Monday, August 2, 2010

Who to Believe?

It's like a deluge...of tweets. When I first signed up to Twitter, I tweeted about everything. I had a lot on my mind so I felt the need to climb the highest e-mountain and shout it all at the top of my lungs. That mountain, of course, was Twitter.

Then the love affair faded. After venting my frustration with the business world - "I cudda been a contendah!" - I went back to doing what I did before, namely playing my guitar and BF:BC2 at night after the baby went to sleep and the wife and I watched our daily shows on the DVR.

But this week, my tweeting has roared back to life. It has a mind of its own, and it seems uncontrollable. It's almost as if...as if...my level of tweeting has double dipped into the realm of hyperactivity.

Speaking of double dipping, it should be no surprise that I'm still reading articles about a W...or is it just a V? The answer to that depends on who you ask. MSNBC claims (in an article in the Politics section, go figure) that any double-dip recession eventually experienced will be the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. if enough people scream about it then the masses will keep their wallets under lock and key.

I don't know about you, but a) if people are unemployed then they aren't going to spend a lot of money no matter what shape the economy is in so fix that first and get back to me and b) I've been keeping a tight lid on my family's expenses for quite some time and I'm sick of doing it (contrary to my wife's claim that I am a Financial Nazi), so I will happily spend more if given a justifiable trend allowing me to do so. So I'm going to pooh-pooh that article as a gross misunderstanding of psychology and the effects of repression of the masses.

Another article - this time from FOX Business - says that economists...

...wait...are these the same economists that MSNBC talked to?...

...originally underestimated the depth of the recession that we are supposedly no longer experiencing. They make it seems superficial by claiming that the GDP only rose by 2.4% instead of the projected 2.5%. But when you consider that the GDP is in the area of 14 trillion dollars, 0.1% is actually a lot of money: 14 billion dollars. That's a lot of Ramen noodles.

I'm sure those of you that follow that jump will state that I'm being unfair because the article goes on to state that consumer spending fell from 1.9% to 1.6%. However, if you dig a little in Google to find out what "consumer spending" really is, you'll find that it is a static percentage of the GDP. It is, in fact, 70% of the GDP but that also includes healthcare spending by the public and the U.S. government. So if your cough is really bad, you could be contributing to the recovery of our economy!

This week's obligatory Facebook commentary is brought to you by the letters H and X and the number 4. (The leet speakers out there will recognize this as h4x which is a computer savvy way of spelling hax or hacks.) Apparently, someone wrote a simple computer program that combed Facebook looking for data that was not hidden by proper security settings. The result was an aggregation of 1.5 million users' worth of personal data.

Do you think a real hacker wouldn't want this? How about a real company? If you said no, think again. The data, which was put on the Pirate Bay website, has been downloaded by several names you'll recognize: Disney, Lucasfilm, Proctor and Gamble, and The Church of Scientology to name a few.

It may be coincidence, but Facebook also announced this week that it is delaying the possibility of an IPO until 2012. Apparently, this is "allow Facebook to bolster its user base beyond the 500 million mark, and clear up mounting criticisms over privacy issues." (The emphasis is mine.)

Imagine that.

If you're looking for some place to talk to your friends, share photos and videos, etc. try using Multiply, the largest social networking site that you've probably never heard of. When I last spoke with David Hersh, one of the cofounders of the site, in mid-Spring he told me that they had 14 million subscribers. While this is a mere drop in the bucket compared to Facebook's 400+ million users - it's less than half a percent - it is about as inconsequential as the 2.4% vs. 2.5% GDP that I mentioned earlier.

Look for an interview with David to be published in the next few weeks.

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