Archive for January, 2009

Here is an awesome piece from MSNBC!  10 things that Mike Elgan doesn’t believe will survive the recession.

FYI…my predictions are in bold.

1. Free Tech Support

The practice still employed by some companies of paying humans to answer phones and solve technical problems with hardware or software purchased for consumers will become a thing of the past. PCs, laptops and hardware peripherals, as well as application software — these categories will be purchased like airline tickets, with price becoming the sole criteria for many buyers. In order to compete on price, companies who now offer real tech support will replace it with message boards (users helping users), wikis, wizards, software-based troubleshooting tools and other unsatisfying alternatives.


2. Wi-Fi You Have to Pay For

Everyone is going to share the cost of public Wi-Fi because the penny-pinching public will gravitate to places that offer “free” Wi-Fi. Companies that charge extra for Wi-Fi will see their iPhone, BlackBerry and netbook-toting customers — i.e., everybody — taking business elsewhere. The only place you’ll pay for Wi-Fi will be on an airplane.


3. Landline Phones

Digital phone bundles for homes (where TV, home networking and landline phone service are offered in a total package) will keep the landline idea alive for a while, but as millions of households drop their cable TV services and as consumers look to cut all needless costs, the trend toward dropping landline service in favor of cell phone service only will accelerate until it’s totally mainstream, and only grandma still has a landline phone.


4. Movie Rental Stores

The idea of retail stores where you drive there, pick a movie, stand in line and drive home with it will become a quaint relic of the new fin de siecle (look it up!). The new old way to get movies will be discs by mail, and the new, new way will be downloading.


5. Web 2.0 Companies Without a Business Plan

The era when Web-based companies could emerge and grow on venture capital, collecting eyeballs and members at a rapid clip and deferring the business plan until later are dead and gone. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Twitter. Sand Hill Road-style venture capital is shrinking toward nothing, and investors in general will be hard to come by. Those few remaining investors will want to see real, solid business plans before the first dollar is wired to any startup’s bank.


6. Most Companies in Silicon Valley

Tech company failures and mergers will leave the industry with a low two-digit percentage (maybe 25%) of the total number of companies now in existence. Like the automobile industry, which had more than 200 car makers in the 1920s and emerged from the Depression with just a few, Silicon Valley is in for some serious contraction. The difference is that the auto industry ended up with the Big Three, whereas the number of tech companies will grow dramatically again during the next boom.


7. Palm Inc.

Elevation Partners, which has among its principals U2 lead singer Bono, pumped a whopping $100 million into the failing Palm Inc. this week.

The idea is to give the company time to release its forthcoming Nova operating system, which will take the cell-phone world by storm and give Apple a run for its money. It would have been far more efficient, however, to just flush that money down the toilet. With the iPhone setting the handset interface agenda, Blackberry-maker RIM kicking butt in the businesses market, and Google stirring up trouble with its Android platform, this is no time for a clueless company like Palm to be introducing a new operating system. By this time next year, Palm will be gone. And so might Elevation Partners.


8. Yahoo

Yahoo is another company that can’t seem to do anything right. Or, at least, can’t compete with Google. Yahoo will be acquired by someone, and its brand will become an empty shell — used for some inane set of services but appreciated only by armchair historians (joining the ranks of Netscape, Napster and Commodore).


9. Half of All Retail Stores

Many retail stores are obsolete and will be replaced by online competitors. Entire malls will become ghost towns. By this time next year, most video game stores, book stores and toy stores — as well as many other categories — will simply vanish. Amazon.com will grow and grow.


10. Satellite Radio

I’m sorry, Howard Stern. It’s over. The newly merged Sirius XM Radio simply cannot sustain its losses. The company is already deeply in debt and would need to dramatically increase subscribers over the next six months in order to meet its debt obligations. Unfortunately, new car sales, where a huge percentage of satellite radios are sold, are in the gutter and stand-alone subscriptions are way down.


Change is hard. But efficiency is good. While boom years gives us radical innovation and improve consumer choice, recessions help us focus on what’s really important and accelerate the demise of technologies and companies that are already obsolete.

So say good-bye to these 10 things, and say hello (eventually) to a new economy, a new boom and a new way of doing things.


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I love all these MSG haters out there who think that Chinese food makes them sick due to the MSG. The truth of the matter is that MSG is in tons of things that we eat….especially processed food.  It seems that Chinese food has become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy. The same people who claim that Chinese food make them sick suffer no ill effects from these common foods.

  • Taco Bell – most of it
  • McDonald’s – most of it
  • Burger King – most of it
  • Any other fast food joint – most of it

Okay….who is kidding who?  The first 4 make us all sick…..

  • Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles  (targeted towards children)
  • Doritos
  • Campbell’s soups – all of them – based on their commitment to add “umami” (read – MSG) to their products
  • Pringles (the flavored varieties)
  • Lipton Noodles and Sauce
  • Lipton Instant soup mix
  • Knorr products – often used in homemade Veggie dips.
  • Kraft products nearly all contain some free glutamate
  • Cup-a-soup or Cup-o-Noodles
  • Planters salted nuts – most of them
  • Accent -this is nearly pure MSG
  • Fish extract – made from decomposed fish protein – used now in Japanese sushi dishes – very high in free glutamate.
  • sausages – most supermarkets add MSG to theirs
  • processed cheese
  • supermarket poultry or  turkeys that are injected or “self-basting”
  • restaurant gravy from food service cans
  • flavored ramen noodles
  • bouillon – any kind
  • instant soup mixes
  • many salad dressings
  • most salty, powdered dry food mixes – read labels
  • flavored potato chips
  • restaurant soups made from food service soup base or with added MSG
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein (found in many processed foods, like canned tuna and even hot dogs)
  • hydrolyzed plant protein (found in many processed foods, like canned tuna and even hot dogs)
  • autolysis yeast (found in many processed foods, read labels)
  • beet juice – it is used as a coloring, but MSG is manufactured from beets and the extract may contain free glutamic acid – Yo Baby – organic baby yogurt has just changed the formula to include beet extract
  • yeast extract
  • yeast food or nutrient
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Here is the kicker….the human body treats glutamate that is added to foods in the form of MSG the same as the natural glutamate found in food. For instance, the body does not distinguish between free glutamate from tomatoes, cheese or mushrooms and the glutamate from MSG added to Chinese food.  Glutamate is glutamate, whether naturally present or from MSG.  Here is just a tiny sample:

Glutamate Contents of Foods

Food Size

Serving Glutamate

Tomato juice

1 cup



3 slices


Meat loaf dinner

9 oz.


Human breast milk

1 cup



1/4 cup


Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp



1/2 cup



1/2 cup


Cow’s milk

1 cup


Canned tuna (in water)

1/2 can


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I predict that the price of a barrel of oil will dip as low and $29 by Q2 of 2009 (currently sitting between $38 and $45).  Not only are supplies fairly high right now but everything we read tell us that demand is going lower and lower.  The recession causing us to use less oil but also the annoyance of paying $147 a barrel last summer is making us conscious of our consumption.

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