Thursday, March 31, 2011

Buy American

This is a difficult subject for me to address, because I want American to be strong.  Unfortunately I seem to be arriving at the opinion that buying American because a product says "Made in America" on it is not the way.  I will detail some of the reason I feel that way below and I welcome respectful and thoughtfully worded discussion in the comments.

Just because a product says "Made in America" does not mean that all of the money paid for that product stays in America.  It could have been made by a foreign company, which has a manufacturing plant in America..  It could have been made by an American company that outsources much of it work to foreign countries, but manufactured the item in America.

Just because a product says "Made in China" or whatever other non-American country it might be does not mean there aren't American jobs that rely on that product.  I think we often just look at the manufacturing jobs that are gained or lost and forget that a company has other jobs that they pay for.  Those jobs might be being performed by Americans.

Sometimes I hear people complain about how little people in other countries make to produce our cheap clothing.  If we take the position that we don't buy those products to show that we don't want them paying low wages to people then those people make the equivalent to $0 instead of just what ever they were making before that was more than $0.  Saying to only buy things made in America has the same effect.  I do believe that we have to take care of those closest to us first, but still something to think about.

What about vacations?  Should we only vacation in The United States.  Tourism is a big industry and if we vacation outside The United States we are giving tourism jobs to other countries and taking work away from Americans.

As said at the beginning of this post, I want a strong America.  I think that taking the position that people must buy "American" just because it is American or says "Made in America" on it does not make us stronger.  American is stronger when we compete.  If we do it better then we will be strong.  If American companies only can make sales by virtue of being an American company and not from innovating, then America is weaker.  The Declaration of Independence tells us that we have the right to the pursuit of happiness.  It does not say we have the right to happiness.  We have to pursue and catch it ourselves.

One area where I do think we need to "Buy American" is in private charitable contributions.  I think we as individuals spend too much money on causes overseas rather than establishing private programs to educate our own people.  We spend a ton on building schools in far off places.  How about privatize the school system and then the American people donate money to support it?

If our population is well educated, then we will be competitive in the market place.

Stop Moving My Keys

Anybody else irritated that every keyboard is configured slightly and sometimes considerably different. Delete, ins, home, end, pg up, pg down, and such just thrown on willy nilly where ever they can fit them.

Some of them have even removed the Pause/Break key entirely.  When doing software development every so often I have to use Pause/Break to more precisely break into the code than just pausing the IDE.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If I Can't See Your Face I Can't Tell It Is You

People are locking down their profiles on Facebook, which I think is mostly a good thing, it helps against identity theft and deters creeps from finding them.  Unfortunately it also keeps long lost friends from finding them.  If I search for Steve Jones (names has been changed to protect the innocent) I am going to get a long list of Facebook users, likely.  If the Steve Jones I am looking for has hidden all of his information, I can't tell he is the one I am looking for.  Many times this isn't an issue, since there is a profile picture and even though it has been years I can still see that it is good ol' Steve Jones.  So long as old Steve hasn't had major plastic surgery or something.

Unfortunately people seem to be using their profile picture for anything bu their face.  We get cute pictures of their kids or pets or even their spouse.  Many times they are in the photo, but because it is a thumbnail on Facebook, it is hard to make out their face since they are not the focus of the picture, but the couple or group is.

Please Steve, change your profile picture to your face.  We miss you so much and we can't find you.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Utahans and Turn Signals

Almost everywhere I have lived, there is a small, frustrating percentage of people that don't use their turn signals to indicate what they are doing, so as to keep traffic flowing well and prevent accidents.

Here is Weber County, Utah there is an epidemic of folks that don't use their turn signals. No signal for lane change, merging, or turning.

This morning was the ultimate example. Two cars were at a stop light in the straight/left turn lane. Neither of them were signaling. The light turns green and they both sit there for twenty seconds looking at each other. Then both of their left turn signals come on and they proceed with their left turns.

It would've been a little humorous, if I was not stuck behind one of them, waiting to make a left turn myself.  I shook my head in disbelief of what I had just witnessed.

Usually the people I see not using their signal are people whose lane is ending and they are merging into traffic.  They appear to either be oblivious to the fact that it is their lane that is ending and not the lane they are merging into or they assume that people are so courteous here that they will just back away and let them in.

There may be some validity to their assumption, if they are indeed counting on the courtesy of others, but it is a dangerous assumption to make.  Many around here do extend "courtesy" to those that are in front of them, regardless of how rude they are being to those behind them or what the law is.  One should still signal and look before merging, in spite of this.

I saw a similar phenomenon is Indiana.  People generally wanted to be courteous and would stop and let people into the flow of traffic.  That is great except for in the case where one stops where they have no stop sign to let a person with a stop sign go, because the one at the stop sign is not getting a break to come out.  This confuses everyone.  The person stopped know they have a stop sign and yet are being motioned to move out into traffic.  The people behind the "courteous" person are confused because they may not see what charitable act they are trying to perform, thus they might trying to go around them and then crash into the person that was let out when it was not their right of way.

It also isn't great when a "courteous" person let's multiple people merge out in front of them, while the line of cars that has been patiently waiting for a very long time get delayed longer and longer.  If everyone let's in one car, traffic in both lanes with flow.

Another traffic thing I see here, which is either courtesy or the fear of being hit is letting a left turner with a green arrow turn into the far right lane, while a line of right turners coming from the other way sits and waits on them.  The person at the front of the line generally just sits there and waits for the green arrow from the other way to go away, even though there are two lanes and the left turners should stay in the left and the right turner in the right.  If they need the other lane once they turn, they should signal and keep the traffic flowing.

Instead what happens is that a line of right turners back up and it takes forever to clear them out, because there are too many of them to make it through the next light after they turn.  In the meantime all of the left turners that drifted in to the right lane have cleared out because they are making a subsequent right turn.

If both would stay in their own lane, then the left turners want to make a subsequent right would still move out and the right turners making a subsequent left turn would be able to trickle through the next light and not back up.

Even though folks around here generally don't use their turn signals, they do make turns.  Left turners often cut their turn short, drifting into the left lane of on coming traffic after the turn.  If there are two turn lanes the right most lane will drift into the left lane and further encourage the left lane to head into oncoming traffic.