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Archive for January, 2008

I ran across this image on the web.  Very funny.

 

Handouts_for_troubled_wall_street

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For the last few weeks I have been thinking about buying stock in the company VMware (VMW).  They are a company that makes virtualization environments.  In English, that means that you can run a different operating system on top of another one (such as running Linux on Windows).  Something like that.

Anyway, VMware has been doing quite well but has come back to retest its lows.  I was thinking of buying it based solely on its technical action.  I seriously considered it.  However, two things kept me out of the market:

  1. The market is still quite poor and I don’t want to buy stocks in what looks like a bear market.
  2. Microsoft is getting ready to enter the virtualization market.  On Friday, I learned that they are planning on entering the market with a product that costs 1/3 of what VMW charges.  Erk; that’s quite the undercut.

For both of those reasons I held off.  Thank goodness I did that because it release earnings today and after hours, it’s getting killed.  It’s currently down 26% after missing expectations.  Had I gotten in, I would have taken a major beating.

Sure, I got killed in Apple.  But at least I didn’t get killed in VMware.

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You know you live in a great country when somebody else screws up and the government decides to give you money.

As we all know, the stock market is imploding.  Everybody is panicking, thinking it will lead to a recession (for the record, I never believed that).  However, the Fed cut rates by 3/4 of a point (which is quite a drop, btw) and now Congress and the President have gotten together to work out an economic stimulus deal.

I’m not a big fan of the government meddling in the economy in order to bail it out.  But, get this: Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House Thursday on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200, and more if they have children.  Well, I’m a tax filer without kids, so that will get me at most $600.  I’d expect that since I’ve only been here for four months, it will only be half that at the most.  Still, for the government to give this money to me is rather generous; I’ll take it.

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So, last week I had an MRI scan to diagnose a potential torn labrum in my leg (a ring of cartridge that runs around the hip).  If it were torn, then I was probably going to have to undergo surgery to have it fixed.

As it turns out, my labrum is perfectly fine.  It looks 100% normal, so that means I won’t have to have surgery.  When I got the news, I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or not because while it would mean I wouldn’t need surgery, it also meant that I still didn’t know why my hip hurts.

The diagnosis so far is that I have problem with my sacroiliac joint, which is out of alignment.  That is the joint that connects the base of the spine to the pelvis.  I managed to avoid surgery but instead I have to go to a chiropractor for a few sessions (what would Penn and Teller say to that?).

I’m telling you, this is starting to get a little fatiguing going to all these medical specialists.  So far, I have seen 3 doctors, 1 MRI specialist, 1 massage therapist, 1 physiotherapist and now it will be 1 chiropractor, for a total of 7 people (1 in Fiji, 2 in Canada and 4 in the United States).  Good thing I have health insurance.

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I’m watching the US presidential primaries and I find the races this year to be very interesting.  Here’s my take on it.

Democrats

My money is on Hillary getting the nomination.  I privately predicted many months ago that Hillary was going to win the nomination.  I’ve been saying for a couple of years at least that the next president of the US might even be a woman.  The only problem is that I’m not a particularly big fan of her economic proposals.  I read an article on MSNBC about what she was proposing to stimulate the economy and it all included tax increases, increased regulation, retraction of free trade, and so forth.  On the plus side, it’s no worse that Barack Obama’s plan(s).

Republicans

This one is way more difficult to predict.  I don’t think Mike Huckabee will win the nomination.  I think it will be between Mitt Romney and John McCain.  Rudy Giuliani has an outside shot if his strategy works.

Giuliani so far is dug into a hole.  He hasn’t campaigned in any of the early state’s primaries, leading to no national news stories and the media jumping on his bandwagon.  However, Rudy’s strategy has been to concentrate on Florida, where winner takes all.  You see, in early states, the candidates divide the delegate seats, but in Florida the first person past the gate takes all the delegates.  So, if Rudy wins, he gets all the seats and jumps right back into the race.  But we all know what’s going to happen – if he wins, his strategy was brilliant from the start.  If he loses, he made a big mistake by ignoring Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

I think that’s ridiculous and is an example of confirmation bias – the tendency to judge decisions based on their outcomes rather than their validity at the time they were made.  Either Giuliani’s decision is a good one right now or it’s not.  Don’t change your story to say "I told you so."

But I digress.  Currently, Romney is in the lead, followed by Huckabee and then McCain.  Yet, McCain leads all the national polls.  I think Huckabee may do well in southern states but will fail in the northeast and midwest/west.  Romney won’t have the staying power either, so I think that ultimately McCain will gain the Republican nomination.  Fred Thompson is toast, will shortly pull out of the race and throw his support behind McCain.

You heard it here first.

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Weird timing

Today, on Facebook, I went through my Zapp Branigan quotes.  The one I almost picked was the one where Zapp says "Kiff! Where’s the little umbrella?  That’s what makes it a scotch on the rocks!"

And then, just now, I turned on the TV and Futurama was on.  The TV had been on no more than 30 seconds when Zapp said that exact phrase from the episode where he said that particular sentence.  Now that is quite the coincidence, wouldn’t you agree?

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This morning I had a neat experience.

I was driving in to work and was passing between building 34 and building 33.  Building 34 is where I work, and 33 is a conference center.  As I was driving up, at about 8:50 am, I noticed two people walking to building 33.

I recognized one person immediately.  It was Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world (estimated at about $15 billion).  I did a bit of a double-take.  He was walking next to another one of the execs.

I really should have waved, or stopped, or something… but no, I kind of smiled and kept on driving.  If I would have had my camera, I definitely would have stopped and asked for a quick picture.  Sigh… I’ve got to learn to think faster.  And, I need to start bringing my camera with me everywhere, because you never know who you are going to run into.

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