4/26/22 (18:21)
  • I can't tell you how often Google, or similar, will "improve" a product and it ends up reducing functionality. Google Drive used to backup all the files in a certain folder and it worked pretty well. Now they have the option to "stream" the files so they're not on your computer anymore, or you can continue to "mirror" the files that are on your computer. I chose this so that I can access the files even if I'm not online. It also serves as a backup to Google and vise versa, instead of having all my eggs in one basket. However, for some reason, I'm no longer able to search for anything in that folder. So, if I want to find a particular job folder by searching by street name or whatever I don't get any hits anymore. I'm not sure how the smartest people in the world continually make my life more difficult in an attempt to make it easier. This is but one example of this kind of crap and there are many others. The more I use a software the more I find issues with it.
  • Google constantly sends me emails about changes to features and products they offer that I know nothing about. They're constantly tinkering with shit - like changing Hangouts to Chat. I don't know anything about either of them so I'd rather not get updates about it. I use 1% of the shit they offer and I'd rather they stop fiddling with it.
  • Conversely, I've been using Netscape Composer to make this webpage for over 20 years. Doesn't do anything fancy, but it works. The only thing that keeps it from working are Windows updates that mess with things. Some day they'll update Windows to be even "better" and I won't be able to use Composer anymore. At that point I'll probably regress to Notepad. When in doubt, go backwards instead of deeper into their pile of shit..
  • Totally slammed with work lately and I have two projects with people waiting for me to finish in order for them to move into their new homes.
  • Then I have a couple other projects where people are moving out, but doing so slowly so it's caused delays. I don't understand how people say they'll be vacant from a place at a given time and then they totally ignore that deadline. Kinda hard to prep an entire house for paint while working around furniture.
  • I complain about Google and Apple and the rest pretty often, but I have to say that Capital One has been really good. I've had their CC for a long time and the app is great, the customer service is great, the coupon shopping browser add-on they offer saves me money seamlessly about 1/3 of the time, and I get 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which has saved us probably $10k+ over the years.
  • 2 months ago I was worried about being so slow and now I'm overwhelmed by how much work we have and not being able to get it all done in time. All those jobs we had booked, but weren't able to act on are starting to be ready finally and it's the worst possible time.

  • 4/11/22 (19:11)

  • Most recent This American Life had a little thing about some (women) Russian reporters getting beaten by Putin's henchmen. Good little story and the definition of courage. Meanwhile, in America, Amy Schumer gets called brave because she's chubby and had a naked photo taken of her. To her credit, she made fun of the idea, but it reveals what some in our culture think is bravery...

  • 4/7/22 (16:01)

  • Was talking to Antonio the other day and he said they have a saying in Guatemala - "if you want to help somebody, don't help them." Sounds good.
  • Trump's lawyer (Eastman) plead the 5th 146 times the other day when being asked about the insurrection plot. Why don't they ask these guys if they've ever molested children or murdered grandmas? Make them plead the 5th on that. It would be great TV (all that matters).
  • I wrote about this the other day and then a couple days later the Heterodox podcast had an episode about it basically reiterating what I said about the lack of (intellectual/viewpoint) diversity in academia. Good episode.
  • Here's another one from them where they talk about the importance of disagreement in increasing collective intelligence.
  • One economic mystery lately is why productivity isn't growing along with technology. Apparently productivity is slowing and that's an economic concern. My thoughts are that technology seems to be a double edged sword. It makes some things better, but it's not a panacea. People get all excited to bring computers and tech into everything thinking that it makes everything better because it makes some things a lot better. But it's not a panacea. It's a tool like many other tools. I see this in my work as well where guys learn to use cordless power tools and they make work a lot easier in some applications, but then they reach for the cordless tool to do everything. Sometimes a whack from a hammer or a quick swipe with a hand plane is better than a power tool, but not everyone learned to use those tools and most guys are in the mindset of using power tools so it's the first thing they grab.
  • The other thing that happens with technology is that it can serve to distract us (the other edge of the double edged sword). Not only can we quickly check out twitter or instagram (I'm not on either) and go down a rabbit hole there, but technology also seems to make us more distractible overall. Deep focus is a real challenge for a lot of people these days. It's definitely an issue for me, though I don't think technology is as much to blame as the nature of my job. That said, the fact that I can easily be contacted does definitely contribute to my distractibility. I might be trying to focus on laying out some cabinets or whatever and then I get a call from another job about a problem. Or an email comes in from a supplier. Ideally I would probably put the phone on silent, but then my fear is that there's a leak or emergency somewhere and I don't get that call quickly enough. And, yes, that does happen (happened just last week) and time is of the essence in those situations.
  • Another possibility is that it's death by a thousand cuts working against us being more productive. General ineptitude from the government and our fellow co-workers and citizens could definitely be contributing to slowing productivity. Life is more complicated, we're more distracted, we're surrounded by fewer capable people because of the steady erosion of our schools and vocational training, then there's COVID, social and political unrest, parking tickets, mask mandates, supply shortages, modernity, etc. and it all adds to a culture that is overwhelmed, underprepared, and massively fatigued.
  • It seems that people are more anxious than ever in my life. Maybe I'm just more aware of it because I'm older or because of social media or maybe people talk about it more because we're less stoic and more apt to complain or vent or claim victim status or because mental health is seen as more important nowadays. Some of that may be good and some of it may be bad. Overall, though, I get the sense that people are more stressed in society than they have been in my life.
  • If public libraries didn't exist then we wouldn't ever get them. What I mean is that they would be seen as socialism and there'd be no way that most state/local governments would spend money to create them. Same probably goes for the interstate highway system. Can you imagine trying to create something of that size in today's political environment? There's no way it would get done. We just don't have the tools and will to address an issue that size anymore. Just the process of acquiring land would take forever...between the indigenous peoples lobby and the environmentalist lobby and the BLM lobby. All claiming that the route was passing through sacred land or displacing native species or racist because the emissions would "disproportionately affect black and brown bodies." Environmental racism. On the other side, it would be seen as a massive expenditure and growing of the federal government. Another socialist expansion of the government and it would only be marginally better if Halliburton or whatever (just not the government) was in charge of building it. This is the crux of the problem. We can't solve our problems through the collective action of government because government has been captured by special interests, corporations, bureaucrats, and other entrenched powers. There's no problem too big if we can work together properly. This country took a year to build the greatest economic and industrial power in the world. Took a few more years to harness the power of the atom. We did those things to win our second world war and defeat the Nazis. We should be inspired by that toward further greatness. Instead we hardly care about those people. "They were all racists anyway. This country sucks. Fuck you pay me. Give me mine and I don't care about anything else."
  • How do we get out of this funk? We need great leadership. Obama had a lot of good qualities and maybe could have been that guy, but it didn't take. Maybe because half the country is really that racist or maybe because our media is so fractured and incompetent that people actually bought the Fox News lies. I don't know. I also don't know how up to the challenge he was considering today's landscape.
  • It strikes me that in 1992 Ross Perot bought 30 minutes of air time and had a conversation with Americans that ended up winning him 19% of the vote (would have been more if he hadn't dropped out of the race). He essentially paid for an infomercial and people watched it and voted for him. He was ahead of his time in talking about the federal deficit, though he may have been a one trick pony in that respect. But why hasn't anyone else done that? Dispersion of media is part of the problem, for sure, but I would love to see someone start a real conversation about the problems we're facing and the enormity of them. We're an empire in decline and we need to get serious about action. It starts with recognizing the current problems and the problems caused by our past. But we should also recognize that we're capable of doing great things. We've never really seen what this engine can do because we've never really let all our people reach their full potential. Let's make the next generation of Americans the best yet. Let's help them get there. Let's sacrifice the things that don't matter like our grandparents and great grandparents did, so we can achieve better things. Let's get off China's teet. Let's welcome a new generation of motivated and capable immigrants. Let's be economically fundamentally sound. Let's reach out to those we disagree with and offer them sacrifices first instead of keeping everything close to the chest because we're afraid of losing face to our base or looking weak. Let's do all the things that we all agree we should do, but don't because of politics. Let's offer grace to our fellow Americans. Because if we don't do these things then we're done for, and I don't want that.

  • 4/5/22 (17:51)

  • Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. Right now we have both. Money supply is high (see below). Too few goods is what the media focuses on - supply chain, Ukraine, etc. The Left points to the few instances (meat industry) where lack of competition is inflating prices artificially and tries to claim that it's all about greedy corporations driving up the cost of goods. Another thing they'll say is that inflation is an international problem so it can't possibly be Biden's fault. The reality is that it's a multivariate problem, but the biggest issues are the money supply and the supply chain. I agree with the Left when they say we should have more competition, especially in certain sectors, but that's not driving the cost of most goods/services. Further, there is some inflation in other countries, but ours is worse. People try to make everything political and that gets us farther from the truth, which is all I really care about. Politics is evil.


  • 4/4/22 (16:02)
  • Inflation high, unemployment low. Yield curve inverted. Basically 90% certain there will be a recession within the next two years.

  • Democrats are already going to get creamed in the midterms. Maybe we can get in and out of the recession quickly enough for 2024 to look good again. This also assumes they have a candidate who can string together sentences without getting contradicted later by his handlers. All in all we have the geriatrics running one party and nut jobs running the other. Economically we're not doing well. Overall, we're an empire in decline. All signs point towards a bad future.