Sunday, 25 October 2020

Negative Interest Rates

As if savings were not in a bad enough place today, it appears that the Bank of England are going to introduce negative interest rates.

The central bank could take rates into negative territory as early as next month in a bid to prop up the economy as it reels from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bank has already cut rates to an all-time low of 0.1 per cent, hammering savers but making mortgages and other loans cheaper.

Evidence to the Bank of England shows that companies have chosen to increase investment rather than have their cash on deposit decline in value. However, UK banks have argued that IT systems are not ready to process negative rate deposits and loans. There are also concerns that if negative rates apply to personal deposits, customers will withdraw funds and keep them outside the banking system.

While real interest rates can be effectively negative if inflation exceeds the nominal interest rate, the nominal interest rate is, theoretically, bounded by zero. Negative interest rates are often the result of a desperate and critical effort to boost economic growth through financial means.

Negative interest rates may occur during deflationary periods. During these times, people and businesses hold too much money [instead of spending money]. This can result in a sharp decline in demand, and send prices even lower. Often, a loose monetary policy is used to deal with this type of situation. However, when there are strong signs of deflation factoring into the equation, simply cutting the central bank's interest rate to zero may not be sufficient enough to stimulate growth in both credit and lending.

Savers would appear to have three options: 1. save less and spend more 2. save more to compensate for lower returns 3. put their cash into riskier investments.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Internet Applications

Why is it that the OS [operating system] automatically assumes upon integrating IE [Internet Explorer] into a Microsoft Windows 10 unit that the use of Microsoft Edge as a better source is necessary?

I started working on computers in 1984 and they became part of my leisure time as a gaming platform as well as the mainstay at work. This is a my rant on the new Microsoft Edge browser.

Edge is necessary as Microsoft 'does not' like to allow access to some of its site content using other browsers. Yes, it blocks content from IE whether the user wants to use it or not, dictatorship.

It strikes me as strange that they would develop a browser that depends solely on Windows Defender to protect it. Though defender is better than it used to be, it still ranks below the best of anti-virus suites in popularity, ability, performance, and accuracy.

First, killing Internet Explorer was a big mistake. It has been around for 20 years [1995] so it is familiar to everyone. Second, half of the world uses IE so we are all going to soon be unprotected when Microsoft decides to end support for IE [and they will as they end support for everything]. So all of the IE users will be left unprotected or have to move to a non Microsoft browser [since Edge is only compatible with Windows 10 obviously]. Another brilliant move Microsoft.

If they wanted to fully replace IE with Edge they should have made it compatible with all platforms, not just 10.

Another trifling problem is Favourites, they used to be accessible like any other file / directory but not in Edge. Microsoft has decided to hide them in a database, which the public do not have access to. Bill Gates and his team once more put the padlocks in place as they do not trust the user to have any sense for the wokings of a computer - LOL

Edge's UI [user interaface] is horrid, and by horrid I mean bland, ugly and confusing. In IE we had three simple controls. A house icon [Home] a star [Favorites] and a gear [Settings]. Edge's controls are dots, stacks, lines and other 'crap items' you have to decode them before you start using it. It is all thrown together with a boring grey and white color scheme.

I understand not everyone is going to agree with me, but we all have our own opinions. So there is my rant, I'm not using Edge and I know a lot of other people will probably follow suit.

Oh and remember my gripe about favourites, well if you want to manage favourites now in Microsoft Edge all you have to do is "BUY" a third party app called "Manage Edge Favorites". Do not forget, money is important to the industry.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Vice President Debate

The vice-presidential debate last Wednesday [7-Oct-2020] was less openly hostile than the Donald Trump-Joe Biden debacle last week, but provided a further insight into the state of both campaigns ahead of November 2020.

As expected, the first question was about coronavirus in a debate dominated by the pandemic. Pence’s staff had insisted the vice-president has tested negative for Covid-19, but the two Plexiglass barriers placed between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence served as a constant reminder of the crisis. Harris kept her point simple. She focused on the numbers dead, and the millions of people affected.

On substance, authenticity, and actually answering the moderator’s question, Kamala Harris clearly won the debate. She even managed to defend her own record against Mike Pence’s lies while explaining Joe Biden’s plans.

One of the most memorable moments of the night was on healthcare, when Harris issued a stark warning about the Trump administration’s intentions. Trump is seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which prevents health companies turning away patients with pre-existing conditions, and Harris made sure viewers knew it. “If you have a pre-existing condition, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, they are coming for you. If you love someone who has a pre-existing condition, they are coming for you.”

On the most important issue of the covid pandemic and the election [health care] Kamala Harris prosecuted her case. Her powerful warning “they’re coming for you” to people with pre-existing medical conditions was the moment when #KamalaWonTheDebate.

Pence responded by claiming the Trump administration has a plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Trump has spent years claiming he will release a comprehensive healthcare plan. We are yet to see it.

About halfway through Wednesday’s debate, Vice President Mike Pence, a seasoned and sly veteran of high-stakes political theater, was asked whether President Trump had a plan to protect patients with pre-existing conditions if he succeeded in killing the Affordable Care Act. His response was a master class in evasive rhetorical jujitsu. First, the vice president ignored the question [the White House has not, in fact, come up with a plan], then launched into a long defense of his anti-abortion views and, for his dismount, demanded that Senator Kamala Harris say if she supported a plan to 'pack' the Supreme Court.

The debate topics were not released ahead of Wednesday night, but neither candidate was caught out. Both Kamala Harris and Mike Pence were guilty of refusing to answer some of Susan Page’s questions, in some cases barely acknowledging questions before launching into prepared answers.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Trump v Biden

What did we take away from the first debate?


The exchanges were notable for the amount of interruptions, mainly from Donald Trump. At one point the moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, seemed to have had enough, telling the president that his campaign team had agreed to the rule that both candidates should have two minutes uninterrupted during each section, and urging him to abide by it. By the end of the first of six sections, Joe Biden was looking weary. "Why don't you shut up, man?" he moaned.

The November result:-

It has been alledged that the election will not be known the next day as it is here, but could take weeks to resolve. Donald Trump said: "I hope it's going to be a fair election. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated I cannot go along with that. It means you have a fraudulent election." The president also said he would be prepared to go to the Supreme Court, which could lean heavily to the right if his pick Amy Coney Barrett is approved by the Senate. Joe Biden was more measured: "No one has established at all that there is fraud related to mail-in ballots. He has no idea what he's talking about."

White Supremacist:-

Donald Trump was asked to condemn white supremacist groups. "He doesn't want to calm things down," Joe Biden said, adding that the president wanted to "pour gasoline on the fire". Asked to condemn white supremacist and militia groups, Donald Trump said: "Sure I'm willing to do that, but almost everything I see is from the left-wing. "I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace." Finally, he said: "Proud Boys - Stand back, stand by, but I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right-wing problem... This is a left wing problem."


Asked if it was true that he paid just $750 in income tax in 2016, as reported by The New York Times, Donald Trump said: "I paid millions of dollars in taxes, of income tax." "Show us your tax returns," Joe Biden interjected. "Trump's answer on his tax returns is exactly the same as it was four years ago during the debate with Hillary Clinton," she wrote. "Then: 'As soon as the audit's finished, it will be released.' "Tonight: 'You'll see it as soon as it's finished.'"

The insults flew thick and fast, but surely even they must realise that the people want a debate, and that is usually held between people talking to each other rather than talking over each other.