google_apps_outage

Since this morning the Internet has been abuzz about widespread trouble with Google.

Google Search and Google News performance slowed to a crawl, while an outage seemed to spread from Gmail to Google Maps and Google Reader. Comments about the failure were flying on Twitter, and quickly became one of the most searched terms on the popular micro-blogging site.

A Google spokesman said “We’re aware some users are having trouble accessing some Google services, and we are looking into it, and we’ll update everyone soon. Please let us know how Google services are working for you in your location and on your connection.”

UPDATE: The issues seem to be going away around 9:50 Pacific time.
UPDATE 2: 10:35 AM Pacific: Google says the problems are resolved and will give more details later. “The issue affecting some Google services has been resolved,” the spokeswoman writes. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, and we’ll share more details soon.”

When the outage began, many users turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations and to look for information. Twitter users also were quick to begin reporting that the trouble was clearing up. “Google is back and I’ve stopped twitching,” said one Tweet.

This kind of outage is going to be tough on Google. When Google goes down, lots of stuff breaks. Not just Google’s own apps like GMail and Google Talk, but also applications like Firefox, which use Google as it’s default search provider.

All of Google, or at least the big pieces, went down and this is bad news for Google’s efforts to build up Apps, and to a lesser extent, Gmail, as critical business tools. It also undermines the entire category of hosted applications. If the mighty Google can stumble, then who can be trusted?”

The problem is not downtime- it’s lack of any way to mitigate the problems, and a complete and total lack of any customer service from Google. There is NOBODY you can call when there’s a problem.

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We hear about millionaires — and billionaires — quite frequently. But less often do we hear about pet millionaires. They do, however, exist. Since 1923, when the first reported case of a pet inheritance was affirmed in Willett vs. Willett, pets have been receiving money. Sometimes quite a lot of money. Here are seven dogs and seven cats (in particular order) that are probably richer than you:

Some of the World’s Richest Dogs

These dogs know how to live the high life. Seriously. They give a whole new meaning to the phrase “being treated like a dog.”

ritratto 1.Gunther IV, the German Shepherd: This dog actually received his inheritance from his father, Gunther III, a German Shepherd who received an inheritance from Karlotta Liebenstein, a German countess. Gunther IV has bought a Miami villa from Madonna and won a rare white truffle in an auction. Learn more about Gunther IV on a Web site devoted to him and those he hangs out with. He’s worth about $372 million right now, thanks to his growing trust fund.

oprah-gracie-20070720-07520712. Oprah’s dogs: Oprah Winfrey has several animals, including some dogs. She wants to make sure that her dogs are cared for when she is gone. Her will specifies that that her dogs receive $30 million for their care. (Just a drop in the bucket when you look at the billions Oprah is worth.) True, that money will be split amongst all dogs that she has, but even so, each and every one is probably richer than you are. They’re definitely richer than I am.

news0233. news023Trouble Helmsley: New York’s “Queen of Mean”, Leona Helmsley, famously cut her grandchildren out of her will, but left her Maltese terrier $12 million. However, a judge knocked $10 million off that amount, so that brings the amount to $2 million. Additionally, Trouble will be not be so well taken care of after death, as the dog can’t be buried in the Helmsley mausoleum, due to cemetary requirements and state law.

flossie4. Drew Barrymore’s yellow Labrador retriever and chow mix, Flossie, has been left a home. Flossie awakened Barrymore and then-boyfriend Tom Green when a fire raged through the home. Barrymore amended her will to leave the home, valued at $3 million, to Flossie in return for this possibly life-saving deed.
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buy-stocks-now1The right time to get back in the market may be just around the corner. With global economies sinking, sometimes dramatically, it can be a scary thought to put your hard-earned money on the line. However, a smart investor will realize that golden opportunities are appearing if proper research is done.

If you look at a long-term chart of the Dow Jones average, you will see that it is currently at some of the 2002-2003 levels. It has dropped dramatically since the financial collapse of 2008-2009, but it is still in familiar territory. It may take another two years or more for a large upswing in the markets, but at least we hope that the Dow will not drop below 7,000 points. That may bring hope and some peace of mind about starting to invest again.

Dollar Cost Averaging

The concept of Dollar Cost Averaging comes to mind in the current market situation. It is the process of buying stocks or similar investments on a regular basis, such as once a month, using a fixed amount of money. When prices are low, you are able to buy more shares. When prices are high, you buy fewer. In this way, you are able to take advantage of temporary low prices. This is especially helpful for long-term investments, such as retirement accounts. It may go against human nature to buy stocks when everything is falling and red but in fact it can lead to a bigger payoff if done correctly.
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earns_citigroupsffmi_embeddedprod_affiliate3Citigroup became the latest bank to post better than expected results for its first quarter. The bank on Friday said net income of $1.6 billion, compared with a loss of $5.11 billion in the quarter a year ago. Citigroup’s problems are far from over, but it had its best quarter since late 2007.

The bank reported a loss to common shareholders of $966 million after massive loan losses and dividends to preferred stockholders. But before paying those dividends, the bank had net income of $1.6 billion.

Overall, Citigroup’s results were better than expected. The company reported a loss per share of 18 cents, which was narrower than the 34 cents analysts predicted. A year ago, Citigroup suffered a loss of more than $5 billion, or $1.03 a share.

Citigroup’s revenue doubled in the first quarter from a year ago to $24.8 billion thanks to strong trading activity. Its credit costs were high, though, at $10 billion, due to $7.3 billion in loan losses and a $2.7 billion increase in reserves for future loan losses.

Citigroup has been one of the weakest of the large U.S. banks, posting quarterly losses since the fourth quarter of 2007. But in March, CEO Vikram Pandit triggered a stock market rally after he said that January and February had been profitable for Citigroup.
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bsnicon1In light of the current Keynesian-style government fiscal stimulus measures introduced to try to tackle the economic slowdown, the series looking at economic theories within the context of the present situation examines the work of Jean-Baptiste Say and classical economic theories.

Say’s Law, one of the core tenets of classical macroeconomics, states that “aggregate supply creates its own aggregate demand”. Classical economics emphasises the equilibrium between supply and demand as key for a balanced economy and suggests that recession and unemployment are caused by a mismatch between supply and demand rather than, for Keynesians, a lack of consumption.

Say (1767-1832) was a French economist who advocated saving rather than spending and a focus on production instead of consumption. In fact, he believed that  consumption destroyed wealth and only production could create it. Say’s Law makes supply a precondition for demand because, in order to buy something, he believed that you must first sell something.

This is crucial for economic growth, because the desire to generate purchasing power motivates productive effort and invention. It also has major implications for how governments respond to downturns and periods of high unemployment. While Keynes wrote that aggregate demand and the use of fiscal spending is the key to economic recovery, classical economists believe that spending capital on Consumption without saving and investing it in production could mean slower potential future growth.
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goldbars400x282With gold prices topping $1000.00 plus per oz., one has to question, is now the time to buy gold or has the buying opportunity already passed? Should you invest in the actual commodity of gold itself or is there an alternative that could prove to be more profitable?

The rise in gold prices from $250 per ounce in 2001 to over $900 today has drawn investors and speculators into the precious metals market. However, buying gold per se should not be considered an “investment”. After all, gold earns no interest and its quality never changes. It’s static, and does not grow as sound investments should.

“It’s more accurate to say that one might invest in a gold or silver mining company, where management, labor costs, and the nature of new discoveries all play a vital role in determining the quality of the investment and the profits made.”, stated Congressman Ron Paul (TX-R) in his address before the U.S. House of Representatives.

Both gold and dollars are considered money, and holding money does not qualify as an investment. However, there is one big difference between the two. By holding paper money one loses purchasing power. The purchasing power of commodity money, e.g., gold, however, goes up if the government devalues the underlying currency.

Many believe the United States is the cause of the global financial crisis we are currently experiencing and consequently, they are looking to the US to provide leadership in escaping this crisis. The US Dollar is currently experiencing strength over other currencies because it is presumed that since we are leading the pack with recovery initiatives, it stands to reason that our economy will recover before those who are following our lead.
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The latest news on inflation and unemployment seem to be pointing to a gathering storm in the U.S. economy. A lot of readers are wondering: Just how bad is this downturn going to be?

Economic forecasters and weather forecasters have a few things in common. Since no one can see into the future, both kinds of forecasters look at the forces that have created and shaped storms in the past — and then look at current data to help guide their predictions. When you see a sharp drop in the barometer, it’s a pretty good bet there’s a storm coming.
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bailout5_180Five banks have repaid millions of dollars they received from the government’s $700 billion financial bailout pot, the Obama administration said Thursday.

The Treasury Department, which oversees the bailout program, said the banks returned a total of $353 million.

The banks are: Iberiabank Corp. of Lafayette, La.; Bank of Marin Bancorp of Novato, Calif.; Old National Bancorp. of Evansville, Ind.; Signature Bank of New York; and Centra Financial Holdings Inc. of Morgantown, W.Va.

They were the first banks to repay the government, wanting to escape the increasingly tough restrictions placed on participants in the rescue program.

In addition to the $353 million, the banks paid the government a total of $5.4 million in dividends, Treasury Department spokesman Andrew Williams said.

The program was enacted in early October after the financial crisis — the worst since the 1930s — intensified. The goal of the program was to inject capital in banks so that they would be in a better position to boost lending, a crucial ingredient to any economic recovery. Nearly $200 billion has been injected into banks thus far.

The five banks have 15 days to buy back warrants from the government. If they don’t, the government will sell them to private investors, Williams said.

blackfridayRisk is the probability of loss. It is best to estimate it and to adjust your purchase and sell strategies to it in order to control loss before the purchase is made. Correct timing of purchases, buying near support, limiting loss potential, and stopping the decline by using volatility stop losses are all ingredients of a good risk control system. Let’s look at a few of these loss control discipline components.

One method of controlling risk is by timing purchases so that they occur at or near support. That way, your stop loss can be a very small distance away from your purchase price. If you buy when the stock is 5% above its trendline, for example, it will mean little if the stock declines 5% to reach its trendline. Since stocks often return to support, why would you sell? You would sell only if it broke to the downside through its rising trendline. Therefore, your loss would be calculated by adding the distance the sell point is below the trendline to the distance the purchase price was above the trendline. Buying at the trendline instead of above it would eliminate that unnecessary 5% loss.

However, stocks often make a small temporary penetration through a support line and then resume their climb. When, precisely do you sell? Let us use the suggestions offered in Technical Analysis of Stock Trends by Edwards and Magee as an example. If you are using stops that are based on closing prices, they suggest a trendline penetration of 3% would warrant selling. If your stop loss is placed with a broker, they recommend that the stop be placed 6% below the trendline because of the possibility of inconsequential intra-day spikes. Therefore, if you buy when the stock is 8% above its rising trendline and place the stop loss 3% below the trendline, you will lose 11% before your stop is triggered. On the other hand, if you wait for the stock to return to its trendline before buying, you will lose only 3% if your stop is triggered. It is important to buy right so that you can sell right.
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ob-cz950_madbro_d_20090123220849Until now, the official line is that the two Madoff sons, Mark and Andrew, only worked on the market-making side of the business.

Dad’s business — Bernie Madoff Investment Securities — was not their domain, they say, and thus they have nothing to do with the fraud. For a long time, people have suspected this wasn’t true, but a story in offers the best evidence yet. Far from just being in the back office on the brokerage side of the business, the sons were salesman for the Madoff fund:

Dalton Givens saw the warning signs.

Madoff’s sons wined and dined Givens, then a senior vice president of Wachovia Securities, at a steakhouse in Charlotte, N.C., to try to persuade Wachovia to invest in Madoff’s hedge fund.

Givens, now retired from the firm and living in Boonville, said he took a few sniffs and didn’t like the aroma.

Read the whole thing >

This is new. There have never been reports of the sons going out to sell the fund, let alone wining and dining bankers. Obviously, if they thought the fund was legitimate, then there’s nothing wrong with selling it. But obviously their involvement is more than they’ve let on, which means everything else they’ve said should be suspect.

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