Archive for May, 2015


May 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Given that, I thought, what better way to road test a new pair of jeans than to traipse them around their ancestral home of Paris, France? (And if, according to my accountant, chronicling the experience here means that I can write off part of the trip, that’s purely coincidental.)


While denim may have French origins, the classic blue jean in this country has its spiritual home in California, HQ of the Freenote Cloth Company, founded by brothers Matt and Andrew Brodrickin historic San Juan Capistrano. They create a collection of classic American menswear, including the Rios Modern Slim jean.

I packed a pair (along with my French phrase book devoted exclusively to ordering cheese, bread, wine and chocolate), and headed for the Continent. Six days and five nights later, me and my new Freenote Modern Slims were inseparable! (This is the same word in English and French—when you read it, try to add an accent.) They’re beautifully cut with tasteful details, perhaps the most individual pair of jeans I’ve worn in quite some time. I think they’re a steal at $220.

  • Name: Freenote Cloth Company Rios Modern Slim
  • Fabric: Sanforized 100% Cotton RHT Cone Mill White Oak 1968 selvedge denim
  • Weight: 13.5oz.
  • Fit: Slim Straight
  • Unique Features:
    • Rear pocket rivet
    • Branded hardware
  • Available for $220 at Freenote Cloth


The Rios Modern Slim sits true to size—I normally wear a 34” waist and could have with these, but the cut made a 35” sit better right at my hips (I’m 6’3 and 185 lbs. and am wearing a 3.5” turn-up). To be blunt, the men in my family have no ass—it’s straight down our backs into our legs with barely a ripple.


I can’t promise the same for you, but miraculously, the cut of these jeans created the illusion of an ass (perhaps this is due to their contoured waistband)! If you’re an average build (or kinda gangly like me), these should fit you swell. The tagged size 35 has an actual waist of 37.5”, a rise of 11.375”, a leg opening of 15.75”, and a 34” inseam.



The Rios is made from a sanforized 13.5oz. 1968 Cone Mills Denim, which is usually considered a brighter, few-shades-lighter-indigo denim. The stitching (chain as well) is a consistent gold, and the seams are felled.

The feel of this denim is substantial, the hand is even, and the initial stiffness quickly surrendered with a few days of wear. (Perhaps the only thing to surrender more quickly was my willpower in the face of many a boeuf au poivre.)




All of the hardware—brushed copper rivets and antiqued button tacks—is custom and sourced in Kentucky. When I first put these jeans on, I was immediately struck by how solidly constructed they were—my pair was flawless. While they didn’t say so, as me and my Freenotes floundered our way through the arrondissements, I could sense an overwhelming sense of Parisian approval.




There are certainly some unique features to these Freenote Rios jeans…a selvedge (generously sized) coin pocket detail, a U.S. vegitan leather patch pressed in Los Angeles, thread from North Carolina, heavyweight Japanese herringbone pocket bags in a wonderful rusty sienna color, and Freenote’s signature leather backed rivet detail.




But really, like with all timeless American men’s clothing, the headline here is about fit and quality construction. Do I think the leather backed rivet detail is cool? Absolutely. Would they and fancy pocket bags make me buy these? Absolutely not. These Rios Modern Slims are going to take some time to reveal their fades within, but they feel and look so good (I have an ass!), it will be hard to not wear them.



Denim at $300…$400…almost $900 a pair can be had at your heart’s desire, but at $220, you’re getting a lot of classic American Made jean with plenty of classy bling with the Rios Modern Slim. I know that Gustin has played with the 1968 Cone Mills denim and I’ve not tried those on, but I can say that I’ve tried on way more brands than the next guy and, save for a few heavyweight Japanese brands, I’ve not felt so securely in one with a pair of jeans as I have with these in quite a long time.

I know many of you join me in mourning the loss of American manufacturing, so here’s an opportunity to celebrate a company actually making Americana in America. And for the record, the French get a bad rap for not liking Americans, but they treated me with nothing but kindness and respect. Was that due in part to my Freenotes? Je ne sais pas, but I suspect…oui.

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Creating the Internet of Your Things

May 31, 2015 Leave a comment


Barb Edson

General Manager Microsoft Corp


Where is your business going? How are you going to make it thrive? How will you make the most of what you have, and incorporate today’s and tomorrow’s technology breakthroughs to ensure your business is set up for the long term? How are you going to help your employees become more efficient? How are you going to reduce costs yet improve customer service? The answers to these questions—and many more—likely already exist in your business with the data and systems you have today. You may need ideas, inspiration, and technology partners to help you stop running your business and start making it thrive. Microsoft recognizes that buzz about new technology can be exciting but also challenging to assess from a business perspective. The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is one such trend. The Internet of Things provides vast opportunities, but it can also pose a challenge to enterprises. The Internet of Things has kept plenty of technology journalists busy during the past year, but few have answered the most important questions of how to make it relevant to your business today. Instead, it often seems overwhelming, complicated, and expensive. It’s no wonder many companies are uncertain about implementing an IoT strategy. In this paper, we explain how to look beyond the hype and start on a path that will unlock the potential of the Internet of Your Things. Real, transformative results in your organization await, and it’s easier than you think.

See this link:


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The Coolest Everyday Outfits From The Gals of Freda Salvador

May 31, 2015 Leave a comment
 (Your BlogMaster’s disclosure… Hillary,  Assistant Designer at F/S, is my younger granddaughter and a proud USC Trojan!)

Street Style


My Granddaughter Hillary between the founders/owners of Freda Salvador Fashion Shoes

At the Reward Style conference, I was so pleased to meet Megan, Cris, and Hillary of Freda Salvador.  Freda Salvador is a small footwear company based in San Fran (you’re looking at the entire company right here) who uses a family-owned factory in Spain to produce their line of cool, edgy, and, to quote Megan, “infinitely walkable” shoes and boots.

That’s a big statement, infinitely walkable.  So as cute young bloggers teetered around us on their impossibly high heels, I fixed her with a skeptical look.  “No really!” Megan laughed.  “I’m a mom – I totally get it!”

So we bonded – they were all great fun.  And I will say this:  The shoe leather is very soft.

In addition to their shoes (which I did cross the conference room to ask about – I mean seriously, white oxfords, black laces?  I’m drooling) they were each(!!) wearing an outfit worth copying.  Love when I see a perfect mix of comfort and edge.  And y’all – I learned that in Dallas –  know how my heart beats fast whenever destroyed denim or camo is involved.


On Cris:

(BTW, there’s a baby bump underneath her chambray shirt)

headscarf: vintage Gucci….I’d probably try this Turban Headband at Anthropologie since I can’t tie anything

shirt: MiH Simple Shirt in Chambray

necklace: Pamela Love Dagger Rosary

denim: Citizens of Humanity Maternity Skinny Jeans

shoes: Freda Salvador White Oxford with Cut-Outs

On Hillary:

glasses: Oliver Peoples

necklace: old…try Bauble Bar’s black beaded necklace

jacket: Wilfred Free Rayder Jacket at Aritzia

top: from Planet Blue (now gone)…try Gap’s Fitted Floral Shirt

denim: from Urban (gone)…try One Teaspoon’s Freebird Skinny Jean (destroyed)

shoesFreda Salvador White Oxford with Cut-Outs

On Megan:

top: Madewell (gone).. try the  Lace Collage Tee at Anthropologie

necklace: J.Crew (gone)…try Bauble Bar’s Crystal Feather Bib Necklace

pants: Sanctuary Camo pants (gone)…try Current/Elliott’s Army Buddy Camo Pants…or maybe eventhese camo pants at LOFT?

denim top (wrapped around waist): Madewell Denim Shirt

shoes: Freda Salavador Ivory Snake Sandal

Megan, Cris and Hillary – so nice meeting you, and thank you again for being such good sports!



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Nike seen avoiding charges in soccer bribery probe – lawyers

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Nike Inc may be able to avoid U.S. charges over any involvement in bribery payments to win soccer sponsorships, but could face penalties if U.S. prosecutors decide to clamp down on the global sportswear giant, lawyers with expertise in the subject said.

Although Nike has not been named or charged with any wrongdoing, the company was swept into the corruption scandal that engulfed soccer’s governing body FIFA when a U.S. indictment released on Wednesday described apparent kickback payments linked to a landmark 1996 Nike deal in Brazil.

In a statement on Thursday, Nike said that the charges did not allege that it engaged in criminal conduct or that any Nike employee was aware of or took part in a bribery scheme. On Wednesday, in another statement, it did not confirm or deny that it was the company in the indictment, but said it was cooperating with authorities.

The description of the $160 million, 10-year deal signed by “Sportswear Company A” matched exactly the details of Nike’s agreement to become the footwear and apparel supplier and sponsor of the world’s most successful national soccer team.

Still, the U.S. Justice Department is likely to take a tougher stance against those who solicited bribes than those who paid them, especially if a company did not have a long history of paying bribes, said former U.S. federal prosecutor Michael Volkov.

“Where the case is going, it’s not focusing as much on the people who were shaken down as it is on the people doing the shaking,” Volkov said.

While the 14 defendants in the indictment are being charged with crimes such as money laundering and wire fraud, the United States has normally prosecuted U.S. businesses for foreign bribery under the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

That law’s anti-bribery provisions apply to dealings with governments and government officials and may not be of much use in the soccer world because soccer associations are typically not government agencies. The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which signed the 1996 deal with Nike, is a private organization.

“The FCPA does not prohibit private bribery,” said Homer Moyer, who specializes in FCPA cases at the law firm Miller & Chevalier in Washington.

If Nike is thought to have paid bribes by transferring funds from a U.S.-based account, the Justice Department might consider charging the company with “international promotional money laundering,” said a former official with the Justice Department’s money laundering section.

While seldom used in the past, prosecutors have made increased used of this charge in recent years, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to his private sector work.

Prosecutors could employ a provision of the FCPA that requires companies to keep accurate accounting records. If the sportswear company in the Brazil deal disguised or hid wrongdoing in its books, it may have violated the law, lawyers said.


The indictment came less than three weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama co-opted Nike’s “just do it” slogan in a speech promoting a Pacific free-trade deal at the company’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

The charge sheet said that “Sportswear Company A” agreed to pay an additional $40 million in “marketing fees” that were not in the initial contract to the Swiss bank account of an affiliate of Brazilian sports marketing firm Traffic.

Traffic’s founder Jose Hawilla, whose guilty plea to U.S. corruption charges was revealed at the same time as the indictment, agreed in 1996 to pay half of everything he made from the deal to an unidentified senior member of the CBF, according to the Department of Justice.

That amounted to “millions of dollars, as a bribe and kickback,” the indictment said.

U.S. prosecutors have used the FCPA to extract massive settlements, often with foreign businesses.

In 2009, the U.S. engineering company KBR Inc agreed to a $579 million settlement over bribes paid to Nigerian government officials.

Separate from the FCPA, foreign and U.S. banks have paid billions of dollars in settlements with U.S. authorities over sanctions-busting activities and anti-money laundering failures in recent years. A number of non-banks have also been targeted by regulators or the Justice Department over anti-money laundering failures.

The indictment also alleged that a New Jersey-based “Sports Marketing Company A” paid bribes to the head of South American soccer association CONMEBOL in exchange for gaining exclusive marketing rights to the Copa Libertadores tournament.

Asked Wednesday if companies that had won soccer marketing rights faced criminal liability or were being investigated, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she could not comment on specific investigation targets. (Additional reporting by Brett Wolf.; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Stuart Grudgings)

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Why Physicists Love Super Balls

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment

May 29th, 2015

by Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science

Super Balls are toys beloved by children because of their extraordinary ability to bounce. Physicists love them for exactly the same reason.

Drop a baseball on the floor and it will hardly bounce at all. Drop a Super Ball from shoulder height, and it will bounce back 92 percent of the way to the drop-off point. Super Balls also are just as bouncy vertically as they are horizontally, and they spin oddly.

“Physicists love it because it has interesting physical properties,” said Rod Cross, retired professor of physics at the University of Sydney in Australia, whose latest paper on Super Balls appears in the American Journal of Physics. His research also demonstrated the odd way all balls roll.

The Super Ball was invented and patented in 1964 by chemist Norman Stingley. The ball is made of a synthetic material he called Zectron, using a polymer polybutadiene and other materials, a form of artificial rubber. It was sold to toy stores by the Wham-O company and was, for a while in the 60s, a great fad. The NFL decided to call its championship game the “Super Bowl” because a sports executive blurted out the name during a meeting, likely inspired by this favorite toy of his children.

Almost 50 years later, it is still sold by Wham-O and it is possible to imagine that many of those sales go to physicists and physics students. A Google Scholar search of “Super ball” returned 460,000 entries, including scientific papers, poster presentations, dissertations, and books.

Bouncing Super Balls has become a standard physics demonstration, Cross said, and the papers are crammed with formulas, charts, and drawings.

What entrances scientists is how well the balls bounce, an ability described in jargon as the coefficient of restitution, which depends on the elasticity of the surface. The Super Ball is almost perfectly elastic in both the horizontal and vertical directions. The Super Ball has an almost perfect coefficient of restitution and does things other balls do not.

Baseballs, for example, hardly bounce at all. Tennis balls bounce better, but they are limited by the rules of the game. Under those rules a tennis ball dropped from 100 inches can bounce no higher than 58 inches, just more than half. Golf balls have a much higher coefficient of resolution because under their plastic skin resides a small, slightly harder, Super Ball.

Part of a Super Ball’s uniqueness is its ability to bounce in all directions equally. If you shoot a Super Ball obliquely at the ground with an angle of 20 degrees, it will bounce out at the same 20 degree angle.

In his study Cross aimed a Super Ball obliquely at a horizontal blackboard which he covered with chalk lines to show what happens when the ball hits the surface. He videotaped the event at 300 frames per second. The ball lost only a little velocity, meaning the Super Ball conserved almost all its kinetic energy, and what kinetic energy it lost was converted to heat, raising the ball’s temperature about a quarter of one degree Celsius.

In the blackboard experiment he was also able to demonstrate a little-known fact about all rolling balls: At one point when a ball rolls forward, the bottom comes to a standstill while the ball is still moving.

On a rolling ball, the top of the ball spins forward while the bottom of the ball spins backwards, a phenomenon caused by friction with the surface. Because Super Balls have rough exteriors, the effect of friction is pronounced.

For example, if you dropped a Super Ball from the top of the Empire State Building, it would only bounce seven stories high because wind friction would lower the ball’s terminal velocity. It wouldn’t be going very fast when it hit the pavement.

For a brief moment, while the ball is still rolling forward, the bottom is moving backwards with respect to the center. Since the whole ball itself is moving forward, that means the bottom “is actually at rest on the surface relative to the center,” he said.

“Physicists understand this. It confuses physics students,” he said.

Throwing a Super Ball with a backspin between two horizontal surfaces, such as the floor under a table, produces several bounces during which the ball reverses spin and direction with each bounce. Eventually, it bounces back to the hand that threw it.

The Super Ball picks up spin from the friction of the roll on the first surface it hits. The second surface reverses the spin by the same process, according to Michael Vollmer, professor of experimental physics at the Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences, in Germany, who has used high-speed cameras to record what happens.

The use of modern, inexpensive high-speed cameras has made demonstrating all this to students much easier, said Vollmer.

“In the last two years, we have developed a series of teacher-training seminars dealing with high speed imaging, which were successfully tested in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany,” he wrote. His team also produced videos of exploding balloons, karate hits, deformed balls, strange reflections, and breaking rods (spaghetti).

Why bother with something as trivial as watching a ball bounce?

“As a physicist, if I say something they [students] don’t understand, I feel happy if at the end of the day they can understand it,” said Cross.

Top Image: via Shutterstock.

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Public Views of FTA Impacts Improving Ahead of U.S. Pacts with Europe and Asia-Pacific

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment


Monday, June 01, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. efforts to conclude and implement free trade agreements with the European Union and nearly a dozen nations around the Pacific Rim could be bolstered by a recent study finding an increasingly favorable public view of the economic and financial impact of FTAs. A recent survey of 2,002 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center found that a majority believe FTAs are good for the U.S. and that a smaller but growing percentage think FTAs have had a positive impact on their personal finances. However, many still believe that FTAs lead to lower wage and job losses.

Highlights of the report’s findings include the following.

– 58 percent of respondents say FTAs have been good for the U.S., up from 48 percent in 2011, while 33 percent say they have not

– 31 percent say FTAs lead to economic growth (up from 19 percent in 2010) and 34 percent think FTAs slow the economy down (down from 43 percent)

– 43 percent say their family’s finances have been helped by FTAs (up from 26 percent in 2010) while 36 percent say they have been hurt (down from 46 percent); this shift is most pronounced among more educated and higher income Americans as well as those who have positive opinions of their own personal financial situations

– 46 percent say FTAs lower U.S. workers’ wages while 11 percent say they lead to higher wages

– 46 percent say FTAs lead to domestic job losses (down from 55 percent in 2010) and 17 percent said they create jobs (up from 8 percent)

– 36 percent say FTAs lower prices in the U.S. (up from 31 percent in 2010) and 30 percent say they increase prices

– there are few differences in overall views of FTAs by education, income or party

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Google Will Likely Remain The Default Search Engine On Apple iOS Devices

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment


 May 29, 2015 1:24 PM ET  |  5 comments  |  About: Google Inc. (GOOG), GOOGL, Includes: AAPL, MSFT, YHOO
  • Majority of Google’s revenue from mobile devices comes from iOS device users.
  • The search engine deal with Apple will expire this year.
  • Apple is allegedly working on its own search engine.
Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt estimated in 2013 that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is paying Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) around$1 billion per year to ensure it is the default search engine on iOS devices. Devitt speculated that Google is not sharing ad revenue but instead is paying straight cash per device fee on every iPhone or iPad.

Google’s negotiated Traffic Acquisition Cost (TAC) on each iOS device was also estimated to be between $3-to-$4 from 2011 to 2017. Devitt argued that the cheap TAC will prove to be advantageous to Google.

(click to enlarge)

It is 2015 and Devitt’s prediction is now a reality. The deal with Apple is proving to be a massive bonanza for Google. According to a New York Times article, out of the $11.8 billion that Google made from mobile advertisements last year, 75% came from iOS devices.

11.8 billion x .75 = $8.85 billion revenue from mobile ads on iPhone/iPad.

Apple sold more than 169 million iPhones and 63 million iPads last year. If we use Devitt’s average estimate of $3.5 TAC, Google only paid $812 million for its search engine deal with Apple in 2014. The over ten times revenue over annual total TAC is a compelling reason why Google should play nice with Apple.

The increasing disparity between the average selling prices of Android phones and iPhones is a simple explanation why Google makes so much money from iOS device users. The typical buyer of a $687 iPhone 6 is a more desirable target for mobile advertisements than a person who can only afford a $200 Android phone.

Apple’s release of phablet-size iPhones last year is helping Apple increase the average selling prices of its smartphones.

(click to enlarge)

Furthermore, I think the larger displays of phablets like the iPhone 6 Plus allows for better mobile web browsing. Google can also deliver more targeted ads on a 5.7-inch screen of iPhone 6 Plus than on the 3.5-inch display of the iPhone 4.

Apple Will Likely Retain Google As Default Mobile Search Engine

The default search engine with Apple will expire this year. There were rumorsthat Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) are courting Apple. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land predicted earlier this year that Apple will not renew the search engine deal with Google.

However, I do not believe that Apple will drop Google as default search engine for mobile Safari. Google has a 90% share in global smartphone/tablet search engine usage, while Bing only has 2.4%. Android smartphones only has 78% market share. Millions of iPhone users are therefore also prolific users of Google’s default search engine.

(click to enlarge)

Source: NetMarketShare

I also disagree with Mr. Sterling’s reason that Google might also be amenable to discontinuing the search engine deal with Apple as a way to save money. Like I mentioned previously, Google makes 10x more money than what it pays to Apple. Google will do everything not to lose its default search engine status on iOS devices.

Google knows very well that mobile advertising clients are willing to pay more for ads delivered to iPhone/iPad users. The middle-income and higher-income people who own iPhones are highly desirable to mobile advertisers.

Marketers are willing to pay 65-75% more for ads delivered to iOS devices.


The iOS mobile search advertising business is too lucrative for Google to lose. Mobile advertising is predicted to account for 30% of Google’s 2015 revenue. Marin Software (NYSE:MRIN) estimated that mobile devices will account for 50% of Google search paid clicks by end of this year.

Google has acknowledged that there are now more searches being done from mobile devices than computers in 10 mature markets like the U.S. and Japan.

Mobile is the future of Google search advertising business.

It is therefore of utmost importance that Google does not lose its default search engine status in iOS/Safari browser. The well-off owners of iPhones/iPads are major contributors to Google’s dominant 54% share in global search advertising revenue (includes mobile and desktop).

Apple’s alleged work on developing its own search engine is likely a bluff maneuver to compel Google to pay a higher TAC fee. It will take many years before Apple could upgrade Spotlight in to a real alternative product to Bing and Google’s search engines.

If it means retaining its default search status in iPhones, Google should be prepared to double its current $3-$4 total acquisition cost payment to Apple.

As long as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple cannot deliver a competitive search engine app, Google remains a good long-term investment.

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