Thursday, October 27, 2011

Income inequality

I don't deal with political topics here. But there were some thoughts I had on this fad going around on income inequality.

If you take a look at this report by the economist the claim is that while the income disparity between 99% of the people in the US hasn't changed much that between the 99% and the 1% has changed a lot.

I can see in my mind's eye some person or persons with a definite political agenda sitting at their software and moving a slider control. They first split the population 50/50 and grunt with dissatisfaction. They move it to 25/75. Still not so good. Then they get all excited and move it all the way to 1/99. Yay! Look at THAT income disparity.

I have a few concerns about this graph. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?
  1. If I took the top 1% of a distribution MOST measures I would make using that 1% would be biased in some extreme way. There is no way I could stop that, because I took an extreme part of the population to start with. I'm taking a few samples from a tail, taking that average and comparing it with the average of the rest. What ELSE could I expect from any distribution in the real world?
  2. What kind of outcome are we looking here? A truncation of the tail? Some way to get rid of the super rich? Sure we could, but WHAT WOULD THAT BUY US? What would we be happy with. One super rich individual per country? 10? 100?
I really don't understand this sentiment and frankly I am worried by it. I am worried by a sentiment that people should not be much more financially successful than the average.

If the anger is against the bank bailouts or bank policies, take your money and put it in a different bank or a credit union! If you hate outsourcing, buy local products. If you are unhappy because you are unemployed, start a business!

Life isn't easy, and never was and never will be. Anybody who promises otherwise is lying! There may be some temporary steps the government can take to increase short term demand, but getting rid of financially successful individuals can NEVER improve conditions. That's just jealousy pure and simple.

Progressive tax rates is fine, it's an economic decision on the part of the govt. but just remember, the top 1% are usually mobile, and have international interests, so they just might move to somewhere else more economically suitable for them - and we are left with, well 99% of the people who don't take the financial risk that a lot of the 1% are taking (which got them to 1%).

If you are angry with the bonuses that the wall street guys are getting MOVE YOUR MONEY ELSEWHERE! They didn't steal the money from us, we gave it do them in expectation of higher returns. MOVE THE MONEY ELSEWHERE! It was a bad decision.

If they broke laws, shout for their prosecution. If the laws were lax, shout for better ones.

But don't hate on the rich: it's the surest way to stay poor and miserable.

We are not serfs paying rent to rich landowners anymore. We have choices. But we need initiative and courage to take them. Sure we can take less risk, but then we get less reward. If we complain about that - well that's entitlement and that just keeps us poor.

Take control, and don't hate.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Use preview.app to insert images as pages into a pdf

  1. Open image in Preview.app, "print" and save as pdf
  2. Open pdf you want to add to
  3. Open the pages pane
  4. Drag and drop the image pdf you just created into the pages pane (in whatever sequence you want it)
  5. Preview.app will show the pdf to be "edited"
  6. Save the pdf
You can directly drag and drop the image file from the Finder into the pages pane. This will, however, add a white border round the image.

Monday, October 24, 2011

iTunes: option + maximize = real maximize

iTunes is annoying because clicking "+" (maximize) moves it to mini-player mode. Holding down "option" when clicking "+" will make it work like mazimize

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thunderbird: "Shift" sends emails in html

Holding down "shift" when you press "reply" or "forward" causes emails to be composed in HTML in thunderbird.

Probably the most useful tip I have seen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Export display from Linux to Mac

From here
  1. On client Mac startup X11.app and check preferences->Security->"Allow connections from network clients"
  2. Open an xterm from the X11.app menu
  3. ssh into host machine with the X flag (from the xterm)
    ssh y.y.y.y -X -luser
  4. Everything works (even with firewall on), no need to set DISPLAY etc.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Installing ubuntu (11.10)

  1. New HDD was cut into two partitions and win xp was installed on one.
  2. Ubuntu was installed off a USB stick "Install alongside Win XP" was chosen. This correctly used the empty (unformatted) partition for Linux, with appropriate swap space choice.
  3. Ssh needs to be installed - can be installed through the package manager. I used a metapackage to install both client and server. The changes took effect immediately (no restart or manually starting server). I went from not being able to ssh into the machine from my mac to being able to.
  4. Python 2.6 comes installed
  5. sudo apt-get python-pip
  6. sudo pip install ipython
  7. sudo apt-get install python-matplotlib
  8. The Unity Launcher cannot be configured to be at the bottom. Idiots.
  9. sudo apt-get install aptitude
  10. install kubuntu-desktop via aptitude (picked kdm as display manager)
  11. Muon package manager has authentication problems (can't authenticate - Muon creator says it is a policykit problem). Idiots
  12. Uninstall KDE and go back to Unity: follow the instructions here. (This is important)
  13. (sudo apt-get autoremove because it told me to)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Get rid of MySQL from Mac OS X

Follow the instructions here. For Lion /etc/hostconfig seems to be going away.

Migrating from a 10.5 macbook to a 10.7 macbook pro

  1. Most impressed by migration: just needed to hook up my time machine disk to the new machine in in 2 hours my WHOLE computer was transplanted onto the new mac, including applications and frameworks.
  2. When I went to run eclipse (Helios) I was asked to install java runtime, which the OS installer found and installed by itself.
  3. The fast login switching, not so useful for single user laptops and also takes up menubar space with your name can be removed from system preferences (here).
  4. Spaces threw me: from here, we see that the way to add new spaces is to go into misson control (middle click) and then move the pointer to the top right hand corner to add a new desktop.
  5. To use the existing time machine backup (so you keep your history etc), however, all the files seem to be copied over afresh - so you get a new snapshot which uses a lot of space - the first new backup is not incremental.
  6. The screen looks different - the colors are brighter - but perhaps my old macbook's lcd was just fading.
  7. Two new bangla input methods are available and built in, though I am yet to try them properly.