Monday, September 22, 2008

Moving to Wordpress

I am finding it extremely difficult to manage two blogs, and hence moving all the content over to my Wordpress blog. You can access the older content as well as new at

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lehman: Hubris, followed by Nemesis?

Financial Times has a very good read on the state of Lehman Brothers, which grew to be among the top 4 investment banks in the world. It says how Richard Fuld's never-say-die attitude has saved it in the past and put it on a growth trajectory, but this time, perhaps, he held back far too long [link shared by Rave]:

Lehman’s collapse is worrying for financial markets and for Wall Street as a whole. It is also a tragedy for its 24,000 employees, who were drilled into unwavering loyalty and cohesion by Mr Fuld. Many held a lot of their wealth in Lehman shares, which have lost most of their value.

It is also a tragedy for Mr Fuld, in the classical Greek sense. He had devoted so much of his life and his personality into moulding the bank he could not accept its decline. If he had sold out earlier, Lehman might have survived but he was too proud. It was hubris, followed by nemesis.

I hope there is still a white knight somewhere who can save Lehman, because I wonder if its collapse will bring down the house of cards.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google Crawler hitch brings down UAL

This would rate pretty high in Ripley's Believe It or Not! Google posted a 2002 news story on its front page about UAL going bankrupt, which brought down UAL share prices rock bottom. [link]

Shares of UAL lost 75% of its value in seconds, plummeting as low as $3 from $12.30 prior to the story appearing on Google. Some investors in UAL stock lost a ton of money. The stock hit an all time low on heavy volume.

The shares bounced back after the market realized it was a 6-year old story on the company’s 2002 bankruptcy filing that appeared on Google. Investors who sold on the news were stuck.

Google declined comment on the incident. Later, it blamed the Sentinel for posting the 2002 Chicago Tribune article on their website. The Nasdaq Stock Market, where UAL shares are listed, said trades triggered by the erroneous report wouldn’t be rescinded. The Google story then was picked up by Income Securities Advisors, a Florida investment newsletter, and disseminated over Bloomberg News triggering a wave of panic selling. It appeared as ”United Airlines files for Ch. 11 to cut costs.”

Amazin' ain't it? No wonder Google is facing antitrust investigations due to the immense power it yields.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chrome and Email check!

Google just released Chrome, its open source browser which has a bundle of new features like making tabs different processes. In some ways, it seems to be a throwback to the days of IE6 where tabs would actually be processes! However, the new paradigm gives a tabbed UI and a process based backend, which should be interesting to try.

One big advantage with Chrome is going to be finding out which processes are badly designed and hog memory -- something that is pointed out in this blog post.

I decided to give it a try to opening all the new emial services (Gmail, new Yahoo mail, and Live Mail) in separate tabs and testing their memory usage:

It seems to me that that all the mail programs actually use up a lot of space (and Gmail/Y!mail top it at around 20Mb each -- looks like there was some GC happening and Gmail process collected back some memory). Live mail seems to be the most lightweight!

However, what I am worried about -- if my mail tabs are using up that much space and it is only going to go up as these applications add more complexity, why would I not use a desktop based mail client, and switch to a web based client while on the go? A lot of times I have to face flaky connections, and it seems obvious that web based mail clients are downloading a ton of stuff everytime!

The pain point of offline mail clients is the ability to keep perfectly in sync with the server (IMAP notwithstanding and perhaps that should be worked upon) and the ability to install updates, due to which their UI is now lagging behind web based counterparts. If desktop applications can figure out some way of cleanly installing new features and keeping things completely upto date, would they get back in vogue?

Update: And this is what the condition was after leaving the tabs open for about 3+ hours: