March 25th, 2010

Odd Lots

With apologies to my brother-in-law, jeff_duntemann:

The good news is that we are all almost recovered from the digestive crud that made its way through the family. daisy_knotwise is the last afflicted, but things are moving back to normal. (So to speak.)

When my Creative Zen MP3 player died over the weekend, I decided to spring for an iPod Touch, because it would handle about 90% of the things that I'd want to get from an Android-based phone and there was no Android phone on the market that would really do what I wanted, especially if I wanted to stay with Sprint. (Which requires a certain level of masochism on my part, but I see in the consumer ratings that all cellphone companies are pretty much equally reviled by their subscribers.) Yesterday, Sprint announced this lovely 4G phone loaded with Android 2.1 for release this summer. According to reports, you can even tether your computer to it via Wi-Fi and leach off the phone's Internet connection. Actually, you can tether up to eight computers to it. *gack* Of course, it's not available now and I did want a new MP3 player before going to FilkOntario. And we don't know what it will cost. *sigh*

I've been wrestling with getting the MFC Visual Studio wizards that assist you with writing code working following a bunch of changes that one of the other developers made to the resource files. After three-and-a-half days of beating my head against the wall, deleting the Intellisense files, and other dodges, I finally found out how to deal with multiple resource files in Visual Studio 2008. Because no one would expect that a user would do that, I guess.

Political violence: I'm against it. It's a bad idea. Not only is it immoral, but it is counter-productive. Even if you might think that the end can justify the means in some cases, it's not generally going to get the results that you want. (I wish I could say that it never works, but I know better than that. Look at some of the history of our unions where neither side has clean hands. Then consider why I'm so vehemently opposed to the proposed card-check legislation that's been floating around Congress.)

Political rhetoric: There's a lot of it. And I don't know how to get rid of it in a world where the news media lives and dies for the sound bite. If it takes more than fifteen seconds to formulate an argument, it doesn't get air time. That doesn't particularly help the cause of rational discourse.

The healthcare bill: The number one effect that I expect to see from this bill is a slowdown in the rate of medical innovation. They're already coming for the makers of medical devices -- from what I read, that will include my CPAP. I expect the pharmaceutical companies are going to be in the cross hairs next, because "everyone knows" that drug prices in the U.S. are too high. Personally, I've viewed high U.S. drug prices as our contribution to the world for the standard of living that we enjoy here. Of course, it's easier to have that point of view when you have a prescription plan that works for you.

I take four prescription drugs every day that let me lead a normal life. And I take one formerly prescription drug that is a whole lot cheaper now that the patent has expired and it's available over the counter. I anxiously await the development of the next new drug that will make my life better.

And I worry that it isn't going to show up, because the profit motive is a powerful thing and when you want to make inherently financially risky pharmaceutical research a lot less lucrative when you hit the jackpot, well, then why should the drug companies even bother to play the game? They can invest in something less risky. Like T-bills.

Oops. Maybe not.

And did I mention that Social Security has gone into the red and is paying out more than it's taking in. That's certainly not going to help...