Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fear of change is rational

I wrote last week about upgrading my DSL service, and finished with a sarcastic "what if I can't get on the Internet at all. Nah, that'd never happen."


It WAS faster, but the network connection started randomly dropped for a minute or two every hour or so. A very nice Verizon repair person just left after spending four hours here fixing problems with the wires both inside and outside the house. Our house was built in 1862, so I expect to run into issues whenever we upgrade anything. I have faith that my new and improved phone lines will make my life a little bit better over the years, which will make up for the time I lost talking with Verizon to fix the glitches.

Now if we could just fix the glitches in our health care and political systems I'd be a really happy camper.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mr. Wishy-Washy

I'm having trouble getting worked up about tomorrow's election. None of the campaigns speak to me; they seem to be targeted at hot-button issues like The Threat of Terrorism or Abortion. And I haven't done my homework-- I didn't watch any of the debates and don't know much about any of the candidates. I decided to do some homework today, so I went to and took their "VoteMatch" quiz to see which candidate I agree with the most.

Results: Kennedy: 35% Coakley 33%. Brown 33%
Or, in other words, I mostly disagree with all of them.

I'm wishy-washy on the health care bill, so I'm unmoved by arguments that "you've gotta elect (Brown/Coakley) to (prevent/ensure) we get health care reform." I do think that it's better to divide power between the political parties rather than have one-party rule, so that's a reason to vote for Brown.

It's just not a terribly good reason.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wildly Irresponsible Predictions for 2020

It's the beginning of a new decade, so what the hell: here are five things I think will happen in the next ten years:

1. Google's operating system will be a big success; lots of people will choose an Internet-centric computer that doesn't have all the virus and software update and slow bootup problems of Windows.
2. A Republican will be elected President in 2012 or 2016.
3. In 2020 health care costs will still be rising, and we'll still be arguing over what to do about it.
4. The consensus on Global Warming will be that the Earth isn't actually terribly sensitive to CO2 levels, and that while warming will have significant costs it will also have significant benefits, so the best solution is "deal with the consequences, don't try to prevent CO2 emissions."
5. Medical marijuana will become legal in at least 10 states.

I hope that 1, 4 and 5 happen.

2 worries me (I really don't like the direction the country took under the last two Republican presidents).

And I think 3 is inevitable; even if we get British-style single-payer healthcare or a more free-market Singapore-style system, we'll spend more on health care because we'll be older and richer (on average) than we are now.

Call Verizon (then call your mother)

If you've had high-speed Internet for a while, you should call your Cable or DSL provider and ask about upgrading.

We've been paying for Verizon 1.5MBit DSL service for a couple of years, and a couple of years is a long time in the technology world. So I emailed Verizon, they eventually emailed back and told me to call them, I call and get lost in their robot phone system but persist and eventually get a very nice and efficient customer service person who switches me to a 7MBit plan that costs only $1 more per month. With a special offer of "first six months only $30/month".

So starting Friday I'll be blogging four times as fast!

Unless Verizon screws something up and I can't get on the Internet at all. Nah, that'd never happen...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 Predictions

Image by rakka
I've been having trouble coming up with interesting predictions. It's easy to predict things that are virtually certain to happen (I'm certain my New Years cold will go away eventually, even though I'm not taking any vitamin C or E or echinacea or gingko biloba or zinc). I'm far from 100% certain that any of these things will happen in 2010, but I think they all have a greater than 50% change of becoming true:
  1. The Democrats will lose 7 or 8 seats in the Senate in the November 2010 election.
  2. There will be a kerfuffle when images supposedly from airport backskatter X-ray machines are leaked to the Internet.
  3. A Schleck will win the Tour De France.
  4. The president will sign a Cash for Caulkers bill.
  5. More than 100 banks will fail in the US.
  6. General Motors will sell fewer cars than they sold in 2009.
  7. Ford and Toyota will sell more cars than they sold in 2009.
  8. We'll have a white Christmas.
  9. Spring Town Meeting will last 5 or fewer nights.
  10. Amherst will pass an override.