October 31, 2011

Halloween Snowstorm in New London NH

At a friend's home for the weekend in New London, NH, we awoke to find that our cars had accumulated a February-like 'dusting.' No trick-or-treaters that night!

October 29, 2011

ARM CTO Predicts Chips the Size of Blood Cells | PCWorld

Technology gallops on, nano-technolgy and rapid advances in manufacturing processes yielding incredible miniaturization and capabilities. Now if we could only find a way to charge all those batteries effectively without wires...

"In less than a decade, that smartphone you're holding could have 32 times the memory, 20 times the bandwidth and a microprocessor core no bigger than a red blood cell, the CTO of chip design company ARM said on Thursday...."

'via Blog this'

The Divider vs. the Thinker - WSJ.com

Sounds like a statement that thoughtful Occupy Wall Street folks could buy into and adopt as their own. But it comes from a conservative Republican who understands our national disease and speaks openly about it.
"Rather than raise taxes on individuals, we should "lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive." The "true sources of inequity in this country," he continued, are "corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless." The real class warfare that threatens us is "a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society.""

'via Blog this'

October 27, 2011

My Droid 2 Now Working with my Home WiFi

I previously reported problems connecting to my home Wifi network on a Motorola users forum.  My D2 worked fine on open WiFi or other encrypted networks tested. I determined, with help from several posts on the forum, that my D2 did not like the old (2003 vintage) WPA encryption on my Microsoft wireless router. I tried WEP and D2 didn't like that either. There were no firmware upgrades. MS got out of the WiFi hardware business years ago.

Today, I installed a Belkin 750 DB wireless router with WPA/WPA2 encryption and now the D2 connection is solid. Obviously, the recent upgrade to Gingerbread was the culprit...or Moto's implementation of it... because Froyo had no problems connecting on the MS hardware.

In any event, automatic smartphone software upgrades should be backward-compatible with all encrypted WiFi networks because there are so many of them out there.

October 23, 2011

Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S vs. Droid RAZR: Smartphone Battle Royale | PCWorld

One of many comparisons that are sure to come of the newest smartphones from Samsung (Android Ice Cream Sandwich, 4G), Motorola (Android Gingerbread, 4G) and Apple (iOS5, 3G).

VZ/Moto recently upgraded my Droid2 to Android Gingerbread. While there are many nice new features, I and many other D2 users have various glitches and performance shortcomings. 
"Google’s Galaxy Nexus is the latest addition to this year’s hot smartphone line-up, alongside the iPhone 4S and the Droid RAZR. Unveiled last night, the Galaxy Nexus, manufactured by Samsung, embodies Google’s idea of the perfect smartphone, together with the brand-new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile OS."
Here's a story with a comparison chart of several new smartphones.

'via Blog this'

October 22, 2011

The GOP Wins by Bruising - WSJ.com

Peggy Noonan's take on the OWS folks. Henninger's opinion is similar. Without commenting on the gatherings in other places in the U.S., my impression of the Zuccotti Plaza group matches Noonan's. These protesters are unhappy and disorganized but only as relevant as the media circus makes them.

"...They are not funneling their energy into the democratic process because there is no market for what they are selling: Capitalism should be overturned, I am angry that my college loan bills are so big, the government is bad, and the answer is more government. You can't win elections in America with that kind of message. So they will stay in the streets, where they can have an impact by stopping traffic, inconveniencing people going to and coming from work, and appearing to be an amorphous force that must be bowed to.
The difference between the occupiers and the tea party is the difference between acting out and taking part...."

'via Blog this'

October 19, 2011

A very powerful new 4G phone from Samsung and Google. Will watch closely and decide whether to upgrade my DROID 2 on Verizon...when 4G is available in my area.

More here on Google's Mobile Blog

October 18, 2011

The Great Restoration - NYTimes.com

Mainstream America gets it. David Brooks emphasizes that America has the ability to economically self-correct. Let's hope he's right and that his colleague at the NY Times, Mr. Krugman, is wrong as cheerleader for the OWS protestors while advocating for yet more government deficit spending. Fortunately, most Americans disagree with Krugman.
"...Quietly but decisively, Americans are trying to restore the moral norms that undergird our economic system.

The first norm is that you shouldn’t spend more than you take in."

...Second, Americans are trying to re-establish the link between effort and reward.

...The third norm is that loyalty matters.

...Some economists say the government should be spending more now to stimulate a recovery. Thirty-eight percent of Americans seem to agree with that. But 56 percent have said “government spending when the government is already running a deficit is the wrong approach during an economic downturn because it is only a temporary solution that increases long-term debt.”
...These majorities are focused on the fundamentals. They say that repairing the economic moral fabric is the essential national task right now."

Poll: Washington to blame more than Wall Street for economy | Burlington Free Press | burlingtonfreepress.com

Congress , even more that Presidents, deserves the reproach for spending America into deep debt. That means we, the people have ourselves to blame since we elect them. The Constitution gives only Congress the purse strings of government, and they have far too freely opened that purse to 'provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare...'

"Most Americans blame Wall Street for the nation's economic predicament — but they blame Washington more.

And in the democracy that fancies itself the capital of capitalism, more than four in 10 people describe the U.S. economic system as personally unfair to them. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken last weekend, as the Occupy Wall Street protest movement completed its first month, found that:

•When asked whom they blame more for the poor economy, 64% of Americans name the federal government and 30% say big financial institutions.

•Only 54% say the economic system is personally fair to them; 44% say it is not.

•78% say Wall Street bears a great deal or a fair amount of blame for the economy; 87% say the same about Washington."

'via Blog this'

October 17, 2011

Dear Android: This is your last chance | Molly Rants - CNET News

Android may be wildly popular based on the number of phone manufacturers using Google's Android software. Wood's rant is pretty serious and I can attest to a problem after my phone was upgraded from Froyo to Gingerbread in September.

My Verizon 3G signal varies from lousy to non-existent where I live so I had relied on WiFi via my wireless router for data and web use of my phone. Yet after the upgrade, I cannot connect to the Internet through it. Admittedly, it's a 7 year old router, but it does solid duty. My wife's iPhone 4 connects OK and Apple laptops also connect wirelessly OK. I think the new Android software doesn't like the unit's encryption.

My phone will connect with my Verizon MiFi (encrypted) and with other wireless networks, both encrypted and open. So the remedy should be for me to replace (I have all the firmware upgrades) my wireless router? Phooey. This is Google's or Motorola's problem to fix.

This post-upgrade WiFi problem has been reported by several folks on the Motorola Users Forum sometimes with suggested fixes that work for some but not for others. This is my one gripe with the Gingerbread upgrade. And I have spent several hours messing with it, to no avail. Otherwise, the new Gingerbread features look and feel are OK.

Nevertheless, the fragmentation issue that Wood highlights is real and I think only Google can fix it. They better get on the stick and do it PDQ. I wonder if my DROID2 will see an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade someday? Or is it time to upgrade my phone to a Samsung 4G Prime, or whatever it's new name on Verizon or an iPhone 5, assuming it'll be 4G when it arrives.
"Fragmentation (still)
...I've written about this problem before, and it's still a problem. Sure, it's a problem Google has pledged to address, by forming the Android Update Alliance back in May. Google announced it would work with manufacturers and carriers to deliver timelier updates on a standardized schedule, and to keep updating every device for at least 18 months after its creation. That seemed like good news, and a pretty straightforward acknowledgement that fragmentation was a serious problem, and one that was driving consumers batty.
As of August, progress was spotty, and abysmal at T-Mobile and Verizon, where AndroidAndMe found that only a fraction of phones with those carriers were running the latest version of Android..."

'via Blog this'

Default Choices Are Hard to Resist, Online or Not - NYTimes.com

I use both the Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers. Just for the hell of it, I set Google as the default search engine on IE and Bing as the default on Chrome. I find both are excellent.

I guess it's just not in my psyche to be defaulted.

I wonder if there's a correlation for those that accept the 'system' defaults and not voting in elections?

"...Most economists agree that Google’s default deals aren’t anticompetitive. Rivals like Bing, the general search engine from Microsoft, and partial competitors like Yelp, an online review and listing service for local businesses, have their own Web sites and other paths of distribution. Choice, in theory, is one click away.

But most people, of course, never make that single click. Defaults win..."

'via Blog this'

October 16, 2011

Grandson Isaiah on Horseback in Mongolia

My oldest grandson is working for a bank in Mongolia after graduating college this past June. He tells me he's working very hard, but seems to have a bit of free time to enjoy the countryside. He had never ridden a horse before arriving in Mongolia. He's the one on the right. This countryside looks like the American West.

Rough Fractals: Unified Theory Of Capital Management

Rough Fractals: Unified Theory Of Capital Management

Some of the best advice any business entrepreneur or investor can find.

The Weekend Interview with Mortimer Zuckerman: The Exasperation of the Democratic Billionaire - WSJ.com

Strong talk from a highly successful real estate capitalist disenchanted with TeamObama.
"...The Boston Properties CEO is trying to understand why Mr. Obama has made little effort to build relationships on Capitol Hill or negotiate a bipartisan economic plan. A longtime supporter of the Democratic Party, Mr. Zuckerman wrote in these pages two months ago that the entire business community was "pleading for some kind of adult supervision" in Washington and "desperate for strong leadership." Writing soon after the historic downgrade of U.S. Treasury debt by Standard & Poor's, he wrote, "I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country..."
His words struck a chord. When I visit Mr. Zuckerman this week in his midtown Manhattan office, he reports that three people approached him at dinner the previous evening to discuss his August op-ed. Among business executives who supported Barack Obama in 2008, he says, "there is enormously widespread anxiety over the political leadership of the country." Mr. Zuckerman reports that among Democrats, "The sense is that the policies of this government have failed. . . . What they say about [Mr. Obama] when he's not in the room, so to speak, is astonishing." 

Further evidence of Wall Street capitalists' alienation from Obama can be found in this October 15, 2011 NY Times story. Romney has raised far more campaign cash from Wall Street than Obama, a substantial turn-around from the 2008 campaign.

October 15, 2011

Around the World, Protests Against Economic Policies - NYTimes.com

What are the Wallstreeters and bankers around the world thinking, especially as some of the protests turn violent, besides hoping this will all blow over?
"...In Rome, a protest thick with tension spread over several miles. Protesters set fire to at least one building and clashed violently with the police, who responded with water cannons and tear gas...
In other European cities, including Berlin and London, the demonstrations were largely peaceful, with thousands of people marching past ancient monuments and many gathering in front of capitalist symbols like the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Elsewhere, the turnout was more modest, but rallies of a few hundred people were held in several cities, including Sydney, Australia, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Protests were also held in New York and several other cities in the United States and Canada."

'via Blog this'

From Google's Larry Page About Google+

Larry Page Remarks on 3rd Quarter 2011 Earnings

"Our ultimate ambition is to transform the overall Google experience, making it beautifully simple, almost automagical as we understand what you want and can deliver it instantly. This means making identity and sharing into all of our products so that we build a real relationship with our users. Sharing on the web will be like sharing in real-life across all user stuff. You’ll have better more relevant search results and ads. Think about it this way. Last quarter, we shipped the Plus and now we’re going to ship the Google part."

Egypt’s Military Expands Power, Raising Alarms - NYTimes.com

The 'Arab Spring' may not be yielding the hoped-for results. As in Pakistan, the country is controlled by the military rather than civilians. In terms of stability after the uprisings, this may be necessary, but certainly not the direction most of the rest of the world hoped for.

However, if such a tactic keeps the Muslim Brotherhood  [The Brotherhood's credo was and is, "God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations."] in check, that may not be all bad.
"...Two members of the military council that took power after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak said for the first time in interviews this week that they planned to retain full control of the Egyptian government even after the election of a new Parliament begins in November. The legislature will remain in a subordinate role similar to Mr. Mubarak’s former Parliament, they said, with the military council appointing the prime minister and cabinet."

'via Blog this'

A New Pakistan Policy - Containment - NYTimes.com

A blunt assessment by Mr. Riedel of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan and recommendations for what should be done. Pakistan is a dangerous country and only marginally supportive of some or our efforts in Afghanistan and in the region.

Our present policies are not working well, yet we cannot afford to isolate them and totally alienate the people.

Targeting bad actors may offer some relief, but that policy is unlikely to change the country from military to civilian control. They have nukes and who knows what pressure would cause them to use them.

"It is time to move to a policy of containment, which would mean a more hostile relationship. But it should be a focused hostility, aimed not at hurting Pakistan’s people but at holding its army and intelligence branches accountable. When we learn that an officer from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, is aiding terrorism, whether in Afghanistan or India, we should put him on wanted lists, sanction him at the United Nations and, if he is dangerous enough, track him down. Putting sanctions on organizations in Pakistan has not worked in the past, but sanctioning individuals has — as the nuclear proliferator Abdul Qadeer Khan could attest."

'via Blog this'

October 14, 2011

The Thing Itself - NYTimes.com

Oh for leaders with practical solutions that could cut through the ideological shields that are thrown up by the adherents and reinforced by the various media talking heads and writing fingers.

"Many issues that were once concrete and practical are distorted because they have become symbolic and spiritual. Tax policy isn’t just about how to raise revenue anymore. Liberals see it as a way to punish the greedy and redress the iniquities of capitalism. Conservatives see tax increases as an assault on the enterprising class perpetrated by arrogant central planners. A tax rate could be seen as just a number signifying an expense, but now it’s a marker in a culture war."

'via Blog this'

October 12, 2011

Peter Wallison: Wall Street's Gullible Occupiers - WSJ.com

And the beat goes on... the blame game is rampant on the pages of both the NYTimes and the WSJ. Are some real leaders available who can brush aside this noise and get on with moving this country in a healthy direction?

TeamObama has failed his rabid liberal supporters and the country at the same time. We need some real leadership. Where is it? We need a groundswell of sanity, not partisan ideological talking heads.

Congress has also failed us and shown America its great need for people who truly show by their actions that they put the country first and are willing to make the tough choices that will lead to recovery. The answer is certainly not more government spending and exorbitant debt. I consider Congress the only place this can be remedied as I read the Constitution.

"There is no mystery where the Occupy Wall Street movement came from: It is an offspring of the same false narrative about the causes of the financial crisis that exculpated the government and brought us the Dodd-Frank Act. According to this story, the financial crisis and ensuing deep recession was caused by a reckless private sector driven by greed and insufficiently regulated. It is no wonder that people who hear this tale repeated endlessly in the media turn on Wall Street to express their frustration with the current conditions in the economy.

Their anger should be directed at those who developed and supported the federal government's housing policies that were responsible for the financial crisis."
Then there is this:

"Research by Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae (now a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute) has shown that 27 million loans—half of all mortgages in the U.S.—were subprime or otherwise weak by 2008. That is, the loans were made to borrowers with blemished credit, or were loans with no or low down payments, no documentation, or required only interest payments.Of these, over 70% were held or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie or some other government agency or government-regulated institution. Thus it is clear where the demand for these deficient mortgages came from."

If true, government is clearly to blame for instigating the sub-prime mess by the policies enacted by Congress and the administration. 

Grrr! Printer Problem Today. Happy Result

After being unable to print from my four year old HP 6980 printer connected to my home network, I have spent most of today with Windows 7 error messages that said the driver would not install after multiple attempts to re-install the printer and the software, (which is supposed to be baked into Windows 7) many PC and printer reboots, and lots of web research.

I tried connecting to my PC via USB and could not. Same error messages. I knew the printer was OK because I could print test pages using its front button. I removed the registry printer folder for this printer after seeing some related advice on MS tech support forum. [I thought to myself...I'm way in over my head now! maybe I should go out and buy a new printer.]

I then went to the HP support site to try and download a new driver. I decided to try a Cat5 wired network installation again using the instructions in the HP support document. Lo and behold ...SUCCESS. I'm a happy camper! I wonder, did I have a corrupted driver in Windows 7? In any event, everything else on the PC seems to be working OK. Whew!

CHARTS: Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About...

CHARTS: Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About...:

Some startling data here. Worth reviewing and thinking about the implications.

'via Blog this'

October 11, 2011

Wall Street Shrinkage - WSJ.com

Is this good news or bad for the Occupy Wall Street protesters?
"New York City's securities industry could lose nearly 10,000 jobs by the end of 2012, New York state's comptroller predicted, a painful blow to the area's economy and government budgets.
In a report set to be released Tuesday, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli also said bonuses are likely to shrink this year, reflecting lower profits on Wall Street.
Since January 2008, the securities industry in New York has seen 22,000 jobs evaporate. If Mr. DiNapoli's prediction of 10,000 more jobs losses between August 2011 and year-end 2012 comes true, that would represent a decline of 17%. About 4,100 jobs have been eliminated since April, and deeper cuts are widely seen as inevitable given a recent flurry of corporate expense-trimming announcements."

'via Blog this'

October 7, 2011

FCC plan to revamp broken USF shifts focus to rural broadband

A good summary of what the FCC has up its sleeve to revamp the outdated inter-carrier compensation scheme of the 1980's and 90's. I'll bet a dollar that consumers will not pay less. I agree with the unidentified FCC source who leaked it.

"The last 15 years have seen three major changes that rendered this scheme anachronistic. First, long-distance rates have plummeted, which has made ICC fees a disproportionate share of the costs of some long-distance calls. Google, for example, has refused to allow Google Voice calls to some numbers due to what it regards as unreasonable ICC rates. Second, the rise of cable and wireless telephone service has meant that some previously underserved areas now have multiple options for phone service. And finally, the USF's focus on telephone service has started to seem anachronistic given the growing importance of the Internet as a communications medium."

'via Blog this'

October 5, 2011

Apple's iCloud Ups the Ante With Amazon

Apple's iCloud Ups the Ante with Amazon

The race is on for control of consumers' digital media content purchases, storage and access. Amazon and Apple seem to be in the lead but so far Apple certainly has captured the the public's imagination and momentum with its iPhones and iPads.

Meanwhile, Amazon's recent launch of new devices, particularly its Fire tablet along with its successful history of Kindle readers will enable growth and ease of purchasing both goods and digital content.

Nevertheless, Amazon may have a substantial advantage in that as the #1 internet retailer people using its devices will be able to easily order Amazon's other products beyond digital content. Apple does not have that diverse product line. Amazon's business model seems to me more realistic, but I cannot discount the 'gotta have' emotional attachment that Apple has created for its products and its strong profitability.

"Amazon is the Internet's No. 1 retailer by sales. The company built massive server farms to deal with data generated by its online marketplace. Technology developed for its Amazon Web Services unit, the largest renter of on-demand storage space to other companies, powers some of the Fire's capabilities. Amazon's Kindle e-readers gave it a foothold in digital media devices and e-book sales.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Apple's consumer gadgets guarantees that content will be available for them. The company said Tuesday it has sold more than 250 million devices running its wireless operating system; meanwhile, its iTunes Store is the world's largest music retailer. Apple also has built its own huge server farm in North Carolina."

October 4, 2011

Fractals of Change: Where Did All the Tax Revenue Go?

Tom Evslin takes on the federal revenue/spending issue and concludes with these recommendations for how to get the economy chugging again. Some clear thinking here, but his energy recommendation will fall on mostly deaf ears because of the present Administration's infatuation with expensive alternative energy which is not the answer to creating jobs for America.

"We need a booming economy! More government spending won't get us there and government has nothing left to spend anyway. So how do we get there?
  1. Tap America's abundant energy resources now, especially abundant natural gas. The payoff will be a rebirth of manufacturing - and lots of middleclass jobs – based on low energy costs compared to our competitors.
  2. Reform permitting drastically so that corporations like Google and Amazon can spend the huge amounts of earnings they have in their coffers to boost their worldwide presence from their American base and so that the 20 year backlog of public and private infrastructure projects awaiting approval and fighting off nuisance lawsuits can be done in the next five years.
  3. Reform the tax code to eliminate loopholes and reduce the nominal rates dramatically. Actually this will increase the share of taxes paid by the rich (because they use loopholes more). It will also make America a competitive place to invest corporate cash (see #1 and #2 above).
  4. Don't bail out anymore banks.
  5. Reduce federal spending to less than 20% of GDP.
  6. Through all of the above, increase the relative wealth of the middle class so that our government revenues are not so much at risk in years when top earners are not earning top dollar."

'via Blog this'