This Has Nothing To Do With Alan Greenspan | - Part 5

Granted, I’m 54 years old and am fast approaching the once unthinkable age of 60, so, there are a lot of things in this changing world that I just don’t get, but the “my life is in my smart phone” thinking amongst the younger set really makes me scratch my head sometimes, particularly when reading stories like Mobile addiction growing at an alarming rate last week at CNBC and learning the new term Nomophobia at Wikipededia.

Mobile addicts are multiplying at an alarming rate, as an increasing number of teens, college students and middle-age parents fall victim to the problem.

A “mobile addict” is defined as a user that launches apps more than 60 times a day, according to mobile analytics firm Flurry, six times more than the average user.

The number of mobile addicts has grown by 123 percent over the past year, according to Flurry, which looks at data from 500,000 apps across 1.3 billion mobile devices.

As of March 2014, there were 176 million addicts, up from 79 million in the same period last year. Females accounted for 52 percent of addicts, while the rest were males.

It comes as no surprise that teens and college students are part of this group as their youth has coincided with the mobile revolution.

“[Teens] are not just accustomed to mobile, they expect their mobile device to handle nearly every type of task and communication,” Flurry said.

I recently made the switch from a Breaking Bad-style pay-as-you-go flip phone to a smart phone, but only because Trac-Phone and Samsung came out with an inexpensive device (Galaxy Centura for $70 at Target) that will probably only cost me $100 a year in usage fees.

Since ski season ended last week and I stopped using Skitracks and texting my skiing buddies, the phone just sits there most of the time, though it is pretty cool to have your entire music library on the device and be able to play it via Bluetooth in your car.

The Drought in the Golden State

This item at The Economist’s Daily Chart feature and the graphic below that was pulled from it detail the dire state of affairs in California these days, water-wise.

They’ve reportedly got the budget under control (thanks in large part to the combination of yet another real estate boom/bubble and yet another technology boom/bubble), but what’s being called the worst drought in 500 years may be a more difficult problem to solve.

I remember that early-1990s dry spell – people were painting their lawns green in Santa Barbara and harassing neighbors who chose to wash their cars in their driveway. The thing is, the population has grown by about 8 million or so since then and by about 20 million since the late-1960s, the last time that reservoir levels were this low.

Also see this AP story about how California’s water problems (and last winter’s Polar Vortex problems) are both probably a result of the world’s climate change problems.

Someday, We’ll Miss Joe Biden

It may well be that caricatures and impersonations of Vice President Joe Biden in such places as Saturday Night Live have unalterably shaped opinions of the man to his detriment. Nevertheless, you can’t help but chuckle a little bit when you seen headlines and photos like the combination below from this story at Bloomberg.

In Biden’s defense, he’s only got about a quarter-smile going on there (which, for most of the general population, would be a pretty wide, full smile) and this may or may not have anything to do with anything that is going on in Ukraine.

It would seem that his biggest obstacles to securing the Oval Office in 2016 (well, aside from Hillary) is that he’s so gaffe-prone and has a history of smiling at all the wrong times.

There was a nice article in Fortune magazine not long ago about Martin Guitar of Nazareth, PA and it’s been hanging around in my Drafts folder, waiting for some Sunday morning when there wasn’t anything else readily available to hoist up.

As some of you may know, I grew up just a few miles from Nazareth and Martin Guitar ranks probably a distant second to Mario Andretti in the town’s claim to fame.

Even with consumer spending on the uptick, you might not think buyers would be spending their dollars on guitars. But think again. Business at the legendary guitar manufacturer C.F. Martin & Company has never been better. In fact, with $114.3 million in sales, 2013 marked the guitar manufacturer’s best year ever.

True, superstars play Martin’s fabled instruments. But the guitar maker’s success is due as much to the fact that this family business, founded in 1833, sees to it that quality control, customer relations, and service stay strong and remain under careful scrutiny.

As Martin grapples with the rising cost of raw materials and a deluge of low-cost competitors, it has managed to retain the reputation as the BMW of the guitar world.

“Our 2013 fourth-quarter sales were the best in our company’s history,” says Dick Boak, director of the museum, archives, and special projects for Martin. “We always get a big bump at the end of the year, because of Christmas. This year something unusual happened. There’s a young guitar player named Ed Sheeran from England, who is very popular with kids, from about 15 to 25. They saw him on TV playing a fairly inexpensive guitar of ours, a ‘Little Martin LX’ [retails for around $300]. So we did a limited edition of about 4,000. And they all sold out.”

If you’re ever in the area, a visit is highly recommended.

I’m not a guitar player, but they have a terrific museum and a great factory tour that should be of interest to anyone. Just the fact that a family-owned company has survived and is now thriving after more than 180 years is pretty impressive in itself.

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