Thursday, April 21, 2011

Construction Begins Along LBJ Freeway

A major five-year construction project is now finally beginning along the LBJ Freeway. The project is supposed to help with all the highway traffic. But, before that happens, traffic along the 635 is going to get much worse. It is already bad to have to drive on LBJ Freeway along with the more than 500,000 other drivers each day. Hopefully, though this $2 billion dollar project will help relieve the crowded road. It will cost people for this added convenience. It will be paid for by raised taxes and then drivers who chose to take the new road will pay a toll. The cost of the toll has not been determined, but it is said that it will vary from 15 cents a mile in light traffic times to 55 cents a mile during peak driving times. This toll is supposed to help with the costs of building the roads. But it seems like once a toll is charged, it will never go away. The toll road in Dallas has been finished a long time, yet tolls are still charged. So I bet drivers will always have to pay for it. It is good for the economy though because it will employ workers for 5 years during construction and then employ some toll workers. Companies that make road building products will benefit from increased sales. Businesses that sell food will probably see an increase in sales as the construction workers will most likely buy food nearby their work site. After the project is complete, businesses along LBJ will benefit because it is projected that traffic will double in those areas.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trinity River Bridge

In an article about the new Trinity River suspension bridge various aspects of how the bridge got it's funding and the future plans for the bridge are discussed. The bridge project received a donation of $12 million dollars from Hunt Petroleum Company and the naming rights were awarded to their group. The overall cost of the project is estimated at $15 million dollars. Economically the bridge will most likely exceed the estimate. The bridge however offers the possibility, if used correctly, of bringing in funds to the city of Dallas for a long time to come. With added traffic to the area the city could use the bridge as a toll bridge which would create a continuous flow of income. The added accessibility to Dallas also will create a new flow of money. More people will possibly have incentive to go to the city because it's easier. The hypothetically larger number of people will generate a jump start into the recreational economy of Dallas. This new flow of money can possibly create jobs and help businesses grow. If there is success with the bridge adding to the flow of people to Dallas, investors will be driven to buy into new businesses opening with the new customer base.

Tube the Trinity?

In an article from August 2010 in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, writer Bill Hanna claims that a tubing industry may open up along the Trinity River as early as this coming summer in 2011. A provisional trial run was made and the guinea pigs who did the test run were more than enthused about the possibility of a tubing industry being set up on the Trinity.
"New Braunfels-based Rockin' R River Rides, which provided some mesh bags and other equipment for Thursday's(July 2010), will make a fact-finding trip next week to explore the viability of setting up tubing along the Trinity."
Keep in mind this article was from about a year ago, but the idea is a great possibility for the city of Fort Worth to create jobs. The tubing industry in the San Marcos/New Braunfels area has flourished and tons of tourists come every summer to float the river and have a great time. Why couldn't Fort Worth's Trinity serve as the same type of entertainment and revenue gainer? The first bump in the road is that people, at least in the Metroplex, view the Trinity as a dirty and polluted river not a prime float site. But if the popularity can exceed the assumptions we may see a major floating industry pop up in Fort Worth which can create a lot of revenue for the area. If tubing the Trinity takes off what effect would that have on the San Marcos/New Braunfels market?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Masahiko Horio owns a company in Japan that makes zinc and aluminum widgets that are used in building cars. His parts are used by the huge automakers like Toyota, Honda and General Motors. In the days after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, Masahiko Horio knew he had to get his factory back online quickly. One missing link can stop production lines around the world. He also worried that if his production slowed, then the auto manufactures would look to competitors outside of Japan as alternate sources for these parts. His company managed to avoid tsunami damage because of its location up on a hill, but the earthquake and power shortages stopped the factory’s machines for two weeks. Then Horio faced another problem. The firm that finished and tested his parts was wiped out by the tsunami. He couldn’t ship his supplies out without them going through this quality control. When Horio went to visit this firm, nothing but the frame of the building remained. So Horio offered his equipment and space at his own factory to this firm. This was a good solution to a terrible problem. It is one way that two businessmen may survive the economic disaster that much of Japan has suffered.

What's Next for the Nintendo Wii?

The Nintendo Wii has been the top selling gaming console for the last few years, and they are planning on releasing a new model. An article from takes a look at the speculation surrounding a Wii 2. Supposedly the new Wii would support HD gaming. Nintendo definitely needs to do something new and original to appeal to consumers. They claim that this new Wii is stronger than both the PS3 and the XBOX 360. With the release of the Kinect for the XBOX 360, Nintendo needs to do something to regain consumer interest. Nintendo needs to increase the demand for their product so that they can raise the price on their new system. The Wii's motion controls aren't really wowing anyone anymore and if they don't change, than they will be left behind. Also with this new system Nintendo needs to be stronger out of the gate with their game releases. When they released the Wii they just released games that appealed to adults and children. they completely forgot about their core audience, and that has hurt Nintendo in the long run. Little is known about this new Wii console, but if Nintendo can come up with something to wow the consumers, then there is no doubt that the console will sell well. Nintendo is a trusted name in video games and they are always very innovative with what they do. I fully expect this new Wii to increase interest in Nintendo and their games. Nintendo has been declining recently, but the release of a new console might be just what Nintendo needs to get back on top of the video game market.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

iPad for Kindergatners

In an article from, the question for whether your five year old needs an iPad is discussed. For elementary schools in Maine, they certainly think so. It was a unanimous vote for the school officials that the young students should be outfitted with the iPad 2 by next year. It will end up costing the schools around $200,000 even with the $25 off each iPad that Apple has agreed to sell. But where is the school district receiving the funds for such a large purchase? The district is looking for a 5% budget increase and countless grants by the month of June. In my opinion this would a actually be money well spent in the school system. Although it is a significant amount of money, the integration of an iPad into a young students life could open up endless educational opportunities. By placing iPads in the hands of kindergartners they learn how to use technology to help learn in the classroom at a very young age. Also, other schools might begin to purchase iPads for their students and use them in the curriculum for teaching and research. At the moment when our public school systems are at their all time worst, it is nice to hear that not all schools are sacrificing their students education because of money. I hope that more schools will go down this path and do whatever it takes to maximize their students opportunities.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Teen Cars

The question of what car is best for an inexperienced teenage driver is discussed in this article by the Wall Street Journal. The word on the street... get it.... is that parents need to forget pick-up trucks and subcompact cars when they are deciding on what to get their princess to drive. If you were wondering what subcompact is think Smart Car or Dodge Neon. The most important issue with teen drivers is their safety so the pick-up truck is too easy to roll in an accident and lets face it the Smart Car isn't all that smart when it rams into a Suburban and it's smashed like a bug on a shoe. So a bunch of people have decided that the safest cars are the compact cars, Toyota Camry, crossover type cars, Honda CRV, and believe it or not SUVs, like the Suburban that smashed our Smart Car earlier. Obviously the bigger the car the safer the driver, but also a larger car means more distractions. What does this mean for car buyers in the market? Will we see an increase in SUV sales and a decrease in subcompact car sales? How does the spike in gas prices affect the buying process for these parents?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Apple has Weaknesses?

An article from takes a look at Apple's three biggest weaknesses. The first one being the fact that Apple hasn't taken full advantage of the Cloud network. Some Apple products still require a chord, and still need to be hooked up to a PC to update or sync. Apple could really take control of the market if people were able to sync their iPhones and iPods without having to be hooked up to a PC. This could do some serious damage to the sales of PC's since people wouldn't really need them to use any of their Apple products. The second weakness being that Apple doesn't do great job integrating social networking into their mobile devices. They have a few apps, but if they could make the social networking aspect more accessible, then that could seriously boost sales. People right now love all of the social networking sites, and the more of that that Apple can include in their phones, the more people will want to buy them. Apple is coming out with a new operating system that could seriously help in this department. The last weakness being how lackluster Apple TV has been so far. Apple TV hasn't really made any noise since it's release. If Apple could take control of the living room, then they would have control of almost every form of entertainment available. Apple TV is by far their weakest product, but if they can somehow offer an in depth on demand service, or something of that nature, then Apple just might be able to take control of the television market. Apple never settles for second best and I'm sure that they will find a way to increase their numbers in the living room.

Friday, April 8, 2011


During the recession of the last few years, Texas has seen some success compared to many other states. We've created more jobs than any other state in recent years, and our unemployment rate has been well below the national average of approximately 9%. We've also kept taxes lower than most. But all of these benefits may have attracted more people than Texas' infrastructure can handle. While we've created the most jobs, the state's population has grown by 4.3 million in the last decade, creating the need for more jobs than we could ever fill. As a result, unemployment has risen to 8.3%, and we're starting to see budget cuts that could seriously harm things like education and healthcare. Texas' budget was already thrifty; geared more toward growth and fiscal discipline than the aforementioned social issues. While this attitude has worked for quite some time, we may need to restructure to end this dilemma. If this cycle continues, the state will no longer be able to afford its low tax rate due to unemployment, and the education cuts certainly won't help this problem.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

5 Smart Ways to Blow Your Tax Refund

In the past few years people have used their tax refunds for savings or to pay off debt. The average tax refund this year is $3,164 "Despite the difficult unemployment situation across the country, Americans receiving a tax refund this year seem eager to plow this money back into the economy," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "With sales momentum continuing to build, NRF is becoming more bullish about the economic recovery." And, for those who plan to spend it, economists have made some suggestions for five good ways that will avoid being stuck with a piece of technology that will be obsolete by Christmas.

  1. For $3,000 you can make a change in your home that adds more resale value than expensive kitchen or bath remodels. “According to Remodeling Magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report, the only home improvement that gives a homeowner back his or her entire investment in resale value is swapping out existing front, back and side doors with steel doors. This may challenge your aesthetic sense and seem minor at best, but the average $1,218 spent swapping out an old door and jambs with a 20-gauge steel door with new casings and lock set consistently adds $1,243 (or 102% of its cost) in resale value.”

  2. If you have the vacation time, use the $3,000 to travel before fare go up even more. This can help unload stress and make memories.

  3. A new scooter to drive to work will get you great gas mileage. The new Vespa LX 50 gets 95-100 miles per gallon and costs right under $3,000.

  4. A new bed. Mattresses need to be replaced every eight years. A bed is something you use between 2,400 and 3,000 hours a year.

  5. A collectable, like comic books. “Some obvious choices as the Amazing Fantasy No. 15 that features the origins of Spider-Man sell for $150,000 to $300,000 and Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of Superman sells for upward of $1.5 million. If you're a big Spider-Man fan from way back, however, an Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 can still be had on eBay for around $3,000, but more intriguing prospects such as Amazing Spider-Man No. 122 (the death of the Green Goblin) or Amazing Spider-Man No. 49 (the first appearance of the Vulture) fetch roughly the same amount.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making the Best From the Worst

As many of you know Nate Dogg the famous rapper/singer passed away earlier this month. In an article from MTV RapFix Nate Dogg's career is discussed. Nate Dogg is regarded as one of the greatest pioneers of rap music, using his gospel background to influence his work. Like the passing of Michael Jackson, Nate Dogg's death can have a serious impact on the revenue of the record labels who own royalties on Dogg's songs. Since Nate Dogg has been out of the main stream for a while his music was probably not on many rap music fans minds but with the sudden death his record sales will probably see a huge increase for a period of time. All of the extra publicity although it sadly is about his death will actually bring his family and what ever label he is a part of a lot of extra revenue. Rest In Peace Nate Dogg.

THE Texas Rangers

Now that opening weekend in Arlington is over, it is safe to say that almost everyone will watching the Ranger's in their quest to win the World Series this season. In an article released by the Texas Rangers ticket sales are discussed. On the first day that tickets were available for fans, more than 108,000 tickets were sold. This is a 15% increase from last year. The Ranger's sold out their first three game of the season smashing all attendance records. The previous attendance record was set when the Ballpark in Arlington first opened in 1994. As of Sunday, more than 150,000 fans attended opening weekend at the Ballpark. With the Rangers carrying over their winning from last season, fans are spending more money in Arlington. Not just at the Ballpark, but all around the city at the restaurants and bars that are playing the games. Also, Rangers merchandise sales is up almost 50% over the last two years. Even in the midst of the poor economy, people are spending money and will continue to spend money as long as the Rangers keep winning.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nintendo Entering the Cell Phone Market?

An article from takes a look at big time video game companies entering the cell phone market. The article focuses on the fact that Nintendo isn't showing any interest in the cell phone market. There are a lot of roadblocks in allying oneself with a cell phone company. You have to split revenue with them, which might cause a video game company to increase their game prices. On the flip side of that, adding cell phone capability to a portable game system seems like a very profitable idea. It would open up portable gaming to a whole new audience that might never pick up a game console otherwise. Nintendo is notorious for having very family friendly games, and if anyone could pull off a portable gaming console/cell phone, it's Nintendo. It may cause Nintendo to increase the prices of their games, but I think the amount of consumers that would come out to buy the "Nintendo Phone" might actually generate enough revenue for them so that they don't have to increase their prices. One of the main draws of a phone like the iPhone is all of the great mobile games. If a consumer could get a great gaming console that they could use for texting and making calls, then that would create a serious competitor for Apple, Sony, and Microsoft. I think in the next few years the demand for a phone like that will become very high, and I think Nintendo would be the perfect company to take advantage of that high demand.