Amsterdam nearly half muslim. Can’t stop violent youth.

January 29, 2008

Just read this piece  from Pajama’s  media  complaining of gay bashing in Europe.  It notes in passing that nearly half of Amsterdam is Muslim. I  assume the proportion of Muslims in all of Holland is much  smaller but this population is younger and nearly controls the capital.

I wonder what the numbers are for Paris and am curious what the numbers need to be to result in a  defacto change of control. The totals matter less than the  details.    If  Ashkenazi  Europeans  (new usage for this word) are old and live outside the major cities  while  the  newer Sephardi  Europeans are younger and live in the cities then defacto we will see a change in control.

The  other variable is what portion of the  sephardi  population  is  willing  to  resist  their  more  activist  peers.   The  examples  from  other  countries  don’t  leave much hope for Ashkenazi power.

Does currency follow politics?

January 25, 2008

Reading this piece on Sarkozy’s plans to freeze French government spending, I started to reflect on the fact that Germany also relatively recently voted against socialist government and England is likely to vote Tory in the next election.

In contrast, the US has a very high probability of increase the representation of Democrats in congress and electing either Hillary or Obama POTUS.

Where do you want to put your money?

Thinking about switching to Macintosh

April 20, 2005

I like the Macintosh operating system interface better, but the hardware is far inferior to my top PC laptop pick, the Panasonic Y2. The future is in web based software and always-on connections (see e.g. going after MSFT). But today we are not there yet.

Verizon offering wireless 500Kbps on AudioVox PocketPC Phone for $550-$590

February 4, 2005

Verizon has introduced 300-500 kbps EvDO service in every city I plan to visit in the US except San Francisco.

They are selling that supports this standard is the AudioVox XV6600 PocketPC Phone. for $550-$590. It does CDMA, EVDO, Bluetooth, USB, SDIO, and has 128MB, but NO CAMERA and no 802.11

The 128Mb storage is enough because the wireless is fast enough to archive on a server. (There is a business providing hosting for this storage!).

CDMA means the voice won’t work in Europe, but may in Israel, South Africa, and China.

EVDO data may also work in China, Israel, and South Africa. But again, not in Europe.

The lack of camera is sort of annoying, but you can get an 1.3 megapixel SDIO camera for $90 from

The phone functions as a bluetooth modem so if your laptop also supports bluetooth, you no longer need to pay for DSL or Cable.
For me that is a savings of ~$100/month if you include home wireless, starbucks/T-Mobile hotspots. OTOH, if you have a device like this then you don’t really want a laptop. You want a separate 160GB USB harddrive for $139 and a device that is simply a 17″ LCD screen for $300 and keyboard and a $100 battery So, if you add it all up, you should be able to get a great laptop for $1100 but no one is selling these yet.

The data plan is $40-$50/momth unlimited.

Note: If you have this device, you no longer need an IPod because you can run ShoutCast over the EvDO.
However, people may want to run their own music. In which case, again, data hosting might be valuable in combination with software to make it easy to play music from playlists — think podcasting. If I get, I would also get a device lke this , to stream audio to my home stero.

Verizon charges $40-$50/month for voice, but it probably doesn’t make sense to commit to a plan because.

Skype for PocketPC is free. Skype calls to and from other skype users are free and calls to the phone system are only $.02 per minute more anywhere in the world! SkypeIn inbound calling will be available some time between the end of winter and July. They have said nothing about how much SkypeIn would cost, but I would bet it will be less than $10 per month because Vonage charges $15 and they both supply a physical device and provide 500 minutes for that price.

You can run Vonage on PocketPC today for $35/month fo unlimited. But that is not sufficiently less to me compared to Verizon’s voice when you factor in verizon’s voice coverage is stellar and its EvDO coverage is still fairly limited.

Note: All of this assumes that the service is reliable and it could be ultra-flakey. When I visited the local verizon store, the device was not able to get online so, as usual, YMMV.

Specialist Insider Trading at the NYSE

April 21, 2003

The WSJ reports that specialists (the people who match buyers and sellers) are taking advantage of their priviledged position to trade for their own account. The article says computers and decimalization are crowding the profits out of the core business so these specialists have to make money through trading for their own accounts. My suspicion is that the computers just made the illicit behavior much more visible.

The problem here is the humans and not the intermediation of the specialists. There is no reason why the exchange couldn’t modularize and outsource specialization to whichever firms are willing to bid on the business. They could maintain the NYSE’s economic structure but get rid of the human inefficiencies.