Archive for May 11, 2008

Redfly: I Don’t Get It. It’s Nuts!

May 11, 2008

Matthew Miller over at ZDNet Blogs has received the Celio Redfly he ordered.

This is a device that is basically an external dumb terminal to what is already not the brightest kid on the block: a Windows Mobile smartphone.

The Redfly costs a whopping $499.00 — and offers far less than an EeePC at $400!

And let me note:

Asus Eee
8.86″ x 6.30″ x 0.79-1.26″ – 2.0 lbs

Celio Redfly
9.0″ x 6.0″ x 1.0″ – 2 lbs

To strengthen the comparison!

As if the Redfly pricetag alone wasn’t already orbital, Miller is pairing it with an HTC Advantage — something with a price that ranges from $800 to $1,000!

That’s a total price of $1,300 to $1,500!

I think that’s just nuts.

Previously here:

Celio Redfly Gets Some Love
Palm + Celio Redfly = Mystery Device?
Redfly: No, It’s Still NOT V.D.!
Redfly: No, It’s Not V.D., It Just Sounds Like It

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #095

May 11, 2008

Pay attention, this is from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the sharpest chronicler of this mess.

The global slump of 2008-09 has begun as poison spreads

The avalanche of bankruptcies has begun. Six US companies of substance have defaulted on bonds over the past fortnight, against 17 for the whole of last year.

As a “non-believer” in the instant rebound story, I am not easily shocked by gloomy reports. But the latest note by Standard & Poor’s – The Bust After The Boom – gave me a fright.

The sick list is varied, though most for now are victims of the housing crash: Linens ‘n Things, ($650m), Kimball Hill ($703m), Home Interiors ($310m), French Lick Resorts ($142m), Recycled Paper Greetings ($187m), and Tropicana Entertainment ($2.49bn).

Emphasis added by me.

Not scary enough?

As the Fed’s latest loan survey makes clear, lenders have dropped the guillotine. With the usual delay, the poison is spreading from banks to the real world.

Diane Vazza, S&P’s credit chief, says defaults are rising at almost twice the rate of past downturns. “Companies are heading into this recession with a much more toxic mix. Their margin for error is razor-thin,” she said.

Two-thirds have a “speculative” rating, compared to 50pc before the dotcom bust, and 40pc in the early 1990s. The culprit is debt. “They ramped it up in the last 18 months of the credit boom. A lot of deals were funded that should not have been funded,” she said.

Some 174 US companies are trading at “distress levels”. Spreads on their bonds have rocketed above 1,000 basis points. This does not cover the carnage among smaller firms outside the rating universe.

Emphasis added by me.

This is where, again, I must otherwise disagree:

Thankfully, the Fed’s monetary blitz has averted a depression. Emergency lending under the “unusual and exigent circumstances” clause of the Fed Act – the nuclear Article 13 (3), unused since the 1930s – has put a floor under the banking system.

There will be no “reset Armaggedon” as rates vault on honey-trap mortgages. Drastic Fed cuts – to 2pc from 5.25pc in September – have conjured away that disaster, at least.

Emphasis added by me.

Ambrose, of course, means “All other things remaining the same.”

But things won’t!

Something is going to come along, even if it would in normal times be considered a breeze, and blow over this house of cards.

See, even Ambrose records more is on the way:

“Nowhere and nothing will be immune. We are on the cusp of an equity meltdown that will slash and shred portfolios,” said Albert Edward, SG’s global strategist.

“We see a global recession unfolding. Liquidity will drain away and crush the twin emerging market and commodity bubbles. The recent hope that ‘the worst might be over’ is truly staggering. Profits are disintegrating,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Accuse me of being overly pessimistic? What about him? That quote is from a financial expert!

Lehman Brothers’ Sun Mingchun says China will tip over in the second half of this year. “With so much latent overcapacity, an export-led slowdown could trigger a chain reaction which, in the worst case, could threaten the stability of [its] financial and economic system,” he said.

Britain, Europe, Japan, and China will go down before America comes back up. This is turning into a synchronised bust, after all. The Global Slump of 2008-09 is under way.

Emphasis added by me.

Soothe the jitters by calling it a slump. But it’s not!

And it won’t feel like one, either.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #094

May 11, 2008

Losing a Home, Then Losing All Out of Storage

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — The foreclosure crisis is hitting yet another American locale: the self-storage center.

As they lose their homes, people are turning to these humble cinderblock and sheet-metal boxes to store their stuff. But some people cannot keep up with their storage bills any better than they could handle their mortgage payments, and storage companies are auctioning off their property for a pittance.

Emphasis added by me.

More:

Subprime mortgage loans had low “teaser” rates to lure borrowers. Many storage facilities offer the first month for free.

“You tell yourself, ‘I’m only going to put my things in for a short time,’ ” Mr. Blair said. “Before you know it, you’re behind. Then you have to pay penalties and interest. You owe $400 to $500. If you lost your job, you can’t come up with that, not if you want to feed your family.”

Nearly non-existent 35 years ago, self-storage has become ubiquitous, with 51,000 facilities nationwide. Even as the larger economy falters, the industry is flourishing. Executives say the mortgage crisis is one reason.

Emphasis added by me.

Don’t ever, ever, ever turn to one of these places. Sell off what you have to, get down to your core belongings. Then impose on friends and relatives to store that.

If you put anything in storage, you are just about guaranteed to lose it.

These people are lower than outright slumlords.

At least a slumlord will admit that’s what he is.

Fred Reger, an auctioneer in Washington and its suburbs, is seeing two trends, which he calls “matching luggage” and “residential units.”

The first means that he often sees a bunch of over-stuffed plastic bags when he opens a unit. “People used to put their belongings in boxes,” Mr. Reger said. “But Hefties are a lot cheaper. These people came in under stress, which explains why they defaulted a few months later.”

A “residential unit” is one where the renter tries to illegally live in the unit. “We used to see one or two residential units a month,” Mr. Reger said. “Now I’m seeing 6 or 8 or 10. At one facility in D.C. the other day, we had three residentials.”

Emphasis added by me.

Look at how they laugh at someone else’s misery!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #093

May 11, 2008

Federal regulators close Arkansas bank ANB Financial

As of Jan. 31, federal regulators say ANB Financial had about $2.1 billion in assets and $1.8 billion in total deposits.

It was the third closure this year of an FDIC-insured bank. Douglass National Bank, a Missouri bank with $58.5 million in assets, was shut in January; another Missouri institution with assets of $18.7 million, Hume Bank, was shut down in March.

Both were dwarfed in size of ANB Financial, where regulators found lax lending standards, mostly for construction and development loans for projects in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, as well as Arkansas.

Emphasis added by me.

But notice this:

The FDIC is planning to beef up its staff, including temporarily hiring up to 25 retired FDIC employees who worked in the agency’s more than 200-person division that handles failed banks. They will handle an anticipated increase in bank failures.

Emphasis added by me.

Don’t wait.

TV Gets The Bottomfeeders

May 11, 2008

TV viewership still down in wake of 100-day writers strike

Comedies were hurt least by the strike. CBS was so buoyed by the performance of their Monday night comedies that the network is considering adding comedies on another night.

Who watches that crap?

People who don’t know what humor is.

People who would laugh at someone throwing up.

In other words, the lowest of the lowest demographic, education and income-wise.

Oh, but TV is really gonna reach out and grab us people on the Net, with innovation such as this:

Not surprising for television, some of the ideas have a whiff of familiarity. Cedric the Entertainer is developing a comedy for ABC about a suddenly rich family moving to Beverly Hills (“then one day he was shooting for some food, and up through the ground come a bubbling crude”).

Wow.

But wait, Nikki Finke reported:

I am also told that two ABC comedy pilots, The More Things Change (Regency) and the Untitled Cedric The Entertainer (ABC TV Studios), are dead at the network.

So much for innovation!

WordPress Export File = 7.33MB!

May 11, 2008

Holy cow.

But that also includes a bunch of drafts that have been growing mold on them.

I’ll have to see if Blogger can import that some way.

Any suggestions?

Two Days Of Posts Moved

May 11, 2008

Today’s and yesterday’s posts are now over at Blogger.

Tomorrow I’ll have to see what the WordPress Export feature can do for me.

In the meantime, bookmark the Blogger URL!

In Case WordPress Is Run By Pricks

May 11, 2008

I’ve duplicated today’s posts over at my standby Blogger backup.

I set that up the evening where WordPress unilaterally sprung the Friday Evening Change on everyone without considering the disruption it would cause. And then they shut down the first Support forum thread of complaints!

So yeah, I expect them to kick me out of here.

Hey WordPress, dig this.

STFU

May 11, 2008

Ever made a complaint in a forum that is there to permit complaints?

And then had some Prozacked-up eejit jump in and complain about your complaint?

It just happened to me in the WordPress Support forum.

I slapped the eejit down hard too.

First time I’ve had to skrag anyone on the forum.

The deal with forums, you la-la smiley-faced eejits is this: They are there for venting.

If you want to be the Happy Police, go do it in your own life, where you’ll get in person what I’d like to do to you virtually: kick the living shit out of you for being so goddammed clueless and obnoxious.

You just don’t know how much I’d like to show you the worthless blog of this cretin.

But it doesn’t deserve traffic from here and I think better of my readers too (despite the PoeFace post!).

Update: Look at this bullshit. I’ve just been locked out of the WordPress Supoort forum! Staff apparently likes the Smiley Police who have no answers! I was told, and I quote:

If you wish to insult, use your blog because you are not using the forums.

Well, here it is. A nice crisp Up Yours! And you know who you are, WordPress staff member.

Now for a formal complaint to WordPress Support via email.

Let’s see if I have to wind up moving to Blogger after all.

PAY To See Iron Man, Dammit

May 11, 2008

I’ve seen a new cammed version of Iron Man making the rounds.

This one is different than the one I saw.

No Chinese subtitles.

But I note the run time excises the end titles.

Serves you cheapskate thieving bastards right. You’ll miss a key point!

Now go out and buy a ticket and see it for real.

It’s worth it!