Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rumors of the Web's death are greatly exaggerated...

...in this wired cover piece.

The magazine industry, including Wired parent Condé Nast, is having a hard time.  And Wired magazine, despite being fascinated by the internet revolution, is itself primarily a traditional paper magazine--just look at the layout of the Wired article linked above.

Some Wired executives have apparently pinned their hopes on the iPad, thinking that it'll save them from the death of print.  And those hopes have clouded their judgement here; the web is still growing like crazy.  And your iPad experiment, despite its initial burst of "oh, look, shiny!" sales, is too expensive to keep going like it did at the beginning.

Sorry, Chris Anderson--you did get it right with "the long tail", but now you're scraping the bottom of the barrel with your trend-spotting predictions.

Friday, July 16, 2010

wine 1.2 released

from the announcement:

Wine now builds properly on Cygwin...

Wait, what?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

positive mentions, or "pos-mens"

Apparently there's a bit of controversy over the McFlurry appearance in the last 30 Rock episode.

So far, I've read all of the product mentions on 30 Rock as jokes about product placement. Some of which were real product placement and some weren't, apparently.

I thought the episode where they were supposed to promote GE products like jet engines or whatever was pretty funny, and the joke isn't old to me yet. There's so much product placement going on now that there's room to mock it on an ongoing basis. There was an episode of Heroes where the teen character was tremendously excited to get a (particular model of) new car. Then it got stolen the same day and was never mentioned again, which I think is hilarious.

With the McFlurry stuff, it was so effusive that it was clearly a joke. It wasn't the funniest thing ever but I didn't groan either.

Monday, October 20, 2008

government spending

From James Surowiecki:
[...] surely calling the recapitalization package “spending” is more than a bit misleading, since the money will be literally invested, going to purchase preferred shares in the banks, which come with guaranteed dividends and warrants attached that will give the government an upside (albeit not enough of one) if the banks’ stock prices rise. If you take part of your income and buy municipal bonds or stock, we generally wouldn’t say you’d spent that money. We’d say you invested it. I realize that, given the way the U.S. budget is accounted for, it’s accurate to say the $250 billion package is increasing the deficit. But it’d be good to see some acknowledgement that, in this case, “spending” that money is going to make the government richer, not poorer.

After the last few weeks, I think we can all agree that investing your money doesn't necessarily make you richer.

In particular, the government isn't making such a great investment. Some people seem to think there's a decent chance that the government will make money on these investments. To them, I'd say: could I interest you in some lovely mortgage-backed CDOs?

There's a good point in the quoted post, though: it might be interesting to see a government accounting that's more like private sector accounting in some ways. For example, even though the government debt ballooned when Fannie and Freddie were nationalized, that debt is offset to some (unknown) extent by Fannie and Freddie's assets. Just looking at the debt number is a bit misleading; what you'd really like to see is something like a balance sheet instead.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


In this silliness linked from naked capitalism people are still assuming a gaussian distribution for stock prices. Still! I can't believe that people keep doing this, after watching that kind of mistake almost take down the financial system. A lot of people made mistaken assumptions about the distribution and independence of mortgage defaults. They assumed that it was impossible for everything to blow up at the same time, but then it did.

Lesson: this stuff happens! A lot!

Learn it already.

Thursday, July 10, 2008