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Of popping bubbles and economic growth

June 22, 2009

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In the late 1990s I recall renting a VHS tape (remember those?) of a recently aired PBS series called "Triumph of the Nerds." It detailed the rise of the computer industry, from the garages of San Jose to the boardrooms of corporate America.It's an incredible story, really. The PC business...

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Who has time for R&D? You do.

June 18, 2009

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The R&D tax credit. Although it"s just a six-syllable phrase, it might strike more fear in the hearts of fabricators than any other phrase, including the shipment is late or the customer is demanding a refund. Heck, it"s probably worse than hearing a spouse say, My mother is coming to...

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It's paid for

June 17, 2009

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"It's paid for" & three little words that have come to mean so much to so many. Could they have contributed to the automakers' troubles?Case in point—yesterday my colleague, Tim, and I were talking about his recent new-car purchase. You may have read about the mishap involving his...

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The big adjustment

June 15, 2009

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Shape Corp., a supplier of car bumpers based in Grand Haven, Mich., laid off 630 people since December. But as Chrysler plans to reopen plants, the company reportedly hopes to hire back 80 people.Officials at Die-Matic Corp., a Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, metal stamper, told The Wall Street Journal...

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Be careful what you say

June 11, 2009

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I was going to write something about alternative energy today, but I found a new motivation after reading comments made by Japanese media that were reported in the June 8 issue of Automotive News.Apparently the Japanese public believes that the demise of both GM and Chrysler is proof that U.S....

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Just another copycat?

June 11, 2009

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Even by the standards established by the world"s strictest, harshest government and its unpredictable dictator, the sentence seemed harsh: 12 years at hard labor. Certainly the punishment doesn"t fit the crime (reporting a news story). I understand that the regime in North Korea doesn"t mess around...

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Blogger's block

June 10, 2009

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It was a dark and stormy night & make that a hazy, humid day in which my brain is so exhausted from creative overload that it's refusing to come up with a really good blog topic. I've come down with blogger's block, an affliction that is by no means as serious as the potential H1N1...

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Lookin' good ... we think

June 8, 2009

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Journalists, economists, and pundits of all sorts have turned to cautious optimism. Sure, stocks are up from their lows earlier this year, and the numbers out there indicate we're past the recession's trough and on our way up. As just one example, the Institute for Supply...

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Pulling for the underdog

June 4, 2009

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I'm always pulling for underdogs. They receive little respect, and their stories are often more fascinating than those darlings standing in the spotlight.That's why I'm pulling for GM. No one thinks it has much of a chance for a recovery, and people are calling the $20 billion...

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It ain't easy being Fritz

June 4, 2009

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GM filed for bankruptcy, and now it"s time to stand around and criticize. And criticize. And criticize some more. Enter GM bankruptcy into a search engine and you"ll see a flood of articles, editorials, and blogs that provide no shortage of criticism for the company. The supposed mistakes and...

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'Humans are smarter than apes'

June 3, 2009

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In past posts, I've mentioned that I'm a tennis fan. The last few days have been quite exciting in the tennis world as No.-1 ranked, four-time French Open champ, Rafael Nadal, was defeated in the fourth round by No. 23-ranked Robin Soderling, a Swedish player who never won so much as a...

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Of freedom and gearheads

June 1, 2009

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A decade ago we watched events leading up to the dot-com-era implosion, and this morning we witnessed a milestone of the drawn-out automotive bust: General Motors is now a bankrupt company. Economic history is peppered with booms, bubbles, and busts of various sorts, but the current automotive...

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A new combo choice

May 29, 2009

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If I had to choose just one machine tool to watch in a fabricating shop, it would probably be a combination machine. It slices, it bends, it forms, it engraves, it taps. It's the perfect mechanical representation of a job shop: If it needs to be done to metal, we can do it to the metal.Of...

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Hello, summer!

May 28, 2009

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Well, maybe it"s not quite time to greet the summer. In astronomical terms, it starts at the moment of the summer solstice, which will occur at precisely 5:45 a.m. on June 21 this year (I know it sounds crazy, but it varies). However, one thing doesn"t vary from year to year: the conventional...

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'Work like hell to win now'

May 27, 2009

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If you read last week's blog post "Leapfrogging the competition," you know about the Barclay's Commercial survey cited in the May issue of "Tube Talk" that said 54 percent of UK businesses view the ability to leapfrog struggling competitors as their key opportunity in the current...

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