Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Followup to WiFi post

Well Florissant still hasn't replied to this email.

But New Orleans is taking on the idea!...(of course that had nothing to do with me...its just a good idea, that's all!)

Send an email to CityMail@florissantmo.com and reference this link.

or send an email to your city! It takes a minute, and might change things.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Google article....long but good read

Thanks to Dar for the below email I enjoyed the read. (he believe the source is the Wash Post).

The soul of the Google machine is a passion for disruptive innovation.

Powered by brilliant engineers, mathematicians and technological visionaries, Google ferociously pushes the limits of everything it undertakes. The company's DNA emanates from its youthful founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who operate with "a healthy disregard for the impossible," as Page likes to say. Their goal: to organize all of the world's information and make it universally accessible, whatever the consequences.

Google's colorful childlike logo, its whimsical appeal and its lightning-fast search results have made it the darling of information-hungry Internet users. Google has accomplished something rare in the hard-charging, mouse-eat-mouse environment that defines the high-tech world -- it has made itself charming. We like Google. We giggle at the "Google doodles," the playful decorations on its logo that appear on holidays or other special occasions. We eagerly sample the new online toys that Google rolls out every few months.

But these friendly features belie Google's disdain for the status quo and its voracious appetite for aggressively pursuing initiatives to bring about radical change. Google is testing the boundaries in so many ways, and so purposefully, it's likely to wind up at the center of a variety of legal battles with landmark significance.

Consider the wide-ranging implications of the activities now underway at the Googleplex, the company's campuslike headquarters in California's Silicon Valley. Google is compiling a genetic and biological database using the vast power of its search engines; scanning millions of books without traditional regard for copyright laws; tracing online searches to individual Internet users and storing them indefinitely; demanding cell phone numbers in exchange for free e-mail accounts (known as Gmail) as it begins to build the first global cell phone directory; saving Gmails forever on its own servers, making them a tempting target for law enforcement abuse; inserting ads for the first time in e-mails; making hundreds of thousands of cheap personal computers to serve as cogs in powerful global networks.

Google has also created a new kind of work environment. It serves three free meals a day to its employees (known as Googlers) so that they can remain on-site and spend more time working. It provides them with free on-site medical and dental care and haircuts, as well as washers and dryers. It charters buses with wireless Web access between San Francisco and Silicon Valley so that employees can toil en route to the office. To encourage innovation, it gives employees one day a week -- known as 20 percent time -- to work on anything that interests them.

To eliminate the distinction between work and play -- and keep the Googlers happily at the Googleplex -- they have volleyball, foosball, puzzles, games, rollerblading, colorful kitchens stocked with free drinks and snacks, bowls of M&Ms, lava lamps, vibrating massage chairs and a culture encouraging Googlers to bring their dogs to work. (No cats allowed.) The perks also include an on-site masseuse, and extravagant touch-pad-controlled toilets with six levels of heat for the seat and automated washing, drying and flushing without the need for toilet paper.

Meanwhile, the Googlers spend countless hours tweaking Google's hardware and software to reliably deliver search results in a fraction of a second. Few Google users realize, however, that every search ends up as a part of Google's huge database, where the company collects data on you, based on the searches you conduct and the Web sites you visit through Google. The company maintains that it does this to serve you better, and deliver ads and search results more closely targeted to your interests. But the fact remains: Google knows a lot more about you than you know about Google.

If these were the actions of some obscure company, maybe none of this would matter much. But these are the practices of an enterprise whose search engine is so ubiquitous it has become synonymous with the Internet itself for millions of computer users. And if the Google Guys have their way, their presence will only grow. Brin and Page see Google (its motto: "Don't Be Evil") as a populist force for good that empowers individuals to find information fast about anything and everything.

Part of Google's success has to do with the network of more than 100,000 cheap personal computers it has built and deployed in its own data centers around the world. Google constantly adds new computers to its network, making it a prolific PC assembler and manufacturer in its own right. "We are like Dell," quipped Peter Norvig, Google's chief of search quality.

The highly specialized world of technology breaks down these days into companies that do either hardware or software. Google's tech wizards have figured out how to do both well. "They run the largest computer system in the world," said John Hennessy, a member of Google's board of directors, a computer scientist and president of Stanford University. "I don't think there is even anything close."

Google doesn't need all that computer power to help us search for the best Italian restaurant in Northern Virginia. It has grander plans. The company is quietly working with maverick biologist Craig Venter and others on groundbreaking genetic and biological research. Google's immense capacity and turbo-charged search technology, it turns out, appears to be an ideal match for the large amount of data contained in the human genome. Venter and others say that the search engine has the ability to deal with so many variables at once that its use could lead to the discovery of new medicines or cures for diseases. Sergey Brin says searching all of the world's information includes examining the genetic makeup of our own bodies, and he foresees a day when each of us will be able to learn more about our own predisposition for various illnesses, allergies and other important biological predictors by comparing our personal genetic code with the human genome, a process known as "Googling Your Genes."

"This is the ultimate intersection of technology and health that will empower millions of individuals," Venter said. "Helping people understand their own genetic code and statistical code is something that should be broadly available through a service like Google within a decade."

Brin's partner has nurtured a different ambition. For years, Larry Page dreamed of tearing down the walls of libraries, and eliminating the barriers of geography, by making millions of books searchable by anybody in the world with an Internet connection. After Google began scanning thousands of library books to make them searchable online, book publishers and authors cried foul, filing lawsuits claiming copyright infringement.

Many companies would have reached an amicable settlement. Not Google. Undaunted, Google fired back, saying copyright laws were meant to serve the public interest and didn't apply in the digital realm of search. Google's altruistic tone masked its savvy, hard-nosed business strategy -- more books online means more searches, more ads and more profits. Google recently began displaying some of these books online (print.google.com), and resumed scanning the contents of books from the collections of Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library and Oxford. But legal experts predict that the company's disruptive innovation will undoubtedly show up on the Supreme Court's docket one day.

From Madison Avenue to Microsoft, Google's rapid-fire innovation and growing power pose a threat of one kind or another. Its ad-driven financial success has propelled its stock market value to $110 billion, more than the combined value of Disney, Ford, General Motors, Amazon.com and the media companies that own the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Its simplified method of having advertisers sign up online, through a self-service option, threatens ad agencies and media buyers who traditionally have played that role. Its penchant for continuously releasing new products and services in beta, or test form, before they are perfected, has sent Microsoft reeling. Chairman Bill Gates recently warned employees in an internal memo of the challenges posed by such "disruptive" change.

Microsoft also worries that Google is raiding the ranks of its best employees. That was threatening enough when Google operated exclusively in Silicon Valley. But it grew worse when Google opened an outpost in the suburbs of Seattle, just down the road from Microsoft headquarters, and aggressively started poaching. Microsoft finally sued Google for its hiring of Kai-Fu Lee, a senior technologist who once headed Microsoft's Chinese operations. Lee is now recruiting in Asia for Google, despite a court order upholding aspects of a non-compete clause that Lee signed while at Microsoft.

Google's success is neither accidental nor ephemeral. Brin and Page -- the sons of college professors who introduced them to computing when they were toddlers -- met in 1995 at Stanford, where they were both Ph.D candidates in computer science and technology. They became inseparable and set out to do things their own way. Professors laughed at Page when he said one day that he was going to download the Internet so he could improve upon the primitive early search engines.

Seven years ago, Google didn't exist in any form beyond a glimmer in the eyes of Brin and Page. Then in the fall of 1998, they took leaves of absence from Stanford, and moved their hardware into the garage and several rooms of a house in nearby Menlo Park. Armed primarily with the belief that they could build a better search engine, they have created a company unlike any other.

With Brin and Page setting the tone, Google's distinctive DNA makes it an employer of choice for the world's smartest technologists because they feel empowered to change the world. And despite its growing head count of more than 4,000 employees worldwide, Google maintains the pace of innovation in ways contrary to other corporations by continuing to work in small teams of three to five, no matter how big the undertaking. Once Google went public and could no longer lure new engineers with the promise of lucrative stock options, Brin invented large multi-million-dollar stock awards for the small teams that come up with the most innovative ideas.

A good example is Google's latest deal -- a far-reaching, complex partnership with NASA, unlike any agreement between a private firm and the space agency, to share data and resources and employees and identify ways to create new products and conduct searches together in space. Although NASA is a public entity, many of the details of the partnership remain hidden from public view.

Despite all that has been achieved, Google remains in its infancy. Brin likes to compare the firm to a child who has completed first grade. He and Page gaze into a glittering globe in the Googleplex that shows billions of Google searches streaming in from around the world, and notice the areas that are dark. These are the places that have no Internet access.

Quietly, they have been buying up the dark fiber necessary to build GoogleNet, and provide wireless Web access for free to millions or billions of computer userspotentially disruptive to phone and cable companies that now dominate the high-speed Internet field. Their reasoning is straightforward: If more people globally have Internet access, then more people will use Google. The more books and other information that they can translate into any language through an automated, math-based process they are developing now, the more compelling the Google experience will be for everyone, and the more wealth the company will have to invest in their vision.

Supremely confident, the biggest risk that Brin, Page and Google face is that they will be unable to avoid the arrogance that typically accompanies extraordinary success. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos jokes that Brin and Page are so sure of themselves, they wouldn't hesitate to argue with a divine presence.

But the fact remains that they are human beings, and inevitably, both they and Google will make mistakes. Unless any of these prove lethal, however, Google -- through its relentless focus on disruptive innovation -- appears likely to wreak havoc on established enterprises and principles for many years to come.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


If you've read my blog:

Outsourcing and Dey took our Jibs!

then you know my stance on outsourcing. But it hit me today...I realize very simply why americans are pissed.

Outsourcing is taking americans jobs. This is because Toyota and Honda Outsource out of Japan and build cars in the US. Becuase of JAPAN'S outsourcing, we are losing jobs (adios GM!). We're not losing jobs because of our own outsourcing. We're losing jobs because of our own mediocrity!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Thanks for coming to my site. Now email it to 5 of your friends/enemies.

Have a great T-Giving.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Looking at things from different angles

I sent this email to the mayor of my city:

Would you like a way to keep higher income and educated people from moving out of Florissant....and attract businesses and higher income and educated people to move to Florissant?

It would cost next to nothing to provide all of Florissant with hi-speed wireless internet access. Google is doing it for their city. Why not have Florissant do it for ours?! I know you're thinking that you won't get the citizens to back it...but alot of us are already paying 50 bucks a month to get high speed internet through charter/aol/sbc....but its not wireless. Imagine the productivity that could be had in Florissant if we could carry laptops whereever we go and be connected to the internet. Imagine the businesses that will come to Florissant solely for this reason. Imagine all the people (students) that don't have access to the internet who would now be able to.

Its great for all....and much less expensive than you think. WiFi is just like cordless phones...just put small powerful hubs every so many miles away (at each public building!). If you want Florissant's citizens to grow, and its economy to grow, why not be the first city (aside from Mountain View) to do this?

Google is doing it.

And it is very inexpensive! read google's letter to their city. (click on the "download file")

If you decide you want to keep higher income and educated people from moving out of Florissant....and attract businesses and higher income and educated people to move to Florissant, than I'd be more than happy to get involved.

Thank you, and have a great day!


Feel free to copy this and email it to your mayor....let's try to speed up innovation.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sometimes I outhink myself. Go ahead PRINT that.

So I fully recognize google as a landscape changer. I follow them pretty religiously...(not their stock price, but the company). But in my own ignorance and love for Google I overlooked a rather simple facet of this world.

Love can put blinders on you. In my myopic focus on Google I have overlooked all other suiters! I've gotten caught up in the glamour of Britney Spears, whilst ignoring that Christina Aguilera and Hilary Duff are also "talented."*

*intrepret the word talent however you like.

Here's what I'm saying. I have been mesmerized by google's unflinching innovation and roll out of products/services that are increasing intelligent, and seemingly exactly what I want as an end user. Mesmerized with blinders.

Sure I've recognized that microsoft is a viable competitor....and I assert that MSFT is still in complete control of the tech battle. Regardless of how much negative media attention has been given to KingSoftie, and how much positive attention is given to Google, noone can overlook that Microsoft is still in control here.

But Yahoo and Amazon are also in the mix. I don't like yahoo....but they are being overlooked in this 2nd phase of internet craze. For instance both yahoo and amazon are rolling out their version of a product (or is it a service) that I am craving:

Yahoo Print and Amazon Print

But while google is getting sued for their version, Amazon and Yahoo have publishers on their side. This is very relevant. This will be Google's first significant fodder for negative attention. Google's stock has skyrocketed because of supreme investor confidence. Nothing bad has been said, and innovation has run rampent. But as soon as there is negativism associated with this emotional stock choice, the stock will drop...(merck example)..the question is how far? That is why I never bought them. You can't win bidding wars when the bidders (owners of google stock) are buying/selling on gut emotion. Its like trying to play poker with several million people that go all in regardless of their hands.

Its also significant because the publishers could easily sign a licensing agreement to grant yahoo, MSFT, or amazon exclusive rights to their digital content. VERY powerful. It'd be like GM getting exclusive rights to our highways.

I love innovation. I love fierce competition to evolve. I LOVE it! Its exciting. I hope this battle goes on for years! Imagine if the drug companies fought this intensely for product evolution! They'd have cures for everything from aids to alzheimers. This reiterates the need to not follow companies with blinders. Where there are leaders there are followers. Sometimes the followers take the lead.

Who do you think will win this battle and why? Who else am I ignoring (is ebay a major player?) What say ye?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shorting stock.....it takes balls.

So on June 14th I had this post saying some of the reasons why I thought GM was going to hell. I ended it saying if I had balls I would short their stock.

What does shorting stock mean? It means you sell the stock, and then buy it at a later date. It means someone in the market is lending you their stock so you can sell it, and at a later date you buy the stock and deliver it to them. There is a huge market for shorts.

So you are betting that the stock is going to decrease in value. Thats all it is. You're first selling high, and then buying later. Its rather risky since the stock could go up to infinity.

I don't deal with this level of risk (yet). I look for basehits I can stretch into doubles or tripples. I try to bat 1.000 instead of having a high slugging percentage...but like Ichiro, I sometimes get lucky and hit the ball over the fence.

But that doesn't mean I don't see the deals. Since I mentioned shorting GM on June 14th the stock has dropped from 36 to 23. Thats a 36% drop in 5 months. That is a hell of a gain for anyone who shorted. I'd put that gain up against any homerun stock in the last 5 months.

Sometimes I think its easier to find shorts. Its easy to see what companies are going to go to hell....its hard to uncover the gems that are undervalued and going up.

But I don't have the balls to short stock. If I did I would have added a 36% five month gain to my accomplishments.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Time doesn't pass.....we do.

Years ago my Uncle Joe asked me how my spring break went. I told him it was fun, and it passed by too quickly....he replied:

"you know how fast your spring break went by, thats how fast life moves on. I remember when you were like my kids, seems like yesterday. We all need to take a little time and spend it with the people we love and enjoy being with. Time marches on, We have to march with it."

.....and he was right.

Despite myself, I have made some great friends over the years. For all my friends out there, thanks for sticking with me!

I was at a wedding yesterday. But this one was different than the other 20 or so that I've been to in the last few years. The smiles that illuminated between my buddy and his woman were touching. I forgot that people could be that happy with each other.

Now I remember that.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Never invest with your heart!

Never invest with your heart. Always buy low and sell high....never sell low if the fundamentals are still there...the masses tend to be wrong, and drive the market.

So on 10/27 I had this post thinking that I have just been lucky with my stock picks over the years. I was concerned because each of my stocks had dropped down a few points.

Here is what my 4 stocks have done since 10/27/05, as of this post.

SRCL + 7.6%
PETM + 9.6%
MSFT + 6.2%
CD + 2.8%

That is compared with SPY (a broad market tracker based on the S&P500) posting a 2.7% gain and DWC (a VERY broad market tracker based on the Wilshire 5000) posting a 3.1% gain.

So if you read my post justifying why I thought that those stocks were trading at a deep discount, and you bought because of it then congrats, you have beaten the market. Thats something that the experts tend to fail at. Its a good thing people refuse to hire me to recommend stocks...god forbid I make their clients rich!

You see for the same reason they won't hire me, they also ignore CD, SRCL, and PETM. They just don't understand them. They can't understand how someone who went to school for psychology can possibly know anything about stocks. Well, I didn't learn how to make all the mistakes that business majors learned. College is an assembly line education. I see things different than the million business students churned out each year. I also understand the stock market trades on emotion, and not financials.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Continuation of previous posts re: software evolution.

Read this

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