I may start posting more here

For a while, when I started this, my first, blog I was having fun making posts. It didn’t matter to me whether anyone was listening, I could say what I wanted.

But then, over time, I began to think about what the readers I did have would think of my ramblings. And so I began to tidy them up and worry about being entertaining and factual and relevant.

Big mistake! Who cares. One should write what one wants and so what if anyone listens. That’s the world of today – all of us can publish, but who’s reading. And, unlike all the idiots on Facebook followers and likes and nonsense like that should NOT change what we write. But of course it does, at least for most of us.

So I found other blogs to write and other topics. I became more specific. I tried to provide more real information, more accurate information.

But this is the world of Trump, the post-fact, or alternative truth, or whatever it is – i.e. nothing really matters, as a valid intellectual idea, only what is popular with the “base”.

Well, the good news is I don’t have a “base” so I can say anything I want. You, Dear Reader, didn’t like my other blogs, which take a lot more work to create engaging and accurate posts than merely ranting here. So perhaps my first instinct was right. I ranted, some listened. But that’s the world of today. We just listen to what our tribe says.

Well, I don’t have a tribe. I’m watching the “libs”, normally my buddies heading off into the woods to perhaps repeat the whole McGovern nonsense of 1972. Sheesh, don’t be stupid and an idiot like Trump should be headed to the scrapheap. But, OTOH, interrupt the world today as wanting more left wing purity and watch Trump win again. Sure, blah me-too “corporate” candidates are unexciting (as were Gore and Kerry) but try to win with AOC or Bernie or Liz (who I actually do like but don’t think can win as Prez).

But that’s all a digression. I’m 72 so other than bankrupting Social Security or even worse Medicare what does “policy” matter to me. I’m offended by the stupidity of the MAGA crowd to think somehow that their own ignorance and lack of skills can somehow be overcome by voting for a con artist. Have fun, MAGAs, you’re still stupid assholes, and you’ll still be poor, and the US will still become less “white” and you’ll become more and more a minority, whining about your lost stature as the ruling class. Suckers – the Repugs have exploited the religious right (for years) and now the racist crowd just to get the votes to get tax cuts for the rich. And the wall is just a TV stunt. Follow the money! As the rich get richer and you get poorer you only have yourself to blame.

See how easy it is to rant! My other blogs take too much work. Here I can say anything and who cares. Trying to put quality material out in the world today is just a waste of time.

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If there was ever a one product company …

… it’s Apple.

In my long life I’ve lived through the creation of Apple back when I was at HP. Back then Apple seemed like a stupid idea, especially among “professional” software types. Then, of course, for a while, they were a skyrocket, proving all the doubters wrong. Then their arrogance took them down again. Then, amazing Jobs saved them (with a big cash boost from Gates). Then they got innovative again, and, boom, they blew up the market with the iPhone (really initially the iPod, which I still very much prefer over their phones).

Then both Jobs died and the world began to stabilize. New innovation was hard to come by in the phone business, which rapidly was becoming Apple’s only business. Whereas once before they had gone from computers and music to something amazing, now they were retreating, doing better versions of same-old, same-old. Where was something new? Come on, is every thing worth inventing been done? Not likely. But when you make billions from all your groupies buying another version, in a different color, of the same, once innovative, product, why bother innovating.

What is Apple doing with those billions of profits? Why aren’t their engineers coming up with something new.

Actually I know the answer.

Once I joined the most successful, most rapid growth division in HP. I won’t say which. Hewlett, himself, had a rule to spend 10% of revenues on R&D. But when a division has a single hit product, 10% of revenues means lots of engineers hired and competing for the “next thing”. Internal politics replaces innovation in the marketplace.

So now Apple has a hoard of marketing people who can’t figure out what to do, except generate new ads. Depending on being a “fashion” statement works for a while, but it also burns out. Why do even Apple groupies have to go spend money to replace their perfectly fine phone with a new one just because it has new colors or a different form factor, or even something real, like a potent new processor that no one actually needs, since there is zero innovation in the apps, which like Apple, are just milking their installed base.

So now Apple is another boring company trying to hype its stock with anything at all that increase revenues (i.e. price increases) or a ton of excuses why everything, outside their control, is going wrong (aren’t managers supposed to predict externalities?)

So now the birds are coming home to roost. A company based on being a fashion statement no longer can command its current customers to throw out last year’s model and buy a new model, that for almost all of them, does nothing they couldn’t do before. Sheesh, how hard is it to hook up on Facebook or Instagram – does anyone need a new processor or more RAM or a better display to do the same-old, same-old.

The only thing that amazes me is that stock analysts are now beginning to believe that Apple isn’t headed for the stars, that more gains in stock price are now questionable. DUH, it took you this long to figure out this is a shell game! So much for being the next trillion dollar company with more same-old, same-old. The loyal Apple fans are basically the same as Trump fans, no matter what shit is being peddled, they’ll be eating it. But that doesn’t quite, at least in the case of Apple, keep the net revenues on the upward climb the securities analysts expect. Too bad the voters in America don’t judge Trump at least as much as they judge Apple.

In my life I’ve had numerous interactions with Apple. And for a while they were a silly nobody. Then they became, for me, the hero of Silicon Valley, fighting off the Borg of Seattle. Then they got arrogant and were hard to defend. Then the Borge, at least in my interactions, got not so bad. Then all of this became irrelevant with Facebook taking over, not just as the Borg, but the Evil Empire. So neither of the main factions that defined my life (let’s ignore HP as a nonstarter despite my investment there).

So now Microsoft is on the mend and catching up with what really matters and Apple is still trying to figure out why a new color or a new shape of a hyped over-priced snob item isn’t working any more.

 

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Still blogging, just not here

My loyal readers have probably noticed there are few new posts in this blog. This has happened for several reason. But first I want to provide a couple of links to where I am actively blogging, so give those a look.

Virtual trek landscape observations

I’ll take my sombrero sautéed

Ensalada ilustrada or Ensalada mixta

Adventure in menu and receta

It’s that tx- thing again

Menú peregrino

I started this blog to mostly rant about politics. That was interesting, for a while (at least to me) but as the US gets closer and closer to the Trump dictatorship and single party rule ranting seems pretty pointless. The news today is just overwhelming and instead of enjoying it I can hardly stand to consume any news (the “fake” kind, of course, meaning real news were truth is still truth). So that part of this blog is gone.

Then I bored my readers with tons of statistics of my exercise and weight loss. At the time it was helpful to me (although boring to readers) to “publish” the results so I’d stay on track. That also led to a lot of rants about stupid “nutrition” nonsense that floods the Net.

I also used the blog to describe my adventures in baking bread and these posts, politically neutral, have had more audience over time, so I’m glad you enjoyed them. But alas, I still have my weight issue and bread is simply too high calorie to consume what I baked. So that topic has disappeared.

And I managed to stick in a few travel posts which generally get more attention since they had some pretty pictures or possibly useful information for other travelers. But my travel and camping is pretty much at a standstill so nothing to post about there.

So I ran out of stuff to say. What I did learn, from analyzing stats of site traffic, is: a) rants rarely get attention, b) boring posts get little attention, and, c) most relevant, a blog without a single focus and style doesn’t hold readers’ attention. Also blogs where there is some original contribution, rather than yet more opinion (after all who cares what I think) seem to be more interesting.

So I started a new blog (the links above). There I focused on a single (and neutral) topic. A virtual trek on the Camino de Santiago (loyal readers will recognize this from my posts here about virtual trek on the Pacific Crest Trail) and progress reports (and anecdotes) of developing an extensive corpus of Spanish (Spain) food terms to build an app that could be used to decipher menus in restaurants. In that work I compare the current state of machine translation (Google and Microsoft) of Spanish to English and the silly mistakes they make that I, despite knowing no Spanish, am able to figure out the correct translation. So that blog, in my humble opinion, has some interesting posts, especially for anyone who might be heading to Spain.

So on a regular basis (like monthly) I’ll post links here from readers who just drop in and don’t do a follow on that blog. Enjoy!

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Mary Ann Sullivan, RIP

Mary Ann Sullivan, a fantastic teacher, photographer, chef and sister died this morning. I was fortunate to see her a few weeks ago when she was still lucid. I could only leave her home believing I’d see her again but that was not to be.

In her long career she inspired a vast number of college students. She has inspired others with the work she did creating a massive website of architectural photographs, please take a look. She loved traveling and food and art and architecture and was fortunate to live a life she loved. She enriched her community with her efforts to promote art and civic improvement. She was fortunate to enjoy her 50th wedding anniversary with her only husband. She changed my life in more ways than I can count.

She lived one day longer than my 72nd birthday – what an awful birthday present. But at least I’ll have so many memories which can never disappear.

I don’t remember this but she’ll always be my big sister. I miss you Mary Ann.

 

 

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I’ll take my sombrero sautéed

Amusing post

Yo traduzco comida

I’ve continued to work through another online glosarioGlosario de Alimentos, and found an amusing and enlightening entry. On the second page I was doing my usual process: 1) take each term (they are links to a text definition in this source) in Spanish, and, 2) get the Google Translate in a second column, then, 3) click on the link and get the definition (not the English translation of the word, an actual text definition in Spanish), put that under the Spanish term, and, 4) do Google Translate on the definition and clip that and align it with the Spanish. So this is the first part of what I got:

agaricus arvensis

Sombrero: de 8 a 20 cm de diámetro, blanco-amarillento, un poco ocre con la edad, globoso o convexo de joven, después extendido. Borde delgado, enrollado y depués redondeado. Cutícula separable, bastante gruesa y en ocasiones…

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Interesting post from site I just found

via I’ll take my <i>sombrero sautéed

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A helpful book

I’ve been out of blogging for a while but today just passed a milestone that will give me more opportunity to post. For over a year I’ve been involved in settling a complex estate and have been exposed to lots more “real-world” financial issues than ever before in my life. And this year I turned the magic age where I had to deal with RMD (Required Minimum Distributions) from my 401Ks and IRA. So I needed help I could trust.

Even though I have a MBA, from leading bizschool, with concentration in finance my study (decades ago) was mostly theoretical, not practical. So as an investor I have just the simplest investments. So now, with some new funds to invest, I needed some practical help to manage my assets for my retirement.

So I searched around a bit and found this very helpful book, The Investing Handbook for Almost Everyone.  It’s very readable and has tons of practical and useful advice that I can apply for myself. In setting up the RMDs I had to deal with multiple self-interested financial “advisers” (really just investment firms). Mostly their “advice” was to move all my funds to their management. I know enough to also know that their specific investment “recommendations” are also what probably generates the largest fees for them! So getting help, even through the impersonal connection of a book, but from an “objective” person who’d provide honest advice with no hidden agendas is very useful.

So I can recommend this book and it could help guide you through some of the complexity of investing in a manner that best fits your needs, not the need of someone who has other agendas.

 

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