obtaining Dow Jones index in Google Spreadsheet

June 14th, 2015

In order to obtain todays dow jones index (DJIA) in a google spreadsheet one can use:


The quotes matter. Indexes would be for example:

.DJI Dow jones Index
.INX S&P 500
.IXIC Nasdaq Composite

Getting the dow for a specific date is a bit more involved. This worked for me, but there might be an easier way:

=index(GOOGLEFINANCE(".DJI", "price", to_date(DATEVALUE("11/26/2013"))),2,2)

The date (11/26/2013) was actually a cell reference.

Not related, yet interesting was this page that showed how relative popular search terms are.

Others yielded interesting insights. For instance it seems that Cars are a seasonal product. Even though people tend to use them every day, they care more for them in the months leading up to summer.

Other extremely seasonal terms include: Travel, Shopping, Real Estate, Jobs and Durable Goods.

“Fight Club” in 2013

January 27th, 2013

Watching “Fight Club” again today is a strange and very interesting experience.

So much has changed since the book / film came out. It is clearly set in a different epoch.

Its character ‘Tyler Durden’ says:

God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables;
slaves with white collars.  Advertising has us chasing cars
and clothes, working jobs  we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. 
We've all been raised on television to believe
that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods,
and rock stars. 
But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact.
And we're very, very pissed off.

It seemed fitting at the time. What happened since then?

Many of those jobs are gone. People in that slice of society
make less money today. Sometimes even in absolute dollars.
Certainly corrected for inflation. In the same time the share
of the upper sliver of society on the other end of the wealth
distribution has nothing but exploded.

So why seems the portrayed unrest even further removed
from reality than less than a score years ago?

The answer might lie in the proliferation of computer games and the Internet
during that time.

Both soak up all that extra male testosterone and time that would
otherwise find not much constructive application in the world of 2013.

Oh, and it looked absolutely awesome. I miss movies shot on film.

waste of time: news

September 9th, 2012

I found this today on a web site of a pewspaper:

Countless publications show the same AP story.

What is the problem with this?

According to the latest numbers China grew by 8.9%.
Since this is China one could also say: grew only by 8.9%

The US GDP grew 1.7% in the same time.

The headline of the AP story says something else.
So does the first sentence. And 8.9% growth are being called ‘anemic’

This is a very simple thing: growth did decline by 0.3%. Growth did. NOT the actual output.

I wonder what happens to the 99% of topics in the news that are more complex and faceted than this China statistic.

After I wrote this I went back to google news. On CNN one can read that the economy slowed:

I think following this kind of ‘news’ is a complete waste of time.

leap second - the buck stops over there …

July 1st, 2012

Skimming over the news (a bad thing in itself I must admit) it seems that the leap second addition - one might tempted to say - between June 30 and July 1st caused allot of Java based systems to fail.

While the headlines list who got affected and all that it is interesting that there was no reference to responsibility. Outages in general are news. Like the one on this recent Friday that took AMZN service and then some systems down.

In general it is all in a ‘oh well’ state. “shit happens”.

This attitude is awesome for technology providers: Not once saw I reference to who owns Java in those leap second bug reports. Sun did. Sun got bought by Oracle. Larry Ellison, principal and I guess at least part time owner of Oracle picked up a nice Hawaiian island the other day. How about he offers sys admins working late to work around HIS bugs a complimentary stay there?

The New and the Old

February 26th, 2012

Recently I noticed two interactions I had with products / companies / services.

They are un related. I remember them both since they were better / worse than what I had expected.

The bad one

Being bored in a Hotel room I switch on the TV. Since I never watched I was shocked again how bad it was. That was NOT unexpected. I just keep forgetting that. I stumbled upon “Blue Valentine”. I liked it a lot. And interesting movie to watch from the middle. I liked it quiet a bit and wanted to watch it completely. I ordered the BluRay Version.

I liked the entire movie as well. Nice to see that this kind of project gets made.

What really bothered me was the previews and trailers that want to play every time I insert the disc. I can fwd skip through things. But it is annoying. Very.

People do no longer buy media on discs anymore. As a reaction it seems that people try to sell things even harder. An junk-loop-spiral towards doom. Much like the Hotel phone prices jumping up when cell phones took away the call volume. A failed attempt to keep revenues steady in a shrinking market.

The good one

I wondered if it is possible to get a report from Amazon on past purchases. Sure enough it is. It works well. And it is so helpful. I never choose Amazon because of this. I had no idea I existed. I would use them if they had no reports.

Both - the disc makers and Amazon - deliver the core product that they offer.

The difference is in what they do extra: Amazon tries to think about what could be helpful for me. The disc makers try to think what is helpful for them.

How funny that they think that that will work.

It’s the technology, stupid

October 21st, 2010

I like this graph. It is a wonderful example how a theory can be conveyed.

I have trouble following the underlying assumptions though. Plotting the potential output as a straight line going up is a nice illusion. Last time I checked things don’t automatically get better. Thanks to entropy the opposite is true. It takes a certain effort to maintain the status quo and even more energy is needed to improve matters. The past certainly saw advancements in GDP. Over and over again. But assuming that this will therefor continue is equally foolish as to predict the future reign of the Pharaohs in Egypt just because they did so in the last thousands of years.

The Dow is climbing, but unemployment does not decline. It might be that a conventional analysis is under estimating the impact of structural changes that happened in the last two decades. A tempting simplification of what is going on could look like this: Progress in computers and communication technology is creating huge values without creating the jobs as it was usual in previous eras. Facebook employs one engineer per 1.2 Million users.

Quantum leaps in efficiency ( workers vs output ) did happen before. But never as radical and rapid as seems now to be the case. Since this is unprecedented nobody has the faintest idea what this actually means.

For a couple of years the housing bubble masked the effects of this technological revolution on the job market. But eventually we will have to cope with the fact that nobody needs to file TPS reports any longer. That’s done by some computer somewhere.

no surprise here

June 2nd, 2010

people don’t know how fast their Internet is

I hope that it takes a while before the couple of last mile vendors adopt their upgrade plans accordingly.


February 3rd, 2010

And they keep doing them:
Very nice visualization by the times


May 30th, 2009

In 2007 GM lost $4,589 on each car they sold, in 2008 $4,670. Imagine any GM car, then remove things from it that cost four and a half grand*. This is the car you would get when would try not to loose money on making them. What do you care? Well you should, since next week you will probably own GM. And their losses will (continue to) come out of our (tax) pocket.

* OK, I got those numbers from the Internet and did the division myself, so all sorts of things could be wrong here. And you can also put back about one thousand dollar worth of parts into your imaginary Escalade: That’s what gets spend on marketing to convince you to buy the thing. How about a spare tire, seatbelts, a radio and a fan on the passenger side?

Gotcha Capitalism

October 16th, 2008

Used a different credit card. And it turns out that the exchange rate applied is by 5% worse than that of the other cards. This is one of these things where maybe after 30 minutes I could find the rate applied on the banks website. Or maybe not. My strategy for this kind of gotcha-capitalism is different: I have a list of companies that pulled a fast one on me. I try to avoid doing business with them as much as possible.

Gotcha Capitalism dilutes the whole system that got us here in the first place. Buyers selecting the best offer were the driving force for all progress. If buyers become mere ‘confused consumers’ they will buy all sorts of crap. And things offered will quickly deteriorate in quality, since the pressure to do a good job is gone.

Over time clear decisions haves seemingly become the sole territory of spin, bias and hype. The normal and actually working concept of looking at the situation and then coming up with a clear decision and sticking to it has apparently gone out of fashion. Since people could afford not pay attention allot of things grew into big business that make no sense whatsforever in clear day light. They simply thrive on peoples ignorance. And on the fact that they could afford not to pay attention.

old link

May 6th, 2008

still worth reading
even after a couple of weeks. Thx BlogsNow

“Still haven’t seen my bill, I’m actually eager to pay it.”

February 29th, 2008

That’s an actual quote of a client in an email received a couple of minutes ago. It is his first month with Interdubs, and he is not used to the fact that the bill will only arrive once the month is over. And then he can pay it. Or not. If he should feel like that. Which sounds ‘good hearted’ or ‘weak’. But it makes actually allot of (business) sense: Most of my clients have made more money with the site in their first week of using it, then it will cost them for whole month. A not so significant part of them actually takes just a few hours to make the 285 that the services costs them. Either by direct billing or by improved client relationships. I was aware of this when I designed the system and set the price. The price is solely based on the system working as well as it seems to be. It is arranged around my costs and the future potential of more clients. And maybe on the fact that I like to code fast.

I really hate the business model that tries to leach on to the success of its clients. Network Neutrality is one of those. Phone companies would sure love to charge more for important business conversations than for idle chit chat.

But back to Interdubs: having a super reasonable price that are people actually eager to pay makes everything much easier on everybody. So far people paid their bills. The majority of companies in record time. Thanks again and also from here. If I would try to squeeze more money out of the service, then I might need an accounting department that starts bugging people. I’d rather not.

On the other side with the latest feature additions the price / performance ratio is in danger to tip from “great” to “ridicolously great”. I have feedback from many of my clients saying that the service is too cheap. And I suspect that I could actually sign up more people if the price were higher. Most people think just because the competition is ten times more expensive it also would be better.

germans and their money

January 3rd, 2008

Germans don’t like to part from their money. On average each of them has 57.900 Euro (85,000 Dollars right now) in the bank or in stocks. Per person. Not per household. On average people in Germany spend 10% less than they make. That probably explains why S-Class Mercedes or Porsches are a rare sight here. They get made and sold to people that have the money (these days mostly found in countries with oil) or ones that pretend they have (hm, let me guess where that would be). Tragically much of those saved Euro’s were used to finance US mortages.

Right now the Iraq war seems to have cost 482 Billion US$.
So Germany could have paid for 14 of those. From it’s savings.

what Annie said

December 4th, 2007

Annie Leonard talks about stuff Whoever she is.

I am with her. To a point. The breastmilk part is a bit much, and on technology she is just plain wrong. Which discredits the whole piece somewhat. And that is a real shame. Since the whole consumerism / consumption stuff weighted against diminishing returns in respect to happyness is a very important point. And there are others in this presentation that are pretty obvious and get equally ignored. Still worth the link, and maybe even worth watching.

can’t get a Wii? blame Bush

December 1st, 2007

Still can not get a Wii for Christmas? It’s actually Bush fault. Sounds crazy, still true, and just the tip of some horrible iceberg. Nintendo makes those Wii’s as fast as they can. Then they like to make as much money with them as possible. If they sell them in Europe for 250 Euro they get 40,721 Yen. For the ones they ship to the US they get 27,630 Yen. That’s 47% more profit for them. No wonder there is ample supply of Wii’s in Europe.

But that’s currencies, what has Bush to do with it? Well, he makes the fiscal policy. Before he became President you needed to pay 0.9 US dollars for each Euro. Now it 1.47. That’s a sixty three percent decline in value. That’s just great. YellowCake disciples will be quick to point out that this low rate would help the economy since US exports would become cheaper. This is true, but only 16% of the US enconomy is based on exports. Most of the country is depending on the inflow of capital. Or should I say ‘was’? How attractive is it to invest Euros into dollar when you get less and less back out?

So not getting your sweaty little hands on a Wiimote in the foreseeable future might actually not be your biggest problem.


November 11th, 2007

According to this article China holds 1.4336 trln US$.
Big number. Each Chinese seems to make 1500 dollars a year. There are 1,321,851,888 Chinese. Which would mean that all Chinese would not need to work for 8.6 months if they would just spend the Dollars that the chinese reserve holds.

Or they could finance a seven year Iraq war. Out of the cash they have sitting around. And with the kind of spending the US military got used to. Something tells me that the red army has a different pricelist then the military in the US.

So, it seems that having stuff made over there for years somehow gave them allot of money. And therefor power.

I am with Gisele

November 6th, 2007

I should start writing invoices in &Euro;
Seriously. From 0.90 US cents to 1.448 in five years. Thanks Mr Bush. Asshole!


October 20th, 2007

progress has many faces

new way to get rich

May 16th, 2007

Somebody managed to send an email out that the iPhone would be delayed. In the following hours that it took the official Apple PR machine to react and ‘catch the bad meme’ the Aaple did go down by a couple of dollars. Then it rebound. Somebody could have made 3% in a couple of hours.

update 5/17/07:

techcrunch says that the false engadget news wiped of four billion dollars in market cap in six minutes. New travels fast it seems.

cingular sucks ass

February 22nd, 2007

Phone companies. Now they call Cingular AT&T. Whatever that means.
I realized that I picked the wrong minutes plan. Too high. Trying to change it.
Of course the web form get’s stuck when you try to submit your information.
The Cingular site is the worst orange thing I ever saw.
It will not help if they make it blue again, and call it at@t.
It should work, and it does not:
The autopay feature somehow stopped working. That’s the only
thing that it has to do: pay my bills. The card is right, still works, is still valid and covered.

the 10

November 22nd, 2006

Today the 10 was packed. Stalled. All the way. The ‘10′ is a highway in Los Angeles. Luckily I was traveling in the other direction. When I pass these traffic jams I wonder how much the cars are worth that sit there on the other side of the Highway. Since I am waiting on computers right now anyway, I did the math on that. I came up with 153 Million US$ dollars that I passed in ten minutes of driving. Assuming 15,000 US$ average car value. Since we are talking Los Angeles, so that might even be low.

The next thought is how much money has gone into expanding and maintaining that strip of road. How many new roads have been built? But the number of cars certainly has gone up.

The problem is, that people don’t make the connection anymore between traffic jam and road/car ratio. They just sit they and endure it. People actually endure allot of things.

into the face with the interface

November 3rd, 2006

“The interface of a cheeseburger” is one of these Blog entries that validate those 30 Million other blogs with random noise in one simple swoop. If you ever contemplated to create anything that get’s used by a human, be it nuclear power plant, condom or breakfirst table for your dearest one, you could find some great insight in this text from Oliver Reichenstein. At least I think it’s by him. While content and form of the text are pretty nice it seems almost a relief that ‘Information Architects Japan’ messed up the branding for themselves. Sticking Lego’s on business cards won’t help either. Die Kinder des Schuhmachers tragen immer kaputte Schuhe.

the paradox of choice

October 21st, 2006

of course I had to watch another TED video while I was at Google Video. Since it’s such a long way there.

Barry Schwartz talks about choice

I agree with him that the choice is by no means linear to happyness. But I dissagree on his remedy. It’s not a decrease of choice that would be the ideal solution. It’s the management of it. People are not in a situation to make decent and educated descissions. Like mine how to spell certain words for instance. But when people are looking into the options and only choose what makes sense, then all the rubbish will disappear. If you buy crap, or equally worse, let your friends buy crap then you inititate the production of more of it. If you only choose things that are good, then you will steer things in the right direction. The choices will follow.

There are so many junk things around us, since people can survive their wrong choices. So they keep making bad ones.

And finally:
Dan Gilbert about happiness and choice

Bentley, the other Volkswagen

September 2nd, 2006

Autoblog reviews the Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Nice read if you like cars. The 2 door cousin “Continental GT” is kind a ‘dime a dozen’ car in some parts of LA. The Warner Brothers parking lot for instance. The price tag hovering between 1 and 2 hundret thousand US$ scheds a completely new light on situation in some parts of the economy.

Glad I read the review, so that I can hold of the purchase until they get a navigation system that can compete with a Camry.

Royal Automobiles

September 2nd, 2006

Arriving at the parking lot of a theme park in Germany in-midst 8,000 sparkling middle class vehicles my daughter asks “Kings drive what kind of cars?”.

Cars are a product of industrial mass society that is incompatible with feudalism that supports Kings. One clearly came after the other.

Looking at the current situation we are somewhat like Kings with cars. Fossil fuels make energy dirt cheap so that we can clutter our material surroundings in the wildest ways. In the same time we already have access to information technology that is clearly evolving the mass culture of the 20th century into something new that has neither name nor definition yet.

Box office year 2005

December 14th, 2005

It has been a bad year for the US movie box office.

Now everybody jumps to conclusions. Me too. Of course the theatre owners point to everything but themselves. I think they share much of the responsibility for their demise.

People stop going to the movies, and theatre owners blame the bad Hollywood product for it. Maybe they should buy some diversity instead. Maybe -gulp- they should take some risk? Only few theatres have more character than a chain restaurant. Most of them are generic as it comes. And then they show dismal ads.

Cinema also lost the arms race in quality: For the average consumer the picture at home can look as good as it does in the cinema. And this is mostly pre HD DVD we are talking about. The audio at home already is as much 5.1 as it can be in a cinema. Plus that the volume will be always right, and there is no talking person next to you. Or if there should be then that is your own choice, and there is always the pause button.

During the 50s TV took away the cinemas monopoly of showing moving images. Colored movies got a boost from this, but Hollywood and the theatres went one step further: They changed their own format to widescreen. This was costly for production and theatres. But seperated the movi experience from the pale 4 by 3 Black and white TV set. Content adopted to what worked well in cinema. Some Movie genres surrendered to “I Love Lucy” and the likes,
new ones like the Cinemascope Western thrived.

Nothing like this happens right now. The movie theatres have the same whinning tone that we heard from the recording industry for years. They seem equally unable to adopt. Media habbits are changing. Games, DVDs, Internet are booming.

Just like the recording industry the Theatres blame piracy for their demise. Which is the classical looser argument. It’s not going anywhere. It does not help to search your audience for camcorders.

Theatres would have a chance though: They could make movie going an experience. Something that is fun and cool. With bad projection, bad seats and dirty theatres you will loose against any big screen TV. If movie theatres don’t make the show an event again, then they will go away. With the advent of color TVs in the early 70s many cinemas in Europe started showing porn in their struggle. I don’t think that this strategy would help US theatres right now.

If (young) people would start dressing up to go out and to the movies then theatres would have a market that nobody could take away from them. People want to celebrate an evening. Current multiplex generic mall type popcorn outlets are not the right offering for this.

audio cassette : finis

June 17th, 2005

the audio tape

remember what was on the first mix tape you made?
the first one you gave away as a gift?

If you should be that age.

From the above link:

Oddly, Philips did not charge royalties on their cassette patent, allowing numerous other companies to use their design for free. This ensured the quick acceptance of it as a new form of media.

Now isn’t that something that Sony (MiniDisc, MemoryStick etc) should read and read until they do understand it ?

and, of course, this commercial comes to mind


June 14th, 2005

gotta love the onion

the rich are getting richer

June 14th, 2005

and even Alan Greenspan is not so cool with that anymore

When I step out of work I look at the parking lot of a well known director. I am not sure how many cars he does have. They change frequently. His poor dogs however still have to drive that souped up Lincoln Navigator. OK, they don’t drive the car, there is a driver for it. But the cars only purpose to haul those dogs around. They certainly don’t fit in any of the Ferrraris. I am sure the dog’s love those shiny Rim that probably cost as much as the entire education of some kid in Africa.

the big mac index

June 13th, 2005

the big mac index

[as we can See I like the dashboard blogging thing]