Wednesday, August 31, 2016

AAPL: Buy or GoodBYE that is the question


Subtitle:  Dear Internet, should I buy AAPL stocks?



Apple Please Pay
The European Commission has asked Apple to pay 13 Billion Euro's in taxes that it says it should have, by rights paid, but did not.  Why?  Because Ireland, an EC member gave it a special tax deal, and Apple organised its entire European sales to be channeled through Ireland.  Not just dodgy, but sort of double dodgy.


Mostly Outraged
Everybody is upset!   Apple claims it has not broken any laws.  Conspiracy theorists have brought TTIP and the VW Emissions scandal into the equation.

The UK government  (you know the BREXIT people) have stepped in to ask Apple to consider coming to the UK!  But confusingly added they are not talking special deals, but maybe reduced corporation tax for all?

If you have to read one article on the effects read valuewalk:

http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/08/apple-inc-aapl-tax-ruling-good/

and some or all of the following

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37226101

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/53670/apple-ordered-pay-euro-13bn-back-taxes-ireland/index.html

http://qz.com/770068/the-eu-is-all-but-inviting-the-us-to-claw-back-a-share-of-apples-tax-debt/



The Principled View


My view is that Governments should not offer sweetheart deals to multinational corporations allowing them to avoid tax and that public outrage and Government outrage  (from all the other countries effectively defrauded)  should also counter and prevent such tactics.

These amount to distortions of a free trade system, as an individual every country I know says:  If you earn it in country X you pay tax in country X.  Even if I'm resident in country Y.  Corporations should not be offered or accept sleazy deals.









Essentially Apple's deal with Ireland has 


- enabled them to pay less taxes in Europe
- because of the Sweetheart deal with the Irish government
- made Apple products more competitive than other providers
- effectively short-changed i.e. other Governments because the tax that should have been paid elsewhere was not

- ironically it's not as if this tax advantage was passed to any consumers.  Since Apple products are without exception  (please correct me if  I'm wrong) the most expensive computer products in the marketplace bar none


So Marcus:  Buy or Sell Apple shares?

The Announcement




Wait: there is an additional factor.  The Apple product announcement on Sept 7th 2016, at which at least a new iPhone is predicted for announce.



So Buy, Sell or Hold?

+ Long term it is still a Hold or Buy: Only because AAPL are without doubt doing it better than the competition (I mean business efficiency,  not business ethics, nor technical product competence of course!)

Most financial pundits point to a severe wholesale market [negative] correction, but this is now at least 12 months overdue, and nothing has happened.

So in a generally rising market, your money is safer in AAPL than in other technology stocks. Period

- Short Term: I'd put Stop Loss order at something like 90-95.  If AAPL really starts to tank short term, get out!

- The AAPL tax issue in Ireland will be appealed and take years to resolve.  So I can't see this affecting share pricing in the next 12 months.  It might dent prices short term, but I'd say barely.

- In times past I'd seen AAPL decline post big announcements because [impossible] expectations were not met, but just to prove me wrong, this did not happen last large announce!



- Apple relies today almost totally on its smartphone revenue, I mean the Macbook and other computer business is trivial.  Since the Smartphone market is now pretty Globally saturated, I personally believe the iPhone 7 is unlikely to stem the iPhone slowdown.

- Not just individuals but even Central Banks  (yes Swiss National Bank, I mean you) are now buying AAPL.  So long as this continues even with declining sales,  I still believe AAPL is better placed than any other major tech company in 2016 to hold its share value.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Sermon: Where have all the Good People Gone?

I was encouraged to see the results of a Statista report, which you can find here which shows the recent and dramatic decline of Religion in the USA, a country noted for its strong Christian membership.

Despite this shift, today in 2016, the USA is still a country where it is generally acknowledged that it is impossible to hold Presidential office unless you are both a) Religious and b) a Christian

Whilst there have been over 2000 religions, most of which are now extinct, they share a common belief that

- only they are the true religion
- and therefore by definition, that no religion, or somebody else's religion is an incorrect world view
- and it is doubled down by an inference that people with no religion or a different religion are of less moral character than those within your religion

Not a Bad Person
&& Not Evil




Krauss: Not Evil

This one minute video extract from Lawrence puts forward the point admirably



I shall leave you with Mika:






Mika: Good Guys

Monday, August 29, 2016

Professionalism: Wait for It


I was just about to make a video detailing the latest discovery, that being motion sensing, lithium ion, rechargeable lights.

But it is cancelled.  And why?

Because I've not finished evaluating and testing them.

I am often in the company of other Engineers or Scientists and find them under immense pressure to cut corners with their design process.  Or perhaps to publish that paper ahead of time, for peer review, when such is known to be premature.

Marcus and Agata are not in this game.

A job should aim to be done efficiently, to the highest standards,  with decent testing.   Then we'll publish a review.

To Managers, Project Managers, Coordinators and the like.  Have some appreciation for the people you chaperon.  If they are working effectively and the project is behind,  then it's the project dates that need moving, not the proles chastising.



Not a Review

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Comment: What the Kids want to Study



Mika: Popular

In the UK now students must pay for both their accommodation and tuition.  The latter comes in at about 9K GBP per year and you can take out a Government loan for the First degree costs to cover all of the above.

If Marcus was taking a college course today I think the criterion would ideally be

- Something I have a passion for
- Something that will be relevant to my future career
- Something that will earn money
- Something creative: I don't want to be the weaselly middle man.
- Something that improves the world
- Something that leads to a career that is not easily outsourced

The age old question (some decades ago) was: Is it sufficient to do a degree course in something you love even if it has no practical applicability in the world and said course will be almost useless in helping you enter a career?

Well I leave this debate to you, but look below and see what kind of world the UK might be promoting based on the 10 most popular University courses.



01. Physiotherapy
02. Law
03. Make Up
04. Psychology
05. Actuarial Science
06. Paramedical Science
07. Computer Science
08. Sports Psychology
09. Medicine
10. Marine Biology

Enough of my comments:  Read explanatory articles yourself:

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/courses/top-10-most-popular-courses-in-the-uk

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings/



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Money For Nothing




Dire Straits: Money for Nothing

With the Uk Bank of England (BOE) reducing Interest Rates and the US Federal Reserve (FED) publically postulating an increase for the Nth time it is time to listen to the rather appropriate Dire Straits song.  Even the Artist name seems to be appropriate.


In the News

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/26/janet-yellen-speech-jackson-hole-federal-reserve-interest-rate

http://uk.businessinsider.com/janet-yellens-speech-at-jackson-hole-august-26-2016-8?r=US&IR=T



Reality

The reality is:


 The FED who cried Wolf

Talking up Interest Rates is popular in financial circles, because today money is cheap, lending is cheap. It is cheaper now than in Sept 2008, when Lehmans famously declared bankruptcy and the neighbouring Subprime crisis It absolutely defies year 1 Economics 101.  In practise whenever the FED /talks/ about rising rates the market jumps up, even when, as is always the case, they do sweet nothing.  It is literally /money for nothing/.

But actually raising Interest Rates is too brave for most

Indeed as noted, BOE actually reduced Interest rates, because this /Market Stimulus/ which was once temporary,  once started, is difficult to rewind Why?  Because the idea is reduce rates until the Economy recovers.  But it does not recover.  So?  Yep, double down and reduce some more.


Whatever
This short article does not attempt to reference some of the reasons why Central Banksters are using lowered Interest Rates.  But what does it mean for private holders of debt?

In particular for the housing market?

- Lower interest rates allow those who qualify to borrow even bigger
- A 2% rate would for example allow you to borrow 1Million GBP at for less than 2000 GBP per month.
- What does it mean?
- It means that private individuals in the UK  (and other low interest countries such as USA and Europe) can now borrow large, pushing up house prices further
- Also meaning that first time buyers have even less chance to buy

The Future
Both US and UK Governments continue to intervene and distort markets to allow banks, institutions and even individuals to borrow more and more and at insanely low costs.  The Subprime collapse and UK bank collapse in the 2008-2009 period, which if you recall was due to irresponsible lending, has now been not fixed, by guess what irresponsible Government lending.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A tale of Two Agents


Subtitle: Have you heard about the Internet?

Marcus has just spent the day with 2 Estate Agents.  I nearly lost it, because I find working with Estate Agents is nearly always frustrating, and with those that are absolutely clueless about the importance of the Internet, well: I nearly burst a blood vessel.


Property 1

- Agent could not initially gain access to property,  could not operate keys!
- Flat is tenanted and a total mess/ bombsite
- Almost Zero mobile phone reception and actually zero mobile Data connection.
- Tenant refuses to let any photographs be taken, and Owner has none to offer, so post visit I have nothing to refer back to
- Agent has no clue about Wired Internet Speed or whether there is any at property
- Agent does not know what Fibre Broadband is
- Agent does not know how to do a Speed test from their mobile


Property 2

- Agent claims to be experienced with 30 years in the profession
- Flat empty
- Almost Zero mobile phone reception and zero Data connection.  Agent tried to make excuses
- A luxury Apartment but with no Dishwasher, Agent tried to make excuses
- Large damp area on upper floor, Agent has no knowledge
- Agent has no clue about Internet Speed
- Agent does not know what an Internet Speed test is
- Agent does not know how to launch a web browser on their Smartphone. I assisted and eventually made a speed test

I had to explain that this was not an acceptable number



My Honest Suggestions

- Read my recent blogpost
majzel.blogspot.com/2016/07/acceptable-internet-speeds-in-2016.html

- Educate staff on the importance of the Internet in modern life

- Publish mobile voice strength on property prospectus


- Publish current Land Internet Speed Connection at property



- Publish currently available Internet Speeds and Technologies (e.g. Copper, Fibre, Community Internet)

And additional Information that might be useful

- Details of any pending construction or building developments in or around this postcode

- Risks of Apartment to Flooding and other salient risk based factors or peculiarities

- Service Charge and detailed breakdown therein


I am not boasting, but I could really do a much more professional and informative job than the two individuals I met today.  Perhaps a new career beckons?



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Relaxing with Nature


To all us 'townees' i.e. City Dwellers.  Sometimes it is good to get out in the countryside and just chill.

And here in the English countryside it is sans Internet  (this post was written on an almost 56K modem speed connection ...)


 Into Decathlon running gear

 Blackberry picking

Er and Blackberry eating
 Blackberry collection because a Crumble is scheduled for an evening meal


 Lots of Bees

A delightfully relaxing day, catching up with friends and family. Long may it continue.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Orca Safety Swim Buoy




Believe me, if you swim in Open water the Orca Safety buoy is worthy of your consideration.

If you swim outside of a pool, for example in the sea or lake you may have experienced the

Almost run over syndrome

This is where a boat, maybe a motorboat almost runs you over.

The issue is usually visability and this is where the Swim buoy comes in.




Okay it is bright orange and highly visible.  There is a air pounch that you blow into and inflate.

But there is more!   There is a storage compartment that you can put clothes or food or even your phone and electronics into.  Then you carefully wrap the end up to form a waterproof seal.   So everything will stay dry and the separate air sack means the buoy cannot sink.

Finally an adjustable strap connects the buoy to your waist.

At first I was a little nervous and loaded the inside with items like a towel and some trainers.  Then after some swims in Pully pool I was convinced that nothing would get wet.  So now I'm confident to also put my phone and house keys into there too.  At last you don't need to leave your valuables on the beach or in a dodgy unsafe locker.  Take them with you!  And be seen in the process.  I've not found pulling the buoy and significant drag by they way.

In summary
Really recommended for any serious swimmer.



Links
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/orca-safety-buoy/


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not Dancing on My Own



Dancing on My Own


This post has 3 audiences, one by definition will not be reading or watching.

It comes after a week of Marcus meeting friends, old friends and thinking about friendships and family.



Robyn: Dancing on My Own

(Song is by Robyn originally obviously!)

So to

- friends and family
- old re-united friends
- even to family who are 'too busy' to spend even 30 seconds to read this

Problems, emotions, feelings and troubled thoughts are better shared.  Dancing on your own, whenever or wherever, is not recommended.



Links

Dancing On My Own Fred Falke Remix

Robyn - Dancing On My Own (E-603 Remix)





Monday, August 22, 2016

Mercedes Benz World England

Whilst on a visit to Hus Haus London, Marcus noticed the proximity of Mercedes Benz World Uk. (MBW)

At MBW I noticed the following

- A fully functioning Mercedes dealer
- Outside an offroad and tarmac track for use for Mercedes Benz paid experiences
- A cafe
- An exhibition of Vintage and current AMG cars

For a small fee, about 5 GBP each I recall you can get a guided tour at fixed times during the day.  I paid and it turns out it was well worth it.  There were only 3 adults on our tour so I had plenty of opportunity to ask questions.





An original 230 SL





Where it all started


History



Prototypes


Racing Limo




F1




As a car nut it was a great afternoon spent drooling over cars and well worth the tour price.

Recommended.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Two [more] godly questions



How Mosquitos suck your Blood

To questions to those Religious faithful God fearing  types

a) Why Did God need to Create the Mosquito?

b) For Abrahamic Devotees:  Why include them in Noah's Ark?   Weren't they evil enough  (cf the rest of humanity that was drowned)

And Just One More Thing


Why Zika?



Links
FDA Releases Final Environmental Assessment for Genetically Engineered Mosquito

Zika on South Beach

Zika and Alzheimers


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Muji Wallet Makeover



For several years I have happily used and recommended the minimalist credit card wallet from Muji you see on the right.

However for the last year I've been mortified because my nearest outlet says that it is discontinuted.

But for August 2016, good news.

There is a replacement,  The new horizontally opening wallet shown above on the left




Because I said SO!

I have seen many other ingenious minimalist wallets out there and associated technical reviews.  They are sort of missing the point.  Why?

Well because this is the best one, I can assure you

- Big enough to take 5 cards and some folded currency
- Economically priced
- Plastic not metal and so
- Contactless cards work whilst inside the wallet
- Mine lasts about 6 months before replacement


So now, surely I have convinced you.  Find it here

http://www.muji.eu/pages/online.asp?Sec=15&Sub=64&PID=8187



Friday, August 19, 2016

Formula One Wire Frame



Whilst visiting Huf Haus , something that I will of course cover later, Marcus noticed the proximity of Brooklands racing circuit and the nearby Mercedes Benz World  (MBW)

MBW has a wireframe exhibit of a Formula 1 race car and I cannot emphasise how impressive this free to view exhibit is in real life.

It not a fully exploded view of all components, but you definitely get the picture and see the impressive, fine attention to detail that goes into a Formula One car.

Recommended