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Thursday, November 9, 2020
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November 9, 2020 at 8:06 am ET
Remember Kyle Macdonald and his One Red Paper Clip? The quirky story where he got a large paperclip, and set out to barter it for other stuff, planning to keep exchanging till he got a house? Here comes another barter blog. Starting with One Ugly Domain, Andres Kello’s trying to barter domain names to get something better - and in the process, hopefully to get a domain worth a million dollars. It might work - if, similar to One Red Clip, there’s significant media attention, the domains being bartered elicit a lot of interest and traffic, they’d get valued higher and higher. ... (more)

Thursday, November 2, 2020
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November 2, 2020 at 7:43 pm ET
With all the recent news about Youtube, Myspace and other social networking, I’ve been looking into these areas; both from the how-to-set-it-up angle, and the economics / biz model approach. I have a few articles up at Profy, if you’re interested - Open Source Scripts available, and just beginning a series on the business model / drivers. Links here : Challenged by Code and Roll your own Web 2.0 2 posts on free or cheap software available. Web2konomics 101 Building on a framework by Brandon Schauer, to look at Web 2 from the business model angle. More posts to come, so keep checking for new posts ... (more)

Monday, October 30, 2020
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October 30, 2020 at 10:13 am ET
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve taken on a blogging assignment with Profy blogging about Web 2.0, social networking, and other related technologies. Profy’s looking for more bloggers to join the group - if you’re interested, check it out here. If you’re interested in technology, this group rocks! And by the way, there’s a new competition kicked off - the Post of the Week and the Author of the Week. If you move fast, you could get in, in time for the first round. PS : I’m looking for help to make it in these competitions. Anyone know a surefire ... (more)

Friday, October 27, 2020
2¢Worth 2.0 (1 click)
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October 27, 2020 at 8:21 am ET
Most readers here will know that I love wordplay - and the title here was one I couldn’t resist. 2¢ Worth will be celebrating the first anniversary on Nov. 1st - our first post was back here about The best way to start a blog, and it’s been a fun year since. Looking around for an encore, and a way to mark the anniversary, we’ve been evaluating various options, when another opportunity came by; an invitation to blog for Profy. Profy’s new, but they’ve been pulling together a group of tech-happy bloggers focusing on Web 2.0. Right now the group of bloggers ... (more)

Thursday, October 26, 2020
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October 26, 2020 at 3:42 am ET
Want to know how your salary compares with others around the US? Or even look for jobs elsewhere? I found this site thanks to a post on Seologs blog. It’s called Indeed - and it’s indeed good! There’s a nifty salary search, or you could compare it with alternate careers, if you’re looking to switch. Here’s the comparison I did : Blogger in New York $46,000 ... (more)

Wednesday, October 18, 2020
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October 18, 2020 at 8:01 am ET
John Tierney’s Op-Ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Shopping for a Nobel” (Subscription to the NY Times Select required), while seeming logical, also appears to miss the point of the Nobel altogether. Tierney quotes extensively from an article by Michael Strong (Forget the World Bank, Try Wal Mart), but appears to miss his point as well. Michael Strong argues quite logically that economic growth is the best solution for global poverty - and that even though Wal Mart style mercantilism results in sweatshops and abuse, the fact remains that for the truly poor, these are still better than remaining ... (more)

Tuesday, October 17, 2020
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October 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm ET
300 million Americans in the US. But no one knows who that is. Unless you know someone who was born at 7.46 a.m EDT. Any takers? ... (more)

Thursday, October 12, 2020
Ready, Get, Spam (2 clicks)
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October 12, 2020 at 9:41 am ET
Spamhaus, one of the world’s largest anti-spam organizations, has been the target of a court order that could result in huge amounts of spam to your inbox. Stories at Informationweek and Forbes highlight the issue. I don’t know the merits of the legal arguments - but having heard of Spamhaus and it’s activities before, I’m concerned. The other question to watch is jurisdiction - Does a US court have any jurisdiction over a UK based organisation, if it doesn’t “operate business” in the US? We might just be seeing one of the most important decisions relating to the Internet emerging out of ... (more)

Wednesday, October 11, 2020
Fer God’s sake (2 clicks)
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October 11, 2020 at 9:18 am ET
Freakonomics poses an interesting question - Just imagine, if God had corporate sponsorship, while creating the world. “Can you imagine the loot He could have landed for the naming rights of every animal, mineral, and vegetable?” Well, He (or She) could’ve got some from Puma or Apple or Saturn, maybe. Or from Windows, I guess. If they existed. But then, for them to exist, He’d have to create them first. And incorporate them in the process, so that they’d have a legal identity distinct from Him. And then, create money. So that they could pay Him. Next, He’d have to account for ... (more)

Monday, October 9, 2020
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October 9, 2020 at 8:16 am ET
On the rounds of other PF blogs, found this interesting post on BloggingAwayDebt : “Am I Close to the Point Where I Just Need to Earn More?” At this point, I’d concur with the visitor who commented about needing to increase income. As Tricia comments, there could be some more penny pinching on the cigarettes, the dining out and the entertaining - but at the end of it all, the extra wouldn’t be too much more anyway. Not to mention the additional stress to squeeze out another $100 or so. But what I didn’t get was the plan to quit the two ... (more)

Thursday, October 5, 2020
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October 5, 2020 at 6:27 am ET
So the grand GM - Nissan - Renault deal is off. A foregone conclusion, especially after the reported demand for a cash payment of $2 - $3 billion to be paid by Nissan - Renault, plus a premium for the stock purchase. But while the assessment that a simple tieup would be adverse to GM (or more favorable to Nissan-Renault) may have some ground, the real cost is the alternative. With this out of the way, chances are no other alliance is going to take it’s place - any other carmaker is going to be leery of having to ... (more)

Tuesday, October 3, 2020
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October 3, 2020 at 7:26 pm ET
Dow high, Oil low. What more can you ask for? ... (more)

Monday, October 2, 2020
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October 2, 2020 at 7:34 am ET
Super Saver at My Wealth Builder has a post on the insights from reading various PF Blogs. Looking at it as a journey, with other comments using the same metaphor. My 2 cents worth, to add to his list : Get a map and a guidebook : Or the finance equivalent - a knowledge of the habits, techniques and skills that you’ll need. If you can get it, a guide is invaluable : A mentor, who’s done this before. Your camera and diary, to record memories : A personal record or journal helps; making it a blog shares it with others. Good ... (more)

Friday, September 29, 2020
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September 29, 2020 at 5:19 am ET
A simple, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 2,200 square foot house with a two-car garage in a nice, middle-class neighborhood ? $1.8 million? or $132,000? Depends on where you live, according to the stats on CNN Money. In general, California and the East Coast cost you much more than the rest of the country. But you could find bargains close to home, if you’re so minded. ... (more)

Wednesday, September 27, 2020
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September 27, 2020 at 11:20 am ET
So what is really happening in the market for residential property? A string of reports on CNN Money about people finding it difficult to sell their homes. Another on NYT about falling prices - but paradoxically, new home sales rising. Yet, a drop in mortgage rates doesn’t attract new loans! If you can make sense out of this, you could find opportunities. But if you’re like me, the only sensible thing to do is stay cool - and out of trouble, till things settle down. ... (more)

Monday, September 25, 2020
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September 25, 2020 at 10:13 am ET
2973 victims died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Now, US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have topped this number; An AP report on Newsweek has the story. As the article says Not for the first time, war that was started to answer death has resulted in at least as much death for the country that was first attacked … A new study on the war dead and where they come from suggests that the notion of “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” has become a little truer over time. Among the Americans killed in the Iraq war, 34 percent have come from ... (more)

Thursday, September 21, 2020
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September 21, 2020 at 10:04 pm ET
The NYT has a small piece called Life Is Better; It Isn’t Better. Which Is It? - interesting title, although in my opinion the article just dances around the topic rather than adding great insight. I mean, snow blowers might the high point in someone’s life, but I doubt if that’s going to significantly influence the majority to rate life as better or worse. But the title did get me thinking, on a personal front. Forget the generation bit; we might be living better than the previous generation, with so many new gadgets that supposedly make life better, but then, ... (more)

Wednesday, September 20, 2020
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September 20, 2020 at 9:17 am ET
Aridni has a thought-provoking observation on financial bloggers - what do you focus on, and is that what you should be looking at? Instead of counting the fluctuating pennies in our Coca Cola stocks, we should, as financial bloggers, be looking for a way to make investments toward the future. …. We should be finding ways to establish money-generating avenues that can multiple for the future, not necessarily for today Judging from the discussion, it’s struck a chord - some commenters argue that it’s the big steps that matter, others talk about the importance of the daily pinch. However, let’s not forget one important truth ... (more)

Tuesday, September 19, 2020
Hedge Hog (2 clicks)
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September 19, 2020 at 9:51 am ET
The bulls make money. The bears make money. And the pigs go broke. Looks like we’ve got to add hedgehogs to the proverb now. Amaranth, one of the largest hedge funds, announced losses of over $3 billion on natural gas futures. A bet that natural gas prices would stay high didn’t quite come through. It’s funny - hedging your bets implies taking steps to ensure that you won’t lose too much. Apparently, someone forgot what a hedge fund was all about. It’s early days yet. But a $3 billion loss isn’t too very different from a $4.6 billion loss. Deja Vu? ... (more)

Friday, September 15, 2020
The Nest Egg Score (10 clicks)
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September 15, 2020 at 8:06 am ET
You’ve been saving diligently, and building your net worth. Give yourself a pat on the back for that. But how do you rate your performance, against others? Some PF bloggers do quote their net worth, and give details; that helps. Or take a look at the Nest Egg Score. A small survey of your income, spending and savings habits together with your zip code - and you get an estimate of how you stack up vis a vis the rest of the country. I wouldn’t call it the best, or most accurate - but it is another way to get a dipstick. ... (more)

Thursday, September 14, 2020
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September 14, 2020 at 10:18 am ET
Jeff’s got an interesting post on the “Not my fault” syndrome - people who blame the credit card companies for their debt problems. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of reasons that you could talk about, which contribute to a state of financial sickness : My employer doesn’t pay me enough. The price of gas has gone up. I saw this bargain on offer … And so on. But there’s the other kind, too - the one’s who fail to do their due diligence. And end up paying through the nose. Like these ARM buyers. Now their ARM costs them a leg, too. What’s that old saying ... (more)

Wednesday, September 13, 2020
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September 13, 2020 at 10:05 am ET
MSN has an intriguing article on Buffett vs. Icahn - or rather, on their investments. At stake - USG Corp.’s future - and maybe, the US housing market? Icahn appears to have short sold USG - and the stock’s downslide has probably given a hefty return. On the other hand, Buffett’s invested recently, and taken a 18% stake. Here’s where it gets interesting. Shorting USG implies a belief that housing demand is going to fall off. So far, that seems to be well founded. But Buffett’s bet appears to be that the stock has bottomed out - and by implication, that the ... (more)

Tuesday, September 12, 2020
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September 12, 2020 at 9:40 am ET
After yesterday’s reference to the “overworked” situation, found two other interesting pieces of news. Flexo’s post on “Your real raise” - or rather, the lack of it. And this Newsweek commentary on being a nation of credit junkies. The trouble is that no society can forever raise its borrowing faster than its income—which is what we’ve been doing. Sooner or later debt burdens become oppressive. ….. ….. It is not just that debt service—interest and principal—is at a historic high, almost 19 percent of disposable income. Credit standards may have been stretched too far. Since 1989 the share of households with debt has risen ... (more)

Monday, September 11, 2020
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September 11, 2020 at 9:33 am ET
Came across this reference on Dave Farquhar’s Silicon Underground - it’s an article / excerpt talking about the rise of overwork and the decline of leisure. Apparently, US manufacturing employees work the equivalent of 2 months more than their European counterparts. Part of the difference is due to the tendency to spend more. As Juliet Schor puts it : And the fact that many of these commodities are bought on credit makes the cycle of income-consumption-more income-more consumption even more ominous. There is no doubt that some purchases permanently enhance our lives. But how much of what we consume merely keeps us ... (more)

Sunday, September 10, 2020
Home style (2 clicks)
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September 10, 2020 at 8:59 am ET
A key factor that makes public transport much more feasible is the style of housing. The typical American dream of a home in the suburbs, with a garden and yard, makes personal transportation (aka the automobile) much more convenient than shared transport. Plus, the lower population density per square mile means that the economics of shared transport (bus / train) are much weaker. Out in Europe, a significant part of the housing is apartment style - buildings with four to six floors, multiple units per floor, with a shared yard. In several cases, buildings are grouped together around a common yard ... (more)

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