Headline Sep 28, 2015/ ''' FREEBIES AND SAMFIES '''


CONVENTIONAL WISDOM says technology is fostering more of a financial struggle for the middle-class.

A recent Economic Policy Institute study in America shows that real annual wages for all but the top 10%  of society have grown only  15%  since 1979. That's almost no growth.

If the value of what we get for each dollar spent hasn't changed much in all that time, life today would be no better than  35 years ago.

Mike Maples, a partner at tech investment firm  Floodgate, so recently enumerated,  -all the while protesting the conventional wisdom. ''The frames of reference  are wrong,'' he said. ''I mean, just look at all the products that you used to buy separately that are now collapsed into your smartphone for free.''

Was Maples being flip? Or can the smartphone tell us something about our standard of living today compared with the days before the computers and software spread into every pucker on the planet? 

The topic seems worth exploring.

First of all, just take the phone   -a device for talking to other people. A smartphone costs about $200 to buy and maybe $100 a month  -$1200 a year  -for local and long distance calls, plus a data plan and a voice mail.

In 1979, a touch-tone-phone bolted to the kitchen wall cost less to buy, but local calling service by itself cost $325 a year, or $ 1,068 in 2015 dollars  -nearly the same as cell service today.

In 1979, AT&T also charged exorbitant per minute rates for long distance calls. So you could either choose not to call your mother in another state or pay hundreds more dollars per year for the privilege.

International calls cost $ 1.34 per minute in 1979 [$4.40 in today's dollars], and they're now essentially free on Skype. Although in 1979, globalization hadn't in yet, so most people didn't know anybody in another country.

If you wanted voice mail in 1979, and answering machine would've run about $125 [$410 today]. Of course, it's free now. Plus in 1979, no one dreamed of of talking by phone to someone while walking down the street.

All phones were wired. You didn't call a person, you called a place. So on voice alone, the smartphone kicks some serious -value-comparison butt.

Add in the most basic apps. My phone has a free calculator. In 1979, a nice adding machine cost $80 ($263 today). My phone has an address book, flashlight and calender. None of these would've cost much in 1979, but they're free now, year after year.

I also have a free weather app that gives me detailed forecasts for any location. In 1979, I remember dialling a number to get only the time and temperature, though that was free too.

How about music? In 1979, to carry portable music, you would've had to buy the first Sony Walkman for $150 [$493 today]. Each album tape cost $9 [$30 now].

Today, a music player on my phone is free, and I can pay $9 a month ($2.75 in 1979 dollars) for  Spotify and listen to almost any album in existence.

It's been a long time since I heard a cassette played on a Walkman through those spongy headphones, but I'm willing to bet it sounded like ass.

In 1979, you could buy a Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera, about the size of a deck of cards, for $28 [$92 now]. Then you'd have to buy film every two dozen photos-

And pay for the film to be processed into crappy little pictures. Now all that is free on smartphone and immeasurably better.
So, economists who say tech is killing middle-class wages aren't accounting for all the cool stuff we don't pay for.

The Honour and Serving of the Economic ''Operational Research'' continues. Thank you for reading and see Ya all on the following one.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of technology. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Samfies & Freebies '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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