Thus far, the current economic cold war between the United States and China is like a children’s’ snowball fight. If it were adults fighting, one would think they would have learned from the previous cold war. At least the U.S., with a relatively recent history of gunfighting, should know how to avoid shooting itself in the foot, as it seems to be doing these days with President Trump’s threat of banning the WeChat app, which is likely to hurt sales in China by companies such as Apple, Ford, and Walt Disney. And Trump’s forcing Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges to comply with American accounting rules could trigger hacking of the November 3 presidential election. And last, but not least, is the continuing hijinks of Huawei and corralling of it by the USA.
Different countries have different standards of honesty. This isn’t just idle chatter. A study found that the Chinese to be the most dishonest, and Japanese and British the least dishonest. Other Truths”(at high prices!) and “Get Rich Cheating: The Crooked Path to Easy Street (Chinese Edition)”. Interestingly, Twitter says China’s Coronavirus lies are OK. A Chinese woman paid $6.5M after her daughter got into Stanford. Steve Saleen lost his racecar design and intellectual property to China.
The Chinese do not have a reputation for being generous in business transactions. So if they are giving away seeds for free, recipients (and the authorities), should be suspicious. These seeds are being shipped worldwide, are often labeled as other goods, and could be part of a “brushing scheme”. There also is a possibility that the seeds include ones that are species that are poisonous or that could crowd out worthwhile species, which is an ancient biblical parable.
Innovation isn’t always pretty in the beginning. Just ask Elon Musk. But he had a vision about electric cars and solar panels. In the early days of Tesla, there must have been many moments when he wondered if he would succeed. In particular, he sacrificed quality to achieve the quantity of cars. But now, even with the shutdown of the California factory, Tesla’s shipments were higher than expected.
Facebook’s antics have caught up with it. Facebook’s original objective was to connect individuals with each other. It was a computerized superset of what was known to college students of an earlier generation whose primary use was often to look at pictures of the opposite sex to see if they were attractive and of an appropriate height. It did have addresses but no telephone numbers. And, of course, no email address. As technology evolved, the information was put onto the Internet. And because of the large concentration of college students in the Boston, MA area who were tech-savvy, it was predictable that it would be where this would happen first. Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook, which initially dealt with interpersonal communications. And as it evolved people found it useful for communicating among groups of relatives or friends. And if it had continued to play this role, Facebook would not have run into the problems that have caused Zuckerberg to be forced to testify to the U.S. Congress in 2018. But in 2007 the company introduced Facebook Ads, which made the company a lot of money. However, some of the content posted on Facebook seriously offended the advertisers, who are giant corporations, and an increasing number have boycotted Facebook. Even though Facebook is losing these advertisers Zuckerberg cries all the way to the bank.
Anyone who has opened an account has run the gantlet of questions that are used in the event of entering its password incorrectly. (We deplore the use of passwords so when we are forced to create them we use some variation of “dumb idea” or “dongle” (a dongle is a small device able to be connected to and used with a computer, especially to allow access to wireless broadband or use of protected software).) In our case, we have had to provide the answers to such questions as “Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?”, “What was the model of your first car?”, or “What was your mother’s maiden name?” Most recently we had to provide several answers to such arcane questions that we laughed. Fortunately, this is such a widespread nuisance that it has resulted in some humorous suggestions.
It seems to us that the POTUS (the President of the United States) should be dealing with the affairs of the state rather than lobbing bombs of various sizes at social media, especially these days. Twitter was historically benefitted because Trump used it so frequently and thus publicized it. But social media is now lobbing their own bombs. Starting on Memorial Day (May 25), instead of inspiring unity, Twitter applied a fact-checking notice to Trump’s tweets on the subject of voter fraud, non-usage of masks, and other issues. Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg refused to take Trump to task, causing a bunch of Facebook employees to use Twitter to voice their objection. Some of Facebook’s larger advertisers, North Face and Patagonia in particular hit him where it hurts.
Apparently the US government is finally getting ready to sue Google for monopolizing online ads. Why is it taking so long? It’s because Google and other large high-technology companies deliver a lot of value-added in products and/or services. Google has been monopolizing the search business for years, and selling ads is how they monetize their search efforts.
Actually, they can count but they cheat. In the early days of our TechnologyBloopers website, we received an email from Google Analytics indicating that we had only 26 visitors during December 2017. But our hosting company Omnis tallied 2523. Why the difference? Might Google have been deliberately counting lower so they could sell us AdWords?
QuickBooks is a popular accounting app. We wonder why. Our better half is a financial professional with a CPA, and she is challenged to deposit funds because the process is so Byzantine. And a week ago QuickBooks let us write and print a check with a blank amount. Is that reasonable? We thought not. So we surfed the web with “problems with quickbooks” and found hundreds of items, including recommendations to convert QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop and a bunch dealing with printing errors.