Showing posts from April, 2009

FB and Me, reconciling with Facebook

Early Infatuation

My relationship with FB began with an initial addictive phase, kind of like getting your alumni magazine and looking up your class news—what are all those people I haven’t kept in touch with doing these days?

I, myself, never send in class updates. This is because for most of my life I hadn’t really “done” anything. And then, when I finally reached a point of my life where I had done one or two things, I felt like notifying people I hadn’t kept in touch with would be in rather bad taste--on par with the writers of The Obnoxious Annual Christmas Card.

Then followed a phase of relative disenchantment. After overcoming my initial hesitation about being in The Book, due to the fact that I’m not currently enrolled in high school or college, there came a period when The Book was discovered by many more people....

The inflation/devaluation of “friendship”

Not being a particularly socially-needy person, and someone who, throughout her life, has viewed friendship in terms of qual…

I receive my French citizenship

I dropped by the French consulate in Madrid today and picked up a sheaf of papers informing me that I have acquired French nationality. This included a welcome letter from President Nicolas Sarkozy "Madame, Mademoiselle, Monsieur..Vous êtes désormais citoyenne ou citoyen de notre pays," the Déclaration des droits de l'Homme (Declaration of the Rights of Man), extracts from the Constitution du 4 Octobre 1958, and a copy of La Marseillaise.

I suppose it's fashionable and convenient today to collect citizenships, but somehow I was touched. My maternal grandfather was Franco-American and grew up in France (as did my maternal grandmother). However, due to American politics immediately following the second World War, American naturalization required that he renounce his French citizenship, because of his service in the French army.

When I was a child, I first wanted to learn French because this was the language spoken by my mother's Irish-American/Colombian/French famil…

Oracle buy SUN, WTF!! part deux

over dinner I was talking with Nathalie and some further thoughts on the deal emerge

1/ DUH! the big diamond in the rough is of course MySQL. How could this not jump at me! Larry E must have freaked out at the thought of IBM getting its hands on mySQL. This way Larry gets to nip that one in the bud... I always thought he would pull this maneuver on RedHat to get JBoss. Of course the fate of our dolphin friends at SUN is all of the sudden very iffy. Something tells me Larry will try to make something of it and rank and file within Oracle will kill it quickly... to be followed.

2/ Oracle may actually be good for SUN. SUN was always a good company whose potential was not realized by poor middle management. By middle management I mean directors and low level VPs. I have never seen such a bunch of time-serving political hacks. Sun was full of petty fights over nothing by people that had nothing better to do, because, let's face it, SUN was a company on auto-pilot for awhile.

3/ J…

Oracle buys SUN, WTF!!

This afternoon when I read about the the Oracle acquisition of SUN my first reaction was WTF...

It doesn't make much sense to me, SUN is mostly a hardware company with software delusions. Oracle is the reverse, a software company with hardware delusions (remember the net-station?). And now they are saddled with a legacy hardware business...IBM or HP, already hardware companies made a lot more sense.

But of course this is not about strategy it is about
1/ financial. SUN IS a legacy business that can be milked. Expect Oracle to fire a ton of people to run this from a maintenance standpoint. Oracle is becoming the king of maintenance streams and it seems they will add whatever in the mix. What will be interesting is what they do with the research in hardware and software. They can easily kill both expenses (with negative consequences for java) and move it to maintenance mode for the next 10 years. On the positive side there is an historic opportunity to really get in the UNIX busin…

The Financial Crisis For Dummies:

Securitization, the art of turning bank loans into cash.

Let's start with Glass-Steagall. Glass-Steagall was depression era legislation enacted in 1933 and repealed under Clinton. It had 2 aspects, one being separation of banking activities, which does not really concern us here, the second was establishing FDIC and


The classic money multiplier model derives from this. There is a ratio (set at around 12) between reserves and credit-money. This states that if a bank as $1 in reserve it can emit $12 of credit money. This IN THEORY limited the amount of credit money in the system. In practice however, securitization turned it into a lie.


Imagine you take a mortgage out with a bank. Let's say $500,000. Under Glass-Steagall that meant that the bank needed to have roughly $45,000 in reserves to match that debt on their books. If they hold onto the loan it means they may not be …

Madrid blog-Response to Comments

Angela Jonquera--if you had actually read the previous entry you would have seen that it is prefaced with "you may not necessarily" and, in the comments, I say that my neighbors' behavior is not characteristic of my entire experience living in Spain or interaction with Spanish people, which, on the whole, has been very positive.

I have exactly no idea who you are besides somebody who makes extremely rude and ignorant generalizations about Americans.

"the USA culture and citizens have, historically, shown arrogance, violence and bias against other peoples and cultures, specially those that are not from Anglo-Saxon or western European Aryan origin."

First of all an "American" is most likely a hybrid of many different ethnic and cultural origins... I will not deny that there is and has been racism in the US or that the US has abused its position of power in the past century and more recently. However, with all its failings, of which I am not ignorant, I am …

The Financial Crisis for Dummies:
Inflation and Deflation, monetary policy

This is the second post in the "Crisis for Dummies" series. One of the difficulties in giving a comprehensive narrative is that the nature of the beast is to have many variables that play together. It is easy to describe each connection and relation, the logic is not that complicated (housing prices go down, people sell) but it is the number of such agents and relationship that can boggle the human brain. I am working with a professor in Sydney on a mathematical model and will share it soon.

Meanwhile the human narrative must put the spotlight on a aspect of the crisis and unravel the relationships, the best I can do in "for dummies" is to use examples that everyone can grasp instead of throwing out 3 letter acronyms that scare little girls away. But do not lose sight of the fact that it is only when all these variables are at play at the same time, that the real story unfolds.

There are however variables and agents that play more important roles than others, …

Madrid Blog--We get sued

...for having children

If you are a foreigner and move to Madrid, do not, necessarily expect a warm welcome.

Yesterday, we, or rather

Don Mark Fleury and Dona Natali Manson

***note to Building Association of Serrrano XX, before you lawyer up, do your research. My husband spells his name "Marc" with a "c." and my first name is spelled "Nathalie;" not to mention that my honest English stone mason forbears would cringe at the misspelling of their last name to confound with that of the notorious 20th century serial killer.

received an official communication from the Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Madrid, from one Don Ramiro Blah Blah, President of the Building Association of Serrano XX, a building of exactly 12 units, half of which were owned at one time by his father in law, in which it is alleged

1) "Mark Fleury and Natali Manson" have four children

2) these children own bicycles

3)and roller skates

4) and scooters (Nathalie comment: nope sorry to disapp…

Entrepreneur Diaries I - Pet Psychic

To entertain old friends and colleagues and “épater l’industrie"…An entirely scabrous and fictional picaresque narrative chronicling the adventures of Case, a serial entrepreneur who falls victim to almost every fad in the tech industry.

…At some point in his life, Case decided that he was an ideas person. As such, he sought his fortune in the late twentieth century tech gold rush, with its promise of riches beyond belief, for enterprising, entrepreneurial fellows, such as he.


In 1999, a chance acquaintance with a hippie chick at a bar gave Case the idea for his Dotcom. She was cute, chesty, naive and he had nothing better to do. So, the following afternoon, he accompanied her to a seminar at the Mind Spirit and Body Center for Holistic Animal Health.

The seminar was led by a large muumuu-clad Earth Mother type—a pet psychic, or “animal communicator” as she preferred to be called. The incense was getting on his nerves and Case was sure the animator was on to him, when…

The Financial Crisis For Dummies:
FAS 157, Mark to Market

Ever heard of Mark to Market? Here is a little primer on what it is. It is an accounting term and it has played a big role in this current mess.

Assume you own a house, you bought it in 2004 at 600k. In 2006 a comparable house down the street sold for 750k. Today it would probably sell for 450k. You took a loan for 550k, question: ARE YOU BANKRUPT?
1/ no, since you don't want to sell now and you can wait for the market to come back
2/ yes, since on a mark to market basis, you are under-water.
Tough to decide right?

This is pretty much what is going on with the banks. They are holding onto long term highly illiquid assets (called Level 3 assets) and those assets nose-dived and there is no market for them. The balance sheets of the banks are highly impaired on a MTM basis. But many people point out that MTM is used because it is the only way we know to price things in a fair and transparent way, but that in extreme market breakdowns these numbers are temporary and should not forc…

TF18: Kraftwerk & Anita Ward

Anita Ward, Ring my Bell-- 1979

Anita Ward - Ring My Bell (1979)
Uploaded by Discodandan

Kraftwerk, It's more fun to compute -- 1981

TF18: Kraftwerk & Anita Ward, 12 mins.

You probably have heard the first one. I like Anita Ward. Second track is a little more obscure, but this original by Kraftwerk is a gem. It has this unique sound that works well with anything. Here "compute" really dominates over "my bell" but the "my bell" lyrics take another dimension. The result, although made from old ingredients feels like it was made yesterday. It also goes to prove that disco and techno have common ancestry. It's a hot track.