Facts for Drinkers

34. If you bring Old Milwaukee to a party, you must drink at least two cans before you start drinking the imported beer in the fridge.
36. If you ever feel depressed, get out a bartender’s guide and browse through all the drinks you’ve never tried.
42. You can tell how hard a drinker someone is by how close they keep their drink to their mouth.
67. Never ask a bartender “what’s good tonight?” They do not fly in the scotch fresh from the coast every morning.
etc….

Link

Except for sex and religion, nothing motivates people like A Good Deal

How Wal-mart Effects It’s SuppliersFastcompany article on the pressure Wal-Mart puts on it’s vendors to be super-cheap, e.g., “Dobbins’s customers have begun to face imported clothing sold so cheaply to Wal-Mart that they could not compete even if they paid their workers nothing.” Also, astonishing statements like

[Wal-Mart] is at least partly responsible for the low rate of U.S. inflation, and a McKinsey & Co. study concluded that about 12% of the economy’s productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s could be traced to Wal-Mart alone.

[And…]

Last year, 7.5 cents of every dollar spent in any store in the United States (other than auto-parts stores) went to the retailer.

There’s also good points about the effect actual end-users (the shoppers who want low-prices at any cost) have on the domestic small-guy economy. Essentially, they unthinkingly pursue cheapness, ignoring the effect on domestic jobs, even their own:

It’s Wal-Mart in the role of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. And the Milwaukee employees of Master Lock who shopped at Wal-Mart to save money helped that hand shove their own jobs right to Nogales. Not consciously, not directly, but inevitably. “Do we as consumers appreciate what we’re doing?” Larrimore asks. “I don’t think so. But even if we do, I think we say, Here’s a Master Lock for $9, here’s another lock for $6–let the other guy pay $9.”

Often in the globalization debate too much emphasis is placed on faceless corporations for being at fault. But, as with out government and The Voters, the actual shoppers bare a huge part of any blame to be had as well. Shopper’s exuberance for low prices, however, seems to cloud out any other concerns: aside from sex and religion, nothing else motivates people more than a good deal.

Link from BoingBoing.

Coffee in Bed, or, Thanksgiving Lazy-Links

  • US State Governments avoid offshoring, e.g., “New Jersey now spends $340,000 per month on supporting its welfare benefits applications from a call center in Camden, which represents a 28% premium over the $266,200 monthly charge it was paying for the service when it was delivered from Mumbai. ” There are interesting responses to The Register’s article as well. Also, the CNET story on the same topic.
  • iPod Users Strike Back! “Irked at what seemed to be the early obsolescence of the music player, the brothers trekked around New York City stenciling the words “iPod’s unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months” on all the iPod posters they could find.”
  • Chinese Myth And Reality:

    The way to beat China is to stop being scared of pressing our advantages, and to press them. Our advantages are speed, capital and liberty. We have tossed those away to fight the “war on terror” and in doing this, we have given away the real game.

  • On not using RSS/Aggregators: “I think the most important thing about this technique is that I am reading a wider variety of sites now than I was with RSS. With RSS, at a certain point, I was basically slaving away at reading all of the sites I was already subscribed to. Without it, I try out new names on blogrolls more often. “

Morning Coffee Lazy-Links

  • “Budgeting for a Data-Storage System” – more of an overview of storage “in the enterprise” (as they say). It’s also quite optimistic on spending, as are many articles recently.
  • More on the new Zaurus – Holy Crap, they’re expensive!

    “The basic SL-6000N will be launched on December 10 and cost around $845; the SL-6000L will go on sale on December 24 and cost around $920; and the SL-6000W will be available from January 23, 2004 and cost around $1010, said Sharp.”


  • A Peek Inside Google:

    Thirty per cent of Google’s thousand plus employees are contractors, the bottom of what Vogelstein describes as “a caste system”. The contractors don’t have access to the Waiters on Wheels vouchers for fathers on paternity leave, or any stock options.

    From the original Fortune article:

    Google’s foes have a much firmer hold on customers, argues Seth Godin, a well-known Internet consultant and editor of last summer’s widely distributed online book What Should Google Do? Competitors have troves of personal information about users that they draw on to customize products, ads, and services—consider the way My Yahoo brings you information on everything from your portfolio to fixing your house. They will probably use that same information to tailor search results. Google, meanwhile, knows little more about you than what you are currently searching for.

    “Knows little” is a gross misunderstanding of what Google actually does know via it’s Google cookie. Knowing what people search for seems like the best all around way to profile people in the ‘net: you actually learn what they’re interested in, not what they say they’re interested in. Furthermore, as Google’s AdSense shows, they know how to make money of that information very well. And, that kind of information use isn’t as creepy as the potential use for My Yahoo information.

    Unveiled in February 2002, Adwords now has more than 150,000 advertisers, many of whom rave about the service. Seth Berkowitz, the head of business development at Edmunds.com, an online car shopping site, says the response rate for his ads on Google has been so good that he has gone from buying $70,000 a month in advertising to $250,000 a month in less than a year. “It’s the cheapest and most effective form of advertising ever created,” Berkowitz says. He figures that every dollar spent with Google generates about $1.70 back.

  • RFID in Your Skin – from the “20 Minutes into the future” desk…
  • The Chewbacca Defence – wikipedia writeup.
  • Master/Slave – the term “Master/Slave” is very common-place in distributed systems, but, as you might guess, if used in Political Correctness sensitive areas, it could cause problems.
  • Basement Meeting – article on WiFi use during presentations and meetings. I don’t really agree with the premis of the article (that using your WiFi connection during a meeting is disruptive); well, maybe if it was a meeting of less than 10-20 people. I think the issue is that speakers worried about the supposed “disruption” are a little too egotistical (Link from Smart Mobs.)
  • Tim Bray: “I keep wondering why working 350 hours–9 or 10 weeks–more per year is considered a good thing.”
  • Mark Pilgrim: “Despite initial objections, RDF still interests me, in much the same way that rodeo clowns and Microsoft Certified Solution Developers interest me, which is to say that it seems like an awful lot of work for questionable payoff, but once you’ve learned it, you tend to rationalize your behavior and defend it to the death.”

New Zaurus

Check out the new Zaurus. I have one of the old, old ones: it’s great, except out of the box it’s worthless as far as networking and interoperablity goes. One of the new ones comes with WiFi and Bluetooth built in (hopefully without the stupid WiFi card sticking out the top), which, hopefully would do a greatly increase it’s usefulness out of the box.