Groupon Gets a Bad Review

Now that my ire has subsided, let me tell you about my bad experience with Groupon.

I told my readers about the great deal before Christmas – a normally $399 iPHONE oriented Pioneer amplifier and speaker desk Hi-Fi for $199.

I hope you ordered it and got it. I ordered it and did not get it although it was approved at every step. Something went wrong at the fulfillment end, and although I got my money back I did not get my Christmas present. What I got was a lot time spent on the phone and by e-mail, and a lot of apologies, but apologies do not play the Modern Jazz Quartet.

I still get daily ads from Groupon daily telling me about great deals, and obviously someone, somewhere is getting a good deal, but I am reluctant to click on a second advertised good deal.

Once burned, twice shy.

Groupon has many competitors in local advertised specials, including the U-T, the NC Times, and LivingSocial. While Groupon is by far the largest national coupon specialist, Amazon and others are getting into the mix.

“Someone else” is more likely to get my money.

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Quick Hits

It is emblematic of the Occupy Movement that they only place they still cause trouble is in places where liberals thrive – and I might add, in spite of the liberal Mayors of those cities for whom the Occupy bunch are a great embarrassment – Oakland and the District of Columbia.

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A new study by two Harvard researchers indicates that of all the factors that contribute to classroom success, low class size is not among them. Neither is per pupil expenditures.

The major factors in school success:” frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, highdosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations — explains approximately 50 percent of the variation in school effectiveness.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein

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The military is asking Congress for new funds to R&D an advanced MAP weapon to penetrate underground facilities in case of need. The current 30,000 pound ordinance will penetrate 200 feet of reinforced concrete before it explodes, and while that might not (as an example) destroy the Iranian facilities, I suspect it rearrange the furniture (and the Scientists brains) sufficiently to set back the progress until new ordinance can be devised.

 

 

Can we talk?

This Class Warfare is not just between Democrats and Republicans, or, as is visible right now between Republicans and Republicans. It is basically between people.

People with different attitudes.

For 32 years, in addition to being an entrepreneur, a university professor and a corporate executive, I have been a real estate Broker.

I have known – still know – real estate agents who are consumed about how much money or how many homes other agents make. I can honestly say that in 32 years I have never checked the sales of another competing agent.

Their sales do not come at my expense – there are more homes for sale than any of us can handle and if someone is doing better than I am it does not hurt me. When I was selling in a highly competitive market against cut-throat competition I did not check my competitors, and now for the past decade I sell in a small enclave of HIGHLY cooperative agents (and friends), and still do not check my competitors.

(Just to give you an idea, in our community a competitor went on vacation and asked me to handle his business, and, although I was opening an office next to him he offered the full use of his office, phones and files for FREE until I could get open. I helped him with his computer for years and put him on my network (because he had no idea of technology) so he had access to every person I was dealing with.

I one was in an office that was so cut-throat that when I once went shopping, someone intercepted an incoming phone call and stole my client with a deceptive comment: I am sorry, Alan is no longer with this office, can I help you.’

There are simply differences between how people view the success of others, and while that is more common among Democrats it is obvious with the attacks on Romney’s success that it exists among Republicans as well. I just find it interesting that Newt – who had half a million dollar revolving credit line at Tiffany’s, is concerned about Romney’s money.

 

 

 

Techie Moment

Technology is great.

What do you do when the sports — or political event– you want to see is not on TV?

The upcoming Summer Olympics will have 200 hours of TV but much of it is delayed, or not covered by TV at al– but it is all streamed, live on the Internet.

While watching the part of the 24 Hours of Daytona, they said that they would stop the TV coverage at 6 p.m. Local time but that it was being streamed on the Web, so I fired up the iPAD and while watching it remembered that I had Apple TV connected to the flat screen.

I turned on AirPlay on the iPAD, and… Eureka…on my HD TV was the race, broadcast over the air from my iPAD to the TV!

Come to think of it, I missed a 60 Minutes segment, and there is an app for that. No reason to watch it on my iPAD when that big flat screen is so much unused real estate.

Improving the Breed

Once again – this is not about auto racing, or at least the details because I realize many do not share my love for the sport and you would not recognize one driver from another.

The 24 Hours of Daytona is about endurance. The winner covered more than 2,710 miles. (Think LA to NYC.)

Here are just a few notes that interested me:

In the GT Class (think fully race prepared cars you are familiar with; Mazda, Ferrari, Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, Audi, etc.) – almost HALF the racing field of 46 cars were Porsche. (Porsches finished 1,2,3) That is a testament to the speed and endurance of the Porsche marque. Many of the field were factory prepared cars driven by factory employed drivers.

In the fastest class, the Prototypes, Ford powered cars finished 1,2,3.

The Continental tire shop, which mounted the tires for all the teams (and keeping them organized by electronic codes on the tires), mounted more than 5,000 tires before and during the race.

Some teams had three drivers, some four and some five. The problem with only three drivers was obvious when two drivers on that three-driver team cramped up and they had to go borrow a driver from another team. (No driver can drive more than three and a half hours in one stint, and no driver can drive more than 14 total hours.)

This was the 50th Anniversary of the race, and one driver has driven in 40 races!

“Back in the day” we drove endurance races of only 6 hours – and the first five were cruising at a given lap time to conserve the car until the last hour of the race. Now they drive every lap at absolute maximum effort. As they say, “You can’t luck into a win in a 24 hour race, but you can luck into a loss.”

Everything – car, pit crews, engineers – even the caterers – must be at the top of their form. The slightest bobble

In both classes (and the Prototypes are 30 MPH faster than the GT cars), the underdogs won. It is tough to beat big money, but it happened today in both classes.

Or, as the Associated Press put it:

The Associated Press

“DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The little team with no pedigree knocked off the big boys with all those championships.”

Time For A Court Challenge

Friday, under pressure from the Republican House of Representatives, the National Park Service finally announced that they would bounce the Occupy DC group from two parks just blocks from the Capitol.

The contention of the Occupy group is that they are protected by the First Amendment, and the problem is, “What is speech?” The Courts have expanded the word “speech” to include” activities” and ruled that placing a crucifix in urine, for example, is “speech.’

Then, is “camping” speech when it is used as an expression of political discontent/

That has been the question in every locality where the Occupy Movement has been protesting.

The National Park people had not evicted the protestors because they were in fear – realistically – of a court challenge on the First Amendment, but court cases take a long time and Congress has the purse strings and can cut the National Park Service budget quickly.

That threat is immediate, so the protestors will (eventually) be evicted.

Hopefully, the Occupy Movement will get to the Supreme Court where some sanity can be restored to the definition of “speech.”

It ISN’T One World…

The downgrading of  European nations credit worthiness continues today with Fitch downgrading a few new countries.

The interesting thing to me is that the nations being downgraded do not have as bad an economic problem as does the United States – or Britain.

The difference is that the US and Britain retained their own currencies and so do not suffer when other nations (PIIGS) pull down the common currency of the 17 European nations tied to the Euro.

So Spain and Italy’s problems cause other nations to get downgraded because the premise is that they must bail out Spain and Italy – while Britain and the US can simply look on.

Now you know the danger of a “One World” economy and a common currency, as some propose.