Posts filed under “Technology”

12 Questions on Markets and the Economy

Today we are going try something a little different.

Rather then synthesize what’s in the news, flavored with my opinions, I am going to ask several questions — and leave the answering to you, the reader:

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1) Economy: Is the US in a mild recession, or, will we successfully
avoid one? How weak is consumer spending, and how much further can it fall? Might the US be entering a significant and
prolonged downturn?

2) Inflation: How much inflation is in the system? How high are inflation expectations? Under normal circumstances, inflation moderates as an economy cools. Why has that not yet happened in the United States?  Will it happen in the coming year?

3) Fed cuts:  Are any further Fed cuts coming? Has the market accepted the possibility that more Fed cuts are unlikely? Are equities priced for potential Fed increases as a response to inflation?

4) Market technicals: Markets have been very choppy, with
advances narrow, low volume affairs. Will the March lows holds? How
fraught with danger are current market conditions? How significant
is the failure of major indices at the 200 day moving average? The
NASDAQ is holding up much better than the S&P or Dow — Why?

5) Employment: How strong or weak is the job market in the United States? Why has job creation been so weak this cycle? Why are new unemployment claims still below 400,000? Why have we not seen layoffs in the multi-100,000 range?  Is employment significantly affecting sentiment polls? What are the odds of a robust jobs recovery in the next 12-24 months?

6) Housing: Has the real estate market bottomed yet? How much further will home prices fall? When will inventory of real estate get worked down? When will home sales turnaround? When will real estate stop negatively impacting the macro economy?

7) Credit crunch: How much damage has been done to the financial sector? How much damage will be done in the future to the banks and brokers?  Are we in the ninth inning, as some have posited, of the credit crunch? Or, do we still have all way to go, to work away through financial issues?

8) Tax rebate checks: Are they stimulating the economy? Are they merely paying for food and gas price increases?

9) Politics: What is the most likely outcome of the United States elections in November?  How likely is a significant increase in the razor thin Democratic majority in the Senate? In the House?  How likely is a full Democratic sweep including the presidency? What are the economic and market repercussions of such an event?

10) Sentiment: Why is sentiment so negative? Is it the war, employment, gas prices — or something else altogether? Has sentiment reached an extreme level where it can be considered a contrary indicator?

11) Data analysis: There’s been lots of chatter (elsewhere as well as here) about the reporting of economic statistics by the United States government. How accurate is the data that we get out of the BLS, BEA, Census Department, Federal Reserve, and other official outlets?  Have we reached the point where this data has lost significance? What does this do to the credibility of these governmental agencies? Is it possible that this data can be improved?

12) Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan:  The economy seems to have
pushed the Middle Eastern war(s) off the front pages of the newspapers. How good or bad are
things progressing in Afghanistan? How about the war in Iraq? There is
a continued buzz about a late summer or early fall assault by Israel
against the nuclear facilities in Iran (with tacit US approval). How
would this affect the price of oil? The global economy? The elections
in the United States?

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Please feel free to answer fully and completely in the comments section.

Category: Commodities, Credit, Economy, Federal Reserve, Inflation, Investing, Markets, Real Estate, Technology, War/Defense

Mac Market Share: 7.8%

Category: Technology

Coming soon: 3G iPhones?

Category: Technology, Web/Tech

Coming Soon: $200 Apple iPhone 3G

Category: Consumer Spending, Technology, Web/Tech

The Air Car

Category: Energy, Technology, Venture Capital

New Gadget: iPod to iPod

Category: Digital Media, Music, Technology

Headline of the Day: Blockbuster Circuit City Merger

Category: Financial Press, Technology

Google: Search One Day Into The Future

Category: Technology, Web/Tech

I Succumbed to the Charms of 7.2MP !

I’m a gadget junkie. I mentioned last month I didn’t need a new camera. As much as I would like image stabilization and video recording capability,  as much as the price for this 7.2MP Digital Camera is ridiculous, I simply didn’t need it. Then my mom asked for a simple to use digital camera. I…Read More

Category: Digital Media, Technology

Why Can’t I Rip DVDs to My iPod?

Simpsons_movLegally, that is.

This is my annoyance of the moment: Why are DVDs a DRM-locked proprietary platform? When I purchase one, why can’t I use this on a convenient, portable device such as my iPod?

What a pain in the arse it is to rip a DVD: Frist, you need to use several products (MP4
Converter
, Handbrake, Ripper); 2nd, it takes forever. 3rd, and its illegal to do so.

What brought this about recently was The Simpson’s Movie — actually, more  of an extended 90 minute episode. I saw it with my nephews (with me snoozing thru parts of it).

However, going through the extras, I started listening to producer/writer commentary. Unbelievably entertaining stuff, like a terrific radio show with several very funny people cracking each other up. I would have liked to put on the iPod for the train, but no such luck.

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I can rip the basic movie, but not the special audio commentary. Anyone have a clue how to do that?

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Sources:

The Complete Guide to Converting DVDs to iPod Format
Jerrod Hofferth
iLounge, November 21, 2005
http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/the-complete-guide-to-converting-dvds-to-ipod-format-mac/

Rip DVDs To Your Mac To View On AppleTV And iPod.
Alexis Kayhill
Mac360, Friday, April 13, 2007
http://mac360.com/index.php/mac360/comments/rip_dvds_to_your_mac_to_view_on_appletv_and_ipod/

Category: Digital Media, Film, Technology, Television, Video