keith’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jan 19th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Slants and Observations

    haha ok.

    At this point I can't tell if you are simply trolling or not. And I must say, I'm disappointed.

    I stand by the four points I enumerated above as taken from the original article. I think many reasonable people reading the post would come away with a similar analysis. I understand that we disagree, and that you have expanded on your points in the comments.

    I agree with you it is frustrating to be labeled 'anti 2nd amendment'. Reading your post though I can see how people could quickly jump to that conclusion. You lay the blame on the readers, I'm pointing out that the language used and structure of your article is implying more than you assume.

    FYI - I do not think you are anti-2nd amendment, nor have I stated so. Again, I'd say we probably have a difference in opinion over the spirit and proper implementation of it in society.

    I do find funny your rant on posters putting words in your mouth, yet you've done the same thing 'jumping at shadows' to make your point on the NRA "treading upon" the 1st and 4th amendment. I disagree with your conclusion that you are being logically consistent.
  • Jan 18th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Slants and Observations

    I think what we have here, is a failure to communicate.

    For one, I'm not upset/angry at you. I find most of your comments insightful and enjoy reading this site regularly.

    It seems like you feel like your point is being misconstrued. I'm trying to be honest in giving my view of how the writeup comes across. I think the comments demonstrate that the writing might not be as clear as you think.

    The article begins by stating the NRA is being "hypocritical and stupid" .. by opposing Doctors asking their patients about guns. On this topic, we disagree.

    I agree there is a significant amount of health care today that targets prevention. My personal opinion is that some of that can be appropriate. Exercise more. Eat better. Brush your teeth. I disagree that owning a gun qualifies as a 'medical' issue. Nor are questions like "Do you wear a seat belt, do you know how to use a ladder properly, or would you change a tire on a busy intersection?" You might disagree with me, which is OK. Again, this might simply be demonstrating a philosophical difference in how we view the appropriate the role of medical care in our lives. I think other commenter's on this site have posted some great reasons why my position shouldn't be considered loony nor paranoid.

    Then next few comments has a link and implies that the NRA is protecting the 2nd amendment (possibly) at the expense of the 1st and perhaps the 4th. On this topic, we also disagree. I didn't see calls for censorship anywhere in the article(s) linked.

    The 3rd point made in the article (I think?) is that you are asserting the NRA is being hypocritical decrying gun violence in some video games while themselves releasing video games that "glorify guns" and depicts shooting. On this topic, we disagree.
    I think you are also stating that it is a PR blunder because of how their actions might be perceived. I agree we see the world through our own filters, so there will be some who go nuts and feel like what they did was dumb, and others who do not.

    I completely agree that they look like jackasses decrying gun violence in video games, period. This site has talked extensively about the data (and lack thereof) trying to link shooting in video games and shooting in real life. So at least on that point, I think we can be in complete agreement!

    It's very difficult to critique ones own work, because as the authors, we know exactly what we were trying to say. I did find the language used and presented in this article to read more like a rant. It feels like the bait of switch via "So when did you stop beating your wife" line of questioning. I'm not being mean here - just a matter of fact. I understand you are trying to state a different point in your comments. Instead of being defensive, I'd give you more kudos for recognizing how your points could have been misconstrued/unclear and rephrasing, although you have taken quite a beating from some of these guys! :)
  • Jan 18th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Slants and Observations

    Tim really got the discussion started!

    On my initial read I was 'upset' and can understand the emotional response a lot of people have to this post.

    I read the comments, then re-read the article to verify my initial opinion, and I still read a very clear 'slant' in the article.

    I disagreed with the majority of points Tim made, and I do feel like the post was done quickly and his arguments sloppy.

    I read the links provided and nowhere did I see the NRA "trampling" on the 1st or 4th amendments. I think it's a very reasonable argument to state that media glorification of these events have a dramatic impact to society, and might play a role in 'copycat' events. I didn't read anything in those links with the NRA calling for government censorship.

    Look at the data, and at other articles on this site, gun violence (and violent crime in general) is on a downward trend over the last 40 years. Shootings like these are not "common", however they feel "commonplace" because of the constant media coverage and how our brains process tail risks / black swans / rare events.

    Other posters have made very reasonable counterpoints to some of the other points of the article. For example, I believe that there is no good reason for my doctor to ask me if I own a firearm. I don't go to him for advice on how to live, I go to him for diagnosis of medical issues / illness that my body is fighting. I believe there are real and sensible reasons to be cautious about this trend. That doesn't make me a gun-nut, a part of the 'lunatic fringe', or silly. I recognize we probably have different value judgements on privacy and the role of health care (and potentially the government) in our lives.

    I personally find nothing wrong with young children becoming familiar with and learning respect for firearms. Hell not 30 years ago my uncle would walk to school with a farm rifle, shoot rabbits on the way, string them up, and pick them up on the way home for dinner. When the principle found out the rifle was coming into the school he simply asked my uncle to leave it out by the fence row. Can you imagine this today? He would be branded a menace, sent to counseling, kicked out of school, and maybe even sent to jail. His life could have been ruined simply because other people were afraid, not because he posed a 'threat'.

    This hyper-sensitivity to guns is a relatively new development and somewhat difficult to explain. I think it has to do with how our 'primitive brains' process power differentials - as in, most people have no clue how to use a gun, but can quickly recognize that someone who can has a clear amount of power advantage over them. So because it's unfamiliar and poses a potential threat due to the asymmetrical power distribution, it's then branded 'scary' and 'wrong'. Just a theory.

    Also, killing an animal with a gun (for food or sport) is not the same thing as torturing animals (other commenter's made this point very well). For Tim to talk as if hunting == torturing is intellectually lazy, and yes, that is the implication in the article. That or he is a vegan is believes all killing is wrong, in which case we have a philosophical difference of opinion (of which I believe history still proves him wrong). It's interesting to think how far we've come away from understanding how the world works (and where our hamburger comes from). I think every middle schooler should have to go to a farm and kill, clean, and prepare a pig / lamb / goat / chicken whatever at least once - preferably more than once.
  • Jul 6th, 2012 @ 1:18pm

    Adding Value

    "they are creating artificial scarcity on top of the scarcity inherent in an item like a ticket to turn a profit without adding value."

    I have a distaste for 'scalpers' ... I don't like feeling like I paid more than I had to for, well anything. Like 'gouging' we feel ripped off.

    I disagree that the scalper is not adding value. If they were not adding any additional value they would never sell tickets for more than face value.

    Should we encourage or eliminate this behavior is an entirely different question.

    The simple fact is that people will value the same ticket at different incremental prices. Maybe they love the band, have a high income, or are buying a present for their significant other. The fact that they are willing to pay X(face value)+ Y (scalper markup) for a ticket demonstrates that they find that transaction worth while. It is clearly 'worth it' to the person making the purchase.

    There is no guarantee that tickets would be available had 'scalpers' not bought up large blocks of tickets. As another commenter added, they add liquidity to the market. They're taking a risk that they can sell enough tickets at a higher price to cover the cost of their initial investment.

    I agree that scalping is annoying and I don't like feeling cheated either. However to say that they don't add value is missing the point. They don't add value *to you* ... which is different. They guarantee tickets are available right up to when the show begins, which some people find very valuable.

    But again, if this is a practice we should encourage or eliminate is an entirely different question.
  • Jun 5th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    not surprised

    Watch out - I'm guessing the big providers will start offering very cheap 'capped' plans for home/residential use and start raising the cost of unlimited plans.

    Capping the bandwidth at 5gigs effectively kills most forms of file sharing, a key initiative for 'fighting piracy'. And no, they don't care about civilian causalities.

    I'm guessing we only have about a year or two until we will see 'special' zones that allow data transfers without counting towards your cap. These will be setup via sweat heart deals between the provider and their new service or partner. Want to compete w/ YouTube? Or Netflix? Pay an additional fee and now you are the preferred avenue for all of a networks cell users.

    Another likely scenario is we end up seeing all the major, entrenched apps (like youtube, netflix, facebook, Xbox, Playstation) get 'free bandwidth' to the user (ie - doesn't count against your cap)... which they of course pay the providers for the privilege. This raises the cost of entry for new startups in that space, and helps keep the user on their service.

    Mike has talked alot about 'transaction costs' .. users will unconsciously feel a higher transaction cost when using a service that counts against their cap, and thus gravitate away from or limit their usages. Pretty good way of keeping the status-quo.
  • Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    (untitled comment)

    "owngrade will bully policy makers into even more deflationary, contractionary policies"

    Seems unlikely considering the massive spending binge our government is on ... the problem is the debt... you don't get out of debt by spending more.

    For all the talk about "cuts" the plan is to spend more money this year than last, and more money next year than this year.

    Cuts are when you spend less money than you did prior. So far they haven't suggested trying that action.

    They won't allow deflation to happen because of our debt load. My money is on the coming inflation.
  • Jun 2nd, 2011 @ 9:09pm


    "Why can't these two companies just focus on competing in the marketplace, and letting the best company win based on who's buying what?"

    Because there is a *shitload* of money involved, that's why.
  • May 26th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    born this way?

    This topic is very interesting to me (much to friends dismay) and we have many heated conversations about it.

    Ultimately, they have decided that there are no major differences between an "idea" and a "chair", and the two should be treated as the same.

    They literally told me that the only difference between a song and a chair is that you can make infinite copies of the song cheaply. Else, they are the same (property of an owner) and should be treated as such.

    My view is that difference IS the point! My friends trivialize this amazing property of a song/idea/text and miss how this makes them fundamentally different from a physical, tangible good.

    The disagreement is a fundamental differing view based on how an individual sees the world. Much like a faith based belief, it is nearly impossible to change someones mind once they start building their arguments/model around these assumptions. They simply have too much intellectual investment in their view to change it regardless of the data.

    It's interesting because the argument will typically come back to: "An artist deserves to get paid", "How else will people make money?", or "We need to protect the little guy ... without a patent, what stops a big company from stealing from you?" .... it amazes me the cognitive dissonance in these statements, because it ignores all the data that disputes their belief. Like most, they choose to only look at the data that supports their position.

    It's frustrating because what seems like pretty concrete evidence gets dismissed outright simply because it doesn't mesh with their belief on the topic.

    So Mike, it's more like your trying to convert people to a new Religion than teaching them Geometry. Which is probably why logic and facts don't get you very far. You are literally turning their world upside down.

    Knowing its a religious debate, how might you change your tactics?
  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 7:32am


    My theory - this is just crony takeover just like killing other disruptive technology/early adopters.

    This is just the 1st step to bleeding off the existing market share of the current players.

    Next, congress will make online poker legal, but you must use state/federally approved services.

    Those services will be provided by the large lobbying casino firms that are currently behind in the game.

    In return for the gift of killing the existing businesses uncle sam will be rewarded with campaign contributions and any and all other kickbacks under then sun. Wink wink, nudge nudge, thanks for helping your buddy out!

    that is all.
  • Mar 28th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    (untitled comment)


    One full-time exempt headcount making ~80k a year will cost a company between $150-200k a year including additional taxes and depending on benefits, medical plans, required computer hardware/software licenses, office space, overhead.

    So - think about a 'team' assembled to go make this happen.

    1 "Director" w/ base annual compensation ~200k (costing the company up to 400k per year)
    4-5 Senior level reports to the director each making 100-150k per year in base salary (finance, purchasing, marketing, legal, product) $250-$350k per year each.
    400k+(300k x 5) = 1.9M
    15-25 full time employees reporting to the senior level. They make anywhere from 35k -> 100k themselves depending on job function. Company cost between $60-250k per person.
    1.9M + (20x150k) = 4.9M

    Who knows how big the team was that was assigned to 'go figure this out' but it looks like they staffed up around 40-50 full time employees to make it happen.

    In a company with a 1.5B market cap and over 7,500 employees world wide ... $40M isn't that surprising for a corporate entity.
  • Mar 24th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    (untitled comment)

    eh - i think you are overblowing the issue. the phone call hasn't died, communication has just become more efficient.

    its more efficient to text someone 'be there in 5', etc.

    but the voice call won't die - after all, sometimes it's just nice to hear someone elses voice.
  • Mar 21st, 2011 @ 5:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    "It would be interesting if a Nobel Prize winning economist... such as Paul Krugman... decided to make that point to the geniuses in upper management at the NY Times."

    Ha! Krugman stopped being a serious economist a long time ago - now hes just a sellout for a fat paycheck and writes to defend whatever position the times wants him too .... which, is his choice and I don't really blame him. mmmmm fat paycheck.
  • Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 9:00am

    (untitled comment)

    Wait - so this little lunch box has:

    1) A skull and cross bones on its cover
    2) A red LED, possibly blinking
    3) Is full of wires and electronics
    4) Has protruding antenna

    $10 says the 1st person to carry this through an airport gets a free body cavity exam...
  • Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 8:54am

    (untitled comment)

    I agree with Mike, in the short term the pirate party has a fun ring to it - however I'd also be concerned about the long term name recognition ... have you seen the news recently about the real pirates off Somalia? While obviously completely unaffiliated ... the connotation remains. Real Pirates are not people fighting for freedom or standing up for their rights - they are thieves and cold blooded murderers. It sounds more like a movie gimmick than a serious political party.
  • Feb 10th, 2011 @ 6:11am

    My submission

    I see no relevant distinction between American vs Non-American innovation. Regardless of borders, innovation improves our quality of life through additional efficiency and/or adding new products for us to consume. This is more apparent today than at any time in history due to the global information network, interconnected economies, and transportation infrastructure.

    The biggest obstacles I see are:
    1) Future uncertainty with respect to legislative compliance
    2) Governmental restrictions affecting resource management

    Specifically, obstacle #1 directly addresses a host of legislative measures that make it very difficult for businesses to plan for the future. From tax structure to worker compensation, with what new laws or regulations must they comply? The bureaucratic nightmare to start and operate a business must be addressed.

    Obstacle #2 encompasses all forms of barriers. Trade tariffs, hiring restrictions (H1-B visas, for example), patent system failures, government granted subsidies (state picked winners and losers), and outdated / unintended consequences of poor legislation are examples.

    To address these concerns we need both strong leadership and principled, results driven decision making from Congress. "The Government that governs least governs best" is a good analogy. Let the men and women who run our businesses make the best decisions they can, unencumbered by Government intervention.

    We need to remove all forms of government granted subsidies and tax breaks and set an even rate. We need to remove the barriers for US companies to hire the best and brightest from around the globe, and we need to address the broken patent system that all too often is used to hinder to new development, not to promote progress.
  • Jan 26th, 2011 @ 10:00am


    But Mike, think of the children! Obviously the right thing to do is for Congress to hold a special session and legislate software timer locks for all video game systems that only allow 60minutes of playtime per day.
  • Jan 18th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Re: Lots of reasons

    #1 -- It is not just about receiving a cash payment, I believe they have a direct financial stake (control) in blockbuster (and/or other 'instant view' services), and this is the way they are trying to differentiate themselves in the market place to try and unseat Redbox. Just offering a 'blockbuster' version of Redbox probably wouldn't unseat their customer base ... but giving them a 'RtB' may, and by making Redbox less convenient to the consumer they don't have to innovate, just copy the existing model.

    Redbox was a wildcard, managed by people outside the fold, with incentives that don't match up with the traditional corporate efforts of the studios. The whole 28day release was a strategic move by the studios to kill Redbox.
  • Dec 3rd, 2010 @ 10:03am

    (untitled comment)

    "How can experts working at the TSA be so incredibly misinformed and misguided..."

    Uh ... they work for the TSA? What part of their track record would hint at informative, thoughtful, and appropriate decisions?

    Let's see:
    1) Vague and impossible directives
    2) Zero accountability
    3) Nearly unlimited budget
    4) Nearly unlimited power

    ....sounds like a recipe for success...
  • Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 9:34am

    (untitled comment)

    Talk about not understanding your audience ... or just truly not caring. I guess if they are still pulling in 20mill+ a year from touring, it isn't like they were 'punished' at all. As stated, what does he care if they sell 10 albums or 10 million in the store - that doesn't really hurt the band.

    I also stopped listening to them for a long time as a boycott -- but then decided that was counter productive because I really liked some of their songs -- S&M album in particular. Why deny myself that joy?

    I still refuse to see them in concert or give them a dime of my money because they acted very stupidly and hypocritically (see Ima Fish comment above).
  • Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    (untitled comment)

    Nope. But as we know, this has nothing to do with safety.

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