Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oregon Drivers....

This is not a rant about Oregon Drivers being bad. Actually, I see less accidents here than ANY state i'v ever lived in. Also, I generally think the drivers here are really good. For me, having lived in NC, IN, AL, NM, OR, and PA, one constant I observed is that people think 'the drivers here are awful', and 'the drivers from the nearest neighboring state' are even worse. Its the same little localized urban legend everywhere.

However, one thing I've noticed for quite awhile about Oregon drivers that has just baffled me is this: they seem to not understand that the slow lane is on the right, the passing lanes are on the left. You don't get to decide which lane you get to drive in: the law states you drive in the right lane if you are moving slower than the other traffic. Additionally, for traffic moving up behind you, it is against the law to pass on the right. You create such a dangerous situation, and its like nobody seems to even notice their in the wrong, its baffling.

In oregon, I am just blown away by the number of people who think that the right thing to do is spread out across 3 lanes of traffic then drive either the same speed or SLOWER in the fast lanes. This is very dangerous and very illegal. Once you pass, you are supposed to get back to the right as soon as its safe...why does nobody seem to know this? don't we take the same driver's exam?

I've noticed new posted signs on most major highways now that state 'slower traffic keep right'. These signs are new and prolific throughout the highway systems near portland. I hope they have their intended effects. I recommended this in a face to face conversation 2 years ago to the head of PDX Metro (its like the local version of ODOT and they are also in charge of the MAX, streetcar plans, etc.). Maybe they actually listened. I even offered to pay for the signs on highway 26, in addition to one that says 'Maintain your speed uphill'. My offer still stands.

Equiment ettiquette (also known as : baubles in babylon)

Why do men seem to think its okay to have the latest bang and olufson bluetooth headset in their ear all the time? If you don't care how you look, I don't care either, but just to be clear: you DO look like a dork. And when you have one of the older motorola headsets you look like a cheap dork.

And what's with the utility belt? Dude, you're not Batman and you sure as hell couldn't get to the top of the building with one of those redundant devices, so put them in your pocket. Why is it men think its cool/okay to have these phones and junk hanging off their belt? I appreciate the 'i don't care what it looks like its practical', if that is your philosophy than fine, but again, DORK.

Actually, I think there is something from an anthorpological perspective going on here, like peacock feathers. These guys are showing 'Look at the baubles I have, I am desirable, I have all these baubles, if you hang with me you can be with a well baubled guy'.


People say they multi-task, but they don't. When they think they do, they distribute their resources among whatever tasks they are doing and the end results are proportionate. "Sure, I can do email on my blackberry and listen to you at the same time"....[a few minutes later] "what? sorry, i missed that, ....".

There is no such thing as human multi-tasking. However, there is microtasking. The sequential run through of a large amount of small activities in a relatively short amount of time. I don't mean breaking megatasks down into mircotasks in any conscious way, but microtasks are things like: clearing up/adding things to TODO lists, responding to quick email questions that are 2 sentences or less, locating something online, putting dishes into dishwasher, response to an IM, signing forms, addressing envelopes, paying bills...things that can happen very quickly and require very little thought, just action.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


An article in Barron's talked about here by Andrew Bary mentions that the MSFT buyout of YHOO is a bad idea. I couldn't agree more. Too expensive, no cultural alignment, exodus will ensue. More importantly, it says the following:

"Ballmer is a great operating man but he lacks financial acumen. He ought to be thinking more of Microsoft employees who own a lot of Microsoft stock and have nothing to show for it in many years. If the stock doesn't start doing better, Microsoft will lose good people."

I suspect there are other large companies whose top employees feel similarly, and are growing tired of subsidizing fat cats who sit around the organization pontificating powerpoint slides, action plans, and indicators in domains in which they have no knowledge, understanding, or experience. Meanwhile, the stock price languishes......

Thursday, February 07, 2008


yahoo has been one unexciting company in the past 5 years. given where they were, its depressing to see where they are today, a lack of interesting and useful innovations in a world so filled with opportunity.

the disappointing part about this bid is the fact that this is acknowledgement of a lack of aggressiveness on msft part. they should not need this to take out yahoo, they should be able to do it by being a better player. there seems to be no passion left in this company anymore, somebody took the helium out of their ballon. they'll still grow earnings, they'll still have things to sell that we want, but they won't have the talent they once did, nor the innovation, it'll be just sleepy more of the same-ness.

to the end of the microsoft era,


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Suprise! CEO of Countrywide lied.....

I posted here when the CEO of Countrywide said it would be profitable in Q4 that there is no way I bought it. Stock shot up so CEO and friends could dump at higher price points. Article here:

"The net loss for the quarter totaled $421.9 million, or 79 cents per share, compared with a profit of $621.6 million, or $1.01 per share, a year earlier. On Oct. 26, Countrywide projected a quarterly profit of 25 cents to 75 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 32 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates."

Hope nobody bought it.

My opinion: meltdown isn't over just yet. Reset your loans while Bernake tries to get rates down low enough that enough people can refi those 2 year ARMs.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Doing your S-corp taxes yourself...

Just a few notes for future expense tracking to make doing taxes easier. Useful list for a small biz with simple tax filing.

classifying your expenses with the same terminology that the tax man uses to make your life easier at end of year or end of quarter. Do it using these categories then tally it up at the end.

its not shipping, freight-in and postage
for storage, its rent, not storage

if you charge shipping and handling, that is INCOME. later, you will take it out as shipping

don't mix these up:
interest incoming (paid to biz)
interest outgoing (paid to loaner)

no donations: there are contributions, cash and non cash
donations at 50% level, at 30% level, need to determine difference

meals can be recorded on line 19 and line 5, along with a few other things that are redundant with some being classified as related to cost of goods sold. i guess the other stuff is 'the cost of getting goods sold'.

there are no office products, there are office supplies

deductions on first page:
taxes and licenses (yes, there are multiple places this is listed), one reduces income and others do not
interest (again, as a deduction, so its what you paid)

line 19 includes:
bank charges
consultation charges
delivery (not pizza)
dues and subscriptions
office supplies and expense
print and copy
pro fees
small tools

line 5 includes:
indirect labor

some categories to keep in mind and keep track of as well:
state income tax
local income tax

Yahoo! math

have a little stock ticker on yahoo on the left hand side of my home page...looks like this:

XXX 72.83 1.99 2.81%
YYY 74.74 1.24 1.69%
ZZZ 24.85 0.43 1.76%
WWW 60.61 1.20 2.02%
CCC 7.73 0.27 3.62%
Total M A 10.40%

Wow! Look at that, managed to get a 10% gain from a bunch of gains under 5%. i deleted fund names and total value, not relevant.

Wonder how this hasn't been caught?!?