Summer is flying by, and I continue to enjoy the nice weather and my new hobby (photography). After a nice walk around the local nature preserve, my son was still asleep in the stroller. So what do I do? I pull out the new softbox and try it out! Of course, he slept through the whole thing.

If you are interested in the full set of pictures, check out my family blog (email me if you don't know the URL).


I'm certainly not on the cutting edge on this one, but I finally moved my main computer to Vista. I'm on day 4 now, and I don't have a ton to say about it. Just a few observations...

For the most part, it just seems like a shinier version of XP. I don't really care for the fancy GUI enhancements, but I haven't bothered to turn them off either.

The Users directory with the new structure is much more rational than the old version. A good evolution.

I LOVE the start menu search feature. I've always spent effort organizing my start menu into a structure that enabled easy access to all commonly used programs. For example, I would put Excel into a folder called applications, so to launch excel I'd just type , A, E, Enter. Firefox went into 'Communcations', etc. This worked well, except when there were multiple apps that started with the same letter. With Vista, just as I've embraced the non-folder Gmail, I really like the search mechansim. To launch excel now, I just type , Excel, Enter. I don't even wait for it to render. I'm also impressed so far with the accuracy. With the old system it was faster when it worked, but I had to look more often. Now, even for less commonly used programs, they are easy to find and launch.

Other than that, my response is 'meh'. It works, its windows, it mostly stays out of my way. I wouldn't council staying away from Vista neccessarily, but there is very little that really justifies the effort either.

Bear Stearns

Bear Stearns is old news, but that is usually when things starts to get interesting. Only after an event fades from the evening news (or cable news shows as it may be these days) can the real light illuminate a story.

Vanity Fair has a very interesting story about how Bear Stearns fell. It is a very long piece but I found it very interesting.

I get very annoyed at how the media and political talking heads distill major events like this down to talking points. The failure of Bear Stearns was obviously a very complicated event with many contributing factors. Reading the initial comments and articles about it, it is clear that very few people understood what happened. I understand that it is impossible to get real analysis of something like this immediately, but I think this difficulty is very telling.

The world is complicated, and our financial markets are certainly a poster child for complexity. The mortgage crisis was essentially caused because enough complexity was introduced into the system that the ties between profit and risk were severed. While we fool ourselves into believing we understand how things work, we are reminded time and time again that those at the controls often do not fully understand the complexities they manage.

It will be interesting to see if anything comes into the alleged S.E.C investigation into the Bear Stearns collapse. I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories, but in a situation like this the conspiracy could be small and the actions very limited.