Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NFL Lockout

In a series of articles written by nfllockout.com, the lockout taking place in the NFL is discussed. We've all seen and heard the reports over the last couple weeks. Although the players and owners have been working diligently to solve this issue, they have not really accomplished anything. If the issue is not solved soon, the NFL, players and workers could see a serious economic downfall in the future. The NFL employs over 100,000 employees nationwide. With the lockout taking place, people are not able to work and essentially get paid. On average, a single game generates 20 million dollars for the local economy. This could cause a decline in restaurants and bars that thrive gameday. And lastly, the general public has paid nearly 7 billion dollars toward the construction of stadiums to host the venue. Without NFL games being played in these stadiums and no money stimulating the local economies, our tax dollars that helped fund these stadiums would go to waste. If the owners and players do not reach an agreement soon, the NFL is jeopardizing losing a major fan base and incredible amounts of money.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Abercrombie or Abercreepy?

In this article from stylecaster.com the latest controversial item from Abercrombie and Fitch is discussed. It's a push up bra-esque swim suit top for pre-teens. The attempt to sell sexualized items to such a young age group has driven soccer moms up the wall and is causing serious uproar in suburban areas. The "ashley"top features push up technology designed to boost volume of breasts. But we're talking about girls who haven't yet reached puberty. The push-up bra has been a staple of a company called Victoria's Secret, a prominent women's lingerie company, but they target grown women. The decision to market items such as this by Abercrombie is a huge mistake. I see the company loosing not only potential customers but also current customers. The only thing that could actually help the company is that little thing called teen spirit. The youth is always going to rebel against the normal rules and regulations. Is it possible that Abercrombie is thinking like the kids who wear their clothes and knows that no matter what those pre-teens will get their hands on those "push up triangles". Only time will tell if the juice is worth the squeeze for Abercrombie. For now the company is coming off as creepy and disturbing but could the company just be on the forefront of a new trend that could set the company into an even larger consumer base as well as revenue base.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

iPad On Top for Long?

An article from cnn.com takes a look at all of the different companies that are going to start releasing tablets in the near future. The main advantage Apple has over the rest of the market is all of the apps they have in their app store. They really aren't any father ahead of the other companies as far as technology is concerned. This gives hope that maybe with time some companies can gain consumers for their tablets once the android market starts to fill up with apps. One of the big things that a lot of companies are trying to capitalize on is 3-D technology. This could be a huge feature that Apple has decide to not include with their newly released iPad 2. I think this is a great idea since the idea of making so many different devices support 3-D right now is so big. the demand for 3-D is very high and this may draw a lot of consumers since some companies even talk about being able to hook the phone up to a TV, and being able to watch 3-D TV with 3-D glasses that are given to the consumer with the phone. Ideas like this are great ideas, but I still don't think that any of the companies will overtake Apple in the tablet market. Apple always seems to be one step ahead of their competition. They always know what's in high demand, and they never seem to let what other companies are doing bother them. Now that other companies have caught up to Apple in the technology department, it seems like they may have a fighting chance. I don't see Apple being knocked off anytime soon. People feel safe when they buy an Apple product. They know that they're getting a solid product with a lot of great features from an established company. Just having that Apple brand name on the back of their products is enough for some consumers to look at the product and decide to buy it over other products. Apple is just such an established company, that it's going to take more than just some different features to knock them off the top of the tablet market.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. economy seemed to be moving steadily along in an upswing that's been several years coming. Interest rates, along with gas prices, were relatively low. Unemployment, while still high, was getting closer to where it needs to be. But we're not in this alone. Unfortunately, the global economy seems to have more of an affect on us than our own. This article from The Economist discusses how tsunamis, wars, and extra-continental debt crises all trickle down in some way or another to even the most uninvolved parties. What they can't always tell us is how, and this lack of certainty can create more problems than we need. The author describes Japan's stock market as its "fear gauge." After the nation's devastating earthquakes and tsunami, the volatility of the index was expected to jump 224%. That's more than it did after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

So much of our global economy is based on speculation that it can reach record lows and highs based on the thoughts and fears of a select few investors. In this case, though, those fears have played out to be a reality, and the world will suffer because of it. Just this one event has proven to be cataclysmic worldwide. The infrastructure of one of the world's biggest economic players is temporarily destroyed, and it will take a very long time to grow. We saw this happen on a smaller scale with the BP oil spill. The Gulf Coast's economy, which largely depended on the fishing industries that were paralyzed by the incident, took a massive blow as it was unable to export the goods that made it thrive. Tourists no longer wanted to visit the region, resulting in an economic arrest that the residents had to claw their way out of. There's a lesson to be learned here: Expect the unexpected.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The End of 30-year fixed-rate mortgage?

Organization like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have costs the taxpayers over $134 billion. Congress and the US Treasury want to put them down quickly, but economists worry about what will happen to the 30-year fixed-rate mortgages which has been the dominant means of financing home in the U.S.

In testimony before Congress this week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that lowering the government’s involvement in the mortgage markets would almost certainly restrict the supply of 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, while increasing their costs. But it’s no sure thing that the mortgages will even continue to exist in the way most Americans know them.”

The difference between a 15- and 30-year mortgage on a $300,000 loan is well over $600 per month. This is a substantial amount that may prevent the middle class from buying homes. This may also threaten the economic health of cities.

Larger cities have enjoyed new growth since the start of the 30 year mortgage because young professionals are buying houses there along with families that previously had moved out to the suburbs. They eat and drink in local restaurants, and keep small businesses on the neighborhood level going. But these same homebuyers may have a hard time making house payments with a 15-year mortgage. These middle class buyers may move out to the suburbs where they can buy a home. Cities become neighborhoods full of the working poor that can’t afford to buy a home.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Minecraft for the iPhone and iPad!

According to techshout.com a version of Minecraft, the year's best indie game at the GDC Awards (game developers choice awards), will be available on the Apple iPhone and iPad as well as Android later this year. Minecraft offers gamers a genesis-esque play God game. The games popularity and success has grossed at over 15 million dollars.

"The iOS variant is not expected to get each and every update that the original browser and download version receives. It will obviously be built to leverage the touch screen features on the iPhone or iPad, like most apps and games which his the iTunes store."

Could this pose a threat to the Apple products if the Android platform allows for users to access Minecraft more easily? I would say no, most of the time the Apple app product is pretty sophisticated, if Mojang and Minecraft were smart they would create a version that is specific to the Apple products that enables users maximum pleasure. Minecraft has sort of swept the gaming world.... I've never played a game on my computer, but I failed to resist downloading Minecraft. Will there be a free version of the game on these new platforms like you can download on your personal computer or will this new breach into success be purely profit and somewhat lose sight of what gamers really love about this game. The game is so simple, you build, you break, and you kill... most of the time I'm being killed by creepers and skeletons with bows and arrows. To the gaming world, Minecraft is sort of back to the basics, it's like Pong for 2011.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who Needs 3G for the iPad 2?

An article from wired.com takes a look at how consumers can save some serious cash by not buying 3G service for their iPad 2. It turns out consumers can just pay $20 a month and their iPhone can then be turned into a WiFi hotspot. If the consumers decide to pay for 3G service, it will cost them $130 and then a $15 monthly fee. It's very surprising to me that Apple would offer a service that could turn iPhones into a moving WiFi hotspot. It's a great idea, but Apple seems like they might be losing some serious money from this service. But this situation can be looked at from another perspective. People who thought that an iPad was useless without 3G, and didn't have the money to buy an iPad 2 with 3G capability, might decide to buy a cheaper iPad 2 without 3G capability. I also think Apple decided to offer this service since there are also several ways that consumers can turn their iPhone into a WiFi hot spot for free, by "jailbreaking" it. Apple probably just figures that if they don't offer the service, then consumers are just going to Jailbreak the phones, and their phones will be WiFi hotspots anyways. Also Apple might just be so successful that they don't really mind if people decide to not purchase the 3G service. Apple is probably making enough money off of the iPhone hotspot service. If I was going to purchase an iPad 2, I would seriously consider purchasing the one without the 3G service. I have my phone on me almost at all times, and it would be great if I could use it as a hotspot. Some people just feel more comfortable with the 3G service, and that is understandable. I think that the iPhone hotspot is a great service that a many consumers should consider when purchasing their iPad 2.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 15

Labor unions have been attempting to better the lives of workers in the U.S. since the early 19th century, and they're doing so more than ever in some cases. This article from Bloomberg News discusses the ongoing dispute between the NFL and its players' association. The two have been talking about what to do with the league's $9 billion in annual revenue (the most of any pro sports league). Talks that were supposed to end a week ago have come to a stalemate; the owners have threatened to shut the league down and the union to stop representing the players. Should the argument (which has been narrowed down to a $1 billion gap) continue, players will be able to sue the league individually.
The NFL is the most successful sports league in the U.S., and its games gain the most attendance of any sporting event in the world. February's Super Bowl was the most watched television program in history. Yet the league still feels the need to extend its season from 16 games to 18, obviously for increased revenue. This comes as a shock to many as the NFL has been so wary of its players' health and safety of late. But people tend to sympathize with their favorite players, failing to remember that the game is, unfortunately, little more than a business to some. If the two sides can't come to some sort of agreement on these subjects, then they will both suffer as fans lose faith in the game and patience for bickering between billionaires.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

States Rethink Tax Breaks for Hollywood

Tax breaks given to filmmakers in Georgia helped a beachfront hotel make an extra $85,000 because Miley Cyrus spent a summer filming The Last Song.

The producers of Cyrus' film, were brought in with an across-the-board tax credit of 20% in 2009. Lawmakers in Georgia and other states, though, are worried that they can't afford to offer Hollywood those incentives any longer as they struggle to find enough money to pay for programs like Medicaid. For Spirides, though, the owner of the beach front hotel, the economic benefit was great. The crew rented a parking lot at Spirides' Ocean Plaza Beach Resort for $30,000 to set up makeup trailers and dining tents. Then there were hundreds of families working as extras on the film, who would crash at the hotel after shooting until 2 a.m. In January, though, a Georgia state council said those benefits are short-lived. It said even though the crews bring jobs, and lots of people who spend money locally on food and lodging, those benefits are lost when they pack up and leave after filming.

The council recommended ditching the film tax break, which meant $140.6 million in lost tax revenues last year. Film producers spent $617 million in Georgia last year. An Associated Press survey found that from 2006 to 2008, states shelled out $1.8 billion in tax breaks and other advantages to the entertainment industry. The recession has officials in several states wondering if the incentives are worth the lost revenue. Budget woes prompted New Jersey and Kentucky to place similar caps on film incentives last year. Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas and Wisconsin all slashed spending on their programs in 2009.

But not everybody is cutting back. A few states eager for jobs and spending are offering more money to lure Hollywood productions. "It's a mixed conversation as to, are we giving away money or are we trying to create jobs?" said Todd Haggerty, a tax policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Journey to Mars and Jupiter

In an article released by Fox News on Monday,NASA released that it would be journeying to Mars if it can afford it. In an article titled "Visions and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022" the need for planetary exploration is highly needed. The expedition to Mars would be to observe if any forms of life are inhabiting the planet. The Jupiter mission would be to observe the moon Europa's underground ocean. For NASA, the trip to Mars is its top priority. At the moment they currently do not have a budget for 2011 year. The trip is estimated to cost 3.5 billion dollars. However, a committee at Cornell University stresses that the maximum amount NASA can spend on this project is about 1 billion less the original projection. At this moment in time, I do not feel that it is economically viable for NASA to fund the trip. For years we've all been wondering whether or not Mars inhabited life. Hopefully these trips can help answer the question. But at the moment we have the technology on Earth but on Mars the technology would suffer severe limitations. Rather than rushing the exploratory trip and spending billions, wait several years and let the technology advance so that once we make the trip the fundamental question could be answered.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Is the iPad 2 Holding Back?

An article from cnn.com takes at what the iPad 2 is lacking, and if Apple left these features out on purpose. The main features that the article says are missing from the iPad 2 are a memory boost, retina display, cloud sync, and stereo speakers. If you can remember back to last year the original iPad didn't have a camera when most people thought that the iPad 1 should of had a camera. Was apple holding back? I think they were, and they are with the new iPad. I'm sure that there are a number of features that the Apple could put on the iPad 2 that they haven't yet. I think that that is a very smart business decision. Apple is the best company around at creating a new product that is very appealing, but leaving out just enough to keep you coming back for more. They do the same thing with the iPhone's. Everyone still bought iPhones even though they didn't have video chat on them, and then when the Iphone 4 came out with Facetime it was a huge hit, and increased the popularity of the iPhone. Apple is always thinking ahead. They are always trying to figure out a way to increase the demand of their next product. They leave out certain small features to increase the demand for next year's product. Apple always seems to be ahead of everyone else in the technology world. They're always thinking ahead, and that's part of the reason why Apple is one of the most successful companies in the World.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The iPad 2 Means Business

Commercial photographer Chase Jarvis once said that "the best camera is the one that's with you." He was referring to the recent influx of camera phones (more specifically the iPhone) and their increasing prominence in everyday life.
When the iPad was released in April of 2010, many saw it as an underpowered laptop, even a "giant iTouch." Its potential uses were overlooked by some. But Apple sold three million of the devices in 80 days, and both consumers and businesses began to explore the possibilities of the innovative product. It wasn't until the release of the iPad 2 yesterday, though, that Apple included a camera. This is a feature that many thought should have been a staple of the original, while others view it as an unnecessary add-on mainly due to the size of the device. The new camera(s) will undoubtedly receive a warm welcome from consumers looking for a quick way to capture the events of everyday life and from those looking to "FaceTime" with friends and family. But Fast Company discusses how businesses will be able to utilize the camera in conjunction with its other features to better themselves. They see benefits for everyone from interior designers to casino pit bosses. People will save time by being able to take a picture and do what they want with it straight from the original device, skipping several steps in between, and then have the ability to use the iPad in the manner that they did before the introduction of the camera.
Apple has continued to sell products like these because they pay attention to customer demand. Consumers asked for new features on the iPad like the camera (among other things), and Apple listened. Many people who lacked a reason to buy an iPad now have one, and those who have used the original product will more than likely pony up the cash for the better one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

High Oil Prices Could Harm the Economy

The turmoil going on in the Middle East right now has caused oil and gasoline prices to increase. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he and a majority of his Fed colleagues believe the situation won't lead to out-of-control inflation. He believes that workers don’t have much power because the job market is still weak. So they cannot demand big pay increases. Many factories and other companies are operating well below capacity because demand is low. Bernanke said that those forces will prevent inflation from taking off.

Bernanke said the increases so far "while a problem for many people, don't pose a significant risk to the recovery or to overall inflation." I think that this is assuming though that this is a temporary rise in oil prices. I am sure he believes that a prolonged rise in oil prices would be a threat to our economy.

Right now I think oil tankers believe that it's probably not a good idea to go into port in Libya. It is risky because if things don’t improve all exports could be shut off. The process of shipping could become very difficult. All this would increase the price of oil even more.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In an article released by CNN, Charlie Sheen was interviewed and stated that he was "on a quest to claim absolute victory.” As we all know, Sheen has been all over the news for the past couple weeks. His problems began many years ago but we all tend to mainly focus on the past month. We've all heard the accusations of sheen partaking in crack binges. But Sheen still claims that he never was an addict and simply lives life to the fullest. Even after all of his problems, he still felt that he had the right to ask CBS for a raise from his hit show Two and a Half Men. Although this may seem completely ridiculous at the moment, the demand for Charlie Sheen is higher than ever. CBS must be making incredible amounts of money off of Sheen considering they've agreed to increase his pay by one million dollars per episode. The fact of the matter is, Charlie Sheen's negative publicity over the years has only benefited him positively. Although we do feel sorry for the guy, we still have a serious demand to see him on TV.