New Kindle from Amazon

new_kindleTonight Amazon introduced a new Kindle. Set to ship August 27th, the new revision is 21% smaller and 15% lighter than its predecessor.  The new unit will ship with an display E Ink that has a 20% faster refresh rate.

The unit will also have two wireless options: a $139 WiFi only version and a $189 3G version.  Storage has been increased to 4GB.

Let the eBook price wars continue!

Tags: Amazon, Kindle, ebook, price war, ebook sales, reading, trends

Kindle v3.0 on the way ?

Amazon plans to introduce a new version of their Kindle e-book reader in August.  However after a recent price cut just three weeks ago, Amazon is now out of their current Kindle and their site suggests a new model is on the way.

The device is rumored to be even thinner an updated refresh screen and enhanced imaging. The new Kindle will remain greyscale and will not support a touch screen….but may include apps.

Tags: Amazon, Kindle, ebook, price war, ebook sales, reading, trends

Latest read: The Big Short

Credit default swaps — those infamous three words: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis is a fast-paced, right-to-the-point story about CDS and the collapse of Wall Street.  While recent best sellers have addressed big players and multiple companies involved in the crash Lewis’s focus is just credit default swaps, how they were born, who made millions and how American taxpayers got burned in the end.

the big shortCriminal insanity with a slice of reality over a ton of F-bombs.  I found it hard to put down and actually ripped through the book in a single night.

Lewis follows the few hedge fund managers who actually predicted the collapse, how they managed to bide their time and padded their wallets by betting against subprime loans.  Crowdsourcing at it’s best….or worst?

Steve Eisman, Michael Burry, and Howie Hubler all have interesting roles in the credit swap and collapse (among others) that combine to document how greed, pure greed and outright criminal theft led to the economic collapse of financial giants and ruined our country.

Steve Eisman was blunt — to say the least when insulting financial CEOs but he was right all along about the coming collapse.

Why didn’t others listen to him?  Maybe its how the game is stacked to reward the few and control the governing agencies.  Wall Street views S&P and Moody’s as the guys unable to survive at a brokerage so they work outside the real game.  Lewis has much more to show how the game is stacked for the wealthy and against middle America and especially the poor.

Maybe the best part was his explanation of how Wall Street actually pays S&P and Moody’s for their credit ratings….

Hubler made the worst trade in the history of Wall Street. He lost $9 Billion on a single trade for Morgan Stanley.  And yet he was permitted to leave with a $100 million bonus.  $9 B I L L I O N and he walks unscathed?  Lewis briefly touches on how his actions were covered up by Morgan Stanley and buried from the light of day.

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FireFox’s Tab Candy

FireFox is set (soon I hope) to launch an innovation called Tab Candy.  This will permit Firefox to act more like a OS.  Kinda Chrome like if Google has their way.  The focus of Tab Candy is multitasking and sharing. Tab Candy is managed by Aza Raskin, the Head of UX at Mozilla Labs. Raskin is the son of Macintosh creator Jef Raskin.

Tab Candy features:
Organize tabs into groups that you can name and position on a desktop-like view
Search and Save tab groups to look at later
Have multiple profiles so that you can sign into the same site with different logins in two different tab groups
Share tabs or tab groups between users, computers and devices (Smartphone supported)

Latest read: On the Brink

A financial crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson faced the largest crisis in our country’s modern history with a great opportunity.  His first hand account of the near collapse of our financial economy is detailed in On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System.
on the brinkHis strongest writing are the 20 pages in the book’s Afterward, written one year after his departure from Treasury with the opportunity to look back and reflect upon the events and the solutions including TARP and the role of the G20.

Paulson was certainly the right type of person for the job having served as the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.  He previously served in the Nixon administration as an assistant to John Ehrlichman during the Watergate scandal.

Although reluctant to accept the job as United States Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, Paulson acknowledged upon his arrival in Washington a credit crisis was on the horizon.  Clearly Paulson notes he was naive of regulatory powers in Washington and any suggestions of financial reform in an election year were all dead on arrival.

It’s worth repeating that between March and September 2008, eight major US financial institutions failed — Bear Stearns, IndyMac, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Washington Mutual and Wachovia.  Six of them in September alone.
Paulson jumps right out of the gate on page 1 as all Americans would have wanted:

Do they know it’s coming Hank? President Bush asked me.  “Mr. President we’re going to move quickly and take them by surprise.  The first sound they’ll hear is their heads hitting the floor….For the good of the country I proposed we seize control of the companies, fire their bosses and prepare to provide $100 billion of capital support for each.”

Regrettably its not Wall Street but rather Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government backed lending institutions (GSEs) that Paulson is addressing.  Paulson should could have done the same for Lehman, Bear Stearns.and ALL the other institutions since they received taxpayer money to keep them afloat….on their yachts.
–When you learn that someone at a financial company made a 1 Billion bonus (yes a billion for one person) you can see where the ship was heading…right into the rocks.

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BMW supporting Apple’s iOS4

Yesterday BMW announced it will support Apple’s iOS 4 in their BMW and Mini product lines.  By integrating iPod Out in iOS4 users of iPhones 3G/3GS/4 & iPod Touch 2nd/3rd generations to output and display Apple’s iPod interface on the vehicle’s dashboard display and controlled by the vehicle’s controls.

To no surprise BMW’s controller is called the iDrive….a perfect fit for Apple’s iProducts.  Drivers will be able to control music playback and browse playlists, podcasts, and Genius mixes.

Tags: BMW, Apple iOS4, innovation, product launch, interface, ideas, business, trends

Google to build multiple fiber cities ?

Google may launch more than one “fiber city” in America.  This cyberinfrastructure project could will be a tipping point for a few lucky cities.

Tags: experimental network, Google, Network, internet access, Research, Internet2, Broadbandt, gigabit, high speed, trends,

Latest read: House of Cards

After ripping through Too Big to Fail it seems natural to continue understanding the collapse of Bear Stearns with House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street to get a bit under the hood of how the collapse of Wall Street almost killed our economy.  The book’s focus is the last two weeks of life at Bear Stearns.
House of CardsMost would agree Bear Stearns was the “perfect storm” in hilighting whats wrong with Wall Street.  Trusted executives who cannot lead their company or explain products they are selling.

Author William Cohan even points out as Bear Stearns was collapsing two executives were in Nashville playing in a bridge card game tournament.

I was rather amused that with their ‘tough guy’ reputation on Wall Street, in the end the executives at Bear Stearns, facing the closure of their firm were actually considering filing chapter 11 to force a major collapse of the Western financial marketplace.

Known as their “nuclear option” Bear Stearns actually considered triggering the collapse of the US economy because they were unable to secure their quickly falling stock price at an “acceptable” price during negotiations with the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase in their final hours of operations.  And in the end, many of those tough guys ended up crying at their desks.

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Hidden IT costs

Today small K12 school districts and colleges with less than 1,000 students are accustomed to accessing email around the clock. Email is habit forming at best and compulsive at worst. The digital economy proves funding in-house email services can be staggering. Hidden IT costs remain as budgets are slashed.
vintage lightbulbAnnual IT costs to run legacy back-end email servers, software licensing including (anti-spam, anti-virus, filtering and backup) must run 24/7 from multiple vendors. Annual people costs include training and technical support especially in a high turnover environment.

Some legacy email solutions actually require a dedicated server that cannibalizes the CPU. They are not virtualization friendly. Think OpenText’s WorstClass FirstClass email server.

So what is the largest overlooked annual cost forgotten by IT and financial managers? Electricity. The cost to power all enterprise servers 24/7 can be rather shocking. The first time I collaborated on a private college’s annual budget I was surprised to learn total energy costs for just three buildings on a small campus ran above $260,000/year.  Same rates apply for K12 districts with multiple buildings.

If your organization is running real industrial servers (1U or even 3U units) there are significant costs, regardless of rack, blade or tower servers. Many schools on tight budgets re-purpose legacy Pentium desktops into “servers” along with old, energy sucking CRT monitors. Not a good idea. Don’t be swayed by marketing and PR efforts for “green” servers because they run all day and still cost a surprising amount over a five year lease….you do lease your servers right?

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