4-14-12 Hodgepodge

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Technology -- or Progress?

I have had much better luck than Marco Arment with my bank's mobile phone check deposit feature, and keeping track of the check until it clears fits more smoothly into my particular scheme for tracking paperwork. However, he does have a point about technological advances that turn out to be less convenient than older ways of doing things:

[Using an ATM is] much faster and simpler than a photo deposit. (I can also get cash while I'm there. Can't do that with the iPhone app.)

And then it's done. The check is out of sight and out of mind. I know that if anything goes wrong, the bank will mail me something about it, although I've never had an ATM-deposited check get rejected by the bank later.
My "favorite" example of poorly-applied technology is voice mail that asks me to identify myself, but apparently fails to transmit this information after screening to the human being who is supposed to help me with whatever I am calling about. "Isn't that what computers are for?" I usually ask myself as I roll my eyes and again give out something that should have popped up on a screen at the other end of the line. (Of course, this process probably is more efficient for the business, but what does it say about them that they didn't know or care enough to make such a small and obvious improvement in their customers' experience?)

Weekend Reading

"Instead of demanding that government do its only legitimate job -- namely, respect and protect individual rights -- this political tradition tries to make sure everyone votes, no matter how stupid they may be, and insists that nearly every issue should be open to a vote." -- Richard Salsman, in "Why Progressives Like President Obama Loathe Judicial Review" at Forbes

"Recently, gold has tended to rise and fall along with stocks, acting like a risk asset itself rather than a hedge to them." -- Jonathan Hoenig , in "Gold Bugs May Get Squashed" at SmartMoney

"[T]hinking before you speak presupposes that you have somewhere else to think!" -- Michael Hurd, in "Is that ME talking?" at DrHurd.com

"If the government tried to apply antitrust laws consistently, it would amount to the abolition of business. In practice, what it does is go after the most successful companies." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, in "3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About the Apple Antitrust Case" at Forbes

Upcoming Book

At the end of their piece, Brook and Watkins add the following: "Full disclosure: Our forthcoming book, Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government, is being published by Palgrave Macmillan, one of the publishers targeted by this antitrust suit." You can learn more about the book, which comes out in September, here.

It's Official!

I suspected that Baby Van Horn was trying to say, "Daddy" the other day, but I wasn't quite ready to say she'd started talking. Yesterday, Momma Van Horn asked Baby Van Horn who I was, and the baby clearly said, "Da-da," as opposed to merely babbling -- on several occasions. The second time, she smiled  when we praised her and "barked" (a sound she makes, often when she seems to have made a mental connection of some kind).

I'm calling her a talker, now.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

"insists that nearly every issue should be open to a vote."

Hi Gus,

I got on the mailing list for leftist petition site "care 2" and have made a point of archiving their various appeals.

One thing that has been made clear by this little exercise is that there is literally nothing that they don't think they should mind their own business about - and, correspondingly, that the government shouldn't regulate. Along with a healthy dose of pie in the sky wishful thinking that if just enough people signed a petition, then those mean dictators would suddenly stop killing people.

It is a curious mix of naivete and totalitarian power lust that the rank and file leftists bring to their version of 'realpolitick.'

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

It looks like a contradiction that they are both totalitarian busybodies and alleged fans of voting -- until you see the scare-mongering and outright lying they use to gin up support for their various pet causes.