Sunday, August 30, 2015

Here is a link to my writing parter's reprint of an article we wrote a few years ago. Given the state of the stock market over the last couple of weeks, it still seems timely. investors by Allen and Bryan

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Priming the pump

The world economy grew, in per capita terms, at over 3 per cent during the 1960s and 70s but since the 1980s it has been growing at the rate of 1.4 per cent per year (1980–2009).

Despite rising inequality since the 1980s investment as a ratio of national output has fallen in all G7 economies (the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, Italy, France and Canada) and in most developing countries

According to the Economic Policy Institute the top 10 per cent of the US population appropriated 91 per cent of income growth between 1989 and 2006, while the top 1 per cent took 59 per cent.

In other words, we need the electric pump of the welfare state to make the water at the top trickle down in any significant quantity.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This thing is broke!

At one point in my carrier I was managing a contract repair facility for an Army training system for the Viper light anti-tank weapon. When I first the field site there were lots of complaints that the Viper training system didn’t work.

After finding almost every trainer turned in tagged as not working passed all the functional tests and did in fact work properly, I discovered that the method of sighting the device to the laser transmitter was very crude and inaccurate. The real problem was that the system was not shooting where the sights were aimed.

I made a cradle that held the device on a precision fixture used for aligning the optics of a different training device and aimed it at a field test device that indicated how much higher or lower and left or right the laser was pointed.

Once the tester read “0 by 0” the sight decal could be applied and the system did indeed shoot where it was aimed and the complaints stopped. Well, sort of stopped. They stopped at my field site but since we where a training center, troops from many other Army posts came to us for training. When they returned home the questions of why that same trainer could get simulated kills at my site but not at their home station became an issue.

The real lesson was that the customer thought the training device was not working when in fact the laser was working fine, just not aiming where the operator intended. Listen to your customer for symptoms but not necessarily for causes and they become a valued part of your troubleshooting process.