Mortgage Reality Distortion Field

This is the second of what now appear to be three columns about how we as a people allow ourselves to be victimized, whether by unscrupulous computer hackers or unscrupulous computer bankers. This part is about the bankers — the guys whose bonuses were too big to be discontinued.  Part three will present a possible solution to this specific systems problem…

A year ago I wrote a sad little column about my friend Ralph and his difficulty getting his mortgage adjusted.  Ralph had lost his tech job, there was this federal program to help people in his position lower their mortgage payments, but for some reason it just wasn’t working. […]

By |August 31st, 2011|2011|134 Comments

Our Own Worst Enemies

Note — This is the first of two three very different columns about what turns out to be the same topic.

I was driving back to college in my red 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible when a pickup truck appeared before me on the two-lane road going perhaps 20 mph under the speed limit, which was to say 25 mph slower than me. I pulled into the opposing lane to pass him and the guy punched it, accelerating quickly to keep pace with me so I could neither pass him nor pull back into his lane without hitting him. My simple passing maneuver became a death race because now a third car was added to the mix, […]

By |August 31st, 2011|2011|67 Comments

Cupertino Two-Step

I was about to board an airplane Wednesday when Apple announced the resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO and his replacement by Tim Cook. With a couple hours to think on my flight to Charleston it became clear to me that this story is far from over and the long-term leadership of Apple has not yet been determined.

There were rumblings a month ago about Apple board members interviewing possible successors to Steve Jobs. There’s nothing surprising in that, given Jobs’ poor health and the fact that the primary function of any board is hiring and firing CEOs. But it evidently didn’t go down well with Steve, perhaps because he had his own succession plan or […]

By |August 24th, 2011|2011|187 Comments

Is the Mac Pro dead?

A rumor surfaced yesterday in Japan that Apple would by the end of the year introduce a radical new kind of Macintosh computer. That was it — new Mac, radical — yet dozens of sites ran with this non-information simply because Apple is a hot company and, who knows, it might be correct. In that same spirit, then, here’s my guess about what might be correct: I think Apple’s Macintosh Pro line of computers is dead.

Mac Pro’s are Apple’s big box PCs. They haven’t been refreshed since last summer and new models were expected this month with the new Minis, but for some reason the new Mac Pro’s failed to appear. Apple said nothing because, well, because Apple never says anything, instead […]

By |August 23rd, 2011|2011|101 Comments

Losing the HP Way

Hewlett Packard was different from other Silicon Valley companies and always a leader. By the time I met Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in the late 1970s they were nearing retirement but still active and I knew them, working occasionally for both men and for their respective foundations. Hewlett was the good cop and Packard was the bad cop, but both men had figured out through a steady process of evolution over four decades how to build and run a fantastic company. Those days are over.  Though confirmed by this week’s HP decisions to change direction and ditch the PC business, let’s understand something: the HP I knew died many years ago.

The news […]

By |August 19th, 2011|2011|1,227 Comments