Shandrew (shandrew) wrote,

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miscellaneous grumpy rantings

Yesterday I heard some guy (I think he was a columnist for Inc.) on NPR Marketplace present an argument that e-mail spam was superior to postal junk mail. It really pissed me off. He thought that e-mail spam was superior because it didn't kill trees, allowed small companies to reach millions of people, and it actually works since some people click on the links. What bothers me is how completely uninformed and incomplete his opinion was--it was worse than the average Usenet post. NPR commentaries are usually far less braindead.

(What was missed of course is that postal junk mail is almost completely paid for largely by the sender, while e-mail spam is dependent on stealing the resources of others, paid for by ISPs everywhere and thus, internet users. E-mail spam is a huge negative for the economy; the revenues it generates is far outweighed by the resources it consumes, in bandwidth, equipment, people's time, and so on. Postal junk mail, since the costs are paid by the sender, must be an economic positive since companies wouldn't send them out if they weren't profitable. The economic effect of e-mail spam is like taking $.01 from a million people to earn $10.)

Today i dropped my iBook, and the little nub on the power connector broke off (I suppose that's a much better result than the motherboard side of the connector breaking...). Replacement power adapter was $70. Grr. Why don't they make these connectors more durable? Or make them angled? Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to fix the old connector and have another AC adapter around. I also picked up a analog video output cable for it. I tested it out, and was saddened by how poor the video (through S-Video) quality was versus a direct VGA connection. It wasn't a surprise of course, but mostly I find it sad how long it's taken to get digital TV available, and how poor TV quality still is compared to computer video, which these days isn't too far off in price.

Hrmph, they seem to no longer carry Aussie Pies at the Mountain View Costco (Jan, get working).

Why does Yahoo! take so long to update the Fantasy Baseball scores every night? Hm, so far this week my team, the Supernatants, is batting .229 but is winning 13-5. Woo.

I've been doing a lot of housing searches lately, mostly on Y! Real Estate and MLSlistings, and I continue to be amazed by how poor web listings are. These sites generally have links to the seller's agent's site, where they have more detailed info. Most of the time, they have nothing extra, occasionally they have a couple little pictures, and sometimes they have these really slow, tiny and virtually useless java "virtual tours". I don't get it. People are trying to sell things for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the effort put into actually advertising them on the web is less than what I see for most people trying to sell a bookcase. If I were selling/renting a place, I'd take a hundred large pictures, and make them easily available (in multiple sizes/display methods/etc). Doesn't that make sense to anyone in real estate? I think their mindset is still in the mode of the three-line classified ad or the 1/12th page real estate ad where publishing is expensive. Meanwhile, one of my coworkers recently made a super fancy easy-to-use Flash ad (yes, Flash can be done right) to sell a few cheap pieces of random furniture.

Darn Stop encouraging me to spend money.
One of the things that annoys me about amazon is that they have a huge amount "affiliate" sites who only relist amazon's items for sale, provide links, and add no value otherwise. Then those sites clutter up search engine results, making searches for products mostly useless; most don't even mention amazon so a search with "-amazon" is ineffective. Sigh. Actually, I guess we need better search engines.

I want to go to Hawaii in September or December. I was browsing through vacation packages...for some reason, it costs a whole lot more to go to the big island than Oahu. Oahu's actually reasonably cheap, like airfare for two and hotel for a week for $1300. If only Linnea had more time...

This content-free message was brought to you by boredom and free time.
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