Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

From The Onion:

“WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation’s broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, “It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can’t catch a break.””

Great job, America.

All my life, I’ve been a huge US fan. When I graduated from High School, my parents gave me a book with New York photos as a present. My visit to NYC in 1998 was one of the highlights of my life.

For the last 8 years, the US seemed like a totally different place. When I visited San Francisco in 2007, I sensed a tightness and tension in people that made me feel uncomfortable being there.

Over the last 11 months, I followed the primaries and the campaigns closely, through Meet the Press and other podcasts, blogs and twitter friends. It felt like there was something in the making, hope, and the possibility of better times.

Maybe John McCain would have been a great president, but I don’t think that matters this time. This time, inspiration and the power to unite is just more important.

Let’s bring back the land of the free. Let the world see that the american dream is something worth yearning for.

On german TV, I hear lots of people speak of anti-americanism that they think they see over here. I can’t see any of that. For over 60 years now, we’ve been looking up to America. It wasn’t so easy to do that for the last 8 years, and we even learned to voice criticism. But that’s not a bad thing amongst friends, is it?

I’m looking forward to 2009+

Thank you for giving me back those warm fuzzy feelings. I missed them.

It doesn’t pay to be an early adopter with Apple

So, Vodafone sues T-Mobile in germany over exclusive iPhone contracts. They don’t aim for a sales stop, but they want T-Mobile to unbundle the iPhone from their “special” tarriff.

It looks like the customer may win in this battle:

  • First of all, the courts want T-Mobile to offer iPhones without a contract. T-Mobile concurs by offering iPhones for EUR 999,–. Yeah, right.
  • They also force T-Mobile to offer unlocked iPhones (in germany, only prepaid phones usually come with locks). T-Mobile offers free unlocking for anybody buying an iPhone after 11-19-2007. Too bad if you bought one before that date.

That’s not T-Mobile’s final strategy, for sure, but it shows that lock-in will not work in the long run. It also documents T-Mobile’s fight to do just that regardless. My prediction: the market will route around them. There’ll be more unlocked iPhones and hacked ones than T-Mobile ones soon.

I’m still not getting one. Come back to me when the monthly plan, including unlimited data, is below EUR 20. Anything else is usury, given that you can get unlimited 3G UMTS/GPRS for EUR 25. And you could even use that on a laptop, which you can’t with the iPhone.

Here’s the official press release

iPhone – no hype in germany

Last night. T-Mobile stores in germany opened at midnight to serve the crowds of germans waiting for the iPhone. To their dismay, there were no crowds.

I think I know one of the reasons. Let’s compare prices, shall we?

USA: iPhone $399, cheapest plan $59,99 including 450 minutes with rollover, 200 SMS, unlimited data, unlimited mobile to mobile, 5000 minutes nights & weekends. Existing customers can add the iPhone data plan for $20.

Germany (USD rate calculated via xe.com): iPhone $585, cheapest plan $72 including 100 minutes without rollover, 40 SMS, unlimited data (which will be throttled to 64kBit/s after 200MB). Existing customers must get a second contract.

Spot the difference.

The Scoble’s destroy german jobs

Or do they?

Maryam, Scoble’s wife, complains:

“The weirdest thing so far? The shops in all three different cities are closed on Sundays. Some are closed on Monday too. And most of them take lunch breaks and are closed between 12:30 and 2:30. So basically if you need to buy something you better go out between 9-12:30 or 2:30-5, Tuesday through Saturday or you are SOL :)”

Well, at least it made your husband happy ;)

Closing times in germany is something I have never understood. Germans claim that opening shops on sundays or around the clock will not help the economy as it will not increase the amount of money people have left to go shopping, but will make it harder for shop owners to compete with BigCos. OTOH, arriving at Frankfurt airport at 9pm and not being able to shop is a bit strange.

Recent changes in law have allowed shops to open until 10 pm, but adoption is still rather scarce. I guess that will change over time, and probably lead to the insight that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to micro manage this with new laws and let shop owners pick the times they want to open themselves. I sure hope so. Until then, it’s late night shopping at the gas station for me.