Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

Style Evolves

So, since we’re making changes, I thought I’d start with the blog theme. This new theme uses flat design, which all the kids are raving about now. It also implements responsive design, so, if you’re on a mobile device, you’ll no longer see the Apple Touch mobile theme. Now you’ll see the current blog template, which will happily reformat itself for your phone or tablet viewport.

You’re welcome.

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Economic Statistics for 12 Aug 14

The NFIB small business optimism index rose 0.7 points in July to 95.7.

The government’s budget deficit, as of the end of July, is running 24% below last year, at $460.5 billion vs. $607.4 billion.

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales down -1.4%, and were up only 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Conversely, Redbook reports a strong 4.8% increase in retail sales over last year.

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As David Bowie would say, “Ch-ch-ch-changes”

After a conference call this evening, we have decided to move QandO to a new Cloud Hosting plan.  This will remove the bandwidth restrictions we’ve been struggling with for the past month. It will also remove all of the legacy QandO content from 2004-2009. I have a an Excel file with all that old content, but I’m not sure what happens with it at this point. It might end up as one huge 12mb web page. I dunno. We’ll deal with that later. At any rate, I will restore all of the old podcasts, as well, since we’ll have substantially less restriction on storage space, and none at all on bandwidth. These changes will all be taking place over the next few days.

You, as a user, will see little change, except that the site should load substantially more quickly in the new environment.

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QandO at the Crossroads

We’ve been having a big problem at QandO.  The podcast, apparently, has gotten popular.  Under our old hosting plan, we had 400GB of bandwidth.  Last month, our bandwidth began to skyrocket, almost entirely due to podcast downloads.  That has continued this month, too. The excess bandwidth charges for exceeding the monthly bandwidth allowance are $4 per GB.


Essentially, we’ve gone from an average of about 8GB in bandwidth per day to 50GB per day.

This is complicated by the fact that the old version of QandO was created way back in 2004 using ASP.NET 1.1. It works great. Sadly, it’s no longer supported by Microsoft. Last month, when it became clear we were going to blow through our bandwidth allowance, I did two things:

First, I removed the Stitcher podcast player from all the Podcasting posts, to avoid drive-by downloads from the post page. Second, I worked with the web host and was able to upgrade to the last existing ASP.Net 1.1 Premier plan, with a 600GB bandwidth limit, to avoid the bandwidth charges. That costs me $37/mo. As it turned out, bandwidth for the last week of July fell back to normal, so we only went through 415GB, which would’ve been a $60 excess bandwidth charge for the month.

So, increasing the bandwidth limit to 600GB should be a fix, right? Well, this month, we have already burned through 275.15GB in 10 days. At this rate, we will blow through the monthly bandwidth limit around Aug 22.

So, if you are looking for a podcast that’s more than a week old, you won’t find it. I’ve deleted all the older ones. Obviously, that isn’t an optimal solution.

The real solution is to move QandO over to a modern Cloud Hosting environment, which has unlimited bandwidth, 10GB of file storage, and only costs $18 per month. But, the newer hosting plans do not support ASP.NET 1.1. Essentially, that means that everything we’ve written prior to 2009 would, for a while, at least, disappear.  I have the old legacy content in a big, honkin’ file, but it would take some time to restore the old content to a static HTML page. Ultimately, transferring that would be a lot of work.

In any event, while I’m happy the podcast is becoming more popular, it’s causing some problems with trying to reconcile a large chunk of legacy content with modern hosting solutions.

This is complicated by the fact that Jon Henke still owns the domain, so any changes to the server would require him to make the change at GoDaddy. Depending on how long that would take, moving to a new host could mean that QandO will go down for some period of time.

So,all of this is information for you to understand why the Podcast has no archives, and warning that QandO may have to go dark for a day or so if we change to a new hosting plan.

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 08 Aug 14

This week, Michael performs psychoanalysis, and Dale quotes his grandmother.

The podcast can be found on Stitcher here. Please remember the feed may take a couple of hours to update after this is first posted.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Stitcher. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.

Economic Statistics for 7 Aug 14

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 14,000 to 289,000. The 4-week average fell 3,750 to 293,500. Continuing claims fell 24,000 to 2.518 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.1 points to 36.2.

Consumer credit rose $17.3 billion in June mainly driven by the nonrevolving component, which rose $16.3 billion.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose  $3.5 billion with total assets of $4.410 trillion. Reserve Bank credit rose $1.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 Money supply rose $29.2 billion in the latest week.

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Economic Statistics for 6 Aug 14

The US trade deficit narrowed for the second straight month, down $-44.1 billion, the May drop of $-44.7 billion. Imports declined -1.2%.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index for July rose 1 point to 28, the highest level in more than six years.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 1.6% last week. Purchases were down -1.0% but re-fis rose 4.0%.

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Economic Statistics for 5 Aug 14

June factory orders rose a generally strong 1.1%, led by a big 3.3 percent jump for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft.

The non-manufacturing ISM index rose 2.7 points in July to 58.7.

The JP Morgan Global composite PMI for July rose a slight 0.1 points to 55.5. The Global Services PMI rose 0.2 points to 56.0.

US Services Purchasing Managers’ Index fell -0.2 points to 60.8 in July.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index fell -2 points to -17 in July.

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales rose 0.2%, and were up a strong 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook also reports a strong 4.6% rise in retail sales over last year.

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Economic Statistics for 1 Aug 14

In July, 209,000 net new jobs were created as the unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 6.2%.  Weekly earnings were unchanged, as were weekly hours at 34.5. The labor force participation rate increased 0.1% to 62.9%. The real rate of unemployment, assuming a historical average labor force participation rate of 66.2%, is 10.86%, down more than -2% since the 12.03% rate of October 2013.

Both personal income and spending rose 0.4% in June, while the PCE price index rose 0.2%. The core PCE price index rose 0.1%. On a year-over-year basis, the PCE price index is up 1.6% at the headline level and 1.5% at the core.

The Markit PMI manufacturing flash index for July slowed by -1.5 points to 55.8.

The July global manufacturing PMI edged down to a reading of 52.5 from the revised June reading of 52.6.

The July ISM Manufacturing Index rose 1.8 points to 57.1.

The Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for July rose 0.5 points to 81.8.

Construction spending unexpectedly fell  -1.8% in June. On a year-over-year basis, spending is up 5.5%.

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