Coping: With Encountering the Future / Photo Finish

In this morning’s orthographic misadventures, we find the hulk of an old man staring at the clock and  calendar, lost as to what’s going on with the world. Are we becoming digital do-do’s?

Such introspection is common just before the arrival of one of the kids.  This is the awkward age, when the kids take their payback.

“Son, pick up your room” of 20-years ago is now likely to morph into “Dad, pick up your room…focus on just a very few projects and do them well…and let the other stuff pass by…”  I can hear it all now.

To be sure, there is a generation gap.

Until yesterday, I didn’t know there even was a alt-J (?) – Fitzpleasure (Official Music Video) –on YouTube

To some, who are going post-trance, post rap, there really is some interesting cross-into music coming along and this isn’t bad…just different.

Seems like everything about today’s youth is distorted or carried to some extreme, or other.  And, they seem to suffer the effects of  time compression, as well.  A hobby like free-falling (skydiving) may eat up some clock hours, but the actual “rush” is seldom longer than 3-5 minutes.

That compares with the old adventures (like going fishing in Alaska) which could be three weeks of pretty much non-stop new.

Part of the problem is no one has any time, anymore.  The deadlines are tighter, the work more intense, the problems of flow and and coordination are up many-fold, too, from our early days on a much emptier world.

I was born  in 1949.  At that time, world population was a measly 2.5 billion.  Today, we are stuffed with 7 billion people.  Put another way, compared to 1949, nearly three times as many people are vying over…everything.

There’s no urgency to couple or marry, perhaps partly as a response to this.  The problem is not that everyone looks at child- bearing as a somber and reasoned decision.  There are several religions in the world that are (to put it frankly) screwing their way toward world dominance.

And that’s quite worrisome.

Whatever…this afternoon I pick up my son in Dallas for a week and we will have (since the rain has stopped) a couple of days of dad time and I expect to see my truck go down the road to Skydive Space Land, or I will get suckered into running Ure Air Cargo’s little single engine down to the drop zone.

Dad, we have two GoPros…we should be able to do some real quality movies!

Another symptom of the future.  Technology – the problem we got into over on the Peoplenomics™ side of things this weekend.

In 1949 the idea of a personal movie was vastly different.  If people shot movies, it was 8 MM and usually shot-edited onto the camera.  Maybe a touch-up splice, or three.  No sound track.

By 1965, as our age group was wandering through high school, the media of the day was Super 8 Movie film – introduced by Kodak.

Which gets me to this morning’s first neuron firing:

Kodak’s remnants are still around today…but except for specialized applications, the world has passed them by.  Oh, sure, they are in the digital camera space, but with a different attitude toward the future, the company could have been a mega-giant, even today.

It’s not.

Rather than reaching into the future and pulling it forward – serving up massive innovations to a tech-hungry public, the company managed to “steal defeat from the jaws of victory.”

I expect that if Kodak had invented better/cheaper film, Fuji would not have gotten so big.  Or, if they had rolled on with the idealization of the camera, outfits like Pentax and Canon would have been hard-pressed.

There’s a genius to dominating market share – and Kodak didn’t understand it.  For a long while, they rested on their laurels, optimized film profits, and then when film went away (mostly), they were left like new kids adrift in the world of technology.

The “Brownie” camera is in everyone’s phone, 60% of phones can probably shoot a better resolution movie that Super-8 and those cumbersome hand-blocked video film cutters…Well, not much of a market for them anymore.

A couple of weeks back, I pulled Elaine’s camera out of the storage room and this whole revolution in photography ran  me over like a train.

She had a Minolta XG-7 with an assortment of lenses, auto-winder, and so on.  Since we have been trying to eliminate unused (old) tech, I quickly hit eBay to look up the price.

About $35 bucks, is what it looks like.  Not a very good return on investment, I’d say.  Especially because neither one of us is big movie or picture collectors.  Those great images in life are carried around between  the ears.

When we get around to making a couple of video’s this week, it will be Corel video editing software, a custom voice-track from the studio, and whatever else comes to mind. 

Television is another area where compression of technology has taken its toll:  Things like Time Code are quickly going the route of quantization error in sound recording.  In other words, the problems are going away.

Automatic reformatting and sample conversion software ends the time code issue and in audio, trhe quantization nightmares of 8-bit audio disappear above 32-bit A-to-Ds.  Oh, sure the problems may still technically exist, but their impact on humans is gone. The human neurons are only so refined, and after that, all you can do is keep whacking away are resolution which is why 4K is coming and 16K will be here one of these days.

All of which is changing the nature of the arts.  I don’t mean just Fitzpleasure, or any other piece of music to drift out of a studio.

I mean film, as well.  When we were watching Alfred Hitchcock black and white movies, the director was an incredibly important part of the mix. Adding depth of shadows, lighting, and more.

But the high-res mini-cams that do full HD (and better) are squishing the director’s role.  The problem is that as resolution of the video gets better, the ability to push around lighting becomes limited.  The cameras and resolution is so good that you can easily tell when a scene ain’t natural.

It’s like painting.  Picasso would be my candidate as an example of “pixelated art.”  But,  it Picasso had to create with his brush in 4K resolution, would it be something other than a macabre distortion plug-in which you can get for video now?

Don’t mean to ramble on.

The one other thing about one of the kids visiting is we get to judge their willingness to pay Social Security payments for the parents.  That one’s critical.

All this bears keenly on investment.

Getting rich (or at least comfortably well-off) is nothing more or less than the art of seeing the future clearly before it shows up.

You sell the old thing and buy the new thing…simple as that.  And all it takes is an occasional operating system, phone concept, or digital camera to make it rain money.

That and a vigilant eye toward future challengers. And always asking the question “Who can unseat the market position held by this company that I own?”

I’m watching the battle between Costco and Wal-Mart with some interest… I think it would be damn interesting for them to think about merging…because going into the future, that would make sense…but time will tell.

Meanwhile,  this is “listen to the kid” week and it should prove interesting.

Welcome to Summer

With school starting to let out for the wee ones,. it means the price of gas is likely to go up.

Still, a year ago gas was going for $3.669 while this morning it’s at $2.746.

Yes, gas goes up in summer travel months, but the continued low price of gas (and diesel) is one more reason I think we may have another leg up in the markets. 

The sell in May and Go away was tardy arriving, but what if all that Fed backdoor QE money will have strange unintended consequences?

We’ll see, but so far a measured view on economics has served us a lot better than the latest doom porn for about the thousandth time about how a “Dwarf planet will smack earth” and “Weather modification warfare causes California drought…”

The balance is to keep the mind open to new information, but not so open that your brain falls out.

Write when you break-0even…


5 thoughts on “Coping: With Encountering the Future / Photo Finish”

  1. “Weather Modification” … Flooding in Texas … FEMA agents going door to door.

    …JADE HELM in operation…

    Did you know a “Texas Weather Modification Committee Meeting” was held in April?

    Eugene “Sonny” Irvin

  2. Moving into the future while looking in the rear view mirror never ends well. As a kid back in the fifties, I remember the old codger sitting on the bench in front of the lumber yard, doing his life review. “Well, I remember back in aught six that….” Smitty my barber said he was born December 31, 1899, commenting that if he lived a century and one day that he would have lived in three different centuries. Smitty died almost two decades short of his goal.

    I keep wondering why nobody but me realizes that those savings figures accurately portray the monthly increase in the net worth of the .005% every month. I do understand why they go cognitive dissonance on my observation of too small to save, not only true but pun intended as well.

    Successful retirement requires dropping the compulsions that made one wealthy enough to be able to retire. Sometimes that is more difficult than amassing wealth.

    That’s how it looks from Ecuador.

  3. How could Costco and Walmart merge?! They’re polar opposites. The greedy Walmart heirs are like feudal lords reigning over peasants. They’ve turned their father’s business into a slave factory–low pay and not enough hours for their employees to earn enough to live, so they end up on the dole. We may pay less for their products, but it’s negated by paying welfare for their employees. The Costco CEO, on the other hand, pays himself a pitifully low wage in comparison to other CEOs, but pays his employees a living wage, with benefits, while still providing substantial savings on most of their products. I cringe at just the thought of such a merger!

  4. George,

    The monthly numbers appear to be accurate if you take into account that 1% of americans have all the money. 1% of 320 mil. equals 3.2 mil. and 744 bil. divided by 3.2 mil. equals $232,500 a month times twelve is 2.8 mil. a year. On a average thats small compared to Mitt Romney’s 2010 tax return (the only 1% er reference that I can find) of 17 mil. taxable income with 1.6 mil tax return. We all know that we other 99% are not saving anything. Only the rich are getting richer.

  5. Here is a reading suggestion – once you get past the promiscuity and the incest – there are some good messages in this book: “To Sail Beyond the Sunset” by Robert A. Heinlein. and yes – some of it is really about investing.

Comments are closed.