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05 Jul 2011 20:32


Tech, World: Data roaming price caps in Europe don’t go far enough

  • 2.23 the average cost, per megabyte, of roaming data charges throughout Europe — $3.22 a meg!
  • 0.90 the price cap currently being proposed, also per meg, for data usage — starting in July 2012
  • 0.50 the price cap suggested after by 2014 … which is way lower only in context source
  • » To put this in perspective: If you hop on your iPhone and reload this page roughly 80 times, that’s about a megabyte. If you hop on Pandora and listen to half of a two-minute Ramones song, that’s about a megabyte. When AT&T implemented its capped data plan a year ago, many people were upset about the 2 gig data cap for $25 dollars. Doing the math, that plan is roughly 82 megabytes per dollar. If the half-Euro-per-megabyte roaming price cuts in Europe take hold, those 82 megabytes would cost around $59 U.S. dollars, considering current exchange rates. Now multiply that by 25. Exactly our point.

08 Jun 2011 11:21


Biz: Senate goes back-and-forth fighting over debit card fees

  • 44¢ the average cost of debit card interchange fees to merchants; this should make you feel guilty every time you go to 7-Eleven, because that cuts into profit margins heavily
  • 12¢ the limit that the Feds plan to impose upon banking companies about this matter; this is a $16 billion/year business, and banking companies are fighting to protect it source
  • » A fight that directly affects small businesses: We’ve been to many small businesses in our day that have gone out of their way to avoid using debit cards, specifically for this reason. We’re with them in this case; really high charges for every purchase, even tiny ones, is straight up greedy. Fortunately, a key senator, Dick Durbin, agrees with us: “Honestly, are we going to stand here and say we can’t protect small businesses across America struggling to survive?” The fight for keeping the fees has bipartisan support; the main guys backing banks in the Senate are Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jon Tester (D-MT). They claim that banks will have to replace the interchange charges with higher fees on consumers. Maybe they should; the benefit to small business as an economic driver makes it worth it.

06 Feb 2011 23:39


Tech: Quick facts: Three strikes against Motorola’s new Xoom tablet

  • strike The device, based on Android 3.0 and getting a lot of attention, has a starting price of $799 – which is way higher than the entry-level iPad.
  • strike The data plans are really expensive for 3G usage – 1 gigabyte is $20, and the plans go as high as $80 for 10 gigabytes. That’s right – $80 a month!
  • out And don’t think you’ll get around this with a hotspot like you can with an iPad. Wi-fi won’t be activated unless you buy a data plan! source

19 Dec 2010 11:55


29 Oct 2010 17:11


U.S.: The U.S. spends LOTS of money on intelligence, defense

  • $80.1
    the amount the U.S. spent on intelligence in 2010
  • $664
    the amount the U.S. spends on its total defense budget source
  • » Why this is a big deal: Two reasons. First of all, the intelligence spending numbers were never reported during the most recent Bush Administration – this is the first time we’ve gotten new numbers here in nearly a decade. Secondly, the intelligence budget has effectively doubled in the ten years – which makes sense if, you know, you account for 9/11 happening in the meantime. If you’re a high-spending government looking for something to cut to correct years of fiscal irresponsibility, though, this might be a good spot to look.

19 Aug 2010 21:56


Offbeat: The NYT’s latest fake trend story: People with expensive fish tanks

“Hear that? It’s our owners getting interviewed by some reporter about our mansion.” Anyone who spends six figures on a fish tank needs to be made fun of. source

13 Jul 2010 11:10


Biz: “Made in China” means it costs more in China than the U.S.

  • $460 added cost of an Apple laptop in China versus the U.S. – partly due to tariffs
  • $240 added cost of a flat-screen TV in China versus the same TV in the U.S.
  • 25¢ added cost of a can of Budweiser in China (even though it’s brewed locally) source

09 Jun 2010 10:43


U.S.: Rich bastards who die this year won’t have to pay the estate tax

See this dude? He died recently. And as a result of an accounting quirk by the government, his family won’t have to pay huge taxes on his $9 billion estate. source

21 May 2010 02:27


World: Jerks who ganked expensive paintings knew what they were doing

  • It seems as if they knew exactly what they were looking for and knew the value of each painting. There were two paintings by Modigliani hung next to each other and they took the more expensive.
  • Paris deputy mayor in charge of culture Christophe Girard • Regarding the theft of five paintings from the city’s Musée d’Art Moderne, which is out over €100 million as a result. The paintings were some great works of art by some name artists – Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Léger and Modigliani – whose paintings are so expensive that we’re surprised we didn’t get charged for typing their names. While a security system was on the fritz, Girard made it clear that the problem with the alarms wasn’t enough to pull off the heist, as the museum’s security has a lot of redundancy. It’s possible that it might’ve been an inside job. source

13 May 2010 20:59


Biz, U.S.: The Senate wants to take the bite out of debit-card “swipe fees”

  • 64 senators voted to add the amendment to the financial reform bill
  • 65% of debit transactions
    will be affected by
    the changes
  • yes the bill will allow incentives for those who pay with cash source
  • » The addition, explained: Banks and other financial institutions charge fees for consumers to use debit cards. The fees aren’t significant for big-ticket retail chains but can hurt the bottom line of small businesses or those that specialize in selling lots of inexpensive items (say, 7-Eleven or McDonald’s). These fees can get passed down to the consumer as a result. The bill limits how much those fees can be, but leaves exceptions for banks with less than $10 billion in assets. Credit unions, by the way, are complaining loudly about these changes, in particular.