July 3, 2006

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (070306)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:01 am

NOTE: This will be today’s last post.


Free Links:

  • Chinese intellectual property pirates don’t play favorites — nor are they particularly patriotic:

    Piracy Hurting China’s Own Industries

    Kingsoft Corp.’s English-Chinese dictionary program is used on most of China’s 60 million PCs. That’s the good news. The bad news: Kingsoft doesn’t make any money from it, because 90 percent of those copies are pirated.

    One by one, the Beijing-based software maker has seen its sales of such popular products destroyed after black market producers flooded the market with cheap copies.

    Today, Kingsoft’s 600 programmers focus on making what it hopes can’t be copied — online games and business and anti-virus programs that have to be linked to its own computers in order to function.

    “Piracy has had a big impact on us, making it so we can’t get powerful and compete with Microsoft,” said Ren Jian, a former Microsoft manager who is Kingsoft’s chief operating officer.

    Kingsoft is far from alone. Rampant Chinese piracy of music, movies and software that raises howls of protest from the United States, Europe and elsewhere is hitting China’s fledgling creative industries hardest of all. Robbed of sales in their key home market, companies are short of money to develop new products to compete with foreign rivals.

    Maybe seeing their own industries harmed will motivate the Chinese to get away from its lax attitude towards piracy.

  • Ho-hum job news

    Direct Supply Inc. plans to add 1,000 to 1,500 new jobs over the next 10 years at its expanded corporate headquarters – an $85 million project from a technology-based company that will boost the lackluster business landscape on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

    Direct Supply plans to expand its corporate campus, which now includes several buildings on N. Industrial Road, north of W. Mill Road and east of N. 76th St. The complex now houses 650 employees, with an average annual salary above $50,000.

    Under the expansion plan, more than 500,000 square feet of new offices will be added for up to 1,500 new employees. Nine separate buildings on the company’s campus will be linked by new multistory additions.

    The expansion increases the capacity of the company to add up to 2,500 employees over 20 years, according to Direct Supply’s plan.

  • This is good news, and it’s also an example of a competitive market (partially) correcting itself when things are out of whack“It appears that Verizon Wireless has finally realized that people aren’t thrilled about (early termination fees). They’re still keeping the early termination fee, but prorating it, so that the closer you are to the end of your contract, the cheaper it is to leave. That seems a lot more fair. The company also has decided that existing customers can get the same deals on new phones that new customers can — which is something that never made sense.”
  • I would think it pretty obvious that unless you work alone, wearing flip-flops to work would be unprofessional and could hurt your career. Apparently some people have to be told.
  • The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence measurements shot way up from May to June — current conditions from 96.1 to 105.o; future expectations from 68.2 to 72.0; overall final readings from 79.1 to 84.9. Lower inflation expectations were credited for the improvements. Thanks, Ben Bernanke, for so far doing what Don Luskin hoped you would.

Positivity: Gold Prospector and His Dog Rescued after Losing Boat

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

Prospector Myron Chamblee didn’t find any gold. He’s probably okay with that:

Prospector rescued from Yukon River

Saturday, July 01, 2006 – A Fairbanks man and his dog were rescued Wednesday after spending two days holed up in a cabin along the Yukon River eating fried dough and rhubarb after his boat sank while he was prospecting for gold.

Myron Chamblee, 42, was picked up by helicopter Wednesday night at a National Park Service cabin on Washington Creek, which flows into the Yukon River about 100 miles upstream of Circle in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Park and Preserve.

Chamblee signaled a passing airplane from Everts Air Service earlier in the day with aerial flares and the pilot notified Alaska State Troopers.

“I knew I was in the flight path between Eagle and Circle,” said Chamblee, who carried six aerial flares in a survival pack. “That was part of the plan if I ran into any trouble.”

Accompanied by his 7-year-old husky mix, Scooby-Doo, Chamblee arrived at Washington Creek from Circle on June 20 in a 20-foot flat-bottom riverboat to scout a possible gold mining spot he had been told about.

After parking his boat at a Park Service cabin near the mouth of the creek, Chamblee spent two days hiking 15 miles up the creek in a pair of hip waders to reach his prospecting spot, which he said is located outside park boundaries.

It started raining almost as soon as he got there but he was able to take refuge in a well-stocked trapper’s cabin he knew about, said Chamblee, who owns a cabin in Circle and is familiar with the section of the Yukon River between Circle and Eagle.

It rained for the next three days and the water in the creek came up about two feet, he said. Chamblee had intended to spend only one day prospecting at the cabin, but he ended up staying there for three days waiting for the water to drop.

It took two days for him and the dog to make it back to the boat. When they got there on Monday it was under water. He had tied the boat off on the creek bank but the bowline got hooked on a stump and wouldn’t allow the boat to rise with the creek, Chamblee said.

“It didn’t take much current to swamp it,” he said.

The boat’s 40-horsepower motor was sticking out of the water and the bowline was showing but Chamblee’s initial attempt to retrieve the boat failed. Exhausted and hungry, Chamblee decided to wait for the water to go down.

Chamblee had been rationing MRE’s for two days and had eaten the last half of the last one that morning. The only thing he could find to eat in the Park Service cabin was flour, so he and his dog spent the next two days eating pan bread, Chamblee said.

“I’d make a paste out of it and cook it,” he said.

A patch of rhubarb growing outside the cabin complemented the pan bread, Chamblee said. He peeled the rhubarb and ate it raw.

“I love rhubarb,” he said.

But instead of going down the next day, the water in the creek rose again and submerged the boat, making it impossible to move it.

On Wednesday, Chamblee decided to attempt to signal a passing plane with one of his six flares. He had heard the plane passing overhead each morning on its daily flight to Eagle. Chamblee fired two flares but the pilot didn’t see them, he said.

Chamblee tried again on the plane’s return flight, firing four flares this time.

“Once I had his attention I wanted to make sure I kept it,” he said.

The pilot notified Alaska State Troopers in Tok at around 11:30 a.m. Troopers alerted the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage, which plotted the original GPS coordinates for the flares on Weshrinarin Creek, which is about five miles downstream of Washington Creek.

Both troopers and the Park Service sent planes to the area but found no sign of Chamblee. It wasn’t until Park Service personnel contacted the Everts pilot again to clarify the location that he mentioned there was a cabin in the area. That’s when rescuers figured out Chamblee was actually on Washington Creek.

The Park Service dispatched a helicopter to the cabin and found Chamblee and his dog hungry but in good shape at around 9 p.m.

“I was happy to see them,” said Chamblee, who commended the Park Service for “bending over backwards” to help him.

They were flown to Eagle, where Chamblee was treated to a plate of spaghetti and Scooby-Doo got a bowl of dog food.

….. As for gold, Chamblee said he didn’t find any.