Saturday, 11 January 2014

By on January 11th, 2014 in science kits

10:29 – In the first ten days of this month, we came within $400 of matching the revenues for all of January 2013. If that rate holds up, which I don’t really expect it to, January 2014 sales will be triple those of January 2013, which itself wasn’t a bad month. Even if the rate slacks off a bit, with 20 days left in the month we should easily double sales for this month versus a year ago.

Late yesterday afternoon, we sold two full forensic kits to a small public school system in Arizona, which took our forensic kit inventory to -2. So, our first priority this weekend is to build a new batch of forensic kits, so that I have something to ship to the customer Monday.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on the manual for the Earth & Space Science Kit, which we plan to ship in time for the autumn semester. I’m also stubbing out the CK02 Advanced Chemistry Kit, which we hope to start shipping by year-end. That’ll actually be two kits, one with only the consumables and the other with glassware and hardware. The combined price will be considerably higher than our current kits, but this kit will provide materials for two full years of chemistry lab work, both a first-year chemistry course and a second-year course that covers all of the standard recommended AP Chemistry labs and other work as well. Writing the manual for that one will be fun.

19 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 11 January 2014"

  1. Chuck W says:

    In this era, it is kind of baffling that businesses do not automate the change of copyright date on their websites and other stuff to the current year, but apparently they don’t. In the bad old days, the legal department at the stations where I worked, got the baseball bat out just before Xmas and made the rounds to force on-time changes. Making mistakes on copyright dates can present ugly issues, even if it is an honest mistake.

    Got an email from Google yesterday about Google+—10 days into the new year,—with a copyright date of 2013 in the footer. No excuse for that not to be automated.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As I’ve said, it’s time to eliminate copyright entirely, along with patents, trademarks, and other “intellectual property”. Current fraud laws are more than sufficient. If I want to open a restaurant and call it “McDonalds”, that’s my business, particularly if my name happens to be McDonald. On the other hand, if I copy the golden arches and other trade dress with intent to deceive, that’s fraud. But if I make my restaurant look just like one of those other McDonalds and put Big Macs and so on my menu, that’s fine, as long as I have a prominent disclaimer to warn people that my restaurant has no relation to those other restaurants.

    Same deal on libel and slander, which should be perfectly legal under the First Amendment. Making them illegal just protects the rich in both directions while screwing the poor and middle class in both directions. And blackmail should also be protected under the First Amendment. Why shouldn’t I be able to solicit money from someone in return for withholding my speech? It’s nobody’s business except his and mine. If people want to avoid being blackmailed, they should simply stop doing things they’re ashamed of.

  3. Lynn McGuire says:

    Glad to hear that one of us is doing well. 2013 ended tough for us and 2014 is more of the same so far. Lots of tire kickers and few takers. My partners maintain that we need a cloud version of our software but the cost to move our user interface is incredible. Probably on the order of 20,000 programmer manhours. Maybe 50,000. We would probably start with the technology. Or not.

    The continual examination of Microsoft’s potential future demise by Cringley is very interesting:

    Due to Cringely, I now understand why Apple is making so much money and Microsoft is just flailing about. Apple users are swapping their hardware every 18 months and Microsoft users are swapping their hardware every 5 to 6 years. In fact, Apple is trying to get people to swap hardware on a 12 month basis to further increase their revenue, amazing!

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    So, just hire 20,000 (or 50,000) programmers for an hour and be done with it.

  5. SteveF says:

    Nah, that won’t work. Then Lynn’s company would have to pay unemployment for tens of thousands of programmers at the end of the hour.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Maybe Lynn should open-source his software.

    I remember trying to convince my boss to do this. That was back in 1981, when I was working for a company that sold billing and accounting software for law firms. I tried to convince him that he should give away the software, no strings attached, to any law firm that wanted to use it. To this day, I think he’d have made more money selling support and maintenance contracts to a much larger customer base. Law firms were, after all, used to billing by the hour.

  7. Lynn McGuire says:

    I paid our business FUTA bill last week! Over $2,000 for 2013, disgusting.

  8. SteveF says:

    When I was self-employed by my own corporation (as contrasted with now, when I’m unincorporated self-employed), my company was paying I think 3% of my personal income as unemployment “insurance premiums”, which worked out to about 2.5% of the corporate gross income. But I wasn’t eligible to collect uninsurance because I owned a company, which means this was simply another 2.5% added to the already-high tax rate. And New York’s “leadership” professes bafflement why companies leave NYS in droves.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, my business pays another couple of grand in unemployment to The Great State of Texas on a quarterly basis every year. I think that I am ineligible for it also as an officer of the company.

  10. Ray Thompson says:

    Then Lynn’s company would have to pay unemployment for tens of thousands of programmers at the end of the hour.

    Nope. They would be considered part time as they would have worked less than 30 hours for the week. They would not be eligible for unemployment. Unless Obummer has changed the rules to give everyone unemployment benefits, even if you have never worked.

  11. Chuck W says:

    And blackmail should also be protected under the First Amendment. Why shouldn’t I be able to solicit money from someone in return for withholding my speech? It’s nobody’s business except his and mine. If people want to avoid being blackmailed, they should simply stop doing things they’re ashamed of.

    This brings up another one for me. There actually is nothing illegal about payola—paying disk jockeys or stations for playing records. All the investigations of yesteryear were just sensationlism in action. Over the years, I have told the bosses at the radio stations I have worked at, that we should be paid for every record we play. For radio, it has been legally accepted that radio airplay of songs IS promotion. Why should that promotion be free?

    In fact, there usually is somebody in the process that is deciding what songs will get played on a station and what will not. Seems to me paying for record play can put a record on-air even if the station’s decider rejected the record. That is much fairer, IMO, than the record never getting on-air.

  12. bgrigg says:

    Chuck, IIRC the biggest issue with payola wasn’t the money. That’s the American Way! It was the cocaine and prostitutes that did that in. However, I will take issue with your thinking. Paying a person to usurp his employer’s decisions is simply corruption, and should result in immediate firing. Mind you, everything I know about the radio business was learned by watching WKRP in Cincinnati.

    This reminds me of the old Bob Rock and Paul Hyde band “The Payola$” from Vancouver, BC way back in the late 70s and early 80s. They had a raft of hit songs on Canadian radio, but never broke through in the States, simply because of their name. Bob Rock had better luck producing bands like Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Metallica and Motley Crue.

  13. brad says:

    I think bgrigg hit it on the head: It’s when you take money under the table. If a radio station were to say: “we will play any song that we are paid at least $x to play”, well, there’s nothing wrong with that. If the radio station says “we choose which songs we play”, but the DJ is taking money on the side, that is a problem.

    To take another example: I have a friend whose father moved his car dealership to a huge, elegant new building. They tried and tried to pass the final inspection on the new building. Finally, the inspector clued them in: he had to find an envelope lying around somewhere, containing – I forget – either $5000 or $50000. Until he did, he would keep finding problems. That is corruption. On the other hand, if the city had raised the cost of inspections, that would have been legal.

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, we lost a classic rock station here in the Houston area on Jan 1, 93.7 FM, to the “Beat” crowd. Now we only have one classic rock station and one pop rock station.

  15. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Has anyone noticed? I’m surprised that anyone at all listens to music on OTA radio nowadays. What’s the point of being bombarded by commercials and babbling DJs just to catch the occasional music track, which someone else chose for you? You can fit tens of thousands of tracks on an MP3 player and run them random play if you like to be surprised.

    I think the AM and FM bands should be taken away from radio stations and the bandwidth put to better uses.

  16. SteveF says:

    I think the FDA should be abolished and the airwaves opened up, the way it was a century ago.

  17. Lynn McGuire says:

    My truck does not do MP3 on the sound system. AM / FM and CD when it is not screwed up while changing CDs.

  18. Chuck W says:

    Oooh, change the sound system in the truck. There are lots of places to get that done these days. I have always popped for custom installations (I could deduct them when I was working fulltime in the business). Once even had a European Blaupunkt system back in the late ’70’s with shortwave bands and all US TV channels. Although I never went with 8-track, I did have cassettes before anybody else, and CD’s, too.

    Yeah, I do agree it is wrong if a DJ was substituting his songs for what he was supposed to be playing, but that really was not the situation. Back in the day (before about 1970), it WAS the DJ’s who made their own selections. Dick Clark was not told what to play, HE decided what would be played. In the early days, rock and roll was so foreign to station management, they had to rely on the DJ’s to know the music and pick what would attract audiences. And most of the DJ’s of that era were teenagers themselves, just like the musicians. The record company PR men always went after the station guy(s) deciding what music to play. First it was the DJ’s, then, when ‘Music Directors’ replaced DJ’s in choosing music, the PR guys focused on them. No PR guy I ever knew went after DJ’s to get them to break format and play a record, when somebody else was in charge of what was played. They went after the decider.

    Record companies do not do promotion in the same way these days, as most of them are on the verge of bankruptcy—and part of the cause for that is likely the bill for drugs and booze for everybody from the musicians to DJ’s to station management. There have always been drugs and willing women for guys in the music business—and I am sure willing guys for the few women. Tommy James wrote of his experiences recently, and we all know about Elvis. No different than in professional sports, although the risks to a sports team from drugs and women are greater, IMO, than transgressions to a radio station.

    I still recommend that all radio stations consider payola as a legitimate source of revenue—which it is in the US.

    Must look for songs by the Payola$ and get them on the radio project’s playlist. Canadian songs and artists are almost always good, many of them fleeing to the US. CFZM/Toronto plays a lot of Canadian groups (as Canadian stations are still mandated to). A musician turned DJ, Robbie Lane is on weekdays from 6 to 9pm and knows a lot of the musicians personally with good stories about them and the music. Stream at:

    I wanted to be in radio from the 5th grade, but agree with our host that radio today is coercive with no respect whatever for the listener. I spend more and more time with streams run by former DJ’s. A good one with an emphasis on ’60’s is former NYC DJ Russ DiBello (Famous Amos) and his 95PEN at:

    Put those links into your STREAM PLAYER. They usually do not work by putting them into a browser, and people are always telling me that. Streams need a player, not a browser. My personal favorite stream player is XMPlay (Windows).

  19. bgrigg says:

    Chuck, when you’re looking for the Payola$, they’re also known as Paul Hyde and the Payola$ and Rock and Hyde. Yes, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) still mandates a certain percentage of Canadian content. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good in that it did develop a culture in Canada that respected Canadian musicians, who used to move to the US for the money and success, and bad that so many of the people still played as Canadian fled our borders for the US market decades ago, some of which have renounced their citizenship.

    But I do agree with you that Canadian bands are almost always good. I’ve always claimed it’s the harsh Canadian winters and poor TV reception. We’re forced to make our own entertainment!

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