Archive for March, 2008


Regulation Is The Mother Of Invention

March 28, 2008

Yesterday The Washington Post ran this article. Treasury Secretary Paulson is calling for more, if only temporary, regulation of investment banks.  He’s finally realized that the investment bank community has come up with a lot of other ways to invest money that flies under the regulation radar.

Does this really surprise anyone?  They came up with new ways to slide money around regulation.  They’ve had so much time to do it, over 30 years.  It happened because regulation limited their ability to make money.  So they invented new ways to make money.

People claim regulation stifles growth and innovation, however greed goes a long way towards compensating.  I think the regulation is needed, given the fact that investment banks have proven they cannot be trusted to regulate themselves.  Of course, any extra regulation that is added will cause them to come up with new ways to bypass the new regulation.  This probably isn’t a bad thing, since it will give rise to new money making opportunities for people.


Morebuntu For Me

March 23, 2008

I posted last week that I have been running Ubuntu on my desktop for the last year. Well, I’ve gotten it up and running on my laptop now. I tried it previously, but 7.04 didn’t support my video setup out of the box. 7.10, the Gutsy Gibbon, does, though. So, here I am, typing on my laptop that CAN boot to Windows XP, but I prefer to use Ubuntu.


Someome Out There Thinks I’m Gay

March 19, 2008

I had today off, so I’ll dip into my backlog of work stories.

The charity I used to work for was almost all women.  Every time one would get engaged, they would throw a surprise work shower for the lucky lady.  So, when I got engaged, I expected a surprise shower.

It would have been a surprise if my friend Kristy hadn’t accidentally spilled the beans to me by trying to hide her work calendar.

Although it wasn’t a surprise, I still enjoyed the groomal shower.  The funniest part was the cake.  My wife’s name is Gregoria.  So, when they ordered the cake, they ordered it to say, “Congratulations to Troy & Gregoria!”  However, the cake place put “Congratulations to Troy & Gregory!” on it.

I wonder if the people at the cake place were thinking the cake was for a gay couple…


Ubuntu. I buntu. We buntu.

March 16, 2008

My desktop computer has not run Windows for over a year now. It has been running one flavor or another of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a version of Linux designed to be accessible to everyday people. Almost everything can be done using graphical tools instead of typing commands into a console. It is also comes with programs that do pretty much anything you can do with Windows right out of the box. It has an office program, a photo editing program, an email client with a calendar, a note-taking program, a web browser, a movie player, and a music player.  If you need support, often you can get in contact with the people that wrote the program or the community itself will help you.

All of this comes completely free. Free not just as in it costs no money, but it is also free as in you have the right to do pretty much anything you want with the programs. You don’t have to buy licenses from companies to use the programs or anything like that. You also don’t get monitored by whoever created the program.

Linux has other benefits, like the lack of serious viruses for it. Its security setup is to disallow anything not explicitly allowed, whereas Windows likes to allow anything not explicitly disallowed. Which do you think is safer? Ubuntu also requires you to enter your password to change anything about the system. If a program wants to install itself, you have to allow it. It can’t do it be installed behind the scenes by another program.

Overall, I’ve been very happy with Ubuntu. Click here to either download a CD image or here to have a CD shipped to you completely free.


Stupid Things On TV That Bother Me

March 15, 2008

Tonight, it’s Torchwood.  There’s a dead, ambulatory, sentient character.  He’s been walking and talking all episode.  Then, when he’s required to give CPR, he realizes he has no breath.  Um, we talk by breathing air through our vocal cords.  So, obviously he had breath to give CPR.  He’s a doctor.  He should know these things.  I know these things.

Buffy pulled this in the first season when Angel claimed he couldn’t give Buffy CPR for the same stupid reason.  When will writers learn?


My Economic Stimulus Package

March 14, 2008

So, this year the federal government is giving people up to $600 a piece to spend.  That’s crap.

You want to see some real stimulus?  Let’s look at ExxonMobil.

They posted a record profit of $40 BILLION.  That’s more money than any corporation has ever made in one year in the U.S.  What do I think they’re going to do with it?  I’m betting a stock buyback.  It’s one of the stupider moves they could make.  Their stock prices are already flying high, so they’ll be buying those shares of stock at a premium.  One of the first rules of using the stock market is to buy low and sell high.  Buying their own stock now would be buying high.

Second, all a buyback does is raise the equity of shareholders on paper.  They actually have to sell the stock in order to reap the benefits of the buyback, which would in turn lower the price of ExxonMobil stock.  So, you’re not actually giving value to your shareholders.

If ExxonMobil really wants to give back to its shareholders, it should issue a dividend.  Give the cash straight to the shareholders immediately.  Reward them directly for having faith in the company.

However, if ExxonMobil really wants to reward the people that made their record profit possible, they should give some money back to its employees.  After all, if their employees hadn’t done their jobs as well as they did, they wouldn’t have made as much money.   Here’s my recommendation:  Give each employee a $100,000 bonus.  $100,000 is a lot of money, right?  How could they possibly afford to do that?  With ExxonMobil’s 100,000 employees, that $100,000 bonus works out to $10 billion dollars, one quarter of the company’s profit.

It’s a decent chunk of their profit, but there are lots of benefits.  First, any company that gives all of its employees that size of bonus will have wonderful morale and very little turnover.  It would also generate a feeling of investment.  After all, I know I would be more likely to try to generate profits if I knew I’d be getting some of those profits.  Second, the government will suddenly have almost 100,000 people jumping up a number of tax brackets.   So the government will actually get MORE revenue.  Finally, 100,000 people suddenly getting $60k after tax withholdings will be throwing huge amounts of cash into the economy.  They could use it to pay off loans and credit cards, adding liquidity to the credit market.  They could buy large ticket items like TVs, cars, etc.  The least likely thing they’ll be willing to do is invest all of it, effectively negating the stimulating power of the bonus.

Now,  it would take more than just ExxonMobil doing this, but if every company gave 25% of their profits back to their employees, a lot more money would be flowing through the economy.  It also means the government wouldn’t have to get involved and would maybe even benefit financially.


TV Dump

March 13, 2008

Here’s a little round-up of all the things I’ve been watching lately:

Project Runway – Yay! Christian won! It was nice to see him a little worried, though. There’s nothing good about someone who is cocky all the time.

Mythbusters – I love a show that puts things to the test in a fun and geeky way. They seem to be back on reruns after the McGuyver episode, though. I’ve seen most of them, but I always give them a chance.

Top Chef – I sit here while my wife watches it, but I’ll get into it soon. The first episode was good enough. I kind of hope the dude that uses lots of gadgets and liquid nitrogen. I always root for the mad scientist candidate.

Dexter – I haven’t seen it in awhile, since the season finale was back in January, but I wait with bated breath for the next season. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when he abandons the Code of Harry.

The Tudors – I usually hate period pieces. However, The Tudors is very well done. I’ll miss Sam Neill this season, but I’m sure I’ll get along without him. March 30th is the premiere!

Weeds – Another big shakeup at the end of the third season sends them off to I don’t know where. I can’t wait for the next season of this, either.

Californication – So, it’s David Duchovny playing David Duchovny as an alcoholic writer with a broken marriage. It’s funnier than it sounds. I’m not sure what they are going to do after the season finale, but I’ll give it a watch when it is back on.

The Sopranos – Netflix delivered us the first disc of the first season. It was… okay. I’ll watch it, but I’m probably not going to be raving about it like some of the other things I’ve been watching.

Babylon 5 – We are re-watching it for the second or third time. It has low production values, but a few of the characters, like Londo and G’Kar, make this one of the best sci-fi shows ever produced.

The X-Files – Netflix has also been sending us episodes of The X-Files. We’re halfway through the first season without David Duchovny. I kind of like Doggett, but he’s going to need a little more time to grow on me.

So, that’s my TV rap for the week. Hopefully someone somewhere will start to watch one of these shows because of me. 🙂

Edit:  Now with super link power!