Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to setup OpenCV with Visual Studio 2010 without recompiling source

The tutorial documentation is a bit out-of-date. I thought I might share the process for anyone who might be interested:

OPENCV development environment setup

1. download and install opencv into c:\intel\opencv  ;
2. download and unzip TBB into c:\intel\tbb ;
3. download and install Path-Editor ;
4. open computer properties->advanced settings->advanced->environment variables
5. set the following variables:
TBB_DIR=C:\Intel\tbb\tbb40_20111003oss (or other relevant version folder)
6. run path-editor, add the following:
7. Run Visual Studio 2010 and make new console c++ application with empty-project checked
8. From Menu, select View->Other Windows->Property Manager
9. Add new sheets to Debug and Release seperately for OpenCV
a. under c/c++ / General, set:
Additional Include Directories=$(OPENCV_INST)\build\include
b. under Linker / General, set:
Additinoal Library Directories=$(OPENCV_DIR)\lib
c. under Linker / Input, set:
Additinoal Dependencies:

for the release property sheet, delete the "d" letter at name of each such lib file
10. The newly created .prop files for the property sheets can be reused in future projects
11. Add one of the .cpp files from the opencv cpp samples directory to verify it compiles properly
a. consider the file: C:\Intel\opencv\samples\cpp\tutorial_code\introduction\windows_visual_studio_Opencv\Test.cpp


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Missed your Black-Friday xbox deal? Check this out: 250gb with kinect and two games: $296, includes 3 months gold

And I woke up at 4:30 to stand in line and get my $199 kinect 4gb bundle, one game only. Hmm.. Where's that receipt, I see a better deal....

That's $296 on Amazon, without pressure, lines, or click-quick-within-2-minutes-or-lost-it rush sale.

Now that I do have my own though, I must say - this thing is awesome, so much better than wii. We haven't even turned the wii on since buying the xBox...

Oops, tiny caveat, you have to buy it from an Amazon partner: best4sale, costs $291.95+$3.99 shipment. Hmm, is this new or open boxed? They would mention if not new, right?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

German bond auction a disaster, new world debt markets freeze?!

What could be worse than sub-prime mortgage global meltdown? Sovereign debt meltdown, in the country you least expected.
German 10-year bond auction a "disaster"
A "disastrous" sale of German benchmark bonds sparked fears on Wednesday the debt crisis was beginning to threaten even Berlin, with the Bundesbank forced to dig deep into its pockets to ensure the auction did not fail.

In one of the least successful debt sales by Europe's powerhouse economy since the launch of the single currency, the low returns offered -- just 2 percent annually over 10 years -- deterred investors made uneasy by the escalating cost of the crisis to Germany.

That meant the central bank had to pick up 39 percent of the 6 billion euros ($8 billion) of debt Germany had hoped to sell after commercial banks bought just 3.644 billion euros of the issue.

"It is a complete and utter disaster," said Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities in London.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black Friday event, all week on Amazon

I don't know about you, but I'll skip pushing and shoving at 5am at local Meijer, Best Buy and Walmart. Consider checking every hour or so Amazon for great deals instead, every day.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apple products on Amazon cost less than Apple store, no sales tax

Yep, Mac Mini-s, iMac-s etc... not cheap, and for Windows fan - you'll have to deal with extra steps and costs, but if you are a fan and want to buy right now, I think Amazon's is your best choice.

iMac - $1,125.92

Mac Mini - $568.95
Meanwhile, I'm shopping around for a new PC. Which is how I came across this little fact regarding prices of Mac-s. It turns out that brand new Dells desktops were selling for $200 discount and an extra percentage discount with a coupon on the outlet store. Which means - the Dell desktop outlet inventory was swept clean.

Lesson learned, you see something you want in the right price and you should be able to afford - don't procrastinate. Good deals really don't last long.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs, RIP. Among most admired businessmen of our generation

You can't argue with success, after success, after success. His genius was in producing items the consumers really wanted, and making them even cooler with each new release.

PS. Yes, his autobiography is on sale.

Interesting to review the following video, Steve Jobs giving a commencement speech at Stanford: "How to live before you die".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Amazon Fire tablet only $199, cheaper kindle devices, most exciting tech news this year, undercut Apple and everyone else

With Amazon's very own implementation of a web browser too...

I'm looking forward to a hands on review. Meanwhile, they are all available to order.

Check-out Wired's opinion: Playing with Fire: Amazon Launches a $200 Tablet, Slashes Kindle Prices
One year ago, almost to the day, Jeff Bezos gave me the reason why people should carry around a Kindle in the age of the iPad. No Angry Birds.

“The number one app for the iPad when I checked a couple of days ago was called Angry Birds—a game where you throw birds at pigs and they blow up,” Bezos told me in September 2010. “The number one thing on the Kindle is Stieg Larsson. It’s a different audience. We’re designing for people who want to read.”

Today at a New York City press event Amazon is releasing a $199 color 7-inch tablet device called Fire. It plays Angry Birds.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

In case you missed it: Market is a-crashing

Yea... not good for anyone's savings. No safe haven, at all.

Recession Almost A Certainty, Says Advisor — Stocks Could Crash Soon
n the past few months, investors have gone from being generally bullish about the economy and stock market to increasingly concerned that we may be headed for another recession. For now, however, the consensus is still that we'll trudge along with slow growth but avoid an actual downturn.

One advisor who thinks that a recession is almost a certainty, however, is Lance Roberts, the Chief Economist at Streettalk Advisors, a $400 million advisory firm.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video: Chinese green plans for electric cars stuck in neutral shift

There are those who keep pushing the idea that China today is a new capitalist super power, where everything is done right and everything is perfect. Here's evidence #14332 that taking a closer look changes the whole picture:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Apple to Amazon: All your profits are ours, Amazon: suck eggs

The headline is pretty much a summery of what happened today in response to Apple's attempt to confiscate profits from companies selling on their app-store. Talk about an aggressive corporation using its monopoly, where's the regulator exactly? In bed with the evil corporation? Lobbied and paid for within a certain party?

Sidestepping Apple: From Amazon to Condé Nast, Companies Rethink App Strategies

For some reason, buying at Amazon a tablet that is not an iPad begins to make a hell of a lot more sense.

Asus Eee tablet, that's right!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Apple hoards more cash than GDP of 126 countries, 76.2 Billion dollars

Hey, guess which "green" company is making a ton of money on backs of cheap chinese labor while this nation is suffering from massive unemployment...

For Apple, a $76 Billion Dilemma
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL - News) has built up a $76.2 billion cash hoard. Now the question is what the company intends to do with the money pile.

On Tuesday, the Cupertino, Calif., company disclosed cash, including short-term and long-term marketable securities, for the quarter ended June 25 increased 15.8% since March to $76.2 billion. That's more than the gross domestic product of 126 countries, including nations such as Ecuador, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica, according to data from the World Bank.

The gigantic sum on Wednesday prompted some investors to call for it to use some of the cash for dividend payouts. "If they can't find ways to use it to grow, they should be returning it to shareholders," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, which owns Apple stock.

[More from Apple's Lion Brings PCs Into Tablet Era]

Asked to comment, an Apple spokesman referred to a long-standing policy as outlined by Chief Executive Steve Jobs last October. "We strongly believe that one or more very strategic opportunities may come along that we can take that we're in a unique position to take advantage of because of our strong cash position," he said at the time.

The cash puts Apple at the head of a pack of large technology companies that have been stockpiling cash in recent years. Microsoft Corp., for example, has built up its cash levels to $60.9 billion, including equity and others investments as of March. Google Inc. has $39.1 billion and Cisco Systems Inc. $43.4 billion by a similar measure as of their latest reporting periods.

Many corporations have accumulated cash because of economic uncertainty over the last several years.


I believe in capitalism, but what exactly is Apple doing with all that cash?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blogger to be renamed to "Google Blogs"?

Just hope they don't change the blogspot domain, because that'll be a killer to hundreds of thoughsands of functioning existing sites out there.

Google to retire Blogger & Picasa brands
Say goodbye to the Picasa and Blogger names: Google intends to retire several non-Google name brands and rename them as Google products, Mashable has learned.

The move is part of a larger effort to unify its brand for the public launch of Google+, the search giant's social initiative.

Blogger and Picasa aren't going away, of course -- they're two of Google's most popular products. Instead, according to two sources familiar with the matter, Google intends to rename Picasa "Google Photos" and Blogger will become "Google Blogs."

Several other Google brands are likely to be affected, though our sources made it clear that YouTube would not be rebranded. The technology giant shut down Google Video, its failed web video service, in May.

The move isn't without precedent; Google acquired JotSpot in 2006 and rebranded it as Google Sites in 2008. In 2007, Google acquired VOIP platform GrandCentral and relaunched it as Google Voice in 2009.

The future of TV: internet, internet, internet

I know a few people who have cancelled Cable/Dish and were relying only on internet and netflix subscription for entertainment. What are the chances that actual TV channels will be internet only and be the default channels of future viewers?

Half of TVs to Have Internet Connectivity by 2015
About 47 percent of total flat-panel televisions shipped in four years will have Internet connectivity, as manufacturers bet on the expansion of Netflix and direct-to-consumer offerings from content producers like Time Warner’s HBO.

This figure, about 138 million units, is up from 25 percent of flat panels with WiFi capability shipped this year, according to a quarterly report by DisplaySearch, a unit of research firm NPD group. By the end of 2015, more than 500 million connected TVs will be shipped, according to DisplaySearch.

It may be no coincidence then that Netflix jumped to an all-time high on Tuesday, the same day as the release of this report. Investors also seemed to cheer the announcement from the leader in Internet streaming that it would be expanding into Latin America. The company had previous success with its first international move into Canada.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

China buys up natural resources world wide, goes after Canadian oil

Looks like the global power is seeking more than just domestic needs.

China Has Its Eye On Canada's Oil

While the U.S. dithers with concerns about "dirty oil" from Alberta's rich tar sands, energy-hungry China makes Ottawa an offer it might not refuse. Memo to Washington: Pipelines can run west as well as south.

When President Obama pledged to wean us off foreign oil, we hoped he didn't mean our friendly ally to the north, Canada. Granted, it doesn't have beaches like Rio, where we're helping the Brazilians drill offshore, but we had hopes nonetheless.

Together, the U.S. and Canada have enough oil and natural gas locked up in shale formations, tar sands, Alaska, the Canadian Arctic and the Outer Continental Shelf to make OPEC pound sand. But we won't drill for ours and apparently, we don't want Canada's.

With more than 170 billion barrels, Alberta has the world's third-largest oil reserves, behind only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and ahead of Russia and Iran. Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to nearly triple to 3.7 million by 2025. The only question is, will this crude be flowing south to U.S. refineries or west for export to China?

At issue is the Keystone XL pipeline, parts of which have already been built, that would bring Alberta oil to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. The pipeline also could transport oil extracted from shale formations in the Rocky Mountain West.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Windows 8: Confusion and Panic

The following article on wired is controversial, because people misread it, and perhaps the author over stated the situation.

Microsoft announced Windows 8 will have a default OS layer that is based on HTML5 and JavaScript apps. It also stated that old API-s will be supported. Other chatter around the web is expressing panic that investments made into WPF and Silverlight will go to waste as Microsoft will shift focus. All relevant. But the article is discussing the situation as if existing API-s will no longer be relevant.

Why Microsoft Has Made Developers Horrified About Coding for Windows 8

Go ahead and read it all, including the comments and the linked blogs. The following is my opinion:

The real problem developers and software manufacturing companies have is that existing software can become less relevant as it will be apparent it runs on abandoned technologies. Key terms sometimes used to promote own product as edgy and top of the line will lose meaning when WPF becomes a bastard child. Investment into Silverlight as a web platform by web authors will sink even faster and developers who invest their time and money into education in these technologies will also feel they were duped by Microsoft and lost the investment.

Now here’s a point I’d like to make: I doubt the non x86 tablets will run older API-s, while the desktop windows 8 will surely do. So while we can now deliver WPF based applications to Windows 7 tablets such as ViewPad, that might not be the case in the near future; Investment and time lost.

And to be clear, I don’t have any insider info regarding what Microsoft does. I just assume they won’t release an OS for tablet that takes %75 of available hard drive like it does on the ViewPad, so the only logical step is to remove the legacy bloat.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Your home is worth 80% less than in 2001, in Gold

"Just" 80%?

Follow this link for a "Chart of the Day" with the revealing piece of data.


ECB, Greece, China, Default, Bankrupt, mix and match the words to make your own headline

Geez, peek at the following headlines:

* ECB Admits They're Broke

* Chinese Ratings Company Claims U.S. Is Already ‘Defaulting’

* Yields Sink As Euro Mess Feeds U.S. Slowdown

As the market seems like it's building a falling knife pattern, one has to publicly ask: Are the only safe holdings out there 0 and negative yielding treasury bonds WHILE talks of US default are looming?!

It's an odd / wierd world for finance these days.

Why developing for iOS sucks? Besides the 30% Apple collects off your income...

A great article:

For Apple, Yesterday’s Banned Apps Are Tomorrow’s Great New Feature
It’s good to be king.

Apple deserves lots of credit for creating an entirely new market for mobile software in the iTunes app store, over which it justifiably reigns.

But the army of developers who have created over half a million Apple iOS apps to date perform another valuable function, in addition to making Apple’s hardware more attractive to users and contributing 30 percent of their revenue to the company’s bottom line: Sometimes, they act like a big, unpaid R&D lab for incubating features that Apple can eventually incorporate into its own products — even after banning those same products from its app store (or, rather, “App Store”)


Read it all.

Apples make great hardware, they always have. The iPad, even iPad 1 still is a much better product than all of its competitors. Its ability to play 3D games with ease simply mocks whatever others are doing with Intel chipsets and Windows OS as a tablet.

But they have always been so restrictive in allowing others to develop software for their products. You MUST use a mac, must sign contracts, must pay annual fees, they get to decide if your work you labored on will be available to the general public, they get to pull it out when they chose for no apparent reason except shady business practice on their behalf.

Apple is to blame, but so are their customers. The general public prefers paying for apps they get for free on other platforms. Prefer paying for content they get free on other platforms. The public made Apple king and they have taken advantage of this status.

Although I now own my very first Apple product, the iPad 1, I'm still not an adherent to the Apple cult.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Microsoft showcasing upcoming windows 8

Knowing how bad windows 7 sucks for touch features, this developer only hopes to have the next version of windows not suck. Looks promising.


Exit question: Will traditional software with "older" look become immediate throw away?


Quoting the following story:
Wall Street Baffled by Slowing Economy, Low Yields: Trader
Wall Street is having a hard time figuring out what to do now that the U.S. economy appears to be sputtering and yields are so low, Peter Yastrow, market strategist for Yastrow Origer, told CNBC.


What we’ve got right now is almost near panic going on with money managers


"We’re on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows it.


It's been my non-professional observation for the last two years that something very odd is going on with regards to the disconnect between the stock market and the non-stop "surprising" economic results reportage. Everyone has a "market about to completely crash" feeling, and then it just keeps on going on. Some say it's the QE schemes, which is the 'not so secret hand' anymore.

Final note: Anything said or written on CNBC is by people with agendas. Manipulators whose only interest is their own portfolio doing their best to herd the public for their own profit. It's hard and imprudent to make financial decisions based on rumor spreading liars on that channel.


Are the feds going to print more money via QE3? Where's the money hole?

Connecting the dots. From this story:
Printing More Money: Analyst Says to Prepare for 3rd Round of Quantitative Easing
QE1, QE2, and now, QE3? No, those aren’t British monarchs. Rather, they’re the numbers and letters that have become synonymous with the Federal Reserves practice of printing money and flooding the market with cash through the use of the bond market. By buying up bonds, the Fed has to “print money” to cover the sale. And when more money hits the market, so too does inflation.

The Fed has already gone through two rounds of quantitative easing, and now one analyst says we should get ready for a third round.

Simon Maughn, co-head of European equities at MF Global, told CNBC Wednesday that he sees the move on the horizon, and once again the U.S. will be a big buyer.

“The bond market is going in one direction which is up-falling yields which is telling you quite clearly the direction of economic travel is downwards. Downgrades. QE3 (a third round of quantitative easing) is coming,” he said. “The bond markets are all smarter than us, and that’s exactly what the bond markets are telling me.”


To the following still appropriate satire:


Saturday, May 28, 2011

InfoGraphics: How does GE avoid taxes?

Is GE an evil corporation? Only in that they are in bed with one party in this country... and have used that connection to facilitate business deal... so - I think the answer to that is very simple.

How Corporations Get Out of Paying Taxes

H/T to the person who emailed me this.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazon sells more E-Books than print

Saving da-trees

Amazon e-books now outselling print
As further proof of how digital media dominate today's entertainment, Amazon announced Thursday that its customers now buy more e-books for its Kindle device than all print books -- hardcover and paperback -- combined.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why the heck am I struggling with wireless network disconnects when network over power-plugs is just $65?

I feel like an idiot I didn't notice this was available before. Seriously, there are about 20 wireless networks interfering and I'm into my 3rd router trying to overcome wireless disconnects when watching Netflix. It's time to put an end to this idiocy. No drilling holes for Ethernet wires across the house, I think I found the perfect solution.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Angry Birds - now in your PC browser

I have not played this - but I do know it's a hit and a best selling game for smartphones and ipad

Perhaps what's most amazing here is that it seems to not utilize Adobe-Flash, Unity3d-Web-Player or Silverlight. Seems like pure JavaScript/HTML5 standards.

Enjoy, Cheers!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gas futures plunge causes trading halt

Meanwhile, the gas stations around me are charging around $4.2 a gallon. 20 Miles down the road - closer to $3.9, this area around Ann Arbor sucks for gasoline prices.

Oil, Gasoline Extends Losses After Brief Trading Halt
Oil prices tumbled 4 percent on Wednesday as U.S. gasoline futures plunged limit down, triggering a brief halt in trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gasoline traded down 25 cents at midday in New York, a move that stopped trade on NYMEX crude, heating oil and gasoline futures.

Losses carried on as trading resumed with a new limit of 50 cents. Prices completed erased gains from Monday and Tuesday, when traders bid up gasoline on fears that flooding would hit Gulf refiners.

Further weakness came from U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration, which showed the first build in gasoline inventories in twelve weeks.

Reminder, this is a government engineered decline. Margin requirements are squeezing the speculators.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Inflation: McDonald's says so

Expect the "2$ value menu" and the "10$ value meal" at your window. Soon enough.

McDonald's warns of higher food inflation
McDonald's Corp (NYSE:MCD - News) said higher costs for beef, bread and other items cut into its quarterly margins and that inflation for the year would be worse than expected.

The inflation comments on Thursday sent shares of the world's largest restaurant company down 2 percent, even though strong sales helped McDonald's post a first-quarter profit that beat expectations. March sales at established restaurants also rose more than expected.

"The key question now will be how they are going to raise prices to try to offset some of these food costs," Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said.

McDonald's said it now expects food costs to rise between 4 percent and 4.5 percent in the United States and Europe this year. In January, McDonald's said it expected its food costs to be 2 percent to 2.5 percent higher this year in the United States and up between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent in Europe.

McDonald's has been outperforming most other U.S. restaurant chains and taking market share from smaller rivals amid a slow U.S. economic recovery.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gas prices to reach $5 a gallon by summer?!

Expect a total market collapse at that price point (without payroll keeping up with rate of inflation)

Gas Prices Climbing Toward $5 Per Gallon
At one time, $5 per gallon gas seemed like a farfetched idea, but that is no longer the case.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, as of Monday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Chicago area is $4.11, compared with $3.71 a month ago, and about $3.10 a gallon at this time a year ago.

Some experts say $5 per gallon gas is possible by Memorial Day.

The public can and will reduce consumption this summer. The question is how - and for how long.

* How many people will opt to work from home via TeamViewer?

* How many people will forgo any summer scenic drives and road trips?

* How many people will hoard food and shop once a month?

* Saving on trips to the mall - yet absorbing rise in cost of shipping on online purchases...

* Summer camp? Try stay at home with unemployed mom or dad camp

* You've heard about car pool to work, try car-pool shopping

* Soccer moms, will you just cancel kids after school activities to save on gas?

* Will people fly around the country for leisure when flight costs catch up to cost of fuel?

Rough summer.

Signs of a system cracking: Bonds giant PIMCO shorting US treasuries

What's a saver/investor to do? Hold everything in cash while facing hyper inflation? Invest in over-valued topping market? Volatile commodity markets and precious metals? Expensive and unreliable "currency mix" ETF-s?

PIMCO goes short U.S. government debt - Yahoo! Finance


Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The crap that lands in my Yahoo mail spam folder

This should be funny... In my email spam folder - found today an invite to "fuckbook", my wife gets solicitation to get a "hot Russian wife".

All sorts of Islamic names keep sending me Nigerian sting emails. Does anybody still fall for these? Why bother? Is this done just to disrupt the email suppliers?

Fed Official: US approaching insolvensy


US Approaching Insolvency, Fix To Be 'Painful': Fisher
The United States is on a fiscal path towards insolvency and policymakers are at a "tipping point," a Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday.

"If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said in a question and answer session after delivering a speech at the University of Frankfurt. "The short-term negotiations are very important, I look at this as a tipping point."

\But he added he was confident in the Americans' ability to take the right decisions and said the country would avoid insolvency.

"I think we are at the beginning of the process and it's going to be very painful," he added.

Fisher earlier said the US economic recovery is gathering momentum, adding that he personally was extremely vigilant on inflation pressures.

"We are all mindful of this phenomenon. Speaking personally, I am concerned and I am going to be extremely vigilant on that front," Fisher said in an interview with CNBC.

Got your atomic bomb shelter ready?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boom, Winning


Err, let's try that again - BOOM! WINNING!

Well, not that way. Win financially. Consider the following screen shot:

The results were achieved via EzBacktest, try it. I can't guarantee your own personal financial results, but I do offer you a great tool to try different investment scenarios.

A note regarding the 'bear/bull' simulation shown above, I've used two simple-moving averages for getting signals; 200 and 35, and had the signal activated when one crosses the other. The screen shot will provide you with the rest of the details on the right side where all of the text explains the allocations. When in bear signal, the portfolio is the IEF ETF at a 100% allocation.


The most expensive ETF out there: Actively managed bear HDGE

Interesting reading material and an interesting ETF to follow on performance, say - 2 years from now. The bigger question is, if a fund relies on the star quality of it's manager (actively managed) - then aren't you betting on the manager's continued employment? Hmmm....

AdvisorShares Debuts Active Bear ETF (HDGE)
AdvisorShares, the Maryland-based issuer behind many of the most popular active ETFs on the market, is expanding its product lineup. Today marks the debut of the Active Bear ETF (HDGE), a fund that seeks capital appreciation through short sales of U.S. stocks. The fund is sub-advised by Ranger Alternative Management, and the management team will employ a bottom-up, fundamental, research-driven security selection process.

Forensic accounting will be at the heart of the new ETF. In identifying securities to short, the fund managers will seek out those with low earnings quality or aggressive accounting that may be intended to mask operational deterioration and boost reported earnings in the short term. The managers will also seek to identify earnings-driven events that may trigger a price decline, such as downward earnings revisions or reduced forward guidance. According to the fund’s investment objective and methodology, potential warning signs are ranked in proportion to where they are located on the income statement–the higher up, the greater the cause for concern. Among the elements of reported financials that may be analyzed are revenue recognition policies, changes in inventory and reserves, and charges for restructuring and other non-recurring events.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Super duper funny: Geico - Do dogs chase cats?

Geico recently really raised the bar on funny commercials, woodchucks chucking woods and honest Abe insulting his wife weight were just the beginning...


PIMCO Total Return dumping government bonds?

No safe haven for one's savings.

PIMCO Total Return dumps government-related debt
The world's largest bond fund dumped all of its U.S. government debt in the biggest signal yet of how negative investors have become about the U.S. Treasury market.

The move by Bill Gross's $236.9 billion PIMCO Total Return fund (NASDAQ:PTTRX - News) comes in the wake of a vicious Treasury market sell-off and just days after he questioned who will buy Treasuries once the Federal Reserve halts its latest round of bond purchases in June.

Bond prices have come under severe selling pressure because of a strengthening U.S. economy and as investors brace for what could happen when the U.S. central bank ends its controversial quantitative easing program. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a 9-1/2 month high of 3.77 percent on February 9, rising 40 basis points in the short period from the end of January.

Last week, Gross told Reuters Insider that a 4.0 percent yield for 10-year notes is a "rational expectation" if the Fed "disappears as the buyer of last resort," Gross said.

Are we looking at a stagflation catastrophe in the making? High interest rates, high unemployment, low growth, high inflation? What won't make you broke these days?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Citigroup economist: US will become 3rd largest economy

Expecting by 2050, to see China as biggest, and India as second. My question: Would it matter to poor Indian and Chinese civilians? Would they become consumers like westerners? Governed by rules of free markets and entrepreneurship?

US Will Be the World's Third Largest Economy: Citi
The world is going to become richer and richer as developing economies play catch up over the coming years, according to Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup.

"We expect strong growth in the world economy until 2050, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6 percent per annum until 2030 and 3.8 percent per annum between 2030 and 2050," Buiter wrote in a market research.

"As a result, world GDP should rise in real PPP-adjusted terms from $72 trillion in 2010 to $380 trillion dollars in 2050," he wrote.

As the world watches oil prices rise sharply amid unrest in the Middle East, Buiter's analysis of the world's long-term prospects offer some hope that better times are ahead but if he is right power will shift from the West to the East very quickly.

"China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050," he predicted.


Catching up on development technologies: Video tutorials for UML in Visual Studio 2010

This is what I'm watching right now:

UML with VS2010 on Channel 9

More info on MSDN: How to: Create UML Modeling Projects and Diagrams

Visual Studio 2010 offers higher level modeling tools which integrate with Team Foundation to provide strict rules for how a project's layers and structures are built. This is in addition to reverse engineered sequence diagrams and the class diagrams which already existed in the vs2008.

Also on my catch up list: Tour De Flex, catching up on Adobe's infrastructure which is very similar to how WPF works.

One more, SCRUM in VS 2010: here, Wikipedia's description of SCRUM, here.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

A note about investing in stocks

If you are truly serious about investing in stocks, I would sincerely recommend reading not one, but several books on the subject. And while you read those, take all advice with proper skepticism especially if overly optimistic. Be serious about your money, it is no one else’s responsibility but your own to your choices.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some good old solid investment advice: Investment Income on WSJ

A highly recommended reading.

Six Ways to Boost Your Investment Income (WSJ)
1. CD ladders

2. Prepaying expenses


4. Blue-chip stocks

5. Selective bonds

6. Master limited partnerships

Watch out with #6... hold it only in a retirement account and not in an individual account unless you want to spend that income paying your tax accountant. Also, stay clear of foreign ones which promise a certain income, but the foreign governments collect their own taxes.


Announcing Free-Stocks-Ticker 1.6 with real time quotes

Follow the link and get the latest version:

Download Free-Stocks-Ticker

Now with real time quotes


Recommended site: Wikinvest

Simple reasons why:

* Collect all of your brokerage real-time snapshot through one screen
* Blackberry and iPhone (not iPad specific, but works) apps
* Gives you performance analytics.

Click and enjoy: (I get no commission, just wanted to share).


Fear of crash dominates despite continued bull market

Are we approaching a catastrophic moment?

Fear of 'Catastrophic' Crash Rising Despite Bull Market
In an unprecedented move, the number of investors fearing a catastrophic stock market crash is rising even with the stock market at 2 ½ year highs.

The unusual dislocation comes from two distinct reasons: a lack of trust in the U.S. financial markets following the so-called Flash Crash last May and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007.

My amateur observation, at the very least - these two reasons are unsubstantiated and are based on emotion and pain from recent events. As time passes by and nothing "catastrophic" happens to the general markets - could we actually face an unprecedented boom as private funds are put back into the game? Could a political change bring about this boom?


Friday, February 11, 2011

Feds Outline Path to End Fannie, Freddie Mac

Only a tad too late. Ready to put the lid on the money hole?

Treasury Report Outlines Path for Winding Down Fannie, Freddie
The Obama administration is laying out three broad options for overhauling the mortgage lending system, but will let Congress make the final decision.

The Treasury Department says in a report released Friday that the government should withdraw its support for the mortgage market slowly, over five years or more. The report describes a path for winding down the troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The three options are: end the government's role in guaranteeing most mortgages; support the mortgage market only in times of stress; or provide a government guarantee for mortgage investments created by private companies.

Under any scenario, the private sector will assume a greater role in housing finance as the government scales back its involvement. The government currently owns or guarantees more than 90 percent of U.S. mortgages.

The bailouts of Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers nearly $150 billion.

The report comes after years of debate about how to end the government's role in housing. The options have been discussed for years as well.

By handing the decision to Congress, the administration sidesteps one of the most complex and politically explosive questions facing the financial system. Any of the three options will almost certain force mortgage rates to rise.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why doing business in China feels like being raped in the behind?

It's by design.

G.E. to Share Jet Technology With China in New Joint Venture
As China strives for leadership in the world’s most advanced industries, it sees commercial jetliners — planes that may someday challenge the best from Boeing and Airbus — as a top prize.

And no Western company has been more aggressive in helping China pursue that dream than one of the aviation industry’s biggest suppliers of jet engines and airplane technology, General Electric.

On Friday, during the visit of the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, to the United States, G.E. plans to sign a joint-venture agreement in commercial aviation that shows the tricky risk-and-reward calculations American corporations must increasingly make in their pursuit of lucrative markets in China.

G.E., in the partnership with a state-owned Chinese company, will be sharing its most sophisticated airplane electronics, including some of the same technology used in Boeing’s new state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner.

My pal says: "i would not get on a plane made in Chian"

My response: "put that in a frame, check again 20 years from now"

Airplanes from China, awesome.


Hu's super fun time at the White House

Well, not exactly.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2550 year old beer recipe.... mmmm, beer

Did they also find a 2550 year old beer goggles story? (The morning after, they all looked like cavemen...)

(image from unrelated story, here - which is worth browsing through as well)

WIRED: 2,550-Year-Old Celtic Beer Recipe Resurrected
Early Celtic rulers of a community in what’s now southwestern Germany liked to party, staging elaborate feasts in a ceremonial center. The business side of their revelries was located in a nearby brewery capable of turning out large quantities of a beer with a dark, smoky, slightly sour taste, new evidence suggests.

Six specially constructed ditches previously excavated at Eberdingen-Hochdorf a 2,550-year-old Celtic settlement, were used to make high-quality barley malt, a key beer ingredient, says archaeobotanist Hans-Peter Stika of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. Thousands of charred barley grains unearthed in the ditches about a decade ago came from a large malt-making enterprise, Stika reports in a paper published online January 4 in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

Stika bases that conclusion on a close resemblance of the ancient grains to barley malt that he made by reproducing several methods that Iron Age folk might have used. He also compared the ancient grains to malt produced in modern facilities. Upon confirming the presence of malt at the Celtic site, Stika reconstructed malt-making techniques there to determine how they must have affected beer taste.

The oldest known beer residue and brewing facilities date to 5,500 years ago in the Middle East, but archaeological clues to beer’s history are rare (SN: 10/2/04, p. 216).



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Munis are a-crashing

Having a large allocation of income investment vehicles, usually a form of taking caution, is the riskiest option around these days. Today it's the munis, another it's the financial's debt and another is the treasuries. However, one must remember there could be a domino's effect again. One side of the economy can topple the other. Given that possibility, a regular Joe might ask - well where should we put our hard earned savings.

Munis Crashing For Third Straight Day, And This Is The Worst Yet
It's hard to look at this chart, and not have your heart skip a bit of a beat.

For three days now, munis have tanked, and this is the worst one yet.

My thought: Falling muni-bonds means that state and local authorities are at the end of their rope and will find it much harder to fund their activities via further debt. A logarithmic sudden decline might force some into bankruptcy - as is the case with any indebted entity looking to refinance right when it's credit rating is crumbling.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Interesting read: alternatives to IPO investing in Facebook

If only each IPO could be accompanied by a hit movie, and everybody you know was a user of the IPO company's product....

Alternative Ways To Invest In Facebook
Founded in February 2004, Facebook, Inc., the company behind the social networking website of the same name, is a privately held company in Palo Alto, California. While you may think that only qualified investors who have a net worth of at least $1 million have an opportunity to buy private company shares, investing in companies and funds that are closely aligned with and/or associates of Facebook, is actually a viable option.

* The Nielsen Company

* Retail Companies

* SharesPost

* Invest in Facebook's Competitors

* Look Out for a Facebook IPO

Continue reading...


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken and Egg, or just stating that 2=2?

Consider the following title:

Higher commodity prices may spur inflation

I'm sorry, but isn't 'Higher commodity prices' the definition of inflation? Not the 'cause of it'. Sure, some economists define inflation backwards, by measuring money supply - however, it's pretty common to define it as "inflation means higher prices".

Anyways, this is not a case of what came first, commodity prices or inflation. Higher commodity prices is inflation, and movement in one side of the basket affects the other. Two equals two. The article simply meant to say that inflation will soon be felt by customers, as it is bubbling up from commodity prices.

The reader may say "thank you Mr. Obvious", or alternatively "zzz ... boring". Well - I'll try to do better next time.


Shh!!! Unemployment still high

When the measurements of our unfortunate prevailing depression don't make headlines anymore.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Rose 35,000 Last Week to 445,000
The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments jumped in the first week of 2011 to the highest level since October as more Americans lined up to file following the holidays.

Initial jobless claims rose by 35,000 to 445,000, according to Labor Department data released today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for 410,000 filings. The average number of applications over the past four weeks, a less-volatile gauge, increased to 416,500.

Today’s figures follow a report last week showing the U.S. added fewer jobs than forecast in December, underscoring the concern of Federal Reserve policy makers about the labor market. Economic growth may need to accelerate further and encourage companies to ramp up the hiring necessary to reduce the unemployment rate.

“The underlying trend is still a slow decline in claims,” said Lindsey Piegza, an economist at FTN Financial in New York. “We’re taking steps in the right direction though it’s not enough to move the unemployment rate down precipitously.”

Doesn't it feel like a huge problem of our times is swept under the rug?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The D-word:Housing Market Slips Into Depression Territory

CNBC showed their cynical side today - starting with the headline, followed by an accompanying photo:

Housing Market Slips Into Depression Territory

At some point, we will stop referring to the economy as: in recovery, in crisis, in depression - there is a bottom, I don't know if we're there - but I doubt the media will tell us we are when we get there.

Perhaps housing will bottom when two things happen:
1. All heated markets will return to affordable pricing, we can all agree that California's housing pricing are insane. (were? not sure)
2. When banks will start declining loans to those who can't ever repay them. That'll take some political pressure to reverse the policies of the last 30 years.

Just my opinion, not an expert.