Monthly archives of “December 2008

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Get yourself on Twitter!

One of the biggest stories in the tech world in 2008 has been Twitter. I was at first quite down on Twitter, but have since changed my mind. It’s a mix of a social network (like Facebook/MySpace) and a communications tool (like email/texting).

The best way to describe it is through this short YouTube video:

Now go sign up for Twitter and then follow me.

I was against Twitter at the beginning because of Kathy Sierra’s influence. Her post (circa 2006) pointed out that if you’re trying to achieve “flow” in your work Twitter can be quite detrimental as friends’ updates will always be interrupting you.

But I’ve found that when I need to I can just turn off the Twitter application. When I don’t need to achieve that flow it’s interesting to listen in to what friends and others are discussing. If you’ve got a lot of followers, then they can serve as quite a good group to “crowdsource” questions to! (I’ve seen people asking for advice on office space, restaurants, and more.)

In the end, I highly encourage you at least try it out. If you’re on Facebook you can link any Twitter updates you send to your Facebook status, so you only have to type your “status” once and have it link everywhere. Nice…

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A short personal note

My apologies for the lack of posting recently… LondonAnnie and I moved!

We’re just down the road a bit from our old place. For the same rent we’ve got a much bigger flat that even has a view of the river. It’s a 2 bedroom, which means it will be much easier for family and friends to stay with us, too. (Hint!) It’s not for the superstitious… we’re #13 on our road in SW13.

Unfortunately, moving around the holidays means that our internet won’t get hooked up until sometime in January, and none of our neighbors has an unlocked wireless signal. Unless I can get Netshare up and running on my iPhone soon, don’t expect much posting from me until after my exams in January.

But Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2009 is even better than 2008 for you all.

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Signs of a very weak economy, how Clare College is taking advantage

This article in the New York Times shows exactly how weak the economy has become:

In the market equivalent of shoveling cash under the mattress, hordes of buyers were so eager on Tuesday to park money in the world’s safest investment, United States government debt, that they agreed to accept a zero percent rate of return.

The news sent a sobering signal: in these troubled economic times, when people have lost vast amounts on stocks, bonds and real estate, making an investment that offers security but no gain is tantamount to coming out ahead.

[…]

Investors accepted the zero percent rate in the government’s auction Tuesday of $30 billion worth of short-term securities that mature in four weeks. Demand was so great even for no return that the government could have sold four times as much.

In addition, for a brief moment, investors were willing to take a small loss for holding another ultra-safe security, the already-issued three-month Treasury bill.

How Clare College is taking advantage of the economy

Clare College is the second-oldest College at Cambridge, having been founded nearly 700 years ago. One of the benefits of this kind of longevity is that banks are more able and willing to make loans to you.

From the student newspaper about a month ago (sorry, no link):

Clare College has borrowed £15 million to invest in the stock market. The unprecedented inflation-linked loan is due to be repaid in 2048 and the College expects to make a profit of around £36 million.

[…]

This is the first time Clare has borrowed to invest in its 700-year history. Hearn acknowledged that it was a potentially dangerous strategy, but said the forty-year time frame brought security.

“Most Colleges have a very long-term perspective, which gives them an advantage over city funds which often have a short term focus.”

Wow…

Both of these stories are just unprecedented. The economy truly is upside-down.