVER our own terror ops around the world). There used to be a requirement for warrants but that was more true in theory than in fact and of the few actually requested, most were simply granted, no big deal. Now they operate without even that flimsy pretense.

    “…massive governmental (federal, state and local) thievery going on out there.”

    No chit, homes.

    “This will not end well unless there are changes.”

    And I respectfully submit once again that our much ballyhooed political/electoral process here has become obsolescent, due to gross public apathy in the face of outrageous and outright seizure of it by money interests and now a clique of Bolshevik operatives. Running down to the town hall and voting for the local libertarian dude ain’t gonna cut the mustard nor will writing truckloads of letters to Congress, who aid and abet the thievery and the seizure. We can all bow down and genuflect to Rand Paul or Cruz or Perez or Juan Valdez or Juan Peron or whoever the Next Greatest Repub Savior is, but that ain’t gonna cut it, either. Them days is over, homies. Get ready for a long hard ride.

    And the Next Greatest Savior dude is eventually probably gonna be along the lines of the late, unlamented Benito Mussolini. I can attest that there are already LEGIONS of people out here now who would gladly, joyfully, ecstatically, welcome another Il Duce to clean out the fucking Bolshies and their own legions of enablers and operatives.

  13. re prices, it’s a good thing there’s no inflation in the US. Otherwise these constant price increases would kill us.

  14. Tell me about it. I just ordered a gross of Sharpie markers. When I ordered last time, on 13 February, less than six months ago, they were $108/gross. Today, they were $126.72/gross.

  15. Il Duce II will fix them prices for us and also make the trains run on time.

    This will be a huge improvement right away on the current regime, plus some of us will get to wear spiffy black uniforms, too.

  16. some of us will get to wear spiffy black uniforms, too.

    Don’t forget your armbands!

  17. Lynn wrote:

    “Am I just reading this wrong?”

    The Supremes make their own rules. A few years ago they sanctioned the use of Eminent Domain to seize some private land in New London, Conn., to hand over to a private developer.

    Completely illegal IMHO, but they allowed it.

  18. Yeah, I’m sure Barry will fix it all up nice. He is told what to say, what to do and how to act; the NSA will continue biz as usual for the duration.

  19. Praise be to St Al Gore!

    He’s finally heard my prayers and sent some Global Warming ™ to Canberra. Yesterday was cold and overcast all day, and washing I hung out yesterday morning refused to dry. But today is bright and sunny, and even warm enough that I had to turn on the air conditioning when in the car. The washing was bone dry by midday and I’m even thinking of turning off the heaters that have been running inside the house for days.

  20. The Danish have decided that St. Al Gore should be burned at the stake to moderate this coming winter:
    http://notrickszone.com/2013/08/09/major-danish-daily-warns-globe-may-be-on-path-to-little-ice-age-much-colder-winters-dramatic-consequences/

    “The August 7 print edition of the Danish Jyllands-Posten, the famous daily that published the “Muhammad caricatures“, features a full 2-page article bearing the headline: ”The behavior of the sun may trigger a new little ice age” followed by the sub-headline: “Defying all predictions, the globe may be on the road towards a new little ice age with much colder winters.””

    “So now even the once very green Danish media is now spreading the seeds of doubt. So quickly can “settled science” become controversial and hotly disputed. The climate debate is far from over. And when it does end, it looks increasingly as if it’ll end in favor of the skeptics.”

  21. [snip] The Supremes make their own rules. A few years ago they sanctioned the use of Eminent Domain to seize some private land in New London, Conn., to hand over to a private developer. [snip]

    Counter-point: The folks at SCOTUS (whom, as a rule, I strongly disagree with most of the time) said that the State of Connecticut is allowed to enact and enforce asinine laws.

  22. Yeah, but the Supremes should be a force for stopping that. It is mighty clear by now that judicial intervention at any level, favors the increasing escalation in the transfer of wealth from the less wealthy to absolute wealthiest. Part of the injustice of that, is the most wealthy are able to fund the legal fees to pursue the taking of land—regardless of whether those fees will come from the economic returns such land might provide,—while those possessing the land often cannot afford to defend themselves effectively against the condemning of their property.

    In the New London, Connecticut case, the land taken by the municipality to allow economic investment that would increase tax revenues to the city from that taken land, has been a complete and utter failure. After nearly $100 million was spent to acquire the land, nearly 8 years later, it sits completely undeveloped. Not only that, but more telling is the municipality’s acting in view of their own complete ignorance (or else their purposely acting stupidly while knowing) that business today will not develop unless it has tax abatement that destroys the very basis behind the condemnation of all that land ‘to increase public tax revenues from the property’. Pfizer closed a huge research facility in the New London area in question, when the city would not extend their tax abatement. Moreover, that closing not only moved a $300 million going business, but also reduced the value of the Pfizer property to a mere half of what it was worth when Pfizer owned it, after General Dynamics purchased it for half the Pfizer value, and operates a much smaller revenue-generating business out of the same location.

    IMO, it is becoming pretty clear that our Constitutional Republic has neither the wherewithal nor the guts to deal with the movement to a higher technological society without significant damage to citizens, their pocketbooks, and their rights. Lawlessness at every level has ensued—see

    http://blogs.reuters.com/bethany-mclean/2013/08/07/the-crackdown-on-bank-misbehavior-masks-a-troubling-reality/

    I have given here the example of the city-owned EMT organization that provides ambulance and first-aid service to the city. Local taxes provide 100% funding for every resident to be transported as a free ride, to any hospital or care institution in the county a certain number of times per year. Yet my uncle, who fell in the parking lot at CVS a good half-dozen years ago, and broke his hip, was billed personally, his health insurer was billed identically, Medicare was billed, his pension plan was billed, the person calling 9-1-1 on their cell phone was billed, and CVS itself was billed—every one of them receiving a notification as if it were their responsibility to pay for the ambulance ride (that number billed is up from the previous time I reported this here). That is not only dishonest, it is a theft scam as bad as the ministers who have been jailed over the years for stealing from givers funding their ministries. Lawlessness pretending to be business as usual is rampant.

    Parliamentary systems seem both much better equipped and—most importantly—more willing to tackle society’s and individual needs and protection as we move from archaic territory into the ever-changing electronic future.

    In the work I do, I am, myself, witnessing the insanity going on. When I started doing the video work of recording court testimony, Indiana litigated medical malpractice, and the insurance industry usually followed suit on the case, based on how the court ruling turned out. Guess what? The legislature, made up of 99% attorneys, increased the attorney full-employment act by making it mandatory that the state insurance commission rule BEFORE litigation could begin. Ah, in just a few years, instead of having one trial, there are now 2: first, before the insurance commission; then, the courts litigate the case and the insurance commission inquiry and any decision by the state medical panel can be used in the court litigation. So, instead of streamlining the process, it has expanded to the point that I have been doing work on cases that are still in process as much as 4 years later.

  23. When I was still working as a cop back in the Iron Age I toyed several times with the idea of going to law school and doing that gig; and my first wife is one of the “top 100 lawyers'” of New Jersey. But I saw firsthand what it does to their minds and their behavior and it’s no wonder there are so many jokes about them and so much harsh opinion of their antics. I sure am glad I didn’t get any further with that; my head is messed up enough already.

    “Lawlessness at every level has ensued…”

    Indeed. Ordinary schmuck citizens see daily if not hourly what their supposed betters are up to, not to mention the law enforcement authorities themselves, and figure, hell, why not me? And kids see their parents cop this attitude and off we go!

  24. Agreed on law school, OFD. I did a year and learned enough to have an idea of how it works (both supposed to work and actually works) and can speak enough of the jargon to go through a contract or respond to a BS demand letter. I’d toyed with the idea of getting a law degree and maybe even becoming a lawyer, with the intention of continuing to earn my living by programming and writing and doing law stuff part-time to help defend people from overreaching lawyers. But the collection of calamitous fucktards involved in the legal system steered me away from that. Whether it’s an almost-inevitable part of getting the degree or it’s contagion from others in the field, I didn’t want that to happen to me. I need my brain.

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