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Money For Nothing

CNN reports that the Fed slashes key rate to near zero

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — In its latest effort to try and stimulate the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate to a range of between zero percent and 0.25%, and said it expects to keep rates near that unprecedented low level for some time to come.

The central bank typically sets a specific target for its federal funds rate instead of a range. The rate had previously been at 1% and this marks the first time the Fed has cut rates below 1%. Most investors were expecting the Fed to cut rates to either 0.25% or 0.5%.

Taking the rate so close to zero leaves the Fed with little room for additional moves if the economy does not start to show signs of improvement soon.

Raising rates started the foreclosure mess, and mortgage rates have not been tracking back down with the funds rate, although the banks have been thrilled to lower the rates they pay on savings when the funds rate drops. This widens the gap between what the banks pay you and what you pay them, which is a major reason for the abysmal savings rate in the US.

December 16, 2008   6 Comments

No Surprise

The BBC is reporting a Serious security flaw found in IE

Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are being urged by experts to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed.

The flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people’s computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say.

Microsoft urged people to be vigilant while it investigated and prepared an emergency patch to resolve it.

The flaw is being exploited on gaming sites.  This isn’t a potential problem, it is a current problem and people are having their password stolen via this weakness.  If it’s happening on games sites, it will be happening on banking sites shortly.

Most problems are identified as “potential”, i.e. the weakness is identified before anything is done with it, but this problem is already “in the wild”.  With the current economic slump and the cash rich standing of Microsoft, they should just hire a group of experienced programmers and fix the damn thing, instead of constantly patching it.  After they think it is fixed, they should sponsor a competition to hack it. Produce a decent product, that’s how you maintain market dominance

December 16, 2008   13 Comments

When Jimmy Stewart Becomes Claude Rains

This is the feeling you would get if at the end of the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jefferson Smith, decides that instead of filibustering, he will sell out to Joseph Paine, Claude Rains’s character.

The incoming speaker of Florida’s House is a local politician, Ray Sansom, whom I first encountered through my Mother’s volunteer work with Hospice. Ray was the director at the time, and a good one. The organization prospered under his leadership, but importantly, the people who worked there were happy to be in the organization, not an easy thing given the mission of any Hospice.

When Ray ran for office he had a base to work with, the people associated with Hospice and other non-profits in the area. He was well liked and seemed to be in tune with local concerns.

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December 16, 2008   2 Comments

Stupid ISP Tricks

So, everything was wonderful when I booted up on the 15th. Bill was still being annoying about Service Pack 3, but went away when you ignored him, and I signed on to the ‘Net.

I did a scan of the news, then check comments, noting that Kryten was still being thrown into moderation on a random basis, something weird from the recent upgrade, and then read a few blogs before venturing out to pick up some plumbing parts to repair a drain I had torn apart to get at the “clog from hell”.

After finishing the plumbing and take care of the feral cats I came back to start answering comments before continuing to work on my “real job”.

Nothing, Nada, Nil. The Internet didn’t exist, I didn’t exist, isolation had returned to the Florida Panhandle.

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December 16, 2008   8 Comments