Not that bad an idea

Notorious mobster’s daughter hawking Godfather coffee pods

The daughter of notorious Sicilian mob boss Totò Riina has begun selling coffee pods and olive oil in his memory, just weeks after his death.

An unrepentant antithesis to ethical coffee, the “Uncle Totò” capsules are named after the ferocious Corleone-based godfather responsible for dozens of murders who once ordered a 13-year-old boy to be strangled and dissolved in acid.

One of the less dangerous ways she could trade on the family name, no?

Cockrot nonsense from Microsoft

Word (or Office 365) subscription. Needs to be paid. I’ve a US credit card. Which I can add to their system, but only for purchases in the US. Sitting here in Portugal I must use a card with a P address.

You know, as if people never move around, never buy stuff outside home, never have, say, a business cc from a different country?

Well done to a multinational there, eh?


Calling Mr Newman

Some Uber drivers in Lagos have been using a fake GPS itinerary app to illicitly bump up fares for local riders.
Initially created for developers to “test geofencing-based apps,” Lockito, an Android app that lets your phone follow a fake GPS itinerary, is being used by Uber drivers in Lagos to inflate the cost of their trips.

For the Lord’s sake, please, stop the damn idiocy

Supermarkets are cashing in by selling standard own-label products that are apparently identical to their value range.
An investigation found no difference in the ingredients or nutrition between the two price tiers across a range of products.
Honey, corned beef and UHT milk were all affected – while there was also no meaningful difference in taste between standard and value packs of mild cheddar.
The only way to tell the lines apart was the packaging – and the fact that the price of standard lines is much higher. A probe by Channel 4’s Supershoppers programme found in some cases the standard and value products come from the same factory.

It’s not that the medium stuff is more expensive, it’s that the cheap stuff is cheaper.

Sure, it’s price discrimination, market segmentation. But they do it by making the labels on the cheap stuff garish – and equally, obvious to all that someone is buying the cheap stuff. Those who care more about money than appearances thus get the deals.

This is something we wish to complain about, is it?

Tesla’s pricing is all a bit like IBM, isn’t it?

Last week Tesla unveiled its electric Semi to great fanfare. The four-motor truck was announced with a 500-mile range and some self-driving capabilities. What Elon Musk failed to provide was a price. Now that’s changed: the regular versions of the 300-mile and the 500-mile trucks will cost $150,000 and $180,000 each.

Bit like moving the belts over from A to B. You pay more for the throughput of the card machine, not the costs of it.

Any tech type like to collaborate on a little adventure?

So, continuing to look around for things that can be done. And why not start to think like an economist a bit?

What is it that I know that I can do? What’s a comparative advantage?

Well, after a decade of doing it I do know that I can write stuff that Google picks up. Not necessarily exactly and absolutely the very finest of everything going viral but sound enough stuff that doesn’t violate guidelines an appears high enough in search (especially Google News).

So, perhaps that is what I should be doing?

But I have zero technical skills. And someone with reasonable technical skills would make a site trying to do that work much, much, better.

So, that’s the adventure. I’ll put in all the grunt work of producing material that appeals to search engines. On the tech side I need a site, all the background stuf that aids in search engine picking it up, plus signing up to ad networks an all that.

A little more. I’m convinced that static sites are the way to go here. Django, something like that. The front end should look like a newspaper site. Back end, as far as possible, something like WordPress (or other similar editor). But in the technical sense the site is static, not dynamic, in order to increase loading times. That increases search ranking all on its lonesome. Ads obviously will be dynamic but that doesn’t matter, Google ranks according to the page load, not what happens after that.

Hmm, so, anyone? I’ve a proven ability – on the right platform – to get 500k to 1 million page views a month. Ad rates, when you have a few different ads on a screen, are perhaps $5/000.


Displacement activity, displacement activity!

Elon Musk, the Chief Executive of electric car maker Tesla, unveiled a surprise new vehicle on Thursday night – a roadster that he said would be the “fastest production car ever” made.

Capable of going from 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, the Tesla Roadster would be the first such car ever to break the two second mark, the entrepreneur said at a launch near Los Angeles.

He also said it would climb from 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds and clear a quarter mile in 8.9 seconds. “This will the first time that any production car has broken 9 seconds in the quarter mile,” he said

With a 200 kilowatt hour battery pack, the Tesla Roadster will have a range of 620 miles on a single charge – another new record.

“The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” he said.

“Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

The solar roof is way behind schedule, the Model 3 is having appalling manufacturing problems, the company’s burning through limited capital – great, upgrade the software and put a bigger battery in!

Fiddling and Rome come to mind.

It’s obviously possible that Tesla’s going to make it but that’s not the way I would be betting at present.

But she was there purely on merit, surely?

Angola’s new President Joao Lourenco has sacked Africa’s richest woman from chairing the state-owned oil company in a major boardroom cull just weeks after coming to power.

Isabel dos Santos, the ousted chair of Sonangol, is the daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos who stepped down in September. She was appointed only eighteen months ago by presidential decree, but will be replaced by former Sonangol executive Carlos Saturnino who she fired last year.

Or, you know, maybe not?

Not sure about the numeracy here

Ambitious graduates are no longer interested in pursuing careers in banking because they are too “socially conscious”, the outgoing head of Britain’s biggest graduate recruiter has said.

Since the financial crash, lucrative graduate schemes in the city have lost their allure as big pay packets alone now fail to motivate young people, according to the founder of Teach First.

Well, OK, I can imagine a change at the margin, certainly.

Teach First has been the biggest graduate recruiter for the past three years, with over 1,400 graduates each year sent to teach in deprived schools. The vast majority – around 70 per cent – of recruits are from the elite Russel Group universities.

How many do graduate each year? 400,000? I’d have thought the graduate entry into banking was still higher than Teach First then…..

They’re not really thinking about this, are they?

EU scrutiny comes as the Government attempts to maintain and capitalise on Britain’s lead in Europe as a digital economy through Brexit. Ministers view improving the country’s broadband networks as vital. While more business is done online in Britain than anywhere else in the EU, its digital infrastructure lags behind France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

If we do more business on a worse network then it’s not the network determining the amount of business, is it?

What a lovely financing technique

Amid a battle for orders between Boeing and Airbus, Monarch secured a cut-price deal for 30 new planes — which later rose to 45. The market value of the aircraft was greater than Monarch’s agreed price, so creating a paper profit.

Greybull was able to persuade Boeing to release more than £100m of this trapped equity as cash, pumping it into the airline through Petrol Jersey.

Buy something you can’t afford at a discount, claim the discount as capital. Actually, they managed to go up one notch, manage to persuade the seller to give you the discount as capital.

That really is innovative.

Oh Aye?

The number of Uber drivers in London should be capped to ensure ‘healthy competition and consumer choice’, the boss of a rival minicab app has claimed.
Kabbee chief executive Justin Peters called for a limit on the proportion of minicab drivers overseen by one company if Uber overturns a decision not to renew its operating licence.
Some 116,000 minicab drivers hold licences in London and Uber says around 40,000 use its app in the city.

An entry for the “Please use the law to hobble my competitors” competition then.


Bosses at Monarch Airlines were given 24 hours to save the low-cost carrier yesterday as officials raced to put together a rescue plan for up to 100,000 holidaymakers who could be stranded overseas.

I was wondering why quite so many emails about seat sales….

If these numbers are true then Uber should be able to piss all over the ban

The safety question is an interesting one, in so far as it’s manifest horseshit to say that black cabs are safe, but Ubers are not. Nothing in life is perfectly safe. In the Spectator today, it’s pointed out that in 2015/16 32 accusations of sexual assault were made against Uber drivers. (This rose to 48 in the year to Feb 2017). Meanwhile around the same period 126 black cab drivers were charged with such a violent or sexual offense.
For what it’s worth, there are reckoned to be 23,000 back cabs in London today, vs 40,000 Ubers, the latter being used by 3.5M passengers in London.

I’ll not vouch for the numbers but if they’re true…..

Uber’s sexual assaults in London

This is the number being thrown around and sadly it’s not the number we want to know:

It stated that from Feb 16 to Feb 17 there had been 48 sexual offences recorded were Uber was referenced in a crime report for a private hire journey-related sexual offence- in London.

So now we can now positively state that Uber related serious sexual assaults including rapes, has increased this year by 50% going up from last years 32, to this years 48.

How much did Uber traffic go up by over that same period?

That is, it’s the rate, not the number, which is the important thing here.

Further, what’s the rate for other private hire companies? For black cabs? Is Uber better or worse is the question to be answered, the one that isn’t in fact being answered.

Not sure about this on Uber

This is a company that has become a byword for Silicon Valley excess – it’s not a business model to admire. This makes the number of left-leaning people bemoaning its possible exclusion from one city slightly surprising. Uber makes multibillion-dollar losses. The much-loved convenience and low prices rely on these losses, and on an excess of driver supply, so there’s always a car available when you need it. This isn’t good for the drivers, and ultimately it won’t be good for the passengers. It’s inevitable prices will rise – the company can’t continue to be loss-making for ever – and one theory goes that this will happen once it has driven its competition out of business, and/or developed the driverless cars that will put thousands out of work.

The excess of drivers thing is palpably wrong. Uber drivers spend more of their time with a ride than Yellow Cabs do (figures for NYC of course).

As to the losses, not, sure, would be interesting to know in fact.

It’s possible – and I really don’t know – that they’re cash flow positive in “mature” markets like London, the losses coming from starting up in other cities. Does anyone actually know?

Numbers love, numbers

He has made it part of the Ryanair style to taunt passengers’ appetite for the 50p flight with what are amusingly called ancillary charges. That is, anything that isn’t the seat on the plane. These generate 20% or more of the airline’s multibillion-pound profits.

Where does that multi- come from?

The Irish airline made a profit after tax of €1.3bn (£1.1bn) in the year to the end of March, even though it slashed ticket prices to fill almost 14m seats added during the period.

I’ve seen one number which says they’ll carry 130 million odd people this year. So, profit is around the £7 or £8 a flight level. Looks a pretty tight margin business to me.