Friday, October 24, 2014

Economic Growth

A reasonable NYT article on economic growth (in particular, growth in China) but relevant on a variety of fronts.

There is one aspect that sticks out.  The article (and cited sources) suggest that growth reverts to the mean and that superior growth will inevitably decline over time.  And notes that the USSR and Japan were both expected to surpass the US but never did.  This seems to gloss over the US's high growth over a long period.

My thumbnail view on growth, in particular, growth in the US:

1) huge natural endowment;
2) significant immigration and high birth rate; and
3) most importantly, strong property rights and rule of law.

#1 helped to give a head start and encourage #2 but, ultimately, it is #2 and #3 that allowed above trend growth to continue.  As a nice example, see the eventual stumbling of the USSR and Japan for #3 and #2, respectively (notwithstanding the large #1 of USSR).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Apple Pay and Target

Someone at Target is not paying attention.

Target revised its iOS app to let shoppers use Apple Pay to buy on-line.  However, they neglected to work with their bank partner/issuer (TD Bank, I think) to allow their own store branded Visa card to be registered with Apple Pay.  I know Target can't direct their partner and that Target is not that interested in the Visa card at this point, but one would think they could cajole TD and/or delay the adoption of Apple Pay until they could avoid this conspicuous gap.  This is on top of not being able to use Apple Pay at the register (which is understandable as Target has not yet installed NFC devices at the register).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Starr vs US regarding AIG

Article in the NYT about the Starr suit against the federal government.

It would truly be wonderful if we saw some evenhanded coverage that showed exactly what the government did and did wrong when it used AIG's value to bail-out much of wall street.  Even if the actions were necessary to preserve the financial system, it doesn't mean that AIG shareholders should have uniquely borne so much of the burden of those actions.

The use of AIG as a conduit to make other parts of the financial system whole was a panicked reaction by the government to the crisis.  Taking the government at face value that there was no malice does not justify the use of government powers to act so inequitably.  Some recompense is appropriate.

The following statement from the NYT article captures what I have been writing for years

The decision to use taxpayer and A.I.G. money to repurchase soured mortgage deals that the company insured for big banks in the form of credit-default swaps amounted to a “backdoor bailout” of Wall Street, the lawsuit says.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Touch ID and Mac

I wonder why Apple has not brought Touch ID to the Mac to help in password management.  I know typing in passwords is faster on a keyboard and that safari can be set up to automatically enter passwords but still, simple identity verification seems like it would be useful.  Maybe this is an example of less is more and just saying no.

Friday, September 12, 2014

U2 and the circle of endorsements

Just a thought on how funny it has been to see U2 migrate from Apple, to Palm, to RIMM, and back to Apple over the past several years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple Watch and iPhone pairing

It seemed clear that the watch will require an iPhone for full functionality.  My question: will it fail to work as a fitness band without a phone?  Given the new larger size of the phones, it seems a burden to have to carry both for running (especially as I think they said there was enough onboard memory for music).  It will be interesting to see how tied together the phone and watch are to each other.

apple watch customization

I think I saw in the keynote that the watchface is customized from the watch itself.  Which is fine but, given that the watch requires a paired iPhone, I really hope customization can be done from the phone.