Monday, September 29, 2008

205 vs 228. Look, nobody wants to see what the end looks like, but this sure as hell wasn't Wall Street's savior.

Thank goodness.

I'm for real on vacation until Sunday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Washington Mutual, Inc. (WM)
Current Price: $0.16
Last Trade Time: 9/26/2008 9:30 AM
Open: $0.18
Previous Close: $1.69
Daily Range: $0.15 - $0.18
52-Week Range: $1.50 - $36.47
Volume: 102,085,526
Market Cap: $7.22B
P/E Ratio: 4.56

Huh. Something tells me that the folks over at 4 New York Plaza are not excited about this. On the plus side, they should be used to it by now. (MannyHannyChemicalJPMorganChaseBankOneBearWaMu?)
What a strange week. It always feels funny to be 'single' again, but this week has been hill after valley. In the spirit of that, I'd like to share an essay that was supposed to be a speech meant to invigorate and to wrangle the latent potential out of new grads. David Foster Wallace's commencement at Kenyon, three years ago. Last week he killed himself. His 'magnum opus,' Infinite Jest, who's "Statistically Improbable Phrases" alone should make you want to read it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That was not true. I was drunk. Carry on.

Monday, September 15, 2008

LEH Lehman Brothers Holdings
Last Trade: 0.19
Trade Time: 1:54PM ET
Change: -3.46 (-94.81%)

Yikes. The Fed is staying out of it, though, like they said they would. Word is they are going to be helping out AIG, though, with capital for a 'bridge loan' collateralized by the subsidiaries:

"In many ways, this was predictable," [Gov] Patterson [sic] said. "Hopefully we have cleared the way for the federal government" to provide assistance as well, he said.

Also: This is worth about 10,000 times what a share of stock is worth!
I can add little insight to the events of the past four days except to say that if you really thought that we were fucked (overall), then maybe BoA buying up Merrill at 80% premium might sway your opinion. The word on the street from the little people is negative, but clearly people with more info know more than we do.

Two quick stories: Walking home from a beer tasting on Wall Street, four obvious new-hires trying to look smart in front of their dates talking about how Lehman was seeking financial bailout from the Fed. Bad info, of course, but the point is that they are parroting the bears which spreads like wildfire. Two: The Wife discussing closing her WaMu accounts because she overheard someone on the subway talking about their instability. These both show how even people outside of the markets pickup this stuff just walking around the streets of New York.

Perception is reality, and in our 24/7 MSNBC/CNBC dominated world the media can and will influence the markets with bearish outlooks. I haven't watched the news tonight, but maybe we need have a little more discussion about how the Fed pretty much forced Frannie and Freddie hands into this situation in the first place with micromanaged legislation. Maybe we need to make it clear that Merrill was underpriced because of our misconceptions about the economy as a whole. And maybe we need to seriously start discussing the socialism creeping into our markets, one regulation at a time.

Just sayin'.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My laptop finally crapped the bed this weekend. It is a two year old Dell M140 on it's factory Windows XP MCE install that I inherited from my mother last year because she didn't know what to do with it. I was too lazy to wipe it when I got it, so it probably needed a fresh OS anyway, but then last week Lindsey's nephew was surfing around on some skeevy .ru websites trying to find flash games with motorcycles in them and must have just clicked 'yes' everytime anything popped up. I downloaded AdAware and NOD32 and ran both and I really thought I was in the clear, but then I noticed hidden instances of Internet Explorer starting at random, looking for .ru ad-farm webpages, and/or a trojan in svchost.exe that NOD32 wouldn't fix. In it's last throes I managed to download and burn copies of TinyXP and Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) LTS and, since I didn't necessarily put a lot of faith in a 230MB copy of XP that I found on a torrent site, I decided to try Ubuntu for the first time since 2001. There are obviously pros and cons to switching to Linux, but so far I am moderately happy with the switch:

It's free, and I don't have a legit XP CD.
Super easy install. No questions about partitions, no questions about FAT32 or Linux EXT or GRUB, every part of the machine worked out of the box incl. touchpad, wireless, display and even the multimedia buttons on the front. It didn't even mention a 'root' user.
iPod Classic as a HDD worked beautifully out of the box and saved my ass from having to burn like 10 backup DVDs.
No 'calling home,' like with Windows, though that's easy enough to circumvent
Seems to boot and shutdown very quickly.
Moderate performance increase (possibly due to the lack of background apps that I will eventually get around to installing Linux equivilents of?).
Possibly imaginary internet performace increase.
Debian package sites / Ubuntu repos make finding apps easy like a Sunday morning.
I have no idea how apt-get works with the internet but it's really cool.
Satisfaction of being a little bit dorkier than yesterday?

Minimal iPod Touch support (wireless(!) sync using Amarok, but it sounds hard to get installed and working), zero iTunes App Store support.
Shakey iPod Classic support (using Amarok again, I might get used to it).
Songbird (best looking / functioning iTunes replacement) crashed twice in one day, froze whole machine both times.
Xbox 360 controller sounds like a pain to get working (though ZSNES works perfectly). Will try tonight.
Is there a "ctrl-alt-del" equivilent? Task manager? How do you kill a process?
Trying to remember terminal commands sucks.
I have no use for Quicklaunch or multiple destops, to the desktop is a little too bulky for my tastes.
I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. I still refuse to 'make' anything that doesn't come in a package and the folder structure is perplexing.
The Wife doesn't believe in Open Source, she is still skeptical.

So basically my qualms and concerns are 1) pls support my iPods because I cannot live without them, which is actually sort of Apple's fault and 2) soon something will go wrong that I will not be able to fix and that will be the day that I have a deadline and I will wind up throwing this bitch across the room (yesterday I accidentally turned off my wireless and it took me 45 mins to figure out how to turn it back on).