Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ahh... the Weekend.

Well, I’ve been working pretty long hours this week. So, I’m relieved that the weekend has begun. Tonight, I went to the Buddha Lounge in Mountain View. It’s a recently opened lounge that replaced some pool hall downtown. It wasn’t too bad there. I thought it was pretty chill inside. Nothing too fancy or special about it, but I had a good time. The bartender made some decent drinks, so I heard; I only had a few beers.

Here’s a puzzle or problem that I ran into recently. Since I’m a moron, I requested the help of a friend, The Marquis, to help me fully understand why it works out the way it does. Lucky for me, I'm excellent at feigning intelligence and managed to avoid looking like a complete moron. Alright, here it is.

On eBay, if you fail to sell an item, you are provided with a Second Chance to do so. Now, say you have the following sales record (S = Sold, N = Not Sold, S2 = Sold on Second Chance, N2 = Not Sold on Second Chance).

S N N2 S N S2 S S N S2

Your sales failure rate is 4 for 10. Now, what if you considered any second chance as part of the same sales attempt? If you did so, you’d have the following sales record:

S (N N2) S (N S2) S S (N S2)

This would mean that your sales failure rate is now 1 for 7.

Now, in general, take any sequence of eBay sales results. Using counting method 1, say your sales failure rate is A for B. And, say that for the same sequence of eBay sales results, your sales failure rate is X for Y using counting method 2.

Why is it that, in general, (A – X) is always equal to (B – Y)?

Something to think about, I suppose. Anyway, off to attack that Party Poker bonus!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Market Update

Today's big news... GDP for Q105 shows a slowdown in economic growth. Apparently the latest number indicates that we might have hit a few speed bumps in our path of expansion. Also, unemployment claims rose from 299K to 320K.

This is clearly disappointing... and the market's reaction is gloomy. The majors are all sporting approximately half-percent declines as I report this around 7:05AM PST.

For all of us who are currently long the market... today's not so pretty a sight.

That said, what's positive today?

EBAY is advancing quite strongly for such a down day. It has really shown some serious strength recently. In the sub-31 range, I've been seeing serious buying. Also, when bad news can't push a stock lower, it's probably nearing a bottom if it hasn't already seen one. EBAY has ignored bad news recently, ranging from Amazon's poor quarter the other day to today's economic reports.

Altria Group (MO) -- Phillip Morris, for those who don't keep up -- is on the move as well. The CEO is once again talking about a break-up of the company into two, or maybe three parts. As a shareholder, I'm all for this move. Sometimes the sum of the parts is greater than the whole... this is especially true when it becomes difficult for the world at large to provide a valuation for the whole due to major uncertainty (legal issues, for example) in one of its parts. This isn't the first time the break-up idea has come up. Months ago the company mentioned the possibility at an investors' conference.

And let me finish with a brief update on AskJeeves. Today, Deutsche cut its rating on the shares. Basically, the firm concludes that a rival bidder is unlikely. Well, Diller, I guess the butler is all yours.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Morning Market Watch

It should be obvious by now that I'm on some kind of blogging binge. I wonder when the novelty will wear off.

Anyway, it's just after 7, and I'm watching the markets with a buddy of mine... call him Spud. Let me say this right off... this guy has brass balls. Assuming you're not rich... if you're trading in positions with sizes that rival the GDP of a lesser developed country, you've got some serious nuts; or, maybe you are nuts.

So here's the situtation... Spud is long eBay. We're talking about a large position. He's sweating every tick. When you have a lot on the line everything is exagerrated, it's quite amazing. If I were working on my psychology doctorate degree, I think I'd have enough material with Spud and his latest swing trade to write my dissertation. But, let's give the guy a fair shake... at least his cost basis is sub-32. He's not the bagholder that's got eBay from nearly 60 a share.

I, too, am long eBay (at a price even better than Spud's)... but, my position is boring. However, boring is good. I don't want to think twice about heading to the bathroom to take a piss, because I'm afraid of a move in the markets. I don't want to live that way. But, to each his own.

Anyway, the April Consumer Confidence number came out about 15 minutes ago... it wasn't good. But, thus far, the market hasn't really moved too much in reaction.

Time to catch a nap before I head off to work.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Cable Guy

It's about 11:15PM. I got home not too long ago. I should have been home a good two hours earlier. Now, why would that be? Sometimes when a 1/2 hour job evolves into a 2 1/2 hour job, strange and weird time shifts occur. So, I end up at work around 2:15PM.

So, the cable guy shows up around 11:15 this morning. So far so good, he made it in the scheduled window of 8-Noon. Then, he spends about 15 minutes doing some cable stuff outside. Great... I'll be off to work soon. Next comes the nightmare. An hour into the "internet" installation portion of his visit, he simply gives up. He cannot hook my computer up to the net.

I'm noticeably frustrated by this turn of events. So, the guy calls his tech lead for some (moral) support.

"Can you use IPConfig to see if you can get an IP Address?"
"Can you spell that?"
"I-P-C-O-N-F-I-G" -- too bad the F sounds like an S over a static-ridden line.

So, IPConsig it is... WHOA. Nothing. Must be the cable modem. Must be a problem over on the cable company's end. No wait, it's because you're using Firefox. I am trained with Internet Explorer. Another 10 minutes of this nonsense, I decide to step in. Fifteen minutes later, I see what was wrong. The hardcoded DNS addresses from my old ISP were still there. Upon removal, everything worked just fine.

What a waste of my time.

Some have asked me why I'm blogging on Bloglines instead of the more popular blogging sites. Well, I have a special place in my heart (and pocketbook) for Ask Jeeves. Since I'm a totally new to this blogging craze, and since ASKJ bought Bloglines, I figured I'd make my mark on here.

Still in the middle of clearing that PokerRoom bonus. And, yes, the interface still sucks.

That's all for now.

Posted on: Mon, Apr 25 2005 11:02 PM


It is now 12:10AM, Monday April 25, 2005. This post is my first foray into blogdom. I am currently unsure where this initial post will lead me or anyone reading, but we'll find out soon enough... together.

Hmmm. What am I doing right now? I'm playing Scrabble online, listening to some Crystal Method, and playing on to clear a bonus. I may as well use this time to let you all know how much I despise the user interface on that site. It is absolutely horrible.

First, you cannot disable the animation. So you have to sit through a dealing of the cards, which is utterly pointless. One of the appeals of playing online is that you do not have to wait for anything. No shuffling, no dealing, no physical stacking of chips, and no having to wait for a dealer to read the hands shown down declaring a winner. So, why must we be forced to sit through this? I simply don't get it.

Second, there doesn't seem to be a nice way to quit out of the game at your blinds. You have to be very aware to sit out when you are Under The Gun.

Last, only allowing 2 tables to be run simultaneously is definitely sub-par when compared to other sites.

OK, I suppose I'm done with my venting. I still have quite a few more hands to go to complete my bonus. I also have a Party Poker bonus to take advantage of next week. So many online poker bonuses, so little time.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my adventures.

Note: Due to the instability of my internet connection, this introductory post is being published at 8:56AM as I wait for the cable internet guy to show up and provide me with a stable line.