Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Iphone to Android Migration

I am in the midst of moving from Iphone (IOS) to Android.  Why?

I like my Iphone 6+ but it is getting old and cranky - the charging connector is intermittent, app performance is slow, and it is running out of memory.  On top of that, I have two SIMs, one from a Canadian operator and one from the US.  Iphones don't handle dual SIMs, but I found a clumsy workaround.

So I looked at getting a new Iphone.  The Iphone X is expensive, and I don't like the facial recognition thing.  The Iphone 8 is expensive, has the same screen as my 3 year old Iphone, and just adds wireless charging.  The Iphone 7 is the exact same as my Iphone 6 except it has a faster processor, it is also expensive.

So I looked at Android and found an unlocked dual SIM phone from a reputable manufacturer (ASUS) that supports two SIM cards.  Check out the comparison between my current phone, the IPhone 7+, and the Zenfone 4 here.  It is almost the same hardware as the Iphone 7, but half the price, and it supports dual SIMs.

I managed to find a way to sync photos and music using software called "Doubletwist" and reloaded all my favorite apps onto the Zenfone.

So far, so good.  The dual SIM performance is much better on the Zenfone compared to my Iphone workaround, the screen is nice, size and weight are good, battery performance is excellent.

Apple needs to up its game to stay competitive in the Smartphone space, in my opinion.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Facebook is Evil Part 2

Reference my previous blog post about Facebook and how it distorts the news to keep you coming back to their site.

The latest information is that Facebook allowed your private information to be sold without your consent to political operatives who used it to influence the 2016 US election.  This info, combined with Facebook algorithms that promote biassed and false news, allowed the Republican party to target people with ads and news stories to influence their votes.  It also allowed Republicans to avoid wasting money targeting people who would never vote for lying sexual predators like Trump.

So I have given up on Facebook.  I have not looked at it for 45 days and they bombard me with messages saying that I am missing out on cat videos and pictures from distant acquaintances.  I will stay away.

photo credit: Flickr

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Time to Rebalance Your Portfolio

The stock markets in the USA are hitting new records again. It means your stocks, ETFs, Equity Mutual Funds are probably at all time highs as well.

You probably have a desired portfolio allocation for stocks, bonds, international stocks, cash, etc. Check your holdings and you will likely find you are over-weighted in stocks because of the market's performance.

So now is a good time to rebalance your portfolio if your allocation is out of balance by more than a few percent. Sell some of those winning domestic equity holdings, buy bonds or international stocks or whatever you are underweight. This means "take some of your winnings off the table."

This technique of keeping a balanced portfolio is recommended by Warren Buffet, Vanguard, Fidelity, and most other respected investment authorities.

Disclaimer: this is not professional investment advice and should be used at your own risk. The author is not a licensed financial advisor. You should not believe everything on the Internet including this blog and should check multiple sources possibly including a professional financial advisor before making decisions.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Watch Out for Inflation

A few of us remember the 70's and 80's when inflation was around 10%.  When I started work, I was disappointed if I did not get a raise of 15 to 20% and I expected my rent to go up about 10% per year.  President Nixon was so worried about inflation that he passed wage and price controls, and he was a Republican.

USA Inflation % per year

For the last 20 years, inflation has been low.  Drastic increases in interest rates by the Fed (Volker) slowed inflation.  Then, productivity increases due to technology (Internet, wireless, computers..), globalization, and other factors have kept wage and price inflation under control.

Right now we see a perfect storm:
  • low unemployment in the USA and many other countries
  • economic growth in the USA and globally
  • fiscal stimulus in the USA from tax cuts and debt increases
  • employers unable to get workers in the USA, immigration being reduced
  • plenty of money in the financial system due to past stimulus, quantitative easing
  • endless war in Afghanistan and Iraq
This should cause an increase in inflation, but so far we don't see it.  No one seems to know why based on my reading of financial media and listening to Bloomberg.  Every "expert" says something like "I can't explain why inflation is low but I think .."

My opinion is that we will get much higher inflation starting in a year or two, perhaps sooner.  There are too many factors that will drive up wages and then prices.

Disclaimer: this is not professional investment advice and should be used at your own risk. The author is not a licensed financial advisor. You should not believe everything on the Internet including this blog and should check multiple sources possibly including a professional financial advisor before making decisions.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

BIG Warm Canadian Winter Coats

My wife just talked me into buying a new winter coat, a warm one.  It cost a fortune and I get heat prostration if I wear it inside or in the car, it is very warm.  The "snorkel hood" is so big I look like an elephant with a trunk if I deploy it.

Canadians seem to really be into big warm winter coats, think "Canada Goose" or similar.  You see them everywhere.  If you wanted to organize a walk to the North Pole, you could round up random people on Ste Catherine Street in Montreal and they would all be fully equipped for the expedition.  Even teenagers wear these Michelin Man coats.

Back in the day (60's and 70's), no one would be seen dead with such a big warm coat.  At our high school, you could identify students by their winter wear when it was -20 Celcius:

  1. The "Cool Kids" - they would have a jean jacket with a short sleeve T shirt underneath, ripped jeans, and adidas sneakers.
  2. The "Regular Kids" - jean jacket with sweater underneath or stylish lightweight ski jacket, jeans, and boots.
  3. The "Uncool kids" - random winter jacket, corduroy trousers for warmth, and overshoe boots over unstylish shoes.  Usually accented with a ridiculous winter hat with a huge pom-pom on top.

I fondly remember going skiing in -40C wind chill weather and wanting to attract girls so I wore a sweater, nylon jacket, tight ski pants, stylish hat and gloves, and I got frostbite and no girl took a second look.  If anything had happened, they would have admired my hidden red long underwear I am sure.

But now I am old and under new management, so it is a super warm super thick super duper jacket for me.