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Archive for February 19th, 2009

The World Keeps on Spinning

It has been awhile since I have posted anything.  Work has been insane, but then again what is new?  I’ve been getting home around 10 PM most nights, and then I eat a small dinner, put my son in the bath, and before I know it is is 1 AM.  I’m glad I have time to put him in the bath, he always seems happy to soak in the warm water.  One day I’ll teach him the splendidness of hot springs.

So the world has been quite busy recently! (Sorry for the Financial Times links — you have to register to seem them, perhaps the NYTimes ones as well)

This week the Mobile World Congress is going down in Barcelona, Spain.  It is THE EVENT in the wireless telecoms industry, and I’ve been following the daily news all throughout the work day.  Everyone, including myself, is excited about LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks that should start to appear next year.  My company is of course participating– how I wish I could have gone!  Alas, I’m stuck at my desk with just the computer.  I really would have enjoyed walking around the booths and seeing the new technologies as well as meeting other engineers.  I once attended Wireless Japan a few years back, but it is not on the same scale and, as is typical in Japanese business, the event did not leave much room for meeting with other engineers unless you already knew them beforehand.

For those who have followed the news, what do you think of Finance Minister Nakagawa?  For those who didn’t see it, he was sloshed out of his brains at a G7 press conference.  Certainly his job is not easy in the current economic enviornment, but he is an LDP top dog and he ought to know better than sitting down for a press conference in that state.  With LDP gaffes like this happening again and again, if the LDP manages to keep control of the government, then there truly is no hope for the future.  My wife mused on how it was unbelievable that his aides let him appear like that in front of the camera.  Can you imagine the reporters at the press conference?  They must have gone from complete awe, to disbelief, and then to pure joy at the opportunity that landed in front of them.

Next up, China warns us all against protectionism and its “poison”.  I normally don’t take a very negative stance against China, but I like to point it out when I feel that the Chinese government is getting a bit cheeky.  After all, this statement from a country that *finally* opened up some of its radio spectrum for use by non-Chinese mobile network technologies.  And they did it all of this time to protect their own  home-grown wireless technology (TD-SCDMA).  China says the goal is  avoiding to have to pay out all of the patent royalties that foreign companies own on existing UMTS and EV-DO.  Sorry, perhaps this is getting a bit too technical.

That’s not all, the US Navy ponders the goals of the Chinese submarine fleet in the Pacific Rim.  At the same time, the economic downturn is causing Australia to reconsider its relationship with China.  When the times were good and the money was flowing, all were happy.  The Financial Times also has an interesting piece on the “bad banks” in China.

In other news, it looks like more in Taiwan will be kicking the can down the street as GDP continues to implode.  Join the club, my friends on the beautiful island. Even the godly Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TMSC) is being humbled by the times.

Secretary of State Clinton is in Indonesia on her first walkabout in Asia. Let us hope that the Obama administration will embrace Asia rather than moving the continent to the backseat like he-whom-ye-shall-not-speak-of.  Stronger ties with Indonesia will also be a good thing too, though I wonder if the visit was just a PR chance due to Obama’s background.   Seriously though, I hope that the State Dept. and the Obama Administration can create better relations with Indonesia and Malaysia.  Clinton might be the right person for the job too.  I remember back in 2005 being in the Taipei 101 shopping center and there were huge banners for former President Clinton’s book.  I asked my friend about it and he said that Clinton was really popular in Taiwan.  Perhaps the Clintons are well-regarded throughout Asia? Or maybe just Taipei.

Finally, there is a lot going on back home.  The boys in Detroit are back to begging for money from the government again.  I don’t care how much money you give them, they’ll find a way to spend it all without accomplishing a thing.  In Washington Congress and the Executive pontificate their grand bank nationalization strategies for getting us out of this mess, reminding us how not to be like the Japanese and be more like the Nords.  Also, it looks like it is not only Wall Street and Detroit that will be getting government money–now the troubled homeowner will be getting a cut as well.  Don’t get me wrong, I support President Obama and some of his long-term agendas, but I’m just not sure about all of this free money.  I guess we won’t be seeing much money being invested in new technologies, transportation and urban living enviroments that will help reduce the dependency on oil and sprawled out lifestyles.  Perhaps I can get a bailout for a relocation back to the US?  Who would I write to for that…

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