Thursday, December 21, 2006


stocklinkr is a web site that I created. It has several features like digg or some other stock web sites, but it also has configurable dynamic links sharing. I wanted a way to check out mad money, navallier, etc. without typing in the ticker repeatedly.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Apple and Google competitors closing the gap

Apple Mac sales have been gaining ground. This is largely attributed to the "halo effect", ie increased interest in macs due to success of the ipod. I agree the halo effect is driving interest however macs have had a competitive advantage over windows xp. Mac OS X is more current, and looks better. Apple is likely to loose some of that competitive edge with release of Windows Vista.

Regarding Google and Yahoo, Yahoo is finally rolling out Panama, their new system for advertising that replaces the system put in place with the acquisition of Overture. It is more or less a copy of Google's Adwords system and is likely to dramatically increase their revenues.

I am still bullish on Apple and Google long term, but in the short term their competitors are likely to close the gap slightly.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

cringley on craiglist

bob cringley writes about how craigslist owns the community for local advertising.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 is a really great idea... connecting lenders and borrowers, eliminating the banks. Here is an article, it was started by a guy at e-loan.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Windows Vista

I agree with the recent criticism I have read about Microsoft offering too many versions of Windows Vista.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jeff Bezos and Amazon

Recent article in business week discusses how Jeff Bezos wants to make Amazon into an internet platform company. It mentions a9 which was a case of google envy and a waste of shareholders money. The main point is it's web services like S3 service, which appears to be basically pay as you go web hosting, and mechanical turk, a crowdsourcing application. I think they are on the right track about the future of the net, but I just don't see them being the ones that pull it off.

I think the main problem is that they charge really small amounts for their services. Charging small amounts prevents people from using them. Conversely google lets people use their services for free and monetizes them through advertising. For instance they charge $.15/thousand requests for access to the alexa web services

Thursday, November 09, 2006

techcruch rocks

TechCrunch is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs. I saw two interesting articles about acquisitions. Reddit was bought by Conde Nast, and digg is in talks with news corp.

Google Test Site

searchmash is a site where google tests out new features.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yahoo run by old school media execs

This yahoo talent show site exemplifies my problem with Yahoo's direction. The girl on this ad acts like she is on tv. I think fundamentally the problem is that Terry Semel is from Warner Brothers where he turned them around by producing a string of huge blockbusters. I don't think he or the people he has brought in understands the web. If this is their answer to google buying youtube they are in big trouble. (the original ad featured the robot break dancing clip of david elsewhere that was made famous on youtube). They don't seem to understand the interactive nature of the web versus a broadcast medium. Just today yahoo announced Yahoo food which will feature celebrity chefs.

zune and the high end market

One problem that Microsoft's zune player will face is that apple has already captured a large portion of the high end consumers. The ones who are willing to pay for the convenience of using itunes. These consumers are largely locked in because songs bought through itunes won't play on other players without some effort. (for instance burning and then ripping the songs as mp3s). However some people think Microsft may try to buy these users out by giving them free copies of songs they bought on itunes. While I think this is a good idea, it exemplifies how hard it is going to be for anyone to compete with the ipod. Even if they are free I hope they make it quick and easy to download all the songs.

Microsoft Office Live

Microsoft Office Live will offer free domain registration and hosting.

Google to beat TV in race for ad revenues in UK

Here is another article about online advertising revenues growing at the expense of traditional media. This is antecdotal but whenever I watch a news program and they tease you with their next story before a commercial if it interests me I usually get up and do a search on google news.

Cingular deal puts pressure on Apple

Cingular anounced a deal with XM, Yahoo music and others. This puts heat on apple and their ipod. I agree with this article it's very likely apple will become a mobile virtual network operator (mvno). i.e. selling cell phone services through their brand. Especially since Steve Jobs is a major shareholder in another company that is an mvno, namely disney mobile.
The ipod is likely to face competition from mp3/cell phones and they are developing an ipod/cell phone, (iPhone?) (hopefully better received than the dissapointing rockr) and they risk being cut out as the service provider. i.e. people buy music from their cell phone provider instead of through itunes.

I am bullish on apple and hold a modest position in the company.

Monday, October 16, 2006

google buys youtube

Google has bought youtube. I think it was a great move and I am long on Google. The most interesting thing is that they were profitable, and kept it a secret so no one would sue them. I think they will quickly integrate adsense (and possibly video adsense) and let users share in the profits from pageviews (as they do with blogger today).

During the negotiations Microsoft was asleep at the wheel. The best thing they could do for shareholders is to get out of the internet altogether and pass on the profits from Windows and Office in the form of dividends until the company folds. Bill Gates is retiring, and the place is creatively bankrupt.

Eveyone on the street is asking who will get bought next. Some are talking about facebook. My guess is that Yahoo will pay too much for facebook, while google feigns interest to drive the price up. Meanwhile google will continue to buy companies that have momentum but are not completely mainstream like reddit or digg... (just as they did with blogger and writely).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


There has been a lot of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances in tech, and there have been rumors of even more largely prompted by fear of Google. Fundamentally I think there are 2 markets: Advertisers/Application Providers(namely Google, Yahoo, and MSN (which I will call GYM for now)), and sellers (ebay and amazon). Mergers within these markets would be huge. Amazon and ebay would form an e-commerce powerhouse. Yahoo and Google would create a search and internet application powerhouse. These merges would give them leverage against the other camp like ebay-Amazon could negotiate volume advertising rates on Google. However mergers across these camps are going to create an unhealthy dynamic. For instance, ebay merging with Yahoo (as has been rumored) could be bad. It would be difficult for Yahoo executives to watch the ebay side funnel money into google advertising which is critical to ebay's survival. I think this overrides the fact that Ebay (and to some extent Amazon) is a valuable community, and it competes directly with Yahoo Auctions.

Beyond that the only acquistions that make sense are GYM buying applications that have strong communities, and shunning original content for user based content. Many applications can be easily replicated but require communites to work... like myspace, flickr, delicious, digg, and youtube.

Google obviously is a powerhouse, but has been reluctant to acquire other companies and has a tendancy to create their own applications even if another community has already been established(example: orkut and myspace). They have made some acquistions like blogger, but not many. I think they can take over any field where community is not imporant (search, maps), or there are standards (like email) but need to think more about acquiring where the community is so important.

Yahoo has made some brilliant acquisitions, namely overture, flickr and delicious. I have been concerned about Yahoo and their their emphasis on making original content since they hired several old school media executives, but they appear to have changed course.

Microsoft has made few good acquisitions, and whatever they acquire they will probably destroy (think hotmail). I remain bearish on Microsoft's ability to compete on the internet. From a technical perspective they will convert it to Windows which will be a major distraction and they will loose ground. Further it will make the company impossible to spin off, as it will either have to transition back to linux or pay enormous licensing fees to MSFT. Also, they have little goodwill with other businesses or consumers. They also have a culture that is spoiled, not in the habit of competing or delivering quickly, and they have no style or originality (think Origami). Also they don't have the focus that Google and Yahoo do on advertising.


I don't think it's a good idea for anyone to buy skype. It is not a clear case of buying the community. There is a community but it is tied to another community: the public phone network. Standards destroy exclusive communities. That is why google was so easily able to compete in email with gmail, but not with myspace. I think long term skype as well as vonage and any other voip play will be hard to capitalize on.

Before I bought skype or vonage I think it would make sense for GYM to buy at least the IM part of AOL for the community, not the technology. All three have their own messaging system but IM is the leader and the stronger it is pulled into the voip market the better chance it has for becoming the de-facto standard.

Other than that AOL is a dog. It's dial up business is plummetting, and original content should come from other companies. Of course there was the big deal about it's search and google, but I don't think aol has the leverage it thinks it does.

I think News corp acquisition of myspace was brilliant. Shame on GYM for not reckognizing it's potential. Bands that are on myspace have web pages that are effectively the same except without there friends. If the internet had started out with myspace written into the protocol of http, that might be the way we use it outright.

I think GYM should all be looking hard at YouTube before News corp scoops it up. It may very well replace tv as we know it. This is an example where google has built Google video instead of buying up a company that already is building the community.

I think everyone should look at digg. However, digg need to take the obvious step and extend beyond technology before someone else does.

I suspect at some point if wikipedia can't keep up it's servers someone may adopt it and add ads to the pages. Interestingly, Google is currently providing storage and hosting.

However, possibly the most brilliant acquisition of all was Google buying dark fiber. This will give them leverage against the telcos and cable companies as they try to buy the internet infrastructure and extort them.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Microsoft down 11% on spending plans

MSFT is down today because investors are not happy with spending plans, but I don't think people get the big picture on msft and their inability to compete with google. One thing that will hold back their chances is the fact their data center must use windows while everyone else (google and yahoo) use linux. linux is more efficient for data centers for several reasons including that it doesn't run a graphical user interface. when microsoft bought hotmail it was widely rumored that when they switched from linux to windows they had to use twice as many machines. that means microsoft will use more machines, more space, more power. further if they buyout web 2.0 companies, like yahoo did with flickr and delicious , they will loose ground by converting to windows, as nearly all web startups use linux.

Monday, April 17, 2006

SEO and google news

Here is an interesting article about getting on google news... they claim "In order to have your articles crawled by Google News, their URLs must contain a number consisting of at least three digits." It also it suggests emailing google directly at

Another article in the new york times discusses the fact that people are losing the clever headlines and using a boring headlines with keywords people will search for using services like google news.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How To Start A Business in Alabama

Choose legal structure:

sole proprietarship

no liability protection
must pay fedral self-employment tax (currently 15.3%)

- limited liability partnership
provides little liability protection

- limited liability corporation
provides liability protection
pass through tax entity (avoids corporate taxation)
earnings require payment of fedral self-employment tax (currently 15.3%)
must be dissolved
operational and accounting ease and flexibility compared to S-Corp.

S corp
provides liability protection
pass through tax entity (avoids corporate taxation)
earnings don't require payment of fedral self-employment tax
subject to more stringent accounting guidelines than LLC.
Limited to 35 maximum shareholders, and no foreign capitol

C corp - (most large corporations)
provides liability protection
earnings are taxed at corporate and personal levels
stringent account reqirements
required annual reports, and board of director meetings

How to create an LLC:

1) Draft and file articles of incorporation.
-lawyer is needed for complex articles
-file with county courthouse
-you can use online service.
-also might want to create operating agreement.
2) Pay Alabama business priviledge tax. (Forms PSA)
-currently you have 30 days after forming corporation
-this is paid yearly. (from dec1 to march 15 for that year)
3) File ss4 with irs to get ein (employer identification number, aka tax id)
-choose closing month for accounting.
4) Get local business license.
5) Set up business bank account.
-this allows you to easily separate business and personal finances.
-normally banks require you to have EIN and local business license.
6) Get business insurance.
-Insurance can further protect your personal assets.

**** Yearly Taxes

The LLC must file a form 1065 with irs.
The first year it must file a Form 8832 to be taxed as partnership.
The LLC sends members K-1 forms.
File earnings on 1040, schedule C.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Email Tracker

This site uses techniques that spammers use to allow you to track your email and know when it was opened, forwarded, etc.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CSS Page layout

This is a simple layout for the typical header, right/left nav, and centered content using css. Next time I do a page from scratch, I am going to ditch the tables and use this.