Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Welcome entry Year 2012-13

This blog has been set up with the aim of work and study in a collaborative environment. The idea is that you could select text from the ones listed on the links displayed on the right columns, so that you could be able to add questions to be answered by others. I will begin with a text taken from The Economist:

In 2013, software and IT services firms will have their heads in the clouds. The spread of “cloud computing” will spur investments in flexible, mobile services that are delivered online and charged according to usage. “Big Data” projects will also gather steam as companies in many industries look for insights by sifting through huge volumes of data, a task that requires both whizzy software and bright minds. Global software spending will grow by 6%, almost twice the rate in 2012. IT services will also do well, although growth will be around 3%.

Coders will crank out software for mobile devices. Revenue from apps will grow by more than 50% a year through 2016, according to Juniper Research. Gartner, another research firm, estimates that a staggering 81bn apps will be downloaded in 2013, almost twice as many as in the year before. 

To watch: Something for nothing. In an increasingly crowded market for mobile apps, the “freemium” business model will falter. A tiny fraction of users convert from free to paid versions of apps, so it takes a huge number of downloads to make the economics work, benefiting established brands with marketing muscle. Most developers will either heavily restrict features in free versions of apps or charge outright for downloads.


Now it's you turn... I need someone to make two or three questions about this texts in order to be answered then using the comment options. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Be afraid

Okay, here's the text I'm working with this week. It was taken from the October 1st issue of The Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/21530986). It is more economy than business oriented, but anyway, there are lots of interesting expressions and business/financial terms. I'll be posting my translation on Sunday. Enjoy (or suffer)!

Be afraid

Unless politicians act more boldly, the world economy will keep heading towards a black hole

IN DARK days, people naturally seek glimmers of hope. So it was that financial markets, long battered by the ever-worsening euro crisis, rallied early this week amid speculation that Europe’s leaders had been bullied by the rest of the world into at last putting together a “big plan” to save the single currency. Investors ventured out from safe-haven bonds into riskier assets. Stock prices jumped: those of embattled French banks soared by almost 20% in just two days.

But those hopes are likely to fade, for three reasons. First, for all the breathless headlines from the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, DC, Europe’s leaders are a long way from a deal on how to save the euro. The best that can be said is that they now have a plan to have a plan, probably by early November. Second, even if a catastrophe in Europe is avoided, the prospects for the world economy are darkening, as the rich world’s fiscal austerity intensifies and slowing emerging economies provide less of a cushion for global growth. Third, America’s politicians are, once again, threatening to wreck the recovery with irresponsible fiscal brinkmanship. Together, these developments point to a perilous period ahead.

Slipping and grasping

Most of the blame for this should be heaped on the leaders of the euro zone, still the biggest immediate danger. The doom-laden lectures from the Americans and others in Washington last week did achieve something: Europe’s policymakers now recognise that more must be done. They are, at last, focusing on the right priorities: building a firewall around illiquid but solvent countries like Italy; bolstering Europe’s banks; and dealing far more decisively with Greece. The idea is to have a plan in place by the Cannes summit of the G20 in early November.

That, however, is a long time to wait—and the Europeans still disagree vehemently about how to do any of this. Germany, for instance, thinks the main problem is fiscal profligacy and so is reluctant to boost Europe’s rescue fund; yet a far bigger fund is needed if a rescue is to be credible. The most urgent solutions, such as restructuring Greece’s debt or building a protective barrier around Italy, require the most political courage—something that Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy et al have yet to exhibit. The chances of a bold enough plan will shrink if markets stabilise. The less scared they are, the more likely Europe’s spineless policymakers are to jump yet again for a plan that does just enough to stave off catastrophe temporarily, but lets the underlying problem get worse.

Much of the world is now paying for their timidity: witness the increasingly dark economic backdrop. A slew of recent indicators suggests the euro area is slipping into recession, as Germany’s exports slow, the fiscal screws tighten, confidence slumps and the banks’ travails imply tighter credit. Even if the euro-zone crisis were to be solved tomorrow, the region’s GDP would probably shrink over the coming months.

America’s economy is still limping along, though the summer slump in share prices and consumer confidence suggest future spending will weaken further. The Federal Reserve is trying new ways of support, somewhat half-heartedly. Whatever it does, America is currently on course for the most stringent fiscal tightening of any big economy in 2012, as temporary tax cuts and unemployment insurance expire at the end of this year. That could change if Congress came to its senses, passed Barack Obama’s jobs plan and agreed on a medium-term deficit-reduction deal by November. If Democrats and Republicans fail to hash out a compromise on the deficit, draconian spending cuts will follow in 2013. For all the tirades against the Europeans, America’s economy risks being pushed into recession by its own fiscal policy—and by the fact that both parties are more interested in positioning themselves for the 2012 elections than in reaching the compromises needed to steer away from that hazardous course.

What about the cushion the emerging markets provide? That, too, is getting thinner. Their growth is slowing (as it needed to, since many economies were overheating). Recent falls in emerging-world currencies and stock prices show that financial panic can afflict the periphery too. Some emerging economies, including China, have less room to repeat their 2008-09 stimulus because of the debts that splurge left behind. Monetary policy can be loosened: several central banks have cut rates. But, overall, the emerging world will be less of a buoy to global growth than it has been hitherto.

Some of these constraints are unavoidable. Many governments have less room to support weak economies than they did in 2008. Some caution, too, is understandable from central bankers who have waded ever deeper into unconventional monetary policy. But governments are not just failing to act: they are exacerbating the mess.

Lacking conviction and courage

In the aftermath of the Lehman crisis, policymakers broadly did the right thing. The result was not a rapid return to prosperity in the West, but after such a big balance-sheet recession that was never going to happen. Now, more often than not, policymakers seem to be getting it wrong. Their mistakes vary, but two sorts stand out. One is an overwhelming emphasis on short-term fiscal austerity over growth. Fixing that means different things in different places: Germany could loosen fiscal policy, while in Britain the reins should merely be tightened more slowly. But the collective obsession with short-term austerity across the rich world is hurting.

The second failure is one of honesty. Too many rich-world politicians have failed to tell voters the scale of the problem. In Germany, where the jobless rate is lower than in 2008, people tend to think the crisis is about lazy Greeks and Italians. Mrs Merkel needs to explain clearly that it also includes Germany’s own banks—and that Germany faces a choice between a costly solution and a ruinous one. In America the Republicans are guilty of outrageous obstructionism and misleading simplification, while Mr Obama has favoured class warfare over fiscal leadership. At a time of enormous problems, the politicians seem Lilliputian. That’s the real reason to be afraid.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Call for participation

Welcome to Lengua Inglesa. Usos específicos

The aim of this blog is to serve as a support to show different articles and material related to the three branches dealt in this course: business, law and computer sciences. In order to work on something useful focused on the final exam, I would like to encourage you to suggest abstracts taken from assorted anglo-saxon publications.

For instance. Imagine this excerpt from TIME magazine:

Paying $175 for the right to cram into Orlando's Citrus Bowl Park with 50,000 other people for two days straight might not sound that appealing to some. But throw in nonstop live music on a slew of open-air stages and people will turn up in droves, even in a state with one of the highest jobless rates in the country. That's the thinking behind Los Angeles-based entertainment giant Live Nation's latest endeavor in the music-festival business. The company's Orlando Calling festival, which will host more than 50 music acts, including headliners the Killers and Bob Seger, on Nov. 12 and 13, is one of eight new festivals it launched this year as a way to boost its profits in a down economy. Says Alan Ridgeway, Live Nation's CEO for international operations: "Festivals are one of the big growth areas of our business."

Music festivals are a rare bright spot in the struggling music industry. The festival business has grown from almost nothing a few decades ago to roughly $1.36 billion in Britain, one of the world's largest festival markets. In the U.S., where music fans are acquiring a similar taste for outdoor paloozas, live-music revenues have nearly doubled over the past decade, to $4.6 billion last year, fueled in part by the growth in festivals. That has shifted the music industry's focus from recorded albums to live performances. After a decade of dwindling sales of recorded music, caused in part by free Internet downloads from music-sharing start-ups like Napster, live entertainment is the industry's new cash cow — one that can't be infinitely reproduced. According to trade group IFPI, global sales of recorded music have plummeted more than 40% in the past 10 years, to $16 billion in 2010. Ticket sales for live music in Britain, meanwhile, have nearly quadrupled over the same period, to $2.4 billion. In the digital age, people "yearn for actual experiences, like concerts, and they're willing to pay a premium price for them," says Nick George, a media analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2098639,00.html#ixzz1d8I3hoIM

Once invited and accepted the proposal to participate as a collaborator of this blog, try to do as volunter one of this tasks:

Activity n.1. Try to make two questions to be answered in 3 lines maximum about this text (one per parragraph).

Activity n. 2. Turn into bold letters words dealing with business, law and computers topics.

After doing this, the rest would use the comments option to complete each activity proposed by each of you.