The Alphabet of Manliness

Maddox, creator of The Best Page In The Universe, is releasing his first book – The Alphabet of Manliness. In case you’ve never seen his site, you may have seen a forward that went around with pictures of kids’ drawings and someone making fun of them. He created that.

I am really tempted to pick up this book. How can you go wrong with a review like this:

“So manly that even its sentences don’t have periods.”
-Dan Berman

PayPal Mobile – sounds like a cool idea

I just read this bit about the new PayPal Mobile, and it sounds really cool.

Like any new technology of this nature, what matters less is the technology around it, and more the chicken-and-egg problem of getting people to sign up for an account when there are no retailers using it, and retailers to start using it even though there are no people signed up. I’d love to see something like this take off though. Eventually a cell-phone based payment system could evolve to replace credit cards, and could probably be designed to be faster and more secure. This system is comparitively clunky, but would be a nice first step.

Plus if every print ad could effectively be a storefront, that might make print ads more profitable, which presumably would mean newspapers/magazines could charge more for them, and require less of them. Some magazines these days have 3-4 pages of ads before you even get to the table of contents.

Low Taxes Do What?

I found this article from Thomas Sowell pretty interesting. It was popular on today, even though it was written in 2004. It talks about one misconception I didn’t even think of (the difference between wage rates and labor costs) and one I was already aware of (tax rates and tax revenues).

One of the apparently invincible fallacies of our times is the belief that President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts caused the federal budget deficits of the 1980s. In reality, the federal government collected more tax revenue in every year of the Reagan administration than had ever been collected in any year of any previous administration.

At least we're living longer…

Slate has an interesting article about Social Security… not really interesting in that it says anything new, but I like it because it appears to have a bounty of facts, and summarizes a lot of the issues succinctly.

In 1950, more than 45 percent of men 65 or older were still in the labor force. By 2003, that percentage had plunged below 20. Five years ago, a study showed that men and women were retiring five and six years earlier, respectively, than their predecessors did 45 years before. Why? Because they could.

Potential crossroads ahead for Windows vs. Mac

I was browsing through some Windows Vista screenshots, and this one was particularly interesting. It was the new Windows Performance Rating tool. First of all, I think a tool like this is a great idea. It gives people a fairly simple way of figuring out if their computer is up to the task of running Windows, and if not, where they should best spend their money on upgrades.

The part about this screenshot though is, presuming the data displayed are real, it basically says that an Athlon XP1800 (supposed equivalent to a Pentium 4 running at 1.8Ghz) with a gigabyte of RAM is underpowered for Vista. Without making any judgements on that fact (I’m sure plenty of blogs will), the reality is that using Vista won’t mean “pop in a CD and upgrade from XP” so much as it will mean “time to go shopping for a new computer.” I know at this point I wouldn’t spend a few hundred dollars on memory and video card upgrades… never mind a CPU (which generally means motherboard too). It’s just “buy a new computer” time.

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A great Oragami summary

I posted my thoughts about the oragami a few days back, but I also really like this review from engadget. The first two paragraphs are great:

Here we go again. In its unending capitalistic quest, Microsoft is determined to figure out how to sell people their nth computer. Today, its ideal consumer’s computing inventory looks something like this — a couple of desktops around the home, a notebook for those mobile jaunts, a Media Center PC for controlling the television experience serving up Windows Media files to an Xbox 360 or lesser Media Center Extenders, and at least a Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone device.

But, wait. That could leave an unacceptable seven minutes and 34 seconds during waking hours when you don’t have a Windows license at your wallet-handling fingertips. What about all the times when a 2-pound ultraportable notebook is too much but a PDA isn’t enough?