Sunday, March 26, 2017
The map is not the thing mapped.
Eric Temple Bell
The map is not the territory.
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
I bought QuickBooks at Fry’s. It is from Intuit and apparently they have no human beings working there, and their robots are insane. They demand my email address to set up an account, then reject that as a user ID because, they say, I already have an account. Attempts to reset the password for this account – which I do not believe I know of – get a telephone call giving a code number over the phone. It is an accented voice, and I am a bit deaf, but Kim listened to it and wrote down the number. When entered it is rejected, and attempts to repeat this get the message that they already sent it. They reject it. I cannot reset my password – I doubt I ever had one – and I cannot use QuickBooks. My time installing it was wasted. There is no way to talk to any human. I suppose I could complain to Fry’s but I haven’t the time, so I will not get my money back.
Intuit QuickBooks is complex to install, and then doesn’t install, and the only way to get your money back will take more time than the product is worth. They have protected their product nicely, and they have my money.
Has anyone a recommendation for a simple book keeping program? I wrote one long ago and used it for years, but it was in CBASIC and that 16 bit program doesn’t work after 25 years. It was clumsy anyway. I use TurboTax and that installed and works fine, so QuickBooks also by Intuit seemed the right way to go. It may be, but their system of protection and their population of robots has defeated me.
Intuit is a big company and TurboTax works fine; but QuickBooks must be a different division and is staffed differently.
Interesting. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, but that is precisely what I did with Intuit QuickBooks; I kept trying to reset the password, they kept telling me they had sent a magic number. Then they rejected it or absolutely nothing would happen. I kept trying, and suddenly it worked. This generates no great confidence in their software, but I am now actually in QuickBooks and entering information to try to set up books for this year. We’ll see.
The moral of this story is that you have to keep trying; but of course that won’t always work. It did with Intuit, who I presume has an intelligent robot that sometimes intervenes if the same person tries the same thing over and over. Perhaps that’s not it. Anyway we’ll see.
I am hoping this has not bolloxed up things with TurboTax, but we’ll just have to see.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
TurboTax seems to be working just fine. All the nonsense about QuickBooks seems no to have affected it a bit. Now I just have to collect all the crazy scraps of paper. Sigh. The good news is that at brunch after church I had several flashes of insight, and actual scenes for the Starborn and Godsons novel. It fits into the structure nicely, and explains a few things. If I’m as creative on Mamelukes as on this book, I’ll get it done soon enough. First, though, I have an asteroid mining near future story with some significant thoughts about AI that I’m doing with John De Chancie. We have about 80,000 very good words, and another 30,000 will do it. Maybe a few more, but Mr. Heinlein taught me a longtime ago to finish a book and then cut it by 10%. You can’t do it as you go, because you need the whole book to gauge pacing, and to see what’s needed by the plot and what’s just amusing scenes that were easy to write and don’t much add to the story…
The mainstream press is overjoyed that President Trump got a black eye from the foofaraw about Repeal and Replace Obamacare, but I don’t see it that way. The President showed he was willing to sign anything that would bring down premiums and ameliorate the shipwreck that Obamacare is showing itself to me, but nobody would compromise.
Democrats won’t even discuss it: it’s the Obamacare they passed or nothing. No compromises. No changes, as to what has to be in any health care package you can buy. Or what you have to pay for it, or whether or not you have to buy it: take what’s offered or pay a fine; but it turns out that the fine isn’t big enough to make you eat that thing the Democrats are shoving down your throat; and of course premiums are rising because “insurance” against something that has already happened (“prior conditions”) isn’t insurance at all.
So the Freedom Caucus in the House can’t vote for the compromise and call it “Obamacare lite”; the Democrats can’t vote for the compromise because it changes things and their leadership is adamant, eat the whole package and no options; the thoughtful Republican moderates see that some people will lose their new coverage (such as it is); the Country Club Republicans want to be back in the opposition where they don’t have to take the blame for anything since they didn’t do anything, and it sure is good to be in the establishment; and Ryan couldn’t put it together.
The President can truthfully say he tried. He’s not a dictator. OK, we didn’t get that; let’s turn to promises we can keep. Lord knows there are plenty of things to fix. When Obamacare really explodes, we’ll try to pick up the pieces, but remember, it’s Obamacare. I didn’t do it, and under the Constitution I can’t do it; and remember I swore to uphold and defend the Constitution. Let’s talk about tax reform. And get my Supreme Court Justice approved. Wasn’t he great in the hearings?
Scott Adams has additional views worth contemplating: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/158812654486/trump-and-healthcare
I’m hard at work on fiction, Rick Hellewell is hard at work getting Mrs. Roberta Pournelle’s Reading Program back on the market. And the mail keeps flowing in. Every now and then I get references to links I ought to look at, and for some of them I am either not sure what to say as comment, or no comment is needed but they don’t fit with that day’s rambling, or maybe I just forget in a fit of absence of mind; happens more often as I get older. Anyway, here are some links to places I am not sorry I went to. That doesn’t mean I endorse the notion, or that I think you ought to believe it, as will be obvious in some cases. I do think you’ll not regret the moment it takes to have a look.
https://www.strategypage.com/on_point/20170325263.aspx And the Kims go on…
This from Ed. https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap170326.html Weird. Very.
* * *
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170316/12401436934/ebook-pirates-tend-to-be-older-well-off-which-means-they-pirate-because-human-intuition-economics.shtml Another interesting to writers; I detest piracy, but I would be hard put to demonstrate that it has cost me much money
More about Railroad Tycoon than you really wanted to know: http://www.filfre.net/2017/03/railroad-tycoon/
A blast from the past. What we thought about a decade ago:
There is of course much discussion of the bill that isn’t.
They really detest Obamacare lite. Understandable.
What no one wants to say aloud is that any program that insures against something that has already happened, or is very likely to happen is not insurance; it is an entitlement. Obamacare is an enormous entitlement, coupled with enormous taxes on the healthy, who are forced to pay “insurance premiums” for those with “prior conditions”, when their own insurance premiums would be quite small in comparison to what they must pay. There is no help for this. If we are determined that every person must be given blue ribbon health insurance, the cost will be enormous – unless we enslave doctors, nurses, and health workers in general. If they are to be paid, but must provide service to those who cannot pay but are most likely to be in need of their services, the result should be predictable to anyone who gives the situation much thought.
It seems to me that the Ryancare bill didn’t really solve any of the problems with Obamacare, so all that it would have done would have been to put Republican fingerprints on the crime weapon.
No: it would have alleviated some of the disasters that Obamacare will inevitably cause. The Ills of Obamacare lite would inevitably have been ascribed to Ryan, Trump, and the Republicans. Of course the media will inexorably blame Trump when Obamacare causes its inevitable fiscal disaster and the nation suffers even more.
Condemned to repeat
Dear Doctor Pournelle,
Forty years ago this month, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, after a long and vicious campaign by elements of the British ‘Deeo State:, called it quits. This article, from the thirtieth anniversary of Wilson’s resignation, details how a plot by rogue elements of the intelligence services destabilized his government and led to the resignation of an elected leader.
“As Peter Wright confirmed in his book Spycatcher, Wilson was the victim of a protracted, illegal campaign of destabilization by a rogue element in the security services. Prompted by CIA fears that Wilson was a Soviet agent – put in place after the KGB had, the spooks believed, poisoned Hugh Gaitskell, the previous Labour leader – these MI5 men burgled the homes of the prime minister’s aides, bugged their phones and spread black, anti-Wilson propaganda throughout the media. They tried to pin all kinds of nonsense on him: that his devoted political secretary, Marcia Williams, posed a threat to national security; that he was a closet IRA sympathiser”
Santayana certainly had a point, eh?
Of course, it can’t happen here…
Well, when it does happen, as it has many times in the past, we will not know it happened before.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.