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  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    @Rich in Quebec

    They might be right up to a point, but only up to a point.

    I live in the Dominican Republic, my in-laws are Haitian. The DR has no food stamps, so people have to find jobs, or create their own, which might include anything like selling a few stolen avocados or bananas in the street, prostitution, pimping, stealing, dealing drugs, people smuggling, selling a variety of items in the street like clothes, music, videos, ad hoc fast food operations on vacant lots and street corners, washing windscreens at junctions (recently banned after a motorist shot a window cleaner in Santo Domingo), motorbike taxis at $1 a ride, "massages", robbery, and numerous types of fraud of which the most widespread would be diversion of electricity and cable TV services, not to mention employee swindles on a massive scale in which cash is diverted from cash registers into the pockets of employees.

    Of course all of these things occur in the US too, but on a much smaller scale and surely the social safety net is part of the reason for that.

    If the Republicans really want to see what no government looks like, they can vacation in Haiti where their hotel will have its own generator and water and sewerage systems and supply since the communal ones are completely non existent or if they exist at all are unreliable. Their resort will have high walls topped with razor wire and armed guards within, since there is no reliable police force, so you need to form your own, and even if you did call the police, they will need you to pay for a taxi to bring them to your location.

    Is this really the vision of the future for the US? Of course not, the argument is only about the finer details of how much government should have a say in setting out a few rules for health insurance, an industry that is already government regulated.

    Having said that, I would like to see a much freer market in health insurance. Many people in the US would benefit immeasurably from getting their medical, dental, and drug needs met off-shore, for example in the Dominican Republic. This would work out great for all as patients would have less co-pays, insurance companies would have to fork out much less to providers, and the DR and other medical destinations would benefit from dollar earnings, hotel bed occupancy and so on. And once medical charter flights were organized from major gateway cities, travel costs would come way down too!
    Oct 3 08:45 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    "They won't even cut food stamps now that 7M more people have found a job from the trough of the recession."

    Surely people who are working will not get food stamps unless their wage is so low and their number of dependents (children and invalids) is so high that they still qualify.
    Oct 3 07:57 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    Obama needs to stop bending over backwards (or forwards for that matter) and show some leadership. I note that the troops will still be paid in spite of the government shutdown (so where does that money come from?) , and I presume there is a good reason for that. They may be needed.
    Oct 3 07:54 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft: Why Lumia Earnings Barely Matter [View article]
    I doubt whether very many people worldwide spend much on apps. I have bought a few in my time, like the version of Tune-In Radio that allows you to record radio broadcasts (probably not legal, but hey!) but I doubt if the whole lot would have exceeded $20, because you aren't going to spend a lot unless there is some app that is essential for business due to the fact that adequate apps are available for most common purposes free of charge.

    There are some exceptions, for example I had a $120 one year's subscription to The Economist, because this was cheaper than the paper version.
    Oct 2 04:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft closes above $33 as Mulally mulled [View news story]
    "... needs a younger, more dynamic CEO with more of an entrepreneurial tech startup mentality..."

    Yeah, why not get a CEO with very little experience of multinational big business. He can always learn on the job.
    Sep 28 07:43 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Loser Strategy [View article]
    They probably do that already now, but cutting off fingers is more likely to occur in the developing world where criminals are less considerate to their victims than in the US.
    Sep 12 10:29 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Loser Strategy [View article]
    Yes, and thieves may be able to force people to unlock their phones at gunpoint, or even cut off their fingers. But perhaps Authentec has got that all figured out.
    Sep 12 09:28 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Loser Strategy [View article]
    The fingerprint thing will be an absolute disaster. That is probably why the stock is down. At my last workplace in government employment they had fingerprint recognition on the timecard machine and it was a disaster as often people could not get their fingerprints recognized and a manual override had to be used.

    A machine was then introduced using fingerprints for background checks for new hires, but again it often didn't work or repeatedly rejected the fingerprints and a manual FBI background check had to be done, which took six weeks, so positions remained vacant an additional six weeks while the person's criminal background (lack of) was certified.

    Apple will be very sorry they started this, because even if it works well for 95% of customers, there will still be millions who will have problems with it, creating a customer service nightmare.

    Hopefully they have included a simple option to disable the fingerprint recognition.
    Sep 12 08:35 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Loser Strategy [View article]
    "Insisting on charging ultra-premium prices for non-premium products is a losing strategy."

    Tell that to the makers of Pampers, Huggies, Carnation Milk, Dasani Water or Colgate toothpaste.

    Fact is that a lot of US companies make a lot of money out of the concept that a lot of people are prepared to pay a lot of extra money for prestige branded products that are no better than cheaper generic brands.

    Add to that the fact that the true price of smart phones is often carefully concealed from the vast majority of consumers who have no idea that a large part of their monthly bill is going to pay for the device--obvious as it may seem to people like us who are both perceptive and thrifty!
    Sep 12 08:29 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Will Be Better Off In Parts After The Nokia Deal [View article]
    Can you give examples of the key apps that are missing.

    I have an Android tablet and here are the apps on my front page:

    Seeking Alpha
    Amazon mp3 player
    The Guardian
    Daily Mail online
    Google stocks
    Google translate
    Amazon (shopping)
    The Independent
    File Manager
    You Tube
    Google Chrome
    Fast Image Viewer
    Tune In Radio
    Alarm Clock
    Play Store
    Speed Test
    Cool Reader (e-reader)
    AK Notepad
    Magic Jack
    Bubble Puzzle
    System Settings

    Which of these would not be available in Windows or no equivalent?
    Sep 10 08:26 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Financial Win With Nokia Acquisition [View article]
    Yes, they were all using Apples in college, but now they are being welcomed to the real world. However most of the people you are talking about will not be IT professionals, and if you are, say, a pharmacist and your ordering system, patient medication administration records, and medication dispensing carts run on Windows XP you will just have to get over it.
    Sep 9 06:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Financial Win With Nokia Acquisition [View article]
    "Name ANY former Microsoft executive that has been successful operating an enterprise outside of Mr. Softee."

    Well, Elop is a possibility. Either the man has a brilliant strategic mind or he is a bumbling fool. I am not totally convinced either way, but I think the former is possible. Clearly there must have been reasons why Nokia chose to recruit him in the first place as its first non-Finnish CEO. It is not likely he found the job advertised on a postcard at the unemployment office in Espoo.
    Sep 9 05:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Financial Win With Nokia Acquisition [View article]
    I think this is a great deal for Microsoft, though the main markets for the Lumia phones may not be in the USA, so US investors will get a jaundiced view.
    Sep 9 08:16 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's Financial Win With Nokia Acquisition [View article]
    If a company only buys back shares equal to the options granted to employees, that is just another way of transferring profits to employees and executives and away from shareholders.
    Sep 9 08:14 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Doubles Down On Nokia Mobile: Now What? [View article]
    With today's stories that Amazon may take on Apple by giving away free smart phones (with strings, of course), wouldn't it be a turn up for the book if they turned out to be lower end Lumia phones running the Windows OS?

    The Surface RT tablet has been a sales bomb, and yet I am constantly reading reviews and recommendations from people who have the device that it is wonderful and have been considering getting one myself primarily to use as a fixed-base domestic music center or e-reader. I wonder if the Surface may not yet rise again with a better marketing plan.

    At these prices it is probably worth a look-in.
    Sep 7 07:27 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment