Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Sunday, February 27, 2011


    Quote of the Day

    For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief.
    -- Ecclesiastes 1:18


    Posted by Tom, 2/27/2011 5:11:53 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011


    Quote of the Day

    Singin’, come out upon my seas
    Curse missed opportunities
    Am I part of the cure?
    or am I part of the disease?
    -- Coldplay, Clocks


    Posted by Tom, 2/22/2011 7:30:39 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, February 21, 2011


    Quote of the Day

    "From my point of view, a great deal of openly expressed piety is insufferable conceit."
    -- Robert Heinlein, Revolt in 2100


    Posted by Tom, 2/21/2011 10:11:48 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Bad Air Day

    It's been a long while since I last had what I call an "allergy attack". I'm not used to having them in the winter, so it came as a surprise when I went out to change the oil in the vehicles and wound up in full glazed donut mode.



    Still feeling kind of light-headed and yicky. Hope it doesn't turn into a sinus infection.

    Posted by Tom, 2/21/2011 8:34:28 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011


    Thought for the Day

    The more I grow and mature, the more I realize that anger is a poison that harms me more than it solves my problems. It can be a powerful motivator, but it is the worst decision-maker.

    Posted by Tom, 2/9/2011 7:49:14 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011


    How the market makes things better

    In the iPhone world, we now have a perfect case-in-point that demonstrates the effect of market competition and how it improves things for consumers. AT&T has held the exclusive contract on service for iPhones since the device was released. This has led to typical monopoly behavior: bullying customers, unilateral changes to service, and the like.

    I have long been a champion of the idea of Verizon or any other carrier getting an iPhone contract. Some have greeted this position with puzzled looks, because in the Oklahoma City area, AT&T is a very strong carrier, with good coverage and decent speeds. "Why would you want to switch to Verizon?" they ask.

    The answer is, I don't want to switch to Verizon, but the possibility that I could if I wanted to forces AT&T to re-evaluate the way it treats its customers, as this article demonstrates brilliantly:

    AT&T began capping new iPhone and iPad data plans last June, with a new tiered structure that offers 2GB of data for $25 per month, or 200MB for $15 per month. The company has also reportedly been offering potential Verizon iPhone switchers the ability to reenable unlimited data on their plan.

    AT&T was never going to allow unlimited data again unless someone pressured them into it, and the only pressure that can really have that sort of effect without the threat of government violence is competitive pressure. One can almost see the future already: even if unlimited plans never really come back as an offering, Verizon and AT&T will begin competing on dollars per gigabyte per month, and will act as checks on one another. If a similarly ambitious competitor also enters the ring eventually (T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular, for example), they will serve to increase that competitive pressure, and this will be even better for consumers.

    This is partly why I don't believe in so-called "natural monopolies". I don't think governments should be in the business of granting exclusive contract to any company, whether it's gas or electric or telephone or cable or whatever. If a new company wants to enter a market, even if it means leasing lines or running new ones, they should be allowed to do it. Consumers can only benefit from companies working harder to earn their business.

    Posted by Tom, 2/1/2011 7:51:38 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...