Archives for August 2006

E85 ethanol hits proverbial wall

My local paper has an article today entitled “E85 drives itself into ditch.”  Appearantly, people are finally beginning to realize that E85 is not the bargain that everyone is making it out to be.  At current pricing, it is actually more expensive to drive with E85 than with regular gas.  The main reason for this is the decreased mileage performance when running E85.

I personally would buy a flex-fuel vehicle, but only if the price of E85 were to drop significantly.  It most likely is the fuel of the near future or at least the three major Ethanol plants that are being built right now seem to think so.  Unfortunately, because of the lack of supply(or overwhelming demand) the market is crashing.  Many of the stations that carried E85 in North Dakota have stopped carrying it.

They are, in effect, causing the market they will need in the future to collapse. They are eroding consumer confidence in flex fuels. They are profiting in the short term at the expense of the long-term viability of the retail ethanol market.

Consumers want to buy E85. They want a clean, economical substitute for gasoline. They will buy flex-fuel vehicles if they can readily buy ethanol blends. But abuse customers and E85 retailers, as the industry appears to be doing, and it will be tough to win them back.

I think that goes a little far.  I really don’t think it will be all that tough to win the customers and retailers back.  In the coming years, E85 will become even more readily available.  As supply increases and demand stays level, the price should fall.  Those who have a flex-fuel vehicle will begin seeing a price advantage to buying E85 and will begin demanding it from retailers.  Que the upturn and E85 is popular again.  It just might be a few years yet.

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How many job boards do we need?

I just noticed that Om Malik’s new media giant GigaOM announced the release of GigaOM Jobs today.  My Lord!  How many job boards do we need?  Frankly, I’d rather not have to check 30 boards in order to find a job.  I certainly don’t want to check jobs.gigaom.com, crunchboard.com, jobs.problogger.net, and performancing.com/exchange just to find a job.  Oh, that’s just the boards that have been announced in the last month or so.  Several of them in the last week.

You can argue that each has it’s own little niche.  Problogger is certainly mostly blogging jobs, crunchboard is certainly mostly web2.0/enterprise2.0 type jobs.  Performancing kinda fits into the blogging jobs realm and gigaom kinda spans everything.

I really don’t want to visit a bunch of sites to do my searching.  I’d much rather visit a site like SimplyHired and see them all at once.  Simple.  Easy.  One site visited.

Arguably, SimplyHired doesn’t cover it all, but I would expect them to add the above mentioned boards to their list pretty soon.  They already have several of the big ones like careerbuilder and monster.

Perhaps I should start my own job board…  I’ll underbid them all.  $25 a listing for 30 days or until closed.  Any takers?  I suppose you’re all looking at me a little funny now since CrunchBoards has the 98k+ readers of techcrunch looking at it and all I have is a measly 33 readers.  You’re probably right.

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MT Senator opens mouth, inserts foot

Montana Senator Conrad Burns is tasting the sole of his shoe today after comments he made about a roofer he employed in Virginia.

“The other day, the little fella who does our maintenance work around the house, he’s from Guatemala, and I said, ‘Could I see your green card?'” Burns said at a June meeting recorded by Democrats. “And Hugo says, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Oh gosh.'”

The implication there is that Hugo wasn’t a legal worker. I don’t suppose I need to explain why a U.S. Senator employing a illegal worker would be bad for that Senator. Senator Burns’ opponents immediately jumped all over the opportunity:

“A U.S. senator hiring illegal immigrants is not a joke,” said Michael Dougherty of The American Cause, a conservative group founded by Pat Buchanan that supports strict immigration controls. “He could easily dispirit his voting base.”

“If you have the very people who are responsible for making the laws mocking them, it’s a pretty good indication of why we have 12 million people breaking the law,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Ira makes a pretty good point there.  Why should we adhere to the laws if the very people who make them make fun of them?  Sounds like a pretty good reason to drink and drive, eh Senator Kennedy?

All of this makes for some very bad publicity and a lot of work for Senator Burns’ campaign crew.  Oh, yes, it is a election year for Senator Burns’.

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FTC backs telecom companies

FTC head Deborah Platt Majores called the network neutrality bill in congress unnecessary.

I ask myself whether consumers will stand for an Internet that suddenly imposes restrictions on their ability to freely explore the Internet or does not provide for the choices they want

I really don’t see how these people see this in the way that they do.  Network Neutrality won’t impose restrictions on the consumers “ability to freely explore the internet [tubes]”!  What it will do, or should do in any case is keep the ISP’s from charging extra money from the content providers so that their product is delivered at a faster speed than their competitor.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem except that I as a customer have no choice as to whether Google pays At&t for the higher delivery.  I can have the most expensive, fastest broadband connection available, but if Google didn’t pay At&t, it’s would be like using dial-up.

Tell me how that doesn’t interfere with the consumer’s choices?  If the telcos get their way and do this, you can say goodbye to  80% of the Web 2.0 companies of the future.  Or maybe they would be web 3.0?  Fact is, without paying for the higher delivery rates that the larger companies get, the smaller startups wouldn’t be able to deliver their content at speeds that any consumer would be happy with.  Think of what this would have done to Digg, del.icio.us, reddit, and others if their service was as slow as a 56k dial-up connection because they didn’t have the capital to pay the telco to deliver them at higher speeds?

Network Neutrality is a must.

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