Monday, September 27, 2010

Google Up, Diatribe Follows

Google closed up $3.12 today. Good.


I'm a soft-spoken man - slow to anger and quick to forget. It's been my practice to suffer fools, if not gladly, then at least in the belief that we are all fools before Yahweh. Humility has its place. But I'm exercised about a video, in circulation for a couple of weeks, that I just saw today on Facebook.

The video shows a painting of a young, disheveled man, slumped on a bench in the park. Behind him, are depicted all the past presidents with looks on their faces ranging from aghast (Lincoln) to grieving (Bush) to gleeful and approving (Frank. D. Roosevelt and Clinton). They're all looking at Obama, standing in the foreground, facing away from everybody, with his jaw sternly set and arms folded, and his shoe on the Constitution, which somebody has thrown on the ground. One of the early presidents, whom I don't recognize, is beseeching Obama in a crouch that was unbecoming when John McEnroe assumed it, many years ago. If you want to see the video, google for it. I'm not going to show it to you.

Now, I didn't just come in on a boat, I know how a lot of people think these days, but I am moved to respond to this video, to make up for all the times I've heard and seen this kind of crap before and didn't vent spleen.

I'm tired of all the people who, in speech or painting, call Obama arrogant, when what they really mean is uppity.

I'm tired of all the fundamental Biblical literalists who want to apply their ridiculous logic to the Constitution of the United States. Who believe that, if the Founding Fathers had intended on regulating McDonalds, they would have put something in the Constitution about it.

And I'm tired of being angry about the real constitutional outrages in recent memory: the 2000 voting debacle in which SCOTUS cheated Al Gore out of 8 years of splendid misery; the granting to corporations of the same rights and privileges enjoyed by humans, including the right to buy the congressman of your choice and, presumably, abortion services; and the canonization of the right for every citizen to be packin' , in churches and day care centers, and other places where life might be threatened. I'm not an expert on Constitutional law, but I can read. When the Founding Fathers wrote "the right of the people to keep and bear arms," they meant "the people", in the sense of "We the people." If they had been thinking about individuals, they would have written "the right of people to keep and bear arms."

I'm tired of those who call out Muslims, Catholics and Jews for moral turpitude, without including Baptists in the list.

I'm tired of those who don't believe in Global Warming for political reasons, when it is clearly prophesied in Revelation 16:8,9.

I'm tired of people, who don't have to worry about where their next RV is coming from, who can't stand their taxes being raised, even a little.

I'm tired of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. What the hell is that?

Finally, I'm tired of my own invective. It's not becoming of a Google shareholder. My apologies to Sergey and Larry.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Riding the GoogleCoaster with Mr. Jim

I've been reading Jim Cramer's commentary on his website for ten years, first as a freeloader and then as a paid subscriber. It has been a ticket inside his head, regarding the business of trading stocks. I admire the way that he not only provides tons of useful advice, but also gives me access to his emotional ups and downs in the process. I get to see that his roller coaster is just like mine.

I owe Cramer for getting me into GOOG for the first time in late 2004. I was fearful, but he banged on the table of his columns that GOOG must be bought until I dipped my toe in the water, first for 10 shares and then for more. I now own 500 shares.

Over the intervening years, Cramer has been hot and cold about GOOG. A year ago, he was hot, touting his target of 700 for the stock. Then he became deeply offended (I think that's the right term) when Google got in its tiff with China and moved its servers to Hong Kong. He applauded Google's moral courage, but castigated the decision - it was not good for business.

Since then, he has not mentioned Google in his posts, even when there was reason to. This morning, he filed a piece, titled "Apple, Web, Storage Are Tech Winners", and, although he cited virtually every other tech company in the Internet arena, he made no mention of Google.

However, just about an hour ago, as the stock was up 15 points on the day, he had to give Google its due:


Maybe now, we'll get some respect from Mr. Jim. At least, for a while.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuning the 'Net Means More Tuna in the Net

Google Instant is Google's new and improved search method which use's Google's vast storehouse of data to anticipate what users are looking for, even when they aren't sure themselves. You could call it mind reading, but new science always looks like magic, and this is a baby step in the direction of the semantic web. I've used it and am pleased with it, for being subtle and unobtrusive, as well as mind-blowing. Technical folks are in awe of what Google has wrought.

On a stockholder level, you could argue that Google Instant is more about increasing margins by reducing costs, specifically Traffic Acquisition Costs, which represent the cost of running the network and software required to make search come to click.

More efficient searches (fewer round trips to the Bigtable in the Sky to get to your click) means less network activity per click. Of course, the increased density (velocity) will result in more clicks per unit time.

Google is tuning the Internet to its bottom line. Nobody else does it better or more relentlessly.