An extra latte a year for the rest of my life :)

Today was a happy day for the talented mr Fog.

An extra yearly income of $8 was granted by the big American company IBM. Even after taxes that amounts to at least a caffee latte. Not a bad gift to a caffeeholic. How did this happen?  you may ask. It’s not like I am working at IBM.

The solution to the riddle is that IBM today decided to increase their dividend from $4.4 to $5.2 (per year, divided in four quarterly dividends). Since my portfolio contains 10 shares that corresponds to $8. Not amazing but still not bad. Indeed the increase is unusually big. Normally shareholders have to be happy with much smaller increases, percentwise 😮

So although this increase won’t change my life it’s still very nice to see the passive income increase a little. Of course I can’t be sure this extra latte will be paid yearly for the rest of my life. After all IBM might run into troubles and start loosing money. In such a case the sharholders can kiss the dividend goodbye. But let’s be optimistic and hope IBM will continue to earn decent amount of money so they can continue paying, and preferably raise, the dividends 🙂

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The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior

Does your language influence if you’re a saver or spender?

This surprising thesis is presented by M. Keith Chen at Yale University.

I guess this sounds pretty weird 😀 Frankly I’m not so convinced myself. Well, there is science and a lot of thinking behind the theory. Read and judge for yourself. 56 pages of science lingo 😮

http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/keith.chen/papers/LanguageWorkingPaper.pdf

Apparently I’m living in one of the cultures with weak future-time reference which makes me a frugal saver. On the other hand my use of the future oriented English language may have nudged me into the spending zone. Something the local providers of Caffee Latte benefit immensely from 😀

Meanwhile maybe I should be happy that I’m not Finnish or Estonian. According to the paper they have no future at all 😉 At least not in the  future-time reference sense. No wonder they worry a lot. Mure, mure 🙂

Intel NUC OS installation -part 2

As a total Linux noob the OS installation was not totally straightforward. However the internet provided links with useful information.

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-033935.htm

and

Ubuntu also provided useful information about how to create a bootable USB-stick.

The whole procedure was fairly straightforward. Only a few more comments. Apparently the Sandisk USB-stick is not a good choice for booting. They are nice in some ways with the integreated encryption software but I suggest other brands are better for booting.

Obviously I’m now the happy owner of a Sandisk USB drive. Of course I was also curious about the new USB 3 standard, which was installed in the NUC so I bought a Sandisk USB 3 stick.

Though useless for booting I can still have other uses for it. The difference in speed compared with USB 2 is huge, I will probably never again buy a USB 2 stick. Version 3 it will be henceforth. 🙂

The fanless Intel NUC, OS installation

After getting the hardware part of the Intel NUC up and running next step was to install an operating system (OS).

Since I’m used to and like OS from Microsoft and I had a disc with Win 8 I installed that one. Very easy and straigtforward. Just plug in the USB-DVD player, restart the NUC, and Win 8 installed nicely. However I soon ran into problems. I was under the impression that I had a license for the OS but apparently my version was just for upgrading from W7 😮 . However I could run some tests with the Win 8. It was running but due to the very weak processor things often went very slowly. Anyway I had to uninstall the Win 8 since there were no valid licence.

Next obvious step was to try the Linux world. As a Linux beginner I choose Ubuntu which ís supposed to be user-friendly. How did that go? That’s the topic for next post 🙂

The fanless Intel NUC.

Recently I bought a second PC for experimentation purposes. A fanless Intel NUC.

nuc B

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/nuc-kit-de3815tykhe.html?wapkw=nuc+fanless

The Selling Points:

  1. Fairly low price
  2. Low energy consumption (5 W)
  3. Very silent – no fan
  4. Small size

There is of course some drawbacks. The processor is now only low power. It’s also rather weak and definitely not useful for demanding applications. Then as this is a barebone system I had to buy memory, hard drive and operating system and install everything. Might be a no brainer for PC-technicians but for me who don’t do this stuff so often it was a bit scary.

How did this turn out? you may ask.

In fact the price (in local european currency) was raised once while I was pondering the purchase. That’s due to the strenghtening US dollar I assume. Some consolation is that the price was raised again shortly after the purchase. Still a reasonably priced thingie, I Think.

I also bought 4GB RAM and a 120 GB Intel SSD for extra speed and silence.

The installation of Memory was farirly easy. Just snap on. Howerver there must’ve been some lacking Contact because the NUC refused to boot at first. 😮 The solution was to remove the RAM and then insert it again.

The hard drive was a bit trickier to attach. Had to use a screwdriver for that. But eventually the NUC ran well. It is not totally silent. There is some weak sound from the case but the level is about the same as the tinnitus so no big problem 😉

Next post will be about the installation of the OS

Thanksgiving

It seems to be thanksgiving time again. That mysterious rite involving turkeys that Americans do the fourth Thursday of November every year.

I still don’t understand the meaning of Thanksgiving but since it seems to associated with joy and happiniess over there I must of course wish the Americans a happy Thanksgiving 🙂

The silver investment

Hi readers. Felix is back. This time to share the latest investment. Silver!
That’s right. I just purchased a one ounce silver coin for 35 €.
35 € 😮 ?
Did I hear a giggle? Even after the rise of the dollar 35 € is way above the current market silver price of $15.78. Obviously this was not a good deal. Well, some consolation is the nice case and the Certificate of Authenticity that was included. Also a precious metal like silver can be expected to always keep at least some value. So does this mean that I predict a crash for both stocks and currencies?

No. Well of course a crash may come anyway but that’s not the reason for this purchase. Besides having an ounce of silver will not help much in case of a new recession.

The reason was simply that I liked the design of the coin. It’s a beuatiful thing to own and I can pay for it by not drinking caffee latte the next 2 weeks. Economically it doesn’t make sense but life is not only money.

miina

Nice, isn’t it?

🙂

Tallink and the “Social License to Operate”

As a fairly frequent traveller on the Tallink routes over the Baltic sea I recently noticed some alchohol related changes on their ferries. I.e. the price of beer and the alcohol content of the bottles offered in the tax-free boutique.

(In order not to go into tedious detail I shall assume that the readers are familiar with the the tax-free shopping situation on and around the Baltic sea.)

Anyway. During the last cruise I first observed that the extra-strong 160 proof vodka was no longer available in the tax-free shop. Among the vodkas the strongest offered were now mere 40 % Vol (80 proof). The same limit as in the Swedish government alcohol monopoly (Systembolaget), as we shall see this is probably no coincidence. For normal consumption this is no big problem since 160 proof per se is undrinkable – unless you are Stalin, Churchill or Yeltsin. However I was a tiny bit annoyed because the stronger vodka is excellent for making licors.

A bit shaken but not yet stirred I went to the ship’s pub to enjoy some tasty Tartu beer. Indeed the beer was yummy and the bartenders were as always correct, competent and calm. However the price had been hiked some hefty 21 % since last time. In fact the price was now closer to what you could expect to pay in a standard Stockholm pub.
Kurat, I didn’t say, because I don’t speak Estonian. But such were my feelings. Fortunately after some time the soothing effect of the Tartu hops calmed me down and I began analyzing the situation.

It would be tempting to first explain the whole thing with corporate greed. After all that’s what we like to blame when prices are hiked. But I don’t think this is the case here.

A second explanation could be the return of inflation. Although normal people haven’t noticed much of it the big central banks, FED in the US and EZB in Frankfurt have been creating huge amounts of money ex. nihilo the last years. The economists will probably argue whether this was good or bad. I personally belive they did the right thing. Creating all that money has probably stopped the western world from falling into depression and risk chaos. However that medicine is very strong and may have some serious side-effects in the long run, mainly inflation. But I digress.

At this point the economy is defintely not experiencing general 21% inflation. Instead I suspect the reason for these changes to pertain to the unofficial “Social License to Operate”. This is no formal thing but rather something like the general reputation and acceptance of a company. Of course unliked companies in many cases can still operate and sell their products. However things often go much smoother for them if the surrounding population and authorities accept and preferably like a company.

In the case of Tallink who provides a useful, enjoyable and affordable naval infrastructure there’s a lot to like of course. However Tallink has recently gotten some negative media publicity in Sweden. According to Swedish television many persons are kind of getting to drunk and tend to cause problems on the Tallink ferries. I personally have never seen anything bad happen and I suspect the media as often exaggerate in order to sell a good story. Journalists are among the absolutely least respected groups in Sweden but they got a huge impact on the public opinion.
So the conclusion is that the people at Tallink noticed the bad publicity and decided they better do something about it, so to say in order not to jeopardize their unofficial “social license to operate”. Thus the new alcohol related situation on board which now is closer that that on mainland Sweden. In my opinion a good pro-active move from Tallink’s side. Though the more expensive beer sucks:p When I make future trips I’ll follow up and see how the situation develops.

Have any of the readers here seen drunk people causing trouble on the Tallink ferries recently? Maybe I’ve just been lucky every single time I travelled but I haven’t noticed anything.

Frugal millennials

According to this article in Businessweek the millennial generation that just a decade ago was accused of being materialistic and bent to excessive consumption has turned out to become frugal and responsible.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-25/millennials-are-careful-frugal-shoppers-who-buy-for-the-long-term

The reason for this change of attitude? The horrible job situation and shrinking wages. At least in the US of A. They were so to say forced to take a crash course in economy in the word’s original meaning. I.e. managing limited resources.

That pressure is of course not limited to the millennials but they are probably harder hit than the most.