Archive for July, 2011

If the economic situation in the United States weren’t bad enough already it’s probably about to get a lot worse based on some recent observations I’ve made.   I know at least a half dozen retired baby boomers that are now either working for free, or doing consulting on a part-time basis for their former employer which is effectively preventing the hire of new employees at my employer.

In every situation, it started off innocently enough, retired baby boomer gets bored and decides to do some volunteer work at AARP center, hospital or other charitable venue.   The charity work is so fulfilling that some decide to continue on in that role with greater and greater hours so where’s the rub?    The rub is that they are doing it for FREE!y

That’s right, these guys are opting to not take any pay.  Perhaps the intention is good, they want to help the charity out but if we soon have 80 million baby boomers or just 10% of them working for free, it’s going to have a detrimental effect on the already poor job market.

To be fair, the paid baby boomer consultants are getting paid but only for the hours work and since they’re on Medicare or Medicaid they certainly don’t need health insurance so that effectively makes them way cheaper to hire than a regular employee.

I’m not sure what the solution is here and to be honest, I know of at least one boomer that is getting paid but not in money but in food stuffs at a charitable event.  Hmmm…..that’s not exactly taxable income is it?   I guess the debt crisis will continue on to infinity…..

I’m convinced that the iPad is the computing platform of the future.   I know there are some shortcomings to the device but we’re in the first few generations of them and if you can think back to when the first Desktop PC  or Laptop came on to the market then you’ll remember how far we’ve come.

I did an experiment on Friday at the office.  I have been increasingly frustrated by my Windows 7 computer at work and I couldn’t understand why my frustration was increasing so here are a few observations I finally made:

When I take my 5 lb laptop and hook it up to the docking station and press the power button, it literally takes over 4 minutes before I get to the point where my e-mail is open.    To be fair to Microsoft, about half of that time is booting from third party encryption software but once I get the CONTROL+ALT+DELETE screen, it still takes over two minutes to get to my e-mail.    Outlook 2010 is so bloated that I just sit there and watch at the machine tries to open the app and start pulling e-mail.

Contrast this with my iPad which goes from a cold start to operational and pulling e-mail in 30 seconds!   Not only does it take 30 seconds but I get my Outlook e-mail on my iPad much sooner and faster than on my PC!   I am using an external keyboard on my iPad responding to e-mails before they even get in my Desktop PC!

The time difference between 30 seconds and 4 minutes may seem trivial but imagine 10,000 employees wasting 4 minutes or how about 100,000 employees wasting 4 minutes each day?  That’s somewhere on the order of magnitude of 40,000 to 400,000 minutes wasted each day!

I continue to grow a huge disdain for anything Microsoft; With Apple, “it just works” and with Microsoft, “it’s just crap.”

I was the first one in the office to own an iPad and after showcasing it to co-workers, they all want one and a few have already trickled in with at least 6 new iPads entering the office in a 2.5 month time period and some of those guys waited weeks to get them.

I think the clincher for the iPad is the form factor.  Mobile phone screens are just too small and with an aging population and poorer eyesight increasing, the move will be to larger screens not tiny 3″ inch screens on cell phones which are pretty useless unless you have the eyesight of a 12 year old.  On a similar note, my blackberry screen is so small and the browser so slow that it’s garbage compared to the iPad.    I hardly use my blackberry anymore because my iPad is faster, easier to use, and more legible than blackberry crap.

I can honestly attest that my productivity has gone up at least 20% with the iPad and some of the great apps I use to manage my day.   Some people balk at the steep price but when you consider the real value, it’s a no-brainer.

 

With the media circus around the US debt and possible default, I’d say it total bullcrap. The debt ceiling will be raised and further enslavement of the American people will continue as usual so don’t bother worrying about it but here’s something interesting to ponder.

If the US does default on its debt, the interest rates would climb astronomically which would make borrowing more expensive BUT it would also make savings more attractive. I’m getting a paltry 1% return on my savings right now but if interest rates exploded then they’d go up to 5% or maybe even 8% and guess what…that means more income for me!

It would seem that borrowers would be the big losers and savers would be the big winners. How is that a bad thing? Personally, I WANT a default, the sooner the better because if it’s not now it’ll be in a few months or a few years and if a default would be bad now then how bad do you think it’ll be 2 years from now when it’s 18 trillion instead of 14.5 trillion?

I just can’t get over my iPad.  In a previous post, I wrote about all the devices the iPad is essentially replacing and now it’s starting to replace people as well!  The iPad can easily be turned into a Personal Trainer with apps like Fitness Free HD, Diet & Fitness Tracker, Lose the Belly and Tai Chi and so many more!   The iPad can replace your nutritionist with apps like Calorie Counter, 40000 Vegetarian Recipes, Big Oven, Weight Watchers Mobile and many more!

Although I won’t trust the iPad to replace a pharmacist, I can double check any errors with the medication given to anyone in the family with the iPad app Micromedex Drug Information which gives you a wide array of information about almost any drug in the market.   WebMD has long replaced called a nurse with our family and now there’s an app for that!

The concierge at hotels is quickly being replaced with apps like AroundMe, UrbanSpoon, and OpenTable.    The TV weather man has been replaced by WeatherHD app.   The tourist guide has been replaced by apps such as FreeCity Maps & Walks, UpNext, and TripAdvisor!

There are some apps like LifeTopix that try to incorporate everything in your life from financing, health & fitness, education,  assets & inventory, travel, shopping, people & places into one giant app!

I also recently learned that my MBA classes now feature an iPad App for mobile learning but have not yet used it since I’m out for the summer but I’ll give it a shot this fall.   In other news, I’m watching TED lectures and other podcasts on my iPad to enrich my life so perhaps my professors will be replaced by an app soon enough.

 

About a month ago, I ditched Groupon and unsubscribed from the offers.  Unfortunately, Groupon keeps sending me the same crap they were sending me when I unsubscribed: spa/salon packages, coffee promos, and occasional restaurant offers.

That’s the Achilles Heel of Groupon, they offer too much garbage or things I have zero interest in day after day.  Seriously, how many times does Groupon think I go do my nails?  ZERO!

I don’t know why Google wanted to buy this garbage but I think Groupon’s days are numbered if they don’t do something drastic.   I would suggest “marrying” groupon with an ipad app like UrbanSpoon or AroundMe to get “instant” discounts when I’m in an area but aside from that it’s totally useless.

Speaking of useless, the web page is becoming obsolete and restaurants that continue to use flash heavy (bloated) websites are behaving like dinosaurs.   My computing experience is now 30% cell phone browsing and 60% ipad app and I honestly hate opening a webpage to try to find a restaurant or other brick and mortar through the web.    The web is great for text (e.g. blogs) and other content but businesses need to act mobile!

If you have an ipad then you love apps. Even better than apps are FREE apps so I found an app called “AppShopper” that identifies price drops and FREE apps for your iDevices. I can’t tell you how much I love my iPad and how it is changing my computing life.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/appshopper/id387037496?mt=8

So far I’ve downloaded about a half dozen apps but what I really love is at least trying out the apps before having to spend any money on them.

This 4th of July weekend, there are quite a few apps that are FREE this weekend only and some significant price drops on others.