The Great Inflation

When I took my first Econ 50 class as a freshman in college, I struggled greatly. I was scared off because it didn’t make sense to me. The real world didn’t reflect the “laws” that I was taught. A couple of years later I tried again, adding economics to my dual major mostly because my father made me. I didn’t want to graduate in 3 years and said I had to add economics to my degree for him to pay for me to stay my fourth year. So I completed the requirements for Economics to be added to my International Relations major as a dual in one year. It was crazy hard, but it multiplied my understanding of the world. Once I learned to approach economics like a social science instead of a hard science like math, everything clicked.

Conventional wisdom would tell you that money supply causes inflation, yet our increased money supply has been accompanied by low inflation now and low projected inflation.


source: tradingeconomics.com

Now listen to this podcast. This is why I wish Behavioral Economics was around when I was in college!

My Smartphone-centric Life

I recently had a couple of bad bouts of luck when it comes to my iPhone and it has forced me to realized how far I have come in terms of revolving my productive life around my smartphone. I found it really hard to go back to basics!

After returning an iPhone that would completely drain of its battery within an hour, I ended up getting an iPhone that apparently had some unknown hardware issues that would cause it to restart 3-4 times an hour randomly. Luckily I had Apple Care, who advised me to restore when I called. However, when I tried to restore, it would go in a restore loop for about 3 times because it kept thinking it was in recovery mode… until it could restore no more and was completely dead on a Saturday morning. I had no choice but to schedule an appointment to the Apple Genius Bar, but the only appointment at the Apple Store closest to me was on Thursday at 4:40pm, which would absolutely not work for me. So I ended up making an appointment at the Apple Store in San Francisco for Monday. A few days before the phone died , I had gotten a basic prepaid phone for myself for emergencies just in time for the phone to die. I was able to get around on my calendar print out and just letting a few friends who I had plans with know to contact my burner phone or my husband’s phone should they need to get in touch.

During the 3 days that I did not have my iPhone working I realized how much of my daily life depended on having a smartphone. The weekend was relatively OK because I have access my computer a bit more often and I don’t have much other than the usual kids activities and social plans to deal with, but Monday it was altogether another story.

Among the things I use multiple times on a daily basis are:

  • GPS with traffic conditions
  • Calendar
  • Contact
  • Google
  • Yelp (what’s good to eat around some place?)
  • Email without having to fire up a computer
  • Read my Kndle ebooks
  • Take photos
  • Check weather
  • Make lists (shopping list, to do list)
  • Music
  • Read news
  • Track food and exercise

On the day of my appointment, without my iPhone, I was no longer keenly aware of traffic conditions, when BART train would arrive so that I might get to San Francisco on time for my appointment. I didn’t know what new places to eat around the Apple Store other than the tried and true establishments that I already knew about. I even had to ask for directions. Luckily, in spite of it all I made it to the Apple Store only 6 minutes late for my appointment.

Once at the Apple store I quickly checked in but waited a while because my appointment was accidentally cancelled by one of the associates there… but an hour later I finally got out of there with a replacement phone, when the restore failed and the iPhone restarted again right afterwards.

Now I am a little worried about the new 8.10 iOS update… I will be eligible for the upgrade to iPhone 6 after Christmas.

 

Meanwhile my little Verizon prepaid basic phone has been off the charger for over a week and still have full battery indicator bars!

 

How I Manage Pictures and Videos

As the family historian, I spend a lot of time taking family pictures and video clips of the kids. I have looked at several different solutions for pictures and videos to help manage our family archive.

Equipment

iPhone – Like most people, I take pictures via the iPhone. I have a 16GB phone, so not a whole lot of storage, especially since I do play around with lots of apps.

Digital Camera – I have a DSLR for special occasions but for the most part, I have a small digital camera (Canon Powershot).

Eye-Fi Card – I use the Eye-Fi card with the cameras so I can wirelessly upload my pictures.The Eye-Fi card also has social features that allows you to automatically upload to various online services.

 

My Online Service of Choice: SmugMug

smugmug The reason I choose SmugMug is because it allows me to deal with both photos and videos in one place. I don’t have to spend a lot of time to upload photos to one place, then videos to another. Quite often, I took both pictures and videos from one event and then upload to a single gallery. I spend $60 a year for SmugMug’s Pro version, which allows me to use my own domain, have more control over site designs, and to right-click protect my images. If I didn’t care for those things, I can save $20/ year and go with the SmugMugBasic. I cannot emphasize how wonderful it is to know that all our family’s photos and videos are stored on the cloud. There is nothing to worry about losing or degrading of quality as with physical photos and it is much more easily organized and shared. I originally found SmugMug to be a great alternative for my wedding photos since it allows people to print and purchase prints easily and inexpensively, but since then SmugMug has grown a lot more. Pros:

  • More customizable than competing services.
  • Lets you buy prints and photos.
  • Full screen slideshows.
  • Attractive new gallery themes.
  • Easy to organize by drag and drop
  • Has both Mac and PC solutions or plugins

Cons:

  • No free accounts.
  • Almost no community features.
  • No Face tagging.
  • Social media sharing is not so robust.
  • No creative common designations.
  • RAW files require SmugVault using Amazon Web Service for additional fee.