Archive for January, 2019

The New Edge

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

In 2015, Microsoft announced that it was replacing the Internet Explorer browser with a new browser called Edge, which would be included in Windows 10. When I tried it out it was very clear it was an unfinished product that had been rushed into production. It lacked very basic capabilities, with the indication that they would come at some later point in time.

In the past day or two, you may have heard that Microsoft is introducing a feature in the edge mobile browser to warn you of “unreliable” news sources. Just a couple of days ago, Microsoft announced it was going to end support for Windows for phones, so I was puzzled who the audience for this incredible update was. Surely there are people running tablets using Windows, but…

Much to my surprise, I learned that Microsoft Edge is now available for IOS and Android! So I went ahead and downloaded Microsoft Edge to my Amazon fire tablet (from the Google Play store) and fired that puppy up. After about 2 minutes, I said to myself “hold your horses – this is Chrome!”

It turns out that Microsoft did abandon their own browser and replaced it with the open source Chrome that was released by Google. I am struggling to think of any reason people would want this product. Because it defaults to using Bing?

The NewsGuard feature is turned off by default. All it does is put a little red warning icon if you go to Drudge Report or Info Wars or Daily Mail (.uk). At least for now, it doesn’t block you or your children from accidentally viewing dangerous news.

IHeart/Clear Channel bankruptcy gets final signoff

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

The Federal judge in Texas has agreed to the proposed plan to bring iHeart out of bankruptcy. The asset rich Clear Channel Outdoors (billboards, airport displays, European transit stops) will be split from IHeart and be given to creditors, who will likely launch an IPO and get at last some of their money back.

Getting rid of the debt obligations might allow iHeart to have cash flow beyond paying interest on their debt, however look for Pittman to “do more deals” with the cash rather than paying down the remaining debt.

State of the Union

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Television did not exist in 1791.

Until Woodrow Wilson, the State of the Union was a written document transmitted to Congress.

All the Constitution requires regarding the State of the Union message is:

Section 3

He(!) shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;

he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;

he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;

he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States

What if President Trump transmitted in writing a one page State of the Union address, leaving TV and Cable News networks with no rationale for airing an “opposing response” and nothing to talk about? And his sole proposal is to fund the border wall.

They might notice also that the President has the power (on extraordinary occasions) to Adjorn Congress and specify when they may (or may not) return. That would require the Senate to deliberately disagree with the House over when to adjourn.

The Nordic Gender Paradox

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Jordon Peterson is quite the troublemaker

He is a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. He started becoming known via the Internet making the case against gender neutral pronouns and his opinion that foceed “gender equality” will never work, because men and women are different and want different things from life.

The Nordic Paradox is that in Norway and Sweden, which have very high standards of living and government mandated gender equality, the percentage of females in management jobs is some of the lowest in Europe. You want to find countries with a higher proportion of female managers – look in Belarus, Latvia or Jamaica.

As countries push women into college education to advance their important careers, an odd thing happens. The number of women available to do child care dries up, forcing mothers to drop out of the work force or work part time to take care of the children. Since a large portion of the workforce works for the government and taxation is so high, there is no motivation to work harder – except for the men, who work long hours and stay in the work force continually, doing what they have to do in order to get ahead.

Inside Public Radio

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

This newspaper story from Binghamton NY gives some interesting insights into the business of public radio, specifically NPR type programming. This NPR affiliate is revamping their two groups of licenses to what they call “single format programming”, meaning carrying news and information all day or carrying classical music all day, and not commingling them.

The nonprofit running the stations commissioned three separate studies starting in 2009 (which presumably were funded by listener contributions or perhaps CPB) that all told them the same thing – that they needed to switch to single format stations to better serve their listeners. For 10 years, they ignored the advice of their consultants.

Another interesting takeaway, not particularly surprising, is that people who listen to the news and information format are more likely to give money to the station.

More money for bike trails

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

The Charlotte City Council found out that the cost of building the city’s “world class” bike trail is underfunded by $77 million, a 200% cost overrun. Unspoken is the section that may never get built is the section through the crime infested North Side.

People buying the luxury condos on the South End see the bike trail running by their building, probably unaware you can’t actually get to your job in Uptown using it. There is no bridge over the expressway that encircles Uptown, so the trail just ends abruptly.

You have to go onto a busy street that has a bridge and then wander around the convention center to reconnect to the fake section of the bike trail the tourists see

Bird Box Challenge

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

If it has not come up before, my father was completely blind from a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. This meant that by the early twenties, his vision started to fail as the retina could no longer sense light. By the time I was born, he had absolutely no vision left.

My older brother and sister were subjected to something similar to The Bird box challenge. For one day, they were unable to see and had to see how difficult it actually is to be blind.

A few examples to consider:

  • Open your wallet and tell the denomination of each bill
  • Identify the contents of the refrigerator
  • Eat a plate of spaghetti
  • Use a public restroom
  • Cross a busy street at a crosswalk
  • Order a meal in a restaurant
  • Read the newspaper (or Drudge report)

Now imagine dealing with this for the rest of your life, not just a single day.

Unfortunately, my brother’s wife has no empathy and encouraged my mother to “stop being a slave”, which ultimately pushed my parents apart. You can’t make your spouse completely dependent on you and then suddenly announce you are “on your own”.

New Year brings New Changes

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Air1, the Christian Rock companion to KLove has apparently realized you can’t trick teenagers into loving Jesus with fake rock music

The new playlist is described as Worship music, still targeting younger listeners but with songs where the lyrics matter