Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Counterfeit Amazon

More than 90% of ‘genuine’ Apple chargers & cables sold on Amazon are fake, says Apple. Finally. Sold “Direct from Amazon” mind you.

Apple is suing the manufacturer but, curiously, not Amazon. I wonder if that settlement will be out of court — and not necessarily monetary. This has been going on for a long time…

I do hope Amazon will pay for this — one way or another. They ripped off a lot of people.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

How to give believers an exit from a cause gone bad

How do you give someone who has committed themselves to a bad cause a way out? You don’t do it by beating on how stupid they are …

From How to Build an Exit Ramp for Trump Supporters (Deepak Malhotra)

  1. Don’t force them to defend their beliefs … you will be much more effective if you encourage people to reconsider their perspective without saying that this requires them to adopt yours.
  2. Provide information, and then give them time … change doesn’t tend to happen during a heated argument.  It doesn’t happen immediately.
  3. Don’t fight bias with bias … the one thing you can’t afford to lose if you want to one day change their mind: their belief about your integrity.  They will not acknowledge or thank you for your even-handedness at the time they’re arguing with you, but they will remember and appreciate it later, behind closed doors.  And that’s where change happens.
  4. Don’t force them to choose between their idea and yours. … you will be much more effective if you encourage people to reconsider their perspective without saying that this requires them to adopt yours.  
  5. Help them save face…. have we made it safe for them to change course?  How will they change their mind without looking like they have been foolish or na├»ve?  
  6. Give them the cover they need. Often what’s required is some change in the situation—however small or symbolic—that allows them to say, “That’s why I changed my mind.” … For most people, these events are just “one more thing” that happened, but don’t underestimate the powerful role they can play in helping people who, while finally mentally ready to change their position, are worried about how to take the last, decisive step.
  7. Let them in. If they fear you will punish them the moment they change their mind, they will stick to their guns until the bitter end.  This punishment takes many forms, from taunts of “I told you so” to being labeled “a flip-flopper” to still being treated like an outsider or lesser member of the team by those who were “on the right side all along.” This is a grave mistake.  If you want someone to stop clinging to a failing course of action or a bad idea, you will do yourself a huge favor if you reward rather than punish them for admitting they were wrong…You have to let them in and give them the respect they want and need just as much as you.

If you’re a Vikings fan feuding with your brother-in-law from Green Bay feel free the break all these rules. If you’re worried about the future of civilization you might try this instead.

For #5, saving face, look for something they could have been right about. To a climate changer denier, agree that solar output varies. To a Trump follower, agree that the bleak future of the non-college adult wouldn’t have gotten attention without his focus.

I’m adding this recipe to the Notes collection I carry on my phone.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cumberland Wisconsin is peculiar

On a meandering drive home from a northern Wisconsin bike race I passed through the town of Cumberland Wisconsin.

It’s in the middle of nowhere.

Screen Shot 2016 10 10 at 10 33 20 AM

It’s a pretty town. Too pretty. Like something out of a Stepford Town movie. What’s going on with Cumberland?

The wikipedia article is what a small town (2,300 people) article should be — it reads as though it were put together by a local school. There are a few items that stood out for me…

… 34.2% German, 24.7% Norwegian, 14.1% Italian, 10.3% Irish, 9.6% Swedish and 8.2% English …

… 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals …

… median income for a household in the city was $32,661, and the median income for a family was $41,612… 

They have a fancy Carnegie library. From the history …

 … After the railroad began to operate, settlers quickly arrived in the area and by 1884 there were 24 saloons located in the area … In February 1893, the state board of health sent a representative to set up a quarantine on the Italian settlement due to unsanitary conditions … In April [1895], telephone lines were also erected in the city limits…  On March 15, 1905 a $10,000 donation from Andrew Carnegie established a Carnegie Library in Cumberland …

How common were telephone lines in 1895? Why did they gets such a big Carnegie donation in 1905? Does all this have anything to do with the what lives at the bottom on the lake?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

iPad High School: 1 out of 3 students return their iPad agreement

My daughter attends an urban high school. I think it is minority white (she’s not white).

Her school has a mixed reputation. It’s effectively segregated into an intensely academic non-black cohort and a low achievement largely black cohort. Students assaulted teachers at least twice last year.

The school distributes iPads to students. They are supposedly essential but half-way through the first semester they have yet to appear. The digital textbooks [1] the students use are designed for laptop use, they are not optimized for iPad use.

My daughter gets a lot of homework. It’s really too much, but the parents of the elite students are tigerish. Much of her homework requires an internet connection. Even assignments that could, for example, be done on a TI Calculator are better done using Desmos or Wolfram Alpha. Since the iPads haven’t been distributed yet her homework also requires a computer and thus WiFi service. And, of course, that internet connection with working WiFi.

At this school only 1/3 of the student body have bothered to return a signed document required to bring an iPad home. An iPad that, if one lacks WiFi service, is basically an expensive, fragile, and easily stolen doorstop.

This is not going well.

We need free universal urban net access. We can’t make this educational effort work without it. It doesn’t have to be high bandwidth. It doesn’t have to support high resolution video or allow YouTube access. It does have to be universal and free.

For now students would be better served by spending the iPad money on used older edition paper textbooks.

- fn -

[1] Want to give your child a large academic advantage? Order the low cost used paper textbooks from Amazon. Immensely better usability.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Why Trump? Blame the Vermont Teddy Bear company.

Why Trump rather than, say, Rubio?

To a first approximation, the globalization and technology driven collapse of the white non-college male, channeled by AM talk radio.

AM Talk radio which exists so advertisers can sell things to its audience. 

So who advertises for, say, Sean Hannity?

Which advertisers do business with Sean Hannity? |

Advertisers who do business with Sean Hannity include the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, Mozy, Tax Defense Partners, Legal Zoom and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

There you go. It’s all the fault of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

(Seriously, who really funds Sean Hannity?)