Tweets – 2011-06-30

  • @laurastargirl Because people keep wanting to take it and I want to give it to them, but it's not mine. #
  • Don't. Put. Your. Torrent. In. A. RAR. You. Dumb. SHIT. #
  • I just retweeted shit for a possible reward. I'm Google's bitch. #
  • @cjhubbs I'll preside, you chair. #
  • @peter_vk I just don't know why I want to try it. Because it's new and shiny, I guess? #
  • I wonder if we'll ever get compensated somehow for all the downtime we've had with these loaders. #
  • If I had to eliminate 10% of the people on earth, I'd start with anyone who adds fruit to milk chocolate. #10percent #
  • @peter_vk Facebook is like some ivy league douchebucket that keeps giving your phone number to random strangers. #
  • @SideSteamRoller Much more than 40%. But we need the brown people, they make our electronics and delicious curries. #
  • @amandakandrews You're one of THEM? 🙂 #
  • Google+ looks like it's going to bring all those separate Google services together. I've been asking for this for a long time. #
  • @amandakandrews I'm sure I'll survive. I hope 🙂 #
  • @sechastain Yep. Or at least the major ones. I was hoping Buzz was going to do that, but it never did. #
  • @sechastain Google has all these great properties like Picasa, Reader, Search, Blogger, etc. Just no central mechanism. Until now I guess. #
  • My first online handle was "switchflood", a combination of the Switchfoot and Sonic Flood. I was a gigantic loser. #
  • Stop making nouns into verbs, you corporate bastards! Resourcing is NOT A THING. #
  • The lighter program wins. #
  • @cjhubbs Your phone must be psychic! #
  • Yeah, for our little webserver, a dictionary attack over the web is like a mini-DoS. #
  • @amandakandrews Which one? #
  • @amandakandrews You know what, I just saw it. Facebook is being a bit retarded and not telling me when I get messages. #
  • $100 billion maglev? Wow. That's… a lot of money. #
  • @gfmorris No, from Tokyo to Osaka. #
  • @gfmorris I wish we had high speed trains in Canada. There's a corridor between Toronto and Ottawa just begging for one. #
  • Remember when Slashdot was awesome? Me too. Now it's just a bunch of old men whining when anyone changes anything. #
  • I hate Facebook's messaging system so very much. #
  • The difference between gentleman and asshole is holding the door and holding the door just long enough that they have to speed up to get it. #
  • @timkolb inches from your waistline lets hope. Not from anywhere… else. #
  • What everyone forgets I'm their rush to yawn at Google + is that Google had always needed something to tie its properties together. #
  • Google's services are better than facebooks offerings when taken seperately. But the whole is more than the sum of its parts. #
  • If Google can tie picassa, blogger, reader, gmail, gchat, etc, into a well made social platform, they deserve a win. #

Google Reader Shared Items 2011-06-29

  • Inconsistent Stories

    Yglesias on the inconsistent stories told by the teachers unions.

    [there] is a huge consistency problem in the messaging coming out of teachers unions. Sometimes I hear from union-affiliated folks that it’s unfair to attribute differences in student learning to differences in teacher skill, because everyone knows that socioeconomic and home environment factors drive a lot of this. Other times I see the American Federation of Teachers building a messaging program around the idea that its members are Making A Difference Every Day. To me this leads to the obvious conclusion that while socioeconomic and home environment factors do drive a lot of student learning, teachers are also making a difference every day. And it makes a lot of sense to ask which teachers are making the most difference. The teachers who are in the top 20 percent of difference-makers are playing a vital role to the future of America, and we ought to pay them more money and make sure they don’t leave the profession. But the teachers who are in the bottom percent of difference-makers are doing us little good, and we should try to replace them with other people.

    Read the whole thing,  he makes a number of good points.

  • What’s wrong with saying “fanboy”
    Admonitory words from Cennydd Bowles on “fanboy,” which I’ll cop to having uttered now and again: “The word ‘fanboy’ bites into the world’s greatest values – loyalty, enthusiasm, passion, and love – and spits them out as sneering, spiteful dismissal. A word for the intellectually impotent.” (via Making Light)

  • TOM THE DANCING BUG: Judge Scalia Rescues His Faithful Sidekick From a Nefarious Attack!

    1044cbCOMIC judge scalia - sidekick thomas.jpg

  • Comic for June 29, 2011

  • Google+
    On one hand, you'll never be able to convince your parents to switch. On the other hand, you'll never be able to convince your parents to switch!

Tweets – 2011-06-29

  • Looking forward to that first coffee of the day. #
  • @gfmorris @picturingjulie I was never cool. #
  • Now that's an invoice that almost makes all the trouble seem worth it. #
  • @SideSteamRoller A male lady? What? Are you in Thailand? #
  • @picturingjulie I used to think being cool was good. Now I don't. So maybe I was cool, but I don't want to be any more. #
  • @rachellebaits It doesn't slow down. It keeps speeding up the further into it you get. #
  • @picturingjulie I think I went to Tamarack, what, 8 times? That's pretty crazy come to think of it. #
  • I hate that Twitter and Facebook can make decisions wrt platform access that can sink entire businesses. No-one should own the wire. #
  • Facebook's quality has been going downhill a lot lately, especially messaging, photos, and notifications. #
  • Twitter's service quality has always sucked. But with its new fancy interface the suckage involves less failwhale and more plain old fail. #
  • @robbieandrewsev Gyms sucks. #
  • @robbieandrewsev Also I can'ts spells. #
  • @andyvandergriff SUCK IT UP AND SIGN YOUR NAME. < Being unhelpful. #
  • This is why you shouldn't keep your old girlfriend's set of drums. #
  • Digging the new Google colours. #
  • Hmm. Wonder if Mr Tsvyatkov might just be from the Russian bloc. #

Tweets – 2011-06-28

  • 26 action items this morning. Now, if I have absolutely no calls for the rest of the day, I might be able to get them all done. #
  • I just got spammed by a company using a Dilbert cartoon… #
  • All theatres should be Faraday cages. Just sayin' #
  • If I had to pick one thing I that will be the USA's undoing, I'd pick the unswerving commitment to ideology at the expense of pragmatism. #
  • Why is copying from network folder to network folder in separate windows instantaneous in XP, but takes 2-3seconds in Win7? #
  • @masterkari Oh wow, I just read that sentence so very wrong. #
  • @BeautifulMess81 Use your Android device and Google Goggles to identify plants by their leaves. #
  • @BeautifulMess81 Oh, I'm so sorry. #
  • @peter_vk I have no idea. #
  • "Wikipedia: The Encyclopedia has long since been replaced with Wikipedia: The Role Playing Game." #quotes #qft #
  • Saying something inflammatory with a winky smiley. That should lock up the gears for a while. #
  • @gfmorris @BeautifulMess81 Looks like a cool app, though not terribly useful for me. #
  • I just posted a photo #
  • Photo: Photo from Lightbox Android app. #

Tweets – 2011-06-26

Tweets – 2011-06-25

Google Reader Shared Items 2011-06-25

  • 6 Money Lessons for My College-Aged Daughter
    Post written by Leo Babauta.

    My daughter Chloe is starting out in college in the fall, and with her newfound independence will come the newfound responsibilities of dealing with money.

    Like many young people, she hates thinking about finances.

    I was one of them. I always dreaded budgeting and paying bills and thinking about savings and retirement, and figured I could always deal with it later.

    Problem with that is you end up screwing yourself if you put things off until later. Living for the moment is great, until the finances catch up with you and the moment starts to suck because you owe a ton of debt.

    I’ve found that living mindfully means not just partying in the moment, but taking care of things now, when they’re small, rather than when they’re huge.

    So with that in mind, I have a few lessons I’d like to emphasize for Chloe, and for anyone else starting out in college.

    1. Spend less than you earn. OK, this is almost the only lesson you need, but it’s so important I’m going to break it down further. The biggest reason people get into financial problems is they spend money they don’t really have. Then you end up in the hole, and it’s hard to get out of the hole, and you work crazy hours to keep up with your spending, and you end up with a life that’s about nothing but trying to pay for all the spending on crap you don’t really need.

    So spend less, work less, worry less, be happier.

    1a. Don’t get into debt. If you spend less than you earn, you won’t be in debt, obviously. It’s easy, though, to get a student credit card and put things on there if you don’t have the money right now. You can pay for it next week when you get your check, right? That’s a slippery slope. Student loans are another tool for getting over your head in debt. They’re not the worst debt if you’re paying for a degree that’s going to earn a lot of money, but most of us English majors aren’t going to get an $80K per year job and shouldn’t take out $80K in student loans.

    1b. Savings is your first bill to pay. If you spend less than you earn, save the rest. Make the savings an automatic payment that happens every payday, and make it the first and most important bill you pay. Not optional. You’ll be glad as the savings grows, and especially when emergencies come up.

    1c. If you don’t have the money, go without. This is a lesson most people (young or old) forget. You don’t actually need a car, so if you can’t afford to pay cash, don’t get a loan. You don’t need nice clothes, or a smart phone, or a fancy laptop or iPad or Kindle, you don’t need to go to nice restaurants or the movies or bars. If you don’t have the money, find free ways to have fun or get things done you need to get done.

    2. Make a very very simple budget. It’s a scary thing for people who’ve never done a budget, but it’s not hard. List your income, then list your bills (and savings). If the bills add up to more than the income, eliminate some bills. Use a simple spreadsheet to do the adding for you. This helps you to know what’s coming in and going out. I like the envelope system for making sure I don’t spend to much on variable expenses.

    3. Pay bills right away. If you have the money, pay the bill as soon as it comes in. You can usually do this online, but if not, it’s just a matter of writing a check, putting it in an envelope, and writing out an address — two minutes. Do this two-minute action immediately, so you don’t have to worry about it later. If you let the bill-paying get pushed back, it becomes a dreaded thing, and your bills start to become overdue, and then it’s much worse.

    That’s all you need to know. If you save when you’re in college, avoid debt (except perhaps a modest student loan), and pay bills on time, you’re golden.


  • The Best Trader in the World Worked for Bernie Madoff

    This is a cross-post from James Altucher‘s blog Altucher Confidential. His previous appearances on the Freakonomics blog can be found here.

    The night Bernie Madoff got caught for running a $60 billion Ponzi scheme I got a call from my friend “Eddie” (not his real name) who for many years worked for Madoff. I couldn’t tell if he was crying but he was very upset. “I can’t believe it,” he said, “Bernie was like a father to me. Mark Madoff was like a brother to me.” We spoke on and off all night as more news came in and he came to grips with the new world he was living in.

    I called Eddie yesterday and said I wanted to write an article about him and how I thought he was the best trader I ever knew. I’ve met and worked with over a thousand traders. I traded for hedge funds. I ran a fund of hedge funds. I’ve written five books on trading. And Eddie is the best trader I’ve ever come across.

    He laughed. He laughed for two reasons. One is that he never thinks he’s a good trader. Two, he was afraid his name would be used. “I can’t have my name out there. I can’t be associated with Madoff at this point,” he said.

    Eddie lived next door to me for years. We met  in 2004 or 2003. He always wanted to work with me because he had read my articles and books about trading. I always said no. I never told him why I didn’t want to work with him. It was because I would’ve brought his results down. I wasn’t as good as him by a long shot.

    But every day he wanted to talk his trades with me. He’d stop by and we’d chat for an hour or so about, always about trading. Sometimes I avoided him for weeks at a time. I don’t really know how to talk to people; I’m not very good at it sometimes. My daughter, Josie, would see Eddie in the street and say, “Hey, there’s your friend, lets go talk to him.” And I would be like, “Josie, shut the F up and keep walking so he doesn’t see us.” But 6 year-olds don’t really understand awkwardness.

    Eddie worked on the prop trading desk for Madoff, which was separate from the hedge fund that was later exposed as a fraud. One time Eddie and I were riding into the city together when he told me he wanted to move to the hedge fund side but that Bernie wouldn’t let him because he said Eddie wasn’t ready. Eddie couldn’t understand it. “I’ve put up good results on the prop side,” he told me. “I’ve had 35 up months out of the past 36. I’m up a huge amount of money for him. Why won’t Bernie put me on the hedge fund side?”

    Right there I came up with an idea that I instantly thought was brilliant, one that would not only solve Eddie’s problem, but would benefit me immensely. “Why don’t you ask Bernie if you could set up a feeder fund into the hedge fund side,” I suggested. “I can help you raise the money for it. With Bernie’s results I can raise over $100 million no problem.”

    What a stupid stupid man I am. Thank god Eddie just laughed and said, “I don’t know, James. I just want to trade.”  Otherwise we might both be in jail or the targets of federal prosecutors or something worse.

    On Bernie’s advice, Eddie ended up leaving the Madoff firm and went to work for other hedge funds where he continued to rack up successful year after successful year, proving that it didn’t matter whether he was at Madoff or sitting at home, or sitting anywhere for that matter. He knew how to trade. I saw him trade everything from stocks to carbon credits, to electricity futures to fish oil futures over the years. He’s married to a beautiful wife. Has beautiful kids, lives on a farm with views in every direction, collects beat up race cars and fixes them. He escaped the misery. Because he was a dammed good trader.

    And now for some Madoff stories.

    One time Eddie brought me in to meet Madoff. I’ve written about this before and why they rejected me. Mark Madoff (R.I.P.) took me aside and pointed out all the prop traders sitting in the desks outside his glass office. “See all those traders out there?” He said. “Most of them are useless. Computers are much better.” I think Mark Madoff was legit and didn’t know what was going on. Maybe he was also stupid and turned a blind eye, which one can argue makes him just as illegal. But he seemed focused on just building up the prop side, which I knew through Eddie was completely legit.

    On the night that Bernie got caught Eddie was telling me, “Oh man, if I had stayed there I probably would’ve lost a million dollar bonus. I can’t even imagine what all those guys are going to do.” A few weeks later I ran into “Meade” (not his real name). He had earned and then lost well over a million dollar bonus when the fraud was revealed. I think there’s a trial still going on because he once ran into Andrew Madoff in the street and beat the crap out of him. A lot of pain happened. Eddie was lucky. But there’s always a reason people are lucky.

    I followed Eddie’s trades almost every day for years. Here’s what I think made him a great trader.

    A) Humility. Eddie never thought that he was a good trader. He moved into the smallest house in the world, a thousand miles from the city, because he assumed he was going to be fired any day for making a horrible trade. He still thinks this way. Humility is not something you can learn. As an example, the worst trader I know is always convinced he is right. He calls me up and says, “Why is the market doing this? Doesn’t everyone see that it’s being manipulated by the government and by the big funds?” My friend, the mad trader, never admits he’s wrong. And every day he loses money. If you’re Captain Ahab, there’s only one way this story ends: Moby Dick kills you. Every good trader I know is infinitely humble.

    B) News arbitrage. Let’s say some data about oil reserves was going to come out at 10am. Eddie would pick a basket of  oil stocks with relatively low volatility. He’d have an idea of how the data was going to come out and how the stocks would react and he’d make his bet. If the data came out differently than he expected, he’d get out instantly. If the data came out as he expected but the stocks reacted differently than he thought they should, he’d be out within five seconds. He had no religion when it came to the markets. If they didn’t move the way he wanted he didn’t come up with conspiracy theories to support his case. He got out. He didn’t lose money. That was his only religion.

    C)  Low volatility. Eddie always went into stocks with low volatility. He didn’t want to take the chance that he’d go to the bathroom, potentially standing right next to Bernie Madoff at the next urinal over, and then come back to his computer and a stock would be 10 percent against him. He’d get comfortable with a stock like HPQ. He’d learn how it worked. He’d watch how the specialists on the floor of the NYSE would play the stock. He’d learn who the major players were in the stock. If someone was selling 3,000,000 shares he’d watch and wait for the selling to be over. Then he’d start buying. If the seller started again, he’d get out. Otherwise, he’d ride the stock for a few minutes and then get out. He had about five stocks like this and he told me it would take a few months to really learn the behavior of some stocks.

    D) Know your stats. Eddie studied his own statistics every night. For instance, one time he noticed that for several months he had basically broken even on Ford stock. Ford was one of the stocks he had spent months studying to get used to its behavior. He thought Ford was going to be a big money maker for him. But when he saw that over time he had broken even on Ford over a several month period, he dropped it. “I didn’t understand it like I thought I did,” he said. As simple as that.

    E)  Look for outliers. Eddie would take a basket of stocks, like all the natural gas stocks. They all traded together. If one of them was veering off, i.e. not trading with the rest, he’d look to see if there were big sellers or any big news. If there was no big news, he’d go long the stock. If he lost money on it after a few seconds, he’d get out of it. Otherwise, he’d wait for it to trade with the rest of the group.

    One final point: You know how Eddie met Madoff? He was in Grand Central one day and found a wallet with a thousand dollars in it. He called up the number on the business card in the wallet and returned it. The owner of the wallet was a trader who worked right next to Mark Madoff. They hired Eddie on the spot.


  • The Prince Who Blew Through Billions
    The Prince Who Blew Through Billions:

    When two British lawyers, Faith Zaman and Thomas Derbyshire, signed on in 2004 to manage the affairs of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, notorious playboy brother of the Sultan of Brunei, they entered a world of orgiastic wealth: 250 companies, 2,000 cars, luxury hotels, planeloads of women and polo ponies, colossal diamonds. Caught in a feud between the prince and the sultan, they ended up in a court battle over $23 million. Following the couple’s legal victory, Mark Seal gets an exclusive on the story the jury didn’t hear.

Tweets – 2011-06-24

  • @laurastargirl Those were some good sausages. Stemmler's ftw! #
  • @cjhubbs We also served delicious plums and nectarines. #
  • @dmpontious Fair enough, and 10 points for using the word "saccharine". #
  • @picturingjulie Yes. But also no. #
  • @cjhubbs @laurastargirl There's still half a package of that bacon! I can be yours for the low price of driving here to get it! #
  • In an industry like this, you can't afford not to be automated. #
  • @cjhubbs @laurastargirl Dang spelling and English 😉 (BUT YES) #
  • Sometimes the road home looks like a home run. #sayingsthatdontmakesense #
  • This customer sends a courier over, tells them to pick up an order, wants only one of several orders, but doesn't tell the courier which PO. #
  • @picturingjulie Nothing is simple, except for simple things. #
  • Well, there goes using cell phones at work. #
  • @BeautifulMess81 My favourite was Crayola Eatables. #
  • Thank you,, for being down. That makes my life so much easier. I don't have to deal with sending any pesky emails! #
  • @cjhubbs Too many people spending too much time texting and talking while at machines and stuff. Safety issue. #
  • @cjhubbs But also, it's a huge time waster. It's fine to do on breaks or whatever, but not at the desk or the machine. #
  • The volume of emails I'm trying to send at the moment is probably mini-dos-ing gmail. #
  • @cjhubbs If you saw how often people were whipping out their phones around here… yeah. #
  • I think it's probably healthy for mothers to slightly dislike their children. #
  • @laurastargirl I lobe you with all my ear! #
  • Pottermore? Lame. Come one. No new novel? Lame. #
  • @dmpontious Mr Freeman as Bilbo is pefect. Just… perfect. #
  • @dmpontious Benedict Cumberbatch is in there too! It's like a Sherlock Holmes re-union. #
  • Yo mama's a highway… #
  • Yeah, so I don't really like icons on my phone. Why keep these outdated PC metaphors on a completely different type of device? #
  • The internet is being turned from a way to transmit data to a method of extracting rents. Telcos are spearheading the charge. #
  • Bandwidth needs will not grow at current rates forever. #
  • Google needs to get into the ISP business. #
  • @gfmorris I don't think that's going to happen, ever. #