I hope it’s true that restaurants that are adding low calorie meals are doing better than those that aren’t. Traditionally it hasn’t worked. Food cost is only about ¼ of the cost of the meal, so if you cut the food quantity by 40% that’s only a 10% decrease that can be passed through. And in fact it’s not even that good because all the service costs (and you filling their seats) are the same for low-cal meals as high. But naturally the public expects a significant price drop and when they don’t see it they think the meal is a bad value. Now big surprise, this is the Costco formula for getting us to buy more than we need, create slightly lower cost per unit with the jumbo sizes and we see that as a bargain, or conversely see a higher cost per unit as a ripoff. So hopefully attitudes have changed as this report suggests.
Traffic is banned in Boston: It makes sense but for me it’s an interesting moment since the only other time they’ve done this was 1978. At that time I was living in sunny California but actually had a trip planned to Boston for college recruiting. We had some people in Boston from my company and they’d be sending back messages how they were trapped at work, unable to live the buildings due to the ban. And so I’m getting on an airplane to go, where?, be stuck in the airport? Well I got there fine and got my rental car and it felt like driving through High Sierra passes with so much snow piled up with just one lane plowed through many streets. Other than getting lost (all the signs were covered up) I eventually made it to my hotel in Cambridge. So wild coincidence – of all the times I could have gone to Boston and with trips to Boston relatively uncommon for me (just a few since leaving college there) my trip happens to coincide with the worst snow storm. I wonder how many people were planning on going to Boston today or for some event on Monday and what they’ll remember 35 years from now.
Microsoft – Enjoy the brief glow of being out of last place: Microsoft managed to kick Windows Phone 8 into next-to-last (third) place in the 2012Q4. Of course the fans of the dying Blackberry brand knew the BB10 was on the way so who wants to be stuck buying the last of a dying generation of a dying brand, so BB wasn’t exactly a hard target to beat. Of course all the Microsoft lemmings will have done their duty and bought WP8, but there aren’t so many of those as before. So BB is bound to surge a little with their new obsolete products so maybe it will be touch-and-go for a few more quarters to stay out of last place until RIM goes broke and Microsoft gets to claim third place decisively. Meanwhile the Microsoft groupies quickly bought out (how many, 100 units?) the 128Gb Surface (you need the 128G so you have room to save a couple of your own files). What a fantastic launch for a netbook with such obnoxious ads.
Wow, Zuckenberg actually met with the people he was going to rip off: The article makes it seem sinister that The Zuck actually looked people in the eye before stealing their idea, so I guess he’s grown up a little. Come on, folks – you think an idea as trivial as Snapchat can’t be easily copied. In these days of non-innovation startups some minor two-bit idea is enough to launch buzz over soaring stock, but the lack of innovation (or at least innovation so trivial it is just a hackathon to reverse engineer it) is not exactly enough for competitive advantage. Why companies with $50 R&D investment think they will survive is beyond me (actually why their financial backers think something so easy to create and thus copy is a “product”). Perhaps, as Facebook, easily subsumes tiny idea startups again and again people will learn it takes a bit more innovation and definitely some patents to keep away the big dogs. Interesting – a VC just dumped money into Snapchat; I wonder if they knew Zuck just saw the idea. Of course naturally Snapchat thinks FB is a paper tiger and the brilliance of their few lines of code app will somehow prevail.
Egypt blocks YouTube, supposedly due to videos telling the truth defaming Islam but probably more likely as a general censorship ploy and way to return Egypt to the bronze age. The people against the ban suggest the judges don’t understand the Internet (almost certainly true) and that more specific blocking of freedom-of-speech offensive videos is possible. But the judges know more than the opponents think; they know the Internet in general and YouTube in particular and any easily spread information is a challenge to a theocracy so big surprise they endorse censorship.
Tea baggers and Rand Paul want attention: Like the spoiled brats they are the tea baggers somehow think the official Repug response to President Obama will be too tepid and/or they just want a piece of the spotlight, so 2016 presidential contender needs to try to maintain his visibility and not let Rubio steal all the glory. This, of course, means Rubio has to now be even more stupid in his response than he probably planned on being. So while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the pretense of legitimacy and just let the KKK or White Power party get their response on TV too.
Please let the economy recover soon! I’m so sick of letting the Repugs have a fake issue they created, the deficits. If the economy can ever get going (oh, forgot, all those job creators got taxes increases and are in a huff) the tax receipts by people having jobs will eliminate the deficit and deny these idiots their fake issue. For the president who has increased spending the least since Eisenhower the Repugs will automatically run out of an issue soon and so they’re trying to make the most of their fantasy now. Oh my, what will happen to their pitch when a second Democrat president balances the budget (Never let us forget which party had a balanced budget and which party then promptly blew it up)
The Dell deal is catching a lot of flak: At first it just seemed like the usual complaining and hope to raise the share price but perhaps ol’ Michael is up to a scam, trying to get the company cheap. So now there is a bit of drama, greed vs greed, opportunity vs fear, but likely to have a bit more drama to play out before this is done. The buyout does look underpriced so my prediction is they’ll have to raise the offer, probably about $18/sh will get ‘ur done.
Now squid can fly, what will they think of next!
Amazing, Iran is catching U.S. disease: It appears our cyber-warfare has worked and we’ve infected Iran with the Repug disease. The ruling elite is now fighting among themselves for power and remarkably the mostly-crazy Ahmadinejad is now the sane one, with even more crazy ones wanting power. So they really have adopted the Repug script, crazier-than-thou as the path to victory.
Ariana likes it (the AOL acquisition): I’m sure she does as it keeps her AOL stock high, but frankly HuffPo has really gone downhill in the last few years. Whoever is writing it page code is an idiot because they are fascinated with too much HTML5 busy-ness and pages interact with Firefox in such an awful way as to often be unreadable for minutes at a time. They are so preoccupied with ad push they forget that we need to actually be able to read the articles. Second the amount of frivolous fluff just keeps on growing (how many more side boob slideshows do we need anyway); how can you treat this as a source of “news” when entertainment emptiness is almost overwhelming (of course all that titillation with the slideshow format jacking up the ad views is part of their review plan, but it sucks). And, third, they’re turning in Fox. No, not quite all the lying, but all the gut-wrenching red meat articles to arouse the base. I’m getting sick of reading about some minor nobody in some backwater southern state saying slavery was wonderful – people have been doing this since 1865 and it doesn’t mean squat. It infects me even, fanning the partisan flames when yet another Repug stupidity is presented (why, for instance, today, do we even need to know what defeated Joe Walsh said about Micelle Obama, it’s just gasoline on the fire). There is plenty of real Repug outrage to get upset about but I’m getting outrage-fatigue (the main reason I eventually stopped reading MoveOn emails). You can’t just live on riling people up. And these are only the big three issues, where HuffPo is really copying the rightwingnut entertainment complex (HuffPo has some people almost as crazy as Glen Beck) because it makes lots of money. Well, I suspect they bleeding readers except for the tabloid types. Naturally their credibility was zilch outside liberal readers anyway, but with this increase in tawdriness their credibility is about where Fox was three years ago.