Links: 2013-03-13

News links for 13 March 2013

Samsung to issue Galaxy S3 lock screen bypass fix ‘shortly’ as Lookout releases fix | ZDNet

“The bug allows an attacker in possession of the phone to bypass the passcode-secured lock screen. The bug can be exposed by cancelling an emergency call and hitting the power button on a locked device, giving access to data and apps on the device.”

Yahoo’s Mayer gets internal flak for more rigorous hiring | Reuters

“Mayer dismissed the complaint that she had refused good candidates because they did not have degrees from prestigious universities, and instead she challenged her staff to get better at recruiting, according to an employee who was at the meeting.
“Why can’t we just be good at hiring?” Mayer said, playing off a line from what she called one of her favorite movies, 1989’s “Say Anything”, according to the employee. He did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss Yahoo’s internal matters.”

Why Your Brain is Hooked on Being Right (and What You Can Do About It)

“In situations of high stress, fear or distrust, the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol floods the brain. Executive functions that help us with advanced thought processes like strategy, trust building, and compassion shut down. And the amygdala, our instinctive brain, takes over. The body makes a chemical choice about how best to protect itself—in this case from the shame and loss of power associated with being wrong—and as a result is unable to regulate its emotions or handle the gaps between expectations and reality. So we default to one of four responses: fight (keep arguing the point), flight (revert to, and hide behind, group consensus), freeze (disengage from the argument by shutting up), or appease (make nice with your adversary by simply agreeing with him).
All are harmful because they prevent the honest and productive sharing of information and opinion. But, as a consultant who has spent decades working with executives on their communication skills, I can tell you that the fight response is by far the most damaging to work relationships. It is also, unfortunately, the most common.”

Recession back on track as manufacturing slumps | Business |

“Confidence in the UK’s ability to recover from the longest depression in 100 years appears to be waning after a slump in manufacturing sent the pound crashing to a level not seen since early 2010.
Sterling was worth a little over $1.48 following official data that showed manufacturing dropped 1.5% in January on the previous month.
According to the official figures, a sharp fall in the production of pharmaceuticals and building materials sent output tumbling 3% lower than the same month last year.”

Amazon Optimus Prime – John Paczkowski – Commerce – AllThingsD

“according to some new research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) and Morningstar, Amazon’s Prime subscribers number more than 10 million.
That’s at least double the number of Prime members Amazon had a little over year ago. Great news for the retailer, since Prime subscribers purchase far more from it than the typical consumer. Prime members spend about twice as much annually as non-Prime members — about $1,200 (excluding the $79 Prime membership fee). More importantly, they make most of their online purchases at Amazon.
Accounting for cost of sales, shipping, marketing, technology, etc., CIRP and Morningstar figure Amazon made about $78 per Prime subscriber last year. In other words, that $79 annual Prime fee is almost entirely profit. “

Spain unveils 3.5-billion euro plan to get youth back to work | Economy | News | Financial Post

“Spain pledged 3.5-billion euros (US$4.6-billion) over four years on Tuesday to easing mass unemployment among the country’s youth, as the government tries to stem a relentless tide of layoffs and lengthening jobless queues.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy presented 100 different measures including tax breaks for young freelance workers and for companies that hire workers in their twenties.”

Another Day, Another Downbeat Note on Apple – MarketBeat – WSJ

“Jefferies analyst Peter Misek lowered his Apple price target to $420, from $500, amid continued supply-chain concerns and a potential delay in the next-generation iPhone.
Apple shares fell more than 1% on Tuesday, essentially erasing yesterday’s run-up that caught some traders by surprise.
In a research note, Misek said there’s a 25% chance the iPhone and iPad maker will fall short of its revenue forecast for the current quarter.”

On Planet Osborne, failure is success | Politics |

“The pound crashes and a triple dip looms, but according to the chancellor bad news is only proof that his policies are working”

Apple encouraged to borrow against its $94B in overseas cash for greater flexibility

“Ben A. Reitzes with Barclays believe it’s time Apple strongly consider “tapping the debt markets,” which would allow it to borrow against the $94 billion in cash the company has overseas, $40.4 billion of which is untaxed.”

T-Mobile-MetroPCS sails through FCC without even a vote — Tech News and Analysis

“A week after clearing the Justice Department, the T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger gains the FCC stamp of approval without a peep of protest. Now the only thing standing in the deal’s way are Metro’s stockholders.”

British banks may have £30bn hidden losses – Telegraph

“British banks may be harbouring a black hole of as much as £50bn in undeclared losses that do not show up in their accounts but hamper their efforts to lend, a shareholder group has warned.”

Cobook 2.0 Arrives, Bringing An Auto-Updating, Universal Address Book To iPhone | TechCrunch

“It’s bizarre that in this day and age, we’re still struggling with a feature that should be so simple. An automatically updating address book is something that our email providers should have implemented for us ages ago. Google is doing this in its own way now, but via Google+, which is not for everyone.
And as innovation in the address book space has stagnated among the big players, that’s left room for startups to come in and try to fix the problem. For example, late last year a company called Addappt launched a similar app to Cobook, also with a heavy focus on the auto-updating functionality.
However, the problem with many of today’s solutions is that they work best when everyone uses the same platform. In that regard, Cobook is not much different.”

Balance the Budget? We Can Run Deficits Forever – Bloomberg

“The U.S. federal government doesn’t actually need to balance its budget. Ever. Really. We could run a budget deficit every year for the next century. We’d be just fine.
How do we know? Well, for one thing, we’ve basically always done that. Between 1929 and 2013, the average federal budget deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product has been 3.1 percent. Over those 84 years, we’ve run 70 budget deficits and 14 budget surpluses.

The most recent projections of the Congressional Budget Office, in fact, show that in two years, we will have a budget deficit significantly smaller than the long-run average: 2.4 percent of GDP. That’s remarkable given that we are only a few years into a recovery from the second-worst recession during those years.

We could run a budget deficit forever and even shrink the relative federal debt burden. All we need to do is keep the long-run budget deficit smaller as a percentage of GDP than the long-run rate of GDP growth. When that happens, GDP outgrows the debt, and the debt-to-GDP ratio declines.

The CBO puts our long-run growth rate at around 2.2 percent. That means we could safely run budget deficits in the several-hundred-billion-dollar range. We’ve run a budget deficit while reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio in 13 of the last 45 years.

There’s even a case for saying that a small budget deficit, maintained forever, helps the economy. Government debt is a safe asset. Safe assets play a crucial role in the keeping financial markets stable. A small budget deficit expands the supply of safe assets in line with growth in the economy.”

Housing crisis deepens for New Yorkers –

“Like many parts of New York, the Bronx is in a housing crisis. There is a shortage of low-priced apartments and those that exist are poorly maintained. At the same time rents continue to rise, squeezing lower and middle-income earners who are the backbone of the city’s economy.
Since 2001, average rents have risen 44 per cent while home prices are up 47 per cent, according to the city council. As the country’s housing recovery gains traction and prices continue to climb, city officials fear that many will be forced to move away, hampering New York’s longer-term growth.”

La crisis devora el crecimiento creado por el euro desde 1999 | Economía | Cinco Días

Next Jan. 1 the euro zone will turn 15, but with little reason to celebrate. Most members will end the decade and a half with average growth below the pre-1999 period, and with a higher unemployment rate and public debt much higher as well.

Do You Really Need Antioxidants? – US News and World Report

To date, randomized, placebo-controlled trials are at best inconclusive, but generally don’t provide strong evidence that antioxidant supplements have a substantial impact on diseases such as heart events and cancer. Still, antioxidants continue to be added to breakfast cereals, energy bars, sodas, sports drinks, and other processed foods. Often claims have stretched and distorted data. It appears that antioxidants aren’t the magical solution they are sometimes hyped to be.

Hungry for yield, investors turn to pizza, films, vacation homes | Reuters

“Over the last year, investors have snapped up debt backed by royalty fees from franchise restaurants such as Domino’s Pizza to timeshare loans on vacation properties around the world, and analysts expect demand to grow in 2013.
With the Federal Reserve not expected to lift interest rates from near-zero anytime soon, banks and some fund managers are increasingly advising clients to consider these non-traditional asset-backed securities, which offer higher yields than other types of investment-grade debt.”

Britain’s perilous austerity bunker –

“David Cameron’s “there is no alternative” speech last week on the UK economy has aroused much criticism. This is justified.The British prime minister’s arguments for sticking to the government’s programme of fiscal austerity were overwhelmingly wrong-headed.”

Greek industrial slump deepens, troika talks postponed | Reuters

“Greece’s industrial output posted its steepest decline in four months on Tuesday, while the international lenders keeping the country solvent sought details of a government plan to help struggling households.

With the country muddling through its sixth year of recession, the lenders – on a visit to assess whether Athens has carried out promised reforms before releasing 2.8 billion euros of aid this month – postponed a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to Wednesday.”

The Case for Dow 17,000 – Kiplinger

“Last February, when the Dow Jones industrial average stood at about 12,700, I predicted that based on historical precedent it was extremely likely the average would reach 15,000 by the end of 2013. And I said there was a good chance it would hit 17,000, a whopping 34% gain. My prediction was cited by Gene Epstein, the economics editor of Barron’s, in a cover story entitled “Enter the Bull” on February 13.”

Advice from a contrarian: When running with the herd, it’s easy to trip – The Globe and Mail

“The S&P 500 has risen about 9 per cent this year alone. Yet there’s little sign that investors are scared of a portfolio-bashing correction. The CBOE Volatility index, the so-called fear gauge that falls when investors are feeling calm and upbeat about stocks, sank to its lowest level since early 2007 on Monday.
“Almost every one I talk to is now bullish,” observed long-term bear David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., in a note to clients earlier this year.”

Why Things Changed For Apple – Business Insider

“The stock fell 40% from its high. Companies can talk all they want about not caring about stock prices, but the truth is it’s bad for a brand to have a stock crater. It suggests something is wrong with the company.
Apple’s growth rate has tanked. This is a big reason the stock price fell. For years Apple had high double digit growth as it sold iPhones to people that never owned iPhones. The population available to buy an iPhone is thought to be limited now, thus sending Apple’s growth rate tumbling.
Apple no longer has a marketing and product genius running the company. Steve Jobs was known for his ability to create a “reality distortion field” around Apple and its products. Tim Cook is not.”

Apple may offer stock buyback or increased dividends this Spring, report says

“Citing sources close to the issue, Quartz reported on Tuesday that Apple is looking to return some of its $137 billion cash hoard to AAPL investors, with the preferred method expected to be additional dividends or share buybacks.
The publication claims Apple could announce the initiative alongside a product unveiling this Spring. Previous reports have predicted that the company will indeed announce plans for its growing cash pile soon, as investors have become skittish on the stock’s recent market performance. “

French Apple Stores prohibited from making employees work after hours, fined 10K euros

“Seven Apple Stores in France can no longer force employees to work after doors close, as a Paris court has banned the company from such activity following complaints from labor unions. “

Samsung spent $68M more than Apple on 2012 phone ads, increased budget fivefold

“Data from advertising research and consulting firm Kantar Media shows that Samsung boosted U.S. ad spending by some $323 million between 2011 to 2012, while second-biggest spender Apple’s budget went from $253 million to $333 million over the same period, reports The Wall Street Journal.
In contrast to Samsung and Apple, third place HTC slashed spending to $46 million, down from $124 million in 2011. Rounding out the top five were BlackBerry and Nokia, which also cut their budgets last year. “

Samsung Outspends Apple on Phone Advertising –

“In 2012, Samsung spent $401 million advertising its phones in the U.S. to Apple’s $333 million, according to ad research and consulting firm Kantar Media. The onslaught—including ads that poked fun at Apple while dubbing Samsung devices “The Next Big Thing”—has helped Samsung open a huge lead in the global smartphone race.”

The US drone economy will create 100,000 jobs, say companies who make drones – Quartz

“Commercial drones, which are expected to be approved for use in the US in 2015, will create 100,000 jobs in 10 years, adding $13.7 billion to the American economy, according to a new study (pdf).
The study was published by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade association with an interest in promoting the benefits of unmanned aircraft—the industry does not like the word “drone”—but its assumptions offer an interesting assessment of the sector’s opportunities.”

Emploi salarié : près de 100 000 postes détruits en 2012

on-farm payrolls fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 in France, with 44,600 jobs destroyed, the same pace as in the third quarter, according to figures released Wednesday by INSEE. In the past year, 99,500 jobs have been lost (- 0.6%). The third quarter figure was revised down to -46 000 posts (- 0.3%) against -41,700 announced previously.

BBC News – Zara-owner Inditex’ profits rise by 22%

“Zara-owner Inditex, the biggest fashion clothing retailer in the world, has reported yet another increase in profits, helped by sales in Eastern Europe and its new online store in China.
Profits rose by more than 22% to 2.3bn euros ($3bn:£2bn) in 2012.”

Eurozone industry in the ‘doldrums’ as production worse than expected – Telegraph

“Production across the 17-nation bloc and the wider European Union both fell 0.4pc in January compared with December, according to Europe’s data agency Eurostat.
The fall was steeper than the expected 1pc, and in stark contrast to the revised 0.9pc growth seen by the 27 EU countries in December and the 0.8pc growth seen by the eurozone in the same month.”

Apple Jumps To Second In India’s Smartphone Market Says IDC, Thanks To Shifts In Distribution Model | TechCrunch

“Apple has indeed managed a significant turnaround in India’s smartphone market, according to new figures out from IDC today (via CNN). The Apple smartphone grabbed 15.6 percent of India’s smartphone market in Q4 2012, according to new data from the research firm, just behind market leading Samsung with its 38.8 percent, a significant change from the third quarter of last year, when IDC showed that Samsung had 46 percent share and Apple didn’t even crack the top five.”

Kyle Bass Warns “The ‘AIG’ Of The World Is Back” | Zero Hedge

“”The AIG of the world is back – I have 27 year old kids selling me one-year jump risk on Japan for less than 1bp – $5bn at a time… and it is happening in size.” As he explains, the regulatory capital hit for the bank is zero (hence as great a return on capital as one can imagine) and “if the bell tolls at the end of the year, the 27-year-old kid gets a bonus… and if he blows the bank to smithereens, ugh, he got a paycheck all year.” “

Balkinization: The Law Graduate Debt Disaster Goes Critical

“Listed below are the twenty law schools with the highest average debt for the graduating class of 2012–followed in bold by the percentage of the graduating class of 2011 that landed full time jobs as lawyers (at least one year duration) within nine months of graduation”

Behind Soda Industry’s Win, a Phalanx of Sponsored Minority Groups –

“The decision by a New York State judge striking down the Bloomberg administration’s ban on large, sugary drinks this week was not just a high-profile victory for the soda companies in their pitched battle against anti-obesity policies that are aimed at their products. It was also a victory for the industry’s steadfast, if surprising, allies: advocacy groups representing the very communities hit hardest by the obesity epidemic.”

How Apple Gets All the Good Apps – Walt Mossberg – Personal Technology – AllThingsD

“iPhone and iPad users who prefer apps from other big mobile-platform makers don’t have to switch to an Android or Windows Phone or an Amazon tablet. They have access right on their Apple devices to major apps from these competing platforms. But people with non-Apple mobile devices can’t get Apple’s mobile apps and services.
This is obviously a lopsided situation in Apple’s favor. But it stems from the different business models of the big rivals. Google, Microsoft and Amazon are primarily software and services companies, though each makes some mobile hardware (Google through its Motorola subsidiary). But Apple, while famous for making good software, sells that software almost entirely through iconic and expensive hardware, from which it makes the vast majority of its money.”

El déficit de Rajoy superaría al de Zapatero sin el retraso de devoluciones | Economía | EL PAÍS

If you take away the effect of delayed tax refunds, the Rajoy 2012 deficit is no better than the Zapatero 2011 deficit in Spain.

Big Sugar Is Set for a Sweet Bailout –

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering buying 400,000 tons of sugar—enough for 142 billion Hershey’s Kisses—to stave off a wave of defaults by sugar processors that borrowed $862 million under a government price-support program.
The action aims to prop up tumbling U.S. sugar prices, which have fallen 18% since the USDA made the nine-month operations-financing loans beginning in October. The purchases could leave the price-support program with an $80 million loss, its biggest in 13 years, said Barbara Fecso, an economist at the USDA, in an interview.”

El déficit del Estado creció un 35,4% en enero, hasta el 1,2% del PIB –

The deficit in Spain in January was 35.4% higher than a year ago snd equivalent to 1.2% of GDP.

AP News: Bodies exhumed in killings tied to Mandela ex-wife

Japan becomes first nation to extract ‘frozen gas’ from seabed | Environment |

“Successful extraction from frozen methane hydrate deposits is the first example of production of the gas offshore”

Jeremey Siegel makes the case for the Dow going to 18,000 – The Tell – MarketWatch

“Wharton School of Business Finance Professor Jeremy Siegel makes the case for the Dow  to hit 18,000  in an interview on Fox Business News.”

Why a LinkedIn acquisition of Pulse would make sense — content requires context — paidContent

“If LinkedIn were to buy the Pulse news-recommendation app — something a number of reports say could be in the works — it would give the corporate social network a powerful way of filtering content for its users.”

Apple rival Samsung’s Galaxy S IV shows up in online video ahead of launch

“With the Galaxy S III having firmly established Samsung as the top rival to Apple in the smartphone segment, the South Korean conglomerate is hoping to blow past the iPhone maker with the S IV. The new Samsung flagship model has been accompanied by a massive marketing campaign, with teaser videos having run on the Internet for the past week. Samsung will also stream the media event for the S IV launch both on YouTube and live in Times Square.”

‘Apple to fall behind in tablet market this year’ –

“iPad shipments are expected to account for 46 percent of the market in 2013, down from 51 percent last year, IDC said. Devices running Android are expected to grow their market share to 49 percent this year from 42 percent last year.
IDC also raised its 2013 tablet shipment forecast to 190.9 million units, up from its previous forecast of 172.4 million units. Last year, global tablet shipments grew to 128.3 million units, up from 72 million in 2011, according to IDC.”

Government Debt and Deficits Are Not the Problem. Private Debt Is. | Michael Hudson

“To us this morning, government deficit spending into the economy is the solution. The problem is private debt. And in contrast to Federal Reserve and Treasury bailout policy, we view the problem not as real estate prices too low to cover bank reserves. The problem is the carrying charges on this private debt, and the fact that debt service is eating into personal income – and also business income – to deflate the economy.
Mortgage debt that is still leading to foreclosures, evictions, and is depressing the real estate market for most buyers except for all-cash hedge funds;
We have been urging a write-down of mortgage debt in line with the debtor’s ability to pay, or to bring debt service in line with current market prices. The administration has bailed out the banks for their bad loans, but has kept the debts in place for most of the population. Its promise of debt write-downs has been empty.”

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