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Dialectical Materialist

Dialectical Materialist
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  • Apple's Next Product Frontier: Augmented Reality [View article]
    Once again you could be right? But do you wear glasses? I do. They are not even perfect for vision correction. I can only imagine how annoying wearing my smartphone on my nose will be. The wrist on the other hand...

    What I think is most likely to happen is that various wearables will tackle various jobs. And not all screens will be virtual. Smart glasses may be useful in some cases, but smart glass will be better for others.

    http://bit.ly/1dQYYSx
    Jun 4, 2015. 10:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Next Product Frontier: Augmented Reality [View article]
    Matt, perhaps you are right. But to smadadet's point even Microsoft had a hard time coming up with multiple uses for HoloLens in their video. They show a virtual television screen projected on the wall. This is a completely useless application and will not be how we watch streaming video. ("Look, it's just as inconvenient as watching a real television mounted to the wall, only it's virtual!"). And they show a "to do" list virtually tacked to the refrigerator. Kind of skeumorphic design from hell.

    http://bit.ly/1FxbBJf

    The promotional video from Microsoft looks like a solution in search of a problem. There may be legitimate reasons for AR and we may yet discover unintended uses for it (we probably will), but when an actual promotional video for the product isn't even sure how you'll use it, it looks like a technology that is not yet fully baked.
    Jun 4, 2015. 09:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Think About Risk [View article]
    frog,

    You present a great case for discussing the concept of the Black Swan. We view the coin toss as having two possibilities and we make our bets accordingly. Given 3/2 odds, we think we have identified a real winner, with the odds bent in our favor.

    But in every event there is a non-zero chance that something previously inconceivable and yet disproportionately impactful could happen. What if when the gentleman tosses the coin, it suddenly flies up and hits you in the face, leaving you bind in one eye? Now does taking the wager seem like a good idea?

    We make our bets based on our genetic predisposition to ignore highly unlikely events and focus on outcomes we lazily ascribe as the "only" outcomes. We see the coin toss and (improperly) place the odds of heads at 50%. We never make allowances for the disproportionate impact of the highly improbable.

    But game theory teaches us that risk is not just a matter of probability. It is the likelihood that something may occur multiplied by the impact of its occurrence.

    To make matters worse, since the universe of highly improbable events is vast, it is a statistical fact that they occur with some frequency. You can't say what will happen, but you can say with confidence that eventually something unexpected (and highly impactful) will take place.

    In short, while we manage risk based on the odds of known outcomes, the game changers come from out of the blue.
    Jun 4, 2015. 01:05 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GDPhriday: QE Doesn't Work, Now What? [View article]
    Phil,

    I have been reading Seeking Alpha for years, and I sometimes think they aren't sure who their audience is or what their publishing criteria are.

    Their articles aren't political except when they are, and they are only about long term investment ideas except when they're not.

    As long as the topic is investing, it seems to me a great deal of political discussion (when it deals with economics, that is) and a great deal of market tea leaf talk should be fair game.

    It strains credibility to think that you can isolate long term investment ideas from the political economy and short term market behavior. Ignoring them is folly. Including them risks having the editor rule that the article is out of bounds.

    Anyway, I have read a lot of your stuff and usually enjoy it (even when I don't quite get it or may not agree with everything). I enjoy your articles enough to hop over to your website and read them. It's more convenient for me to read them on SA, but if they don't want the clicks, I'll just read them over at Phil's Stock World. I guess that is what SA is encouraging your readers to do.
    Jun 2, 2015. 05:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Watch Is Making Luxury Watchmakers Uncomfortable [View article]
    Mark_A,

    It would have been tragic if you were at a watch auction and accidentally bought a watch you didn't want.
    Jun 2, 2015. 01:05 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jony Ive Was Demoted, Not Promoted, And Other Things Apple [View article]
    I wish someone would "demote" me like that.
    May 28, 2015. 12:39 PM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Netflix: The Case For $1500 By 2020 [View article]
    WMX0102,

    Can you at least imagine a voice activated Google Now or Siri like solution where you simply tell your TV what you want to watch (or show you suggestions) and it aggregates all available content from all your sources (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, Acorn, Crackle, PBS, MLB, Bloomberg, etc etc etc) and allows you to choose? It could handle all the annoying switching itself, like any intelligent assistant should.

    I should be able to say, "Play the next episode of Frazier" and it will pick up where I left off. "List some good classic horror movies" or
    "Give me all movies with Marvel action heroes and a Rotten Tomatoes score above 70"
    "How about a John Wayne movie?"
    "Continue that movie I was watching last Tuesday"

    All of these queries are pedestrian by any reasonable voice assistant standard and the ability to control our content this easily is rapidly approaching. What do I care if the episode of Frazier I am watching is coming from Amazon or Netflix or some other aggregator? If the hassle of switching is eliminated, that leaves only cost. And I doubt many people now paying $120 a month for cable will bat an eye at having to maintain a few subscriptions at $5 or $10 a pop.

    So back to my question. Can you even imagine a case where technology makes watching from multiple streaming sources frictionless? I sure can. I think the folks at Apple can too.
    May 28, 2015. 02:00 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Apple Bubble Is Ready To Burst [View article]
    I was going to say the author was right that AAPL did hit 85 a share (albeit after a 7:1 split). But it actually looks like the stock split to 91.28 and never looked back.

    To me the more interesting stuff is the bear case he presents:

    Jobs is dead.
    Just wait till the economy tanks.
    The market for Apple products is saturated.
    The market cap is too high.
    Apple has too much competition.
    Apple has no new ground breaking products.

    3 and a half years later and the bear case for Apple remains the same, like some kind of laboratory sample preserved under glass.
    May 27, 2015. 12:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Just When You Thought The Worst Had Passed [View article]
    Take a look at this horrible situation:

    Household and government debt highest in history.

    Massive global unrest, especially in the middle east. Israel surrounded and threatening to lash out like a cornered animal.

    Real Unemployment at its worst levels since the 1930's

    The threat of that inflation will soon crush the earnings power of every fiat dollar earned at your job.

    Mind numbingly stupid televisions shows designed to detract the masses from the pointlessness of their existence.

    Cocaine and marijuana use at an all time high, growing despite supposed federal efforts at interdiction.

    China looming as a threat to the American Way of Life

    Scientists warning of the dire impacts of human activity on the planet.

    Surging global population sending us towards what many believe will be famine of unprecedented proportions.

    Unrest in Africa.

    Water shortages in California.

    People living in the inner city struggling with few jobs, low pay. Crime and drugs rampant.

    The breakdown of traditional social structures like marriage and the nuclear family.

    I know that list is a lot to take in, and the future seems bleak. But the era being described above is the 1970's. Funny how we were never going to survive the end of days.
    May 23, 2015. 12:54 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's Why Apple Is Weak Since Earnings [View article]
    Moxi, you're being silly. Yes, sure, that's how we differ. I think companies should take advantage of poor children and you don't. Do you actually read what you write?

    I'm going to allow you to continue your campaign of hyperbole against anything and everything Apple, I'm simply going to exercise the discipline it takes not to respond. I thought for a short time you might be capable of reasoned debate, but I see I was wrong.

    If even a fraction of what you have said about Apple was true, the company would be destined for very dark days. Instead, I am confident I will enjoy positive returns from the stock and hours of enjoyment from their products in the years to come. But life is too short to engage in nonsense like this.
    May 13, 2015. 03:02 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's Why Apple Is Weak Since Earnings [View article]
    "They probably got under the table compensation or commission for signing a $1.3B deal. Apple is running a scam cheating taxpayers, no wonder they have so much money, they steal it."

    If that is true, the FBI will nail them. But (spoiler warning) it's not true.
    May 13, 2015. 11:31 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's Why Apple Is Weak Since Earnings [View article]
    Moxi,

    If you Google "911 false flag" you get a lot of results too. You can't be too careful about tying results you get on a Google search to the truth.

    But here's a few interesting things about the LA case:

    --Federal investigators declined to name the target of the probe.

    --They have not yet brought charges.

    --Former Supt. Deasy wanted to use construction bonds to pay for the technology initiative.

    --Former Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino had been early champions of the Apple devices and software from the British company Pearson, without fully exploring alternatives.

    --Aquino worked for a Pearson affiliate before joining the district.

    It is a stretch, and I mean a long stretch, to assume that Apple is tied in any nefarious way to the apparent plan of a couple guys to funnel voter approved construction funds to an initiative that would line their pockets.

    One could envision the same circumstances involving a purchase of chrome books. That is to say, what is troubling about this program has nothing to do with the fact that iPads were being bought. The problems are that there was a no bid contract being awarded that involved iPads and also software of the company they the deputy superintendent used to work for. And the money they wanted to pay for this program had been earmarked for construction.

    This is a messy city level political scandal. There is no evidence, even on the face of it, that this has anything to do with Apple in any specific way. No one is saying bribes were given, faulty equipment was being trafficked, kickbacks were offered (by Apple) or anything else.

    The FBI will continue to investigate and may one day bring charges against whoever they are investigating (smart money says Aquino). But the claim that Apple is "involved" in this is pretty thin. If it happened to be Google products, they would be no more guilty than Apple. They are just the company that built the tablets that Aquino was trying to buy in order to load his former employer's software on to them. What benefit he would receive from this is unclear, but a kickback or boost to stock value seems the most likely. It is why people do things like this.

    The reason this story does not have more than local interest is that it is a local story, albeit with the Apple name that helps drive some clicks.

    If anyone has anything more substantive to say about Apple's nefarious involvement in this scandal, I'd love to see evidence of it.
    May 13, 2015. 11:23 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Holds China Smartphone Crown, CEO Opens Microblog [View article]
    Moxi,

    You are not giving some or possibly most AAPL bulls enough credit. It's not necessarily that so many expect the past to be repeated. In my case, for example, it is that the past performance of the company has put them in such a strong position.

    I know you see Android barbarians at the gate and, according to another comment you made, every single measurable metric showing Apple in decline.

    But they have a war chest of $194b and a brand that is second to none. In evaluating risk (which is part of determining what is a "good" investment) these fruits of past labors have ensured Apple is in great shape.

    So as an AAPL bull, when I look forward, I don't think they can possibly grow at the 74% clip they were managing just a few years ago. Apple will not envelop the universe. But they aren't going away, either. Not any time soon.

    With its user base of somewhere around 500 million, it is hard to see Apple going into the tailspin so many bears urgently (even desperately) want to see. Apple understands China and is also a premium brand in the mind of Western consumers.

    There will be stocks that yield better returns than AAPL. Plenty of them. But the risk one must take to find these high fliers needs to be factored in as well. Apple is a rock solid company with a bright future. Looking for tiny cracks in its foundation is a popular pursuit, but the building is tall and strong and will be standing for many years to come.
    May 13, 2015. 11:01 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Holds China Smartphone Crown, CEO Opens Microblog [View article]
    Cannothelp, You are right. Stanford's endowment is "only" 21.4 billion as of Aug 2014. So maybe that should have been 99% instead of 99.5%.
    May 13, 2015. 10:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Earnings Call: Under The Radar Gems [View article]
    "I can guarantee the watch won't gain adoption"

    I don't know what this means. Can you put a number on it and tell me how many they will sell through the end of 2016. I'm thinking about 30 million. That would be roughly 10 million this year and 20 million next year. But given how popular the product is likely to be in China, my guess may be a little low.

    But you'll see by the numbers I am talking about, this pales in comparison to the 200 million iPhones Apple will sell this year alone.

    Betting against wearables is a bad idea. And betting against the premier mobile device company on the planet is a risky proposition as well. It's not much of a stretch to think the Apple Watch will be the best selling smart watch on the planet over the next couple years.

    But I'd love to hear your number for future comparison.
    May 12, 2015. 10:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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