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Free Apps!!! The Whole Hog. August 31, 2014

Posted by voolavex in Economics, Social Issues.
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I do not own any mobile devices.  Primarily because I don’t need any.  I have a cell phone I hardly use and a nice MAC consoleI use at home.  Would I like an iPad – yes, because I am lazy and like to loaf and be on the computer in bed, but I don’t need one and I am not in any need of a smartphone – although they make photos much easier. I did have a laptop I never used much either. Full disclosure.

I stood with my best friend in line for the first iPhone.  They ran out and we left.  I was fascinated but not compellingly so – I went to events where folks – later on – played AB on their iPads and I was really excited (indication of shallowness).  I hinted and whined but got no offers so I shut up, went home and killed green pigs at the console.

This was just about the time we were all invited to “Like Us” on FB or “Follow” us on Twitter.  Easy.  Great way for biz to collect data but wait…..data.  Collect data?  What kind of data? Oh never mind.  Just press Like..  So we did.  Luddites didn’t but I suspect there will be a time it will happen.  As a former PR person I really admired how fast a business or person could get publicity without much work.  We did the work then; the “social media” does it now.

And then came the APPS.  Download the app.  Get the app.  Use our app.  In the car – try out our app.  The bank app, the grocery store app, the unlock your home app, watch your kids on the sly app, watch anyone on the sly app. Read a magazine on our app.  Order anything on our app. See how easy a colonoscopy is on the free app.  Mobile phone, tablet/pad – wait – there’s an app for that.  The catch – you gotta buy the device.  Oh yea – some things can be used/had/bought for your lame old sit at the desk/console computer, but not the kind of stuff you can get with a “FREE APP”.  And you can “scan” – just wave the mobile device over something and off she goes.  So you get discounts and insider offers and special perks (the now tiresome and mostly data collecting “rewards points”.  OMG – Pavlov was right.  The catch?  You gotta own some device to do all this.  In order to join this mobile app extravaganza – you have to go and get the device.  These cost money and there is no app for that.  And once you succumb, you have to have a plan.  So now you have bought the device and the case (I like Ghurka, Fendi or custom color leather) that you must have to have to flaunt your style and the free apps and wait for it…the plan.  Since I don’t have a plan I have no idea what they start at but $40 sounds about right, for which you get access (use of) to the carrier and a certain amount of data space.  The more space, the more apps you can get FREE but then the meter starts to tick.

Do I have to explain this?  You have been offered yummy, scrumptious candy on a stick (the perks offered by the apps that are FREE) but in order to have them, you must have the device and what good is the device if it has no plan to store data?  So the circle closes and you are chatting and killing pigs and taking selfies (I HATE this word) and giving money to all these vendors of devices and plans (the apps remember are FREE) agreeing to required contracts with fees to opt out and “friends who can’t get one so would you help”, who don’t pay the bill and before you are even old enough to suck back a martini – your credit is ruined and you are facing Judge Judy being called a moron.

Since it is de rigueur for any child over five to tote a cell phone and/or tablet (and in some cases required) this runs into money.  Serious money. So when you see a gaggle of goslings chatting to each other on devices – tack on $40 a month a piece. The cost of living increase con can rationalize it.

For me, however, the best part is that you got all this tech because you were persuaded by the people who profit into getting it.  Without the tech you cannot get the FREE apps.  So the very next time you see an ad for anything at all – offering the FREE app – just remember all the steps you took to have it and buy it and pay for it monthly.  Those apps are not really FREE.

 

Next blog.  Texting and terrorism.

 

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In the New Yorker today – HCV News April 24, 2014

Posted by voolavex in common sense, Economics, Health, health care, Medical, Social Issues.
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The day after my post: The Cure. Your Liver.  $84.000.  The brilliant financial author James Surowiecki, wrote a piece on the Financial Page (p23) in the New Yorker. entitled “Biotech’s Hard Bargain”.  I  am most grateful to read a piece on the cost of HCV in such a prestigious and well read publication.  He brings a much needed reinforcement to the arguments of others who find the $84,000 price tag distressing.  In his piece he points out that Medicare is forbidden to bargain for better prices for drugs and that private insurers  are very upset and pharmacy benefit companies are suggesting their customers wait for a cheaper “cure”.  Pharma has tremendous pricing power and this is  one of the lures for investors.  Rather than dropping price, pharmaceuticals actually increase.  Wonder leukemia drug, Gleevac, has tripled since 2001. I would strongly suggest you read Mr. Surowiecki’s piece and see for yourself.  Some people want to wait until it is cheaper, but others simply can’t wait – and are on donor lists in serious need of a fix of any kind.  I am grateful to have my observations reiterated in this post. Thanks James.  The New Yorker is online, on newsstands and in the library – I invite you to read the Financial Page and my own post. And I wish all of you good health – at a price you can afford. 

Arrogance of Empire in the Land of the Free December 1, 2010

Posted by voolavex in common sense, despicable, Economics, freedom, Golden door, Politics, Politics & Religion, Social Issues, solutions.
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Each fabulous empire had it peak and then fell like the ones before it. Without this shit we would not have archaeology. Basic fact.

 It is audacious, therefore,  for this country to imagine it will last forever as the bright shining symbol of all that is good and great on this planet. We refuse or simply fail to see ourselves reflected in the mirror of  history. Other countries learn far better from their pasts and accept truths we think were made true at Disney Studios. 

As mentioned today in the media:  If the only reason for the GOP is to destroy the Dems –  a word of warning; they will  also fall on  their swords and we will have some kind of new and very scary government.  Our vaudeville Congress and “partiers”  have made us a joke worldwide for our retro revivalist politics, bigotry and narrow views.  Step back a little – We are no longer a great nation of hopes and promises kept – we are a nation of angry, obsolete petty snake oil salesmen – promises are made and the Loyal Opp makes it its job to see they cannot be fulfilled. 

This is no longer a country I recognize.  One party systems fast become one man systems and in this country we hold our politics in such high esteem we barely pay attention to how many rotten apples sit in the halls of  Congress waiting for job.   It must smell like hard cider by now.  I would advise those  southwest of our country – those who think they can achieve the American Dream to pack warmer clothes and keep moving until they hit Canada.

It is hard to continue loving a land that gave so much to so many only to have shot itself in the foot over bigotry and imaginary fears. Those who fear the  “Nanny” state are the ones who need supervision and limits the most.  People who know what their limits are have no reason to fear anything in terms of grift, graft and greed.  It’s not the crime that brings regrets to the political thieves – it’s the getting  caught.  The United States is out of control.  And it scares me to death.