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Thursday, October 11, 2018

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There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with a monopoly.  The trade guilds of yore would regulate prices and standards, and protect against the very thing monopolies do today.  Today’s companies work to establish a monopoly to cheat customers.  But they could enrich themselves by providing value and prohibiting others from competing on price alone.  They don’t do so because, well, they can.  There is no blowback.  They also do so because they HAVE to.  If you are the only  one providing value, others will drive you out of business no matter how good your products or practices are.  Exhibit A is the entire nation worth of Mom & Pop stores killed by Wal-Mart.
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Okay, Wally itself is blameless.  It was the entire practice industry wide.  Globalization and deindustrialization.  Wal-Mart was just better at computerizing the process and making it THE most efficient.  Of course, efficiency itself is dangerous, but that is for another time.  Not everyone can be a professional selling to other professionals, which is the only small businesses in existence today able to compete with Wally.  No matter how much you have to charge to repair bicycles, you can, because Wally doesn’t do that.  They also don’t sell quality bikes ( neither do bike shops, except at pro racing levels, but again I shan’t digress ).
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Some businesses were successful just on brutal work and exceptional discipline.  But that doesn’t work today in small business.  Because it is all about the prices and Wally sells for less than you buy.  It really is as simple as that.  You can only stay in business by not competing.  Do you know what killed video stores?  It wasn’t Netflix.  It wasn’t Blockbuster.  It was RedBox.  It was $1 movie rentals.  If you were paying property rent every month, you can’t make enough renting new release videos for a $1.  The other, older ones, sure.  But Netflix had all the older movies.  You were squeezed in the middle, but the video store was primarily about new releases.
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 ( I didn’t watch TV in the 90’s, instead only watching movies.  I’m just now watching Friends and Fraiser.  On Netflix.  To me, they are a substitute for broadcast TV, not movies which are poor in selection.  I would still get all my movies from RedBox if they weren’t such foul quality.  So mostly I get the old movies from Netflix, but that isn’t because they are so good at offering movies, it is because the Hollywood industry is broken and offers a much worse percentage of terrible product than ever before.  It is all computer special effects and PC Princess propaganda with few stories or characters )
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The problem with companies monopolizing a product or service is only apparent when you lose any ability to choose a substitute.  The power company is a monopoly, and your only alternative is to do without power or pay way too much on power storage ( the panels have gotten cheap enough, the batteries not so much ).  To counter that, local governments were supposed to regulate and control the power companies.  And they don’t do that anymore.  Right now I’m watching ads on YouTube about a Nevada senator being bribed by California interests to try to get our power grid hooked up to their dysfunctional “free market” one ( the ads are more subtle than that-I’m reading between the lines ).
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The medical industry always had a monopoly on what health care or drugs were allowed to be offered, but at least you could fly overseas for alternate treatment or experiment on yourself with alternate medicine.  Then, they forced everyone to own medical insurance.  You weren’t forced into treatment, but you were forced to bail out the insurance ( read “banking” ) and medical industry from their past greed ( who do you think was behind MediCare? ).  It wasn’t technically taking away choice, it just penalized you regardless.
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Another company skirting the issue of non-choice is Microsoft.  No, you don’t have to use them.  You never did.  There was always Macintosh at three times the price.  Oh, goodie, look at how Yuppie Scum and Rich Bitches get extra choices!  Now there are other operating systems if you are part of the Nerd Elite and can remain proficient in manipulating software.  There is even Google if you are a novice and don’t do much more than just surf the web.  The choices are rather constricted, however, when you previously bought into the Microsoft lie.  I’m not talking about sunk cost, but about proprietary programs.
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What do I do when all my many years of writing is in Microsoft Word?  Well, I put all of them into Adobe PDF.  That protects me against Microsoft and its ever changing word processor that has serious compatibility issues with older versions.  MS wasn’t satisfied with my extra money every time I bought a new computer.  It had to try to force me to buy new software.  But I like my old software.  It is better and easier.  Tough Terror Testicles, the Lucifer Minion Bill Gates cries out!  I was never an entrepreneur, but a business pirate.  How did you expect to be treated?
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My ten year old computer from Taiwan that has north of four million words typed on it, with the only issue being that the “E” is half rubbed off its key, is now useless because of Microsoft software.  My something like 15 year old word processor software was not compatible with the newest Word, but I could download a software patch that enabled the two to work together.  Bill had gotten money for the 2005 ( ? ) word processor as well as the 2013 one.  Why should I expect any issues?  Silly me, not enough OTHER people had bought the newest Word version.
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I would type in my old version software on my old computer, both the machine and programming superior for the task, then thumb drive transfer over to the new machine for Web posting and saving to another disc for redundancy.  Well, my MS run machine had a massive brain fart and wouldn’t run its WiFi connection and long story short I had to reboot the whole thing to the factory setting.  I then had to reinstall crap like Chrome and Adobe Reader and a few other minor things.  Then, I went to reinstall the software patch for the two word processor compatibility.  The exact same one I had before.
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And what happened?  Every single old Word file was corrupted.  I didn’t lose much.  Only three articles and one half completed book. Everything else was salvageable.  I’ll have to copy and paste the previous chapters of the Battle Rifle book from the Internet, rewrite the whole Hermit book, and double up on article writing for the week to replace articles.  That is minor.  That just reflects my slight lag time in backing up files to the backed up files ( I thought I had solved the old issues I always had with the older Word files, but as it happens, not 100%-the back up to the back-ups hadn’t yet been saved in the new Word, or converted to PDF ).
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In the great scheme of things, this is just a hiccup.  My hate and discontent stems from the fact I’m forced into productivity crippling equipment and software by Microsoft’s quasi-monopoly.  The new computer keyboard is ABOVE one of those stupid built in mouse pads.  I don’t type with both hands, so I can’t use the computer as a wrist support.  I type one finger hunt and peck ( rather fast, granted ).  The new board is more physically demanding and goes against twenty years of practice ( I can’t USB plug in a separate keyboard as I’ve tried before and the doubled distance between board and monitor creates a depth perception issue ).  And the software, oy!  What vile bloated crap.  I can’t just do a spell correct, it includes a grammar check.  And it doesn’t include an off-line dictionary.  Again, minor issues.  The whole point of getting the new Word was to be able to upload online and publish.  That it does.  It just sucks at content creation. 
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It is these endless bullcrap issues, these Deaths By A Thousand Cuts, almost every single company screwing you and decreasing quality, that eat up a good portion of your existence.  BAH!
( .Y. )
( today's related link https://amzn.to/2Oahpb4 )
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26 comments:

  1. re:
    the Has-Bro game called 'Monopoly'

    Insatiable with curiosity, I clicked your link. Three sentences jumped out at me:

    Token players.

    Bankrupt your opponents.

    Warning == choking hazard.

    Folks, around our place, we work together rather than competing (and hardly anybody gets choked). Does this work for you?

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    1. Clever. I liked your highlighted descriptions. :)

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  2. Jim, some times, not all times, the devil you know is better than one you don't know. The power company here in southern nevada is pretty reliable and costs are stabil in general. (Just expensive to cool in 100 degree plus summers) I would recommend Nevada Minion Brigade members vote against Q#3 ballot initiative to "deregulate" "end monopoly", etc. I always ask who is behind (who profits) from such schemes, and why is their so much seed money thrown around to push for a change to a perceived "injustice" of status quo. Small townies, all giddy for change at first, learned hard way when dollarstores, box stores, move in with price and selection "promises" but quality and service sucks. Then it is too late to call back into service mom and pop type of nostaglia. They are all gone and unrecoverable.

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    1. Question #3, for those that don't follow local politics, is "we humped California, would you like a turn at being Enron-ed, Nevada?"

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  3. The business models and modes of operation will evolve again and again. This will occur as "required" by those outside affecting forces. Government dictates of local, state, federal, international levels up in their asses. Demographics changed. Technology changed at a macro (unseen unneeded locally but must be incorporated to continue to function) levels forced changes. Populations evolve different habits or choices (bitches don't cook, nuke heat your dinner, or order from immigrant run, immigrant delivered franken-food hub type shop) The occurances are annoyingly experienced and observed by the older deplorable types only because they are living past that half century human expiration date encoded in the dna. Adapt or suffer the effects. No time machines, no going backwards and no restoring what were your fond memories, old man.

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    1. Change is built into the cake, as the system cannibalizes itself. And I shan't stop charging at those windmills. Not since they are all built on fraud and theft. Change due to outside forces are one thing, thieves changing the rules are another. There is no adapting to a rigged game other than avoidance. If possible.

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    2. That's a powerful paragraph right there and 100% true. Do your best to live as well as you can in spite of the obstacles.

      They had a saying in 1960's Czechoslovakia, "When the rules get tougher the people get sneakier."

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    3. And all societies productivity is enmeshed in that one activity. Oh well, we are only dirty peasants anyway. What can we offer to God's Chosen?

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  4. You should look consider downloading LibreOffice Writer Jim (It’s free). That’s what I use, but I run Linux, so my system already had it installed. It’s a good program, and lets you perform the same functions that MS Word does. But unlike Microsoft, Linux allows other operating systems to download their freeware programs. Personally, I hate PDF’s, and you can’t edit them, but you have a variety of formats to save in with LibreOffice. Just click “file” then “save as”, and at the bottom right, you’ll see an “all formats” tab. Just click the drop down arrow and you can see all the choices.

    By the way, is anyone else getting the following message when they post anonymously:

    "Comment with your Google account if you’d like to be able to manage your comments in the future. If you comment anonymously, you won’t be able to edit or delete your comment. Learn more"

    Yeah, fuck you google. You must think that I’m as stupid as the liberal idiots that you have for employees!

    https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I pay Adobe a fee every year to use their converter. I can just turn PDF into Word, make changes, then convert back into PDF. I don't know-it works well for me. But I am going to check out Libre-thanks.

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    2. Yes, 8:12. Google is pushing that conveinence and inclusion features across their platforms. This is like store club cards for discounts, cash back rackets, etc. It is "BIG DATA" vacuuming of information and customer data, as that has value and profitability uses. In simple Minion terms: BORG & MATRIX.

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    3. But...no diversity with the Borg!

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    4. I suspect that once I'm obligated to register an account I'll stop commenting. Nothing personal, just sick of the spying

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    5. We all have our tripwires for Going Galt ( in stages, anyway ). Always nothing but love from here.

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  5. Many folks think deregulation is the best way to go. But let’s remember what happened to the phone companys when they broke up the “Ma Bell” monopoly. I say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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    1. Sure, deregulation works really well. Like when the poor can't afford water after that utility got more efficient and private. Idiots.

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    2. I prefer the gov't at all levels to not be involved with anything at all. Everything it touches it fux up big time without exception. This country worked very well for most people in the early 1800's. It's been downhill ever since.

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    3. Just don't discount the banks. In the end, they are pro's compared to gov. Although they fight for championship titles :)

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  6. In 1994, after 22 years of designing buildings the old fashioned way, with pens, ink, parallel bar on a drawing table, etc., I decided to convert to CAD, Computer Aided Design. I previewed more than 30 different programs and finally settled on AutoCAD as, at the time, it was the only software out there that was customizable enough to do what I needed and required. It cost $3000. That was in 1994 and I upgraded every year through 2004 at a cost of around $1000 each year. In 2004 I decided not to upgrade any more and I was at that time using 3 different XP machines with the AutoCAD loaded on each. Then 10 years goes by and each of my XP machines failed one after the other and the last one failed 2 years ago. I bought a Windows 10 machine and tried to install my 2004 software. No go. I tried to buy new AutoCAD. No go. Monthly online subscription only at a cost of $200 per month. No way.

    I bought a refurbished Dell XP machine for $100 and installed my 2004 software. I'm back in business. I now have an XP machine on my desk for doing my work and a Win 10 machine on the same desk for emailing drawing files to clients. 2 computers, linked with a KVM wire to 2 28" monitors and 1 keyboard and 1 mouse. It's complicated and the wires are a nightmare, but it works. But for how long? I'm going to buy another XP machine and install all my working apps on it then rebox it and sit it in the corner for future access.

    24 years ago they taunted me into converting to their system then they snapped it off in my ass. Thank you veddy much. The day is fast approaching when I will no longer be involved in the tech world. Frankly, it is too expensive in time, money, and effort. And even worse, all of it is becoming uninteresting. Beyond that, the software and hardware are increasingly inefficient and burdensome to operate and the output is deplorable. One day my digital self will just vanish, the opposite of what it once did so long ago. I have been online in one form or another since 1988 and bought my first computer in 1984 and learned how to program the same year. Now I am almost done with all of it. Now I am abandoning them. Comeuppance....

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    1. I can feel you on wanting to chuck the whole mess. I'm going to hang on because even mail order I can send media in place of paper. But it is already on the right side of the bell curve by any measure.

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    2. My family's first computer was an Apple IIC. It cost $3,000 or 10% of a house.

      I've had a gut full of technology. We've passed peak everything. We're all just waiting for the flare & the whistle to signal it's go over the top

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  7. For those keeping track my latest fancy, GAT-wise is the Pattern 14 .303 I saw one at my LGS, 6 round stripper fed magazine, 400 yard battle sight, bayonet, modern cartridge but in a GAT with some character. What's not to like other than the ouch asking price.

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    1. Ha! You are the only one to agree with me that the Queen's 303 cartridge is "modern". Most of the semi-brigade think anything prior to the 308 or 223 was Napoleon era.

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    2. I likes my .348 but at $9 for each trigger pull I don't like it often. Winchester Model 71, 1957 vintage - Pappy's Pennsylvania deer rifle, I was 2 years old when he bought it for $125. That gun, today, in decent shape sells for $2k+, they haven't made em in 50 years and the cartridges are rarer than hens teefs. I have about 200 rds on hand. When I light that MF up the whole neighborhood comes running.

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    3. Sounds as practical as a black powder cannon. But, of course, just as fun.

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