/2020chronicle

Millennial Boomer Divide

Been watching this article play out in real life for about a decade. Older generations out for more and more financial gain to the detriment of youth will result in a third world America faster than any hyped derivative of a deadly cold ever will. Just last week I heard my third, very financially stable “Boomer” tell me they thought of retiring this year but “didn’t know what they would do”. How about get the hell out of the workforce so some recent college grads can get some real work experience!? Very few generations prior to boomers had “all about me” on free flow. Just ask any one of them how they vote, the answer always has something to do with thier money. This is the generational divide and younger voters being pushed out if the economy will vote against Boomer money. In about a month you’re going to see it happen. This election cycle is about more social issues than financial, to the detriment of Republicans. Unless we want to talk about profits and returns to shareholders that are causing major social issues, like healthcare.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/intergenerational-conflict-is-getting-worse-deutsche-bank-analysts-warn-200542605.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=fb

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Time to call it. Trump will win again.

It was July of 2015 when I was able to predict Trump was going to beat Hillary Clinton in November despite all poll numbers. It was much easier to see Clinton’s fall from grace and increasing enthusiasm for Trump. Clinton still had an enthusiastic base including a lot of women in her corner but it wasn’t enough to discount the wild crowds Trump had drawn despite any opinion of his narrative. Trump vs. Biden is a harder call.

Forward to 2020 and while much has changed, a lot hasn’t. Trump still has an enthusiastic base regardless of anyone’s judgement of their morality. Biden has a yawning base, the only visible enthusiasm coming from those who are committed to voting against Trump. Very few people can be found clapping wildly for Biden himself. The Democrats and the DNC backed their “safe” candidate again, Obama’s guy. This will fail just as their anointment of Clinton did in 2016. In fact, Joe might not even win the popular vote much less the number of electoral college votes needed to take office.

As many fumbles as Trump’s had, the number of lies that have been recorded (yes Trump folks, he lies… a lot) it seemed the anti-Trump vote was set to put Biden in the White House. Then two things happened: A novel coronavirus and rioting. Trump’s COVID-19 response was lackluster, almost non existent and he admitted downplaying the damage SARS-CoV-2 and it’s resulting COVID-19 respiratory disease would do. This won’t detract his base. In fact most of his original base, and some newly created members, believe the lock down response and mask mandates by Democratic Governors and municipal leaders was massive overkill and an unnecessary detriment to the economy. The future could prove them correct.

Then came the riots. I will not call them “peaceful protests” as the media wants to convey. They were by and large NOT peaceful protests and while many businesses and lives were interrupted by the virus, many were also disrupted or ended by the riots. What were they mad about again? That’s the problem for Democrats; any Black Lives Matter agenda or other “woke” cause they were assembling for was lost when the first brick hit a window, the first cop hit with a rock. With calls from the Minneapolis city council to completely disband their City Police force and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to “abolish ICE” just like that the Democrats became the party of chaos and anarchy. Middle America and independent voters aren’t real big on anarchy. In contrast to Trump potentially winning some voters due to arguable overreach on personal liberties in the Democrats coronavirus response, it’s likely Biden lost some support due to the rioting and his delay in denouncing it from the onset. He should have called for law and order in every visible and vocal way possible. But just as Trump hesitates to denounce racists out of fear of losing votes, Biden waited until public sentiment was wildly against the riots before denouncing them out of fear of alienating a portion of his base.

I could be wrong (I do that a lot) and Biden may win days after the election once all mail in ballots are accounted for and there’s a long, drawn out process in the courts to decide the winner. He will not win by a landslide in any event. In fact I dare say Trump has the “landslide” momentum working in his direction now, inadvertently and unknowingly handed to him by Democrats, minorities and anyone else who decided burning down Portland would rally support for their cause. What was the cause again? Oh yeah, long running police brutality against minorities. If you weren’t “woke” to undue police aggression towards blacks before all this you’ve been asleep behind facebook and Twitter too long for your opinion to be relevant.

So here we are, not in the same social science situation we found ourselves in during 2015-16 but on a very similar political front. And just like last time the anti-Trump vote won’t be enough to lead Democrats to the White House. One day the DNC might put forth a candidate who draws as much excitement from their base as Trump draws from the Tea Party and media tagged “new” Republicans. But not this year and likely not before November 3rd. Shame really because the United States should be able to offer better than either one of these old guys.

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In trying to shut down critial social media Donald Trump is officially out of control.

Trump’s just mad he doesn’t get to be one of the Dictators he idolizes. He craves the mafia power of Putin and the media control of Kim Jong Fat Man, whatever his name is. Don’t be surprised when he doesn’t accept election results in November so Congress better prepare for that fight now, it will fall to the SCOTUS. His militant followers will may surround the White House to prevent enforceable removal, the national guard could become involved before it ends. Many of those people are looking for a fight, some still itching for a race war and a chance to use their “hunting rifles” that are not “assault weapons” in their “well regulated militias”. Often this is how dictatorships are born but ultimately it won’t work here. As events unfold remember this isn’t prediction, it’s logical conclusion.

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I don’t understand Proshare’s SCC.

Why would Proshare’s Consumer Services short (SCC) be lower now than it was in late 2018? Was there more concern over the consumer driven economy over tariffs than there is over every hotel, bar and restaurant in the country being closed right now? When something like this doesn’t make sense I typically jump on it. With a 2018 high near $30 seems $14 to short consumer services in the coming months almost seems like no brains are required. Anyone who thinks the consumer economy is climbing out of Corona fear any time soon has lost touch. So many “happy day” investors looking for a place to park and gain in a perpetual bullshit market. Investing is supposed to be a risk and shorting mitigates gambling in a rigged market deigned only for Good Times.

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Banking on the Quarantine

Here are a few tech companies doing very well during quarantine because of their services to support remote workers:


1. Citrix Systems, owners of join.me, GoToMeeting, XenApp and other application services supporting remote workers and collaboration. Almost all hospitals publish medical applications via Citrix XenApp as well.
2. Microsoft. Thanks to Sharepoint, Office 365 (now “Microsoft 365”, and most importantly Skype.
3. Slack.com. The most prominent corporate collaboration tool in use by most enterprises.
4. Zoom Video Conferencing. If you can log in. Their servers were slammed on Monday and Tuesday but they have increased back end resources dramatically over the last 48 hours, thanks to a dump truck load of cash put in their driveway this week.
5. Cisco Systems. They probably sold more AnyConnect remote access VPN licenses in the past 2 weeks than they sold in the past two years. Hoping I don’t have to buy more!


There are a lot of non-tech companies profiting from this too. 3M, Dupont, very smart of GM and Ford to start making ventilators since their auto production lines are shuttered. It’s not 100% doom and gloom but I you’ve got to feel for those who made a decision to start their own business within the last couple of years. Then there are the gig workers and the bars and restaurants they rely on = 60 days or less until desperation and panic mode.


One big lesson US small business operators should learn from this situation: A couple thousand isn’t enough, start thinking in terms of tens and even hundreds of thousands in reserve before hiring full time employees. Any company that can’t pad one month of business downturn has no business hiring at all.

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COVID-19 Panic Check

Time for another panic check. The media is producing comparison charts to make COVID-19 look worse than other historic outbreaks. They NEVER include N1H1 which started right here in the USA.

“The CDC estimated that from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, there were 60.8 million H1N1 cases, with 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the U.S. alone. They also estimate that worldwide, 151,700 to 575,400 people died from (H1N1)pdm09 during the first year. Unusually, about 80% of the deaths were in people younger than 65 years of age”.
“Although it is not unusual in pandemics, over time, the fatality rate of COVID-19 has steadily decreased. For example, according to the China CDC study, in patients whose symptoms began between January 1, 2020 and January 10, 2020, the fatality rate was an astonishing 15.6%. But in the patients who didn’t report illness until February 1 to February 11, in China, it was 0.8%”.

“It’s worth noting that even after China got the death rate down to 0.7%, or even 0.4%, that’s still about four to seven times greater than the death rate for seasonal flu. (The rate for the flu is about 0.1%—or 1 in 1,000 patients.)”
It’s even lower than .4% in the US right now. Young, healthy people are not gonna die despite the number of empty cots in gyms published by the media. And toilet paper still isn’t going to save anyone with preexisting conditions indicating they could. Learn lessons from old people in Italy who run around kissing each other on the face while living 5-6 deep per apartment. Yeah, don’t do that.

https://www.biospace.com/article/2009-h1n1-pandemic-versus-the-2020-coronavirus-pandemic/

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Crazies and a Blue Devil

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Duke!

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Checkpoint SmartConsole just Sucks. 80.10 80.20

I’ve been deploying and managing corporate firewalls for over 27 years. Over the past two years this included an assortment of Cisco ASA (Firepower), Sophos and Checkpoint appliances. I can say without hesitation that Checkpoint SmartConsole is the absolute worst firewall management interface I’ve ever experienced. And Checkpoint wants a ransom to expand the number of appliances it can manage and deploy policies on.

I was told by our local NC Checkpoint rep that anyone who questions Checkpoint’s pricing will be shut down by their top brass in Israel because they’re ultra arrogant with regards to their perceived value. Apparently anyone who questions their pricing is just stupid and unqualified to judge. I’m qualified. Checkpoint SmartConsole is shit. Complete shit.

The catch is that I like the smaller Checkpoint, locally managed units and their interfaces are not too bad. The Checkpoint 3200 sold to us by RMSource in Raleigh, NC wasn’t up to the job. They didn’t bother to mention the need for Checkpoint’s “Management Console” licensing and put the management directly on the 3200. Later I’m told by Checkpoint that in order to deploy the licensed “Management Console” to push policy to multiple devices local management would have to be removed from the 3200 and it would have to be reconfigured or re-imaged from a backup. Never mind they were told this is our 24-7 core production firewall and they only get one shot at this. Vendor fail. They were fired. We never bought the Checkpoint Management Console. Not enough units to justify the price.

There are so many problems with “Smart”Console I don’t even know where to start. Let’s begin with the inability to make any changes in any security policy or the unit’s configuration without “Installing” the new policy on the 3200. This disconnects every VPN tunnel, every time. Interrupts active sessions. That’s just ridiculous bullshit. Perhaps this can be avoided with the fully licensed management console running on a VM? I don’t care. I’m not paying for it and any other firewall I’ve ever administered can have local configuration and security policies adjusted on the fly without interrupting any active sessions assuming the configuration of the ports, VPN or settings for any connection have not changed. Even the smaller Checkpoint units can do this. Not so with the 3200 and SmartConsole. It mole whacks every session, every time.

Want to see which specific VPN tunnels are connected and active? You’re not going to easily in SmartConsole which requires a few steps to launch Smartview and then run a Tunnel View… blah, blah…. fuck this. Why can’t I just click “Monitor”, “VPN tunnels” like every other security appliance on earth and see a list of gateway and remote access tunnels and their connection status? Aside from intentional complication, which it seems Chekpoint has mastered, I can’t think of a single reason they can’t make this as simple in Smart Console as it is on their other appliances.

There’s so much more to hate about SmartConsole. It can’t be upgraded in place, previous versions have to be removed before the latest release can be installed. It’s 2020. Fix your shit. The Gaia OS is as bad as it’s name and still a resource hog. What the hell is a Gaia anyway? Never mind, I don’t care. Or how about the fact that I still have updates pending on this damn 3200 that neither the Checkpoint vendor, RMSource, or Checkpoint support could ever get installed without errors? Again, they want to rip it down an start from scratch. What is it these people don’t understand about 24-7 up time meaning NO MAINTENANCE WINDOW for core key components? We don’t have hours to re-image or reconfigure our primary firewall. We will spend thousands to hot-swap replace this ill-advised 3200 before losing even one hour of production orders that flow through the thing. And guess what Checkpoint, we are.

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Home Depot B2B EDI “support” is a model of Asian outsourcing failure.

Home Depot outsourced it’s B2B and EDI (Electronic Document Interchange) support to India, Pakistan or somewhere in Asia long ago.  It’s a model demonstration of the failures that can come from outsourcing.  The long running jokes about Indian call center support embraced by US technology and telecommuncations companies have spread across almost all areas of I.T.   This particular failure on the part of Home Depot is of particular importance because it causes disruption in their vendor supply chain.

Honorable mention goes to Home Depot for their selection of unqualified candidates to work in their B2B support center.  Not only are they generally unhelpful and unknowledgeable regarding things like their own EDI mapping specifications, but Home Depot has found it acceptable to hire those who ONLY speak Farci or Urdu with almost zero ability to speak English.  This is no exaggeration or matter of interpretation.  My guess is the top of the totem pole in Atlanta probably isn’t even aware how bad the situation is with this language barrier.  I challenge anyone in their stateside senior management to call their own B2B support department and hold a conversation.  Our organization has been required to call in our Indian and Pakistani product managers to sit on calls and speak with the HD B2B support staff in their native language because they genuinely did not know the words in the English language to communicate high level technical information to our internal EDI staff or our application vendors.  This is when you know they’ve gone too far in their quest to offset costs.

Predictably Home Depot could play the “we can’t find U.S., Canadian or European workers with the skill set to fill these roles”.  Well, you didn’t find them in India or Pakistan either.  Furthermore the document specifications and translation sets are written in English code, specifically XML. If they can’t speak it my guess is they couldn’t read a map or the specification sets during training either.

We are at a point of impasse in our organization right now when it comes to turning up a new trading partnership for Home Depot Canadian distribution centers even though we have a signed supplier agreement because we literally can’t find anyone in Home Depot B2B who can communicate with us in English.  Furthermore when we engage our language translators they still can’t grasp technical concepts well enough to even provide us proper document specifications for their domestic and international programs.  This is why Home Depot’s long running B2B outsourcing initiative deserves a resounding FAIL.

Home Depot has millions of dollars to fix this problem and insure faster supply chain integration.  Apparently the decision not to fix the problem is completely based on trying not to pay U.S., Canadian or European technical specialists the wages such B2B and EDI expertise demands, opting instead for cheap, unqualified, outsourced Asian call center operatives who are at best ineffective in their roles and in many cases detrimental to vendor supply chain integration.

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