Why I Deleted Twitter

I’m over social media. I deleted my Facebook account completely early last year. And now I’ve deleted the “wellygnome” Twitter account.

Despite the fact I got lots of traffic from Twitter, it wasn’t doing anything for me. The 80/20 rule applies to everything – 80% of what I read in my Twitter feed was utter garbage. The other 20% generally popped up in my Google Reader feeds.

I started unfollowing people who posted lame comments or RTs I didn’t agree with. I started unfollowing organisations and news agencies and journalists. I even trolled a few people. After a fortnight, there were less than 40 accounts that were not a complete waste of my time.

It’s not hard to delete your Twitter account. I’ve always been an early adopter. I was on Facebook in 2007 when everyone else was on Bebo and the not-owned-by-Justin-Timberlake Myspace. The online herd always moves on, leaving a wasteland of drunk pics and inane status updates.

There are lots of benefits to deleting Twitter. Since I deleted my Twitter account I have averaged 4 non-fiction and fiction books per week. I’m revisiting old favourites and taking notes in Google Drive. I’ve even started learning Russian and restoring my French to a decent level.

You should delete your Twitter account and read a book instead. You don’t need to obsess over social media unless you’re a teenage girl or gossip columnist. Social media is just another knife in the carcass that is Western culture.

Smart Money Exits SKY

Todd Communications has sold its 11% stake in SKY Television.

Here’s what I think: SKY Television is the next Commerce Commission target.

Complete a-la-carte channel unbundling with ability to watch live rugby being a default subscription option requirement.

I’m completely serious too. Look for online pay TV companies to jump on the “reducing rival’s revenues” bandwagon as quickly as marginal ISPs jumped on the local loop unbundling bandwagon.

Where’s that got us?

Internet’s still a dog for most Kiwis. With Pacific Fibre falling through, another indictment of our pathetic Pacific backwater, the international data bottleneck will explode at some point. There’s not much redundancy built into the Southern Cross system.

I predict that Commerce Commission interference in Pay TV will regress channel availability to 1970′s levels.

Not that anyone with an internet connection under the age of 30 watches television…

Honest Labor Against Thieving Landlords

I recently stumbled onto a fascinating article about the history of the board game Monopoly at Harper’s. The gem for me:

The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George2, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty3 (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

It is a really interesting read, whatever your thoughts on Henry George and the land tax might be.

Nothing Wrong With Catalonian Secession

I am amused that Tyler Cowen thinks Catalonia seceding from Spain is a bad idea.

A smaller government makes the link between inflexible prices and very high unemployment almost impossible to bear for any politician who wants to remain in office.

Riddle me this : which part of Spain is more likely to enact policies that soften the current recession? One that has to deal with other regional governments or one that is empowered to make decisions for its own people, on its own timeframe, without Brussels and Berlin breathing down its neck?

Smaller states = generally better policies because it’s harder for politicians to hide from the people their policies affect.

The Sherman Act And Google Chrome

From my industrial organisation paper, it’s clear that under the Sherman Act it is illegal to use a monopoly in one market to create a monopoly in another market. That’s what got Microsoft to settle with the DoJ over things like making NetScape incompatible with Windows and thwarting the rise of DRI-DOS.

Is Google using a near-monopoly in search and cloud services to create a monopoly in the internet browser market?

If I use any Google product – Gmail, Drive, Reader – in a non-Chrome browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox I am constantly prompted to “upgrade to Google Chrome for a better browsing experience”.

For sure, Google can advertise all they like on their own websites. But for people stuck in an institution like a university where Internet Explorer is the default browser it is really annoying!

Of course Google Chrome is a better browser than Internet Explorer. But that’s like saying an Audi is better than a Skoda. It’s even better than Mozilla Firefox whose development I have followed since it was SunBird!

Have I missed a Department of Justice investigation into Google? Is there some major anti-trust lawsuit that missed my radar completely?

I’m not particularly a fan of anti-trust laws, but punishing “geeky” Microsoft while ignoring “cool” Google just smacks of major political interference in the DoJ anti-trust program.

It’s kind of like how the Apple v Samsung saga surprises me. Apple is cool, so doesn’t it get immunity from uppity regulators and judges?

Are some companies too cool to be prosecuted? I’d like to learn more about anti-trust economics and industrial organisation to make a clearer argument for why this situation confuses me.

Microsoft sure got the book thrown at their “abuse of market power”.

Inland Revenue And FATCA Compliance

I read with interest in the NBR this morning that the Inland Revenue will be acting as an agent for the US IRS with respect to collecting account information held by US citizens and entities in New Zealand.

Will the Inland Revenue be attaching an invoice for their time, additional infrastructure demands and some recompense for the opportunity cost of not spending time chasing New Zealand taxpayers who don’t meet there obligations?

Or will the IRS being doing the same thing for them? Methinks that data flow will be slightly lopsided – there are surely more US citizens and entities in New Zealand than vice-versa.