Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday musings

You know, in this day of smart bombs and uber tech wizardry that our friends the Americans possess, how in the name of Sam Hill could be have an “Oops” moment in bombing  20 odd Pakistanis in a pre-dawn raid in that country?
Like come on, they can snuff out top honchos from Al-Qaeda with pin point accuracy but whiff completely in Pakistan?
I just do not understand this.
Another thing that is beyond me is the American custom to refer to past Presidents as if they were still sitting Presidents and the custom of calling their wives First Lady – what is with that anyway?
Over in Egypt more unrest is happening in the center of Cairo with people protesting over the continued role of the military in government. Meanwhile the Christian community silently worries about the future with the extreme Muslim Brotherhood poised to make large gains in the Parliament.
It seems that the international community that was in such a lather to encourage the so called Arab Spring and help remove the dictatorship in Libya now is in full retreat from the region and does not care about who ends up in control. I bet that Iran is chomping at the bit to get involved in those countries.
Over in Syria, a deadline was imposed on the countries leader by the Arab League to allow human rights monitors into the country to see and report on what is happening in that land. And as usual when International communities deal with one rule countries, nothing happened. Instead there is discussion about imposing sanctions on Syria now. I bet that has them shaking in their boots.
In fact the only people hurt by sanctions are the ones that need the help the most. The leaders always have enough of whatever they want.
Sanctions are an irritant, nothing more.
In the States, the space agency there, NASA, launched a 2.5 billion rocket/probe to Mars to investigate if there the needed building blocks for life. Many would say that this is a waste of money and that it could be spent better on other social priorities. That would not solve anything in my opinion. Money has been spent for decade after decade on the poor and social programs, this will not make any difference at the end of the day Too often people look at one single item and denounce it and try to shift focus onto other items instead. Here in our city, a multi-purpose stadium had been proposed and the detractors have lined up and said spend the money instead on the poor, on roads, on infrastructure, on housing – the list goes on and on.
Well, I am sorry. 
In my opinion they are wrong and it is time they were taken to task for their narrowness of focus and lack of foresight. Indeed this can be said of those in the Occupy movement and even the Greens. Not every issue is in black and white. You have to see all the shades of grey that go with each issue. Compromise is the only way to arrive at a solution that in the end succeeds for all Why is it that there has to be only winners and losers in their scheme- with them being the winners of course and not a solution that is of benefit to all?
Over in America, the day after Thanksgiving is a day of massive shopping frenzy called Black Friday. Deals and not so real deals abound, accompanied by strange store hours and restricted hours of operation. Crowds throng through the door and scramble to buy whatever they can get their hands on. A sort of programmed hysteria is generated by the advertisers to account for this madness, In one incident a woman pepper sprayed her way through a group of people to get to a deeply discounted video game console, bizarre indeed.
 There are 2 main computer operation systems around (with apologies to Ubantu and Linux) Apple-iOs and Google-Android. Many people love the Apple system as shown by the popularity of all Mac products-iMac, iPad, iPod and the like. The main problem with this system is that it is one that is closed to external innovation and all applications must go through a protocol and set up that is controlled by Apple. Android is an open system where external developers can and do participate. You find examples of this in that in the smartphone market where many of the phones run different versions of the system. With the recently released update of Android 5- Ice Cream Sandwich is its’ name- this slowly will bring the fragmentation to an end. Phones and tablets will now run under 1 version and as a result I believe that you will find app developers no longer doing 1 app for Apple and a whole group of others for different Android versions at a high cost to them and causing them to hesitate to do so. Instead there will be one for Apple and one for Android – and the winner is both the consumer and the developer. The cost from Apple to the designer and consumer is much higher than it should be. This new competition should lower those costs.
I cannot wait.
OK, we had a week off from the fun in Europe with the Euro and the countries involved. Holiday is over. Germany issued a bond on the market and the response was tepid to say the least. The fear of Italy, Greece and even France losing control of their fiscal future seems to have increased. In fact the head of the Canadian banking system says that time is running  out for Europe and the results will be terrible if the do nothing politicians fail to step up to the plate and make tough decisions and implement them. I think we have seen over and over again these same politicos meet and emerge and say to the media that “we have a solution, trust us”.
Right – and turkeys can fly?
For my non European readers, I would like to bring you a glimpse of a tradition that is great for both the retailer and the consumer. That is this is the start of the Christmas market season where in nearly all cities and towns sections of the downtown core are set aside for vendors and their stalls to sell Christmas products. There is a school of thought that says that this is the forerunner of social networks- a place to connect in times of trouble. Local food delicacies abound and a return to a sort of nostalgic way of life, even if just briefly, makes these markets successful. It is no wonder that locals and tourists flock to these markets. Just imagine how a 1950’s themed Christmas retail setting would sell in your local market. Grandparents would flock to it for nostalgia and kids would go for the “newness” factor. In fact why do you think that come Christmas time on TV, there are no new Christmas movies but reruns of films like White Christmas, A Christmas Carol and the like?

We have had a wonderful week of weather. The temperatures were above melting for crying out loud! This is not supposed to happen in Saskatchewan in November. The normal high is minus 14 (C)) and this is just great, in fact our cat even woke up from hibernation and staggered outside a couple of times.
This weeks’ column you will see quite is than usual. I blame this on the fact that I am in the midst of the yearly hunt for Christmas presents and while most of my side of buying is done, there remains one to be found and since I do not know what I am looking for – typical of me I am afraid to admit to –  has occupied way too much of my waking hours.
Next week it will be back to normal.
Take care out there,

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