Monday, December 22, 2008

Pre-Christmas Rant

Starbucks logoImage via WikipediaIt's but a few days before Christmas, and I was at my favorite Starbucks (actually, I take that back, I don't have a favorite, just a most often visited, as they are open 24 hours, almost always have a seat, and have plugs for my laptop AND WiFi). When I realized the door was nearly blocked by some protesters. Upon closer look apparently these folks are carpenters, claiming that Starbucks had used contractors who didn't pay the "San Francisco wages".

What's really ironic is one of those "carpenters" is wearing a union carpenter jacket from... Kansas City.

There are a few problems... 1) They are on PRIVATE PROPERTY, as this Starbucks is co-located with a gas station, and 2) I personally thinks that any sort of "minimum pricing" or "minimum wage" is counter-productive to the market, and runs counter to capitalism.

Think about it... If the job don't pay enough to support someone, then that theoretical someone will NOT work that job, right? Unless he has some other jobs as well, but it's HIS call whether he wants to work cheap or not. Why legislate the minimum? Unless you think the individual is TOO STUPID to decide how cheap (or expensive) he wants to work for, and needs the government to help him?

Apparently, our "progressive" city of San Francisco thinks so. San Francisco's "minimum wage" is at $9.79 per hour, starting 1/1/2009. All employees who work in San Francisco more than two hours per week, including part-time and temporary workers, are entitled to the San Francisco minimum wage. And this has been going on for several years.

Apparently, they came up with this figure as a "living wage" in San Francisco... i.e. you need to earn this much for a full-time worker to live in the city.

And who have they prosecuted so far? Just a couple restaurants.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Post-Black Friday Rant

Bluetooth logoImage via WikipediaThis year's Black Friday is a real bust, not much good electronics and gadgets for sale at all. I bought myself a refurb Jawbone 1.0 for $54, and that's via online, even BEFORE black friday.

Which brings me to a rant on Bluetooth headsets.

I don't believe I have very strange ears, so why is it that very few BT headset fits me well? They don't fit comfortably, or they have lousy volume, or they have lousy battery life... The list goes on, and on.

Tried cheap ones, expensive ones, just not super-premium ones yet.

Tried Jabra for a while. Had like three different Jabras. BT125 keeps losing connection to my phone, so did a BT2020. Even that one that uses batteries didn't work that well. One of my friends had it literally smoking (too hot to hold in hand).

Tried third-party. Plugs are never universal, and the fit to ear is usually horrible. Argh! Tried two or three different ones from various sources.

Motorola at least standardized on one plug, but the older models are huge (and still don't fit the ears that well), and a mid-level model (about $40 retail) I got lost half of its volume, making it nearly useless.

Decided to try something a bit higher... Tried a Plantronics "rugged" model... Worked well enough for a week. Then the plastic cover no longer fits. Argh, and neither does the charge port cover.

So when I saw the Jawbone 1 refurb for sale, I decided to try it. New, they got for about $80-$100. 2nd gen Jawbone goes for $130 in stores. The refurb is $55.

First thing I saw is 4 different ear pads and 4 different ear hooks. Wow! And the earhook is metal, but with a rubber stretchy-section. 2nd, it has USB charge cable. In fact, the "home charger" is a 120V to 5V USB adapter. That's usually extra cost item but here it's free. Third, the packaging is very distinct, a clear plastic box with the accessories in black boxes encased below. I'll have to include a picture soon.

So far, it seems to drop connection a bit, but calls are coming in and going out clear, so not too much complaints so far. There's always wish for the smaller model. :D

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