Your point of view is correct: you should always be looking at the value to the end user. They are primarily consumers or avenues for providing information. My idea for a workable tablet for creating things is to have it be thin but the size of a typical 4:3 20" Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Clearance Sale screen and a wireless keyboard. Kinda like a MacBook Air but on steroids. When I was young (the 70s), Oakley Sunglasses Sale we had crappy terminals tying into mainframes. It's the thin client model all over again. Only better. This incarnation could really work if done right.
Jan 14, 2012. On the contrary: thinking well takes a great deal of study, training, and a great deal of intellectual maturity. What we see coming out of grad school these days are people who have pursued very narrow topics and have not taken the appropriate steps from what they have done to critically assess the way they are doing things. That is somewhat understandable, as it is increasingly difficult to obtain funding for fundamental sciences (more applications oriented these days) and US students do not want to spend 6 8 years in grad school. Nonetheless, it appears in this day and age that such critical thinking only occurs after you have done 1 or 2 postdoc assignments, and are forced to learn new areas of science.
Jan 11, 2012. 04:24 PMJosh,While I understand the sentiment, if what you're saying about manufacturing is true then Germany wouldn't be the export powerhouse it is. Their non university training is one of the best in the world. Their industrial machinists and technicians get paid a very pretty euro because of their skill sets and productivity. There are measures we can take, and one of them is recognizing that university studies are NOT for everyone, and for us not to treat people who don't go to university like second class citizens. I agree with them especially the CEO stuff. Very few of them, in Morningstar speak, are actual value creators. Kind of like journeyman baseball players. Bill Veeck said a long time ago: "I don't mind paying guys like Bob Feller their money they earn it every day. What I can't stand is the high price of mediocrity". And with most of the CEOs I see and have met, well, let's just say they aren't in the mold of Bob Feller.
Jan 10, 2012. 08:04 PMI don't think anyone here is saying things are better. Far from it. But from where I stand I see an educational infrastructure not capable of training people for this economy. My biggest shock was discovering the paucity of talent even at advanced graduate school levels. My local congressman (R) finally said he is walking away from the no taxes pledge. That, I hope, is good news. However, when a political party's candidates for President say they would not accept even 9:1 spending cuts to taxation, you know the party is in trouble and we along with it. That is just a fundamentally unserious position. (And that's about as far as I'm going to go though with regards to politics.)The predictions, though, I hope for all of us, are wrong.
Jan 7, 2012. 10:46 PMPapa,Indeed you are right. Competition was non existent, and we got fat, dumb and happy. Relatively unskilled staffing is gone. That cost over $100 billion in post WW2 dollars (probably many trillions in current dollars), which enabled Europe to re tool and rebuild much faster. Our security umbrella also allowed that to occur via NATO. Nonetheless, that was undoubtedly money well spent. It's what we didn't do at home that's coming home to roost now.
Jan 7, 2012. 04:45 PMWis,I've seen that graph before many times. I'm not going to be an apologist for the Obama administration, but what isn't mentioned is that this was an early projection of the economic h***. This administration's biggest mistake? The h*** was MUCH deeper and more intractable than the early estimates. 1 on my list: Alan Greenspan. I fault Greenspan for signing onto the 1st and 2nd round of tax cuts from the previous administration. That imprimatur gave all the political cover that was needed. Everyone forgets that a certain principal of the previous government said, "Reagan showed deficits don't matter". The big, long term macro worry is the revenue expenditures gap. Right now: expenditures 24%, revenues 15 16% of GDP. So we have both a revenue AND spending problem. Particularly troubling is the revenue side. We've seen 24% expenditures before on a few occasions, but the last time we had so little revenue coming in as a function of GDP was Oakley Sunglasses Cheap in the late 1940s. By the way, that time period also represented the 2nd worst unemployment rate (this one being the worst) post WW2. Of course, if Obama's administration or a potential new administration cannot find a political path to expenditures and revenues being both in the area of 20 21% of GDP, it won't matter what we think.20 21% of GDP is doable both from the revenue and expenditures side if we can get some growth and a sizable reduction in the rate of expenditures. Simpson Bowles would be a good place to start.
Jan 7, 2012. 04:29 PMJosh, I have to admit to being a bit more optimistic I'm not a "slash my wrists" kind of guy. If you were to tell me in late 2008 early 2009 that we were headed to absolute ruin, I would have been more in your camp.
Jan 7, 2012. 03:44 PMI'm not sure I understand what you mean by it being easier to integrate Lenovo ultrabooks than Apple. The underlying chassis on Apple products is, or at least it was, Unix. Unix has a proven track record in corporate data farms (including my firm), and security setups would be much cleaner than dealing with ActiveDirectory hooking into the Unix server farms. The underlying problem with tablets having widespread acceptance in corporate life is lack of a tactile keyboard. Sure, Apple has a bluetooth board that goes with iPad, but that means you have to lug it along. If you have to lug it along, then the convenient formfactor evaporates.
Jan 7, 2012. Fortunately for him, Paul Volcker did his Fed squeeze early enough in his administration to allow the economy time to heal. That and, at the time, massive deficit spending that was being promulgated by Washington after Volcker put the squeeze on. It was GHW Bush who paid the price for the governmental deficit spending which occured during the previous administration. He was insightful enough and enough of a statesman to understand that raising taxes when he did might cost him the political support he needed in 1992. This was added upon by the next administration, which my memory reminds me had some questions with regard to their re electability as well. Clinton was no sure thing in 1996, as he had to weather the tax increases and the recession of 1994. Nonetheless, what Bush and Clinton did, politically, made it possible to balance the budgets of the late 1990s. I can tell you that what those administrations had to deal with are water off a duck's back compared to what happened 3 years ago. My friends and I were talking about economic Armageddon 3 years ago. However, we're missing the correct case study in history. The last time we had something like this was indeed the 1930s not the early 80s. There was no liquidity crisis in 1979 1981. There was high inflation (not to be confused with hyperinflation) caused by 300 400% changes in energy pricing initiated by OPEC. From an economic standpoint, that is infinitely easier to deal with than deflation, which is what we've had coming since 1998 and with which we had to overcome in the 1930s. Anyone remember the Asian paper tigers and Russia in 1998? That was the casting call for what has happened to us in the last 3 years. The only way out of it back in the 1930s early 40s was the massive infrastructure spending necessary to win WW2. While post WW2 government debt was over 100% of GDP, that money was used in no small part to build industrial infrastructure. Truman had to deal with those debt problems in the late 40s and was nearly defeated. In the current crisis, the debt we have is built upon not infrastructure spending but rather to cover the large gap between government revenues and government spending an economic extension of what we did in the 1980s. We're at the historical extremes for both right now. We're currently spending at the federal level around 23 24% of GDP, while federal revenues are in the area of 15 16% of GDP. Both have to converge to a more reasonable number. We need revenues (taxes and economic growth) and spending cuts at the federal level. Both in the range of 20% of GDP would basically fix our debt mess. This is not about the failings of the President or Congress it is about us as a nation. It is we who have to look in the mirror. Our government is a reflection of us. A metaphor.