Saturday, August 18, 2007

BarCamp Palo Alto 2007 Demos

Mandar and I went to BarCampBlock and checked out the demos today at the Blue Chalk Cafe in Palo Alto. There were some cool companies, the most notable ones being:


Crazy Russian parcour


We are like that only

Our cricket obsession (via Prem Panicker):
But the final cake is really taken by this Gujarati family who organised a “one day international cricket match” between the bride’s side and groom’s side, as part of the pre-wedding festivities, at the Oval in Mumbai, where they rented a part of the ground, erected a pavilion, complete with commentators on the P.A. system analysing the play, drinks interval , third umpire (God only knows what he did). The only thing international about this was the mother-in-law’s Tiffany earrings. The audience came in all the pre-wedding finery, there were comments and hooting, some ladies did the Mexican wave; lunch was served to all the invitees. The Oval ground in Churchgate is not really designed for such social occasions. At the end of the day, those that wanted to visit the bathroom had a problem, and true to the spirit in which the game was played, the solution was found at Churchgate Station, which saw a whole bunch of ladies in finery, old folks with gilt edged walking sticks, accompanied by muddied young people with knee pads rushing in to use the loos, before returning to the “pavilion”.

How do I know all this? My friend (who was the groom’s aunt) attended, and her husband batted at no 4.

Out for a duck.

We are like that only…


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Foreclosure mess: Telegraphed in advance

This story on the Wall Street Journal continues the by-far familiar tale now of ARMs and subprime loans and foreclosures. I was curious about foreclosures in the US in the years before the current housing boom/bust cycle and picked a year at random - 1995. When I searched on Google for "foreclosures 1995", the top result is this 2005 paper:
Since the early 1990s, there has been a very large growth in mortgages made by so-called subprime lenders, which specialize in lending to borrowers with credit history problems. One reason for concern about this trend is that it has been associated with a large and simultaneous rise in foreclosures, which can entail significant costs not just for those directly affected but also for surrounding neighborhoodsand larger communities. This study usesmultivariate estimations to quantify the impact of subprime lending on neighborhood foreclosure levels. After controlling for neighborhood demographics and economic conditions, the authors find that subprime loans lead to foreclosures at far greater rates than do prime loans. Moreover, subprime lending appears to account for a substantial share of foreclosure activity in high-foreclosure neighborhoods.

In other words, this problem has been seen before and was a ticking time-bomb, if one cared to pay attention.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Foreclosures in Silicon Valley

CNN says that there have been over 4000 foreclosures in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose in the first six months of this year, double the number from last year. It just does not make sense - the economy is booming, house prices continue to rise... On the other hand, 2000 more foreclosures compared to last year in these sprawling residential areas may not be such a crazy thing either...


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Internet scams growing

There have been two big Internet "deal" almost-scams in the last two weeks now:

The VMWare IPO that's coming up this week is not quite in the same league, considering that the company is highly profitable and growing fast etc. But virtualization is having its day and the technology is pretty much at the peak of its hype curve and there is nowhere to go but down.

I hope the subprime snowball will quickly destroy all this dot-comish behavior returning to the tech world.


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