Kickstarter Successes

With my most recent Kickstarter (KS) pledge to support this coffee campaign, I started wondering how many of my pledges were successful, how many of the pledges were cancelled, how many of the success eventually released product, and how many of the pledges were unsuccessful (for whatever reason).

KS Categories# of KS campaigns Notes
Participated135
Pledged, and received product11145 pledges for wallets
Pledged, but did not receive11Of the 11…
7 campaigns will probably send their product.
2 are computer games that are still in beta stage.
1 campaign just gave up.
1 campaign is having production issues and I’m pretty sure will not be able to fulfill their pledge
Pledged, but did not reach goal 9All 9 of these either failed to reach their funding goal or were cancelled by the creator.
5 of these were for wallets
Pledged, and I cancelled later2Of these 2, one ended up successfully pledged with product.
The other was a wallet that failed to reach the funding goal

I started Kickstarting campaigns back in 2012. Looking back at my pledging habits, I’ve concluded that around 75% of the products I’ve received have either been donated away, broken or are currently taking up space in a storage box somewhere. The other 25% have been either consumables (4 coffee campaigns), items that I am actively using at least once a week, or items where there is a specific use for. The one item that I use the most are titanium chopsticks.

Looking closer at my history, many of the pledges were focused on finding “perfect wallet” replacement. Of the 45 successful pledges, I ended up using only 4 of the wallets on any consistent basis. Through constant pledging and receiving wallets, I’ve come to realize what features that I like in a wallet: slim (10 bills max), max 3-4 card slots, no wider than a phone width for easy one hand transport phone/wallet bundle. To be clear, the perfect wallet does exist. It’s a magic wallet that I had purchased over 20 years ago from one of those credit card promotions. The ribbons that held the magic wallet together were taut and slowly loosened over time allowing the wallet to effectively hold the cash. The construction of this wallet was also extremely good. Over a 20 year period, I used 2 of these wallets to a point where the stitching started to fray and fall off. Looking at magic wallets on the market, I find that many of these contemporary wallets were made out of elastic bands which is not sufficient to hold cash in and are horribly constructed that they break after 1-2 months of usage. Currently, I’ve settled on my current slim bifold wallet.

I think overall I’ve become much more selective on campaigns that I support. Many of the recent campaigns have rewards where I have a clear picture of how I would use the product. Looking at the five most recent products received, they consisted of Columbian coffee beans, valet tray box, travel mugs, wallet and Purto Rican coffee beans. Of the campaigns where I’m waiting receipt of products, they will be Nicaragua coffee beans, hand sanitizer, calf stretching tool, pocket knife and eco-friendly hairbrush.

Nowadays, I try to be more mindful of the items that I have and look to only buy items where I know there will be an immediate use for. I’ve been downsizing significantly where I’ve ended up with a collection of empty storage boxes that used to store some of the junk I kept.

The Economic Term of Rent Seeking

I recently learned of a new economics term of “Rent Seeking.” Searching on Wikipedia or Investopedia will give you an pretty detailed definition. For the common person, think of rent seeking as the ability to maintain (or even increase wealth) through existing methods of obtaining wealth while not providing others the ability to obtain wealth.

I realized that the rent seeking concept is more widespread and commonly practiced outside of economics. If the term is generalized even further to situations where person will “protect” what they have by implementing rules. Using the generalized term, situations related to condos and home owner associations could also be classified as rent seeking. Listening to the rationales of condo owners arguing in favor of rental unit restriction is pretty infuriating. Some of the reasoning were related to their current experience of renters, the apparent drop in property value due to renters, and potential future inability to refinance. That sounds like rent seeking to me. I never understood why some people are very adamant about issues that limit others but after learning this term it makes perfect sense to me now.

Another area I see generalized rent seeking is in these voter suppression laws. With voter suppression, politicians create superfluous rules and processes that generally makes it harder for ordinary citizens to vote. Rules such as ID laws or voter purges or even mail-in ballot restrictions further discourages voters who already may have a difficult time getting to the polls due to socio-economic reasons. In the end, the rules benefit a small population of voters relatively easy access and a lower level of entry to voting. These rules end up benefitting the politician such that the politician only needs to “please” these small voter blocs. How is this democratic if only a small voter bloc can dictate the rules to govern and affect the lives of the general population? Because it’s not.

Possible song?

So my last post had me humming “The Adams Administration

Welcome folks to the Biden Administration
The AP has projected Biden as the Pennsylvania winner
Now it's time for a new age of decency, conciliation
Yet why is Trump still whining about fake election results?
And why aren't Republicans repudiating such shameful theatrics?
"Shut up Trump. Go back to playing golf." is all his allies needs to say....

Terms of Service

Holy crap… this pic is from the article (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/terms-of-service-visualizing-the-length-of-internet-agreements/) and it’s been zoomed out to 25% on Google Chrome.  And it still doesn’t doesn’t see the bottom of Spotify, Apple, TikTok and Microsoft.  Why can’t Terms of Service (TOS) be shorter and simpler to read?  Who actually reads the TOS?  No one because it’s too fucking long and moderately complex enough to discourage reading.

Ultimately, you(me) are the product for all these services.

 

Capture16

 

 

This New Block Editor is horrible

Does anyone else think this “new” block editor is horrible? What’s the rationale behind this change? And why does WP think this format is better than the older way of writing?

  • Are they trying to minimize the formatting tools options that used to run along the top? Those tools are COMMON to any word type document user.
  • Where are the visual indication of where the page margins are? It’s a bit disconcerting since I usually rely on those indicators
  • I think at the very minimum having a visual indicators of the BLOCK itself would be a good change.
  •  Once you switch to using this editor, there are compatibility issues after switching back to the classic editor
  •  

Using a layout block in dual column option… the lack of borders is really disconcerting since it now seems like the two columns are super wide and will basically ruin the width setting of the theme. I don’t know if there is a positive benefit in being able to change the column color.

AND then you can also use a classic editor in the new block editor?  What the fuck?

And then you can have multiple “blocks” within a dual column? This clearly going to fuck up with the HTML settings

Removing blocks also isn’t that intuitive at times. Need to click on the block (good luck trying to find the right block), then find the little pop up, then click on the three dots to see the option. Highlighting text would be much faster but you know what? It still leaves a “block” in it’s place as opposed to fully being deleted.

I also don’t understand why a new paragraph warrants a new block.
Although SHIFT+ENTER seems to keep them in the same block.

And what does group do? Seems a bit pointless since it combines them all into 1 large block but still with various “sub blocks”… which again leads me to the need to have some sort of demarcation of the various blocks within the editor.

What is VERSE block?  
roses are red
violets are blue
WP blocks
just screwed you

Oh that's interesting... it keeps it all neatly under one large block.
And where do i format the "preformatted" options?  Because font and size look different

seriously this is stupid

Imitations of Imitations

Lately when browsing in Amazon, I’ve been seeing a trend of a seeing imitations of imitations of the real product.  If we suspend any thought about IP theft related to these products, the constant iterative process of tech is pretty fascinating.  Sometimes you’ll see normal everyday US-centric products on Amzon (like a cable grommet).  You then add power outlets.  Then as the need for USB charging arises, USB only chargers appear.  As technology becomes better/faster/smaller, the ability to have a USB hub and charging as well as video outlets, audio jacks and ethernet ports (example or example).  But this iterative process doesn’t surprise me.  From a Wired documentary about the innovation found in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, the constant iterative process of tech is pretty normal.   One thing Wired discussed was the lack of IP enforcement.  In many situations, the shop owners know that enforcement was impossible and so actively sharing ideas so that new ideas can be born became the norm.

But back to Amazon… I’ve been seeing these imitations and have been trying to find out what was the original product and how did that product evolve to what I’m seeing.  In addition to this, I’m also trying to see if they have a website which would at least indicate a serious global nature of the Amazon store.  What I end up doing is opening a bunch of links to investigate more.  Because of this cross checking, I’ve ended up finding something even better that is also carried in Amazon but wasn’t on their first few pages.  One of these would be this high quality leather desk pad from Galloway Leather.  I ended up purchasing it because the first option I wanted was out of stock.  Although it’s now on the first page of my feed (thanks to algorithms, maybe?), I originally had to go to the 2nd or 3rd page for it to show up.  Ironically it was an “Amazon’s Choice” which makes me wonder that the Amazon algorithm probably didn’t think I wanted this type of high quality material.

How would you handle COVID-19?

Since hindsight is 20/20… this is what I would have done with COVID-19.

In late January, announce that the international borders will be closed within 10 hours of the announcement.  The 10 hour buffer allows any current en route flights to land without issue.  Empty inbound international flights are still allowed in order to accommodate any outbound international flights.  The crews from these inbound flights will be sequestered to just two or three hotels only.  This action isolates the crew so to allow contact tracing to be easier in case of outbreaks.  Domestic travel can still operate normally until otherwise told.

I think if just this measure was put in place there might not have been an outbreak in both Seattle and New York.  It’s still possible the cases could appear as there were only 15 confirmed cases back on Feb 15, 2020.  Given the incubation length and the potentila asymptomatic transmission possibility, a January closure would have mitigated the most damage.  According to the NY times interactive modeling, the 15 early cases were linked to transmission from China.  However, what’s more important is that any subsequent cases would be linked to these 15 cases AND there would be no new influx of cases.  Although travel was restricted from China on Feb 02, 2020, restrictions were imposed far too late from Europe on Mar 13, 2020.  Between late January and mid-March, countless travelers passed through the international airports and silently spreading the infection.  Through genetic testing, the outbreak in New York was linked to a European strain.  It shows just how partial restrictions are pointless.

If these borders were to have been closed in late January, I see a number of different scenarios that would be different

  • COVID-19 cases would be limited and probably very manageable by the healthcare professionals
  • Stay-at-Home requirements might never have been issued
  • Businesses would remain open
  • Healthcare system would function at normal capacity without needing to be in constant emergency “war zone” mode
  • No Masks
  • No Social Distancing

What would you do?