The largest white-collar crime

An interesting UCLA forum video about the IndyMac collapse and the bank crisis in general.

Some short excerpts:

Why it is that Obama is rescueing these people that have brought the global economy to the brink of collapse...
he could have cleaned house...All of the hope that was there - in the election hype - that is not going to happen...
Because Obama's primary economic advise comes from the people who helped create the crisis. And as long as you get your advise from people who don't want to admit that they were wrong about essentially everything they did in their professional lives.

Parts of this video summarized exactly how I feel about the US government and the Obama administration right now. It really does break my heart that all the promises of the Obama campaign are turning into big lies. How could Obama appoint people in his government to deal with the largest crisis of my lifetime, that were so intricately tied to the whole system that has caused the crisis.

In Europe, I am not much of a socialist. In the US I would join the people (tax payers) if they were going out for a march on Washington and Wall Street. Can't someone start sueing these people?

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18 August 2009 • Economy, Finance, InvestingComments (0)Permalink

Adding a deleted (removed) SharePoint user

If you ever run into this problem with your SharePoint installation:

"Can not add the user because a user with that name already exists"

Then here is the solution. (this problem drove me crazy for a while)

This problem may occur when:

  1. You create a user account in AD or as a Local User
  2. You add the user to the Sharepoint site
  3. You delete the user account from AD or Local Users
  4. You then create a new user account using same logon name as the account you previously deleted
  5. You try to add the new user account that you just created to the Sharepoint site

No matter how you try and delete this user, (even if you try and do it from the command line) SharePoint will keep on telling you that the user already exists.

Even though you may have deleted the account and removed the account from the users list on the Sharepoint site, Sharepoint still stores the username and SID in its configuration. The issue occurs because the SID stored of the old user account does not match the SID of the new user account.

Solution

Open to the "Manage Site Collection Users" page by typing one of the following into your address bar:

  • http://ServerName/_layouts/1033/Siteusrs.aspx - in case of a Portal site.
  • http://ServerName/SiteName/_layouts/1033/Siteusrs.aspx - in case of a WSS site.

Find the User in the list, mark the checkbox and click "Remove Selected Users" to definitely remove this User. You can then go back to the Add Users page and add the (new) user.

You would think that they had a link to this Management page somewhere in the Admin Interface. But no! It is secretly hidden from you and if it was not for the Internet, you might still be trying to uncover this mystery.

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Early stages of Depression - the real economy

I highly advise reading this interesting report from Eric Sprott: What if Mr Sprott is right? How many economists and stock analysts are going to actually admit how wrong they were about everything? My guess: very few... And somehow people tend to immediately forget about that. Sprott Comment July 2009
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Take a deep breath

The past few days we have been blessed with an out of town guest staying over. It reminds me of how pleasant it is to:

  • Talk to someone older with a lot of life experience;
  • who has experienced all these different cultures (Dutch, German, American, Australian) in her life;
  • who is so full of life energy;
  • with an infectious holistic approach to everything in life;
  • and is an excellent Yoga instructor.

So this morning we got to enjoy a private Yoga lesson which brought us to extreme relaxation.

I am also more aware now about how much I enjoy entertaining a house guest. Or at least in the sense that the sharing of food (and other little comforts) really makes me happy. I have my partner to thank for that: I have never before enjoyed food this much in my life. The sharing of food (and looking forward to eating it) has become an increasingly important part of my life. I am definitely on a "seefood" diet...

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13 June 2009 • PersonalComments (0)Permalink

Green shoots in the US Economy and the Perfect Storm

There is a lot of talk in the media about so-called "green shoots" in the US economy after (Helicopter) Ben Bernanke first mentioned how he was seeing these "green shoots" of economic recovery in mid-march. I think it is a little early to be considering any form of "new growth" unless Ben was referring to the enormous growth in the US government spending (and the Fed's own balance sheets). I do not know that much about gardening but what I do know is this: when all the plants in my garden have been dying for months now and then they are suddenly dying a little bit less - I would not yet call this a sign of "green shoots" or that anything in my garden is "blossoming". I do have to say that it feels like perfect orchestrating by the US government: fool the fools (in the market) that recovery is on its way and then let them capitalize the banks.

On a weekend get-away in Luxembourg these past couple of days, we ran into a nice cartoon(contest) exhibition with a "green economy" theme (environmental). A few of these reminded me very much of the current crisis and of these much debated "green shoots". Green Shoots on the US dollar

By Zarko Luetic from Croatia

The financial crisis has sometimes been referred to as the "Perfect Storm" and right now we might be in the "eye" of the storm. The drawing below at least visualizes the much-needed "deleveraging" of the financial system. Banks - Perfect Storm

By Dirk de Graef from Belgium

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24 May 2009 • Economy, Finance, InvestingComments (0)Permalink

There are limits to being social

I consider myself to be quite social yet I do not believe I am a socialist. When someone is in need, there should be help. From family, from firends, from other humans, from society and the government. When someone loses his/her ability to work in an accident, that person should be taken care of. When a rich banker is cut on this multimillion dollar bonus because he screwed up, then screw him (or her). When that same banker can not be blamed for his company screwing up because he/she worked in the one department that was actually not making any bad investments and is still turning a profit (without government involvement), he/she can still say bye bye to his million dollar bonus. Or any bonus whatsoever.

How the United States has turned into one of the most socialist countries in the world in less than a year, I still can not understand. Do not blame the Democrats, the Bush administration started this all. Knowing that this form of socialism is of the most unfair kind in the world (Socialism for the rich), can really get my blood boiling.

The Netherlands have always been an outrightly socialist country. Though day-to-day warmth and kindness in the society or sometimes a lot harder to come by. The amount of government interference and rules can literally drive a person crazy. This has left the country in a state where it is more than often considered to be "OK" or excusable to live off other people. Those who know how to "play" the system well enough, - and do not have any moral hesitations in doing so - can get away with living their life in this country without making any effort to stand on their own.

I have learned to be quite tolerant with this kind of behavior. I do not like to see it legitimized though. The TV commercial from one of the health insurance agencies in the Netherlands talks about a guy named Jan Willem Bos. Jan Willem has a job (lucky him) but Jan Willem has a lot of stress. He is scared of losing his job because of the Great Recession. Jan Willem is so stressed that he can not go to work anymore. Jan Willem's boss does not know what to do with that. But that is ok, because Menzis (the health insurer) will take care of that.

Jan Willem gets to ride his bike around the city and sits down reading a newspaper. Jan Willem looks like a loser. To be honest, Jan Willem's behavior makes him a loser. Jan Willem is afraid of losing his job and therefore thinks it is ok to not do his job anymore. Not exactly the appropriate behavior for an employee? Definitely not something that we should be promoting in a TV commerical. Jan Willem should be fired right away. Jan Willem's boss should probably be fired as well because he obviously can not explain to Jan Willem that it is NOT OK to refuse to do your work. Jan Willem should feel lucky that he still has a job. That he lives in a wealthy country and that he probably only has to work 36 hours a week with a zillion holidays. Menzis should be scolded by our government for spreading such harmful propaganda. What if everyone suddenly feels like Jan Willem? And the worst thing about it: in this country Jan Willem can not be fired anymore. Since Jan Willem expressed his fear of being fired and now has mental issues - firing him is virtually impossible. Or at least not without a huge severance pay. I am all about being nice (and social) to each other. But here I have to draw the line. Jan Willem and Menzis have both crossed this line.

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16 May 2009 • Personal, PoliticsComments (0)Permalink

Installing MySQLdb on Mac OS X Leopard

After many frustrating hours I finally managed to install MySQLdb for Python on my new Mac machine.

What went wrong? I made the mistake of installing a 64 bit version of MySQL 5.1 a couple of weeks ago. Python, however was build in 32 bit. There are many website dealing with this problem (see here and here) but it still did not seem to be solvable for me. After trying reinstalling the 32 bit MySQL and playing around with Fink (a package installer for Mac OS) I was about to try and start off from scratch. It turned out that even though I deleted the 64 bit MySQL and deleted the Fink MySQL package, some residual files where still left on the system. After removing all of the MySQL versions (both the Fink version in /sw/share/ and the MySQL package installed ones in /usr/local/mysql; /usr/local/mysql-version..) and reinstalling the right package one more time, I finally got MySQLdb too work. Here is moment of triumph:

Terminal Windows - MySQLdb install successful

The upside of my hours "wasted": I got to learn a little bit more about bash, building and compiling and setting colors on the terminal window.

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Gaming addiction

In my 'younger' years I used to play a lot of (PC) video games. I must have spent hours playing games like the Settlers or Warcraft. When I grew older, I successfully fought the urge to immerse myself in these games. I also did not keep up with new game releases as frequently anymore. The time was spent well on other things. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of the times when I did play games, I always wanted to finish a game as quickly as possible. Not that I did not want to enjoy the game - I really did. But more that I wanted to experience the game completely, get through it and be done with it. In the case of First Person Shooters I often ended up using cheat codes to finish the game as quick as possible. I was not that interested in being an expert shooter, I just wanted to have finished the story.

A couple of times a year I still have this urge to play a computer game (aside from the occasional Wii-ing that I do). The last couple of times that went something like this: I install a game and start playing it. More and more hours are 'used' up on playing. I get frustrated with how much time this is costing me. I decide this is a waste of my time. The game is deleted from my computer and will not be played again.

Every time this happens (it does not happen a lot), I feel like I have overcome some kind of addiction.

On another note. If I have to choose my all-time favorite game it would probably be Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. Sushi in fishbowl did not end the game well with me. She had to be transferred into that desk lamp and then somehow I could not resist the urge to "Turn on + Lamp".

These early (graphical) adventure games did wonders for my English btw.

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13 March 2009 • PersonalComments (0)Permalink

Musical tribute to 2008 Wallstreet meltdown

In case you missed 2008 in terms of financial news (the BIG crisis), here is a musical overview to get you updated:

I recommend loading the song on your iPod for work-out memorization of the biggest meltdown in our lifetime.

This is actually a new version of a early 2008 video/song about the 2007 meltdown. Things got more interesting since then however and the quality of the video improved as well.

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28 February 2009 • Economy, Finance, InvestingComments (0)Permalink

The whole world is going down the drain

Another week of incredible news. Bad news that is. Yet it still feels that a lot of people are underestimating the severity of the crisis. I have to admit that initially I thought this crisis would mostly affect the USA. I knew that the rest of the world was going to be hit hard as well, but not 'as hard'. Now, it seems that the rest of the world is actually going to be hit harder. I can not help but feel that it all seems a little unfair. Not necessarily for Western Europe but mostly for the developing world.

At least we are living in very interesting times. Aside from all the doom and gloom, I am happy to be part of such a 'historically significant' time.

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28 February 2009 • Economy, FinanceComments (0)Permalink
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