Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Depressing of the day: Home prices falling faster in most metro areas

Not out of the woods... not even seeing the edge of the forest.

Home prices falling faster in most metro areas
Millions of foreclosures and weak demand from buyers are forcing home prices down in most major U.S. cities.

Prices are falling even in places like San Francisco and San Diego, which had posted strong increases just a few months ago. Analysts say many markets won't improve until they see fewer foreclosures and more job gains.

"Unemployment is still high, people are afraid of losing their homes and credit is hard to get," said Maureen Maitland, vice president of Standard & Poor's indices.

A report Tuesday underscored the weakness. Home prices declined in 18 of the 20 cities, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index. Prices fell 0.7 percent in September from August, marking the second straight monthly drop.

Are we still watching the first steps of this slow motion train wreck in the happening?

No cheer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bought an iPad at Apple's Black Friday sale!!!

Yeeee- haw!

Except, I didn't plan on this sudden splurge. Oh well, it's always said that Apple never put anything on sale. Kinda felt compelled. So now I'm thinking about what it is I should do with this 'magic pad' (as Jobs would say). On the top of my list are the obvious for people on the road:
1. Netflix
2. Skype
3. Kindle
4. My broker's iPad app

Obviously I'll have to somehow setup all of my 11 emails on it - hope it's going to be friendly for that purpose.

Meanwhile, I'm looking into an interesting slide show on PC-Mag, I don't think it's really new:

The 50 Best iPad Apps

A much better list actually, at gizmodo:
Gizmodo essential iPad apps


PS. This is the very first Apple product I'll ever own. I have had some experience, bad experience, with Macs since the 90-s. I have no intention at this point to buy an iMac so I can start creating apps for iPad. I think - perhaps this field is saturated enough with indie developer hopefuls.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanks Giving

I have no idea - which Mr. Bean episode this came from...


China, Russia quit dollar for bilateral trade

Has everything to do with geopolitical megalomaniac ambitions by both sides as expressed by the following quote:
"China will firmly follow the path of peaceful development and support the renaissance of Russia as a great power," he said.
That's China's Premier Wen Jiabao.

If you go into the article you'd notice that it's also about the complicated negotiation of price of natural gas and other natural resources. My guess - while they'd both like to eliminate the Dollar - they will continue to evaluate the prices of natural resources by it - and adjust their trade agreement as such. I'm not an expert, simply an opinion.

China Daily: China, Russia quit dollar

One more quote, for the heck of it:
Sun Zhuangzhi, a senior researcher in Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new mode of trade settlement between China and Russia follows a global trend after the financial crisis exposed the faults of a dollar-dominated world financial system.

Pang Zhongying, who specializes in international politics at Renmin University of China, said the proposal is not challenging the dollar, but aimed at avoiding the risks the dollar represents.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The best Black Friday deal is...

You're going to hate this, look - if you already have whatever you need and bought modest gifts for those dear to you - the best thing you can do is avoid all the leaflets and crowds and just don't buy anything you don't need.

Simple - isn't it?

Well - if you must I have a few links for you on the right side bar. Happy shopping.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The definition of lack of freedom: A tweet in China lands a woman in forced labor camp

Just in case you forgot that the new 'global economic leader' is an oppressive regime.

China sentences woman to labor camp for Twitter post
A Chinese woman has been sentenced to a year in a labor camp for retweeting a Twitter post that mocked Chinese protesters who smashed Japanese products during a recent demonstration, her fiance said Thursday.

On October 17, Cheng Jianping, under the username wangyi09, added a few words to a message written by her fiance, before resending it on Twitter.

Eleven days later on the day the couple had planned to marry, Cheng's fiance, Hua Chunhui was taken away by the police from his office in the southeastern city of Wuxi.

Although he was released 5 days later, Hua hasn't seen Cheng since. He learned from her family that she was taken away by the police from in front of the couple's apartment on the same day as his arrest.

Cheng, 46, was sentenced to one year in a Henan Province labor camp for disturbing social stability.

No cheer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Market crashes, insiders say due to inflation - not Dollar inflation - but Asian markets

Interesting insight I found through one of wall mart related financial news bits:

If You Read Wal-Mart's Earnings, You Know The Real Reason The Market Is Tanking

All day the talk has been IRELAND IRELAND IRELAND and how uncertainty surround the nearly-bankrupt country is what's causing the market to get slammed today.


The real story is out of Asia, where Korea is hiking rates, and fears of ridiculously hot Chinese inflation are causing tightening fears there, too. Shanghai was down over 4% last night.

You can draw a straight line between a cool-down in Asia and the collapse in commodities today since a) Asia is the big driver of commodity demand, and b) it was Asian loosening this summer that got the whole rally going.

What's more, there's not much evidence that the Ireland fears are that significant. Show your hands if you think there's not going to be a bailout. Anyone, anyone?

And the euro has really not taken much of a beating. It's actually up when priced against gold today. Imagine that! This currency that's supposedly on the verge of breaking apart is more desirable than the ONE TRUE CURRENCY today. Even Irish yields aren't to where they were on Friday.

This morning Wal-Mart reported earnings, and they were fine, but it was all Asia growth. The US is glum still. If Asia slows, US stocks hit the wall. And again, there's really NO reason to think that the Ireland silliness would be slamming commodities like oil and copper today. That's all Asia.

Speaking of China/US finances - did you catch SNL sketch over the weekend about Obama's meet with Chinese PM?


Subprime turned financial meltdown, turned to foreclosure crisis

7 sections of financial hell upon us.

Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners

Throughout the mounting catastrophe, however, many Americans have been slow to comprehend the true nature of the mortgage disaster. They seemed to have grasped just two things about the crisis: One, a lot of people are getting their houses foreclosed on. Two, some of the banks doing the foreclosing seem to have misplaced their paperwork.

For most people, the former bit about homeowners not paying their damn bills is the important part, while the latter, about the sudden and strange inability of the world's biggest and wealthiest banks to keep proper records, is incidental. Just a little office sloppiness, and who cares? Those deadbeat homeowners still owe the money, right? "They had it coming to them," is how a bartender at the Jacksonville airport put it to me.

But in reality, it's the unpaid bills that are incidental and the lost paperwork that matters. It turns out that underneath that little iceberg tip of exposed evidence lies a fraud so gigantic that it literally cannot be contemplated by our leaders, for fear of admitting that our entire financial system is corrupted to its core — with our great banks and even our government coffers backed not by real wealth but by vast landfills of deceptively generated and essentially worthless mortgage-backed assets.

You've heard of Too Big to Fail — the foreclosure crisis is Too Big for Fraud. Think of the Bernie Madoff scam, only replicated tens of thousands of times over, infecting every corner of the financial universe. The underlying crime is so pervasive, we simply can't admit to it — and so we are working feverishly to rubber-stamp the problem away, in sordid little backrooms in cities like Jacksonville, behind doors that shouldn't be, but often are, closed.

Lots to read...


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Xbox Kinect gamers, try not to kick your TV...

This game looks exciting, I'd like to try it out in my living room at some point


Of course, one would need to pay...

That's $350 to boot. Not pocket change in this economy, but it seems that customers are really buying this stuff. Bad economy? Can one explain the continued success of Apple? Same goes for Sony's and Microsoft's game console - it seems there's still lots of discretionary enthusiasm out there.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

China downgrades US's debt

I had no intention to start a blog documenting the decline of the USA. I know we will see better days.

Chinese Credit Rater Downgrades U.S.
Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., the Chinese rating company that was recently rejected in its bid to be an officially recognized bond rater in the U.S., just downgraded the entire U.S. The always objective Xinhua has the “scoop.”

Was that sarcasm from the Wall Street Journal?!


New York Times Asserts that China Saved the Global Economy

So are we in a global depression or are we saved? Why does it not feel like being 'saved' - especially not by the copyright infringing, reverse engineering, currency manipulating, trade cheaters, slavery industry child workers, politically oppressive China?!

What's Next for China After Saving the World?
The giant fiscal stimulus and bank lending spree that China started two years ago saved the world from recession. What can Beijing do for a follow-up act?

Internationally, the success of the unprecedented pump-priming has accelerated a shift in economic influence that has put Beijing front and center of policy making, as the summit meeting of the Group of 20 major economies in Seoul is likely to show this week.

Domestically, the 4-trillion-renminbi, or $601 billion, package announced Nov. 9, 2008, put a floor under an economy that was in free fall during the global financial crisis. More than 20 million migrant workers who had lost their jobs were quickly absorbed as the government started public works projects.

Two years later, China can boast, among other things, the world’s biggest high-speed-rail network, which is doing wonders for the country’s reputation.

“China’s self-confidence got a big boost from the fiscal program, which goes beyond the immediate economic effects,” said Jonathan Fenby, head of China research at Trusted Sources, an emerging markets consulting firm.

Mr. Fenby said the tangible results of the splurge could only increase China’s pride in its ability to raise its game.

“One cannot help making comparisons with infrastructure in the U.S. and U.K.,” he said. “I am sure the Chinese do.”

Success, however, heightens expectations.

China, which now has the world’s second-largest economy, after that of the United States, is under pressure to shoulder more responsibility for tasks including curtailing carbon emissions and reducing global imbalances.

If the whole 'carbon credit' scam relies on China volunteering to tax themselves, then we can rest assure this idiocy will not pass.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Funny Wired's Flow Chart: Should you post Yahoo!Answers Questions?

Came across this while looking through latest 'boobies' edition of wired. Pretty amusing, and informative, didn't know all of these even existed:

Click to open full page.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Wow, Microsoft's Kinect has problem with black people?!

Would Kenye West approve?

Lighting affects Kinect's face recognition, report says
It's not even one day old, but the new Kinect video-gaming system was at the center of a potential controversy.

Gaming review site GameSpot reported that two of its dark-skinned employees had problems getting the facial recognition features of the Kinect to work. According to the report, the system recognized one inconsistently and was never able to fully identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts.

A third dark-skinned employee was recognized on the first try, GameSpot said.

However, Consumer Reports tested the Kinect and blamed poor lighting for the facial recognition failures instead of skin tone.

I'm guessing it's probably just a minor issue and bad PR.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

As 'shopping day' approaches: prices go higher, jobless claims higher

Not. Good.

Jobless Claims Turn Higher; Productivity Up, Costs Down
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week while unit labor costs fell in the third quarter, underlining the persistent weakness in the jobs market.

Although other data on Thursday showed nonfarm productivity rebounded at a much stronger-than-expected 1.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the general tone remained consistent with a sluggish economy.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000, the Labor Department said, reversing the prior week's decline.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 443,000 from the previously reported 434,000. The government revised the prior week's figure up to 437,000.

In a second report, the department said unit labor costs, a gauge of potential inflation pressures closely watched by the Federal Reserve, fell at a 0.1 percent rate after rising a revised 1.3 percent in the second quarter.

"This suggests the labor market is not improving as much as we hoped .... and suggests there hasn't been that much of a change between September and October labor market conditions," said Zach Pandl, a U.S. economist at Nomura Securities International in New York.

Can someone please say the words.... 'the 2nd great depression is upon us'.

Mini bear rally should end soon... a crash to follow?