Apfel hat Logistikproblem! (probably)

Yo Bento. Explain this, you Apple fanboy. You know I am not a great fan of Apple, nor the iPhone as a business proposition. I think this handset venture will prove an expensive white elephant; I think it blow up Apple stock eventually. I vastly prefer Research in Motion and, until recently, Nokia, as investment ideas.

Everyone is telling me that you can’t get iPhones for love or money in Apple shops in the US, and that indeed, there’s a 5-7 day waitlist. But not to worry, there’s no component issue or supply cock-up, they are just destocking because of the imminent launch of the 3G iPhone. In the words of one inveterate Apple shill:

Folks, we’re in April. May is just around the corner. Same with June [sic]. Apple’s worldwide developer conference is on June 9 in San Francisco. It stands to reason that if a new 3G iPhone is on the way, then why in the world would Apple continue to manufacture and then stock older versions that would just collect dust on store shelves?

 So then today, basking in the warm glow of an absolutely killer RIMM quarter, calculating my vast profits, rubbing my hands and cackling, I see this: in Germany not only can you get an iPhone, absolutely no problem, but now it comes at a special price for you mein Freund. T-Mobile cut the price to 99 Euros with the top rate monthly contract of EUR89/month, and the handset goes up in price by EUR50 for every tariff plan below that.  

The article (which I won’t translate for you) says “there are only 2 possible explanations”, mentions the imminent 3G iPhone launch as one, and then points out what I have been saying all along: the demand has just not been there in Europe. So let’s get this straight: in the biggest, most loyal market for iPhones, in the most profitable channel where you don’t have any payaway and have no rivals in stock, Apple has organised it so there’s no actual stock. In the most sceptical market where demand is lowest, they have so many they need to discount. Hmm. Maybe Steve Jobs just wants Euros, like Jay-Z. Or maybe this handset business isn’t quite as easy as Apple thought. 

There are a few other issues: Continue reading “Apfel hat Logistikproblem! (probably)”


I am not the only one worried by this

Hey Bento, you remember I posted about the Large Hadron Collider about to fire up at CERN last year? Basically they haven’t been able to switch it on yet because bits of it would have fallen off or something, which cheered me up – at the time I worried that it could cause a total protonic reversal. Now it seems, it’s even worse than that; according to these dudes in Hawaii it will cause a mini black hole right under my bathroom here in Geneva which expands and expands to swallow the universe, or maybe turn the world into a small turd-like lump of “strange matter” shaped like a burrito. 

And what do the CERN scientists say to reassure us? Basically, they don’t know. According to one of them, Dr Arkani-Hamed:

because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.” 

Fucking hell.

Quants are weird


Came upon the most delightfully batshit website, that of Dr Espen Haug, Dolph Lundgren impersonator the co-author with Taleb of the assault on Black-Scholes-Merton option pricing I linked to in my recent history lecture.

I had imagined a tweedy academic with leather patches on his sleeves, someone not at all as interesting as Taleb. Instead Dr. Haug is a rock and roll  — maybe more Kraftwerk — trader-type, who seems to wear sunglasses indoors, and probably at night too. He calls himself “The Collector”, and has been dubbed Derivativens Konge in his native Norway, and seems something of a celebrity. He is a talented cartoonist as well, though his subject matter makes it unlikely he will achieve syndication in, say USA Today. A sample of his work is above, I hope he doesn’t mind. I would not like to see the demise of Quants who are this interesting, but as an avowed non-Gaussian, he should have a longer life expectancy.

Anyway, he linked to us, which shows admirable generosity, if possibly a lack of discernment. I have to say I was not able to follow much of the more abstruse 3D modelling of options “landscapes” on the site, my thinking sort of fuzzed up at that point. It struck me you might appreciate it more, Bento.

Eurovision!! Again.

Finals. The Swiss TV commentator has basically given up. There’s no point, he says during the Spanish entry, having the nice white outfits and the OK song. They’re not from the East. Nice song, Ireland, he says later, and you could’ve won with it a few years ago. Not now.

Swiss TV man’s pessimism is rubbing off. Just what is this Eastern domination thing about? It’s like we were nice people and invited the slightly poorer swarthy neighbours into the country club, and now they’re hogging the buffet. More than that, now they’re serving cepavici and everything seems to be made of plums. Continue reading “Eurovision!! Again.”

Eurovision!! Eeeeeeee!!!

It’s been hard to restart blogging after Bento’s latest post, for obvious reasons. Especially when it concerns something as frivolous as Eurovision. But it’s on now, or at least the semi-finals are. Yes you heard right, SEMI FINALS.

The authorities in their wisdom have responded to the ever-widening borders of Eurovision Europe by establishing the 1st 2-part Eurovision; there are now simply too many contestants and countries to fit into a 3-hour format. 42 of them, now including Georgia (the Russians won’t have the nerve to invade after this) and the Czech Republic. I think this is a triumph for Europe, proof of concept if you like.

Continue reading “Eurovision!! Eeeeeeee!!!”