Robert’s Ramblings

Robert Alonso’s Thoughts on Technology and More…

Archive for May, 2009

May-22-09

On-Line Dating

Posted by Robert Alonso under Service

We live in a technologically advanced era. Everything that we used to do in the analog world is being replaced by a digital version. Now, we can even date digitally. The latest issue of Scientific American Mind magazine has an article on how significant the on-line dating scene has become and how often people lie about their age, weight and appearance on these sites.

According to the article, most sites have millions of profiles, but very few paying customers. They have concluded that sites that offer questionnaires that supposedly match people are no better than others that allow users to post profiles and wait for emails from prospective partners. They also determined that there are certain age groups that lie more often about their age. They used statistical analysis for this conclusion. The most disturbing finding is that many inquiries go unanswered because non‑paying customers cannot answer emails without becoming paying customers. This leads to a lot of frustration and misunderstanding.

Not wanting to be left out of this trend, my company has put up a new and free dating site. It is called, “Faces to Remember.” This site will facilitate human relationships much like personal ads did in newspapers and magazines in the past. The site will make its income through ads and will not charge for any of its current services.

Try it out and let me know what you think. You can reach me at the email address, Robert (at symbol) facestoremember.com or Alonso.com

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May-15-09

Biography of the Dollar

Posted by Robert Alonso under Books, Opinions

“Biography of the Dollar” by Craig Karmin is an excellent book that explains how the dollar rose to become the preeminent currency worldwide and why it is now under pressure from other currencies. The book was written and published prior to the current economic malaise, but I consider it indispensable reading for the meaningful insight that it will provide you. Through it, you will gain some understanding as to why all the economies of the world are hurting now that the United States is suffering.

The first chapter in the book deals with foreign exchange trading and the billions that are at stake. The author does this by going behind the scenes at FX Concepts; one of the leading currency trading firms in the U.S. The chapter is so well written that you feel that you are working at the company during some of the most stressful moments of trading. The second chapter covers the Bureau of Engraving and Printing which is the organization in charge of printing all the money in circulation. This chapter is fascinating and offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at how the dollar is made, distributed and tracked. The money ultimately makes its way back to the bureau where it is destroyed after it is too used to circulate. I also found the stories about crooks that have attempted to steal bills directly from the bureau riveting.

The third chapter is a history lesson on the rise of the dollar and the establishment of the Federal Reserve System. I found this chapter interesting and informative. In fact, it should be required reading for history and economics majors in college or maybe even in advanced high school history courses. The fourth chapter goes into great details into the economies of South American countries with an emphasis on Ecuador and its adoption of the dollar as its official currency. The dollarization of Ecuador led to economic stability in the country, but with some unforeseen costs. Chapter five gives us great detail about how Asian economies are now tied to the United States economy by way of their massive reserves of dollars. It also includes sobering information on how dangerous this is for both the Asian countries and the U.S.

The last chapter discusses a bank that allows United States citizens to save with the value stored in a foreign currency. The thinking behind these accounts is that the dollar is headed for a fall and having some of your assets in Euros or Yen might be a good idea. In general, the chapter deals with the potential fall of the dollar and the potential for other currencies to surpass the dollars preeminence. The current thinking is that the Yuan from China or even the Euro from the European Union may have a chance at displacing the dollar.

It will take much time for the dollar to lose its omnipotent position in the global economy, but it is not inconceivable that it could happen within a lifetime. If it does, it will have a huge impact on the country’s ability to borrow money, fund deficits and maintain trade imbalances. This is the book you should read if you want to understand economics at the global level—especially now with the global banking crises. It is thorough and informative, but does not require an advanced degree to understand. I give this book my highest recommendation and hope that new, updated versions are released regularly.

Robert Alonso
Alonso Consulting, Inc.

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