Coping: With Kids that “Know It All”

Yet another discussion of Linux and how open source is taking over the world.

This can in from a reader who’s been a long-time contributor and it’s a very good thing to keep up on:

“My 16 year old reports that he and friends are migrating to Linux distros that mimic earlier commercial software – for free. No annual ding. For example, most folks thought the Snow Leopard versions of iTunes and OS were Apple’s best, graphically and intuitively. Like the Corvette Stingray and ’57 TBird were the best looking iterations of their respective genres for decades.

So high school kids have cloned them and you can get free Linux programs for them. You can, btw, run Linux on a $20 smartphone from the dollar store, if you are a high school kid.

And you can get a secure Linux distro that needs no antivirus software. Free.

As a businessman who uses computer software and hardware constantly, the idea of not having to relearn where they shuffled the menus every year or so appeals to me. Not to mention the inevitable hardware interface nightmares, etc. time, stress, money, and uncertainty are not things businessmen have a surplus of these days. Microsoft even removed functions I used daily from recent Word versions. Their engineers, when queried, sneered that nobody would want to use those features anyway.

Features like columnating things. Then we get to needless expenditures of money. I love my iPhone, but since iPhone 3, the improvements have been underwhelming. Now there are secure Linux versions for other phones that outperform iPhones. Free.

The mistake that the kids see is getting stuck in a proprietary vortex, like iTunes. Since they have little money, open source is their World. Mine too, soon enough.

And not because of cost, so much as the endless hassle of endless unnecessary redesign of functional systems, not always even retaining key features. Manufactured obsolescence for its own sake killed Detroit.

Observe what happens next to Silicon Valley.

Our generation played with cars. This one writes code and builds hardware. They can bypass Microsoft and Apple today. What happens in 10 years? This is why they all are betting the farm on VR. Which apparently will be mainly virtual sex apps with no child support issues.

As the economy descends, this trend must increase. The economics of zero income activities is where we are headed. Not necessarily bad, but our paradigms are not tuned to it and it self reinforces.”


Sobering stuff, indeed!

I for one can hardly wait for VR, but not for the reasons you might think.

There will be an incredible opportunity for whoever gets there first putting experiential deals like acrobatic flying on 360 displays.

Or, imagine being able to visit any tourism destination in the world with a click!

That will change our world.

But it’s not here just yet. Maybe Dr. Pete (long time reader and grand pubah in Calif. VR) will keep us apprised of where it goes.

Dr. Pete?


Can’t say enough good things about the Minneapolis Fed. They are hosting a series of public meetings on the whole notion of Too Big Too Fail. I don’t think they would mind my sharing this with you:

We are pleased to announce the agenda for the second Ending TBTF symposium on May 16, 2016. 

Similar to the first symposium held on April 4, the day will consist of two panels and one keynote speech. 

· John H. Cochrane, Senior Fellow at Hoover Institution, Stanford University, will present a proposal on taxing leverage in the financial system.

· John Bovenzi, Co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Failure Resolution Task Force, will present a proposal that explores alternatives to the Dodd-Frank Act’s resolution framework.

· Luigi Zingales, Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and Charles M. Harper Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, will present a keynote luncheon speech titled: “Why I changed my mind on Glass Steagall.”

Please find the symposium’s agenda here on our website.

In the evening, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari will participate in a public forum hosted by The Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute, a global initiative in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.  If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP here.  If you are unable to attend in person, the public event will also be live-streamed through our public website. We invite you to follow along!

Thank you for your interest in the Ending TBTF initiative.  We will be sending out real-time updates on Twitter @MinneapolisFed and with the hashtag #EndingTBTF.

Like I said, this is terribly important to follow along and it could be needed sooner than later – like in 2017 if our guesstimates work out. So yeah, it goes on the streaming list for the 16th.

Eyes Have It

Off to the Eye Docs this morning: Will get a preliminary on how far back from the abyss we will get. Meantime, though, asking price of the airplane is down in the Trade-A-Plane ad.

It was sure fun while it lasted – and if I can still see well enough to drive and fly, well, maybe the price won’t drop more…

More Monday – Ya’ll come on back, y’hear?

Write when you get rich,

13 thoughts on “Coping: With Kids that “Know It All””

  1. Enjoy reading your stuff…Love your attitude concerning your eyes…praying for your complete recovery {although it seems you personally don’t believe in such} I still enjoy your blog. Thanks for continuing it….even when I know you don’t feel like it. John 3:16-18

  2. Any thoughts out there as to when the bottom is going to fall out of the used car bubble. I am considering a better ride but cant keep up with the new used lots being created.

  3. Linux definitely has its place but I’ve looked at the Open Source Office program clones and, while working under a guy that was totally enamored with the OS at one of the last schools I worked at, we tried with absolutely no success to convert all the faculty over to that open source platform. Frankly, I’m lucky to still be alive. Mainly because I, as gently as I could, tried to dissuade him from going whole-hog on his transition and being his front man for talking to the teachers about it. I was disappointed with the OS Office programs as they often did not have all the features you’d expect to find in Microsoft’s versions and, yes, I was just as tired of looking for old menu items that changed places, disappeared or changed names for no other reason than to say they’re “new and improved” so gimme some more of your money. If I had my way I’d still be using XP Pro x64 but then I probably wouldn’t be posting on George’s site.

    One result I witnessed about my former supervisor’s Linux obsession was that he was, at least once a week or so, reloading his OS on his personal laptop as he downloaded every new ap he could find from the Linux clearing house for software. Inevitably he’d be loosing everything as his PC crashed again and again. This was a guy that had an MS degree in Computer Science, too! He was no slouch and I had a ton of respect for him but he just couldn’t get over his obsession that he was going to make it work.

    Given all this I still have the sense that the term “Open Source” still means there’s no guarantee that the latest program some guy from Eastern Europe just uploaded doesn’t have a serious back door problem that leaves your backside hanging out in the wind for anyone to access. Same can be said for shareware, cheapware or whatever they call it now but Linux’ reputation for security is still severely lacking in my book unless you thoroughly enjoy communing with your computer on a very deep level all the time. I do have better things to do with my time.

    • I agree, and tried Linux 9 years ago, ultimately switching to Apple for health reasons ;-).

      But. Let’s say I do email, typesetting, calendar and net searching on my computer, for business. Everything else on a phone or tablet.A clean Linux app that has what I need and nothing else might be the ticket. Obviously, constantly playing with it is the other end of the spectrum. Most servers have run Linux for years.
      So if the kids don’t mind the time sink, fine. But if they do, they have stable choices. And we Apple users are astounded at the Stockholm syndrome Windows users, who think nothing of losing files, viruses, crashes, viruses, etc. Linux hardly sounds worse. But less hackable.

      Did you ever use WordPerfect before Windows? I know clerks who still swear it beat anything today, yet on a 286 platform. You had to press a button for wysiwyg, but so? Never crashed.

    • I believe your comments are on point. I am still using my XP, and can post here, but I tried running with Ubuntu as a dual boot to try it out. I liked many of the features but they were constantly downloading updates for all the sub programs, along with a bunch of “security updates”. I got the feeling as you have that because their appears to be no heirachy structure that double checks and verifies the changes, many of the needed updates are corrections to previous updates. Just like Microsoft etc. I have stopped using ubuntu and trying to move on.

  4. I see the Inflation Calculator from the Minneapolis Fed has been converted over to an iTunes app that must be downloaded to an iPhone/iPod/iPad and is therefore useless to me. Can you recommend an alternative?


    • Nevermind. I found one at

      usinflationcalculator dot com

      Please don’t stress out about your vision. Your eyes are going to take time to heal, no matter what. Remember you have a lot of good people thinking healthy thoughts for you so relax and let the process unfold. The universe isn’t done with you, one way or another.

  5. You have just fallen into the trap most American retirees do, if they can afford it. A big place with lots of stuff to take care of, which they can handle at first. Then they get injured or ill, and when they recover, to whatever level they do, they are unable to catch up or to maintain the place at the level it needs. If they are lucky, they wake up before the second illness or another injury strikes, otherwise they end up trapped in a place that looks like “where old folks live,” simply because they can’t part with all their stuff.

    Here in Ecuador, it’s “tell the cleaning girl to start coming twice a week,” or “we need to start bringing in the handyman twice a month.” Twenty bucks will get a solid 8 hours of labor. I tell new guys here, not having a cleaning girl is considered spousal abuse.

  6. Open-source is where it’s at, IMHO. You do know it literally built the internet, right? If you had asked an economist in the first half of the last century that folks would donate their time to building complex products while receving no compensation, they probably would have argued with you. Still, it’s precisely what happened. Over half of all web servers from on Apache (open source platform), Android is built on a linux kernal, raspberry pi, etc.

    We are makers, not consumers. Join us.

    There’s a slight learning curve, sure. Mom always said anything worth doing is hard.

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