Slate Hates Us

Slate Hates Us

Slate, the online magazine, has a new web site. Actually, “new web site” might not be an accurate description. I might prefer “attack on the public” or “insult to the intelligence” or “rain dance of hatred upon the consumer.”

It’s a Rohrschach of a web site. You don’t have any idea what it’s supposed to mean and after a time, you no longer believe anyone else knows either. Someone just threw colors and titles on the page like an electronic Jackson Pollack. The web site re-lists the same articles repeatedly apparently with the idea that maybe if you the title in a different font with a different background, you’ll like it better. If you want to find anything, you’re on the scavenger hunt from hell. I just want to read Doonsebury and I’m never sure where it is in there.

Some days, it’s just not worth hacking through the electronic jungle of obstruction and there are easier sights beckoning.

I know where they got the designer – same guys did the ACA site except better.

James Pilant

Foxconn Cheaps Out

Foxconn says underage workers used in China plant | Reuters

Foxconn, the trading name of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, said it had found some interns at a plant in Yantai, in northeastern Shandong province, were under the legal working age of 16. It did not say how many were underage.

“Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is not only a violation of China’s labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.”

China’s official Xinhua news agency, citing an unnamed Yantai government official, said that 56 underage interns would be brought back to their schools.

The students had been employed after Foxconn asked the development zone in which the factory is located to help solve a labor shortage last month, when they were needed to make up a shortfall of 19,000 workers, Xinhua added.

Foxconn is Apple Inc’s largest manufacturing partner, and also makes products for Dell Inc, Sony Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co among its other clients. It said the Yantai plant does not make Apple products.

Foxconn says underage workers used in China plant | Reuters


Underage workers in the corporate heaven of Foxconn

There is the funny thing in economics called supply and demand. It would seem to dictate that you raise pay or benefits to attract new workers. But Foxconn doesn’t believe in the free market. They appealed to the government (that would be the development zone) for a little help in the form of permission to use 56 underage “interns.” They took them out of school, an undoubted benefit. I mean, who needs school when they could work long hours at tedious jobs for little pay. There is certainly a kind of education there, right?

I could talk about the business ethics of this situation. But how much analysis can you do? Underage workers, children used to evade having to raise salaries, manipulating the government for private gain – what part of this requires an extended analysis?

James Pilant

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Forgive My Low Number of Posts Today, I’m Installing a New Printer.

This might seem like a simple process but I installed my wife’s old machine and discovered the cartridges for a Brother MFC-465CN cost $24.95 for the black cartridge and $39.95 for the color cartridges. So, only needing black ink for a school task oriented printer, I paid $24.95 and tax, returned home and after a long difficult struggle through the rules and the FAQ  on the web site discovered you must have all the cartridges without any of them being empty to run the printer. So all I needed to do was go and buy the $39.95 color cartridges.

Thus I went back to the store and bought a new printer from Hewlett Packard after pricing the cartridges in advance. They are 14.95 for black and 19.95 for the colors.

For you guys at the Brother Company, I want you to understand that if you wait for my next purchase of your product, it might be some time, a very long time. My new printer cost less than your cartridges and it’s a wireless model.

For further stories and expressions of deep and abiding discontent, go to this site and enjoy.

What to do with the old Brother printer? I am considering breaking it up with a tree limb or a hammer or something like that and posting the process on the web. We’ll see what happens.

James Pilant