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Apple is being taken apart by Capitalism

I’m right, right of center that is. I love capitalism’s quirks. But I despise consumerism. That being said, Apple sucks!

I’ve used Apple products since 1980 and they stood for something. But I believe what made Apple great was precisely what Tim Cook has come to destroy…it’s passion for being different, just like its 1984 ad!

I started programming for Apple in 2009. I had programmed for Windows and I even got into Android and it just blew! Crappy IDE’s, multiple, unstable, buggy SDK’s galore, sluggish, unresponsive hardware to go with it.

Well I’m sad to say that’s what Apple is now in 2014. I’ve lived through 6 major versions of the IDE Xcode and 5 versions of their iOS. Not to mention the minor versions in between. All this time of course, I have needed a Mac to program for iOS. Throughout this time I’ve seen all three: iOS, Xcode and the hardware, literally go down the drain.

Who is to blame? Capitalism of course. Capitalism is great, a great broth for innovation and re-invention. But let’s simplify what happens with any new ideas in our capitalistic ‘free’ market nowadays.

1. Someone has a great idea. Jobs had one. Although it was technically Woz’s idea. Jobs idea was to market it to everyone.

2. To have that idea take off, you have to put some money into it. Takes money to make money, right?

3. Now the idea takes off. People say: “Hey, that’s a great product! Do you sell other stuff? Do you sell those in Europe? Will you have a new product next year? Man, your products are so good I’d buy anything from you!”

Sound like anything that crossed your mind after buying something from a good company? Be it computers or great coffee.

But let’s take those each in turn cause this is where things go awry. (1). You don’t sell other stuff. But now those very few consumers who made you $100,000 profit this year, want to buy something else from you. Let’s make a new product, we need money for that. So take those 100k and put them into a new product division. (2). You don’t sell anywhere else but from your garage. So we need to expand, so we need money for that. Oh and since we need to ship things now, we not only need more overhead but also more things to make our product last more, be it packaging for products or chemicals for food (oh yeah, your product is looking really nice now). (3). You hadn’t thought about a new product but now your customers asked for it. The lure of money is too strong.

Add to all this that you may take your company public to make money and grow. This makes other people have a say in your company. You might think taking a company public just brings in money, but it does something worse. It brings in pressure from shareholders to squeeze more out of every revenue dollar or even worse, spending cuts or re-engineering investments which basically take a wholesome product like Corn Flakes and adds carcinogenic preservatives; or a great burger into a pitifully sized cardboard filled meat pie; or a truly different iOS/OSX software into a bug-laden, unstable-multi-versioned beachballin nightmare!

Capitalism might be great in a free market. The problem is Adam never really defined ‘free’. The forces acting in the market today are as dark and sinister as any Sith or politician.

Tim Cook took over a great company and is riding it’s innovation wave. Unfortunately he is the perfect sequel to an original innovator like Jobs. The innovator set the wheels in motion and creates a truly unique product and possibly a few aggregate products around it. But then a calculating suit takes over and starts growing too fast, investing in non-value adding projects and divesting resources from wow-factor generating winners.

Yes, Apple is making but loads of money. But It’s not very innovative. And it will run out of steam eventually.
Sure, Cook may have gauged just how much momentum Apple has and could be waiting until he really needs umph. He might even get his calculations right. But it’s just not Apple anymore…it’s more like IBM! Looks like Apple’s 1984 was actually 30 years later ūüė¶IMG_4561.JPG

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USA, NASA, Mars Exploration & Global Recession

Did anyone read this?

http://mashable.com/2012/12/13/death-star-petition/

;

The US is in dire straits indeed. Once the beacon of innovation, freedom to create and quality standards creator, the USA has now taken a backseat…all the way to the back, behind developing countries who mass produce anything the USA produces faster, cheaper and without so many obstacles.

CHEAPER

The USA spent the last decade automating every one of there production processes, not as a means of cutting costs so much as a means of improving quality control of their final products. Along came China with a huge starving workforce and put the US machines out of business.

FASTER

US employees are highly productive but quality controls and export politics slow down the produce-export machinery. The USA is a country of honest people and hard workers that respect the detail to their jobs for the sake of respect, not because of the laws. Developing countries have a workforce which has to be controlled in order to produce a high quality product. The end result is an economy that produces faster and has fewer steps towards exporting than does the USA.

OBSTACLES

The US has so many agencies checking imports and exports it really slows the economy down. As efficient as checkpoints are, there are always delays. Think about how many compliances an exporter or importer in the USA must meet just for the Dept of Homeland Security, not to mention FDA, Customs, BATF etc. Not to mention the human rights groups.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Long gone are the days when the USA was the factory of the world. A service economy is fine, but it won’t solve unemployment issues, internal debt issues, deficit issues, medicare issues etc. There is a large population in the USA who cannot solve their labor, credit, health and education problems unless the economy provides for them in someway.

If you consider 100% of the workforce stretched from one side, the white collar workers to the other side, the blue collar workers; the USA has lost a great deal of jobs right in the middle of that spectrum. Now they have immigrants taking up the bottom, blue collar part of the spectrum and a very small amount of people in the upper tier. So the only jobs left are the extremely white collar, service oriented jobs, most of which are stuck in R&D and the USA has no way of monetizing it. Kinda sounds like Facebook. Facebook has 500 million clients not buying anything at the moment. If they could just figure out how to sell something, anything! The USA is stuck in pretty much the same place. NASA’s Mars program is the perfect example of this. Its amazing! Who the heck would have thought we’d be planet hopping by now? No other country even comes close to this.

The amount of knowledge and not just knowledge:

(how to send a rover to mars)

but the mental-rational pre-emptive problem solving expertise engrained in NASA personnel:

(how to send a rover to mars and do it in such a way that we document every step along the way, recording parameters for just about anything, with double and triple backups in most cases, considering all the options and then some, paving the way to future missions while executing the current mission, overshooting goals and expectations in every way and all of this in the greatest of public scrutiny which directly impacts their operating budget every 4 years!)

OMG, if only the US government was 1/100th that efficient.

WHAT CAN THE USA DO?

Well, that’s just it! The USA is sitting on a pot of gold. They just don’t know how or who to sell it to! How do you put a value on the space knowledge the USA has gained over the past 40 or so years!?

Could you sell insurance? World Space Knowledge Insurance which gives the countries the right to access ELE protection when the time comes?

Could you sell raw materials? Space mining will be quite profitable since the US was the first to get to Mars and the Moon and thus will probably be the first to get to other planets and moons, they can claim them as their own…just like ancient super powers claimed colonies and land all over the Earth way back when.

Could you sell the knowledge of how to get to a planet with the desired characteristics and how to populate that planet in the name of your own country should you desire to do so?

I dunno what the answer is, but whatever it is, the USA is sitting on something huge. I hope they stop bickering with the Chinese over cheap computer chips and patent infringements and set their sights much higher, high into the sky!

How do you think the USA could monetize their space knowledge?


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USA – NASA – MARS – GLOBAL RECESSION

Did anyone read this?

http://mashable.com/2012/12/13/death-star-petition/

;

The US is in dire straits indeed. Once the beacon of innovation, freedom to create and quality standards creator, the USA has now taken a backseat…all the way to the back, behind developing countries who mass produce anything the USA produces faster, cheaper and without so many obstacles.

CHEAPER

The USA spent the last decade automating every one of there production processes, not as a means of cutting costs so much as a means of improving quality control of their final products. Along came China with a huge starving workforce and put the US machines out of business.

FASTER

US employees are highly productive but quality controls and export politics slow down the produce-export machinery. The USA is a country of honest people and hard workers that respect the detail to their jobs for the sake of respect, not because of the laws. Developing countries have a workforce which has to be controlled in order to produce a high quality product. The end result is an economy that produces faster and has fewer steps towards exporting than does the USA.

OBSTACLES

The US has so many agencies checking imports and exports it really slows the economy down. As efficient as checkpoints are, there are always delays. Think about how many compliances an exporter or importer in the USA must meet just for the Dept of Homeland Security, not to mention FDA, Customs, BATF etc. Not to mention the human rights groups.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Long gone are the days when the USA was the factory of the world. A service economy is fine, but it won’t solve unemployment issues, internal debt issues, deficit issues, medicare issues etc. There is a large population in the USA who cannot solve their labor, credit, health and education problems unless the economy provides for them in someway.

If you consider 100% of the workforce stretched from one side, the white collar workers to the other side, the blue collar workers; the USA has lost a great deal of jobs right in the middle of that spectrum. Now they have immigrants taking up the bottom, blue collar part of the spectrum and a very small amount of people in the upper tier. So the only jobs left are the extremely white collar, service oriented jobs, most of which are stuck in R&D and the USA has no way of monetizing it. Kinda sounds like Facebook. Facebook has 500 million clients not buying anything at the moment. If they could just figure out how to sell something, anything! The USA is stuck in pretty much the same place. NASA’s Mars program is the perfect example of this. Its amazing! Who the heck would have thought we’d be planet hopping by now? No other country even comes close to this.

The amount of knowledge and not just knowledge:

(how to send a rover to mars)

but the mental-rational pre-emptive problem solving expertise engrained in NASA personnel:

(how to send a rover to mars and do it in such a way that we document every step along the way, recording parameters for just about anything, with double and triple backups in most cases, considering all the options and then some, paving the way to future missions while executing the current mission, overshooting goals and expectations in every way and all of this in the greatest of public scrutiny which directly impacts their operating budget every 4 years!)

OMG, if only the US government was 1/100th that efficient.

WHAT CAN THE USA DO?

Well, that’s just it! The USA is sitting on a pot of gold. They just don’t know how or who to sell it to! How do you put a value on the space knowledge the USA has gained over the past 40 or so years!?

Could you sell insurance? World Space Knowledge Insurance which gives the countries the right to access ELE protection when the time comes?

Could you sell raw materials? Space mining will be quite profitable since the US was the first to get to Mars and the Moon and thus will probably be the first to get to other planets and moons, they can claim them as their own…just like ancient super powers claimed colonies and land all over the Earth way back when.

Could you sell the knowledge of how to get to a planet with the desired characteristics and how to populate that planet in the name of your own country should you desire to do so?

I dunno what the answer is, but whatever it is, the USA is sitting on something huge. I hope they stop bickering with the Chinese over cheap computer chips and patent infringements and set their sights much higher, high into the sky!

How do you think the USA could monetize their space knowledge?


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What Mel Zelaya did for Honduras

He forced a policy of annual minimum wage revisions which businessmen have began to take more seriously as evidenced by the recent 2-year agreement in January of 2012.  This is what government is supposed to do and he set the wheels in motion because in the past minimum wage revisions were few and far between and when they were agreed upon, they were a joke (3-5ppts below inflation) and even if they were agreed upon, businessmen rarely implemented them and the Secretary of Labor never did anything about it.

Im right of center and I had operating costs affected in the company I work for, just like everyone else.  But you know what, in the end, my workers are happier and Im sure they are much more loyal.  Thats what its all about, without capital investment there is no labor, but without labor there is no capital growth.
So even though I was happy to see him go, because those extreme leftist ties were going nowhere good, fast…when people ask me what he did for Honduras, I say:
“He gave labor a hand, a reason to lift their heads up high!” ¬†And doesn’t everyone have a right to feel good about themselves and their hard work!?


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My Cover Letter for a Job Application at Apple: You will be missed Steve

I believe the best Cover Letter I can write is based on my love for Apple.¬† I can’t tell you I have ever sat in line for days waiting for a product launch because I don’t have the luxury of living in the US and our “quasi-Apple” stores in Honduras suck to say the least.¬† However, I can say 3 things with great pride:

 

First, that I have been an Apple fan since the Apple IIe, simply because that’s around the time I was born and have recollection.¬† We used to spend summers in San Francisco at my uncle’s house.¬† He worked for United Airlines and had a simple house but not without his Apple computer.¬† My fondest memories of summers in San Fran were programming those cheesy loops used to make hearts and faces on the screen by printing out characters in a certain order; and the other, playing Where in the World is Carmen San Diego!¬† God I loved that game.

 

Second, that i have been shunned for being an Apple user and I enjoyed it.¬† Although I used my first Apple at my uncle’s house in the 80’s, I didn’t buy my own first Apple MacBook Pro until 2000, just before entering my MBA program.¬† As a business school, it was all about pragmatism, and compatibility issues and out dated versions of software were all but damning because everyone made fun of me.¬† A professor joked about me having paid a Coke’s worth for “that ugly thing” as he put it and still gotten change in return.¬† He joked about how its resale value was zero and how Apple would die just like betamax, since it was one of the case studies we worked on.¬† I remember how in reviewing that case study we were told how when 2 competing technologies tried to dominate the market, the winner was the one that was able to surround itself with accessories which made it indispensable.¬† And 10 years later Steve Jobs went ahead and did just that!¬† Id like to meet that professor again and show him my shiny new 2011 MBA, a market breakthrough product, not a follower.

 

And third, that I love Apple products, am a fan-boy, love converting people, believe our products are a work of Art and would buy my milk from Apple if you had a Milk Division.¬† I can appreciate the customer attention to detail Apple has.¬† Its not really customer service because a service almost implies something that is paid for and in return, because of the commitment acquired by the employee, he provides that service.¬† I live in a country where even franchise-trained personnel doesn’t provide good customer service.¬† This is my life 360 days of the year.¬† Then all of a sudden I go to Miami and rush to an Apple Store, not always for a product, just for the experience.¬† I love walking into a place and have someone walk up to me and genuinely ask me if there is anything they can help me with.¬† Even if I didn’t have anything in mind before I walked in, I think of something, anything, just for the “feeling of satisfaction” I get when they solve a problem for me or recommend something that ends up making my life easier or what not.¬† That truly is priceless.

 

I love converting people because when I pick up my old iPhone 4 and show it to someone, I take off the banged up protective case in order to show the brand-new product still intact.¬† I remember I used to buy Ford trucks and people would ask me why I preferred them over Chevy.¬† My answer always came back: “Because of the quality of sound the door makes when you close it”.¬† It just tells you its a quality truck.¬† The same thing happens when you hold an iPhone or iPad or Mac or accessory…it just feels good.¬† I can feel the quality and appreciate the workmanship that went into creating that “device”.¬† Yet its not just a device, and I can tell because when I sell an old model to get a new one, the buyer gets his iPhone with the original plastic cover sticker still on the front and back, or white sheet of paper that comes with a macbook pro.¬† I do it because I want that new Apple user to become a fan boy by having the same experience I did when I got it new!

 

You know what, even if I never get a job at Apple, I would just like Steve Jobs to get this cover letter.  It would be enough satisfaction for me to know that he received this letter as a compliment and a big Thank You for how you have affected the life of this one customer and how grandly I think of Apple and its people.


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Not right or wrong…just different

It’s amazing how differently we see the world:

Recently, off on vacation, some friends form the humanities fields were complaining how scientific bodies regulate the food they ingest by adding labels like fat free or sugar free to describe products that barely make the cut as such. ¬†They argued that it’s deceiving how these companies take their products to “just meet” FDA requirements for such labels.

They later questioned the validity of how such scientific bodies arrived at the conclusion that an infected lot of fruit or meat came from this farm or that farm.  In essence, implying that those were just fabrications.

From my point of view, biochem major, I took it to heart and I would like to share my reaction so that those of you who side with them understand where WE are coming from.

First, they are questioning the very scientific community that has given us the ability to live the way we do today with the plethora of advances we have brought to light. ¬†Second, I argued, they presented the “organic produce is a fallacy” idea, I wondered, how far do you guys need to go for us to name something organic or pesticide free? ¬†There are naturally occurring pesticides and chemicals in nature that will always be present in anything you eat. ¬†There will always be sugars and cholesterol or fats in stuff we eat. Its basically impossible to name something “X-free” because the physical limitations of many of the instrumentation used in labs or food-processes prohibit such detection levels. ¬†Science is about generalizations and statistics and norm. ¬†We, as a scientific community, work for the survival of the fittest, the norm, the majority. ¬†Even you, humanities and other majors, especially business majors, pressure us to come up with solutions for this or the other; pressure us to make this or that process economically viable so that we can produce enough of something to be available for the general population. ¬†It’s not only impossible but also impractical to analyze something to death so that it can contain exactly & precisely the amount of each ingredient everybody in the world is tolerable to and at the same time make it fast enough to satisfy the growing needs of a global population and economically sound so as to make money off of it, all at the same time. ¬†Maybe if you wouldn’t have taken baby-chem or bio-for-non-majors, or begged us to help you in physics labs, you would understand how things work the way they do. ¬†(You didn’t see us taking baby-philosophy or history-for-non-majors, did you? ¬†Probably cause they don’t exist!)

And no, it’s not a fabrication how we find where the rotten egg came from. ¬†There are hundreds of strains of certain bacteria that grow at certain rates in certain media and you can basically tell where it grew according to how it grew. ¬†You match that with some consumer statistics and good old fashioned logic and you can pretty much find out everything you need. ¬†I recommend watching “Bones” or “CSI” instead of “Desperate Housewives” or “Friends”.

I just want to make it clear that this is a personal, private reaction to a very common complaint. ¬†Here I thought I was the only one who complained about the other side of how life works, the social side. ¬†Well lo and behold, they have complaints too. ¬†And they seem just as ridiculous and unfounded to us, as ours seem to them. ¬†ūüôā

And even though my first reaction was one of annoyance, it really helped me understand how different people can really be.  And perhaps, no matter how much we can explain a point of view to death, we will never convince the other side who is right.  Maybe because no side really is.


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Politics in LatinAmerica

Turmoil in Ecuador today! I’ll tell you, I’m glad the US approved of our Transition of Power or Impeachment of the Zelayan Administration because today I wouldn’t be writing this article. We would be under the same regime as in Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador etc!

But all that aside, it makes me sick to my stomach and afraid for my family’s future to think of what they will endure in a country ruled by a greedy and corrupt business elite that keeps hoarding all wealth around their socio-economic and ethnic class (ethnic because in Honduras the business elite is dominated by a particular ethnic group, arabs of Palestinian decent).

This makes me think, although right-capitalist on belief, that our systems don’t work at all. When you think about it, political-economic systems are the most static and retrograde of all humanities. Even religion has evolved more than the aforementioned systems. If we were to plot human systems on a line, political-economic systems would be on the most conservative, non-evolving extreme and on the other end we could probably place the Internet and its companies that must evolve everyday and in so many ways just to stay alive.

I was recently reading how the US is beginning to interfere in how free the Internet can be in order to fight piracy and counterfeiting. It’s amazing how people can come together and go before a law-making group of people to
ask for such freedoms but we are unable or unwilling to go before them and challenge the way we are governed.

In that respect the US is so far behind. They are so afraid to challenge the current form of government. Why can’t a group of people question how they are governed? What parts of a certain political-economic system are working and which parts are tearing a people apart and must be changed!? Furthermore, they condemn other countries that DO exercise that sovereign right.

I think if we invested 1/100 of the money we invest on Internet research on political-economic research to try to find a better system or simply modify and adapt mal-functioning parts of the existing ones, we would be better off!