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.

gmail: do not send to spam and other filters

December 21st, 2012

Recently GMail has - in my experience - more trouble with filtering spam: An average of 5 messages a day come through and end up in my inbox.

Much worse is that messages that are ham end up in the spam folder.

I added a file to get some of them automatically out of spam. Which worked, but has one drawback:

Messages that match my ‘ham filter’ but also match an older filter (think mailing list) started to show up in my inbox, and no longer in the folder, I mean label,
that the filter sets.

This feels as if the gmail ‘do not send to spam’ instruction actually does an ‘mark mail as non spam and send to folder inbox’.

Which is strange since messages can have a label AND be in the inbox.

The remedy seems to be filter order. I got the previous behavior back when I moved the ‘ham’ filter before the other filters.

I don’t think it is possible to arrange filters. Changing the order means deleting filters that should move to the end and creating them again.

google reader shows wrong content for feed

December 4th, 2011

When adding the feed


to google reader the resulting page showed the wrong content, while the title is correct:

This seems to be a caching issues. The workaround was to simply alter the URL in a way that would not have any effect on the feed:


shows the expected content.

Dear Google …

October 31st, 2011

Dear Google, I understand that one might feel sometimes the urge to rock the boat. That’s OK. google+ did not hurt. The black top bar is fine. Google Reader is a bit of a different story. But I’ll manage. But, please, please, pretty please: DO NOT let those people anywhere near gmail.

Just keep it working. As it is. It is great. No need for social features. No need for Buzz/Wave/whatever-you-fancy.

I’d be happy to give you even more money for it. Just don’t mess with it.

Pretty Please.

gmail advanced search

June 3rd, 2010

I had no idea this exists: Google advanced search which I can see being very useful.

youtube videos in gmail

February 25th, 2010

Naturally my son wanted his own computer. He is 11 so isn’t it a birth right to have one? I only pointed to a stack of parts, being left overs from some upgrades and told that he could have one if we can put it together himself. He looked and me with this “Dad, I love you, but wtf is wrong with you + and what on earth have I done to deserve to be treated like this” look. He actually said “But I am eleven years old”. My reply was “yes, you are eleven years old”.

After a couple of days he realized that that I was serious about what I had said. Funny, since the previous 11 years might have given him a hint about that one. So he got the parts out. Had a good look at them, connected them in a way that made sense, connected them wrong, cursed, cried (of course not), asked questions and he ended up with:

I gave him a hand to put things in a case and everybody was happy.

But wait, there is the Internet, there is an eleven year old boy. An awesome one. But still!
I have not seen any software that would be able to protect my child from all the rotten stuff that is a couple clicks away on the internet.
The solution that we came up with works better I think. I explained my worries to him. He understood. I asked him if it would be
OK if I would look at where he goes at the net. He had no issues with that. Since Firefox stores visited URLs in sqlite and he
naturally runs an ubuntu machine this was easy to do. Each day that he used his computer I get an email from it that shows me
what he has been up to. He is totally aware of that and does not mind at all. And I never had anything to worry about.

Today was the first time that I saw in the end of such an email:

Which helps me quiet a great deal in what I have to do. Nice to see gmail getting better. With Buzz and Wave being what they are it became en vogue to bash google. It is nice to see that they continue to add nice features as well.

facebook login and the madness of crowds

February 14th, 2010

Readwrite web wrote about Facebook login

Which happened to bring them high in the google search results for “facebook login”.

Then facebook did a re design. I didn’t notice much difference. But some people got confused and looked for the “facebook login” on google. And as we all know
clicking on the first result is what one should do (not). Enough people were so convinced that what they actually saw was facebook they got very mad and left comments in this direction.

Two things become apparent:

Everybody has computers now. And I mean everybody.
And many people delegate everything (including their thinking) to google.

No wonder adsense scams are so profitable.

gmail backup

December 23rd, 2009

Over the last years I accumulated quiet a bit of mail in Gmail. It works, and I find it very inspiring to see its features grow while I keep all my data. But I also grew worried: What would happen if my mail should go away? I have paid google exactly zero for keeping all my email. There would be nothing I could do.

Turns out that it is possible to make a copy. Googles own Matt Cutts described it well

I found that these getmail parameters worked well for me:

type = SimpleIMAPSSLRetriever
server = imap.gmail.com
username = EMAIL@gmail.com
password = PASSWORD
mailboxes = ("[Gmail]/All Mail",)

user = getmail
type = Maildir
path = /root/.getmail/

read_all = false
verbose = 2
received = true
delivered_to = true
message_log = /root/.getmail/gmail.log

It took a while. Actually days. It seems that you only get mail out at a slow data rate. Then there is a bandwidth limit. getmail failed after a while with:

getmailOperationError error (IMAP error ([ALERT] Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure)))

Just waiting a couple of hours took care of this. Having had the mail not backed up for 5 years it was quiet alright to wait 5 hours.

Another error occured with 5 mails. Getmail for instance would end with:

getmailOperationError error (IMAP error (command FETCH ('3049', '(RFC822)') returned NO))

And it would do so repeatedly with the same number. I assumed that something had gone awry with those mails. After pretending that the mail already had been retrieved via the oldmail-imap file getmail soldiered on.

Tragically at some point my connection went away. I had downloaded around 120,000 mails during that session.
Getmail updates the oldmail-imap file only when done (or cancelled via ctrl-C). So the next time it started I went to download the same mails again.

Even with that glitch things worked out. And I feel pretty good about having a copy of my mail now.

Having a secure copy of your data is never a bad idea.

Google Voice Invite

November 9th, 2009

I have a couple Google Voice invites left. So far it has been working amazing. For instance do we route our 24/7 support number through it, and forward it to different people depending on the time of the day. That way people are awake when they answer. Google Voice has numerous other nice features. And best of all, they work very reliably.

If you like to get one of those invites then please get in touch.

love them

October 5th, 2009

For years now there have been gmail keyboard shortcuts. Finally enabled them. After 2 hours I can not wait to get more email so that I can handle it without reaching for the mouse. Extremely awesome.

3269 days later

September 8th, 2009

September 26th 2000 I started to count how many pages google had for specific terms. I am moving some data around, so while it was going by on a terminal window it caught my eye. Here some excerpts:

was: 6,290,000 today: 258,000,000 41x

was: 16,000,000 today: 865,000,000 54x

was: 24,200,000 today: 650,000,000 26x

was: 24,900,000 today: 1,500,000,000 60x

was: 5,920,000 today: 342,000,000 57x

was: 15,000,000 today: 503,000,000 33x

was: 27,500,000 today: 301,000,000 11x

once you are that good

July 20th, 2009

if you are a really good company then you can also outsave everybody. Just because you can, not because you need to.

Google had net profits of $1,480 million and spent not even 10% of that in Capex. Not bad.

adaptive beings

June 12th, 2008

Nicolas Carr asks Is Google Making Us Stupid.

The question is provocative, the underlying mechanism interesting. His conclusions seem predictive and not very helpful I am afraid. Reading the title I hoped for the wrong article. One that would illuminate and much more interesting question: “How does google change the way we think”. It certainly does. I am amazed how quickly I find myself forgetting things. It was worrying at first. After all I make a living based on the application of knowledge. The foundation of knowledge was being able to remember things. I say was. And -actually- I think it is quiet ok.

The apparent loss of memory was frightening when I observed how I would google for things again and again. The nicest anecdote I mention frequently: Reading my own blog without noticing that I am fixing an issue following a recipe that I wrote myself.

Nowadays I think that my brain just realized that it is a waste of time to compete with the internet and google as it’s access if it comes to all those mundane details that make up my job. Once a decent phone book function comes along (be it as a book or function of the phones software) we quickly forget most numbers we used to be able to remember. Just how it goes.

google mail: nice new feature

November 15th, 2007

Google mail seemed to have gotten a facelift a few weeks ago. But it also got more functionalities. Of the nice kind: I was working on an email exchange with a couple of people just now. While typing along there was all of a sudden a yellow message in the lower right corner. It informed me that somebody had added a message to the thread I was writing in. It’s this kind of helpful idea and feature that makes gmail the best mail app around these days. Very impressive.

gmail scares me

November 12th, 2006

Just got an email back that I had send. Or should we say that I supposedly sent. No, I have not switched to Windows and are victim of the usual malware. No I don’t think that just because somebody has put in my email address in the “From:” field that I have sent it. What just happened is much much scarier:

Only the tail of my email was what I sent. The start was spam. I send this email with gmail to somebody that uses SBC or pacbell and is pretty sure on a mac as well. If my email get mixed up with spam then they certainly have a hard time getting delivered.

Which is the scariest part of the whole story: I still assume that email works. I send something once, and if I don’t hear back then I do not bother people again. Which is a good way of communicating, as long god damn email works.

youtube and copyright

October 27th, 2006

the slate sheds some interesting light on Copyright and why youTube might be in less trouble than everybody claimed.

about those one point six billion

October 10th, 2006

the youTube founders came up with a ‘video’ for the occasion

“Two Kings came together” ?? wtf!

Honestly, I would rather not be in their shoes. Good for them that they cashed in like they did.
But not being a dork like they are: priceless.

It reminds of the “King of the World”.
Somehow the gluttening reference to royality is a sure way to make you disappear.

one point six billion

October 9th, 2006

google buys youtube

Didn’t google try their own video thing? If you have it, then you can pay 1.6 billion for making your own solution worse than the one coming out of a garage somewhere. The only problem is, that once you start doing this you loose the edge. Gmail was the last thing that google did that really worked. Search is still of amazing quality for them. Maps is decent,
but video they screwed up, and now they pay the equivalent of the GDP of Mongolia for their mistake. OK almost, that one is 1885 Millions.

neat idea

September 2nd, 2006

google did a quick little game to let you add tags to images.
It’s actually quiet nice, since it seems to have a couple of innovative ideas and it does even work.


July 6th, 2006


is the URL you want to use in order to teach google NOT to show you the localized Version that they throw at you based on your IP. I had removed all my google cookies and was faced with the devastating fact that I rank at #15 or so for my own name on the german gogole version.

this will be big news

June 29th, 2006

google checkout

If lots of merchands sign up then this will be a big deal.

why did google blog at 3:00 am about it?

google broken, and this time it was not me

April 6th, 2006

It took me a while to be the ‘#1 result’ results when somebody enters my complete name in google. I look at the results page for this once in a while. Since I know the usual order of the pages by heart, it makes a great indicator if something changed at google. This morning I saw a pretty nasty bug:

As you can see my blog agregator BlogsNow contains the wrong “snippet”. It does not produce compelling effects. This snippet is actually one that comes from the result above it. In this case it’s not that tragic, since the result above is still related to me: It’s my former job. But the same might happen to two sites that have controversial views on a topic.

Things break. Google code is not immune to this. The bigger question is, if and when it gets fixed.

the story of the movie Tron

March 17th, 2006

Looks like an interest article about Tron.
Just that I have no time to read it right now.

tron on youtube

tron on google video

I let you decide what is more relevant and more interesting.

gmail: you suck

February 13th, 2006

As much as I like a free thing that works mostly. Today google over did it:

I understand their urge for more money ( they are only worth billions by now) so they like to peddle their “google talk service”. At first I was mildly shocked when I had to click through their “there is google talk” banner page in order to get to my emails. I thought that would be it and I had gmail for years, so once a year one screen to click away is ok.

But now they draw a little overlay over every email address that the mouse is hovering over. How annoying is that!
If they don’t shut that of soon ( I looked in the preferences and it seemed there was no way to do that ) then I will get my imap install going on andreaswacker.com. Or maybe google does not like to store 1038 MB worth of email for me anymore and they like to annoy me so that I go away? Either way, if this nonsense does not stop soon then I will migrate my mail over to my server again. That will be an interesting ‘pop3′ session: 1GB of email …

update 2/17/06: google stoppped displaying those pesky overlays. Glad about that.
Don’t really have the time right now to get imap going on my own domain.

924 searches a second

February 12th, 2006

In December 2005 Google handled an average of 924 searches a second. It was 528/sec a year before. Every search is done against the content of some eight billion documents or so. I think that is rather impressive. All done on Linux machines.

In December ‘04 Google did three times more searches than MSN, a year later that ratio had changed to 4.4 times.
Summer 2004 Steve Ballmer had said:

“We don’t want to be a fast follower. If we’re not first, we’ll be a fast follower, but we really want to be first.”

Mick Jagger is know to have said: “You can’t always get what you want”

Numbers from Nielsen

When I was digging for those Ballmer quotes I read a couple of articles about Microsoft and search. They had the tone as if Microsoft and the world was taken by surprise by the success of search. It sometimes sounds as if search came out of nowhere. I think Microsoft decided consiously not to pay attention to search around 2000 when it should have. They probably underestimated the value that is out there on the internet in this uncontrollable heap of information and tools. Microsoft owns the PC operating system and office software market. They simply assumed that all the valuable content would be created within their domain. Therefor they would just need to go along, release a nice pace of updates for Office, Entourage and Windows and that would be that. The internet, so they thought, is something you browse for entertainment with IE in the lunch break. They won the browser war, so what could happen to them?

As confident as the Armada did they sail into this century. And they are sinking as fast as those spanish ships did 418 years ago. Their stock price is flat. They share with Sony the grief about not being part of the booming mp3 business. Longhorn is called Vista now. It’s ok, but the excitement is largely missing. Google just started the next phase of competition by replacing the functionality of Exchange with a free service of theirs. As a little side node here: Web pundits had speculated in vivid colors how there would be a web based word or excel product to challenge the dominating products made in Seattle. Of course it makes so much more sense to start with Microsoft Exchange. Email is, after all, already a network based system. So much for the collective wisdom of crowds.

Microsoft never anticipated that there could be a whole new use of computers that would have nothing to do with writing texts or doing spreadsheats. Microsoft got their lucky break from the lack of imagination and enthousiasm at IBM when it created the personal computer. Only few years of big blue being asleep at the steering wheel, gave Bill and his people enough time to become leader in this emerging field. And they made all the right moves to stay ahead of the game since then. The PC OS market has been domimated by Microsoft very much like IBM had been sucessfully leading the computation field before. IBM could not imagine that the PC that they started would change everything. Nor could Microsoft imagine that the internet would do it all over again.

Imagination is not very tangible. It’s lack however can cost you billions. And somehow it always does.

the yin and yang of google

February 9th, 2006

I don’t get it they must be too smart for me. I can not see how this would be anything that google would be doing and why this makes any sense.

On the other hand this makes allot of sense
Imagine you are a small company: You pay some MS Exchange Expert and Microsoft quiet some money just to have email. Most features you would want you might get for free via “caribou”. Or for very little money.

I think it would make sense if the service is free. Eyeballs pay for it. Support could cost money. Putting ads in
outgoing email would be a big ‘nono’. Being a small company you don’t want to expose that you use a cheap/free service for email.

google wants all your keystrokes

February 6th, 2006

had not seen ‘chat in gmail’ yet

blogspot offline

February 4th, 2006

Looks like most of blogger is offline from here and from where BlogsNow looks.
So I told the bot to stop trying.

I just hope that gmail is been maintained better than blogspot.
Then on the other hand: After installig a postfix server recently I might be tempted to
keep gmail only as a backup.

google: fu!

January 28th, 2006

I followed the whole google china thing and was not upset that much. I did expect google to behave like this.
But a press release like this in a blog is just too much. That’s calling everybody to drink the cool-aid. Some people will do.
I will not. Google is a big and greedy corporation. They make billions right now. They could have afforded the high route, and they choose deliberate not too. Instead they come up with a phony press release. All those smart people they hired in the last years will not leave. Their stock options will keep them. But this marks the time when google stopped being cool. I think that google is evil.

google china and linux

January 27th, 2006

Google censors it’s results in China. Lately I have been googling allot for a current project. Installing things on linux machines means that you have to have access to all those how-to’s boards forums. Allot of linux technology exists in China and everywhere in the third world. How about calling the next redhat release not ‘tettnang’ but rather ‘democracy’. Or sprinkle those ‘bad words’ in your source code. Everybody who will filter would cut himself of a significant amount of information. The chinese boom is fueled by technological information available so freely. By merging ‘bad terms’ into the things they need to read you essentially break filtering. No matter how eagerly google will comply: Either you censor and loose lots of information for your business or you give up on the censor stuff and deal with the realities of history. Their choice really.

Right now the chinese have the cake (free information on technology) and eat it too (cencorship)