Archive for September 25, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #243: Countdown

September 25, 2008

There are now only nine days left.

Blog Notes: Make It Go Away!

September 25, 2008

Changing the channels on my way to CNBC, I hit AMC and Mad Men was on.

I’ve never seen that show but the buzz has reached me.

I got to see the final ten minutes of one episode.

Then the beginning of an episode at 8PM EDST.

Then I was interrupted by an alert: The Fed had done a shotgun marriage between J.P. Morgan and Washington Mutual.

Christ, on to CNBC after all.

And then two more Depression 2.0 posts today!

You see? I do try to get away from it all.

But it pursues me!

Make it go away!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #242: WaMu

September 25, 2008

J.P. Morgan to Take Over Faltering WaMu

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. was expected to announce as early as Thursday night a deal to acquire the bulk of Washington Mutual Inc.’s operations in a deal that would mark the end of independence for what once was the largest U.S. thrift.

Federal regulators have been heavily involved in orchestrating the transaction, which comes as WaMu was besieged by a mountain of bad mortgage loans. Seattle-based WaMu has been scrambling to find a solution and put itself on the auction block last week. A number of interested parties have been poring over WaMu’s books, but the bank didn’t receive any offers.

While the exact structure of the transaction wasn’t immediately known, J.P. Morgan is expected to acquire Washington Mutual’s deposits and branches, as well as other operations. The deal isn’t expected to result in any hit to the bank-insurance fund, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. But it’s likely that another arm of government would have to pick up the tab. Some analysts have worried that a WaMu failure could cost more than $20 billion.

Emphasis added by me.

A shotgun marriage.

J.P. Morgan also acquired Bear Stearns earlier this year.

Someone who works on Wall Street put this in perspective: “Do you know what just happened? Now J.P. Morgan has become ‘too big to fail’!”

Red Headline For September 25, 2008: PM

September 25, 2008

The short version: The Bailout scam has hit a snag. The Republicants apparently have a different view of things. Rumor is this is the doing of McCain. Election politics?

And you all thought they were looking out for us?

Meta: Review Of A Book Review

September 25, 2008

Reviewing the Review: September 21 2008

I’ve heard good things about Home by Marilynne Robinson, but A. O. Scott’s lush rave review somehow puts me off. Too much of this:

“Home” is a book full of doubleness and paradox, at once serene and volcanic, ruthless and forgiving. It is an anguished pastoral, a tableau of decency and compassion that is also an angry and devastating indictment of moral cowardice and unrepentant, unacknowledged sin.

Wow. I haven’t even opened the book yet and I’m already bored.

Beautifully and wonderfully nailed.

Just as I wrote here:

Reviews? Do you know how many books I discovered via the New York Times Book Review? Probably less than ten. Because the so-called “reviews” were invariably more about the reviewer and how allegedly “smart” he (and it was always a he) was than the book under review. Face the fact that the NYTBR was — and still is — nothing a but a circle-jerk fanzine for your little clique. It had little to do with gaining new book readers.

And from the quote above, it’s still as I remember it.

The dinosaurs never change.

We just have to wait for their extinction.

Celio Redfly: Still Not V.D., But Now $199

September 25, 2008

Celio Redfly On Sale for $199

The Celio Redfly mobile companion has just been reduced to $199 in the PalmInfocenter store. Celio Corp is running a seed unit program offering the device for just $199 for a limited time. The Redfly connects up with your Windows Mobile smartphone over USB or Bluetooth to give you a larger keyboard and an 8-inch 800 x 480 pixel screen, all while utilizing the same apps and memory from your device. It also packs in a 4,500 mAh battery which typically lasts 8 hours and can also recharge your smartphone.

The Redfly people explain:

Celio Corp is running a seed unit program offering REDFLY to enterprise customers and individual users for just $199 – but only for a few weeks. That’s 50% off the normal MSRP of $399! After October 31, 2008 the price on the REDFLY will return to $399.

Why on earth are we doing this?

Well, a bunch of us were sitting around the conference room table early this week discussing how once someone actually tries a REDFLY for a few hours, they just don’t want to give it back. We also find that once someone has a REDFLY in their hands, they tend to do a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for us.

So, we thought, “Why don’t we take part of the marketing budget for a few weeks to subsidize a special seed program? That way we can get a large number of units out into the market, seed some mobile enthusiasts and get them to help spread the word by showing REDFLY to people.”

Emphasis added by me.

At that price, if I had a Windows Mobile compatible phone, I’d be real tempted.

I have to hand it to them for their thinking. I wish more tech companies thought like that!

Previously here:

Redflying At The Borg Hive
Redfly: I Don’t Get It. It’s Nuts!
Celio Redfly Gets Some Love
Redfly: No, It’s Still NOT V.D.!
Redfly: No, It’s Not V.D., It Just Sounds Like It

Writer Martin Millar: Refugee

September 25, 2008


There have been shocking scenes of misery and deprivation in these parts recently as the heating engineers arrived to install a new boiler in my flat. It meant I couldn’t stay home during the day, as they were drilling through walls and stuff.

Now, I could have coped with these two days – organised to visit someone or something like that – if I was not the most hopelessly disorganised person on the planet. And also, the agoraphobia didn’t help. Did not really want to go far from home. Which led to me spending one day sitting miserably in the local library, waiting for the engineers to finish their work. I felt like a refugee. All I needed was a blanket. And I had to go to the dentist later. What a lousy day that was.

The next day was my day for agoraphobia therapy so I set off several hours early and then just hung around uselessly for ages. Another very poor day, all in all. Though it was interesting being on a bus at 8.30 in the morning, something I haven’t experienced for some years. It was full of people going to work, and none of them looked very happy, which is understandable.

It gets even funnier. Run over and read.

I identified with every bit of it. Even though I don’t have agoraphobia (I think).

Reference: iBlogger For iPhone

September 25, 2008

Mini review: iBlogger for iPhone is a jack-of-most-trades

As a multi-platform blogging tool, iBlogger is an easy candidate for the jack-of-all-blogs award. It offers direct support for 11 platforms, including (alphabetically) Blogger, Blojsom, drupal, ExpressionEngine, LifeType, LivingDot, My.Opera (no, seriously), SquareSpace, TypePad, WordPress, and Xanga, as well as support for other platforms that support either the MetaWeblogs or MovableType APIs. Setup for built-in platforms is about as simple as it gets, though we tested specifically on a WordPress 2.6 blog.

This is based on the Mac OS X desktop application ecto.

I asked for this on the iPhone!

Hanwang Intros New eBook Reader

September 25, 2008

Wang Xinhua paper books – paper books electric N510 — Google machine English page link (sample quoted):

Wang Xinhua paper book is the N510 Wang’s new class of a paper reader. Based on the latest electronic ink display technology, like reading e-books to read as paper books, comfortable environment, no eye injury. At the same time, also has a large capacity and the portability of features: a hand in, a thousand volumes of books; electronic ink, the books still. Blue Sky let you study to become green! Bit by bit to your use of the time, added to your wisdom, so that your life is full of joy!

Machine English tends to crack me up.

汉王电纸书 – 电纸书N510 — native Chinese language link

I saw this over at MobileRead.

What’s striking is it’s the first five-inch eInk screen eBook device. And the price is just $200?! Update: MobileRead corrected the price. About US$330. Bah!

The design seems a lot like the Ectaco jetBook, except the row of buttons are now on the left side of the screen instead of the right. They are also now Sony Reader-style buttons.

With that five-inch screen, I expect it to be the size of the jetBook too. And the actual dimensions prove that guesstimate to be true:

Hanwang: 152mm x 108mm x 11mm
jetBook: 153mm x 109mm x 13mm

jetBook next to first-gen Sony Reader, size comparison

Now there’s an idea for Sony to — word of this week — cramdown the price of the Sony Reader to a near-impulse buy price of $199: make one with a five-inch screen! Really, Sony, I don’t think it’d matter much to people, the smaller screen. It’d be a fast and cheap intro to eBooks and they can always upgrade to the six-inch screen later!

Sony Reader Mini?

Free Software: Convert PDF To HTML

September 25, 2008

Giveaway of the Day – PDF to HTML

PDF to HTML is an easy-to-use software for converting PDF into HTML. The software supports all Adobe PDF modifications. The PDF to HTML converter retains the layout, images, text and formatting of the original PDF file. PDF to HTML is a highly efficient standalone software which doesn’t require Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.

This offer only good on Thursday, September 25, 2008.

And you must install the software today or the free offer expires!

— via TeleRead