iPhone release

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of Apple. I pretty much think that they eat people’s souls and individuality by having an OS that can not be personalized as well as ruin people’s economies by creating wants around their very expensive products that suck you into an Apple-bubble you can’t get out of (If you have one product, you need them all because they’re absolutely incompatible with anything else).

Now, I do own an iPad and even though I fiercely resist the Apple-bubble, I do admire what they have done to the IT-industry by reforming both that, the music industry and the mobile phone industry. Steve Jobs was a truly inspiring person and a brilliant mind.

This is why I don’t understand why people criticise Apple’s recent iPhone launch where they revealed that it will now come in two different sizes (and prices) as well as several colours. I think it is a good move by Apple to cater to two different markets with its phones. Since the iPhone entered the market, it has become more mainstream from being very avant-garde, as several other producers (Nokia’s Lumia and Samsung’s Galaxy lines to mention a few) are competing with Apple on innovation and development, where it used to be at the very front. Yes, there’s still a glow about the iPhone, and so to make it available to people with smaller budgets is a great move as it no longer has monopoly in the luxury segment. There are now alternatives to the iPhone, so for the iPhone to start being an alternative in a different market itself is a smart move.

Regarding the colours, it worked for iPod shuffle, didn’t it? And Steve Jobs himself loved it (at least according to his biography by Walter Isaacson).

One argument against both of these ideas is that it goes backwards in Apple’s simple product lines that Jobs created when he took over as CEO (or iCEO) in 1997, bringing Apple back from near death and bankruptcy. Jobs then killed several different computer products and still today, there is only iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air – with a few different sizes and specs. But to go from one size and price iPhone to two will rather bring sales up than down. True, some customers who previously would’ve bought the standard version will now make do with the smaller one, but I think that will be peanuts compared to the extended customer potential. When it comes to colours, Apple still has such an attraction to it that a customer who comes in to an Apple Store and can’t find their first choice colour would rather leave without a phone than with one in a different colour. The colours do create a little flair and excitement though and is a nice touch, but I don’t think it will have a significant impact on the sales. It does reinforce Apple’s image as playful though, just as the iPod shuffle and, before that, the first iMac did. This image is something Apple needs to hold on to as its status as a playful accessory is keeping it in the race against its technologically equal opponents.

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Rights without obligations – opinons post the Trayvon Martin trial

This is a text I wrote a while ago just after the Trayvon Martin-trial was finished. I posted it on my tumblr-page then, but thought that it should be here as well.

I’d like to share a few opinions on some of the more peculiar American laws and sentiments of some Americans.

What very many Americans don’t seem to understand is that you can not have rights without obligations. With less restrictive gun laws come obligations to be careful with them. My main problem with people being allowed to carry a weapon to “defend themselves” is that it makes everyone else  feel like need to carry a gun to defend themselves against everyone else with a gun. Already there, it has spiralled out of control. And if someone does, against all likelihood, draw a gun on you, do you really think you will 1. have time to draw yours to defend yourself and 2. the person threatening you will allow you to reach for your gun without shooting you first?

What this leads to is situations like the one between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. One thinks the other one looks suspicious, the other one gets angry and the first one feels threatened and shoots. The worst part is that he is allowed to shoot without facing consequences in states with stand your ground laws regardless of who started the issue.

The obvious solution is to ban all carrying of weapons unless you have a very good reason to do so (police officer etc). If you want to “protect your property” by having a gun safely locked up at home, feel free, but don’t take it out on the streets and make them dangerous for me if you decide that I am threatening you. This notion seems completely foreign to many Americans who claim carrying a gun is their right. Well, it’s my right as well as people like Trayvon Martin to feel safe on the street. Because guess what. If carrying a gun was illegal, the real criminals who carry guns and who people want to protect themselves against in the first place could be arrested for gun carrying. So making carrying illegal would not only secure the street against people with poor judgements and lethal weapons, but also against criminals with guns.

Many people in this country like to speak of their rights, but they forget about their obligations. Obligations to be considerate. Obligations to not force obligations upon others. Obligations to be good human beings. No guns means no temptations to use them which definitely result in less killings and gun shot wounds. And after the recent events with Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, I think we all need to think about who is the safest and the best person. The man with the gun or the man without. Had Zimmerman not had the gun, would he still had stepped out of his car against the order of the police? Probably not. If so, would a young man still be alive today? Most likely. And that’s what matters.

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Göra gymnasiet obligatoriskt?

English summary at the bottom.

Socialdemokraterna har lagt fram ett förslag om att göra gymnasiet obligatoriskt, eftersom det är väldigt svårt att få jobb om man inte fullföljt gymnasiet. Detta tycker jag är som att laga en porslinsfigur med tejp, helt fel metod.
För det första. Det går inflation i utbildningsnivå i Sverige. Som det är nu behöver man i princip en universitetsutbildning för att få jobb i kassan på Ica. Somliga jobb kräver inte ens gymnasiekompetens, men arbetsgivarna vill ändå ha det, för att det är normen. Arbetsgivare behöver sänka förväntningarna på utbildningsnivå och istället fokusera på att de som jobbar kan det som behövs.
För det andra. Visst är det jättebra om alla vill gå en gymnasieutbildning. Men då måste gymnasiet göras mer attraktivt för alla, även de som inte vill plugga vidare sen. Lärlingsprogram är en bra väg att gå, program utan massor av teori men fokuserade på vad eleverna kommer göra efter studenten.
För det tredje. Grundskolan måste stramas upp. Om man ska kunna ha tvååriga, eller kanske rentav ettåriga yrkesprogram på gymnasiet, så måste eleverna ha lärt sig det de behöver av teori i grundskolan. Det är absolut möjligt om fokus läggs där, men tyvärr har vi fortfarande lite för mycket flumskola i Sverige. Mindre värdegrunder och mer matte och svenska.
Om allt detta ordnas först så är jag övertygad om att lagstiftning av gymnasieutbildning inte behövs. Men det är klart. Det är lättare att lagstifta om något än att åtgärda orsaken till varför man vill lagstifta…

The Swedish social democrats wants to make high school mandatory, i.e. it would be an offense for the parents not to make sure their child doesn’t attend high school. I think that is to start in the wrong end and try and push a square block through a round hole.
Firstly, there’s inflation in education in Sweden. You pretty much need a university degree to work in the checkout in the local convenience store. Employers need to adjust their expectations to what’s needed for the job.
Secondly, the Swedish high school system is comprised of programs with different specializations. Some specializations are very practical and those studying these programs shouldn’t need to do advanced theoretical courses.
Thirdly, students should learn what they need of theory in elementary school, if they want to go for a practical course in high school. This is very much possible, the Swedish school would need to put more focus on actual education though, rather than fuzzy, soft topics, which are rather focused on today, unfortunately. But I guess it’s easier to legislate than to fix the original problem..

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The Algeria hostage situation – greedy employers?

The hostage situation in Algeria seems to have come to an end and unfortunately a number of the hostages were killed. According to various sources, the Algerian military had good reason to act the way it did, seeing that the occupants planned to blow up the entire plant. My question is what these people were doing there in the first place.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth office recommending that people avoid to travel to large parts of Algeria, including the place for the gas plant, unless absolutely necessary. This has been known for a while and still, oil companies choose to operate in this area, sending employees there. In my view, the only companies with good reasons to send people to these conflicted zones are military, humanitarian organisations and news media. In other cases, it is directly irresponsible by the employer to send its employees into a war zone for the sole purpose of money, this comes down to what value you put on a human life. Of course, the purpose of a business is to make profit and the world today is oil and gas dependent, but there still has to be a limit as to what constitutes reasonable risk. Having workers at a plant in a terrorism-prone area is not one of them.

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The EU Social Climate Report thoughts and the Slovak no to bail-out

I read a tweet from the EU commission the other day about a survey, saying that “EU citizens satisfied with life, but reveal low confidence in national economies”. That makes me wonder how they can draw that conclusion when the majority of EU countries have the Euro, and when the Euro is out of the member states’ control.

I read through the bit where people had asked questions about their faith in national economy today, compared to five years ago and 12 months forward. The conclusion I drew is that all countries, with a few exceptions (Sweden being one of them) were very negative to their countries’ economic situation in general. Because that was the question asked: How would you judge the economic situation in (our country). In my opinion, it is a large difference to say that Europeans have are pessimistic about the economic situation in their country compared to saying that they have low confidence in their national economy. Especially when that national economy is largely controlled by a currency they can not control.

Now, I am aware that there are economic factors even Euro-countries can control and that also countries without the Euro were pessimistic, but in times of economic hardships, the ability to control its currency according to changes in trade, unemployment etc. is essential. Just look at the very most pessimistic Europeans in the survey when they get to compare the situation today to five years ago, not surprisingly coming from Spain, Ireland and Greece. What these countries need to be able to do is to devalue their currency in order to stimulate trade and investment to get their economy back on track. But they can’t do that, because their currency also needs to fit stronger economies such as Germany. It will be very interesting to see how these countries will manage to pick themselves up and continue without bankrupting the entire Euro.

The fact that individual countries start to put their feet down against the huge contributions they are expected to make towards the bail out fund for Euro-countries is a strong indicator that the economic politics of the EU have gone too far. A few days ago, Slovakia voted no to a contribution of €7.7 billion, which is about 12% of their GDP. The motivation was that they have also faced very hard times with the economic crisis, but that they have saved themselves out of the crisis. That they simply can not afford to bail out countries who do not want to take the same measures they did themselves. The opposition leader compared the average Slovak pensions of less than  €400 to the Greek average ones of €1,400 and asked if it’d be fair that the Slovakian pensioners pay the bailout of wealthier countries when they still spend as much as they do.

It will be interesting to see how the EU deals with this, as a no simply is not good enough (just look at how the Lisbon Treaty went through). This will continue to be voted on in Slovakia until they reach a yes. One of the political parties abstained from the voting as a protest against the leading party. Their condition for supporting the bill is re-elections, which means that they get a chance to run the country. The prime minister is expected to agree to this, a yes will be achieved and Slovakia will be €7.7 billion poorer.

Links:

The Survey

The Economist

BBC

The Guardian

 

 

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Presentation

I thought it’d be a good way to start with a presentation of me and my opinions.

My name is Sanna Karlsson. I’m from Sweden, but live in the UK; Aberdeen, Scotland to be exact, where I study 3rd year law.

I’ve always had strong opinions about things, which made it natural for me to go into politics. Also having a mum who was a part time politician helped, even though we never discussed very much politics at home. I started to get involved in the Swedish Center party (a green social liberal party) when I was 16 years old. At age 18, I was elected into the community board and the education committee, two commissions I unfortunately had to resign from when I moved abroad after finishing high school in Sweden.

During my gap years, I lived in France and Norway and finally ended up in Scotland, where I still live. This moving around has unfortunately made me lose some connections to Swedish politics, but instead I’ve grown more interested into EU politics, as I study EU law. Unfortunately for my studies, instead of studying the law in itself, I tend to look behind the law at the politics which made it.

I can sometimes come across as anti-EU. That is not the case. I think an European co-operation in some areas, such as work, trade and crime fighting is a great idea. It is however my opinion that EU has grown too large for its own good, not because it’s expanding all the time, taking in new member states, but because it’s taking on new areas where it has legislative competencies all the time, much through judicial activism in the European Court of Justice. I also think that the Euro was a great mistake and I have been against it from the start. The idea of one single currency in as different economies as we have throughout Europe, and the fact that the countries themselves can not affect their own currency in order to control their economy is doomed from the start.

I used to believe in what the Swedish Center Party described as a “narrow but sharp EU”. Now I just hope it will reform itself into something it can manage.

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>Jag har blivit fruktansvärt dålig på att uppdatera. Mest är det för att jag gärna vill lägga upp bilder, men det blir aldrig av att jag tar några alternativt jag får aldrig lagt in dem i datorn. Det är illa! Idag har jag i alla fall haft ett par lektioner och lite självstudier här hemma. Jag läser en kurs som heter Jurisprudence. Det är i princip teorier och filosofi bakom juridik, alltså varför ser lagarna ut som de gör och hur speglar de samhället vi lever i. Det är väldigt intressant men svårt, mest för att bägge lärarna är ungerska och har väldigt stark brytning, så det är i princip omöjligt att förstå vad de säger.

Jag och Johannes har hunnit med en tur till mataffären också så nu står middagen i ugnen. Jag har börjat experimentera med långkok på grytor och annat i ugnen. Resultaten har hittills varit över förväntan, det är supergott och så mört och mjukt att det bara faller sönder. Idag är det köttgryta med rödvin och rotsaker, häromdagen gjorde jag en hel kyckling med potatis, morötter och purjolök. Kycklingen var som sammet när det var klart. Det tar ju lite längre tid än mycket annat, ett par timmar minst, men det är helt klart värt det!
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>Vilken dag! Var i skolan från halv nio och hade föreläsningar, audition och möten fram tills halv sju. Det låter inte sådär jättemycket med tanke på att en vanlig arbetsdag är nio timmar, men jag är inte van vid det. Dessutom har det varit väldigt sällan jag haft så mycket i skolan på en gång, mestadels har jag kunnat sitta hemma och jobba, vilket jag verkligen gillar, men det är det tydligen ändring på nu. I alla fall på tisdagarna. Det ser ut att bli ännu värre också med det mötet jag hade sist varje tisdag och fram till tio istället. Nåja. Får trösta mig med att det är betydligt mindre de andra dagarna.

Den audition jag var på idag var för att få läsa kursen Performance, alltså sjunga och få universitetspoäng för det. Det gick bra, så jag kommer läsa 30 poäng över hela året, 15 per termin. Det är inte dåligt det! Eller läsa och läsa, kursen innefattar 1 timme sånglektion i veckan, ett par timmar i en eget vald sångensemble i veckan samt att man lyssnar på ett par konserter per termin. Alltså sånt jag hade gjort ändå.
Nu sitter jag och myser med min nya elektriska filt. Det är en helt underbar apparat när man bor i ett kallt och fuktigt land. In med kontakten i väggen sen har jag 9 värmelägen och timer på den. Helt underbart!
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>Oj, vad tiden går fort! Jag har nu varit tillbaka i Skottland i två veckor. På den tiden har jag hunnit sjunga med NYCoS, haft föräldrarna här på besök, börjat organisera Gilbert&Sullivan Society för detta året, varit på två Fresher’s Fayre, som är som en mässa/marknad där alla societies visar upp sig och försöker locka nya medlemmar bland förstaårseleverna (Freshers), haft konsert med Gilbert&Sullivan, börjat skolan, bakat massor och spenderat fruktansvärt mycket pengar på skolböcker. Nu har jag visserligen lyckats hitta det mesta begagnat, men det finns ändå ett par böcker som är helt nyutgivna och som jag därför inte kan köpa begagnade. Jag har också möblerat mitt rum, så nu har jag en läsfåtölj och en skrivbordsstol också! Men skrivbordet ser ut som om en bomb slagit ner, så jag måste städa det innan jag kan använda det…

Schemat denna terminen är väldigt fullt! Jag läser 5 eller 6 kurser, 4 juridik och en eller två andra. Detta innebär bland annat att mina tisdagar är 9-19, visserligen med lite hål i mitten, men inte så långa att jag kan gå hem. Sedan är jag ju dessutom vice ordförande i Gilbert&Sullivan Society som inte har någon ekonomi. Normalt sett kan man ha dålig ekonomi, men här är den icke-existerande. Vi behöver samla ihop ca 300 000 kronor innan föreställningarna i februari. Det kommer helt klart bli intressant!

I övrigt trivs jag väldigt bra i min lägenhet! Jag hade hyresvärden här idag, han fixade en dörr som inte gick att stänga samt ett hål i garderoben där de förut förvarat saker, men där det nu bara drar kallt. Han lovade mig också en ny ugn eftersom varmluften inte funkar samt att den har allvarliga kondensproblem, samt en ny dammsugare i nästa vecka. Jag gillar min hyresvärd!

Nu ska jag alldeles strax gå ner i köket och äta äppelkräm som jag kokat idag. Sen är det sängdags, det är ju tisdag imorrn…

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>Rackarn, vad tiden går fort! Jag har nu varit tillbaka i Skottland i två veckor. På den tiden har jag hunnit sjunga med NYCoS, haft föräldrarna här på besök, börjat organisera Gilbert&Sullivan Society för detta året, varit på två Fresher’s Fayre, som är som en mässa/marknad där alla societies visar upp sig och försöker locka nya medlemmar bland förstaårseleverna (Freshers), haft konsert med Gilbert&Sullivan, börjat skolan, bakat massor och spenderat fruktansvärt mycket pengar på skolböcker. Nu har jag visserligen lyckats hitta det mesta begagnat, men det finns ändå ett par böcker som är helt nyutgivna och som jag därför inte kan köpa begagnade. Jag har också möblerat mitt rum, så nu har jag en läsfåtölj och en skrivbordsstol också! Fast skrivbordet ser ut som om en bomb slagit ner, så jag måste städa det innan jag kan använda det…

Schemat denna terminen är väldigt fullt! Jag läser 5 eller 6 kurser, 4 juridik och en eller två andra. Detta innebär bland annat att mina tisdagar är 9-19, visserligen med lite hål i mitten, men inte så långa att jag kan gå hem. Sedan är jag ju dessutom vice ordförande i Gilbert&Sullivan Society som inte har någon ekonomi. Normalt sett kan man ha dålig ekonomi, men här är den icke-existerande. Vi behöver samla ihop ca 300 000 kronor innan föreställningarna i februari. Det kommer helt klart bli intressant!

I övrigt trivs jag väldigt bra i min lägenhet! Jag hade hyresvärden här idag, han fixade en dörr som inte gick att stänga samt ett hål i garderoben där de förut förvarat saker, men där det nu bara drar kallt. Han lovade mig också en ny ugn eftersom varmluften inte funkar samt att den har allvarliga kondensproblem, samt en ny dammsugare i nästa vecka. Jag gillar min hyresvärd!

Nu ska jag alldeles strax gå ner i köket och äta äppelkräm som jag kokat idag. Sen är det sängdags, det är ju tisdag imorrn…

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