December 6, 2006

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Social welfare

December 2, 2006

Another person that doesn’t understand the role of Social Welfare.

I quote the following paragraph, just you can understand the kind of egocentric person we’re talking about:

“At least two-thirds of the federal budget represents forcing one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress.”

Don’t mind about the poor, the elderly and the people that can’t stand up for themselves. Just mind about your income.

Walter E. Williams, you should really study the socialist system in Europe. It may be expensive, but at least I sleep well at night, knowing I’m helping the helpless of Europe.

In your free time take a loot at the Social Welfare in Finland, as a good example.


December 2, 2006

I was reading John Chow’s Dining Like It’s 1999 post and them something popped up in front of me: tips.

This is a good example on how ocidental cultures can be so different.

In Portugal (that’s Europe, in case you don’t know) the common is “no tip”. If the service is good we may tip about 5%. If the service is awesome it could probably reach 10%.

But 16% service charge on my check is something I’d never pay in Portugal (), no matter what. I don’t really get it, it’s like they’re saying:

Wether you like the service, food and all, or not you’ll still tip us as we want.

I don’t know how you Americans stand this kind of behaviour.
Maybe I should try charging an extra 16% to my clients for the all-night longers, wasted time with meetings and extra stuff I do for them…

Import stock quotes using Excel

December 2, 2006

There are a lot of tools how there to manage your personal finance, but none seems as flexible and powerful as Excel.

In order to manage your stock portfolio with Excel we need to periodically update your stock quotes and that can be a hassle.

Wait no more, Excel 2003 has a feature called Web Query that’s just great to import stock quotes. Here’s how it works.

You find a site that has the quote you want (e.g. , for Google’s quote).

You open Excel and go to Data->Import External Data->New Web Query

Step 1

Then enter the site’s URL at the next window and select the table that has the quote you want.

Step 2

And you’re done, now you have the information on your spreadsheet and you can do whatever you want with it.

To refresh the Web Query, right click the Range and select “Refresh”. You can also edit the Range’s properties so that it is automatically refreshed.

Step 3

1 way to piss off companies

December 1, 2006

After reading Telemarketing system: 71 ways to piss off telemarketers I must say I agree with them: telemarketers are a pain in the ass.

But most of the times they’re just young students or people that don’t seem to find a better thing to do. Really, would you be a telemarketer unless you’d have to be one?

The real problem lies in the companies, the companies that pay telemarketers to call you and to try to sell them God knows what. In my opinion the best thing you should do is:

  • Best thing: Don’t buy any product/service from that company
  • 2nd best thing: Say loud and clear “I’d never buy a product from that company”

Now you’re doing your part.

Adeus Google Answers

December 1, 2006

As mentioned by Google and then by Seth Google Answers has stopped accepting any new questions and, by the end of the year, will stop accepting even new answers.

But why? They don’t tell.

Is it because it wasn’t profitable? It’s likely but… Google has lots of products that aren’t profitable. But probably this one wasn’t growing as intended.

If I had Google’s huge cashflow, user base and intelectual capital I’d do the following with Google Answers:

  1. Redesign it (it is so so…)
  2. Stop charging people to ask questions
  3. Implement a Googled ranking system for contributors answers (they have great PhDs, I’m sure they’ll have no problem with that)
  4. Give daily/weekly/monthly prizes to the best contributors
  5. Sell advertising space on the site.

If they gave out $5000 prizes daily, how many people do you think would visit the site?

Poor implementations

November 30, 2006

What is a great design worth if the implementation is poor? Next to nothing…

Poor implementation

This picture, from Seth’s Blog: Classic illustrates a common problem. I’m pretty sure no one draw that curved line in the blueprint. But it did come out that way.

So, next time you’re reading a great proposal, design or whatever, remember to really know who’s going to execute it and how it is going to be controlled.