Tuesday, August 26, 2008

human calculator

I have heard that there used to be a job description of "calculator" - people who could do arithmetic very quickly would be centrally located in an office bullpen and give answers as needed. Even if apocryphal, it is suggestive - there are skills that can become almost useless because of new technologies. I wonder if recall/memory is one of those skills.

Monday, August 25, 2008

suzlon = enron?

Just asking.

fannie freddie

Much of the discussion I've seen on Fannie and Freddie has involved wiping out the equity and/or bailing out the debt, all in the name of protecting the housing market (and the economy that relies heavily on the housing market). I don't understand why the second (protection) is so closely linked with the first. As Warren Buffet did with bond insurance, why couldn't the government set up a new entity to buy and package mortgages and let both the equity AND debt holders of Fannie and Freddie bear the pain? It's not as if no one knew the two companies weren't rotten to the core. Unless the debt is so immense and widely held that a writedown would cripple the economy.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I really must not have any understanding of the computer market. Apple has some tiny (under 10%) slice of the computer market. But it has "66% of the market for retail PCs over $1000". Which means that the retail market is mostly sub-$1000 machines and/or the retail market is nothing. I had no idea. It also explains why it seems everyone has a Mac and yet they have no market.