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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jacques Rogge Defends China Crackdown in Tibet

International Olympic Committee(IOC) president Jacques Rogge wants the world to stop fighting for the rights of thousands of Chinese political prisoners. Mr. Rogge is just saying this so the supposedly non-profit International Olympic Committee and sponsors can reap billions from the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. He does not care one iota about the hundreds of peaceful protesters brutally beaten and frequently murdered by the Chinese military in Lhasa, Tibet.

The Olympic Torch Relay did not turn out like China and the IOC planned. It continues to be a prime advertisement for the movement to bring more basic human rights to the Chinese people.

Stade Olympique 0018________Tibet Protests Paris 5


We Are All Brutal Colonial Empires

Mr Rogge can easily ignore all those murdered Buddhist monks because China censors almost every bit of news coming in or out of Tibet. The International Olympic Committee does not care that China supports the genocides in Sudan and Burma. China is just as much a brutal colonial power as the French in Vietnam, the United States in Iraq, or Britain in India. In fact, Rogge refers specifically to European colonialism in yesterday's scathing attack on protesters in Western nations.

Vietnam Soldier 1960s

Rogge: Just Give China More Time.

“It took us 200 years to evolve from the French Revolution. China started in 1949...with all the abuse attached to colonial powers”.

"It was only 40 years ago that we gave liberty to the colonies. Let’s be a little bit more modest."

Modest??? In the face of daily incidents exactly like the Kent State Massacre?

Rogge falsely claims China simply needs more time to adjust to modern practices like free speech, fair trials, and leaders elected by citizens.

Jacques Rogge and the rest of the IOC is wrong about all that, dead wrong. Even the brutally imprisoned Palestinian population managed to hold free and fair elections, though so-called democratic governments including the U.S. and Israel refuse to accept the results.

There are 1.5 billion people living in China, some crowd control measures must be used sometimes, this should not involve bullets or executions.

The Chinese could start releasing political prisoners today. Political prisoners in China have often done nothing more than walk down the street with a sign demanding freedom of speech. There are people in Chinese jails because they ran a business connecting homes to the Internet, without Communist approval.

This author has spent considerable time living in places under Communist rule. I do not claim to honestly know what it is like to grow up under communism but I lived and learned directly from people who experienced the daily assaults on natural, normal human behavior.

Beijing 2008

What Does It Mean To Live In A Marxist State?

Karl Marx and Frederic Engels wrote a book called The Communist Manifesto. Since that time Communism as a general practice has been adopted by various states although plenty of communist-like governments existed long before that time.

Communism is generally held to be a system of government where an all-powerful Central Committee is elected by a group of elites (rich people). Most people never get to decide who leads their communities, except perhaps at a very local level. If you do not belong to the Communist Party you have no voice about your government whatsoever. Communist Party members all go along with whatever the leader says or they get put in jail.

Under pure Communism, all the wealth created by the work of every citizen is supposed to be equally shared among all the people. This distribution should be based on needs, Karl Marx taught. Everyone must be guaranteed food, clothing, housing, education, jobs; essentially all the basic necessities of life are guaranteed. Sounds pretty fair so far, right?

In practice Communism is much different. Almost all the money goes into the hands of a few people given enormous compensation. The official salaries might appear low but leaders live in homes you would likely call "Palaces." They have chauffeur-driven limousines, expensive country homes, and they can travel anywhere in the world on vacations they call "official government business."

All of the rest of the people are basically left to starve. Everyone gets less because the few members of the Central Committee take so much for themselves. Like Burma, North Korea exists only because China supports the vaguely Marxist regime. For years the state of West Bengal in India was ruled under the pseudo-Marxist leadership of CPI-M dominated by Jyoti Basu. Marxism became a euphemism for kleptocracy long ago.

Yes, this sounds exactly like the way members of US Congress, big business executives, or members of the EU government act but it gets worse.

One Day in the Life of a Chinese Citizen

Waste and corruption are widespread in Communist nations. Every local czar demands huge secret bribes before permits are issued. Official fees for things like building or business permits, as listed on government rule books, appear very low. But the builder must pay a very large bribe to the local communist party leader or the construction permit will never be issued.

If your company pollutes or your coal mine is dangerous you can pay a bribe to government officials to make the inspectors look the other way.

This still sounds exactly like the Bush Administration or many other places in supposedly "free nations."

Communist party leaders are allowed to steal land and ancestral homes from poor farmers. They give them a very small amount of money and an apartment in a big concrete tower as compensation.

There is a practice in the West called eminent domain.

Every newspaper and book publisher is controlled by government censors. Communist leaders arrest ordinary citizens and put them in jail for writing unapproved essays and stories. If you write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper about some issue you could go to jail for ten years. People arrested in communist countries are sometimes given a show trial but the verdict is decided by communist leaders, not a jury composed of your neighbors.

In Europe and the United States the corporations own the news outlets and publishing houses, they censor all the news and books that are bad for their products or business growth. The Pentagon does a fair job of censoring their wars, torture, and kidnapping of people all over the world.

New Olympic Logo

What happens when News reporters cannot report the news?

When humans cannot express themselves without fear they turn into nervous wrecks. The fear of being sent to jail just for your thoughts quashes the human spirit. Poets cannot compose poems. Writers cannot write books. Artists cannot paint. Many good films never get made.

People spy on their neighbors, the Chinese government pays them to do this. This is the same practice as the US government paying NSA employees to spy on ordinary US citizens.

Doubleplus good, The Ministry of Propaganda

In Beijing, the capital of China, one of the largest government buildings is the Ministry of Propaganda. Just like out of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World or Orwell's 1984. This agency spins the news stories about brutal killings done by the Chinese military in Tibet. The Chinese Ministry of Propaganda puts military leaders and other commentators on TV and radio to tell the people lies.

Their military and civilian leaders lie to the citizens about what is really happening.

Outgoing US President George Bush hired former US generals to lie about the war in Iraq on Fox News, NBC News, CNN News, and many other news outlets. The New York Times, The Washington Post and most other newspapers printed these lies. Many of the news editors knew full-well those generals were lying to the American people.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

“The Games we believe, over time, will have a good influence on social evolution in China, and the Chinese admit it themselves,” Mr. Rogge states. Careful using that word "evolution", Jacques. Many supporters of George Bush and the Republican Party do not believe in evolution of any sort. God dropped everything here on the planet just a couple of years ago in their extremely dogmatic Weltanschauung.

The protests are also having a good influence on rapid social evolution in China, Mr. Rogge. Left alone, Chinese leaders like to keep change to an evolutionary pace, not a revolutionary pace. They have too much money to lose.

Go ahead China, do whatever you want, hold the Olympics this summer with all the splendor and excitement every Olympic competition should enjoy. The whole world is one big corrupt scheme designed to send all the wealth to the rich and starve the poor anyway.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!! ... AND LET THE PROTESTS CONTINUE!!!

Beijing 2008


LINKS

Financial Times Article
New York Times article (042608)
New York Times article (042708)
San Francisco Chronicle story
Washington Post article

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good Finance News for 4/25/08:

Good Finance News for 4/25/08:
(Because you can find all the bad news too easily!)

Buddhist Temple Seoul Korea 000015

Chinese Internet search provider Baidu.com, Inc. (NSDQ:BIDU) announced a 71.5% increase in 1st quarter profit. Baidu shares are up $21.00 per share in pre-market trading and appear ready to follow Google (NSDQ:GOOG) shares into the stratosphere!


The author does not own shares in these firms at the present time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Finance News for 4/24/08:

New York City 036590

Shanghai Stock Exchange up 9% on Tax Cut News(SHCOMP:IND) Investors in the Shanghai Market saw their tax rates decline. The Communist China government actually ordered this to stimulate investment in China. Strange "communist" ideals these days in Beijing.

Jobless claims fall unexpectedly (CNN)

Ford® (NYSE:F) Shows 1Q08 Profit (ABC)

Pepsi® (NYSE:PEP) 1Q08 Profit up on international markets

Amazon® (NSDQ:AMZN) Earnings Jump 30%

The author does not own shares in these firms at the present time.

U.S. and Israel Police World

Nuclear Blast 1945

The Washington Post has another article about the joint U.S-Israeli effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

I do like the general idea that nations like the U.S. and Israel are benevolently trying to rid the earth of nuclear weapons. However both parties maintain large nuclear arsenals so they are plainly just hypocrites.

Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons are also "nuclear weapons" in every sense of the phrase. The abhorrent DU bomb essentially combines nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons into one bomb, when you include the side-effects coming from the manufacture, transport, use, and clean-up operations. Ask the native American people of New Mexico if you doubt that uranium dust has any long-lasting impact on human biology. The U.S., Israel, and other nations still use Depleted Uranium weapons and sell them to any nation with cash or oil to buy them.

Our so-called "leaders" also never miss a chance to say "all options remain on the table" or "we will obliterate you," when instructed to do so by lobbyists and corporations.

Vietnam Soldier 1960s

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Apple Computer Inc. 2nd Quarter 2008 Results

Apple iPhone 52776
IMPORTANT UPDATE: 4/24/08 - Apple Computer, Inc. shares closed up 3.7% today, at $168.94 on the NASDAQ.

Apple®, Inc. reported earnings of $1.16 per diluted share on revenue of $7.51 billion today. Truly an international firm, Apple admitted that International sales accounted for 44% of the revenue for the quarter.

Analysts estimated second-quarter revenue would be $7.2 billion and profit of $1.11/share (WhisperNumber.com)

Apple shipped 51% more Macintosh® computers than the same period last year!

Quarterly iPhone® sales were 1,703,000 units.

Related Article #1
Related Article #2
HOME

Broadcom Shares Soar on Results

IMPORTANT UPDATE: 4/23/08 - Broadcom® shares closed up more than 16% today, at $27.39 on the NASDAQ.

iPhone 52774

Broadcom® Corporation (NSDQ:BRCM) executives sure gushed with optimism during yesterday's conference call. Their product stream is flowing fast and their pipeline only expanding. Orders from Nokia® (NYSE:NOK) and other huge handset makers, especially for 3G equipment, is really helping the chip-maker turn a substantial profit. 9% gains in post-market trading in Broadcom shares on April 22 point to the strong possibility of more gains in the trading days ahead.

Beautiful Rooster 00008

The two "Hanks" must be very pleased with all this*. Last year around this time Dr. Nicholas was celebrating as his Anaheim Ducks paraded around with their Lord Stanley Cup. Broadcom's market capitalization may soon exceed Orange County neighbor Allergan (NYSE:AGN), adding even more icing to the Hank's sweet cake. Now they get another fine reason to strut around those fabless Irvine barnyards!

Skyline Seoul Korea 000008

The success of Broadcom adds credence to some economist's notions that the U.S. can continue to generate, protect, and sell ideas to the global market while the most of the manufacturing takes place overseas. With so many financial firms floundering, great ideas seem to be last hope for economic growth in 2008.

One important key to Broadcom's recent success was how they "protected" their technology patents. Intellectual property tends to get "shared" without royalty when it hits the shores of Asia. Broadcom fought several major legal battles that contributed to these results. The apparent victory over Qualcomm's (NSDQ:QCOM) patent violations was important. Settling with the FCC should also allow management in Irvine to focus more on developing new products.

Unlike Intel® and other microchip makers, Broadcom's industry-leading chips are designed in Irvine, Silicon Valley, or Bangalore but they are manufactured in Asia. This runs contrary to the more expensive old school Silicon Valley approach to chip-making. The same is true for Apple® Computer Inc.(NSDQ:AAPL), Nike (NSDQ:NKE), and many other very successful global brands.

Fabless darling! Simply fabulous!

The author owns Broadcom shares as well as shares of Broadcom's major customers.

*Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III and Dr. Henry Samueli

Virtual Marketing & Sales by Apple Computer Inc.

Looking for the next great idea from Apple Computer, Inc. (NSDQ:AAPL)?

Apple iPhone 52776
Here's an interesting new development. Apple, Inc. recently applied for a patent for a new Online Shopping Atmosphere. This will be a virtual Apple® Store possibly located in Second Life and other MMRPGs*.

What if Apple decides to offer a virtual reality upgrade to their iTunes music store?

Mysterious Store Interior, Annapolis 50433

I occasionally see avatars walking around in SecondLife wearing iPods®. However, all Apple Inc. products tend to be unique and original in every way, including the marketing. You can expect Apple's virtual reality store to feature all the cool things you would find in a physical Apple Store at your local shopping mall. You can try out the iPods, ask a question at the Genius Bar, you and 50,000 other people, at the same time.

Apple's VR store, iStore, iShop, or maybe still simply iTunes must be available independently of Linden Labs, Inc. or the operators of any of the large MMRPGs. That's just the way Apple does things.

How an Apple iShop Might Work

Based on my experiences with SecondLife, here's how I am speculating the VR store would work:

1. Existing users of iTunes simply download the software required to enter the virtual iShop. (Similar to the SecondLife process). New users must create an account.

2. After the software is installed the user goes to some Apple.com address, logs on, agrees to terms of use, and gets to choose or design an iShop avatar.

3. To get started shopping quickly customers would be encouraged to first pick a generic but still very stylish avatar. This is Apple Inc. we are talking about, style is all important. Modifications like tattoos, studs, and leather pants can be added later.

4. A virtual store could allow "Live" concerts to take place in an unlimited number of iShop store departments. Book readings by famous authors, self-publishing or photos/books/movies, advance movie screenings, special public events, etc. at any time, in any language.

5. If Apple software engineers really teemed up with people at Linden Labs and a team from Activision Blizzard, formerly Blizzard Entertainment, avatars from SecondLife and World of Warcraft could enter the Apple iShop and browse for a new 3G iPhone.

Imagine seeing a Blood Elf, two Orcs, and a Draenei walk in to the iShop! Paladins would be required to leave their weapons outside.

New Apple Product Development Prototyping

A well-designed virtual Apple store, thought out in great detail, would allow Apple's customers to try out new consumer products that have not even been invented yet! Virtual worlds are fantastic for prototype development and inexpensive testing of new product ideas. It is no surprise Apple is joining Reuters®, Nissan®, and many others in SecondLife.

MMRPG - stands for Massive Multiplayer Role-Playing Games. World of Warcraft is another example of an MMRPG.

Related Article #1
Related Article #2
HOME

Earlier Posts on SecondLife and the online games business:

Suicide, Murder, and Virtual Worlds

Why Bother Marketing in Virtual Worlds?
Why Do Business in SecondLife?
Virtual Reality in Second Life
India, Google, God, and Technology

The author owns shares in Apple, Inc. and related firms.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Apple Web Site Temporarily Out of Order

The Apple.com Internet site was temporarily out of order during normal business hours today. Users attempting to access Apple.com for approximately 7 minutes prior to 1836 GMT (2:36PM Eastern U.S. time) received various error messages:

Apple Down 042208thw.jpg
Apple Site Down 042208.jpg

That's a little embarrassing for a technology company but quite understood at a firm getting so much attention on Wall St. and around the world.

The outage was almost instantly noted by bloggers in the UK, Germany, and the United States. In America Apple.com was plainly described as being "Down." In jolly old England Apple.com was said to be "borked", and in Germany the situation was described this way, "www.apple.com mit Schluckauf". The latter phrase is translated as "Apple.com has the hiccups." Interesting, indeed!

U.S. web site

U.K. web site

German web site

Monday, April 21, 2008

The New Colossus

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-written by Emily Lazarus

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Retired Generals and U.S. Ministry of Propaganda

The New York Times is reporting that retired U.S. military officers have formed a defacto U.S. Ministry of Propaganda.

President and General Eisenhower warned us of the dangers of the military industrial complex. Then he and every other president and Congress proceeded to buy every weapons system sold by these merchants of death.

Will those big missiles and expensive aircraft carriers or jets really stop the next 911-like asynchronous attack on U.S. soil? What's really going to happen once some nation strikes another nation with a 1,000 megaton warhead? Or when one goes off "accidentally" in some nation? Do those billions on bombs feed your kids? Do they pay schoolteachers meager pay for such an important community and national service? The real heroes in this nation are the inner-city school teachers that show up every day to teach despite all the obstacles (and actual weapons) they face.
Blue Angels over Annapolis 32535
We live in the 2nd most militant nation on earth. Propaganda, for government purposes or simply to sell the next new soap, is all around you, bombarding you nearly every waking minute. Unless you step back from mainstream media sources, including most television programming, you will only get dumber and dumber. That is just the way the generals and politicians like it. Every year they cut spending on actual public education initiatives. Biased, rigged testing programs still leave most U.S. high school graduates far behind other developed nations. If the U.S. is such a rich nation why are our public schools so underfunded?

I have an idea, let's send $4 billion more weapons to Israel next year, that will solve all the problems in the U.S.
U.S. Navy HSV 2 39741
You can go back to watching the generals on your TV set now. Nothing to see here people, move along.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

iPhone in India?

India has a middle class larger than the population of the United
States. That's ~400 million people with the combined purchasing
power to swing major markets. The fixed-line phone system is terrible
across much of the nation. The mobile phone market there is
incredible, even the nearly 1 billion very poor local villagers have
access to mobile phones through community phone-sharing shops. They
pool their rupees together so they can have contact with relatives
working overseas in the Middle East and West. Farmers check market
prices by cell phone before taking crops to market. They will easily
buy 1 crore iPhones in the first twelve months, that is if Indian tech
firms don't come out with something more powerful than the iPhone
between now and then!
Market Day,  Purulia District 00018
Once the Bollywood movie stars start carrying iPhones there will be no
stopping the trend-conscious nouveau riche from buying them. Of course
iPhones will still be too expensive for the average Sanjay on the
street. It's the people working at Infosys, WiPro, Reliance and other
major firms that can afford the such a device. Many Mumbai & Delhi
traders and business people already carry smartphones. When those
phones wear out, as electronic devices quickly do in that climate,
more than a few Indians will switch to the feature-rich iPhone just
like they switch from scooters to cars every day.

I can also see NRIs financing more than a few iPhone purchases for
didi, baba, ma, and the rest of the family back in Kolkatta.

There has been plenty of talk about the Apple
tie-up with Reliance. That's how things get done in India.

You can also rest assured computer technicians in India will race to
get certified to support all types of users of all Mac hardware. The
"missing network" of enterprise-level systems integrators willing to
suggest Apple hardware here in the U.S. may well be replaced by
entrepreneurs from the Indian subcontinent.

They seem to ramp-up faster with technology but who knows? WiPro just
expanded their presence in the U.S. with a major purchase in New
Jersey.

Too much attention has been paid to Steve Jobs IMHO. As interesting as
Steve is the Apple juggernaut is hardly sailed by a single sailor.
There are brilliant minds at work in Cupertino but I sincerely believe
that it is the way Apple Inc. management and other staff use all those
"ears" working at Infinite Loop, in the stores, and other locations. I
think Apple Inc. simply listens more closely to their customers,
vendors, college students, and other potential new users of their
products...it really shows.

Here's your source:

http://infotech.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2959728.cms

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Apple Inc.'s iPhone is not Wham-O Inc.'s Hula Hoop

Except for the executives at DIS, DNA, NKE, and AAPL I know of no other corporations that have openly announced adoption of the iPhone by those in the executive suite.

I really don't care what CEO's and VP's carry in their pockets. I figure legions of field sales reps, real estate agents, marketing teams, pharmaceutical reps. construction engineers, skin doctors, and most important of all, college students, will soon be carrying an iPhone.

Apple is very responsibly issuing an iPhone Software Development Kit, surely more legions of developers will find employ in the endeavour to create applications for the iPhone.

The iPhone arrived not from a new product development team delivering their first prototype. This is obviously a crew with long experience making and marketing stylish consumer products. The Cupertino-based professionals have spent serious hours looking at every angle of product release and market acceptance, and continue to do so relentlessly. Contrary to the opinion of some sector analysts, Apple Inc. does put their business model and strategy out front and center for public scrutiny. All an observer needs to to is look in any direction where multiple humans congregate.
Delaware Fire Scene 00005
Firemen carry an iPhone so they can receive large pictures of the burning buildings they are driving towards. First responders might also use them for receiving detailed instructions for handling unusual hazardous materials. Police walking the streets would use an iPhone for the same tasks they currently perform on the squad car laptop computer.

An oil rig worker might use the iPhone instead of lugging a laptop on and off the helicopter. iPhones might help some family people deal with the loneliness of life at sea. Baby pictures and other important email attachments look so much better on an iPhone than on those other tiny phone screens.
U2 0111
Apple Inc's iPhone is not a product. It is a culture-changing phenomena. The start of a serious long-term trend, like electricity or the telegraph or early telephones only the wealthy could afford. The iPhone reminds me of the pink Princess-model telephone with the dial that lit up. Complete with a monthly payment that must be sent to somebody to keep the pretty light glowing and phone ringing.
Family 1950s
Compare the iPhone to the television set in the 1950s and early 60s. Only rich people had TV sets in my small town. The first TV screens were very tiny. Manufacturing limitations and the cost of making large cathode ray tubes were part of the problem. Most cell phones still have tiny screens mostly due to issues related to cost, portability, and battery life.

The polished rosewood veneer TV case was a very stylish piece of furniture that every single owner showed off when this little boy happened to visit. Many people bought TV sets on payment plans and still do.

Families saved their money to buy their first TV set. TVs cost of lot of money, money spent purely for entertainment and news broadcasts. Woman working at home raising a family found the TV, especially soap operas, enormously engaging. Presidential candidates quickly understood television time attracts voters.

Will the iPhone's features somehow be exploited by today's politicians? You bet!

Around the same time as TV sets became ubiquitous, really portable transistor radios hit the market. Soon every kid in town wanted to have a small battery-operated radio you could listen to on your way to school. The transistor radio soon had a cassette deck in it, later a CD player. Again, only the rich kids had them at first.
Mysterious Store Interior, Annapolis 50433
Eventually I saved up enough paper route money and bought a radio that attached to the handlebars of my bicycle. I could listen to WFIL AM radio while I delivered newspapers! Believe me that radio was on and blaring when I rode up to show it to friends for the first time.

Hey, look at me, I have a tattoo on my breast, no wait, I have green and red spiked hair, whoa, I have a stud in my lip and another one somewhere else.

What do you have there? Dude, is that an iPhone? Way cool man, way cool.

The people I know with iPhones (myself included) appear to enjoy every minute of extra attention they draw. Chicks dig the iPhone, that is a proven fact. Cool dudes dig chicks that carry an iPhone. Besides it's a good sign her Daddy might be rich.

Do most kids have an iPhone? No way. But find me one teenager that would refuse an iPhone if the possibility arose.

Have radios, televisions and portable music devices ever really gone out of fashion since their inception? Will the mobile telephone industry slowly fade into obscurity? No way.

Just like the transistor radio or television, the iPhone and other smartphones are creating a new channel for marketing products directly to individuals.

I use it in my work to show people important images. It is easier than toting a pack of fingerprint-stained photos and less intimidating than pulling out a laptop computer.

"Sale going on now at Two Guys Department Stores, come on down for great deals!" now becomes a visually-rich, portable display of results with a clickable map to get you to the store before the sale is over. You can even check remaining inventory before venturing out the door. Go ahead, buy those stock shares you researched using the touch screen, while at the coffee shop, in Amsterdam or Cincinnati or Shanghai.

Nevertheless the pundits and defenders of the status quo still call the iPhone a passing fad. A shooting star. Morris Albert's song, "Feelings."

Anyone can plainly see Apple is no one trick pony. The iPod swept Sony's Walkman line, Creative, and a host of other competitors under the rug. Zune was DOA.

You really have to go to Apple's iTunes web site to fully experience the iPod or iPhone. iTunes is an essential part of the experience though you could survive by just ripping songs from CD's. This is brilliant, a thoroughly brilliant strategy designed to get more eyes looking at Apple's other products. Splash the site with music and the faces of U2 or nearly every other major musician including Paul McCartney and most other pop stars.

Provide a service or entertainment people want and they will come, again and again, especially young people. Like the movies, that takes us to movies on the iPhone or iPod or Touch.

The iPhone is a category-defining new product. From 0% market share on June 29, 2007 to #3 smartphone by December 31st, 2007. NOK, RIMM, Samsung, LG, MOT, or SonyEricson would sure love to repeat that performance. And maybe they will catch up to the iPhone one day soon, who knows?

Despise Apple for this stunning success if you must but do not compare the iPhone to the Hula Hoop or Frisbee or even Crocs. Well, maybe the Frisbee and the iPhone do have more than a few things in common! Give it a thought...
Annapolis Fire Boat 32857
Potential Civil/Military/Intelligence Uses for iPhone

In the not too distant past the military would have reserved an advanced technology device like the iPhone for themselves. In this case it took the demands of teenage web surfers and the savvy of Jobs & Co. to bring such a device to market. Current iPhones may lack GPS but they still have quite a knack for knowing precisely where they are. Military planners are probably intrigued just by the battery life of the device. iPhones will enter the public sector down many avenues. Here are just a few:

- First Responder Uses (WiFi or phone network flexibility, portable data & image viewer)
- Secure special operations or battlefield communications
- Secure operating systems, virtual private networks, and data arrays (BSD core, Trusted OS)
- Streamlined networking, storage management, and data communications using Apple Enterprise infrastructure
- Advanced display technology for mobile battlefield operations, real-time mapping, etc.
- Advanced handheld video conferencing technology
- Mobile wireless web servers running on iPhone platform for redundant battlefield communications systems
- Secure protocol support, i.e. Hackers are already running BSD core, SSH, Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and HTTPS services on iPhones.
- Improved Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) suitability and ease of initial deployment.

Related Sites:
Wham-O Inc. Corporate Site
Apple Computer Inc. Corporate Site
History of Television

NEXT: Apple's MacBook is no one hit wonder, more like the gift that keeps on giving.

The author has held Apple shares for many years and also holds shares in Broadcom, Hon Hai (Foxconn), and other related firms.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dulce et Decorum est

Wilfred Owen was a WWI soldier. He was killed in that war. Among Owen's possessions a poem was found: Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria.

Owen describes a scene where his unit gets shelled with poison gas. All the men got their gas masks on but one. Wilfred Owen describes the smothering death of that soldier.
Vietnam Soldier 1960s
Everything he had ever been taught about the glory of war came crashing in on him. In end he left a message for those who sent them off with such patriotic fervor:

Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori*.

8 October 1917 - March, 1918


*It is sweet and noble to die for one's country.

Owen realized at the last that he had been lied to. He died shortly thereafter, along with so many others in that terrible war.

Clifden War Memorial 00008

IBM Selling Apples?

The folks over at Roughly Drafted have provided some insight into Apple Inc.'s steady advance into corporate circles:

Roughly Drafted.com article

Researchers are discovering what concert sound board people have known
for years. Apple laptops are the best choice for consistent day-to-day
performance in demanding conditions out in the field.
The Other Ones 02077
Next time you go to a major concert take a peak at the computers being
used by the sound board guys. They are usually Macbook Pros running
professional sound software these days...

Back in the lab, Mac towers can now arrive equipped with two 3.2GHz
Quad-Core Intel Xeon chips, 32GB of memory and dual terabyte hard
drives (www.apple.com). That's enough computing power to uncover a new
life form!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NOTE: Place Apple MacBook on Desk #1

A blogger recently commented that Fox News commentators are using Apple MacBooks.

Apple products have always been front and center in entertainment. The latest television shows are showing characters using the iPhone and MacBooks. A crime show aired just last night had 5 Macbooks, a Nano, and an iPhone featured prominently in the storyline (CSI:Miami Episode first aired: 4/14/08). Characters in current movies often have a MacBook or else something completely anonymous. All Apple products, down to the little white iPod earbuds and cord, are immediately distinguishable and draw the eye's attention in most visual mediums. I would put i{anything} in my movies even if Apple did not pay for product placement. Disney programming is saturated with Apple gear. Great marketing always shines.

Coke Truck at JFK 18460

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Airlines Moving to Dubai

Letter to the wife of an American Airlines pilot written by the pilot's little brother:

Hi Cindy,

The Times printed several articles about how well pilots are paid these days. I have attached copies of the newspaper articles to this e-mail and the next one. If Nick is entirely content and happy working for the airlines then he does not need to read these articles. The New York Times is still read by the 500 people that can still read English up here in the states, everybody else reads blogs or the Spanish-language dailies now. Not much different than Aguadilla, huh?

I want you to seriously warn Nicky about being an American Airlines pilot. These past few days most people have grown to hate American Airlines guts, seriously. Some people just ran past my window chasing an American Airlines crew, the villagers were holding lit torches and chanting. The crew, two pilots and some old flight attendants, were barely staying ahead of the fat Marylanders chasing them.

I don't fly much anymore, except when I drink too much and that kind of flying doesn't count. If I did fly I wouldn't. Count how many times I fly, that is, so...I don't really fly, except when I drink.

Apparently American let passengers for 1,000 flights drive to the airport for flights airline execs canceled the night before. Then they promised the flights would take off soon, 36 hours later most passengers are still waiting, some of them in really, really stinky diapers! Finally the coffee ran out...

Goodyear FG-1D Navy Corsair 49717

American should have known those MD-80 aircraft were getting old. They stopped making those tin cans in like 1957, right? Nicky, should know, McDonnell Douglas has not been in business since the Vietnam War or something. Anyway the airlines canceled those flights over some missing nylon cable ties in the wheel wells. Big deal, they only really use the wheels when they are taking off and landing. The rest of the time the landing gear just sits there, right?

Wow, a crowd just ran by my house chasing some American Airlines baggage crew guys. The villagers looked like they were carrying buckets of hot roofing tar and old torn down sleeping bags. Do you think they were going to tar and feather those guys, Cindy??? The baggage handlers told me they had been running all the way from BWI Airport! They didn't even work for American Airlines, they were just subcontractors wearing AA overalls! I told you people were really pissed off about this situation.

Anyway, I seriously think Nicky should stay in Puerto Rico a few more days. Maybe see if he can get put on the Miami to Port au Prince route. Yea, that's the ticket. I'll let you know when it is safe to appear in an AA uniform again.

Does Nick know any other AA pilots? I know they pick on him and he probably keeps to himself mostly but he should warn the other guys anyway. AA just became a shady place to go to.


Love,

Your younger brother, Timmy

The articles:

American Airlines Cancels Wednesday
Airline Pilot or Bus Pilot, You Choose

YOU CAUSE WARS

…So long as there is nationalism, so long as you are a German or a Russian or an American, clinging to sovereignty, to an exclusive nationality, you are sure to have war. So long as you are a Christian and I am a Hindu, or you are a Muslim and I am a Buddhist, there is bound to be war. So long as you are ambitious, wanting to reach the top of your society, seeking achievement and worshiping success, you will be a cause of war.


Seeking achievement…you will be a cause of war - J. Krishnamurti, Hamburg 1956

Vietnam Soldier 1960s

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Identity Theft War Over, The Consumer Lost.

If you take a step back and look at all the issues related to Identity Theft one thing is perfectly clear.

The really bad guys have already won.

No matter what measures individuals may take to protect their personal data, all that data is likely to become very public, very soon.

Huge databases of public information are being easily stolen from government workers and private companies. All the crook does is steal a laptop computer from the front seat of a car. Thefts of laptop computers containing important personal data happen every day.

New York City 036590

Stolen personal data is bought and sold every day on the Internet. People in the U.S. and countries all over the world maintain a free market on stolen personal data.

Computer experts working for criminal organizations can easily break into computers running Microsoft Windows. But they do not need to try very hard, most people use very easy passwords, like the word "password." These so-called hackers are actually very talented computer professionals, considering that most computer users can barely locate the Word document they just saved.

The best hackers spend almost no time breaking into individual computers. Seasoned hackers prefer to break-in to business computers such as those maintained by department stores. They recently stole a very large amount of customer credit card data from a major department store, TJ Maxx.

Stolen mail is actually not the largest source of identity theft, though it is a growing problem in some areas. There has been a dedicated police force fighting that crime for decades: the U.S. Postal Inspector.

Apparently the U.S. Passport Office allows even temporary employees to peak at all the data kept at that bureau. Do you realize how much data you must hand over to get a passport? A very small percentage of people in the U.S. will ever own a passport (less than 10%), so I guess that source of identity theft barely even matters.

It seems the largest source of identity theft does not involve computers. People dig through garbage and copy all the numbers on the paperwork they find. Many years ago an illegal alien told me it takes less than one hour at a small town dump to find a new identity.

I am amazed at businesses that spend money to have a truck come pick up their old paperwork for shredding. Low-paid employees picks up the boxes of paperwork and take them to a building full of low-paid employees running giant paper shredders. Everyone promises never to peek at any of the important papers, ever. How do you know that promise is kept?

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, Internet crime is spiraling completely out of control. The amount of money lost in 2007 by the people who complained was over $240 million dollars!!!. Another billion or so dollars was probably stolen but no complaints filed. People are often too embarrassed to admit they lost money though some identity theft scam!

Corporations are spending billions to fight every consumer effort at protecting personal data. In some states a person can block access to part of their credit bureau reports. You have to pay the credit company to turn this data protection service on and off. Big business hates the notion of not being able to spy closely on every single customer. They hate it almost as much as Dick Cheney hates it when Congress tries to stop him from listening to your phone calls.

The bad guys won that battle for privacy.

Congress said Mr. Cheney could spy on U.S. citizens all he wants, with almost no oversight. You can bet Mr. Cheney proceeded to spy on U.S. Congress the day he obtained the approval.

I recently tried to open an IRA account with a very large financial institution (VLFI).
I already had other accounts with that VLFI.
Months ago I linked my account at the VLFI to another VLFI that I do business with.
On April 1st I called the VLFI and asked for help opening the IRA.
The person that answered the phone at the VLFI did not know how to do that. Apparently this person was so new they could not transfer me to another person.

We got disconnected during the call and I called back. Amazingly my call was routed back to the same person I was speaking with before! The things they can do with computers these days!

(NOTE: Businesses are no longer allowed to call customers back, that is considered a security risk. How ridiculous is that?)

The Customer Service Representative was still unable to help me, an existing customer, open the IRA. There must have been some security restriction preventing her from helping me.

The bad guys won that battle, too.

My insurance company has made security so tight at their Internet web site that customers cannot use the site. You need to own the right computer, the right web browser, and be able to answer multiple arcane security questions that change every time. They change your password automatically if you fail more than 3 questions or something along those lines.

They will not give you the new password over the phone or by e-mail. Instead they securely mail the password 5 to 10 days later, to your old address. The new password expires after the first time you use it! Nobody I know can ever jump through all these hoops.

Most people in my family use this same insurance company but we still do it the old-fashioned way, with lots of paper and phone calls. These same relatives do most of their banking on-line and rent videos and renew library books using the Internet. They just cannot access their insurance accounts using the Internet.

Several bank sites I use are gradually pushing me out of their web portals like my insurance company did several years ago. They keep asking more security questions and changing the way I log-on until finally I close the accounts out of frustration.

My VLFI freaks out when I try to access my account using my sister's laptop.

Bad guys won.

The most important question remains this:

How does a company provide adequate customer service when customer identity issues prevent that company from contacting the customer?

Finally the big business that want more people to use the Internet, like Amazon or eBay, are driving customers away by the thousands with their web tactics.

I was reading a news article on a major Internet news site (OK, OK, it was USToday.com) when something very disturbing happened. An advertisement for Amazon.com appeared. The advertisement used my actual first name. The advertisement content was based on several recent purchases from Amazon.com.

The news story was also related to those purchases (OK, OK, it was the iPhone made by Apple, Inc.).

What concerned me was that Amazon.com was trying to sell me iPhone accessories by following the news articles I was reading.

In my head I start hearing the theme to Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone.

I ignored this the first time it happened. Later I was researching a purchase and eBay inserted an ad with my eBay account name into the supposedly unrelated search tool I was using. My name appeared with an offer for a used model of something I was shopping for (OK, OK, it was a Nikon D300 camera).

I will no longer make any business or personal purchases using eBay and Amazon. I never really liked it when old girlfriends spied on me to see who I was dating next.

I know businesses are spying closely on me in a vain attempt to get into my wallet. Corporations have billions of euros to spend spying on you and I (the US dollar is worthless now, better change them in for Euros quickly or else use them as, ahem, tissue paper.)

Once a corporation discovers all your personal information do you know what happens next? The bad guys grab that secretly obtained marketing data and steal all your money.

Things are only going to get worse. The banks could care less, they keep sending out fully completely credit card applications. All the crooks need to do is copy your signature from an old sales receipt.

See? The bad guys won the war. Big business and government make it so easy to steal all your money.

Postscript: Overall the bad guys prevented me from doing thousands of dollars of business on-line, just last week. Luckily I was able to take time off work, drive to local, smaller institutions where actual humans that knew me and my business requirements helped me.

TOMORROW: Insurance firms charging millions for identity theft insurance!