Updates from May, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 11:52 am on 15 May 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Some stats to back up my post a few weeks ago about gun sales trends:

    • Background checks to buy a firearm are up 10.5% year over year.
    • April makes the 23rd consecutive month of rising month over month checks.

    The caveat on this: these background checks are used when dealers sell new or used guns, so it’s not a measure of new guns being sold but more of a measure of the general level of activity buying and selling guns (I want to call it the velocity of guns).

    That said, it tracks pretty well with what I said: interest and sales for guns have been rising for about two years with no end in sight.

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 10:31 am on 14 May 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Displaying her political acumen, Governor Perdue recently responded to the Amendment One vote by saying that the outcome makes North Carolina “look like Mississippi.”

    It was a foregone conclusion that the Mississippi governor’s office would object to this implied insult. But I was particularly delighted with the angle chosen by their lieutenant governor:

    “Gov. Perdue should know that her administration has a lot of work to do to make her state’s business climate ‘look like Mississippi,’ he told NBC-17. “We are creating an environment which encourages the private sector to invest capital in Mississippi, and I would invite any North Carolina-based company wanting to move to a lower-taxed, less-regulated state to look at our business-friendly opportunities.”

    Just a reminder that, regardless of your position, so-called “social issues” are a sideshow at the moment.

  • Hober Short 11:19 am on 8 May 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Tycho’s news post commenting on the new Microsoft program to sell game consoles like cell phones nails it:

    Subsidizing hardware with a service charge is how you sell expensive things to people who can’t afford them, or can’t afford it all at once.  It’s about context, though: the gaming console has historically been sold to people who place a premium on its ownership.  Eventually the top part of the funnel gets wider, certainly, and prices drop.  But seeing this model here, where I live, is like finding a bear in your driveway.  What happens when you launch a console in this way?

    You can look at Amazon or whatever and see that the hardware goes for $276 and up.  Obviously, you and I probably aren’t interested in such a device for our personal use: four gigs isn’t enough to copy a single disc to the local drive, reaping the benefits thereby.  The Kinect is deeply, profoundly optional as a peripheral.  It doesn’t matter, though: “we” already own the thing.  “We” have probably owned several, statistically speaking.  This box is for another type of person, and that person exists in far greater numbers than the stalwart faithful which huddle in our cloister.

    • Robert Berry 10:39 am on 9 May 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Not being a hardcore gamer, I’ve never felt qualified to comment on the gaming market. But I’m beginning to realize that the hardcore gamers are becoming less and less important — or at least, the manufacturers are hoping that they will. Nintendo led the way with their focus on casual gamers, but more recently, mobile gaming (which is pretty much exclusively casual gaming) seems to be the most significant trend.

      I’m not sure what any of this means (see my first sentence above), but I do wonder whether it’s a mistake to focus too much on this idea of continual expansion of the market. Nintendo has had great success by recruiting casual gamers, but what happens when that market is saturated? I don’t think those people will be lining up to buy each new console when it comes out. Hardcore gamers may be a small market, but I’d think they’re a reliable one.

      But Microsoft’s approach is interesting; if they take the up-front cost of the console out of the equation (at least partially), maybe they *will* convince casual gamers to stay current. Will we someday end up with a subscription model for gaming?

  • Hober Short 11:58 am on 7 May 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    I’ve harped before on how the system of reporting revenues for movies is broken since it’s done in nominal dollars. Between inflation and increasing real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) ticket prices, the system is rigged to favor the latest hotness and perennially produce record-breaking blockbusters. This is another instance of Naylor’s Law, “If you argue correctly, you are never wrong.”

    So I was glad to see the AP get analytical in their predictable article about the block-busting success of The Avengers:

    As admission prices rise, Hollywood’s record-breakers often take in more money but sell fewer tickets than previous blockbusters. But “The Avengers” took in so much money that it’s the undisputed champ among debuts.

    Based on average admission prices the years they were released, “The Dark Knight” and “Spider-Man 3” had led with about 22 million tickets sold each over opening weekend. Today’s average prices put “The Avengers” tally at around 25.6 million tickets sold.

    Now that’s significant.

  • Hober Short 2:26 pm on 3 May 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Corner cases in US Firearms Law: it is a “ten years in federal prison” felony to attach this rifle vertical handgrip to the rail on the front of this pistol:

    Pistols are only allowed one grip, and adding a second, however temporarily, is extremely illegal.

    Of course, I’d never want to actually do that because it wouldn’t help you shoot the gun and would make carrying and drawing it a total pain. And I’d defy the ATF to find one case where such an “illegally modified” weapon was used in a violent crime. But those are just details.

    (via reddit)

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