Reading the entrails

Eric Norlin takes a stab at the current economic situation and doesn’t like what he sees:

I’ve been doing some thinking about the contraction in the commercial paper market and the possible ripple effects on any economic recovery…diagnosis: all of the predictions for the Q3 turn around are wrong. It’ll be at least Q4 and maybe Q1 of 03 before this ship really turns. This, of course, means the stock market will tread water until at the very least April — and more likely June.

Eric’s thesis, briefly, is that massive debt overhang problems is about to hit a generation of managers raised to believe that debt (commercial paper) is cheap, which will create totally unexpected liquidity crises (cash shortfalls) and cause another rash of bankruptcies. This is consistent with my Finance II class: the main place (other than taxes) that the Modigliani-Miller theorem breaks down is in the frictions created by large amounts of debt in the capital structure.

BTW, Eric, your site navigation leads something to be desired. I had to work really hard to find a permalink to that article.

A note about department names

I’m still working on the issue, but it looks like if you name your News Item departments with spaces in them that you can get errors from AppleScript when parsing the resulting XML output from sitePrefs.get (“newsitem.departments”). I don’t know whether AppleScript isn’t parsing the XML correctly, or whether Manila is outputing malformed XML, but consider this a word to the wise.

Tough economic times — except for us, of course

Interesting move on Sam Palmisano’s part: IBM President Palmisano Warns Of Tough Economic Times in 2002 (link to WSJ article, subscription probably required). The headline sounds like he’s warning about IBM’s business, but the article goes on to say “Mr. Palmisano urged resellers of competitors’ products to reconsider their business with those companies in light of upcoming changes that will affect the industry.” Sounds like Palmisano isn’ t above a little FUD.

Small progress

Looking again at the Manila RPC spec, I see I’ve missed something that might enable populating a drop down list of news item categories. Comforting after I’ve hit so many walls with other feature implementations over the last few weeks. I’m now looking at “manila.sitePref.get” which allows retrieving named portions of site preferences. I can grab the department list using “newsitems.departments” as the preference name, but now I have to see how to parse the reply using AppleScript. Dig we must…


Ten days ago I said I’d stop looking at referral logs until I was happy with my writing again. Looking back over the last ten days, I note two things:

  1. I’ve successfully kept away from looking at my referral logs.
  2. I’ve written a lot less.

The second, I think, was to be expected. I’m trying on some new styles of thinking (more about that shortly). It’s only natural that output falls as my brain changes its way of thinking and expressing itself.

The first requires one confession–I did go back to the discussion group, which shows the number of times a news item is read, one time last week and saw that my “Confessions of a Referral Junkie” had gotten something like 250 reads (normal levels somewhere between 0 and 30). Irony?