Thursday, January 24, 2008

OT: iTunes movie rentals and NBC

Well, I don't think netflix has anything to worry about yet from iTunes renting movies. It's a very unsatisfying experience. You only get to watch the film once and you have to finish watching it within 24 hours. That sucks. I think a business model change is in order there.

Also, without the networks putting their best serial tv up on iTunes (especially NBC), it's not as good of an experience. The best part about iTunes with an appleTV was that you could watch shows when you want within a day or two of it actually airing. That was really cool. HD would be cool, too, but I'll have to buy LOTS more drive space to support something like that, although Apple is already experimenting with it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

OT: Stimulating the economy

So now all the political talk is about passing some sort of bill to stimulate the economy because of the trouble we're having. Lets set aside for a moment that the sub-prime mortgage crisis is completely over-blown and what we're witnessing is the inevitable correction that occurs with any bubble market. What is about to happen is a lot of noise from Congress and the President while they pick winners and losers for this round of hand-outs.

What is likely to happen is some sort of cash payment in the form of an income tax rebate. The problem with this approach is that many people will not necessarily change their buying habits. Many people simply put all of their receipts into their bank account and withdraw as needed. Unfortunately this type of behavior mitigates the stimulus effect that the government is hoping for. So, if you get a check, spend it.

Now, think what would be possible if we were under the Fair Tax. All of the wrangling in Washington trying to decide who should get a benefit and who should be punished goes out the window. There would basically be 2 strategies available for them to boost the economy, either reduce the tax temporarily or increase the prebate. Increasing the prebate suffers from the same problem that the cash payment under the current system has. We don't get the full effect because we don't change people's buying patterns.

The other method would be to do something like a tax amnesty day (or days). This would have a huge stimulative effect on the economy. People on the fence on larger purchases would have a major incentive to make their purchase on the amnesty day. There is no ability to "save" a tax amnesty. The wealthy would have a huge incentive to inject large amounts of their savings back into the economy. And the poor would have an opportunity to make their money go about a third further for that day.

It's unfortunate that adoption of the FairTax is not the hottest issue on TV or in the papers. It is the ONLY big idea in this campaign season that has the potential to improve the life of all Americans, make us more competitive overseas and remove massive amounts of corruption in Washington.

It's also unfortunate that the only front-running presidential candidate to support the Fair Tax is Mike Huckabee, and he is more concerned with courting the religious right than in promoting responsible government and Congressional Statesmanship.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

OT: FairTax supported by noted economists

Eighty prominent economists have signed on to an open letter to the President, Congress and us, urging the support of the FairTax bill. It has a concise set of bullet points that get the gist of it across although you'll have to dig a little deeper if you want the entire picture. The best way to learn about what's involved is to check out the original book. If you read the first book and are still unsure, read the rebuttal and you'll be a supporter for sure ;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

iTunes experiments with HD

Apple experiments with HD on the AppleTV. I just found that there are now a bunch of HD video podcasts that you can get for free on iTunes. Just look for the HD link in the middle of the store. All of the ones I found are free and lots of them are pretty interesting.

Of course the reason that there is so much trouble with HD on iTunes: 6:09 worth of video is 201.1MB. Movies would fill up a lot of disk space pretty quickly.

Now where did I put that usb 1 petabyte drive...