Home Office Horrors: When Kids Attack!

Working from home is widely considered a blessing since the commute is just a few seconds and all your comforts are close by. Few workers are allowed this special privilege.

However, the situation isn’t without some problems. One would be the loss of daily contact/camaraderie with one’s corporate co-workers. You could feel left out of the main loop of activities.

Another is when any issues in the home affect your ability to do your job- such as having your kids decide to crash your prim and proper BBC televised interview. ūüôā

The following shows the comical outcome of such a situation and the mom’s response only adds to the hilarity.

 

 

Life Imitating Art – Simpsons Prophecy about 3 AM Twittering Trump Tirade Comes True

On July 30th, The Simpsons Cartoon show released a video on YouTube depicting a commercial showing Trump going on a Twitter rant at 3 AM:

 

On Sept 30, exactly 2 months to the day later, Trump fulfills the comedic prediction by actually going on a Twitter rant escapade around 3 AM!!!

 

 

We are in the MATRIX……

 

Xanga 2.0 Celebrates its “2.0” Anniversary With Eerie Silence

Xanga undead

 

It’s now been two years since Xanga converted to the WordPress based system with the help of about $70K¬†from their supporters:

Xanga_Crowdhoster

 

So what is the status of the site at the 2+ year mark? Well, you won’t find it from any official Xanga update from their site– there have been no updates provided since Feb¬† 11, 2015:

Here is the list of the previous number of official updates from Xanga since the switch to “2.0”:

(September 6 2013 РSeptember 30, 2014) РOver a YEAR of silence

  • ¬†October 1, 2014- Update

(This update was more of a blurb than something to justify a year in a vacuum. My complete thoughts here.)

(More of the same back office updates)

That’s just¬†5 updates for a span of over two years.

At no time do they provide any CUSTOMER DRIVEN updates such as:

  1. When will the front page be restored?
  2. What is the schedule for community feature restoration?
  3. Why are features promised “out of the box” not yet available?
  4. How can I contact a user on followers lock?
  5. When will we get the “Xanga” we enjoyed back?

The lack of updates would raise eyebrows even if it were still a free blogging site. As Xanga took close to $70K in pledge money and is now charging $48/yr for their service, the situation stands out glaringly- especially knowing they’ve been told numerous times that regular¬†communication is most desired by their customers.

Broken-Friendship-Quotes-apihyayan

In terms of current status the review I wrote at the 1 year mark will suffice since not much has changed since then.

The “Community Based” Xanga that everyone enjoyed and appreciated ended with the shutdown of Xanga 1.0 and has yet to be reinstated on Xanga 2.0, despite all the promises made.

It should be abundantly clear to all that any hope to restore the old community is long past. Many People who would have continued to blog on Xanga have stopped altogether and those who still blog have moved on to other free platforms. Any excitement or momentum from the conversion to “2.0” has been lost long ago. The site now being “promoted” for latest member updates is facebook as Xanga has lost its front page since the conversion to 2.0.

The thing that bothers me most¬†is the sense of injustice that Xanga has done for all the people that worked so hard for them to be able to update to Xanga 2.0. So many people were disappointed and have moved on- and all the while Xanga makes no apologies¬†or updates on what their¬†completion schedule is. To take money¬†from people as well as charge them¬†for services that are available on other sites for free, and still feel they don’t need to provide any type of regular updates is beyond the pale of customer disrespect.

custsrv

So when the official appointed liaison ¬†EdLives (Joel) blogged about Xanga on August 12, which turned into another defense of Xanga’s current condition despite being into two years of this mess, I felt compelled to set the record straight with the true reality of the situation. That led to my original posted comment being “held for review”, my accusation of being censored, and all the brouhaha that followed.

Some may have the opinion that I’ve been overly harsh in my critique and response to EdLives’ posts. I believe he has confused his job responsibilities. As a liaison, you mutually represent two or more parties in their communication. However, he wasn’t doing this. Instead, as mentioned by Kamikaze_Zealot, he was really taking on the role as Xanga’s “PR” person in standing up for and defending Xanga’s shortfalls. Taking on the role of a PR person will of course be in direct conflict with being a neutral liaison and¬†will likely land you in the crossfire. If you look at our exchanges he is definitely picking up and defending the Xanga flag as opposed to also representing the needs of the community.

I would like to see accountability and ownership of Xanga’s failure to deliver what they advertised in a timely manner and no explanation to justify it. Both Xanga and EdLives heavily promoted the switch to “2.0” but It seems to me neither will open up and just state what the true situation is.

Here’s a short blog walk down “Xanga” memory lane:

Walk on “Classic” Xanga:

May 17, 2012Xanga offers “Lifetime Memberships” for a limited time.

That was just a year before they announced the impending shutdown of “1.0” I would think the fair/ethical thing would be to refund anyone who bought memberships at that time. Selling folks “lifetime” memberships that only last for a year is highly suspect.

June 4, 2013Edlives ¬†argues the case that the “ad based” revenue model won’t work in support of fee based blogging.

June 11, 2013 – Edlives Compares free blogging sites to Xanga 2.0

EdLives argues that Xanga 2.0 will be superior to free blogging sites.

June 15, 2013 Edlives posts a blog on the Rise and Fall of Ad Revenue Websites

Here, he argues that the ad revenue model is flawed and destined to fail over time. I counter argue that his assessment is wrong and success depends of the company’s ability to market themselves to keep and grow their user base.

Of course the gigantic sustained success of Facebook, Google, Youtube, Tumblr, WordPress, BlogSpot, etc, clearly prove that the ad based revenue model is not only alive and well, but growing and providing new opportunities for individuals who can grow a sizable subscriber base. Facebook recently announced a milestone of having one billion users online in one day.

June 24, 2013– Edlives compares Free WordPress to Xanga 2.0 fee based WordPress

Of course we know that the current features of Free WordPress still greatly surpass “Fee based” Xanga 2.0 for 2+ years and counting…

Free WordPress provides regular updates, constant feature upgrades like themes, fonts, viewcounters (stats), likes, etc…, and I’m able to automatically cross post to other social network sites like Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, or Facebook- one post is pushed out to the other sites if desired. Most media sites like¬†Time, News (both local and national), Variety, Fortune, etc,..¬†are now in WordPress RSS¬†format allowing you to subscribe to their sites and get direct updates in your feed. Of course all this comes with being able to cross communicate with other folks on many other social network platforms like BlogSpot/Tumblr, using your just your WordPress or Disqus¬†login account. Unfortunately, none of these features are currently available on WordPress based Xanga 2.0, which is still lacking even the most basic search function to find/contact users.

The irony is it appears to be much easier to make free WordPress Xanga-like than “paywall” Xanga 2.0.

July 1, 2013 –¬†Transcript of Interview of Xanga CEO John Hiler¬†by Alex

July 8, 2013Xanga 2.0 Vision is presented

Reading this will let you know the difference between what was envisioned versus current reality.

July 18, 2013 – EdLives Posts about Improving Communication

The lack of communication between Xanga and the community is addressed yet again. It’s not as if Xanga is “in the dark” about the issue with their lack of communication – they’ve been told more than once, and while they apologize, their behavior remains the same.

Walk On “Xanga 2.0”:

September 20, 2013 – EdLives posts updates on the Xanga 2.0 switch

It’s been about three weeks since the launch to “2.0” and the blogging site is in a sorry state with no updates from XangaCorp. The crowd is starting to get restless. The major 1st sign of trouble was Xanga’s Facebook account was going to be used to update people rather than Xanga. If you think my criticism is harsh, PrincessPowers makes me look quite tame by comparison.

October 10, 2013 – EdLives posts Looking at the Positive

Edlives states Xanga is just in a “transition period” and that things will get better. Many are not buying it with Xanga’s continued lack of updates.

November 11,2013EdLives Does another Update¬†in the Wake of Xanga’s continued Silence

More of the same Рpeople wondering about progress and restoration of community features like the frontpage and EdLives doing his best to provide some assurances. All this- TWO YEARS AGO.

So it should be clear as day that both Xanga and Edlives¬†were quite involved in advertising¬†Xanga 2.0. Based on this I tend to get irritated when Edlives now responds to questions about the problems of Xanga 2.0 along the lines of “Hey, I’m just a volunteer, I don’t work for Xanga”, or “That’s up for John or someone from Xanga to answer” instead of twisting arms to get Xanga to honor their commitments to provide regular updates.

The defense that really gets to me is when he states “What are YOU doing to improve things?”. Can you imagine reporting a problem with a company and they try to turn it around on you as if it’s your responsibility? Bizarre! Makes absolutely no sense.

Customer: Hi power company, my service is out- when will it be restored? Your technicians haven’t arrived when you said they would

Power Company: What are YOU doing to help the situation?

Customer: ???

As I told him, people have every right to complain about services that were promised and not rendered and should NOT be the targets of reverse blaming. The victim blaming has to stop.

The truth is Xanga is basically having EdLives twist in the wind so their lack of promise fulfillment and customer contact¬†makes him look like a bad guy as well. At least now he is being “somewhat” more neutral in his responses,¬†although there is still ongoing¬†defending of Xanga¬† such as stating they are taking what we say seriously, but just not responding. The reality is not responding is action that shows they are NOT taking the concerns of the customer seriously at all.

If I were the liaison – I would be pushing John to do a live Q&A on Google hangouts ¬†or ask Alex to host to field user complaints and concerns. You can’t keep telling folks “You understand their anger or concerns” without pushing for the other side (ie, Xanga/John) to respond. Otherwise, you become the defacto “wall” that Xanga is hiding behind.

The complaints are far fewer these days as the majority of folks that had issues have long since moved on and stopped caring. In fact, it seems that of ¬†the remaining trickle of people still blogging there,¬†most¬†must be¬†quite content with the current “alpha-beta” state of Xanga based on their silence or words of support to counter my noted areas of concern.

According to¬†Xanga’s “Splash Page” update last year:

We are now officially in phase 2 (of four) of the Xanga 2.0 launch!

Phase 1: Data Migration
Phase 2: Site Tuning ¬†<—
Phase 3: Feature Prioritization
Phase 4: Building Together

They state they are in “Site Tuning”. The Feb 11 update states they are now “starting” to move into features, which is typically the hardest and longest¬†part of software development. At their current rate it looks like at least¬†3 –¬†¬†5 more years¬†to cover phases 3 and 4, making the likely “completion” no earlier than 2019.

cobwebs_thinkstock_2

I hope the remaining customers are Zen masters of patience- as they will certainly be given much time to practice it in the solitude and quiet of Xanga non updates.

(PS to EdLives, who has reviewed my blogs in the past – if you think I’m not being fair or correct¬†in my comments or assessment of the situation, you’re more than welcome to post your side of the issue and state where I am in error.)

keep-calm-and-enjoy-the-silence-30

Donald Trump- Not an Aberration, but the Culmination of Modern American Politics

TrumpCard

Ever since Donald Trump has entered the 2016 US Presidential Race as a Republican candidate, he has been running a clinic on grabbing and maintaining the main spotlight as well as superior ratings.

It’s a fair estimate that when Trump entered the race, very few media pundits or politicians took him seriously, thinking he’d grab his allotted 15 minutes of candidate fame as another means of marketing his brand, and then depart soon after. But things took an unexpected turn when his bombastic statements about illegal immigration along with his refusal to tone down his rhetoric only served to boost his ratings in the polls rather than cause any negative consequences.

On a roll from that initial fiery blast, when Senator McCain criticized him, he let loose with his now infamous “I like war heroes who weren’t captured.” line that was as hilarious as it was outrageous. In another time long past, a statement like that would have effectively ended the campaign immediately, but in the current age, there was little fallout.

Next up, Senator Graham went to McCain’s defense and called Trump a “Jackass”. Trump responded by doxing Graham by revealing his private cell number to the public. Graham responded by making videos of himself destroying his phone. Again, there was no negative fallout on Trump.

When an online tabloid returned the favor and published Trump’s cell number, Trump masterfully replaced his voice mail greeting with information about his presidential campaign, making it another source of free publicity.

During this time, Trump effectively cornered the market on grabbing all the media’s and public’s attention, leaving little air for the other competing candidates as he dominated the polls as the top choice.

Then came the 1st televised debate ran by Fox News- and it was clear Fox had an agenda to take some air out of Trump’s sails, as was revealed with their sand bag lead off question of asking who would dare to run as an independent candidate if they didn’t get the Republican nomination – a question squarely aimed at Trump.

During the debate, only Rand Paul was willing to take on Trump with direct attacks and looked like he lost in the exchange.  It was clear that neither the other candidates nor Fox were willing to start a head to head Trump match up. His main attacks came from the debate hosts themselves, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelley.

After the debate, media pundits declared Trump a loser, and his criticizing of Fox debate host Megyn Kelly was elevated to make it an example of his misogyny. He was written off, but that epitaph was premature as the latest polls still has him solidly leading the pack. Much to the dismay of Fox and the RNC as well as the other GOP candidates, Trump’s momentum isn’t slowing down or showing any signs of fading.

The media and GOP/RNC continue to scratch their heads as to why all this negative publicity that would have severely weakened other candidates in the past seems to be only making Trump stronger.

Most of these folks must have amnesia of what’s been happening to American politics over the last few decades, which have been growing more and more negative. Civility and decorum have taken a back seat to bombshell statements and theatrics and rather than attempt to tone it down or ignore such behavior, the media glorified it with extra coverage since it meant higher broadcast ratings.

Fox News is only now concerned with Trump’s “off script” behavior since it is being targeted at the GOP, but they had no issues whatsoever when attacks of this level or greater were being hurled at Democrats.

While Democrats may be laughing at the GOP’s frustrations now, they likely won’t be if Trump continues to increase in strength. If you think he’s punching hard now, just wait until it’s the Dems turn to be on the receiving end.

The 2014 elections were the lowest since WWII – people have grown apathetic with the current state of politics. Fewer people believe in what the candidates say or promise.¬† They attack each other viciously in side statements, but never own those comments when called out on them, and go back to being “on script” when the main cameras are on. Trump is using that to his advantage by ignoring all the old rules and running as a straight out populist who doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his “off script” statements. He has positioned himself perfectly to run as an outsider. The conundrum presented to the GOP and other candidates is how do they successfully attack him without alienating his base of supporters? Each attack so far has only validated his “outside” status.

Meanwhile, no major media outlets seem to care that most if not all of the candidates including Trump dodged their questions and change the subject rather than give out meaningful answers. But that’s to be expected in the carnival like “game show” atmosphere of the debate rules where you are only given a minute to answer serious questions- hilarious in itself.

The truth is American Politics has devolved into just another “Reality Show”, so is it any surprise that a reality show star is leading the race?

Canada was hosting their own political debates as well, and it’s quite revealing to see a comparison between us and them to see how much our politics have changed.

 

 

 

 

Canadian Hitchhiking Robot Travels Throughout Canada/Europe – Meets its Doom in U.S.

hitchbot

Okay, so I had no idea that there was a Canadian project created  hitchhiking robot depending on the kindness of strangers to travel across the globe.

I fault my newsfeed for not sharing this info with me (Google News, I’m looking at YOU).

Apparently, after Hitchbot had successfully travelled across Canada and parts of Europe, it was determined that the next trip should be a trek in the US starting in the east coast and heading out to California.

The trip started well enough in Boston and Hitchbot made its way to NYC. However, poor Hitchbot fell victim to possible anti-Robot criminal activity in Philadelphia. Details about what went down here, and here.

 

This certainly doesn’t make the US look good or safe for vulnerable travelers to 1st world countries. We better hope some superior alien race doesn’t send a cute robotic emissary as a test of our integrity anytime soon if we don’t want an intergalactic war¬†on our hands.

 

Case in Point of Bipolar Market Behavior

The markets reaction last Friday to the employment numbers proves we are in a bipolar market.

As you may recall, I discussed market behavior when October employment numbers were released:

The unemployment numbers were higher than expected and the national unemployment rate rose to a high of 10.2%, to which the market responded by rallying and moving higher. The reason given by financial main stream media was higher unemployment means interest rates will likely be kept low for a longer period.

So in their Bizzaro universe, higher unemployment is reason to celebrate in the stock market.

Now there has to be two sides to every equation, which means that if the jobs number showed lower unemployment, the market move should be negative (higher interest rates), right? Well, my Bipolar Market Theory predicts that the market will move in a certain direction independent of any new information.

Now last Friday the jobs number was much lower than expected- only 11K jobs lost for the month and the national unemployment number dropped to 10%

How did the market respond? Well if you guessed it went down since this means interest rates will be going up, you’d be wrong. The market instead rallied to make another new high for the year and ended positive for the day. The financial media, as expected, linked the rally to positive signs of the recovery taking place, forgetting all about interest rates.

So in summing up we have the following:

1) Higher unemployment triggers a market rally.

2) Lower unemployment triggers a market rally.

3) The financial mainstream media will try to make both situations seem logical and expected.

From this we can conclude:

1) Bipolar market theory has been verified.

2) Financial main stream media are basically idiots and should never be looked at for insight.

3) The market isn’t trading on fundamentals at this time, which makes it equivalent to Wyle E. Coyote running off of a cliff and not falling because he hasn’t realized it yet. Technical analysis is best suited for use now and one needs to be alert to any signs of bipolar market sentiment shifting. Once the sentiment shifts negative, you will see the market continue to fall regardless of news in the same fashion as it did going up.

Financial Analysis 101: How to Analyze The Dubai Financial Crisis

Although you could have easily missed it with all the news about Tiger Woods and his auto accident, or the White House party crashers taking up the majority of the air time, there was some very interesting financial news the past week.

Dubai, the play city for the wealthy, has run into financial problems due to plunging real estate values and has asked its creditors for a delay in its debt repayment schedule. Okay, so the fact that Dubai is in danger of defaulting on their debt and facing bankruptcy is just the first part of the interesting news.

The next part, which I find even more interesting, is the fact that none of the other United Arab Emirates (UAE) initially stepped up to “save the day” and even stated that they wouldn’t be stepping in for any bailout. How about that? Forcing Dubai to take responsibility for their own debt problems – what a novel concept!

Could that be a lesson for how the US and Europe should regard corporate debt problems? It would seem it’s a lesson they still aren’t ready to learn as the financial markets responded by falling last Friday and the major complaint/question repeated over and over again by the talking heads on financial and news media was “why wasn’t the UAE going to bail Dubai out?”

This type of mindset angers me to no end. How is it that banks and corporations feel they are entitled to special consideration and being bailed out for the “good of the markets”, and yet these same banks show little to no mercy for their own individual customers like homeowners who fall behind on their debt payments. Their level of hypocrisy knows no bounds, and is a clear example that the harsh realities of accountability don’t appear to apply to rich corporations. It disgusts me.

Meanwhile, the news media would rather keep you updated on fluff news like Tiger Woods, and White House parties instead of news that could actually have an impact in your life. This is why you should NEVER depend on the news for advance warning- by the time it’s becomes “worthy” of their attention, it will be too late to do anything about it.

Here are some of the questions you should be asking about the Dubai situation since most news media isn’t doing it:

1) How does this affect me or my investments?

Just because Dubai is half a world away is no guarantee that their actions have no global impact. The failure of US investment bank Lehman Brothers last year should make that very clear.

2) Could this crisis impact my country?

All investors in Dubai could be impacted – which includes many international banks and investment firms. How much have these corporations loaned to Dubai- which translates into how much of their capital is at risk?

3) What does this say about the remaining “systemic risk” out there?

Think Dubai is the only city-economy in dire straits? Think again. Could there be other cities or nations on financially shaky ground?

4) Why does the news ignore this story for the most part?

You can find news on Dubai if you’re on the financial news network or online service, but good luck finding it on regular TV news, where they would rather compete with Entertainment Tonight or TMZ, rather than give you useful information.

5) How does this affect overall market risk in general and risk to my investments in particular?

By effectively gauging risk, you will be ahead of the curve in keeping your long term investments safe from severe market turmoil.