Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout marks Karl Marx's comeback - FP Comment

"In his Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, Karl Marx proposed 10 measures to be implemented after the proletariat takes power, with the aim of centralizing all instruments of production in the hands of the state. Proposal Number Five was to bring about the “centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

If he were to rise from the dead today, Marx might be delighted to discover that most economists and financial commentators, including many who claim to favour the free market, agree with him."

Company Weakness or Systemic?

I have a few stocks in the tech sector I like to compare with each other.  I'm no fancy investor, but all of these companies have appealed to me at one time or another and it is interesting to watched their fortunes wax and wane.

At times like these you expect everything to go down a bit.  But what to make of a stock that has long led all the rest suddenly sinking to near the bottom?   At the same time, IBM and Microsoft, and old monopolist and a new have doggedly held their ground to come out on top.

Do these companies really deserve these valuations, or is it more about perception of non-technical stock analysts making sweeping generalizations (eg: high-end Apple products may no longer be in great demand)?

Windows Live Wire: Hotmail update coming soon

Nine out of ten users responding apparently think the new Hotmail sucks!

I only use it as an an archive... forwarding all of my Gmail messages there just in case Gmail goes down for an extended period.

But when check it from time to time (as you have to do to keep the ID active) it is a pretty clunky interface. "Ideal"for people who don't know any better. But I guess maybe not so ideal for those who read the product blog.


"Our academics rail against business. Our government constantly seeks to control it. Our youth are propagandized to death about its evils. Popular culture refrains from painting Islamofascists as the villians in movies out of political correctness, but does not hesitate to make big businessmen evil and grandiose. Religions are almost universal in denouncing the evils of money and spending it, even as they ask you to give them some.

One harmful result of this sorry situation is that there are few people--even among those who stalwartly defend the free market, who understand and appreciate the essential morality of capitalism.

The foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition."

Monday, September 29, 2008

LHC Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment Webcams

I feel a lot safer knowing these things are being constantly monitored.

American Thinker: Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis

"One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy."

Interesting. Never heard of it. Scary if true. But then we are now in the midst of scary times in any event, no matter what the explanation.

Zune "Maintenance Outage"

"Zune service will be down for scheduled maintenance on Monday, September 29 from 12:01am Pacific Time, for up to 48 hours. During the downtime, Zune Social, the forums on Zune.net, and all of Zune Marketplace will be offline.

As soon as we're back up, I'll post again!"


Courtesy of ATD.

YouTube - You're Going To Destroy A Worldwide Economy! Ron Paul

One of these days more people like Ron Paul will get elected.


House defeats $700B financial markets bailout - Yahoo! News

"Ample no votes came from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. More than two-thirds of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats opposed the bill."

Nice bi-partison un-support!

I think that might be the best outcome too.

The bigger the meltdown is the more it will be studied, and the more it is studied the more it will be recognized not as capitalism at work but as "socialism by other means". The public will demand to know who is responsible for the "good intentions" with which this road to hell are paved.

If only more legislation would go this way!

(Except legislation eliminating entire federal agencies of course.)

Curtain Rises on WiMax - WSJ.com

"Baltimore usually isn't considered a technology mecca. But many people in Silicon Valley, and other high-tech centers, will be watching closely to see what happens after Sprint Nextel Corp. flips the switch on a new wireless network Monday."


"The inmates who are running the asylum are very busy now constructing a wall around their asylum; a wall that is a bigger, better, stronger and more fortified bubble around the asylum--one where not a single ray of reality will be able to penetrate and disturb the lovely fantasy world within."

Frank's fingerprints are all over the financial fiasco - The Boston Globe

"When the White House warned of 'systemic risk for our financial system' unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

Now that the bubble has burst and the 'systemic risk' is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: 'The private sector got us into this mess.' Well, give the congressman points for gall."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I decided to watch the debate after all...

YouTube - Burning Down The House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?

Better summary ...

Maniac: Andrew Sullivan

"Maniac: Andrew Sullivan Giddy as a Schoolgirl That He Got 'Confirmation' that Trig's Parentage a 'Legitimate Issue'"

There is a reason I don't read Sullivan any more.

CNN's Commitment to Equality · Snapped Shot

"Obama has been campaigning for 19 months, during which those 54 stories were generated. Which makes for roughly (54 [ed.] stories / 82 weeks) a [Ed.:—little over a] half of a negative story per week.

Sarah Palin, as you'll recall, was announced three weeks ago, which means she's up to (22 stories / 3 weeks) 7.3 negative stories per week—Which rounds to roughly one negative story PER DAY."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day of Reckoning - HUMAN EVENTS

"Had the politicians of both parties not coerced and pressured banks, S&Ls, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make all those sub-prime mortgages, then to tie this rotten paper to good paper, convert it into securities and sell to banks all over the world, there would have been no global financial crisis."

My Way News - Fact checking the presidential debates

"The first presidential debate of the 2008 general election began as an assertion-laden exchange, with Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain confronting each other with claims ranging from the financial crisis to taxes. Some left out key facts."

Based on misinfo examples cited here I'd say McCain won.

John McCain wants Andrew Cuomo at the SEC?

Disappointing if true. I've never been a big McCain fan, but Obama would be far far worse.
"The story of Cuomo’s involvement is no where better detailed than in an August fifth investigative piece in New York’s Village Voice. Titled, “Andrew Cuomo and Fannie and Freddie: How the youngest Housing and Urban Development Sectary in history gave birth to the mortgage crisis.”

Wayne Barrett details how as HUD Secretary, Cuomo forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the sub-prime mortgage business, conspired with the two giant GSEs or Government Sponsored Enterprises to help them escape oversight, and helped them and the banks making the loans they were buying hide predatory practices from borrowers."

Bush OKs six-month protection for ex-VPs - USATODAY.com

"Since Hubert Humphrey left office in 1969 it has been common practice for the White House or Congress to extend temporary protection, usually for half a year, to former vice presidents. The measure Bush signed makes it permanent law."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dr. Sanity: THEY KNOW

"And it's my bet that a lot of people would trust Obama even less--if more people in the media were out doing their job and reporting on the facts about what is behind the current economic crisis-- instead of reporting on the numerous, daily popularity polls. But a most of the media has erected a firewall where Obama is concerned and prefer to look the other way at anything negative about him."

Original linked story: *link*


Warren Buffett stake in Goldman Sachs earns $783 million return - Times Online

"Within hours of revealing his dramatic, confidence-boosting investment in Goldman Sachs yesterday, Warren Buffett had made a $783 million (£424 million) notional profit.

The Wall Street investment bank astounded its rivals by raising $10 billion in fresh capital — $5 billion from Berkshire Hathaway, Mr Buffett’s main listed company, and $5 billion through a public share offering. Shares in Goldman rose 6 per cent to $133.00, giving Berkshire an instant theoretical profit on a side deal, under which it has warrants to buy up to $5 billion of new Goldman shares at $115 a share at any time in the next five years."

Billion here, billion there, pretty soon you are talking some real money.

They Gave Your Mortgage to a Less Qualified Minority - HUMAN EVENTS

"In Bush's first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government's 'implicit subsidy' of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system.

Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no 'concern about housing.' How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can't repay them! The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were 'under heavy assault by the Republicans,' but these entities still had 'important political allies' in the Democrats."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PETA Urges Ben & Jerry's To Use Human Milk - News Story - WNBC | New York

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.

April comes sooner every year.

Why Isn’t Facebook Making More Money? (Hint: Advertiser Value and User Value Are Not Aligned) - Publishing 2.0

"What’s the key difference between Google’s value proposition and Facebook’s?

With Google, the value to users and the value to advertisers is perfectly aligned. Everybody wins.

With Facebook, if you read between the lines, it’s really the same value proposition as traditional advertising — advertisers forcing themselves on users, in a way that creates little or no value for the users."

Eyebrows raised over city school policy that sets 50% as minimum score

"Pittsburgh Public Schools officials say they want to give struggling children a chance, but the district is raising eyebrows with a policy that sets 50 percent as the minimum score a student can receive for assignments, tests and other work.

The district and teachers union last week issued a joint memo to ensure staff members' compliance with the policy, which was already on the books but enforced only at some schools. Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President John Tarka said the policy is several years old."

One thing I like about Android...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

EU Climate Policy Falters (yet again) | cooler heads

"The “success” of the EU’s climate policy has long been a talking point for those who want Congress to enact energy-rationing legislation to fight global warming. If Europe can do it, they assert, then so can the U. S.

In trying to shame the Congress into expensive-energy climate policies, global warming alarmists are abetted by European leaders, who routinely admonish countries like the United States, Japan and Canada for not keeping up with the EU’s efforts on climate change.

The problem with this line of reasoning employed by alarmists and Eurocrats alike is that the EU’s marquee climate policy—the Emissions Trading Scheme(ETS)—is a disaster."

How Yahoo could have protected Palin's email | Freedom to Tinker

"Yahoo could also have followed Gmail's lead, and disabled the security-question mechanism unless no logged-in user had accessed the account for five days. This clever trick prevents password 'recovery' when there is evidence that somebody who knows the password is actively using the account. If the legitimate user loses the password and doesn't have an alternative email account, he has to wait five days before recovering the password, but this seems like a small price to pay for the extra security."

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Way News - FBI searches apartment in Palin hacking case

"Kernell is the son of state Rep. Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat and chairman of Tennessee's House Government Operations Committee. The father declined last week to discuss the possibility his son might be involved in the case.

'I had nothing to do with it, I had no knowledge or anything,' Mike Kernell told the AP last week.

'I was not a party to anything of this nature at all,' he added. 'I wasn't in on this - and I wouldn't know how to do anything like that.'"

This Democrat has his priorities straight. Politics come first!

Redlining Under Attack - New York Times

Just a reminder from the 90s:

Most of the analysts who are dubious about the assertion that redlining is a fact of life make their argument on the ground of economic efficiency.

George J. Bentson, a specialist in financial regulation at Emory University, finds it implausible that banks would pass up any chance to issue mortgages that could be sold for a quick profit in the securities markets. "There is no evidence of significant discrimination in mortgage lending," he said.

Others, including Lawrence J. White, a former Federal bank regulator who teaches economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University, worry that using statistical patterns to infer discrimination -- the general mode of proof in such matters -- will induce lenders to allocate funds by racial or neighborhood quotas rather than by creditworthiness.

"Such targeting is bad public policy because it wastes capital," Mr. White said. "If we are going to subsidize lending for social purposes, it ought to be done explicitly and with Government money."

And of course it now will be.



OpenMarket.org » Archive » The ‘Naked’ Truth — Short sellers are unsung financial heroes

"If ever there were a case “killing the messenger,” this would be it. As a commentator on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” pointed out Thursday night, a successful short seller isn’t someone who falsely shouts fire in a theater; it’s instead the person who first notices the theater is on fire."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Franken helps craft McCain 'SNL' skit - Jonathan Martin and Josh Kraushaar - Politico.com

"But word that the network’s signature comedy show has allowed a liberal Democrat Senate candidate to shape content mocking the Republican presidential nominee may fuel sentiment that the network is sympathetic to the left."

Professor Bad Analogy says that would be like tossing a cup full of gasoline on the World Trade Center site in an attempt to commit arson.

Funny how Franken, in real life has morphed into a freakish deranged character not unlike the characters he used to play on the show. It was funny then, not so much now.

Really "funny" that he may well be voted into office!

George F. Will - Bailout on Wheels - washingtonpost.com

"Politics produced Fannie Mae. It was created by the government in 1938 to further the government objective of increased homeownership. It was sold -- semi-privatized, sort of -- for a political purpose: to help President Lyndon Johnson finance the Vietnam War. Fannie Mae has no objection to interventionist government; the regulatory state created and cosseted it. And it has always known which side its bread is buttered on -- on both sides, by taxpayers, through the implicit federal guarantee of Fannie Mae's obligations."

Suspect Nabbed in Palin E-mail Hack - Yahoo! News

"After determining that 'rubico' had used a proxy server in an attempt to cover his tracks, it appears that the Ctunnel proxy service, operated by Gabriel Rumuglia, cooperated with FBI investigators to track the elusive IP address of the culprit by turning over IP cache records. The trail allegedly leads back to David Kernell.

It appears Kernell's YouTube, MySpace and e-mail addresses have been terminated; one email address began with 'rubico10.' Kernell apparently used variations on the 'rubico' handle on other Web groups he belongs to, such as a chess group and other e-mail accounts. Bloggers such as Michelle Malkin and the Register were instrumental in tracking down leads to the perpetrator and tracking the path of the hacker through a proxy service."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hi Dad. The Palin Email Hack? … Yeah, I’ve Heard About It … | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

"Mike Kernell acknowledged today that his son, David Kernell–a University of Tennessee-Knoxville student–is among those believed to be responsible for the hack.

And, yes, he’s a Democrat."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Armed and Dangerous » Blog Archive » The Obama campaign smells of defeat: II

"The attempt to smear, discredit and delegitimize Palin has steadily become more intense and more damaging — to the Democrats. She’s become the Road Runner to the Democrats’ Wile E. Coyote; they keep devising ever more ingenious and elaborate traps for their proxies in the MSM to spring on her, only to wind up having them blow up spectacularly and autodestructively."

Facebook Political Ads Test Limits - WSJ.com

"But none of the publications cited in the ads bought them -- or even was aware of them. The buyer -- though never identified anywhere on the ads or on the pages that you land on after clicking on them -- is the liberal group MoveOn.org. It's the latest example of fuzziness about who's behind what when it comes to political ads online."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ticking Time Bomb Explodes, Public Is Shocked | The Beacon

The failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, setting in motion the biggest government bailout/takeover in U.S. history, brings a grim sense of fulfillment to competent economists. After all, what did people expect, that water would flow uphill forever?

This financial mega-mess is the same sort of event as the collapse of the USSR’s centrally planned economy, another economically unworkable Rube Goldberg apparatus that was kept going, more or less badly, for decades before it fell apart completely. Along the way, of course, famous (yet actually unsound) economists assured the world that everything was working out splendidly. As late as 1989, when the pillars were crumbling on all sides of the temple, Nobel Prize winner Paul A. Samuelson informed readers of his widely used textbook, “The Soviet economy is proof that . . . a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

How the Masters of the Universe ran amok and cost us the earth - The Scotsman

"Before he took up the top post at Lehman, he found himself in a Las Vegas casino when a bad gambler blew $4 million. The gambler was following a classic strategy: when the cards go against you, double up the bet, because eventually things are sure to turn your way. Fuld took notes on a cocktail napkin as the gambler imploded, reaching the conclusion that bad luck can always continue longer than seems reasonable. 'I don't care who you are,' he wrote later. 'You don't have enough capital.'

How prophetic that was to prove."

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-054 – Critical: Vulnerability in Windows Media Player Could Allow Remote Code Execution (954154)

I wonder what Microsoft has against the people of Norway?

Finland I could understand.

Commentary Magazine - Whoops!

"Of the 354 lawmakers who received money from Freddie and Fannie between 1989 and 2008, Sen. Chris Dodd received the most. But next was . . . drumroll . . . Barack Obama. Yup. And he was only there for three years. Not too much went to John McCain, about a sixth of what Obama received (h/t Glenn Reynolds.)"

Patterico’s Pontifications » Obama-Friendly Lehman Bros. to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Continuing my policy of stealing good links from Slashdot Journal entries.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Apple declares war on sneaker hackers

"It was painful to watch, at Apple's big media event on Monday, Steve Jobs attempting to pawn off a retread music-recommendation system as some sort of great technological breakthrough. Yes, iTunes will now be able to suggest songs you might like based on what you and other like-eared users listen to. Wow. That's so 2002. And the company even has the gumption to call the feature Genius. A better name, if the experiences of early users are any guide, would have been Halfwit."

I tried it too and was underwhelmed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

That Sinking Feeling - TIME

"While the staff can be blamed for some of the confusion, even his closest advisers insist that Clinton is a big part of the problem. 'A lot of it can't be laid at anyone's doorstep but his own,' said one last week. Democratic Party elders admit to being stunned by Clinton's judgment lately. Having his $200 haircut and allowing a Hollywood producer to work out of a White House office and then intervene on behalf of friends to win White House air-charter business have done serious damage to his public standing. 'The best politician the Democratic Party has turned up in a long time turns out to have a tin ear,' said a longtime friend. 'He has squandered his moral authority with a lot of this stuff. It leads people to say, 'This man isn't really a populist; he is a phony, a fraud.' And though this perception is completely wrong in substance, it is enormously damaging and has to be dealt with. He has to regain the moral authority to call people to sacrifice.'"

I found this while looking for something else. If it is not an excerpt from a book, then I'm very confused, since it is written as though it is within the first year of the Clinton Presidency, but the date on the article shows as June 1, 2001 (hence my guess that it is from a retrospective book).

I had actually forgotten a lot of this (or I wasn't paying attention). What I do remember, and this verifies it, is that a lot of day-to-day activities in the Whitehouse were not getting done and my recollection is that this lasted almost through his first term.

Fact Check: McCain earmark claims examined - CNN.com

"Sen. John McCain has been a crusader against so-called earmarks and says his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, has asked for almost $1 billion in pork-barrel projects for his state in just less than four years in the Senate."

The Obama campaign points out that although McCain hasn't asked for earmarks, his running mate hardly has room to talk.

So, Obama: $1B, McCain: $0, Biden: Undisclosed save for $300M, Palin: $450M

One little quibble though: As governor Palin could ask for money, but wasn't in a position to vote (or quid pro quo) for such funds. I'm guessing any US citizen could write and ask their congresspeople to send them money for this thing or that. Hardly seems fair to compare her requests with the others. But even if you do (and assuming last year wasn't the first year Biden started earmarking) the Dems are way ahead on spending our money.

No real surprises there.

For a list of Obama's requests go *here*

Charles Krauthammer - Charlie Gibson's Gaffe - washingtonpost.com

"The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

There is no single meaning of the Bush Doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different."

Washington Post Blames Private Sector for Government Failures | OpenMarket.org

"But the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is hardly an indictment of the free market: Fannie and Freddie are “Government-Sponsored Enterprises,” not products of the free market or the private sector."

Great article that brings a lot of disparate facts together. I may also have pointed to an earlier version.

National Security Review: CNN's Judy Woodruff got it Wrong: The Poor are not Disproportionately Represented in the Military

"This is in sharp contrast to what the Department of Defense reports about the richest one-fifth of the families in America. They provide 22 percent of recruits.[6] The poor citizens of America, therefore, are not fighting disproportionately on behalf of the rich. If anything, it’s the other way around."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is Wind the New Ethanol? | Matthew Quirk | Voices | AllThingsD

"The Atlantic, ugh!

Anyway I’m looking at the Atlantic (the real one) right now. Unless something changes my current view of the ocean will in a few years include windmills being planned in the state of Delaware.

I don’t mind a bit. In fact I’m rather looking forward to it (unlike the Kennedys and Cronkites that fought similar projects in their back yard).

I’ll leave you to the Atlantic article to read about how carbon credits are the answer to the fact that wind power costs four times as much as bio fuels (their estimate).

My interest is confined to: “will the things spin?”

I’ve been to California and many states between here and there and witnessed hills full of windmills and almost never seen one actually in operation. They of course not very cost effective if they don’t spin and apparently even in the hills and mountains near LA there often isn’t enough wind to budge them.

On the coast though there is almost always at least a breeze. The dutch are said to have good luck with offshore wind farms. The Delaware test (shame on you hypocrites in Massachusetts) should settle once and for all the viability of wind power so that we can either use it, or move on to something else."

If I had to bet, I'd bet we move on to something else. I have some ideas for what they could do with the windmills if they fail to spin here.

The Right Coast: Biden puffery Tom Smith

"The Bork hearings were a national disgrace. They were a low point of left-wing McCarthyism, but that is too kind. If they managed to convince members of the public that what's in the Constitution doesn't depend on its words, so much the worse. The Bork hearings wrecked what was left of the comity among people with different views of the constitution. They were a show trial, with the same level of integrity and perversion of legal forms.

Rosen is right about one thing. We do well to remember Biden's role in them, and I do."

YouTube - Dear Mr. Obama II : Economics 101

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Associated Press: Interior employees accused in sex, gift scandal

"Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., urged Democrats to reopen a House investigation of the Minerals Management Service that was initiated in 2006 by House Republicans. 'Looking into and fixing these problems would have meant highlighting the enormous revenues that domestic oil and natural gas production contributes to our treasury. This just didn't fit into their anti-drilling campaign,' he said."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Home Runs

I do some of my best "blogging" not here but as comments on other web sites. Slashdot used to be the primary target, and I still post there, just less frequently.

These days I read Valleywag and All Things D as my first pass on technical news (and gossip). Since they often don't do in-depth coverage, the hit and run pieces they offer up are excellent fodder for my excess verbage.

Today I hit two home runs (really, out of the park material). The first was regarding a feared rollback of IT workers built on a survey by one of the companies that question people who lie about their jobs to get free magazine subscriptions. What follows is only the link and my comments (as quoted text):

49 percent of US companies cutting back IT spending

"IT" has been the make-work of the last quarter of the 20th century. I am regularly in touch with IT workers who have no idea why they go to work daily and do what they do. They have learned not to ask ("What? You're not enthusiastic about what we do here?!").

I last worked for a company that was entirely composed of people who would be categorized as "IT workers", thousands of them. We worked for a federal agency, on a contract to an IT department, subsidiary to an IT division... and so on. It would have been impossible, had I tried, to actually speak to someone who's job wasn't providing information to someone else who was in IT.

We "analyze" everything to death, and then we "analyze" why it died. So many people are used in processing the data and no one is left to interpret what (if anything) it actually means.

The PC has of course made the situation much worse, though it was already underway with the explosion of small departmental computer systems and the staff needed to run them. The only thing that keeps this in check is the steady stream of companies going out of business after forgetting why they went into business in the first place.

I have a small hope that the re-centralizing of computer services (via web-based tools or by other means) might set this process back to a more healthy state, at least in the private sector.

Next is a comment on why Google's new scanning of newspapers is a good thing and not a bad thing. Really, how can anybody think more free things on the Internet is a bad thing?

The cuddly embrace of the Google monster

"But really, isn't Google's move to archive centuries of newspapers a bit like the architects of a genocide dedicating a museum to the holocaust they committed?"

I am with the bad analogy police and you are under arrest.

Most of the content Google is scanning for this thing would never see the light of day otherwise. Hits that involve the New York Times, Time Magazine, some publications already indexed by Cornell University and many others go directly to those sites where they can charge for the content, monetize it with ads, or whatever they want to do. But there are hundreds of other papers around the country that don't begin to have the resources (hardware, know-how, or will) to archive their own historical content in a way that will last, and be usable. These papers weren't broken by Google, they were broken by USA Today, cable news, Ebay, and Craigs List.

Nothing stops other big Internet companies from getting into this. It would be right up Yahoo's alley if they had any desire to provide real content instead of fluff.

Microsoft showed some initiative when they matched the Google Books project for a while (and in some ways they did a better job of it than Google). Why did they stop? Because they are total pussies that's why. To match what Google is doing in this and other areas with buildings full of Windows servers would mean (as I've calculated it) about 2000 Blue Screens of Death every second.

Google's secret isn't search, it's clustering on the cheap, and the only way Microsoft will match it is to go back to Unix. Yahoo has a head start (and I think a quick reentry into alternate OSs might have been a part of MSs acquisition strategy), but as you portray almost daily, the people running Yahoo are airheads.

The funniest joke in the world@Everything2.com

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: 'My friend is dead! What can I do?' The operator says: 'Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.' There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: 'OK, now what?'

Monday, September 08, 2008

Senator Biden's Drama - New York Times

I'm loving the new Google archival news search:
THERE was consensus on the talk shows yesterday: Senator Joseph M. Biden Jr. was hurting. The Delaware Democrat has ''very severe problems,'' David Brinkley said on ''This Week With David Brinkley.'' John McLaughlin, host of ''The McLaughlin Group,'' said, ''He's dead.'' On ''Washington Week in Review,'' Paul Duke, the most reasonable of moderators, asked, ''Who is the real Joe Biden?''

Mr. Biden's drama is being played out on television. This is appropriate because television has gotten him in trouble. Newsweek now reports that a videotape of a Biden appearance in New Hampshire shows the candidate telling a voter that he graduated ''in the top half'' of his class at law school, which he attended on a full scholarship. In fact, Mr. Biden finished 76th in a class of about 85 at law school, which he attended on a partial scholarship. The tape will now haunt him.

even though I suspect I could have found this even before, but some of the hits I'm getting are in fact newly scanned old newspapers.

MSNBC Drops Olbermann, Matthews as News Anchors

"The move, confirmed by spokesmen for both networks, follows increasingly loud complaints about Olbermann's anchor role at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Olbermann, who regularly assails President Bush and GOP nominee John McCain on his 'Countdown' program, was effusive in praising the acceptance speech of Democratic nominee Barack Obama. He drew flak Thursday when the Republicans played a video that included a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that if the networks had done that, 'we would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters, perhaps by the Republican Party itself, for exploiting the memories of the dead, and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that videotape the way I did, I apologize.'"

Surprising they didn't wait until after the election.

They could have covered up the mess by getting conservative moderators for the Republican convention... except I guess they don't have any.

Official Google Blog: Bringing history online, one newspaper at a time

"Today, we're launching an initiative to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives. Let's say you want to learn more about the landing on the Moon. Try a search for [Americans walk on moon], and you'll be able to find and read an original article from a 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette."

What happened to the Microsoft counterpart to Google Books? Why can't Yahoo, MS, AOL or anybody else provide this kind of data, online, and free?

I know the answer. Do you?

The Biker Read Hegel - WSJ.com

"'Zen and Now' details Pirsig's struggle to get his tale on paper and finally published. While he was pounding out the 200,000-word fictionalized memoir, his family was falling apart. Chris and his younger brother got into scrapes with drugs and the law. Pirsig's wife threw him out, then took him back. Pirsig later said: 'Writing this book was a compulsive act and whoever stood in the way of it was going to get hurt.' The marriage survived for only a short while after the book's success."

Washington Times - Obama's verbal slip fuels his critics

"ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Sen. Barack Obama's foes seized Sunday upon a brief slip of the tongue, when the Democratic presidential nominee was outlining his Christianity but accidentally said, 'my Muslim faith.'"

How can anyone "slip" and say such a thing?

Will be interesting to see what other papers this does (or doesn't) show up in.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Does Windows Still Matter? - Business, Power and Deals – Executive Suite blog – NYTimes.com

"I’m convinced that iTunes and the iPhone are not the only reasons Mac is gaining market share. The other is that people have come to realize that they do not really need Windows anymore. Any ol’ operating system will do. The browser and the Internet have already rendered them largely irrelevant."

Nearly 125 Shot Dead In Chicago Over Summer

"Nearly 125 Shot Dead In Chicago Over Summer Total Is About Double The Death Toll In Iraq"

Pull Out NOW!

Freedom Fry — "Happy birthday to GNU"

I'm always late with birthdays.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

4,500-year-old ice shelf breaks away - CNN.com

"'The Markham Ice Shelf had half the biomass for the entire Canadian Arctic Ice Shelf ecosystem as a habitat for cold, tolerant microbial life; algae that sit on top of the ice shelf and photosynthesis like plants would. Now that it's disappeared, we're looking at ecosystems on the verge of distinction,' said Muller."

It's always been questionable how knowledgeable some mainstream media science editors were about science. Now we have to wonder how much they know about English.

Staffing Up Will Be Key Task For New Motorola Chief - WSJ.com

"The fastest-growing phone makers in the U.S., including Apple Inc. and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd., have hired key employees from Motorola. Apple has lured away a global head of sales for the game-changing iPhone, a seasoned supply-chain chief and sales reps to help it break into Motorola's turf in Latin America. RIM, which now makes one in 10 cellphones sold in the U.S., says it has hired more than 500 former Motorolans since early last year."

To paraphrase master criminal Moriarity: "Everything I have to say to Mr. Jha has no doubt already occurred to him."**

Come to think of it, that would make a good motto for this blog.

** But just in case it hasn't: Like a 98 pound weakling that has gotten into the ring with the heavyweight boxing champion of the world and now looks like an uncooked piece of hamburger, your options are to go to the hospital, or go to the morgue. But whatever you do, don't get back into the ring (I made a pun).

To Motorola, Yahoo, Palm, and many others: we are tired of reading about how you are a victim of "unforeseen" circumstances etc. You are serial screw-ups and the chances of you having a great idea that gets you back into the game are infinitesmally small. Please, just go quietly into this good night (or something). Shareholders: Get your money out now and redeploy it where it can do some good. Advancement in technology needs new blood and companies with bold new ideas, not just companies incrementally milking a monopoly they already have, or once had. (Are you listening Microsoft?)

I just saw a Motorola Razr phone advertised for one of the pay-as-you-go cheap phone companies. There is your niche Motorola. Make the worlds most advanced give-away, throw-away, who-cares-if-you-lose-it phone for Tracfone and others to flood the market with (but that's not without risk too because Nokia, LG and Samsung already have a lot of those). Otherwise, open up a nursing home, gas station or some other business that doesn't require a lot of advanced thinking. There is such a thing as too late (and such a thing as too long a post over something that is of no relevance).

Johnny's Got a New Girl - HUMAN EVENTS

"Liberals howl that Palin has no experience, no qualifications to be president of the United States. But the lady has more executive experience than McCain, Joe Biden and Obama put together.

None of them has ever started or run a business as Palin did. None of them has run a giant state like Alaska, which is larger than California and Texas put together. And though Alaska is not populous, Gov. Palin has as many constituents as Nancy Pelosi or Biden."

Google promises Chrome for Mac and Linux, but no date - vnunet.com

"Software engineer Amanda Walker said in a posting to the company's official Mac blog that Google would be completely re-writing its browser for the upcoming Mac and Linux releases.

Walker noted that the products are far from ready for release, describing development as still being 'pieces' of an application rather than a completed build. The developer also noted that with the release of the Windows build, both the Mac and Linux versions would become 'open' projects so that users could track the progress."

Here for example.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Official Google Blog: A fresh take on the browser

"All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends -- all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build."

Mike Linksvayer » Google Chrome Comix PDF

Click title line for link to blog where the PDF version resides. No reason for everyone in the Universe to link-bait over this. Would have been nice for Google to provide a couple downloadable formats in the first place.

RNC 2008: Black GOP Chair on Obama, Iraq and More