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Retailing should be exciting. Costco is. Who else? Still looking.

Retailing should be exciting. Costco blew me away with an 85 inch TV — the first thing I saw as I walked into their store yesterday. It was the best TV picture I’ve ever seen. I was awestruck.

In contrast the other big stores — like Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s — were desultory, poorly organized and impossible to find what you were looking for. I justified my “visits” by saying I needed the “walk” as recuperation from my gallbladder surgery.

I bought a handful of Costco’s overpriced stock.

Useful Stuff to know

+ Microsoft is forcing you and I to “upgrade” to Windows 11. I use Windows 10, which works 100% for me. I have tested Windows 11 and hate it. I don’t like its interface and much of the software I use every day doesn’t work on Windows 11. Meantime, Microsoft is sneaking Windows 11 on us by calling it an “upgrade,” which it isn’t. Be ultra-wary of clicking on Microsoft’s “upgrade” button. I’m looking for a permanent way to stop the “upgrade.” There is a way. I’ll find it.

+ You can now get executed by firing squad in Idaho — if the state can’t find the lethal drugs to do the job. There’s a shortage.

+ China and Iran want Russia to use Ukraine to test their new killer drones. It’s business.

+ Will someone please buy Allbirds, the shoe company, and put it out of its misery? For my “logic,” click here.

+ Putin has effectively destroyed Russia by making it the most corrupt large economy in the world. Items: All the big mining/oil are now in his cronies hands. Cronies pay Putin a big piece of the action or get killed. Putin rewards his friends (like members of his private security force) with governorships. Virtually all public services monies — road repair, ambulance service, military — have been skimmed. There is no rule of law in Russia. It’s who you know and who you pay. Hence, there are two classes of people — a few thousand ultra-rich and millions and millions of people who live on $15 a day, maybe, drive on rutted roads and can’t find the medicines they need.  Russia’s future looks bleak. Hundreds of thousands of talented, educated Russians have fled for fear of becoming cannon fodder in Ukraine. This is not going to end well — if it ever ends.

+ My friend Paul writes, Economics has three irrefutable laws 1. Law of supply and demand 2. Law of diminishing return and 3. Law of unintended consequences. Politicians ignore economics and in fact think that they can do a better job than “free markets”.

+ My doc friend writes, “The downsides (on taking Paxlovid for covid) are limited but Paxlovid does have a bunch of side effects and interacts badly with some other medications and a number of folks who take it have a return of their covid (“rebound”) which draws out the duration — for old guys like you. Taking it is good — but being fully vaccinated and boosted is more important.”

+ Don’t ever give your email address to save 15%. It’s not worth the savings. Moreover you’ll drive yourself nuts trying to get off the cursed mailing list.

+ If you sell real estate for a living, answer your phone.

+ They’re playing tennis in Miami. Great matches.

Here are three obvious reasons why my 15% stop loss rule makes huge sense.

How Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant Lost the A.I. Race

Excerpted from a NYTimes piece:

The virtual assistants had more than a decade to become indispensable. But they were hampered by clunky design and miscalculations, leaving room for chatbots to rise.

A good explanation:

The new assistants and the chatbots are based on different flavors of A.I. Chatbots (the new generative AI softwares) are powered by what are known as large language models, which are systems trained to recognize and generate text based on enormous data sets scraped off the web. They can then suggest words to complete a sentence.

In contrast, Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are essentially what are known as command-and-control systems. These can understand a finite list of questions and requests like “What’s the weather in New York City?” or “Turn on the bedroom lights.” If a user asks the virtual assistant to do something that is not in its code, the bot simply says it can’t help.

Click here.

Gordon Moore, a personal hero, dies

Moore co-founded Intel. The NYTimes’ obituary had words all his fans (like me) mouthed many times:

In the 1960s, when Mr. Moore began in electronics, a single silicon transistor sold for $150. Later, $10 would buy more than 100 million transistors. Mr. Moore once wrote that if cars advanced as quickly as computers, “they would get 100,000 miles to the gallon and it would be cheaper to buy a Rolls-Royce than park it. (Cars would also be a half an inch long.)”

For the full obit, click here.

Intel’s lead in technology advances has now been eclipsed by Nvidia.

Fun stories and cartoons

Dating 2023

We’re on our way back to New York from sunny California.

See you tomorrow. — Harry Newton