Gongol.com Archives: 2016 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol


April 29, 2016

Threats and Hazards Syrian town of Aleppo now faces utter devastation

A true human disaster

Threats and Hazards Why everyone should know self-defense, case study #21

Three members of a family got attacked out of the blue in a street in Thailand

Computers and the Internet Microsoft buys into DNA-based data storage

DNA is, after all, just a means of biological data storage. Whether it can be used synthetically for the same purpose but on a very large scale? That's what Microsoft wants to figure out.

Computers and the Internet It's getting harder to sell devices

...so Apple is trying to pivot harder into service businesses

Computers and the Internet What a CEO tells you -- and how -- tells you a lot about the company

Which makes it intriguing that the Alphabet (that is, Google) team took a pass on so doing this year



April 28, 2016

News Joint Chiefs chair: We don't want to go into fair fights

He wants the US Armed Forces to have "the capability and credibility to assure our allies and partners, deter aggression and overmatch any potential adversary"

Broadcasting Comcast is buying Dreamworks for just under $4 billion

Comcast, once just a simple cable company in Tupelo, Mississippi, has gone full-bore for content creation since becoming majority partner in NBCUniversal in 2011. The deal is being spun as a way to get stronger in "family" programming -- though Comcast carefully calls it "the highly competitive kids and family entertainment space". If it weren't "highly competitive", they might face tougher odds gaining regulatory approval. Of course, Disney bought Pixar, and arguments are made that Pixar is the better studio.

Computers and the Internet Microsoft is testing underwater data centers

Figuring that the preponderance of the world's population lives close to the ocean, they're trying to figure out how to deliver things like cloud computing without taking up valuable landside real estate

Computers and the Internet Is Yahoo proper really worth -$8 billion?

Stock markets can be terribly irrational sometimes. The tech industry is a brutal marketplace. Together, it adds up to a highly un-enviable spot for Yahoo.

News The US is sending F-22 jets to Romania

That's not a recreational trip -- it's a show of force


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April 27, 2016

Science and Technology Bill Gates on the future of energy

On this issue, at least, he's a supply-sider

Business and Finance Why Goldman Sachs is opening an online bank

Deposits from people who open savings accounts give them financing that makes the regulators happy

Business and Finance Why isn't the Porsche family intervening more at Volkswagen?

When the family business is in trouble, someone in the family either needs to step in or find someone who can. It doesn't look like that's happening at VW.

Computers and the Internet Nokia is getting into wearable tech gadgets

The one-time dominant phone maker is out of that game entirely, and now looks at wearables as a growth industry

Computers and the Internet Chatbots aren't perfect for everything

Sure, there are plenty of circumstances under which people might want to use natural language in order to interact with a firm or organization. But there are also plenty of times when the scope of what a person can actually do with such an organization are fairly narrow and the exchange is best conducted with something like an interactive contact form instead.



April 26, 2016

Computers and the Internet Apple iPhone sales shrink

And the company is dependent upon iPhone sales, so that shrinks the revenues to the company

Threats and Hazards Chernobyl, 30 years later

Let it not be forgotten that the disaster at Chernobyl was predominantly the result of human error, compounded by a system that couldn't handle mistakes well

Business and Finance Mitsubishi is in huge trouble for fuel-economy miscalculations

Potentially trailing back for 25 years

Agriculture Farmers are taking out bigger loans and banks are demanding more collateral

Another sign of rough roads present and ahead for the agricultural economy

Science and Technology Transmitting wind power isn't easy

To get it from where it's produced to where it's consumed requires lots of transmission lines -- and there are political costs to overcome



April 25, 2016

Iowa Doing business on a handshake

The fact it's not unusual to do that in the Midwest is a cultural strength that becomes a business advantage. As noted here in 2010, reputations are highly valuable and much too important to risk in even the largest of Upper Midwestern cities. That keeps people generally on their best behavior.

Business and Finance Gannett offers to buy Tribune Publishing for $815 million

Gannett, freshly off a split from its electronic-media properties, is right back to the behavior that got it into trouble in the first place: Unbridled acquisition. The deal would include a massive pile of debt over at Tribune. Bloomberg estimates that Gannett 12% of the nation's daily newspaper circulation, and Tribune has 5%.

News The ruins of empire

Literally -- the ruins of buildings that once housed the functions of the British Empire

News "He's with me" versus "I'm with her"

An interesting perspective on the durability of Donald Trump's following

Socialism Doesn't Work China shuts down iTunes and Apple bookstore

Beware any government that would shut off the flow of knowledge