• wdburt1



    Viewing 15 replies - 46 through 60 (of 363 total)
    • in reply to: Will your flip phone work tomorrow? #2427886

      I have the same Kyocera phone you had.  It’s a big improvement over the 3G phone it replaced, which I bought in 2008.  That phone required one secret handshake after another.  The current one has more features but is more intuitive, which is necessary for me since I don’t use it daily and don’t want to have to dig out the manual all the time.

      I could use my iPhone when I’m on the road, but the flip phone won out.  It powers on faster and is less likely to present me with surprises and distractions and decisions I have to make before I can do what I want to do, which is make a call.

    • in reply to: Will your flip phone work tomorrow? #2427308

      Older cars with Internet connectivity may lose it.  The linked article lists affected models.


      This seems to resemble what happened to navigation systems provided by the automobile manufacturers, which were soon bettered by nav systems that could be used on a smartphone.  That bit of tech, for which the customer often paid extra, turned out to be the weak link in the automobile’s longevity.  It’s happening again with internet-connected refrigerators, security systems, and other IOT.



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    • in reply to: Will your flip phone work tomorrow? #2427167

      I replaced my old flip phone with a 4G model two years ago, and suspect that by now 4G phones probably outnumber 3G by a large margin. As far as 4G phone owners are concerned, the title of this thread is clickbait.

      That, coupled with some unintended confusion down-thread, prompted me to waste five minutes or so this morning searching to find articles confirming that, yes, 4G phones will continue to work for the foreseeable future while the 5G network is rolled out, and probably for a long time afterward. At least I learned that, while 5G is faster, 4G is better at maintaining signal over long distances, which for someone out in the sticks matters a lot more.

      So I can keep my trusty flip phone after all. The Internet…(sigh).

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    • I decided against multiple monitors a few years ago because I could fit an 8 1/2 x 11 PDF and an 8 1/2 x 11 Word doc on the same 24-inch (16:10) monitor, both at 100%.  So if I want to transcribe a quote from the PDF to what I am writing, I can.  Works for me, all day ‘long.

      I write history and have too much paper around.  As I increasingly convert that paper to PDF, I occasionally see the need for another screen, but not that often.

      I have a second 24-inch monitor on the Internet computer a few feet away, and several in storage.

      All my monitors are circa-2007 CCFL monitors, using more energy and putting out more heat than LED, but easier on the eyes, which is why the federal government issued a  warning about excessive blue light’s effect on macular degeneration, and why manufacturers ever since have promoted gimmicks to “limit” blue light by filtering it through yellow filters.  I tried LED monitors but couldn’t stand the assault on my eyes.

    • in reply to: Our world is not very S.M.A.R.T. about SSDs #2423859

      I learned something from this piece.  Thanks.

    • in reply to: Are NFTs a plague on humanity or a technology you can tame? #2423790

      It’s not hard to understand the desire of people living in places like Venezuela to find some alternative to their government’s debased money. All the same, it would be well to remember that for many Russians their experience with [what was erroneously labeled] the free market after the collapse of the Soviet Union consisted largely of getting scammed out of what little they had. We can see where that has led. I have to wonder whether the result will be the same with crypto. Free enterprise depends on freedom from force and fraud, and given human fallibility, that requires the rule of law, with all the issues that brings.

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    • in reply to: Tried, tested, and true: Max Stul Oppenheimer #2422387

      “The breakthrough in pharmaceutical law is usually the discussion of how to run a company where the first product off the assembly line costs $1 billion and the next one costs pennies. Similar issues arise with software: the nth copy of Windows 11 costs next to nothing to produce and deliver.”

      This comment made me smile.  I have long used the same examples in writing about pricing controversies in economic history.  The real pioneer in this respect was the railroad industry, which found that as soon as rail lines had been built, the additional cost of moving freight and passengers was relatively small, and competition often drove rates down to just above marginal cost, or when managers lost their heads, below it.  The nation’s development benefited enormously from this, but the process was often chaotic and inspired a lot of unrest.  Regulation was introduced to stop it, generating a vast literature over the next century.

      When business schools taught students how to budget for total expense forty or fifty years ago, they used examples that showed a relatively modest floor of fixed expense and perhaps interest on the capital investment, on top of which was piled variable expense, which grew as production increased.  Conversely, pricing was supposed to be mainly an exercise of adding up the costs of production, then topping it all off with a percentage “burden” representing an allocation of fixed expense and capital recovery.  These models no longer represent much of the economy.

      Industries with heavy capital investment up front and relatively low cost of production are examples of what used to be called the substitution of capital for labor, often equated with human progress.  As the process advances, these industries must wrestle with pricing problems like those that 19th century railroads faced.  They take shelter behind patents and lawsuits as long as they can.  They try to extract what revenue they can while the product is new, and to target customers with greater willingness and ability to pay.  They try to replace one-and-done sales with subscription arrangements.  They merge and buy other companies in order to corral enough customers to recover their development cost.  Sort of like the way railroads cut rates to build traffic so could recoup the cost of construction.

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    • in reply to: 68.7 billion dollars later #2419829

      I’m having trouble squaring mismanagement–say, empire building for the sake of the pay increases, prestige, and perks–with long-run increases in the value of the shares.   The landscape is littered with the carcasses of conglomerates like GE that appeared to make it work for a time but eventually went bust.  This is not to deny that some, maybe many, shareholders are sucked in during the early part of the cycle (a/k/a the greater fool theory).  Been there, done that.

      Meanwhile, the standard theoretical assumption of “all other things being equal” almost never holds true–there’s lots of other stuff going on.  How much of Microsoft’s valuation in the stock market simply reflects optimism about the continuing impact of technology on our lives, and the company’s leading role (deserved or not) in the industry?  And I was wrong about the 30% increase in the money supply since the end of 2019.  As of November 30, the increase in M2, the best-accepted measure of the money supply, was 38%.

    • in reply to: 68.7 billion dollars later #2419590

      I don’t know why we expect big companies to repeat, forever, the innovation that gave them a start and the clever business strategies that made them big.  Large businesses typically go through a life cycle that includes a phase where their existing products are throwing off more cash than they know what to do with–meaning, in other words, that they have run out of ideas.  These companies buy others in an (usually misguided) attempt to import innovation, then often smother it.

      The exceptions to this experience–the companies that can keep the innovation coming–are rare and prized by buy-and-hold stockholders.  Those short-termers who put more value on cash-rich behemoths will bid up their stock prices, too, until acquisitions and other forays have exhausted it.

      Economic theory says that excess cash should be returned to shareholders through share buybacks or other means.  But it’s a rare management that can resist the temptation to build an empire, and many too easily believe their own press releases.  If management claims that they have turned innovation into a process that can be applied anywhere–that they possess the expertise to take over and grow any kind of business–run for the hills.  Remember General Electric?

      Companies currently are sitting on a lot of cash partly because of the 30% increase in the money supply since the end of 2019, coupled with continued negative real interest rates.

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    • in reply to: Browsers with the best security and privacy in 2021 #2404134

      Practically everyone here knows more than I do, but the idea behind the two-browsers strategy was explained to me this way: If malware infects the browser you use for general web surfing etc, the other one will not be compromised.  If you’re using the second browser for online banking etc., your bank is unlikely to be the source of malware.


    • in reply to: Browsers with the best security and privacy in 2021 #2404125

      Another excellent article from Brian.

      There is something to be said for using two browsers, one for general web use and the other for more sensitive stuff.  I have seen this strategy described as the second level of security, the third being to use two different devices.

      But watch out for the temptation to use the second browser for general web purposes when the first one doesn’t work right.  It’s important to keep the second browser as clean as you can.

      I have been using this approach for a couple of years now.  My browser choices were consistent with Brian’s recommedations.



    • in reply to: The annoyances of printers #2397176

      It turns out that I have some that I haven’t used yet.  It was recommended on a forum:

      CaiKleen RBR rubber cleaner and rejuvenator


      Package says: Re-condition rubber surfaces and bring back its original surface texture, flexibility & usability.  Use on [among other things] Copiers/Printers.



    • in reply to: The annoyances of printers #2396964

      I forget the name of the stuff–there are multiple brands–but you dab it on the roller and work it into the rubber, and it corrects the hard sheen that forms on old rubber, which is responsible for most of the issues with failure to finish picking up sheets of paper, i.e., “paper jams.”

      Can’t address other printers, but a lot of the HP 4P printers listed on Ebay just need one or more rollers renewed or replaced.




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    • in reply to: The annoyances of printers #2396799

      I still use an HP LaserJet 4P and have a spare in storage. I bought my first one in 1995 and have used them ever since. Not the fastest, but reliable and will run forever on a toner cartridge. Rubber rollers get dried out but can be restored. Fusers wear out but can be replaced. I haven’t had good luck with aftermarket toner, but HP toner can be still be bought online, at the risk of occasionally getting a cartridge that is over the hill.

      You mention how the manufacturers decided that they were in the business of selling toner rather than printers. I turned away from newer printers when they started installing tech that disabled the printer when the toner cartridge reached a preconceived number of pages. The 4P will often print well beyond the number of pages a cartridge supposedly is good for. When the pages start showing signs that you’re out of toner (and you’ve tried the trick of shaking the cartridge sideways and it doesn’t work anymore), then you know you’re running out and you’ve gotten your money’s worth. Which of course is precisely what the manufacturers want to prevent you from doing.

      Everybody wants something for nothing. With that little bit of tech the manufacturers figured out how to get it. So my HP 4P soldiers on.

    • in reply to: The first Google search result often leads to a virus #2395486

      Funny thing, that same question occurred to me just now but I couldn’t frame it well, so didn’t.

      I have a hunch that my specialized searches might not be targeted so much.  Certainly, a dead-on-result from an unfamiliar web site would stand out.


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    Viewing 15 replies - 46 through 60 (of 363 total)