According to the Washington Post security guy, Facebook applications have been hacked. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time.
If you are using Facebook or MySpace, I have to ask, “Why?”
I’ve attempted to create both video and audio webcasts. None of my attempts have turned out well. They didn’t turn out badly, but I’m unwilling to share since I’m not proud of them either. Primarily, my issue is with a complete lack of talent for this medium. It is what it is.
However, as an end user of both video and audio webcasts, there are a few things that providers should do that they often don’t do to make the consumers happier. Boooo.
What media providers should do:
- Use RSS feeds to share the last 5-50 webcasts.
- Use standard formats to share all content.
- Allow the widest possible viewership by allowing downloads of the content
- Always provide a patent-free format
- Provide transcripts – for text searching later, not as the primary format for incompatible media formats
RSS makes life easy for your viewers/listeners. Other aggregators are find too, like iTunes, but you don’t want to prevent some people who wanted your content by preventing, YES, PREVENTING them from using some service they elect not to use. Not everyone wishes the use aggregators, the reasons do not matter.
Use standard formats for the content. Standard formats are those supported by 99% of the viewer / listener devices. These formats exist.
- For audio, there are a few acceptable formats. MP3, WAV, and OGG are it. All other formats are proprietary and need to be avoided.
- For video, there are a few more acceptable formats. FLV, MPEG2, MPEG4, xvid, MKV container with . Perhaps it is easier to point out unacceptable video formats: MOV, RM, WMV, QT, SilverLight and browser only formats are all unacceptable. RealMedia and QuickTime formats are worse than Microsoft. Microsoft’s older formats are small, efficient. RealPlayer and QT formats require heavy apps to use which behave like viruses. Have you tried to remove realplayer or quicktime from your system? It isn’t easy. Unacceptable. Don’t make users download a plugin either. If an old version (0.98 or earlier) of VLC plays the video, it is probably fine for distribution. VLC should be the content format test, period.
Allow the widest possible viewership. This means you need to allow people access to the content in the way THEY choose. Many people place audio and video casts on portable devices to listen and watch during their commute times. Millions of people do this every day.
Why use a patent-free format? Some of the most vocal people insist on completely free access. I’m not one of those people. It is fairly trivial to create patent-free formats on-demand. You don’t need to keep those formats around, just allow the user to select them.
So, if you are providing video or audio casts, please make them available to the largest possible audience by following the guidelines outlined above. Please.
What brought this on? I visited a website where I PAY for the content and some of that content is video-casts. I was unable to view or even hear it. Unacceptable. It seemed they went out of their way to make it so I couldn’t gain access to the content either. They are a big company, so my request for compatible formats will probably go unsolved. Their website is extremely complex and fancy. For the most part, it works extremely well, even from an old Linux machine.
Which content providers drive you crazy?
This planet, the Earth, is a death trap for all life on it. At some point in the future, everything on this planet will be killed off. That is a fact, not some possible future vision, but FACT.
An asteroid hit is the least of our problems. Don’t get me wrong, we need to watch for them and have a plan of action to shift the inbound rock enough that it doesn’t hit us. We’ll need a backup plan should the first shift effort not work well enough. We also need to search for asteroids in the hard to find regions of our sky to prevent another 20 day notice asteroid event like last year. That amount of warning isn’t quick enough to do anything but a hail mary attempt.
We have to get off this rock if we, as a species, want to survive. The further away from here, the better. Sadly, many of the things that will kill the Earth will also kill Mars and most of the solar system.
There is already a star pointed at us that will send high energy gamma rays AND will destroy all life here when it goes supernova. It is a matter of time and will probably happen before the Sun becomes a red giant and boils away all water on Earth, before expanding beyond Earth’s current orbit.
We need to take the first steps to get off this rock and find alternative travel methods beyond normal propulsion (throwing stuff out the back to move forward) to get to other star systems. There is no viable method of propulsion to get us (or anything else) to another star system currently. Ion, solar wind, etc are pure fantasy and CANNOT GET ANYTHING TO ANOTHER STAR SYSTEM in 1,000 years.
Steps to Get to the Stars
- Look for suitable extra-Solar planets to colonize with water, a strong enough magnetic field and appropriate temperatures. Telescopes.
- Research theoretical propulsion methods that don’t involve mass thrown out the back of the rocket. We can’t physically carry enough mass to another star. Solar wind is too weak for interstellar travel. Only travel faster than 0.5C or instantaneous travel are useful here. Generational ships traveling for 200+ year trips can’t carry enough mass to throw out the back.
- Perform colonization efforts inside our solar system as local laboratories to learn how to live off the land everywhere we go. Expect 75% death rates.
- Perform basic renewable farming research in completely closed environments until 50+ years of complete, perfect success. Determine the most efficient amount of space and stacked farming for long interstellar trips.
- Perform artificial gravity at 1G trials that are sustainable for 50+ years. Humans cannot survive long-term in lower G environments without exposure to 1G for hours every day to maintain bodily functions and prevent HUGE bone and muscle loss. The best answer is for most of the ship to have 0.8-1.2G to support normal life, plants, animals, and for long term storage to be placed in the lower-G internal areas of the ship. Centripetal force created gravity seems like the only real answer here.
- Perform heavy research on low-G conception, birth, and growth into adulthood for as many species as possible. I suspect bad things will happen to most newborns created in this way.
- Test more efficient methods to get mass into orbit – probably aircraft-based launch systems, not rockets. Ground cannons and earth based energy pushing devices are also interesting. Space elevators are extremely dangerous. What happens when a 200 mile long 3 foot thick cable falls back to earth? It will be bad – earthquake or tsunami wave = BAD.
- Perform heavy research on protective living materials against solar radiation, in space, on planets and moons. Planets must have radiation protection similar to our magnetosphere unless we want to live underground forever. Learn to remotely locate planets with this trait. To learn more, search on exoplanet magnetic fields
We need to get off this rock. It will take generations to accomplish. Every long journey begins with the first step, followed by another and another.
So, 2008 is over. Thankfully. I saw my savings drop, er, significantly. By just looking at the numbers, I did some things right and others, very wrong.
What I did wrong
- I didn’t get out of all stocks that lost 20% in July. I had a belief that July was the bottom and it would go up from there regardless of what others where saying and the actual ticker.
- I rode most of these investments down 40+ percent and still own them.
- I rode a single investment down 92% and sold for that loss on 12/31. The same day I sold it, it rose 4% – after I sold.
- In May, I didn’t take as much of my profits in international investments as I should have. I did place a limit order that was never reached to sell on the next 20% gain. It was close to selling.
- I ignored my rule to sell all whenever an investment drops 10% off the peak.
- Much of what I did wrong was due to my traveling and paying more attention to non-financial life things. Some of that wrong stuff was lucky, this time.
What I did right
- I rolled my 401(k) money into my IRA
- That cash stayed in cash until August and missed all the loses. The cause for most of this was luck – I was out of the country.
- In August, I started trading around my other positions, making about one trade every 2 weeks. This method takes advantage of wide swings in stock prices. In this volatile market, it worked. Very well, actually. 15% gains in 5-10 days, not bad.
- Because of luck and the other things, my IRA barely lost 5% this year.
I wrote the stuff above before I pulled the actual numbers.
|Taxable Investments||-38.36%||No major transactions except buy of CVS in Jan and pulling some living money out|
|Roth||-10.40%||No significant transactions in 2008|
|IRA||-5.04%||Traded around positions in FAST, EWZ, CSCO|
These numbers are better than I thought they would be. The -38% in my taxable account was better than expected even with me taking living and travel cash out the last year.
My huge tax loss was from ACAS, which was up 14%+ on 1/2/09 and 19% for the week. Nice.
BRYAN MORGAN JR.
Dec. 3, 1945- Jan. 9, 2008
Tribute: Bryan Francis Morgan Jr. was born in Washington, D.C., to Bryan and Isabelle (Driscoll) Morgan and was known as "Butch" to all of his family and friends as he grew up. Mr. Morgan was a Navy Seal and served during the Vietnam War. After the war, he joined the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland and retired in 1983. After retiring, he worked various jobs, including one as a bailiff at Grand County Courts. Mr. Morgan was known to everyone around him as the resident caregiver. No matter who was in need, he was there for them. He was very proud of his role as "Mr. Mom" to his daughter, Kacie. His family was always his first priority and will remember all he did to care for them. He also enjoyed cooking, sailing, kayaking, photography, skiing and spending time in the mountains. Mr. Morgan was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Catholich in Windsor. He died Wednesday at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. Survivors: His wife, Gayle (Pflugrath) Morgan of Windsor, a son, Michael Morgan and wife Wendy of Wartrace, Tenn.; a daughter, Kacie Morgan of Windsor; and three sisters, Joan Patton of Clinton, Md., Katherine Johnson of Bryans Road, Md., and Patricia English of Inwood, W.Va. Preceded in death by: His parents; a sister, Nancy Morgan; and a granddaughter, Cierra Marie Morgan. Memorial services: 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Windsor. Rosary will be recited at 9:30 a.m. before the service. Notes: Instead of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the American Diabetes Foundation in care of Mark's Funeral and Cremation Services, 9293 Eastman Park Drive, Windsor, CO 80550.
A few months ago, I wrote in my [[Thoughts On Energy]] that locally created hydrogen would be needed to convert cars from gasoline to hydrogen, even for commuter-only cars. Seems I wasn’t the first to have this idea. A few articles:
- honda home energy station
- NY Times Article
- Business Week Article
The short version is they take natural gas in and provide these outputs:
- hydrogen for the car ($600/month lease)
- hot water for the house
- electricity for a normal house (4+kW)
Overall, about 30% less carbon is released than a normal house, water heater and car would require. C|Net did a very short story on this. I’d really like to see the natural gas not be the main method of conversion … perhaps solar panels & H2O could be inputs instead?
My only remaining question? Where to I sign up and how much does it cost? Sadly, the Honda FCX isn’t available where I live.
Toyota has a FCHV, but their trials seem limited to Japan.
What are US car makers doing?
Here’s a guy who decided to use Solar and Hydrogen similar to the way I suggested a few months ago.
I caught the end of a reality show and saw the legalese at the end saying that the $1,000,000 prize was in the form of a 40 year annuity or current cash value. So, I did a quick calculation in Excel to figure out what that annuity would be. $220/month over 40 years earning 9% interest is $1,037,615.
If you put a lump sum in now and never add anymore money, you’d need $70,000 at 9% interest to grow to $1,031,140 over 40 years.
Could you save $220 per month with an understanding that after 40 years, it would be likely to be at least $1M?
Another example, shorter time frame: $400 a month over 30 years at 9% is $737,000. Compound interest and lots of time rocks! Use it!
Is there any good excuse not to become a millionaire when it is sooooo easy? 9% interest isn’t very much. This is about what the US Stock Market does annually over any 20 year period. You don’t have to be a good investor, just put the money in monthly and do not pay attention to it. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
How are you doing on your $1M? Check it with this simple calculation that happens to work in 2006 (it won’t work in later years due to inflation):
Multiply your age times your realized pre-tax annual household income from all sources except inheritances. Divide by 10. This, less any inherited wealth, is what your net worth should be.
So, if you’re 40 years old and earn $95,000 in salary and $5,000 from investments pre-tax, then your net worth should be $400,000 (40 times 100,000 divided by 10). If this test shows you’re an "under accumulator of wealth," then you might want to think hard about making some changes.
Ok, the other Senator responded to my Thoughts On Immigration that I forwarded to his office. The response follows:Dear Mr. P:
Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration reform. It is good to hear from you.
Illegal immigration is a problem in this country that must be solved. I became involved with the immigration reform bill because it was clear to me that this issue touches the lives of Georgians on a daily basis. Moreover, I believe the people of Georgia elected me to represent them and to work constructively to meet the difficult challenges facing our nation.
From the early development of this legislation, I fought for the inclusion of a border security first provision. I felt strongly that this issue should go to the floor of the Senate for a free and open debate with all Senators having the opportunity to offer amendments and have them voted on. That has not happened. For that reason and because certain amendments have been adopted that make the bill unacceptable, I cannot support the bill in its current form.
Due to the tremendous response from Georgians, I am now convinced that many people do not believe our government will enforce the border security provisions in the legislation. Therefore, Senator Isakson and I communicated to President Bush that Congress must pass, and he should sign, a supplemental appropriations bill to fully fund the necessary expenditures to secure our borders.
I will continue to approach this issue by tackling border security first and separately from any other immigration measure and I will oppose comprehensive reform unless and until that is done. That is why I voted against cloture twice on the immigration bill.
This is the most important domestic issue facing our nation today. The Senate should not limit the traditional amendment process or the custom of unlimited debate. We should take as much time as necessary to openly and thoroughly debate the bill.
Immigration reform is a process and we are nowhere near the finish line. The President and Congress must work together to secure the border first. Once this is done , we can work to resolve the collateral issues. I believe we can get there, but we are not there yet .
News media bias? Really? No way? Follow the money ….
Journalists dole out cash to politicians
Here’s the summary:
MSNBC.com identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.
Investing for retirement made simple. I’m not an investment advisor nor do I have any certifications related to investing.
If you don’t enjoy working with numbers, tracking down "cheap" companies selling at a good value and monitoring them daily, weekly, monthly, then here’s a simple set of ideas for doing reasonable well investing for retirement.
- Pay yourself first – whatever the monthly amount is that you are going to invest, consider it a bill just like your rent or mortgage.
- Save at least 10% of your GROSS income for retirement – this applies to both husband AND wife in a marriage. If you are single, you need to save more.
- Start saving early – it is amazing the difference that starting at 25 years old makes when compared to starting at 35 years of age. At age 55, the total amount is staggering.
- Asset allocation (putting a little money here and a little money there) is very important to ride the ups and downs for each part of the market.
- Unless you are 5-10 years away from retirement, avoid bonds. Some people will disagree with me on this.
- Ok, the target asset allocation for someone under 50 years old (in my opinion) is:
- 50% Large CAP stocks (an S&P500 fund or ETF) These are the core of your investments, steady, predictable growth well above inflation is needed. If you want to be a little riskier, find a "value" Large CAP fund or ETF. Morning Star LrgCAP Funds
- 30% Overseas (EFT or worldwide fund) You might ask why? Growth rates overseas are likely to be higher than in the USA over the next 30 years, IMHO. Morning Star Worldwide Funds
- 20% Small/Mid CAP stocks (ETF) Smaller companies tend to grow faster than large companies, but they also tend to fail more. Morning Star Small CAP Value funds
- Be certain to take enough risks – Certificates of Deposit are not risky enough for your retirement, unless you are retiring within 5 years. Then you should ladder your CDs every year so that for any 5 year period, your income from your investments is completely guaranteed.
- Don’t put any money into any stock, mutual fund or ETF that you might need in the next 5-10 years. Sufficient time is important for risk management.
- Avoid market timing, something called Dollar Cost Averaging really does work – basically, this means send the same amount in every month. When the price is high, you buy fewer shares. When the price is low, you buy more shares. Simple. Be certain to buy those stocks that are cheap with your monthly inputs. AND don’t forget diversification! Never forget that.
- If you aren’t willing to do the time monitoring and researching, stay away from HOT TIPS from the gym and water cooler.
- Save for your retirement before saving for your child’s college education – college loans are easy. There’s no such thing as a retirement loan.
- A good enough guess for how much money you should have before retiring is 12x your annual salary. $50K calculates to $600K needed at retirement. There are many, many assumptions and your needs will be hirer or lower based on too many factors to assume. More conservative estimates go with 25x your annual salary – that’s $1.25M. Which do you think can better weather a 10 yr bear market or critical health issue?
- Here’s a retirement calculator that might be helpful to estimate how much you need to save to reach your goal – both IE and MS-Excel is required for it to work (sorry, it was too easy for me using these tools).
- Try to keep fees to a minimum by using a discount broker with lots of No Transaction Fee Mutual Funds and low fees to purchase stocks (Under $13 per trade). Avoid churn.
- Never buy a fund that requires a front-end or back-end load or 12b fees.
- Avoid high fee ETFs and Mutual Funds with fees over 1%.
- Look for top ranked mutual funds followed by Morning Star – try to purchase the mutual funds in the top 25% of short term and long term performance for the type of asset class you are trying to get. Mix Value and Growth AND Large, Mid, and Small CAP companies. Asset Allocation is critical.
- Be certain that you have 6-12 months of living expenses saved and available outside your retirement investments.
- You should be in good overall financial shape before you begin investing – no credit card debt, no long term car loans (over 3 years total), you get the idea. If you aren’t certain, you have a problem to be solved.
- Never have more than 20% of you total investments in a single investment – once you have $50K total. This includes the company stock that you work at. I count my annual salary towards this 10% rule and don’t have any company stock where I work – my salary is enough of an investment.
- Your house is only an investment if you can sell it. You will still need someplace to live.
- DO review your investments every quarter and verify you are in investments in the top, say 30% of the class for performance.and DO rebalance your portfolio annually to get back to the 50/30/20 allocations (approximately).
- If you do these simple things, anyone can retire with over $1M saved by saving $250/month. It just takes consistency over the 30+ years of saving. Average returns in your investments will get you there.
- Keep the market ups/downs in perspective with this graph
Some helpful links:
- Dollar Cost Averaging
- Asset Allocation | Asset Allocation is more important than the actual investments selected!=
- Yahoo Finance
- Mutual Fund
- If you are looking for more Links … I currently use NAIC stock selection methods and Manifest Investing and have used The Chartist advisory service for multiple years. If you’re looking for an easy way to learn NAIC investing methods, check out.