Morons Unite For FCC Net Neutrality

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: February 26th, 2015

Net neutrality is an elegant concept.  The system we have now allows a small number of corporations who own data transmission networks to allow, disallow, or charge premiums to deliver content.  That means if you are Netflix, Comcast wants to charge you several million dollars to stream video over their network.  If Netflix doesn’t pay, […]

Schrock Innovations Testifies Agaiunst LB 454 – Another Bad E-Waste Recycling Bill That Needs to Be Defeated

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: February 27th, 2013

The Natural Resources Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature will be considering LB 454 tomorrow to create a new government bureaucracy to handle the recycling of electronics waste like old computers and televisions.

This is the third attempt in a decade to get this bill on to the floor of the legislature, and like the two before it this one is fatally flawed. Below is a transcript of the testimony I will be submitting tomorrow at the Legislature. If you would like to register your opposition to this bill you can do so by emailing a note to the Natural Resources Committee at bkoehlmoos@leg.ne.gov. You can read LB 454 here.

Schrock Recycling Event a Huge Success

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: May 4th, 2012

This year’s annual recycling event at Schrock Innovations was a huge success. Last year we collected about 1.5 tractor trailers full of computer-related E-Waste and our goal this year was to top those numbers. We offered three collections points this year – one in Papillion, one in Omaha, and one in Lincoln.  Between all three […]

Schrock Recycling Event a Huge Success

  • Comments: 4
  • Written on: May 24th, 2011

Last weekend Schrock Innovations held its first ever electronics recycling event. No one really knew what to expect because this was the first time anyone had held a recycling event restricted to old computers and old cell phones.

All of Schrock’s employees were on staff that weekend and the original plan was to document the number of pieces coming in as they arrived. In the first 15 minutes that plan went out the window.

While I was on the air doing the KFOR Compute This radio show, Schrock had taken in more than 500 pieces of e-waste in Lincoln and 200 in Omaha.

After the 2-day event ended on Sunday we had collected approximately 1.5 75-foot tractor trailers full of monitors, printers, scanners, towers, cell phones, cords and accessories.

Take a look at the pictures of the event on our Facebook page!

LB626 Testimony and Senator Haar Smackdown Goes Viral on Drive Time Lincoln With Coby Mach

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: March 10th, 2011

On March 9th, Nick Bock of the Five Nines Technology Group and myself both testified in opposition of Nebraska Legislative Bill 626, which was a recycling mandate bill improperly named a job creation bill.

After the conclusion of my testimony Senator Ken Harr asked me how the private sector could solve this problem. Little did I know that my answer would go viral on Lincoln’s airwaves later that day.

A Potential Free Market E-Waste Solution

Ironically, Nick and I had been discussing the viability of a non-profit 501c3 technology reclamation company that would collect e-waste, refurbish what could be resold and use the revenues from selling it to fund collection points across the state and create jobs.

It was all very back of the envelope and off the cuff, but never the less it was the first thought that popped into my mind when Senator Haar asked the question. I briefly explained the idea and in conclusion Senator Haar suggested that a bill could be crafted to accomplish that goal.

Senatorial Smackdown?

I responded to Senator Haar that a bill wasn’t required because it could be done with free enterprise.

Yesterday on the way home I was listening to Drive Time Lincoln with Coby Mach and I guess my off-handed comment was more like an unintentional Senatorial smackdown.

Click here to listen to the audio from drive time Lincoln.

What Happens Next?

I know Senator Haar, and we have had discussions in the past on multiple items including the promotion of Wind Energy in Nebraska. He also knows that I come from a less government more free enterprise position.

I enjoyed testifying and I believe the committee listened to the input that Nick and I provided because the bill will not be prioritized (at Senator Mello’s request) and a roughly 2-year study is being proposed to attempt to formulate some legislation that might have a chance of making it thought the sausage factory.

Nebraska LB626 is a “Job Creation” Bill That Will Do Anything but Create Jobs

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: March 9th, 2011

There is going to be a hearing at the Nebraska Capital Building today at 1:30 regarding LB626 the “Electronics Recycling and Job Creation Act.”

This bill will not create any net jobs, will collect up to $1.5M in taxes from local companies, and will burden individual citizens and businesses alike with new rules and regulations.

What Does LB626 Do?

A few years back a similar bill was introduced in the unicameral that I testified against. This bill is very similar to that one and I believe it represents a hidden tax on consumers in Nebraska.

Here is a link where you can read LB626.

LB 626 does a lot in a mere 20 pages. The bill proposes:

  1. If you make your own house brand computers you WILL pay a tax to the state between $1250 and $10,000+ annually
  2. If you do not pay this fee, you are prohibited from selling computers in Nebraska
  3. You are REQUIRED to provide FREE recycling to your customers and you are REQUIRED to pay the cost of recycling collected equipment
  4. If you resell Dell, HP, Gateway or any other national brand that is not participating in the state’s program, you pay the taxes described above
  5. This bill imposes a landfill ban for all consumers and schools and requires recycles to accept goods form consumers and schools at no cost
  6. This bill collects between $1M and 1.5M a year from local manufacturers, and the amounts collected per company operate on a sliding scale. The bill states NE WILL collect $1M – $1.5M annually, regardless of the number of manufacturers. If NE loses manufacturers individual manufacturers pay more.
  7. Although this bill collects ALL of its revenue from Computer manufacturers and recyclers, it promises grants of up to $1M to small towns and villages to demolish old buildings. If the bill collects $1M to $1.5M a year, how can they operate the bureaucracy, grant the million, and “create recycling jobs”?

In my opinion, this bill represents a hidden tax on the Nebraska consumers who patronize our local businesses.

The costs of this bill will be eventually paid by the consumers in Nebraska at a time when Social Security cost of living increases are non-existent, wages in Nebraska are not rising fast enough to keep up with food and energy price inflation, and our state, cities, and counties are running budget deficits.

This is a bill that will reduce consumer choice in Nebraska as businesses choose not to sell PCs in the state, increase the costs of electronic goods, create time and energy burdens on individual citizens, and will kill more jobs than it creates.

The State does not create jobs. Only businesses can do that.

This is a bill that costs EVERYONE involved form the consumer to the manufacturer more money and duplicates many services that the private sector is already providing to consumers at little or no cost.

I know this is VERY short notice, but I will be present to testify against this bill this afternoon in the legislature. Three years ago I was able to kill a similar recycling bill with my testimony, but this is a different scenario. New players and new rules. If there is any possible way you can make it down to the capital today at 1:30 in Room 1525 please make an effort to do so.

Unions May Cause FedEx Prices to Soar

  • Comments: 40
  • Written on: July 20th, 2010

It always amazes me that some people just can’t seem to grasp the concept that if you raise costs on businesses the prices they charge consumers for services will go up.

Congress is considering more sweet-heart union legislation that would require express mail carriers (like FedEx) to be regulated under the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA).

The Teamsters Union has been at work in UPS for years causing regulation headaches and increasing shipping prices for consumers and now they want in on the FedEx action as well.

Their objective is to boost their membership numbers and consequently the money they can spend on political campaigns and lobbyists. The fastest way to do that is to get a piece of the non-unionized FedEx pie.

Rather than asking FedEx employees if they want to be represented by a union, the Teamsters have used political influence and Capital Hill lobbyists to try to force their employees into paying union dues whether they want to or not.

Hoffa Wants 100,000 FedEx Union Members

Teamsters Union President James Hoffa called on Congress to force FedEx air express workers to operate under the NRLA, and vowed to “organize 100,000 workers at FedEx” once that happens.

Multiple attempts at company-wide unionization of FedEx have already failed as workers reject union monopolies, so Teamsters have developed legislative strategies to force unionization.

The Senate is expected to decide on the bill, Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, soon. This legislation would be government intervening in a private company’s operating procedures– and it amounts to a boon to the Teamsters union, and a drag on our economy.

What You Can Do to Stop Abusive Union Legislation

Call your Senators today and ask them to please VOTE NO on the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act and to oppose the special deal for the Teamsters.

It is anti-competitive and another example of Washington backroom dealing—without public oversight.:

US Senator Mike Johanns in Omaha: (402) 758-8981

US Senator Ben Nelson in Omaha: (402) 391-3411

What Happens if This Law Passes?

Today, prices are down, reliability is up and access to markets has never been better in the shipping industry. Our economy depends on a reliable and competitively priced express-delivery network for emergency medicines, replacement parts and critical inventory.

But if Congress creates a government-mandated monopoly, prices will increase, service and reliability will decrease, and then access will be limited.

Consumers may have to pay a “hidden package tax” to fund this bailout. Estimates vary, but a mere 10 percent increase in costs would result in an extra $9 billion cost for consumers. Not to mention reduced reliability, longer shipping times and more limited access to rural markets around the globe.

In addition, FedEx and other overnight air carriers will be subject to labor strikes like UPS experienced in 1997, which had catastrophic consequences for the economy.

Shipments of indispensable items like medications, food, paychecks – could end up stranded on shipping docks across the country again.

Migrating Away from Gmail and Google – A Pain but Worth the Effort

  • Comments: 36
  • Written on: May 27th, 2010

I love Google. I like Google’s innovation, their easy-to-use technology and the competition they bring to the marketplace.

But I don’t love Google sticking their nose into every corner of my life, recording every website I visit, every email and attachment I send, and tracking my GPS location through my cell phone.

I have been growing more protective of my privacy over the past few months, and Google’s recent WiFi spying revaluation has made me even more concerned.

While Google claims the spying was inadvertent I find it hard to believe that a whole team of data engineers looked at the raw amount of data that was collected and said, oh yeah… that is just a bunch of WiFi locations.

Coming from a guy who was one mouse click away from buying a Nexus One phone from Google’s store, you might understand that I try to give Google the benefit of the doubt. but no longer. It is time for rash actions.

Goodbye Gmail

The biggest intrusion into my life by far is Gmail. Like hundreds of thousands of others I eagerly agreed to let Google read my email, archive my attachments in Google Docs, and display relevant ads on which I have never clicked. It seemed like a great deal.

By itself, it probably is. However, if you have ever sent an email and regretted it, if you have ever attached the wrong document to an email, or if you have foolishly included credit card numbers or other personal it is all archived for eternity at Google – even if you delete your Google Account. I am not ok with that.

For about $10 a month I got a private IMAP account from Rackspace.com and now all of my email moves through that IMAP in the same way it did before with Google. My phone, desktop, and webmail are all synchronized in beautiful, silent privacy. I love it.

Goodbye Google Toolbar

The next step it to uninstall the Google Toolbar and remove the Google Gears extension from my Firefox browser.

The Google Toolbar tracks every website your browser visits, and when cross-referenced with the pervasive cookie that is present on your computer when you log into any Google Service, the G-Master knows what web pages you look at, what you search for, what videos you prefer on YouTube, and even the data you place in certain forms on websites.

It is time for me to close that door of information as well. I don’t plan on using many Google Services anyway, so Gears won’t be too much of a problem.

AdWords and AdSense

I am not ditching AdWords and AdSense and its not just the great money I make as an AdSense publisher or the customers I can attract to Schrock Innovations using AdWords.

AdSense and AdWords have a clear revenue model. Google is buying and selling advertising. It’s a marketplace where money is exchanged for advertising.

When you use Google’s free products you are trading your privacy for the use for the free product. I am no longer willing to pay that price – especially when I can get similar services for such a small amount of money.

So Am I Paranoid or Just Realistic?

People I have talked to either think I am nuts that Google gives a damn about what I am doing in my computing time and others see the potential for privacy abuse in the future.

I am afraid of so much personal information being stored about me in one place because history has shown that in times of economic and political strife, private companies do things they would not ordinarily do.

Take it a step further… Lets say a state or the Federal government decides they want to charge you retroactive sales taxes on everything you have bought using Google Checkout. They can use the courts to FORCE Google to hand over their treasure trove of your personal information.

If you thinks that scenario is nuts, watch out – its already happening right now to Amazon in South Carolina. See below from the Charlotte Observer:

Unable to get Amazon.com to collect the taxes, the state recently began an audit of online businesses, trying to track down what it assumes are millions of dollars in uncollected taxes. The state has told Amazon that it wants buyers’ names and the amounts they spent. That state also needs to know the general categories of spending, like books or movies or food, because some items are tax exempt. Amazon has refused to comply, claiming in federal court that North Carolina may be able to learn the titles of books and movies that its customers have bought, imperiling privacy and free speech. North Carolina officials have said they are not seeking those details. Now it is up to the court to decide whether Amazon will have to reveal the names of customers, without titles.

So would Google go to bat for you? Who knows.

You can’t trust Google implicitly because they are a business created to generate profits. In most cases protecting privacy is key to generating profits, but if governments demand a fat check from the G-Master OR the names of others to collect from, what do you think they would hand over?

Only Hours Left to Make a Difference on Healthcare

  • Comments: 9
  • Written on: March 19th, 2010

Barak Hates ThisBarack Obama’s health care plan is scheduled for a vote on Sunday, and rather than preach my feelings about this bill and the methods used to pass it, I have decided to simply urge my readers to contact the representatives who are undecided.

The website Barak Hates This has a list of the undecided Congressional representatives and their phone numbers.

Their is still time to make a difference in this vote, but you have to act now.

Regardless of your position (I believe most of the American people are against this) take advantage of your right to influence your Congressmen and Congresswomen.

Barack Obama is the Great Pumpkin – I Told You So!

  • Comments: 4
  • Written on: October 31st, 2009

Last Halloween I posted an quickie video that made the argument that Barack Obama is the famed Great Pumpkin. I am not a spiteful man, but I have to point out that I told you so!

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