Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Friday and I work for Google

Today, on my own time, I have devised a variation on the Word Morph game.

In the Word Morph game, you start with a word and try to transform it into another word of the same length by changing one letter at a time. Another real word must be the result of any letter-change. For example,

Transform MISS to HITS.


Simple. Notice that the words are short, usually less than five letters.

Now suppose, you can either add a letter or subtract a letter, instead of changing a letter. This variation of the game allows words of different lengths to be morphed into each other.

How is the game to be played? An assumption is made that everybody has access to a gadget that will check the degrees of separation between any two words and then show the solution. If any. It is recognized that there may not be a solution for a given pair of words. In either case, with the gadget, it is a trivial matter to solve the puzzle, or demonstrate that there is no solution.

The game, then, will be played by searching for word-pairs that have solutions. It's a process of discovery. Many, if not most, word-pairs will have no solution. Solutions for big words and for words of different lengths will, therefore, be sought as holy grails. Elegant solutions and those having interesting word-plays will be prized.

A further variation of the game, which could become an area of research by serious word mongers, is one which would allow multiple words, phrases or sentences to be morphed into other words, phrases or sentences.

The game will be endlessly fascinating, because a general solution for even modest languages would require a computer bigger than the Earth.

But not bigger than the Solar System.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Let's do a little bidness

GOOG made a good showing today. The trend is up. It fooled around a bit, around 325, just like Fitzpatrick said, but once it set foot firmly on the other side, the shorts gave up and here we are almost to 350. The unbearable lightness of GOOG.

Some would say it's been a big run from 250 and now it's time to unload. I don't see it that way. The way I see it, the whole area below 300 is a nether region that our GOOG should never have achieved. None of that counts. We're starting from scratch right here. Everything is looking good.

I see 355 easy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I haunt myself

GOOG is not a fave with the Fast Money crew.

Macke ridicules the company and the stock. He says Google is cockamamie because its founder wants to go up in space. And employees get to work on their own stuff every Friday.

Seymore is contemptuous of GOOG. When CNBC had its Championship of Stocks contest, last year, GOOG was seeded near the top of the tech group. Seymore said, "Who let those jerks in?"

Adami has nothing against the stock. It would just never occur to him to buy it.

Ratigan likes GOOG, because he likes the story. He would buy it, if everybody else did.

Karen said she was interested if it got low enough. When it got low enough, she bought a little and then sold it quick when it went down a point. Like a hot horseshoe.

Terranova likes GOOG and owns it. He said it was a core investment to him. He shares his pain with us.

Najarian likes GOOG at the right time. He said he bought some futures at 598. He probably held to about 650 and then sold. At night, he probbly dreams about investing for the long term.

So what do these yokels really like? They like AAPL.

Which sells things you can dig out of the ground. Like IPods.

Which I bought two years ago at 67 and sold at 73. This is all about me. No matter where I start out, it always comes back to me. Me, me, me.

I could smash me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I believe everything I read

Don't put my faith in nobody
not even a scientist

I read a blog the other day by a cosmologist turned quant who was going on about a thing called the Hickey Event Horizon (HEH). Apparently, anything that gets close to the Hickey Event Horizon gets stretched so thin it almost goes to nothing.

There must be something to it, because last year GOOG came right up against the Hickey Event Horizon and became a shade of its former self. Luckily, it didn't go all the way through.

If there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Google Eve

I'm not ready for Google Eve.

After learning yesterday that anything can happen in this blessed world, I'm not ready to worry about Google making its numbers. Either way, I don't care.

Wake me up in twenty years. Tell me how rich I am.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Apologia Pro Domingo

When Martin Luther King gave his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, I wasn't there. I didn't even hear it on the radio.

A few days later, a guy I knew told me he thought it was the best speech he had ever heard. I still didn't get it. I wondered how many speeches this guy had heard.

I came of age in the sixties, but I wasn't of the sixties. I remember seeing some graduate students sitting on the steps of the bookstore across from old Stanford Union. They were playing a radio, real loud so everybody could hear it. Something about Vietnam. It was 1961. I didn't know what Vietnam was.

When the Cuban Missile Crisis hit, my professor, who was a refugee from World War II, fled to the Oregon woods to hide until Armageddon was over. I didn't go with him.

When King died in 1968, I heard his "Mountaintop" speech on TV and was struck dumb. After that, I sought out all the recordings of his speeches and sermons and found them wonderful.

I was a little slow, but I got there.

It's Sunday, a time for reflecting on one's shortcomings.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Watch your step, he said

So far, I see nothing in Obama not to like. I wasn't looking for anything bad. The whole country is clearly in love with him.

Today, a camera was behind him at the train station where he was shepherding his family on-board the Inaugural Special. One of the girls was a little hesitant in making the transition from platform to train with the tracks just below, and Obama cautioned her to be careful. Then, in an off-guard moment, he looked out at nobody in particular and said words to the effect that a slip here would ruin everybody's inauguration. He started to smile and then caught himself. This guy's going to be good.

One thing I really like is the way he's leveling about the shape that we're in. The last bunch was all about finding a spin that the rubes on Main Street would swallow. Obama expects us to be intelligent. Brilliant.

But I'm not surprised. I expected it of him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Ramble

I always thought I was a person of variegated opinion. Now, late in life, I see that I'm a creature of habit.

In 1967, I gave $5000 for a custom audio installation, consisting of a brand new McIntosh C22 tubed Preamp and the 2505 50-watt amp with another Mc component just for a cathode ray tube, all feeding through Bozak speakers, with a pair of matching Tandberg tape decks just for show.

My boss at work got tired of hearing everybody talking about the unbelievably fine set-up I had, so he decided to come out and see for himself. He stood in front of it and looked down. There were so many components it took up two cabinets.

He said, "It looks like a damn Cape Canaveral. Blumen, you're a fool."

The next day, at work, he told everybody that I had paid $5000 so I could hear Bob Dylan in stereo.

I haven't changed.

I hauled that rig all over the country during the next twenty-five years as I moved from town to town. Then, a few years ago, I arranged to meet a guy in a parking lot on the seedy side of town. He had come from Tennessee just to see me. I opened the trunk of my car and showed him what I had - a McIntosh C22 tubed Preamp, a 2505 50-watt amp and a thing with a cathode ray tube. All in the original boxes.

He said, "I'll buy everything you've got for more than you paid for it."

We made a deal. I gave him the stuff. And he left me standing in a parking lot in a bad neighborhood with a stack of hunnerd dollar bills in my hand.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Anybody Happy?

When I was a lad, I used to tell people that I got Playboy for the pictures. Not much has changed since then.

I don't get Playboy anymore, but I've still got a smart mouth. They can't take that away.

But lately, around the house, it's been getting harder to come up with the good ones. I'm off my game. My wife doesn't throw it up to me, but she knows, if I had taken her advice, we would have been all in cash since 1973. And, with interest compounding, we would be better off today. By a mile.

She knows it. And she knows I know it. It's hard to get a laugh out of that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kingdom Come

I don't read books. I read book reviews. Just now, on Amazon, I read several reviews of Nicholas Carr's new book, "The Big Switch", that were really good. One kid gave a long video review that was excellent, I thought.

I got the general idea. It's good to think about Edison and Larry and Sergey in one breath, but I want to think about what we're going to be doing up in the cloud, besides rolling around heaven all day.

I think we have to recreate the institutions of the world and all its commerce, public and private, in pretty much the same way that we have them now. Procedures that have evolved over centuries. Start with The Bureau of Vital Statistics.

You won't be able to be anonymous, anymore. You won't be able to hide behind your avatar. If you have to go in a bank today, you don't wear a clown suit. That would be dangerous.

It'll be the same, up there. In the cloud, as it is on the Earth.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 - Wild Days!

"Hope" is the thing with feathers

As last year began, I still had my faculties. The drummer I was marching to kept me in step. On January 23, I bought into the maw of the panic. I made money.

Back in October, 2007, I'd speculated about a global recession, but I didn't act on my surmise. In January, I decided we were in it. Clearly, I had no idea what a global recession would be like.

It seems centuries since I sold a paltry amount of GOOG at 650 and fantasized about buying it back under 550. But I couldn't wait for that. I bought it back, three weeks later, at 628.

In April, I went completely to cash. No GOOG, no nothing. But, as mid-year approached, everybody was saying that Hallelujah Land was just around the corner. I was down 9% on the year and my inner Dundee was screaming, "That's not a crash!", but I decided that the nonsense had gone on long enough. I bought value funds. I bought Heebner.

Then all the wheels came off and I learned what it must have been like to be on the Titanic and slowly come to the realization that we weren't going to just limp back to Southampton. It was like buying Heebner. All the charts went vertical. I started selling into the maws of panics.

Now, like everybody else, my fortune is greatly reduced. And now, the sea has suddenly calmed and I'm leaning the wrong way again. I have only myself to blame. I did the right things. And then I undid them.

There are many ways to screw things up. This is just one of them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

CC Rider

Even the bloodhounds of London
Couldn't find you today

I check Google Analytics almost every day. It's a pond of information.

Back when I used to advertise myself on the Yahoo! Google Message Board, I could get 30 or 40 certified visitors a day, most of whom were in and out pretty quickly. Then I figured, why go to all that trouble, when there's probably three people out there who really enjoy what I'm doing and check it out regularly. Even when I don't advertise.

So I stopped going on Yahoo! and, since then, I've been getting three to ten visitors a day, certain, and one of them is always me. That's a pretty exclusive club.

I can see the same people coming back again and again. I don't know their names, but they live in Nyack and Irving, Texas, and Franklin, Tennessee, among a few others. I recognize them from their screen resolutions and Flash version numbers. And their network locations.

Sometimes, I might get visitors from several locales, all within 100 miles of someplace like Nyack. So I check their network locations and find they're all getting my blog on their phones. It's probably the same person. It never occurred to me that people might be moving around.

Now, I'm watching somebody who seems to be moving in a circuit between Dallas, Denver, Florida and then a long chill in North Metro, Georgia, before starting out again. I know it's the same person because they all have the same screen resolution and Flash Version. That may not mean much to the Tall Tail guys, but to me, with my small-cell population, it's like fingerprints.

I'm wondering if this might be "CC", who left a nice comment for me a few posts back. CC said that he was "just a schlepper" in a rock'n'roll band, which is a badge of courage where I come from, but it got me thinking about bands on the road.

So my theory is that CC has a tour that takes him from his base in Georgia to Texas, then on to Colorado, back through Florida and then home to North Metro. Some kind of country honky-tonk circuit.

If that's not him, then I don't know who it is.