Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Predictions: Fail

A review of my 2010 guesses, which were even worse than 2009:
Apple's Jesus Tablet, as it's called at Businessweek. I'm a Jobs fanboi, but the hype for an unannounced, unspec'd product is reaching absurd proportions. It's amazing to me that not one photo of this has been leaked, even with product launch less than a month away. I am skeptical, particularly of the claims that it will revolutionize everything. Why? The mobile bandwidth issue. Networks are already clogged just from the iPhones. (At least that's what they tell us.) These tablets will inherently use much more bandwidth, slowing everything down further. I'm not saying the tablet concept is doomed or won't be a huge success, I am just saying that I don't think its time has come yet.
It hit the market in April, and I stand by my prediction that it will revolutionize jack. Magazine publishers had such high hopes. Too bad, the publishing revolution failed. Sure, Apple sold 8.5 million iPads so far, but over the same period 366 million PC's were sold. Tablets remain an expensive and very fragile novelty. And about the bandwidth issue... AT&T put the kibosh on that pretty quick after seeing what happened with people watching YouTube over 3G.
Apple's very good at misdirecting the chattering crowd. Example: Until the day of the iPhone's official launch, the "experts" were certain that it would have a scroll wheel. The fanbois completely missed the haptic interface. Maybe the big event in San Francisco next month is Jobs making his last hurrah and announcing that the Beatles catalogue will finally be available on iTunes?
That event finally came to pass later in the year, but it wasn't exactly a secret during the week before the announcement.
The mobile platform war will end 2010: 1) Apple 2) Android 3) Symbian 4) RIM. Palm will be dead; Windows Mobile 7.0 will go nowhere. This is a repeat of the early 1980s PC OS wars, and Apple and Google will be the winners. Too bad, Microsoft. You lose.
I think that prediction was dead-on except that 1) and 2) should be reversed. It's a shame that Microsoft failed with Windows Phone 7. It's actually pretty good.
PC wars: Who cares. They are all low-margin generic boxes made in China. People will replace their machines as needed, but many of these people will decide to pay the Apple premium or decide upon a low-cost Acer notebook or netbook with a free open source OS. In other words, what's happened so far this year will continue next year. Desktop PCs are so 1998.
I think that prediction was dead-on.
Shoeshine boy says: "Buy gold!" It will end the year below $800. The gold bugs on Mish and Calculated Risk will grow increasingly shrill and conspiratorial.
Epic fail on the price of gold. Hit on the "shrill and conspiratorial" comments. They are foaming at the mouth. Shoeshine boy is even more active than last year.
Oil: Bubblelicious once again! Below $40 by December 2010.
Hit on the bubble, fail on the price and timing. The bubble is still growing and will pop over the next 6-8 months.
Unemployment: Trending between 8-9% nationwide. Unemployment continues in the double-digit range in CA, MI, FL, NV, IL and AZ.
Hit.
Dubai: The Great Collapse continues. The dreams of an Arab Paris (it used to be Beirut) on the Saudi peninsula will be dashed when it's learned that even though Dubai real estate is marked 90% off, much of it is uninhabitable.
Hit, but that prediction was too obvious.
Melonhead and the Evil Dwarf: Melonhead stays in power and continues to rant about smelling sulfur while the Venezuelan economy collapses around him. The Evil Dwarf is booted out in a non-violent movement after the mullah's cave in to pressure. The Iranian nuke program will continue, but with less vitriol from Tehran leaders.
Melonhead is an now an official dictator and is increasingly paranoid. The Evil Dwarf is still in power. 50% hit.
George Bush: He still won't be living on that supposed Bolivian ranch.
Hit. Why do people believe this crap?
Barack Obama: Poll numbers improve along with the economy throughout 2010.
Epic fail.
Texas Governor's Race: Former Houston mayor Bill White will be the Democrat nominee and wins the general vote. Long-range prediction: Joe Biden will announce he is resigning at the end of the first term and Obama will chose White as his running mate.
Fail on the general vote for White, hit on the nominee. But Biden's plans remain to be seen.
US House: Republicans regain control.
Hit.
US Senate: Democrats retain control.
Hit.
Rising anger over the "two America's": Those who have government jobs and those who don't.
Big hit. Taxpayers are seething.
Bankrupt: Sears, Palm, Landry's, more California municipalities.
75% fail. Only Palm went belly-up. I don't think Sears will be around much longer, and it should be obvious that a number of California municipalities will have to go into bankruptcy. The money just isn't there.
Washed-up country acts have Branson to fall back on when they get old and don't want to live on the road. Washed-up rock acts need their Branson. In 2010, Prince, Led Zepplin and The Who will sign on as house acts for major Las Vegas casinos.
I predict this every year. Fail.

With these results I should go to Toastmasters, hire a publicist and build a really nice website. I'd be as successful as Gerald Celente.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A quandary

We spend more money on education than any other country on the planet. Curiously, the same people who say that education spending is sacrosanct and cuts are bad also complain about the high cost of medical care and say that they're spending a lot less money in places like France, with better results.

So why are cuts in education spending bad, but cuts in medical spending good? Someone clear this up for me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A world of pu(meow)

People are literally crying about a little snow delaying flights at Heathrow. Crying because they have to sit in the terminal and wait for flights to resume, like they are victims of a heinous atrocity.

We're a world of whiners.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Silly Melonhead

Melonhead thinks he's doing a favor for his ChiComm breatheren. Humor results!
President Hugo Chavez's government sold China oil for as little as $5 a barrel and was upset that China apparently profited by selling fuel to other countries, according to a classified U.S. document released by WikiLeaks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The education bubble in text

San Diego Union-Tribune:
Monday's vote is the latest move to cut costs at the University of California, which has about 220,000 students and more than 170,000 employees at its 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national labs.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The education bubble in pictures

Thought I'd spend a few minutes looking at the website of my alma mater, Stephen F. Austin State University. A lot has changed in the past 20 years!

My crappy (that is being kind) old dorm was torn down a few years ago. This replaced it.
New racquetball courts.
Tubing.
Nice spas.
A modest rock climbing gym.
SFA is even offering massage services. Perfect for busy 19-year-olds to find center after a productive Saturday night of hard drinking.

Millions of taxpayer dollars, and not a cent is relevant to educating these students for professional careers. Go, Jacks, Go! Win, Jacks, Win!

(I would be lying if I said I wasn't jealous about what students have now.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Maybe it's time to move.

Just wanted to point out that the unemployment benefits extension doesn't give the 99ers another 13 months. The 99ers are still done after 99 weeks. This new bill just covers those behind the 99ers who are about to lose benefits.

I won't denigrate these people. I will say that people who can't find work for two years should perhaps move to where the opportunities are. My family was forced to do this in the late 1970s. Lots of families did. America has always been a mobile society, and some places with high unemployment just aren't ever coming back. I realize that people in places like Wheeling, WV and Flint, MI love their towns and want to remain in a familiar place, but these are places with no economic future. At least in our lifetimes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Those unsophisticated Americans

This crap is getting old.

As a reminder, until just a few years ago, Americans didn't need passports to travel to Mexico or Canada (and vice-versa). World-class Caribbean tropical resorts, stunning mountain vistas in the Canadian Rockies, top-of-the-line Disney theme parks, amazing 24/7 action in cities like New York and Las Vegas... Americans could visit them all, without a passport.

As another reminder, until just a few years ago, Europeans needed passports to travel through Europe. Germans needed passports to visit Mediterranean resorts. Belgians needed passports to visit Italy.

If a Texan needed a passport to visit Florida, you bet that Americans would have a proportional number of passports as Europeans. And now that Americans need passports to visit Mexico and Canada, any disparity that did exist has shrunk immensely.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am depressed.

Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on in the world today? Please ignore the woo-woo kookshite about missiles firing off LA.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Windows Phone 7

Today I farted around with an HTC device with Windows Phone 7. I hate to say it, but I have to admit that I really like the OS. It's not as slick as the iPhone, but it's far more polished than the Android phones, which feel kinda kludgie. I wrote about this in February, but I think it's too little, too late. But hey, my predictions have been wrong a lot lately so maybe Microsoft will score big.

Wikileaks on Melonhead

When I read stuff like this it makes me wonder if these leaks are really leaks.
The ambassador wrote that Cuban spies were so close to President Chavez that they provided him with intelligence unvetted by Venezuelan officers.

"Cuban agents train Venezuelans on both Cuba and Venezuela, providing both political indoctrination and operational instruction".
I can see quite a few P.O.'ed Venezuelan intelligence officers furious at having their home turf taken over by foreigners.

I believe that our national bureaucracy is generally incompetent, but it's unbelievable to me that some punk kid was able to acquire all of this data without being caught. I am beginning to think that these "leaks" contain just enough truths for Assange to believe that all of the data is legit, with a lot of stuff thrown in to cause quiet internal damage to our enemies. I think a lot of people are drawing the same conclusion.