18. November 2012 10:06
I kow that people are going to have all kinds of feelings about this topic. In many ways, the Hostess story exemplifies two key and opposing ideological points of view that divide many Americans. Are unions bankrupting America? Do greedy CEOs have no morals at all?
In my humble opinion, they did not do so... or at least not on their own anyway. They certaily threw the last few shovels full of dirt on top of the corpse, and they were certainly part of what made the company sick though. It is a fate facing many organizations... both public and private. Promises made in the past saddle them with debt and costs that the organization can simply no longer afford.
First off let me say that I am decidedly anti-union. Sure... back when 10 year old kids were getting their amrs knocked off in coal mines, they were sorely needed. On through the rise of corporate giants like US Steel and Standard oil, they indeed helped shape many of the common sense, widely agreed upon labor laws that all of us benefit from.
I simply don't think collective bargaining for pay and benefits is fair. If my employer is able to, throuh nrmal market forces, obtain the same work that I can provide for less money, he or she as a duty to do so. This duty is not only to the shareholder; but also, it is to the customer who ultimately foots the bill. I have a DUTY as an employee to train myself, optimize my performance, and bring value to my employer.
My guess is that, in the name of keeping labor peace, management gave in to union demands back when times were good. Perhaps they didn't properly communicate with labor at just how dire the situation had become. I don't know since I wasn't there. Perhpas they should have made the board member seats and 25 percent ownership offer LONG ago... giving the union a financial incentive to play ball... again... I don't know.
Add in a dose of brand mismanagement and changing consumer tastes and wheat do you get? Bankruptcy.
3. November 2012 13:29
Yes indeed, all of these thngs may be related. In looking at Apple's $130 stock price plunge since hitting a peak just north of $700, one may be tempted to speculate that there are many things tugging at Apple's once lofty stock price.
The Microsoft Surface was released last week to a surprising amount of fanfare. People actually sought out Microsoft stores (can you imagine) and waited in line to buy the sleek new tablet (or PC). Granted, it wasnlt like the fervor that used to surround an Apple device launch, but it was certainly more than I expected. The 32 MB version sold out online, and all three models are back-ordered. To top it all off, Oprah has it on her 'favorite things' list for Christmas this year.
Now for the iPad Mini. Will its lower price point (at least for an Apple product it's low) canabalize profits by shifting would-be iPad customers who up until now seeped perfectly willing to plop down $700 into opting for the $400 (give or take) alternative? It is a fair question I think.
Many of the Wall Street analysts think Apple is cheap right now. By many measures, it appears to be so. I don't like looking at 'forward looking' PE ratios. Ask Nokia or RIM how fast profits can dwindle. Despite this, a current PE of 13.6 is certainly better than Google's 21.5 and Microsoft's 15.9.
So... Why do I feel so uneasy about buying?
29. September 2012 10:59
Today, I was reading a blog post from 2011 about John Locke. I thought the author made an interesting point but wanted to post an alternavi point of view. Not only was I prompted to log in with my Google+ ID; but also, I was presented with a Captcha image theat I had to refresh five times before I got one that I could actually read.
Here's my question: Is your blog post so interesting and important as to draw the attention of hackers? I was the only post on that site since 2011 which tells you something about the traffic there. Is that REALLY necessary?
19. August 2012 08:57
The Ouya gaming console is on the way... slated for a Q1-2013 release, and it certainly has raised a lot of buzz. They far surpassed their kickstarter fundraising goal and, at last count had 80,000+ individuals betting over $8 million. That's sounds like some serious cash for an upstart to raise.
Many of us who are traditional gamers have some reservations about the viability of a console with a pricetag of $99. Indeed, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all but giving their consoles away at price points above $199 considering the cost of the hardware. Along comes Ouya with a 'less than stellar' hardware profile and one can't really blame su for being skeptical. Tristan Rendo from 'Clearance Bin Review' wrote a decent piece the device and some thoughts on what they may be trying to accomplish. You can read here.
I for one am afraid that we'll get a bunch of 'Angry Birds' style games, ad-supported junk, scaled-down trial versions, and bug-ridden games that most sonsole gamers don't take all that seriously. Granted, they'll make money perhaps by 'broadening the base' so to speak... increasing the size of the gaming market. How many millions of copies of 'Angry Birds' did they sell?
29. July 2012 09:40
Accessibility features may not exactly be a 'hot topic' amongst mobile enthusiasts, but it is an issue near and dear to my heart. Having extensively used Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone, I can say without any doubt that the iphone currenntly leads the pack here. With the release of WP8, Microsoft is definitely taking a huge step forward. You can read all about them here.
As a visually impaired person, I really DO NOT want my phone to read to me. Nor do most older Americans or persons with common eye conditions that require simple reading glasses. When I first started looking for a mobile device, I wanted something other than an iPHone since I already had an iPod touch with IOS on it. I wanted an Android device but was VERY quickly turned off with the vast proliferation of small fonts all over the device and the inability to chanage them.
I started researching to find options. Someone suggested rooting my phone. Even though I am a sofware engineer, I would not do this. I look at it like opening up an appliance that has 'no user serviceable parts inside' stamped on it. Further research led me to an app called 'Spare Parts' which I tried, but it doesn't wok on all phones and I had issues with it locking my wife's phone. Another annoying thing is that larger text size didn't apply to home screens or any of the OS or application menus.
When I saw Windows Phone for the first time, I was at least able to read the start screen, all of the text in the application list, and the contact names in my People hub. I decided that this fact, along with the built-in pinch/zoom enlarge support in the browser and email, would make it good enough for me. For the most part, I was right.
Windows Phone 8 will be bringing a font change that is more global applying to text messages too. In addition, we are getting a true screen zoom like the iPhone has. One that works everywhere. THANK YOU!
14. July 2012 07:34
Today's article on CNN regarding the waning excitement of 3D television came as no surprise to me, and I'm glad to see that it appears my fellow consumers are starting to come around.
Why do I hate 3D TV? For starters, I cannot see the effect. I personally have a right-eye domonance problem which interferes with my stereoscopic vision just enough to render the effect all but invisible. Sour grapes on my part you say? Perhaps that's a valid point, but according to one study which you can read about here, as many as one in ten may have the exact same problem for various reasons.
According to the CNN article: "Sales of 3-D televisions are on the rise in the U.S. according to The NPD..." Of course they are. That's because you can hardly find a TV that doesn't have it.
8. July 2012 10:56
It's that time of the year again. Everyone is guessing what Apple is doing. It seems taht the rumor of a mini-iPad is gaining some strength. Is this due to some credible information or merely a byproduct of Google's announcement of a $200 Nexus tablet?
I personally have serious doubts about anything from Apple at the $200 price point. My guess would be $329 or something. If it were priced much lower, my guess is it would be stripped down hardware... pretty hard to do considering the iPad isn't exactly top shelf stuff.
6. July 2012 17:50
With the announcement by Microsoft that existing phones will not get an upgrade to Windows Phone 8, one would expect an inpact on the sales of the Nokia Lumia 900 as it was just released in March and is, at least as of yet, their best phone by far.
Although far from a scientific measure, Amazon's 'best sellers - AT&T' list still has all three versions of the phone in the top 20 list placing similarly to the Samsung Galaxy Note. As I write this at 7:00 PM on 7/6, the three colors (Black, Cyan, and White) are at position 5, 9, and 13 respectively. Granted... the price drop to 1 cent with a new two-year activation probably has a lot to do with that as well.
Despite the lack of an upgrade, I think the phone is an outstanding buy... especially true if one isn't already 'married' to a particular mobile OS.
3. July 2012 20:52
Google's recent announcement of their Nexus 7 tablet came out last week. Although the specs aren't as good as the iPad, it may be priced just right to make a dent in Apple's stranglehold on the tablet market.
1280 x 800 display, 8 GB storage, a quad core CPU, and weighing in at half the weight of the iPad, I think that it just might give 'good enough' stats at an unbeatable price. I personally think 7 inches it a tad small for a tablet though. A 10 inch screen seems just about right to me.
1. July 2012 20:51
It's been over three years since I wrote a blog post. I don't relly know what possessed me to start back up again.
The cost of hosting websites has come down pretty far in those three years. I used to pay $19.95 a month for ASP>NET hosting. My current hosting site (1and1.com) is now offering $3.99 for the first year and $9.99 thereafter. That includes domain registration and fees. That's a pretty good deal.
In any event, my first few posts will be about mobile technologies since that's my current interest.