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Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart
The Stationery Cupboard Definitely deserving of its own category, if only because the stationery cupboard provides the most wonderful refuge from the occasional ravages of office life – indeed, from life itself. In one office I worked in, the stationery cupboard was large and well appointed enough to house at least four people for up to five hours before anyone started running out of oxygen. A bunch of us – when we were hung over and meant to be mail-merging for a big event – used to pretend we were going in there for a ‘very important mail-merge-based meeting’. We would then bed down for the morning – lying on the bubble-wrap, heads resting on Manila envelopes – and snooze peacefully, like monkeys in a cage. Even when you’re fighting fit, the stationery cupboard can provide a welcome bolthole. There’s nothing like breezily declaring, ‘Just popping in for some printer cartridges’, only to lock the door behind you and lie back in the restorative darkness or, in my case, begin early attempts to write comedy sketches by torchlight.
And at twenty-six, we finally started admitting it to people. Even though the dream seemed further and further away as I trundled through my twenties and early thirties in offices, I kept at it. I kept writing sketches in office stationery cupboards, kept trying them out in grotty London pubs, every summer went to the Edinburgh Festival and every September, when back in the office, would do another mail-merge to casting directors. And, get this – we are now a comedy actress. Professionally. *mouth falls open* Seriously, we are a comedian. SHUT UP! Are you bouncing up and down? I am bouncing up and down. Me too, although I have to hold on to my breasts to do so without damage. I can’t actually believe it. We get into comedy? Yup. I feel like crying. Life may not be easy, Little M. Things do go wrong and it can be very tough.
A macro is a series of steps—commands, keystrokes, clicks—that users can program into the computer once, and then run many times with a single keystroke. (If you’re not sure how to get started, ask the nearest techie—or IT department—for a tutorial on macros; someone may be happy to teach you.) For example, say someone hands you a text file and asks you to “clean up the data” (perhaps to prepare a mail merge or some other task) by deleting the second comma on every line. One way is to do it manually: search twice for a comma, delete, go to the next line; search twice, delete, next line; and so on. But for a file with thousands of lines it would be impossible. A macro, however, could loop these steps into one command, allowing you to execute the process with a single keystroke. Macros can thus turn the keyboard into a bit lever for arbitrarily complex actions.
The Little Book of Hedge Funds by Anthony Scaramucci
Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, business process, carried interest, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fear of failure, fixed income, follow your passion, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, merger arbitrage, NetJets, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra
So, if you are looking for a job at a hedge fund, you are in luck! According to recent surveys, hedge fund job listings increased by 32 percent in 2010. Unfortunately, there isn’t a scientific recipe that I can give you to help you land a job at the next hedge fund powerhouse. But, below are some suggestions on how to score an interview. The Blind Outreach Program: The blind outreach program occurs when you hit the mail merge on your computer and e-mail your resume to all of the personnel departments in the hedge fund universe. Although this may be the coldest of cold calls—and probably the least effective approach—I still think it is necessary as it forces you to get your arms around the many different names in the industry. After all, you have to first compile the database and do your homework on each fund before you decide you want to send a particular fund this e-mail.
Running Money by Andy Kessler
Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, British Empire, business intelligence, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, family office, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, interest rate swap, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System
We had a secretary early on, but we had to let her go. She was too much work. It wasn’t an ordinary business, so we couldn’t just say, “File these correspondences.” We didn’t quite know what we were doing, so it was hard to have someone help you learn on the ﬂy. We set up our own meetings, sent out our own quarterly letters to investors, got our own coffee and took out our own garbage. Voice mail and e-mail and mail merges are just easier to manage than people. It was just me and Fred—Fred and me. The economics were 50-50. Everything was by consensus, which meant that we each had the power of veto. I was his boss and he was mine, and I told Fred that I have a history of hating my bosses. We signed each other’s checks—when we had enough money after expenses to pay ourselves, that is. It took a while. We didn’t take a salary for the ﬁrst two years.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
airport security, Berlin Wall, citizen journalism, Firefox, game design, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, mail merge, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web of trust, zero day
Computers -- which had been geeky and weird a few years before -- were everywhere, and the modem I'd used to connect to local bulletin board systems was now connecting me to the entire world through the Internet and commercial online services like GEnie. My lifelong fascination with activist causes went into overdrive as I saw how the main difficulty in activism -- organizing -- was getting easier by leaps and bounds (I still remember the first time I switched from mailing out a newsletter with hand-written addresses to using a database with mail-merge). In the Soviet Union, communications tools were being used to bring information -- and revolution -- to the farthest-flung corners of the largest authoritarian state the Earth had ever seen. But 17 years later, things are very different. The computers I love are being co-opted, used to spy on us, control us, snitch on us. The National Security Agency has illegally wiretapped the entire USA and gotten away with it.
The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, packet switching, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons
The second type of computing devices was information appliances: devices hardwired for a particular purpose. These were devices like the Friden Flexowriter, a typewriter that could store what was typed by making holes in a roll of tape. Rethreading the tape through the Flexowriter allowed it to retype what had come before, much like operating a player piano. Cutting and pasting different pieces of Flexowriter tape together allowed the user to do mail merges about as easily as one can do them today with Microsoft Word or its rivals.6 Information appliances were substantially cheaper and easier to use than mainframes, thus requiring no ongoing rental and maintenance relationship with a vendor. However, they could do only the tasks their designers anticipated for them. Firms could buy Flexowriters outright and entrust them to workers—but could not reprogram them.
Bernie Madoff, the Wizard of Lies: Inside the Infamous $65 Billion Swindle by Diana B. Henriques
accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, financial deregulation, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, index fund, locking in a profit, mail merge, merger arbitrage, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, riskless arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Small Order Execution System, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, traveling salesman
DiPascali, in turn, allegedly relied on two computer programmers who had joined the firm a few years earlier and who were later accused of designing software for one of the firm’s new IBM AS/400 computers that simplified the process of generating the fictional account statements. DiPascali and some of his staff allegedly researched the necessary trades from the historic record, and then the customized Ponzi software would allocate those trades, in perfect proportions, among the various customer accounts using a simple “mail merge” computer function. Besides reducing the manual labour involved, this automation provided new opportunities for deception. It was around this time that Madoff leased separate space on the seventeenth floor of the Lipstick Building—ostensibly for his new IBM computers but actually to create a more secure environment for his increasingly elaborate fraud. As he later recalled, he set up the separate suite because “I could not have operated in view of the other people on the 18th floor.”