Archive for June, 2011

Bitching about the Obama economy is like telling Captain Sully: “The Hudson was the wrong destination! And why am I all wet!?”

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Our economy nearly died, and you are griping about it being too sluggish?

We almost had to rename the Great Depression!

World War One got renamed.  It started out as The Great War, the “war to end all wars”.  But a few years later we had an even bigger war, and we had to rename it.  It became “World War One”.

Well, we almost had to rename the “Great Depression” to the “First Great Depression”.

It was that bad.  Instead we only call it the “Great Recession”.


  • The port of LA/Long Beach.  It is the busiest port in the US, and it came to a near halt.  Cars that were already on ships when the crash hit arrived, but had no place to go when dealerships couldn’t afford them, they accumulated. One of our biggest exports through that port also stopped: cardboard.  Recycling was a problem when it backed up. (Did you know that recycled cardboard is a significant export from the US to China? They ship us TVs and we ship them the empty boxes.)  Normally there have terrible air pollution there, with all the trucks moving freight back and forth, in and out.  But the port mostly stopped.  The air cleared.  Prices to ship goods (such as Baltic Dry Index) plunged because nothing was moving.
  • The “TED Spread” shot up to scary levels.  That is, the difference between the interest the US government must pay to borrow money and what big banks charge each other. Normally, big banks get almost as good a deal as does the USA and the TED spread is well under a half percent. But in 2008 it shot up to over 4.5%.  Banks were unwilling to lend each other money at a good rate because they knew the others were at risk of going out of business.
  • The “commercial paper market” stopped.  Much of the economy runs by big companies borrowing and lending money back and forth, for short periods of time, at low interest rates.  That all stopped.  You might remember GE (normally an extremely good credit risk) had to get a big loan from Warren Buffet because it couldn’t borrow money anywhere else.  If GE can’t borrow money, the economy is badly broken.

That has all changed.  All the “bailouts” that people complain about saved our sorry butts.  Heck, the US auto industry is making a profit now.  The maligned TARP program even made money for the US government!  That’s right, TARP was profitable.

No one bitched that Sully didn’t get them there on time, so quit bitching that the recovery from this recession is too slow.

Our economy almost lost it.  We are damn lucky we aren’t in breadlines still in 2011.  Instead, our economy is growing.  Painfully slowly, but it is growing.  Be grateful.

-kb, the Kent who is glad he has a job when so many do not.

©2011 Kent Borg

Sony Passwords: Now do you believe you should not reuse passwords on different sites?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Sony has been cracked.  Multiple times.  It seems Sony employs nerds who know nothing about security.  Now, has had a million username and passwords (and other information: DoB, e-mail) scooped up and made public.

Are you on that list?

The Playstation breaks would have been even more users.  It hasn’t been posted public, are you on that list?

Are you an X-Factor wannabe?  That database was also grabbed by the same crackers.

And these are just the public breaches.  The real bad guys–the ones who want to steal money instead of making a political point–are breaking in quietly, grabbing passwords, and moving on to see what other doors these keys will open.

What is the lesson here?  That companies have terrible security?  Yes, they do.  But that isn’t what should keep you up at night.

You should toss and turn if you are one of those people who reuse one password on multiple web sites.  If one site is broken into, then the bad guys have the keys to any other sites you have given that same password to.

Don’t reuse passwords.  Use a different password on every account you have.  And how should you keep track of all these passwords?  Write them down.

Yes.  Write down your passwords.  The advice about not writing down your password comes from way olden days when the number of computer accounts a person had was either zero or one.  It is obsolete.  Write down your passwords.

-kb, the Kent who used to use three different passwords for everything, until he discovered a machine on which he had an account, one he used the “good” password on, was broken into.

©2011 Kent Borg