The Big Think

November 15, 2013

Printer!

Filed under: Business,Technology — jasony @ 9:05 pm

My old Samsung ML1710 printer has been getting creaky lately. Leaving white streaks on the page and generally being cranky. I’ve used it since 2004 and it’s printed almost 30,000 pages. It was a $69 B&W printer I mainly use for printing sheet music and general printing. At $45 for a toner cartridge I’d say it was a good deal. I have a big, expensive HP color laserjet multifunction printer with scanner, fax, etc that outputs staggering quality but the color cartridges are very expensive so I try to reserve that for color business impress-the-client sorts of printing. That sucker was over $600 and worth every penny but it’s a bit expensive to feed. Hence the secondary “everyday” monochrome laser.

Since time and tech march on and instead of having the printer place troubleshoot it for $40, I went to Office Max tonight looking for a replacement (I’d checked Amazon but they didn’t have any good deals. Office Max will occasionally have great deals on all kinds of stuff. We got a phone set, our flat panel TV, and a few other things there. Always good to at least check, right?

Jackpot! I’d been looking at the Samsung ML2955ND on Amazon ($140) but decided I didn’t want to spend that much. O.M. had the exact same printer on the closeout section. No cable (no big deal since my old Samsung has the same cable) and it was the floor model. One very minor scuff mark that rubbed right off. Otherwise cosmetically perfect. I plugged it in and hit the self-test mode. Not only did it show 100% full toner but when it printed the demo page the pagecount said… three. Yup, a brand new model. It had only printed two pages before I came along.

Oh, and the price? Well, retail is $149. Amazon has it for $139. Office Max had this model marked down to $60. They felt bad that it didn’t have a power cord so they gave me another $10 off. Fifty bucks! For a fantastic little monochrome laser printer that should last another decade and thirty thousand pages. Inveterate deal-hound Patrick will be proud.

Fabtotum

Filed under: Maker,Technology — jasony @ 10:53 am

FABtotum Personal Fabricator is more than a 3D printer: “FABtotum Personal Fabricator does more than 3D print”

Shoot Straight

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:09 am

To pass health plan, Obama and Dems kept mum about its downsides:

“The journalist Jonathan Cohn, an ardent supporter of Obamacare, recently wrote in The New Republic that problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act should be ‘an opportunity to have a serious conversation about the law’s tradeoffs — the one that should have happened a while ago.’

Cohn is right that there was no serious conversation about those tradeoffs back when Congress was considering the law’s passage in 2009 and 2010. But why was that? It was because President Obama and his Democratic allies could not speak seriously — and honestly — about those tradeoffs and still pass their bill.

So instead, Obama assured Americans they could keep health care policies they liked. And it wasn’t just Obama. ‘One of our core principles is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it,’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in August 2009. ‘If you like what you have, you can keep it,’ said then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in October of the same year.
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Many, many Democrats promised the same thing. They had to. If they had declared openly that millions of Americans would lose their current coverage and face higher premiums and deductibles — if Obama and Democratic leaders had said that, they would not have been able to maintain party unity in support of the bill, and the Affordable Care Act would never have passed Congress.

It would not have mattered that Republicans opposed the bill unanimously. A frank public discussion of Obamacare would have divided Democratic support, with the result being no new law at all.

But now, as the reality of Obamacare begins to present itself in the lives of millions of Americans, the president and his party can no longer avoid an honest look at the law they passed. And one part of that honesty will be examining what they said when they passed Obamacare. There will likely be a lot of accountability in coming months.”

If Americans would not have supported a law had it been clearly represented then it should not have been passed in the first place. If politicians had to misrepresent a law to get it passed then it is reasonable to demand its repeal and hold those that supported it accountable. We cannot base one sixth of the economy on “we have to pass it before we can find out what’s in it“. That’s reckless and irresponsible behavior in a leader.

Principles matter.

UPDATE: With regards to the recently announced “fixes”, Megan Mcardle adds:

“The administration is not changing the rules, just declining to enforce them against the insurers. This is becoming a pattern: Obama’s position on the law seems to be that it’s his law, and therefore the law is whatever he and his appointees say it is. That’s dangerous for all sorts of reasons, not least because it makes them vulnerable to court action.”

The Rule of Law does not mean “whatever I say it is”. That’s a dangerous precedent and people who act on that need to be held accountable.

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