Monday, March 9, 2009

Touch Screen Macbooks in the works? (Rumor)

Taiwan based company Wintek is reporting that they are working on new touch screen display components for apple. The assumption is that Apple may be working on some touch screen versions of their Macbook line. If they can implement touch functionality as well as they did with the iPhone this is sure to be another great product evolution from the company.

Take this report for what it is, a rumor. The folks at digitimes have proven to be hit or miss in the past, especially when reporting on foreign companies. It does seem like a logical product evolution for Apple however.


It's official, the iPad has arrived. That's right a gigantic iPod touch. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

The Economic Meltdown is not over...

So anyone with a 401k account or a stock portfolio knows how bad this has been. Many people I work with have lost close to 70% of their total contributions into their retirement accounts!

How did we get here?
In a word, spending. Spending is ok, if you're spending within your means. We, however, are not. Anyone with any sense at all knows its a bad idea to max out your credit cards. It is even worse to continue to open new cards when you dont have the money to pay what you already owe. As far as the country is concerned, we have a running tab called the national debt. In the 2008 Fiscal Year, 9.2% ($261 billion) of the government's spending was allocated for Interest on the nation debt! This figure will be higher and higher every year if we cannot pay down our debt (which is impossible at our current rate). In addition to the budgeted spending in that fiscal year, the government also recorded a bloated $240 billion deficit (which gets tacked on to the national debt). Every time we pass an unbalanced budget or ask congress for more money for one thing or another (such as our efforts over seas) the money is essentially printed up and thrown on our tab.

Crouching tiger, hidden inflation...
The underlying plague to our governments financial system is very powerful, and very underestimated. Inflation is a perpetual drain on the income of everyone in our country (except the bankers and the government who get to use the newly printed money before it loses value). Inflation rises more rapidly than wage increases, and as a result, we're often losing money even if we're getting an annual raise!

The Federal Reserve often targets an annual inflation rate of somewhere near 1.5%, and their reports usually show them to be somewhat on the mark in most cases. the problem is, the calculations are questionable at best. They are essentially designed not to show high inflation rates! The lower they show inflation rates to be, the higher they anticipate consumer confidence in the markets. If they announced true inflation rates, it would draw attention to the mass printing of funny money and that the dollar is slowly but surely being diluted down to nothing.

Ways inflation numbers are "rigged":

1 - In the early 1990s, "hedonic quality adjustments" were introduced into inflation calculation which allowed a certain amount of subjectivity into determining the price increase of consumer goods. This gave the power to the Bureau of Labor Statistics to fudge the numbers a bit to make it seem as though prices were not increasing as quickly as they really were.

2 - Starting in 1983, the government began measuring the price of housing based on rental price, not actual cost. Since rental prices do not raise as quickly as home values this also helped to underestimate the rate of inflation. Now that housing prices have tanked, we'll see if they switch this back to the actual value to achieve even lower inflation rates.

3 - The government also began to assume consumers would make substitutions in the purchases when the prices increased. If the price of steak went up, they began to assume people would not buy as much steak and go for chicken or pork instead. The issue is, we're adding more subjectivity into the equation. They should be using the numbers as they are, not picking and choosing like this.

There are other tweaks and adjustments that have been made to the calculations over the years. The end result is that the real rate of inflation is much higher than the reported figures. In most cases it is estimated that the actual rate of inflation is as high as threee times what it is reported to be! We all know it to be true when we see the prices in the supermarket and take notice. You probably wouldnt even notice at all if the annual inflation rate was only 1 or 2 percent. You can tell the difference because it is actually much higher than that.

Bandaids for Cancer Patients
You dont give a cancer patient a bandaid, but somehow we see fit to give our dying economy the exact same treatment. Bailouts are bandaids. Stimulus packages are generally bandaids. Lying about the state of the economy to help "market confidence" is a bandaid. These things address the issues at hand

Why it's not going to stop

Both the Bush, and the Obama administration have vigorously attempted to spend our way out of this mess which was caused by spending too much money. Spending money we dont have dilutes the currency and causes inflation. Of course we hide the inflation figures so people are still nice and confident and continue spending money instead of eliminating their outstanding lines of credit and paying down their debt etc. Lack of savings makes it harder for individuals to recover from tough economic times which further contribute to the problem.

There are very few politicians that see the big picture. One of them is the famed Texas congressman Ron Paul. He has been avidly protesting the constant unbalanced budgets we pass as well as the ongoing costs over seas, the bailouts, the stimulus packages etc. etc. etc. He has been fighting this fight for decades and is finally starting to be respected as a result of this monumental crisis. Unfortunately, there are still many people at the top who are greatly benifited by our corrupt financial system.

How can we fix it?

We need to take this much more seriously.
1 - STOP spending money we dont have! If we have to stop fighting wars overseas and stop giving aid to countries who want our help then that's what we have to do to save our country. If we have to encourage non-profit groups to step up and assist with healthcare instead of giving more government handouts and welfare, then that's what we have to do to save our country. No more bailouts, no more stimulus packages, let the banks who mismanaged their money fail. Let the home owners who purchased beyong their means lose their homes. As terrible as all of this is, it will flush the bloated system
2 - Stop hiding the truth from the American people. Stop hiding inflation figures. Start reporting true money supply.
3 - Stop diluting our currency. The more money we print up, the more we dilute the USD. If we can get a grip on money supply and get some control over the Federal reserve, we might stand a chance.
4 - Follow the constitution. If we just stuck to the gameplan our founding forefathers put together, we would have avoided all of this. We gave the Federal Reserve (a private institution) authority to print money at will.
5 - Keep the internet open and free! We cannot allow a censored version of the interenet to emerge like in China. This will give the government the power to keep this type of information from reaching people, since the large media companies are owned by those who stand to gain from our corrupt and broken financial system. You may think this should not be a concern, but pay close attention to proposed legislation related to regulation of the internet and you will begin to see that this is in fact on the table, and it will take a constant fight to keep it off.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ways to promote your website and GET MORE TRAFFIC!!

There are three major ways in my opinion to accomplish this and they all play hand in hand.

1 - Increase search engine rankings. This is probably the single most important thing you're going to want to do and it almost happens more as a side effect of everything else. Search engines are the world's portal to the world. You want to be somewhere on that portal obviously. The biggest advice I can give in terms of this goal is "Content is King". The more content you have (not just a bunch of crap) the better off you are. You need some meat for the search engines to grab ahold of. This will greatly increase your chances of getting those sweet "organic" hits.
Another key ingredient here is link popularity. You will need to gain recognition around the internet to build repore with the search engines. The next few items on our list will help with this. The only other important peice to this one is just make sure your website is of high quality. Nobody knows exactly how google gets the results it does as the search algorythms are secred, however we do know they they generally pull very good results. Make sure that your content is quality and relavent information, and keep search engines in mind when you're creating traffic. Dont forget to use google webmaster tools to add your site to google's index. While your at it using google analytics can also help identify what keywords are working well for your site so you can try to target those visitors more aggresively.

2 - Get listed on as many sites as possible. Depending on what type of website you have, there are bound to be plenty of directories, top sites, coupon websites where you can list your promo codes, shopping repositories like google products, etc. etc. etc. Find as many way to get your site included and listed on as many different services and websites as possible. This will also help your link popularity and get you more search engine traffic.

3 - Back on the 'content is king' kick, publish something regularly that can be indexed by search engines, but also followed via rss readers like good reader, or services like feedburner. A good example of this is keeping a regular blog. Make sure you post new articles at least twice a week and you will be surprised to see that people might just be interested in what you have to share. This can be a good way to promote your other website like I'm gonna do right now:!
See how that works?

4 - Paid traffic. Make sure you go with reputable sources, not some company thats going to throw you 10,000 impressions from popup advertisements generated from spyware! Go with targeted ads from services like google adwords. Another great one is facebook! You can really narrow down the potential viewers to exactly who you want to target, right down the their marital status. They can certainly work wonders and get you truly interested visitors.

Last but not least, if you do end up getting gobs of traffic, dont forget to send me some. I love traffic. =)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Importance of Trend Watching

So we're still ironing out the minor details but mostly the plan is set for our first promotional event to start building some buzz about the new T-shirt company. We've also begun a small amount of online advertising to test the waters, as well as started a nice social networking campaign to get friends spreading the word to others.

All the marketing in the world wont save you if your products do not mesh with the times, unless you are only targeting a small niche market of course. Even then there are important things that you can learn from trend watching to make your business more successful.

I've started subscribing to some trend watching newsletters and the like, such as and

These sites can help you find emergind trends in markets that you can use to make your new products more appealing. Once simple example is the ongoing trend toward caring companies. With the big banks robbing us blink and then taking our tax money, people are hungry for an honest and caring company. Donate some of your proceeds to a charity and start to really care and you will see the results of your efforts coming to fruition much more quickly. This is just one example of how watching emerging trends can help your business.

Subscribe to as many trend watching sources as possible and keep up with the times. Use what you learn to shape your products and services and you will not be dissapointed.

If you know of any good sources for this type of info, post in the comments.