News items, current events, of general interest

News

Below are articles of general news-worthyness. That includes any new information about yours truly...

2011 Blog Year-In-Review!

I'm continuing my tradition of doing my blog year-in-review in late April... mainly because I started my blog six years ago on April 29th. But, also in the hopes it would stand out more, since everybody else has a fiscal-blog-year-end on December 31st!

In the 2011/2012 time frame I had 204,514 page views, which is a 12% increase over the previous year! Woah... surprised to see that spike, considering I've been feeling guilty about not posting enough these days... altho a lot of that was because my post on how Steve Jobs couldn't program a computer was on the front page of Hacker News for a few days! The top posts from 2011 are as follows:

  1. Oracle Acquires FatWire! And people are curious as to what will happen next...
  2. Oracle Mix Jumped The Shark: a rant against how some folks rigged the Mix system to con their way into getting Open World Sessions. Uncool.
  3. WebCenter Performance Tuning: a case study in WebCenter Content tuning
  4. WebCenter 11g PatchSet5: some useful downloads and links
  5. One WebCenter To Rule Them All: some coverage of the rebranding that occurred at OpenWorld 2011
  6. Collaborate 2011 Presentations: always good stuff there ;-)
  7. Mashup Standards: JSON-P Versus CORS! My opinions on why JSON-P is superior, and an add-on to my popular jQuery Plugin to better support mashups
  8. PowerPoint Tips From South Park: the title says it all...
  9. More On FatWire: additional analysis and predictions
  10. Multilingual UCM: some info on how to support multiple languages with UCM

This year I should have time to add more tutorials... there's some nifty stuff coming out in the next version of WebCenter that could change how people do enterprise integrations. Stay tuned...

2011, and the Decade to Follow

I knew that 2011 was a big year... but not until I saw the video above did I realize that so many events that will shape the decade to come all occured in the same year:

  • Tsunamis and nuclear disasters in Japan
  • Extreme weather worldwide
  • Revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya
  • Rumblings of revolutions in Syria, Yemen, and Iran
  • Near economic collapse of the Euro zone, including riots in Greece
  • The death of three monsters: Osama Bin Laden, Gaddafi, and Kim Jong Il
  • The 99% 'Occupy' movement throughout Western countries
  • The passing of Steve Jobs

And countless other events and ideas and innovations that spread through the world like wildfire... It's not a cliche to say that we live in remarkable times.

"Immortal God! What a world I see dawning! Why cannot I grow young again?" -- Erasmus

"O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible" -- Pindar

Happy new year!

Merry Christmas!

Sorry I haven't been blogging as much these days... But you can see why! A lot of end-of-year projects, and our new little girl. Here she is in her first holiday dress, meeting Santa for the first time... And looking a bit confused about the whole thing!

I'll blog next week... promise!

Oracle Open World!

Open World is barely a month away! I'll be heading there early for some Oracle ACE briefings and the like... I'm normally a "broadcast only" Twitter user, but when I'm at conferences I check it all the time, and tweet with location services on. If you want to meet up, just message me!

@bex

I have a couple of sessions this year... unfortunately they are all on Thursday! Dang it! I was hoping to leave the conference early -- since Michelle and I are having our first kid, and her due date is a few weeks after Open World. Alas, the scheduling gods were not with me:

  • Session: 10843
    • Creating a Global E-Commerce Site with Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Fusion Middleware
    • Thursday, 12:00 PM, Intercontinental - Intercontinental Ballroom B
  • Session: 9539
    • Integrating ECM into Your Enterprise: 5 Techniques to Try and 5 Traps to Avoid
    • Thursday, 03:00 PM, Intercontinental - Telegraph Hill

I know picking Open World sessions can be a bit of a baffling ordeal... so if you're pressed for time, I'll suggest a few tips. If you want to see WebCenter based content, check out the WebCenter partner sessions. Lots of good stuff there. If you're curious about non-WebCenter products but don't know where to start, I'd recommend the Oracle ACE sessions over just about everything else. ACE sessions are a good bet: speakers are usually very knowledgeable, very passionate, and very excited to share what they know. Translation: minimal marketing fluff. You don't get the title "Oracle ACE" by being a self-promoting fool!

Well... at least most of the time Oracle ACE's aren't self-promoting fools... there are exceptions.

In Migration Mode...

You might have noticed this site go away for a while yesterday... my ISP is migrating my site to the latest version of Drupal, and we hit a few snags when we tried to take it live...

We're giving it another whirl today, and hopefully it will be good-to-go tomorrow. I have a new skin that I'll be showing off... as well as a few new features.

Blog Year In Review

As usual, I'm celebrating the end of my blog's fiscal year on April 29, 2010... because that's the day of my first blog post. Also, I didn't want my "end of year" post to be drowned out by everybody else's end of year posts...

Anyway, at the end of my blog's year, I do some analysis on what posts were the most popular. I use Google Analytics on my blog to collect this info, ever since I found other engines to not be what I needed... see my post on how many hits does your site really get for more info.

Overall, the blog is still doing well... I got 182,364 page views, which is about 15% more traffic this year than last year... below are the top posts of 2009, according to Google:

So.. although this may seem a bit early -- or a bit late -- happy new year! And hopefully you're following you new years resolutions.

Why People Just Don't Pay for News

CMS Report has an interesting rant about micropayments, and how they never got off the ground... many people have tried to convince me to pay a quarter or a nickle to view their online content, but I've never done so. Every few years, somebody comes up with some master plan based on the theory that "this time it's different!!!" But sadly -- and totally predictably -- they failed.

Why don't people pay for news? Because the most powerful word in marketing is "Free." No matter how little you charge for "quality" content, if somebody else is offering a reasonable substitute for free, you will always lose.

The latest "big idea" in this history of failures is Rupert Murdoch's attempt to charge for their online content. Some folks see Apple's new iPad as a game changer here, perhaps shaking up the market and getting people to pay for quality content. I'm skeptical... Yes, the iPad is pretty, and yes it is probably the best possible platform that "paid content" could ever hope for... but that doesn't change the economic realities.

Yes... the Wall Street Journal's articles might be exceptional... they might be light years better than what you can find for free on blogs and Bloomberg.com... but how can Murdoch prove to a skeptic that "paid-for" content is worth the extra cost? Unless they give away the whole article for free, nobody can judge it's quality. Also, just because one article was great, does not mean future articles will be great... Finally, if it really is a great article, people will blog about it, or editorialize about it, after which I can find a decent summary elsewhere.

People just don't have much brand loyalty to information sources anymore... Whoever gets it to me in the way I want it, will win my loyalty for today... but once you're boring, or ask me to login, or ask me to pay, then I might take my eyeballs to one of the other bazillion sites out there.

News is a commodity, and therefore subject to the economics of commodities. There is a little bit of profit in their creation, but much more in their distribution. In the past, the newspapers owned their distribution channel: printers, packers, delivery trucks... heck, the New York Times even owns their own forests and paper mills! The majority of their expenses are spent maintaining their distribution channel, not in paying people to write quality content.

Rupert Murdoch whines very loudly that his content is valuable and Google should have to pay to spider it... what he's really saying is that he's mad that the internet has made his distribution channels less profitable. If Fox truly cared about creating "quality content," they'd probably drop half their sitcoms.

Is there a way to save newspapers? Sort of...

Obviously, companies with good content need to get into the new distribution channels if they want to survive. The NBC/Comcast merger is a good example... although as a consumer I'm not a fan of so much power being in one single entity. I hope other companies get into the residential high-speed internet business so we have more competition... I'm happy to see that Google is getting into the residential ISP business, and I hope to see more competition soon...

In other words... The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal will survive... but their distribution channels will not. The sooner they get out of the dead-tree-scattering business, the better!

I'm Moving To Seattle!

Yes, the rumors are true... Michelle and I have decided to move from chilly Minneapolis, to the temperate and coffee-infested Northwest.

We've been planning this move for a number of years... the timing made sense because of the housing market crash. This has helped make the Seattle real estate market go from insanely expensive to just laughably expensive...

We'll both be keeping the same jobs, as well. That's the beauty of the interwebs... you can do anything from anywhere, as long as you have the correct technology.

I'm going to miss a lot about Minneapolis: my family, my friends, competent yet non-cocky software developers... but I've always wanted to live somewhere else. Seattle was always one of my top 5 favorite US cities, along with San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis. I've met some great people out there, so I know I'll be OK.

I'm certain I'll be coming back frequently. I have several clients and business ventures here in Minneapolis, and I'll need to keep an eye on them. But the big question is, will Luke drop my blog from Central Standard Tech because I'm now splitting my time in two cities??? I hope not... ;-)

Comments Turned Off For A While...

I've been getting WAAAAAAAAAAY too much comments spam lately, so I'm shutting off the comments feature for a while. I experimented with numerous kinds of CAPTCHAs, all of which failed. I'm not sure if this is human comments spam, or what.

I'm going to experiment with a few other options... If you'd like to leave a comment, register, and send me an email. Only approved registered members can comment at the moment.

Or, you can always link back to my post from your own blog -- or Twitter account -- and leave a message that way...

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; It Will Be Tweeted -- Epic Win

This photo is of an Iranian protester helping evacuate an injured cop, and get away from an angry mob... As Sullivan said:

How To Tell Who The Good Guys Are? They're the ones who sometimes rescue a beleaguered riot policeman.

Skip the mainstream media... Go to Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Big Picture, or #iranelection on Twitter... something unbelievable is happening...

Looking forward To The Weekend...

Man, this has been a hectic few weeks... I just launched one site for a client. It went smoothly, but it was a lot of work and late nights. I've been spending so much time writing documentation that I lost the will to blog. Unfortunate... considering what happened this week.

I'm talking specifically about the highly disruptive Google I/O conference. It looks like Google Wave is going to be huge... it will no doubt set the standard for web-based email collaboration.

I'm happy that its using XMPP instead of HTTP behind the scenes... this is a great idea, since XMPP is a high-end instant messaging protocol, whereas HTTP is a freaking dinosaur. I'm hoping this push will mean that browsers might naively support XMPP in the near future... Imagine that! Being able to get data -- like RSS Feeds, new email messages, and bundles of web sites -- pushed to you when they change, instead of having to poll the web site a bazillion times... or use awkward and obtuse asynchronous JavaScript. This technology choice has caused a few folks to predict the downfall of HTTP.

Nothing would make me happier than the death of HTTP, but it's not happening yet... As others have noted, Google Wave is still very dependent on HTTP... it only uses XMPP for server-to-server communication. The web browser still has to poll the server for more data. Although, I'd wager that once this takes off and Google servers are swamped, they might sneak XMPP into Google Gears and use that instead.

It looks like Wave will be easy to integrate with, and its all open-source... You don't need to host it at Google, you can install their server, or just implement the protocol. This is good, considering how many enterprises might want to make Microsoft Exchange more Wave-y. I have a couple of ideas for Wave plug-ins... but I have to wait until Google gets me a user account for testing :-(

Oh well... Its probably for the best. I could probably use one less distraction this month...

Blog Silence...

Sorry for the lack of blogging, folks... Last week was IOUG Collaborate, and I was usually indisposed. For those who didn't make it, you can check out my presentation on Slideshare. I gave my talk on A Pragmatic Strategy for Oracle ECM, as well as my Top 10 Ways To Integrate With Oracle ECM.

Billy put up some of his talks as well. The How To Be A Rock Star with ECM talk was well received... although the slides don't quite capture the whole presentation.

Overall, I was pleased with the turnout... I was kind of bummed out that there wasn't a bigger Oracle ACE presence there. I saw Dan Norris a few times, but there wasn't an 'official' ACE briefing. Oh well... I guess I'll need to wait for Oracle Open World in the fall. With all the new Sun customers and partners, that place is going to be chaos.

Year In Review...

It's been three years since this blog's inaugural post... so I thought I'd reflect on the past. Unlike most folks who take stock on January first, my blog's official "end of fiscal year" is April 29th. So I'll take the opportunity to have new year's in April, and recount my most popular blog posts of the past 12 months:

  1. Google Owes Me A Pony: (11,264 hits) my take on how the new economy makes Google a much more powerful player than most people realize.
  2. The Idiot Test: (8,480 hits) a fun game that tests your ability to spot the obvious.
  3. How to make Vodka Infusions: (6,923 hits) a perenial favorite
  4. Empathy Versus Sympathy: (4,932 hits) one that I'm very proud of... as one commenter said, "Dude, you just summed up marriage in one easy little post!"
  5. How many hits does your site really get: (4,422 hits) my take on how to analyze data from page popularity metrics (like this!)
  6. The Official Guide To The Idiot Test: (3,467 hits) the cheat sheet for the above-mentioned game
  7. Why Does Vista Suck: (3,370 hits) a question for the ages...
  8. Tell IKEA to bring back the Coolest Desk Ever: (3,168 hits) my petition to bring back the favorite desk of Lifehackers worldwide
  9. Why Developers Love BAFFLINGLY Complex Code: (2,995 hits) a take on the psychology of why code will always be complex and brittle
  10. I'm Sorry I Invented Object Oriented Programming: (2,339 hits) the title says it all...

Overall, I had 180,516 page views over the year (according to Google Analytics)... so the top 10 articles were about 30% of my traffic. Naturally, several of these posts were written in 2007 or 2006, but they are still going strong! Only four of the top 10 from were written in the past 12 months...

I've lately been trying to focus on "evergreen content", which means blog posts that will be relevant for multiple years. Such posts take longer to write, and too much emphasis can sometimes prevents you from updating your blog as frequently as you should... but on the plus side, your posts from three years ago will still be hot spots on the web ;-)

The Bucket List

Pie is feeling reflective... so he tagged a few of us with the question what do you want to do before you die?

I actually covered this back in 2007 in a post about The Buried Life. In case you don't know, The Buried Life is a show about 4 college guys who made a list of 100 "what to do before we die" tasks. Then, after making the list, they asked themselves what the heck are we waiting for?!?! So they rented a motor home, and toured Canada one summer doing as many things as they could. And every time they scratched something off their list, they tried to help a stranger fulfill their dreams as well.

I realized with some surprise that I had already done about a quarter of the things on their list... including:

  • skydiving,
  • hot air ballooning,
  • learning to play a musical instrument,
  • swimming with sharks,
  • catching something and eating it (not a shark), and
  • destroying a computer

That last one can be sooooooooooo fulfilling...

So, what's left? Pie wants us to pick one "bucket item" and explain it. I'm not sure if this means it has to be #1 on the list, or just the one you plan on doing next... In my case, I think they might be the same thing:

I want to invent some physical device that is both popular, and practical.

In my high school and college days I was a bit of a tinkerer... more with electronics than anything. However, my job these days is writing software, which is a tad less fulfilling than inventing a device with actual physical dimensions... I have a few ideas for devices that could save fuel, save money, and even save lives, but I haven't set aside the time to properly implement them. Michelle and I are planning on buying a house soon, and one of my requirements is to have a shed where I could experiment. I'm also going to try to dedicate 10% of my work week to tinkering. Hopefully, its only a matter of time before I invent something useful, or I blow up my shed. One or the other...

I had several others that didn't make the #1 spot:

  • Get a degree in economics: since clearly nobody else in the world seems to be using theirs...
  • Write a book NOT about computers: I have many other book ideas that I think are great, and I've even started outlining them... but Michelle only wants me to write one book every three years. Apparently, deadlines make me grumpy.
  • Build a school: in some poor part of the country, or the world. I think it should be based on the KIPP methodology with a strong emphasis on Non-Violent Communication as well. That's a big project I probably can't get around to it for a few years... but I really want to do it some day.
  • Travel lots and lots and lots: my list includes Greece and Turkey because I'm a history nut... Australia because the people there are just plain cool... Galapagos and Antarctica because I'm a science nerd... and Japan because they make 80% of the world's weirdest stuff. I don't know if I can do it all, but I'll certainly try.

I don't feel like tagging anybody else with this meme... These kinds of reflections can be a bit of a bummer for some folks, so I won't subject them to it. However, if you're inspired to write your own "bucket list" because of this post, leave a link in the comments, and I'll retro-tag you ;-)

Oracle Buys Sun: Insert your own "Java Garbage Collector" Pun

In case you haven't heard, Oracle bought Sun... after being teased by IBM, and watching its stock price plummet, Oracle began talks with Sun last Thursday about possible acquisition...

If you were surprised, don't feel bad... Neither IBM nor Microsoft had a clue this was going to happen.

First thoughts... holy crap! Oracle sure saved Sun from becoming a part of the IBM beast... and now Oracle (more or less) owns Java, and has access to all those developers who maintain it. This is win-win for them both, in my opinion. Sun gets most of their revenue from hardware, which Oracle avoided doing for decades, so overall there's not much overlap in product offerings -- unlike last year's BEA acquisition.

The hardware-software blend is a compelling story... Imagine getting all your Oracle applications and databases pre-installed on a hardware appliance! Not bad... You could even get one of them data centers in a box, slap a bunch of Coherence nodes on each, and have a plug-and-play "cloud computer" of your very own.

Second thoughts... how the heck is the software integration plan going to work? Sun helps direct a lot of open source projects... including JRuby, Open Office, and the MySQL database... not to mention the OpenSSO identity management solution, and the GlassFish portal/enterprise service bus/web stack. The last two are award winning open-source competitors to existing Oracle Fusion Middleware products. Oracle now owns at least 5 portals, and at least 4 identity management solutions... unlike past acquisitions, existing Oracle product lines are going to have to justify themselves against free competitors. I can foresee a lot of uneasy conversations along the lines of:

So, Product Manager Bob... I notice that your team costs the company a lot of money, but your product line isn't even as profitable as the stuff we give away for free... Can you help me out with the logic here?

There are a lot of open source developers shaking in their boots over this... but I'm being cautiously optimistic. Oracle can't "kill" MySQL: there are too many "forked" versions of MySQL already, any one could thrive if Oracle tried to cripple the major player. Likely they will simply try to profit from those who choose to use a bargain brand database. Case in point, Oracle could sell them their InnoDB product, which allows MySQL to actually perform transactions.

Middleware is the big question mark... but with a huge injection of open source developers, products, and ideas, I'm again cautiously optimistic that -- after an inevitable shake-up -- the Middleware offerings would improve tremendously.

And Open World 2009 is going to be a lot more crowded...

OMG... Ford Motor Company Admits They Are Just An OEM...

I was just watching Ford's CEO Alan Mulally on CNN... Ford is actually doing fairly well, and doesn't need much of the bailout money, so a lot of people were confused about why he would stick up for GM or Chrysler went bankrupt. At first glance, you think it would be great if your competition went bankrupt, because then you could gobble up their market share... but Ford was actually very concerned.

Initially, I suspected something of an old-boys-network thing. Mulally is sticking up for other Detroit car companies, simply because they need to stick together if one of them needs to go to Washington to ask for help against Japanese or German car companies... so it might be just cynical, political self interest.

Mulally's explanation was oddly different...

He stated that the majority of the auto industry is in the suppliers, not the auto makers. Since all auto companies use the same suppliers, and suppliers are hurting as well, then one bad company puts the whole thing at risk.

For example, if GM goes bankrupt, then Delphi might go bankrupt, and not be able to supply parts to Toyota, Ford, or Volkswagen. That puts them all at risk if a company as large as GM goes bankrupt.

What shocked me was that during the interview, Mulally called his own company an "original equipment manufacturer!" This is a common term in both software and manufacturing, usually shortened to just OEM. It basically means Ford doesn't manufacture anything; it wraps pre-manufactured products with its own brand. They don't make engines, doors, wheels, brakes, transmissions, or pretty much anything anymore... they just slap together other people's stuff, put the word "Ford" on it, then sell it through their distribution channels.

I was wondering how long it would take them to admit this... and how folks would react... The CNN guy just brushed it off as "auto company speak," so I don't think they actually understood what Mulally meant.

Cringely brought this up a few weeks ago in his article What if Steve Jobs ran one of the Big Three auto companies? He suggested the same thing... Car companies should act more like Apple: let other companies do the dirty work of creating the "parts," then focus the big 3 on design, sales, marketing, and customer services. The whole article is very good, I recommend reading it.

Hearing Mulally openly admit that Ford is nothing but an OEM is very telling... and it gives me hope that some folks in Detroit "get it," and might actually be able to turn around the industry... but it might take a while longer for the folks at CNN to "get it."

Apparently, there's some sort of election going on...

I had no idea...

Some of my fellow bloggers have said who they intend to votes for... about 2 years ago I had very few strong opinions on the matter. My personal motto is "never vote for an incumbent," so I was leaning Democratic. Although I had no strong dislike of either of the Republican front runners. McCain was decent, Romney was a bit odd but proved himself a competent administrator, and Ron Paul was a hoot.

Two things made me eventually side with Obama. First, was a 2007 article by (gay Republican and 2-time Bush voter) Andrew Sullivan. He made the very strong case that Obama genuinely would help us move past the culture wars of the 60s, since by his very birth (date, race, country, age) it was impossible for him to take sides on the most divisive issues. He also made the strong case that nothing would improve relations abroad more than Obama -- both with former allies, and amongst states leaning towards "rogue" status... As Sullivan says:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

Talk about cognitive dissonance...

That made me lean Obama... but the thing that really cinched it was his Yes We Can speech... although the remix was better. The line that hit home was this:

This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.

This was the central argument behind pretty much every one of the Founding Fathers... if you've read as many books on the subject as I have, you'd realize that the history of the USA is highly unlikely... and those who talk about inevitability, superiority, or destiny, just don't get it. The only thing that ever held us together was the drive forward, the American Dream, to make a "more perfect union." Those who make demands just because "America is #1" will only lead us to lose touch with that dream, and lead us to chaos.

Does Obama lie? Yes; he's a politician, and lies are his weapons. Are his ideas so different than anybody else? No; he surrounds himself with the same advisers as other politicians. The difference is his temperament, and his unique perspective. He views the world in a totally different way than most people do... And I think that's exactly what we need right now.

But that's just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong.

Half Baked Idea: The Goldilocks 400 Index Fund

Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris has been contemplating how to invest his millions... he put together a pretty nice post on rethinking "common sense" investment rules. He even quoted some advice I gave him a while back... Happy to be useful, Tim ;-)

Since he's looking for still more input from the lunatic fringe on the 'net, and he's a bit risk-averse, I thought I'd share the most important piece of advice to new investors: THE STOCK MARKET IS COMPLETELY RIGGED.

This is basic human nature. Any time there is a financial incentive to cheat, people will cheat... and insiders know both how to cheat, and how to stay out of jail. I've read a fair share of books about how hedge-fund managers make their millions... It goes something like this: barely legal bribes for barely legal insider information. Most of our current financial woes are because of Wall Street cons that outlived their usefulness, or went too far.

Does that mean its hopeless? Nope... you just need to know how to make money on a rigged game. This means you need to take a hard look at anything that is currently making money (even index funds), figure out how somebody could rig them, then invest in such a way to minimize the rigging. Don't expect a money manager to give you this advice: that would force him to admit that he's involved in a totally crooked industry.

For example... take Warren Buffet's standard advice to people who want to invest, but don't have the time to monitor individual investments: "buy an index fund, and get back to work!"

Not a bad idea... index funds make a lot of money, especially if you have the cash to invest right now. But first think how could an index fund be rigged? This is simple. Consider the most common index, the Standard & Poor's 500. Next, imagine you're a big company, but the S&P committee judges that you lie just outside the top 500 companies. If only you could do a tiny bit better, you'd be in the index. Why should you care? Well, because if your company makes it to number 500, then suddenly a bazillion computerized 'buy' orders will go through, because your stock is now on the S&P 500 index!

Therefore... the leaders of this company have a strong incentive to engage in sketchy -- if not downright ILLEGAL -- accounting practices to make that happen. This doesn't meant that they would, but there is a strong incentive to do so... if the CFO indeed cooks the books, then the company appears on paper to be healthier than it really is, which pollutes the value of the index... Likewise, company #499 has even MORE reason to cheat... if they had a bad quarter, they fall off the index, a bunch of computerized managers sell the stock, and the stock plummets further. Those who have been on the index for a long time have an even larger incentive to lie, cheat, and steal to stay on that index!

Instead, be like Goldilocks! Have a nice blend of the 400 (or so) companies that have been there for long enough that you know they're OK, but not so long that they have to worry about dropping off. Others have run the numbers, and its true that an index like the Goldilocks 400 makes significantly more than the S&P 500, and could be managed with a very small shell script. Naturally, this advice only works if not many people follow it... luckily nobody reads this blog.

Investors, please line up to the right ;-)

Uncorking CDOs: How The Credit Crisis Cascades

I came across this video on the mortgage crisis... it does a better job of explaining the credit derivatives market than I did last week. I said credit derivatives are a fine idea, provided you do the math right... but they didn't do the math right... and everything fell apart. Here's how:


Crisis explainer: Uncorking CDOs from Marketplace on Vimeo.

(Hat tip Cordell)

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