The Moon

Last night as I was driving home listening to the San Francisco Bay Area’s all jazz station KCSM they were playing all moon related songs. This week the full moon is hanging lower in the sky than any full moon since  June 1987, so the moon illusion is extra strong. The moon illusion is  about how the moon looks extra big when it is near the horizon. It is all explained here. What is fascinating is that it is all  something our eye creates not something a camera sees and no one is really sure what causes it.

Duke and I love admiring the moon so last night just before moonrise we went out to the Hayward shoreline away from the trees and buildings. We went for a walk. When the moon came up it was absolutely amazing. Not only did look big but there was some fog on the horizon so the moon was an amazing orange. Then as it rose it changed to butter yellow and then a creamy white.


I was part of a conversation today about materiality and blogging. One of the participants, 
a lawyer, was explaining all the SEC rules concerning disclosure of forward looking
information by public companies and how dangerous blogging can be. Someone else laughingly
said he had heard it said that blogging can destroy a company just be sure it is not ours.

Obviously if a blogger starts talking about things like future product strategy or mergers
and acquisitions it is material information. But where do you draw the line? If you say we
are going to fix this bug in our next release is that material information?

It occurred to me that this is probably a discussion that has happened before. In fact I
would imagine that whenever a public company talks about blogging this comes up. I'm sure
there have been some good posts addressing this question. I'll do a bit of keyword
searching but if anyone is aware of good blogs on this topic please let me know.

Laptop computers and Sun Ray cards

Up until the first of this month I worked at Sun Microsystems. We used Sun Rays which are basically terminals that I could put my smart card into and have my computing environment immediately available.  At Sun your smart card was your badge and it gave you access to your environment where ever you happened to be working. When you use a Sun Ray your whole computer is in a server room somewhere and the server just displays your environment where ever you are. Essentially your smart card is the key to accessing your computing environment.

Since starting at Intuit I’ve switched to a traditional Microsoft environment. What I’ve noticed though is that many people use their laptop the way I used to use a Sun Ray smart card. They plug the laptop into a docking station and then work on a terminal and  keyboard that is stationary in their office.

I totally understand that there are very basic differences in the two environments but if you think about it from a user perspective and don’t worry too much about where the CPU is located then you can  perhaps see the laptop and the Sun Ray smart card converging. in both cases you  plug them in and your environment shows up on  essentially a dumb terminal where ever you are.

How to Get Financial Planning Experience

I met with a Financial Planner last Friday
to discuss possible ways we could work together to allow me to get financial
planning experience and at the same time have the relationship be
advantageous for him. I had lots of questions about how financial
planning works and he was very informative. He is a fee only planner.
That means he doesn’t make any commissions from his clients investments.
He charges a fee to do a financial plan for a client and when the client
has him manage their assets he charges a fee based on a percentage of
assets under management.

If I wanted to work as an associate with his firm I would need to pass
my NASD series 65 license exam. Then as I brought clients in we would
work together to provide the services they needed and we would share the
fees. I would get experience and my clients would get the benefit of his
extensive experience. In a few years if I wanted to go out on my own I
could buy the clients back from him.

This planner uses mutual funds from Dimensional Fund Advisers to create
portfolios based on an asset allocation designed for the needs of each
client. Dimensional Funds are institutional funds with a very low cost
structure. Individuals can’t buy the funds directly but must work
through an adviser.

I really enjoy doing informational interviews. I not only learn a lot
but I also meet some very interesting people who are doing what I may be
doing some day. My plan has always been to do planning for an hourly fee.  I envision serving clients who don’t have big asset portfolios so I’m not at all sure working with this planner would be a fit for me. Plus I am not sure I would be very good at
bringing in clients with money to manage. On the other hand one of the big advantages of working with an
established planner is that since I only want to do planning part time for now
this would be a way to learn a lot and get experience.

I think I’ll just put all my energy into work for now. I am very committed to my new job at Intuit. I am working on
some very exciting things and that is my first priority.