Southern Tip of Sweden (pics and video)

Just a few random snapshots and video clips from our weekend (July 2010) with friends down south in Sweden. Thomas rented a house for a few weeks so he could visit his friends and family and also have his own place/space for chilling out with friends. Perfect!

Videos (just playing with my new waterproof toy – left the DSLR at home):



Soros: This Is Act 2 of the Crisis

I’ve been interested in Soros ever since reading “The Alchemy of Finance” in the early ’90s and an even bigger fan since seeing him speak at the “Secretary’s Open Forum” at the U.S. Department of State in 2003.  The following is a clear, concise, and up-to-date explanation of his main theories and their implications for financial markets and their participants and regulators.

This Is “Act 2″ of the Crisis
George Soros

In the week following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15, 2008 — global financial markets actually broke down, and by the end of the week, they had to be put on artificial life support. The life support consisted of substituting sovereign credit for the credit of financial institutions, which ceased to be acceptable to counterparties.

As Mervyn King of the Bank of England brilliantly explained, the authorities had to do in the short term the exact opposite of what was needed in the long term: they had to pump in a lot of credit to make up for the credit that disappeared, and thereby reinforce the excess credit and leverage that had caused the crisis in the first place. Only in the longer term, when the crisis had subsided, could they drain the credit and re-establish macroeconomic balance.

This required a delicate two-phase maneuver just as when a car is skidding. First you have to turn the car into the direction of the skid and only when you have regained control can you correct course.

The first phase of the maneuver has been successfully accomplished — a collapse has been averted. In retrospect, the temporary breakdown of the financial system seems like a bad dream. There are people in the financial institutions that survived who would like nothing better than to forget it and carry on with business as usual. This was evident in their massive lobbying effort to protect their interests in the Financial Reform Act that just came out of Congress. But the collapse of the financial system as we know it is real, and the crisis is far from over.

Indeed, we have just entered Act II of the drama, when financial markets started losing confidence in the credibility of sovereign debt.  Greece and the euro have taken center stage, but the effects are liable to be felt worldwide.


Vienna Pics

We had a great week visiting my mother, who consults for the UN.  We got to see some of Susanne’s friends, go to the Opera, tour the UN, go to a reception, and eat some great food, hear some great music, and more.


Iceland Volcano: 1) Satellite Imagery; 2) Eruption Video

This morning’s diversion (the creation of this video) started with me pondering the question: “Might Eyjafjallajokull’s ash cloud jeopardize the warm weather we’re starving for after a long winter in Europe?”

Based on this article, it sounds like the current plume isn’t big enough to have much of a global impact.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that northern Europe will likely suffer some ill effects, even if the volcano is done erupting (last time the eruptions went on for over a year).

Bido vs. Sedo (Domain Names)

2010-5-5 Update: Bido ran out of runway and put itself on the auction block today (details here).

Since discovering and testing Bido over the past few months, I’ve decided that it’s the best way to quickly and easily trim down my domain name portfolio, especially sub-$500 domain names (that’s because Bido has no minimum commission, whereas Sedo has a $50 minimum).

While Bido is still young, with it’s share of little bugs, it’s developers are rapidly iterating and improving the site, which is one reason why it’s growing so fast, taking market share from the larger players, such as Sedo. They’re also friendly and helpful and will respond rapidly and personally should you have any questions, comments, etc.

How Bido works

  1. Sellers submit domain names for consideration by the community.
  2. The community votes to send names to auction.
  3. Bido runs the auctions and provides the escrow service for the Buyers and Sellers.

That’s basically it (there are more advanced features to explore later).  To reward the community for participating in the selection process, Bido has created an innovative system that works like this: Every time an item you voted for sells, you get a percentage of the sale price. The earliest voters earn the most, and you can earn up to 0.77% of the sale price.

Snow on You Crazy Diamond

Just messing around on this beautiful, snowy day here in Sweden. The weather, music, and mood all came together. Plus a new tripod (thanks, Hugo).

Click that first picture or here to see the snow falling outside our window. I’m glad I decided to stop to smell the flowers (thanks, Cici), and to watch, listen, and feel the snow and wind, and to hear, for the first time, a new rendition of an all-time favorite song. That’s what sealed the deal, the Floyd cover (thanks, Christy).

More pics after the jump.  The first one (below) is from Monday (2/22), the second one is from Thursday (2/25) and the third one is from Tuesday (2/23). The tulip pics and video (above) are from Saturday (2/20). The video cover shot is from Sunday (2/21).


Status Report / Update

Things might be pretty quite around here for a while (at least). Why, because I’m super busy with various projects and using Facebook, Twitter, and FriendFeed more than this blog .

I’ve also started experimenting with, which I like better than for hosted blogs. Here’s the first real post on Bootstrappy: “Bootstrap or Die: Lessons Learned From a Web Startup’s Murder/Suicide” (that’s the post that the chart above belongs to).


Animated Google Map Overlaid With Geotagged Photos

(click to view the animated google map / photo slideshow)

Here’s how to geotag your pics and make an animated map of your own:

  1. Get a GPS tracker (or other device) and learn how to use it.  I have, and like, the Columbus V-900 GPS Data Logger.  Here it is on and here are some review links from Google. I especially found this review, and it’s comments, helpful and interesting.
  2. Take pictures with your digital camera. Make sure the clock on your camera is set accurately (as close as you can get to the exact correct time). And, make sure the camera and the format is compatible with your software (just use JPG format and you should be fine).
  3. Upload your GPS log file and pictures to your computer.
  4. Use the software that came with your device (or other software) to geotag your pics.  The software matches your pics to your data points using the time (that’s why you need to make sure your camera clock is set as accurately as possible).
  5. Upload everything to or one of the other free sites (there are others, right?).

That’s it. Use the documentation that came with your GPS, Google, and trial-and-error to perfect your workflow. Cheers!

Multimedia Graphic & Article (US Debt)

It’s been like watching a slow motion train wreak build momentum these past eight years. And now we’re past the event horizon. Click the graphic and read the article for details. Also see Krugman’s 2009-11-22 article: “The Phantom Menace” and this time-lapse map showing the unemployment rate from January 2007 to September 2009.

Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government
By Edmund L. Andrews
NY Times

WASHINGTON — The United States government is financing its more than trillion-dollar-a-year borrowing with i.o.u.’s on terms that seem too good to be true. But that happy situation, aided by ultralow interest rates, may not last much longer. Treasury officials now face a trifecta of headaches: a mountain of new debt, a balloon of short-term borrowings that come due in the months ahead, and interest rates that are sure to climb back to normal as soon as the Federal Reserve decides that the emergency has passed.


FT: “Mother of All Carry Trades Faces Bust”

I consider this a must read article. It’s basically analogous to Roubini’s February 2008 article “The Twelve Steps to Financial Disaster,” which I posted back then (you can download the PDF from the first link here).

Excerpt: So the combined effect of the Fed policy of a zero Fed funds rate, quantitative easing and massive purchase of long-term debt instruments is seemingly making the world safe – for now – for the mother of all carry trades and mother of all highly leveraged global asset bubbles.

“Mother of all carry trades faces an inevitable bust”
By Nouriel Roubini
Financial Times (original)

Since March there has been a massive rally in all sorts of risky assets – equities, oil, energy and commodity prices – a narrowing of high-yield and high-grade credit spreads, and an even bigger rally in emerging market asset classes (their stocks, bonds and currencies). At the same time, the dollar has weakened sharply , while government bond yields have gently increased but stayed low and stable.


1) Chart of the Day; 2) Chuck Norris + Downturn

(click for larger version of this image)

1a) The image above (except for my comments) came from Mary Meeker’s “Economy + Internet Trends” report (PDF). It’s is pretty much the same stuff her and her interns have been pumping out since the ’90s. Check it out for a regurgitation and updating of conventional “wisdom.”

1b) Comparing Rallies: 2009 vs. 1974-75 vs. 1938-39: Click to view.

2) Now on to the fun stuff: Chuck Norris on the downturn (finance humor):

  • Chuck Norris has killed black swans with his bare hands.
  • Chuck Norris rubs the VIX into his chest.
  • Chuck Norris continues to short the Aussie market.