Republicans Getting Slightly More Serious About The Budget

John Boehner released a plan which would end up with a balanced budget in ten years.  This is a bit better than the approximately 20 years it would take for the Ryan plan to have reached a balanced budget.  Given that the entitlement programs’ deaths have moved up several years and politicians have lobbed a new entitlement nightmare into the bonfire, this seems like a case of “too little, too late.”  Except that there’s no way Democrats get to a balanced budget, so it’s not even “too little.”

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A Few Curmudgeonly Notes

Troy Hunt On A Roll

Two Troy Hunt articles today.  The  first concerns the latest push to make everything in your household Internet-accessible.  This idea was around during the ’90s (smart refrigerators could tell you when you’re out of milk, for example), but we’re getting to the point where our current infrastructure can support a growing number of “smart” devices.  The problem is that security tends to be a lagging feature, and embedded device security additionally so.  What happens when you need to flash the firmware on your refrigerator because of a bug that lets anybody on the Internet change its temperature?

The other article relates to Windows XP.  Microsoft’s support window for Windows XP is closing quickly, and Troy does a great job working through some of the implications of having so many people still on XP.  Most interesting was the “IE tax” that some sites have come up with.  By making laggards pay an additional cost, these companies give a small incentive to move (or for people stuck in 2005 to shop elsewhere).

But some part of the XP problem is that subsequent Windows versions have been, shall we say, less than commercially viable.  Vista was a horrible flop, and 7 has been OK but not great.  8, meanwhile, is kind of a drastic change, and isn’t very good if you don’t have a touchscreen.  This means that we’ll have a new sticking point at Windows 7, which will probably be around until the next decade, regardless of Microsoft’s official policy regarding obsolescence (after all, XP was supposed to be done in 2007, five years after its initial release).

Bill Livingston can be a jerk so I don’t have to be

A couple of weeks ago, I had a big blog post planned about Art Modell didn’t deserve to be in the HOF. I scrapped it because it felt like I was being unnecessarily vindictive and because I think he had a legitimate case with choosing the first African American GM in the NFL. Bill Livingston has no such moral qualms.

After reading his article, I actually feel sorry for Modell. Livingston’s case for exclusion is “he was an asshole and fired Paul Brown.” A lot of people in pro sports are assholes, maybe even most of them. I’m slowly inching closer to the “Art in the HOF”, not farther, as a result of the article.

Obamacare Notes

Yuval Levin has a couple of excellent points regarding Obamacare:  first, that there’s a huge, government-induced moral hazard problem; and second, that its timeline is unworkable.  Regarding the timeline, this is something that will get pushed back over and over, given the way government IT projects tend to go.  Even if there are states which go live at the deadline, the end results will be saddening.

Mickey Kaus, meanwhile, notes some of his readers who have skepticism regarding the idea that electronic medical records will lower costs.  Having doctors enter in patient information (as opposed to the current system, in which they dictate their notes and have specialists transcribe the notes) will be a significant cost increase in itself:  you’re paying hundreds of dollars an hour for sub-par secretaries.  Add to that the cost of locking into crummy EMR solutions and we have yet another situation in which the government picking winners and losers leaves consumers as the losers.

Outsourcing Done Right

I’ve joked about doing this before:  hire somebody to do my job for 20% of the price and then pocket the rest.

The one part of this which surprised me was the discussion about how clean the guy’s code was.  Normally, when you outsource development, the end result is a horrible mish-mash of copy-pasted garbage.  So whoever this guy hired apparently did a great job.