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Stock Market Insanity. Party like it's 1987.


By simchaland   Follow   Mon, 17 May 2010, 3:19pm   5,358 views   69 comments
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Read it and weep:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/17/magazines/fortune/2010.crash.1987.again.fortune/index.htm

"(Fortune) -- In two tumultuous weeks in October 1987, the stock market shed nearly one-third of its value in perhaps the second most notorious crash in U.S. history. It could happen again. Don't be deceived by the rebounding economy, any more than the bulls should have been misled by the balmy climate during the late Reagan years. Right now, stocks are extremely vulnerable to the same scenario. The reason: The market is even more overpriced than when thunder struck on that distant Black Monday.

That doesn't mean that a giant correction is inevitable; far from it. But the quasi-bubble that followed the big selloff in late 2008 and early 2009 makes the probability of sudden downward swing far more likely. And today's high prices make it practically certain that investors can, at best, expect extremely low returns in the years ahead."

It's as I see it. Comments?

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  1. Vicente


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    30   8:12pm Thu 20 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    junkmail says

    I think the “silence” of some contributors to this forum, who are NOT commenting on this speaks volumes.

    Comment about what? This thread is all over the map.

  2. simchaland


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    31   8:26pm Thu 20 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Vicente, yeah, this thread has become like a drunken sailor, really. I meant it more to be a discussion of the evolving ups and downs of the stock market but it seems to have turned into a potpourri. I've kind of contributed to the diffuse nature of the discourse on here. Oops. Oh well...

  3. Austinhousingbubble


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    32   9:45pm Thu 20 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    If we go nuclear, we must make absolutely certain that it’s 100% safe. Otherwise we are going to be fooling ourselves again like we do with fossil fuels currently.

    Sadly, the inextricable human fallibility factor means that notions of 100% safety are a pipe dream. If you can take man out of the equation, however...

    Specifically it looks like cold fusion is our best bet:

    Cold fusion/isomer triggering remains fringe science at best, pathological science at worst. Just for starters, it completely violates known laws of physics. Both the DOE and DOD have wasted millions of dollars farting around with this already.

  4. Vicente


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    33   10:02pm Thu 20 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    You know what's disappointing about this oil spill?

    Lacks a soused captain we can pin it all on.

  5. pkennedy


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    34   3:08pm Fri 21 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    @simchaland
    thomas is correct with nuclear reactors. The "dirty: ones that were built in the US, do create a mess, but most of the world doesn't use these. The way the new reactors work is that as they create more energy the spin faster, when they get up to a certain speed centrifugal forces pull apart the reaction, so it can't run wild. Fusion has been worked on for so long, with no usable output, we have at least 20 more years of work to go before we can get anything net positive out of them. Nuclear is a good way to go, but in reality we need multiple sources. Most nuclear waste from modern nuclear reactors isn't very dirty AND there isn't much of it. Old US nuclear reactors create masses of VERY long living materials. Putting nuclear waste in a mountain for even thousands of years is fine. Even if there is a massive earthquake and it all ends up topside, nothing will happen, it'll be a mess but we'll clean it up. It isn't going to spontaneously create a nuclear explosion.

    The answer isn't one source, nuclear. It's multiple sources, wind, solar, tidal, hydro electric. We have such insane energy needs now that we have to grow out several avenues. Secondly, we need to learn to use energy better. Better insulation, not running computers all night long, better data centers (they're like 5% of power now?!), and lighter smaller cars.

    Until we can SEE how much energy we're wasting, we aren't likely to do much though as consumers. Increasing prices + smart monitors will help here I think. People will begin to actually understand how much little things effect their energy consumption.

    @thomas
    Computers are pretty much mature now, I agree there. We're just starting to really integrate computers into our lives. Computers will push the next big thing, biotech. Now that the computers are fast enough, and our manufacturing skills for great scientific equipment have really expanded, we can expect to see some fantastic advancements in this area. Just look at the genome projects, how slow they were previously and how quickly they can process the data now.

  6. simchaland


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    35   3:46pm Fri 21 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    A GREAT week for Bears )

    Well, we ended the week on a bullish note. It's Dow up 125.38.

    I don't enjoy being a bear on the stock market. I do like living in reality though. And I enjoy being a bear in other aspects of my life. ;-)

  7. elliemae


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    36   8:08am Sat 22 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Vicente says

    You know what’s disappointing about this oil spill?
    Lacks a soused captain we can pin it all on.

    Maybe someone can create one - blame the whole thing on an alcohol-infused poker game in the control room. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." (from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance)

  8. thomas.wong1986


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    37   5:04pm Sun 23 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Biotech is a dead end. The difference between the two industries are too vast.
    HT enjoyed fat corporate budgets which you will not find in biotech. They dont have the beauracracy and long periods of R&D,
    which only drains working capital. You can make a wonder drug to cure all Aids, but who will buy/pay for it.

  9. simchaland


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    38   7:18pm Tue 25 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    1. Hiring IT guys to stock shelves is a mark of an inefficient, wasteful economy, not an efficient, vibrant one.

    Check

    2. There are nowhere near enough jobs, even if people lowered their standards.

    Check

    2b. All that would happen is that the unskilled would be totally S-out-of-luck as they would be forced to compete with college grads for gas-pumping positions.

    Check - Yes, I see this happening right now. I work with 18-25 year olds. Almost none of them can find jobs, not even entry level burger flipping ones. Why? Because they are taken already by state workers on furlough and former "middle managers" and other paper pushers and IT people.

    2c. And Wages would take a monster nose-dive. Employers would be able to force cuts of 10% and beyond to petrified employees, resulting in a fresh, fear-driven wave of consumer spending cutbacks.

    Hold onto your hats. This is what the aristocracy has in store for us next if workers don't unite.

    3. But Many employers will not consider people who they believe are ‘overqualified’, as the article below illustrates:

    Yes, isn't that ironic?

    “Being a college graduate with work experience won’t get you a job at the Dog Kennel” - 260 people, including experienced teachers, middle aged accountants, etc apply for one part time $8.55/hr dog poop-cleaning job in Washington State:
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/dannywestneat/2011421840_danny24.html

    Sad, isn't it? And this is happening more and more. Does anyone see a recovery happening right now?

  10. gamyisrigged


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    39   7:39pm Tue 25 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    This is all Bush's fault.

  11. tts


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    40   9:42pm Tue 25 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thomas.wong1986 says

    Wanna buy a Netbook for $200 dollars!

    You're conflating technology improvements with inflation. That is incorrect. The FED does the same thing, they call it Hedonics though. You should bear in mind that netbook won't be very good compared to a decent (ie. ~$700) notebook...

    Prices on many things like food and housing have been heavily subsidized over the years. Its been obvious with housing, but less so with food, but it has happened all the same. Corn, rice, meat, and soybeans have all been heavily subsidized over the years. They've also gone to great lengths at the same time to reduce costs by cutting quality. You can search Youtube for videos of how most farm raised pigs, cattle, and chicken are treated if you don't believe me, its pretty ugly.

    You guys are all forgetting inflation is easy to do. If gov wants to they'll just flat out mail people the money or do a tax credit. Both have been used several times pver the last few years, by Bush and Obama. I still doubt that they're going to raise wages though. If anything I'm seeing wages decrease right now. High inflation would be absolutely brutal right now on the middle class and poor Americans, but I think that is what we're going to get instead of deflation since the gov. hates it so much and views inflation as the lesser evil.

  12. thomas.wong1986


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    41   12:39pm Wed 26 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    You’re conflating technology improvements with inflation.

    No! what im talking about is market competition. Something thats been going on since 1985.
    You will not find many local tech companies that can sustain market pricing "power". Once your
    competition drops their prices, all other players follow. We seen this multiple times from Semis,
    Semi Equipment, SW, Servers and the rest. That is why we seen prices drop from $5000 to less than $500. When vendors negotiate prices it usually time and time again see 20-30% discounts. Its difficult to establish product prices in tech companies. That is why Silicon Valley and many tech players in other regions are deflationary.

  13. tts


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    42   10:30pm Wed 26 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Sorry but that is still all incorrect. All the competition in the world wouldn't produce a $200 net top in 1990, 1995, or 2000, much less 2005.

    The tech had to exist first, then came the competition. There are only a handful of companies that produce all the components that goes into PC's you know.

    Intel/AMD make the CPUs, Intel/AMD/nV make the GPU's, Crucial/Micron/Hynix/Samsung and a few others make the RAM, WD/Seagate/Hitachi and a few others make the hard drives, ASUS/DFI/Foxconn/MSI make the motherboards, etc. That "competition" you're talking about is more like an oligopoly. RAM manufacturers in particular are notorious for working together to fix prices.

    The tech itself has nothing to do with inflation or deflation, if you think it does you don't know the meaning of those words.

  14. WillyWanker


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    43   1:31pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  
  15. tatupu70


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    44   1:44pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    The tech itself has nothing to do with inflation or deflation, if you think it does you don’t know the meaning of those words.

    While I disagree with most of what Thomas is saying, deflation doesn't care if it's because of technological improvements, lower margins, or lower raw materials. Deflation is simply defined as falling prices.

  16. tts


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    45   2:55pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Yes, falling prices of goods is indeed deflation in a monetary sense.

    But you'd be making an apples to oranges comparison if you take new tech and compare it to old tech and say "DEFLATION".

    Why? Because you're not comparing the same products!! A PIII made today would be very different from one made back in 1999 for instance even though technically they're the same processor. The reason? It'd be made on a modern 32nm process instead of a ancient 250nm process which would have a HUGE effect on die size, power, and clock speed as well as yield (how many CPU's you get per wafer) which is what would allow you to drop the prices on them.

    In short the price drop had nothing to do with _any_ monetary event, which is what thomas is talking about when he says deflation, it was due to improvements in manufacturing capability. If you follow the business you know that costs have actually gone UP, massively so in fact.

    10 years ago there used to be many more private fabs for instance. These days rising costs have made new fabs so expensive that there are really only a few big players left who can afford to shell out the +$3 billion or more required to build a new one. There'll be even fewer standalone fabs in the future since its expected to cost more than _$6 billion_ to build one within 10 years. That is why we're starting to see more alliances and mergers happen now (ie. GF and UMC, IBM/Sony/Toshiba, even Intel and Micron for flash) because all the big players know they can't afford to go it alone anymore.

    The R&D + fab manufacturing costs are just too huge.

  17. SFace


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    46   3:03pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts,

    your explaination pretty much summarized why I don't invest in semi's. Make 1B, but spend 2B in capital to sustain the business. Great for the executive's who draws their paycheck and bonus' year after year but a terrible investment as a common stockholder.

  18. tatupu70


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    47   3:08pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    But you’d be making an apples to oranges comparison if you take new tech and compare it to old tech and say “DEFLATION”.
    Why? Because you’re not comparing the same products!! A PIII made today would be very different from one made back in 1999 for instance even though technically they’re the same processor. The reason? It’d be made on a modern 32nm process instead of a ancient 250nm process which would have a HUGE effect on die size, power, and clock speed as well as yield (how many CPU’s you get per wafer) which is what would allow you to drop the prices on them

    Yes, but if anything that would signal more deflation. You're getting a better product for less money than an inferior product of the past. So apples to apples, prices have really fallen even more than is indicated.

    That's why productivity gains usually rein in inflation...

  19. Vicente


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    48   3:22pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    There should be some kind of "posting limit" for threads IMO, so ancient threads with lots of posts and twists and turns can die a natural death.

  20. tts


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    49   3:37pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Vicente says

    There should be some kind of “posting limit” for threads IMO, so ancient threads with lots of posts and twists and turns can die a natural death.

    Thread isn't that old, a few weeks?

    It has gone somewhat OT though, but that always happens no matter what you do.

    tatupu70 says

    Yes, but if anything that would signal more deflation. You’re getting a better product for less money than an inferior product of the past. So apples to apples, prices have really fallen even more than is indicated.
    That’s why productivity gains usually rein in inflation…

    Other way around. Cost per die would go down but Intel would just sell them for the same or slightly less than what they did before, so their profits would go up. Why else do you think they made so much money in the 90's but started having their profit margins shaved in the 2000's?

  21. thomas.wong1986


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    50   7:03pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    Why? Because you’re not comparing the same products!! A PIII made today would be very different from one made back in 1999 for instance even though technically they’re the same processor. The reason? It’d be made on a modern 32nm process instead of a ancient 250nm process which would have a HUGE effect on die size, power, and clock speed as well as yield (how many CPU’s you get per wafer) which is what would allow you to drop the prices on them.
    In short the price drop had nothing to do with _any_ monetary event, which is what thomas is talking about when he says deflation, it was due to improvements in manufacturing capability. If you follow the business you know that costs have actually gone UP, massively so in fact.

    If you look back, you will find no one wanted to see price declines for tech goods like Semis and storage drives. Infact like AMD, which had a 'no lay off policy' and geared its spending as a $2B in revenue company was ill prepared for the price drops in the 80s which occured as the Japanese cut their prices in the market places. They had pretty massive layoffs back then in the late 80s early 90s. Clock speed and other factors did not influence prices. You see this even today. When I worked at a Semi Equipment company, Intel always wanted to see 20% off the list price for our products, in reaction to AMD price cuts. And this effected many others in the supply chain. In todays B2B market place these chances between vendors are very swift and unseen.

    It was never forseen and there was no master plan based on new tech introduction which created these price drops in our industries. Like AMD/Intel these players are oftern at each other throats competing for market share.

    I hear recently that Apple may be using cheaper AMD chips instead of Intel.

    Apple in advance discussions to adopt AMD chips
    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/04/16/apple_in_advanced_discussions_to_adopt_amd_chips.html

    How will Intel react ? cut their prices.. and the cycle continues.

  22. thomas.wong1986


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    51   7:15pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    Why else do you think they made so much money in the 90’s but started having their profit margins shaved in the 2000’s?

    They had their margins shaved long before that. Intel cut 30% of its force back in early 90s and exited many business lines including the profitable DRAM business, shipped many jobs to Oregon from Santa Clara. At the same time AMD copied and introduced a non-royalty Intel 386 processor, AM376, sparking price wars with Intel lasting even today. NEC introduced a similar product the NEC V20 and V30, which Intel blocked for "fear" of losing to the CPU business as they lost in the DRAM business. Others like Cyrix, National, and TI also had similar products like the 486DX. Intels questionable business tactic were used to drive competition out of the market place. If anything, Intel managed to survive many treats in the market place, using of all things legal and blut tactics to survive. That is why they are under investigation by both Japanes and European goverments. Their lawyers have always been busy!

  23. tts


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    52   7:27pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thomas.wong1986 says

    If you look back, you will find no one wanted to see price declines for tech goods like Semis and storage drives.

    Yea, I remember when Intel was laughing at sub $1K machines and said they'd never work.

    At the time and for the money those AMD K5/6's and Cyrix 6x86's were decent chips. I actually had a MediaGX system for a while too...

    thomas.wong1986 says

    Infact like AMD, which had a ‘no lay off policy’ and geared its spending as a $2B in revenue company was ill prepared for the price drops in the 80s which occured as the Japanese cut their prices in the market places. They had pretty massive layoffs back then in the late 80s early 90s. Clock speed and other factors did not influence prices.

    AFAIK the Japanese semi's weren't competing with Intel/AMD for CPU's which were heavily reliant on their in house processes so they couldn't be made anywhere else anyways, maybe flash is what you mean? I didn't think that was all that big for Intel up until the last few years, I know AMD spun theirs (flash production) off into some deal with Fujitsu that went bad several years ago.

    AMD has had lots of problems over the years with missed launches and process delays though, tough business to be in though particularly when you have to compete with Intel.

    thomas.wong1986 says

    It was never forseen and there was no master plan based on new tech introduction which created these price drops in our industries. Like AMD/Intel these players are oftern at each other throats competing for market share.

    They may not have _planned_ to cut costs with new tech, but that was the way it worked out. Of course they'd want to keep prices high, they're in business to make money after all!

    thomas.wong1986 says

    I hear recently that Apple may be using cheaper AMD chips instead of Intel.
    How will Intel react ? cut their prices.. and the cycle continues.

    AFAIK the problem isn't Intel's prices/performance on their CPU's or even their platform, but that AMD is supposed to have a MUCH better GPU built into their mobile chips around late this year or early next.

    If thats true it almost won't matter how low Intel goes, we'll have to see....

    thomas.wong1986 says

    They had their margins shaved long before that.

    What?! They were making mad cash in the 90's, their profits were HUGE. AMD/Cyrix/Nat. Semi/TI couldn't compete on performance which was a very big deal for CPU's all the way up until recently, so people regularly spent $200+ on Intel chips. Now a 2Ghz+ dual core chip is cheap and more than enough for most people, you can pick one up for $50. SSD's or doubling the RAM have more benefit for most people than a faster CPU....

    thomas.wong1986 says

    Intel cut 30% of its force back in early 90s and exited many business lines including the profitable DRAM business, shipped many jobs to Oregon from Santa Clara.

    Yea they canned a lot of that stuff because at the time they saw the writing on the wall and got out while the getting was good. The DRAM manufacturers have spent nearly all that time since then squeaking by on tiny margins.

    thomas.wong1986 says

    Intels questionable business tactic were used to drive competition out of the market place.

    Yea, but that only worked because they were so HUGE. Intel pretty much was the x86 CPU (read: PC) market. If you pissed them off all the way up until the late 90's you were screwed (to some extent this is still true today, they can't get away with as much as they used to though). I remember the mobo manufacturer's wouldn't sell their stuff for AMD CPU's with their own branding, they'd sell it as white box no label goods!! That doesn't happen anymore though....

  24. thomas.wong1986


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    53   7:40pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    simchaland says

    2b. All that would happen is that the unskilled would be totally S-out-of-luck as they would be forced to compete with college grads for gas-pumping positions.
    Check - Yes, I see this happening right now. I work with 18-25 year olds. Almost none of them can find jobs, not even entry level burger flipping ones. Why? Because they are taken already by state workers on furlough and former “middle managers” and other paper pushers and IT people.

    There is a guy who works in the front office at Goodyear tire retail In Los Gatos. He was a Engineer with Seagate for 25 years. There was another guy I meet at Macys, he was a former Cost Accounting Manager for a Tech company I also worked for many years ago. He is currently a tailor. Frankly, their vast experience and talent is being wasted. Its a shame.

    This past month i found out that a friend of mine, along with many others will be losing his job. His employers which was slated to go IPO couldnt...not because they had growing sales or being profitable, but they couldnt really behave and develope sound financial statements as a public entity. Real reason, the Accounting was mismanaged by a bunch of inexperienced ivy-league MBA morons. It just wasnt going to happen after many bad misteps.
    Good engineering and good salespeople wasnt enough!

  25. thomas.wong1986


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    54   7:48pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    AFAIK the Japanese semi’s weren’t competing with Intel/AMD for CPU’s which were heavily reliant on their in house processes so they couldn’t be made anywhere else anyways, maybe flash is what you mean?

    NEC V20 and V30...introduced on Hitachi Laptops and banned from importing by Intel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEC_V20
    http://www.cpu-collection.de/?l0=co&l1=NEC&l2=V20

    The NEC V20 is a 16-bit CMOS microprocessor with 8-bit external data bus, object-code and pin-compatible with the Intel 8088. The V20 runs at the same speed as the 8088, but it's slightly faster due to internal improvements - dual internal 16-bit data bus, faster effective address calculation, better loop counter/shift register implementation, and some others. The V20 includes Intel 8080 emulation mode, in which it can execute all of the 8080 instructions. Native NEC V20 instruction set includes all 8086/8088 instructions, new instructions from the 80186/80188 microprocessor, and instructions unique to V20 - bit processing, packed BCD instructions and special instructions for switching the processor to 8080 emulation mode and back.

    The V20 is almost the same as the NEC V30 with the exception that the V30 has a 16-bit data bus

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1985/07/08/66112/index.htm

    NOW, THE JAPANESE CHALLENGE IN MICROPROCESSORS Japan's largest chipmaker is moving fast to break the U.S. hammerlock on computers-on-a-chip and open the way for Japanese domination of the entire computer industry. The legal and commercial barriers loom large, but they may be breachable.

  26. tts


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    55   8:02pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Wow never heard of one or saw of those things. I had a Tandy "laptop" from that era too.

    Did NEC not license Intel's ISA or what?

    e: ahaha that fortune article is hilarious to read today. Its an interesting piece of history but it looks to me NEC screwed the pooch instead of Intel using money/political connections to get their chips arbitrarily banned.

  27. thomas.wong1986


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    56   8:22pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    TTS - that is why high home prices are very risky proposition around here. Things can get well out of control and change the economic dynamics in the valley in a snap. Seen way too much of that. It can be Semis, SW, PC components, Internet... its all the same when you dig deeper into the business side of our industries. I do not want to see any employers leave due to high costs, mainly from housing. Those changes will be permenant. We should have had some of our leaders in industry early on make a more public and local comments on the implications of high home costs. But its not in their nature to be dealing with these issues in public area, but it does effect us all.

  28. thomas.wong1986


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    57   8:25pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tts says

    Wow never heard of one or saw of those things. I had a Tandy “laptop” from that era too.

    Ever see Gary Kindalls CPM-OS... buts thats another story regarding Microsoft...

  29. tts


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    58   9:29pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thomas.wong1986 says

    TTS - that is why high home prices are very risky proposition around here.

    Yea, I don't think high home prices are a good things.

    thomas.wong1986 says

    We should have had some of our leaders in industry early on make a more public and local comments on the implications of high home costs. But its not in their nature to be dealing with these issues in public area, but it does effect us all.

    Personally I suspect they knew what they we're doing, IBG/YBG wasn't something that applied only to Wall St. unfortunately.

    thomas.wong1986 says

    Ever see Gary Kindalls CPM-OS… buts thats another story regarding Microsoft…

    Heard of it but wasn't into PC's at the time so it was well after the fact.

  30. Vicente


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    59   11:58pm Thu 27 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thomas.wong1986 says

    Ever see Gary Kindalls CPM-OS… buts thats another story regarding Microsoft…

    First PC I spent hours programming:

    First one I owned:

    Sold these back at the store I worked in:

    Thought this was uber-cool once up a time:

    NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

    I'm sure someone will come along and top it though.

  31. thomas.wong1986


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    60   12:20am Fri 28 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Same here Vicente. Certainly did wonders at work when using Wordstar and SuperCalc, but didnt "Plug into" the IBM mainframes as I wished.

  32. tts


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    61   1:28am Fri 28 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    You guys got me beat, you are truly ancient (heh).

    I still use a Model M keyboard though, can't let go of the clickety-clack!

  33. WillyWanker


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    62   10:28am Fri 28 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    My Texas Instruments computer circa 1979. I got it as a gift along with an IBM Selectric II typewriter. I did my undergrad at one of the Claremont Colleges. Life was cool!

  34. simchaland


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    63   11:52am Fri 28 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Here is the first computer I ever had. It was an Apple IIe with an Imagewriter printer that was entirely dot matrix.

    AppleIIe

    Actually we had it as a family. Dad got it in about 1984. I was able to keep it once he got a Macintosh with an Imagewriter II and he purchased an Apple IIc for the family.

    Apple IIc

    AppleIIc

    Macintosh

    macintosh

    I took that Apple IIe to college with me in 1987 with the Imagewriter. It got me through my bachelors degree in 1991. I used it in grad school until 1993. Then Dad got me a Macintosh Classic. I still have the Macintosh Classic somewhere.

    I used to write lots of programs in Applesoft Basic. I remember the transition from DOS 3.3 to ProDOS. Appleworks was the bomb when it came to word processing. All of my college papers were done on Appleworks.

    All of those computers were ridiculously expensive in their day. Now, even the cheap desktops that are around $300 make all of these look like stone tablets.

  35. simchaland


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    64   11:54am Fri 28 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    And how about that market today? It looks like we're in a sell off after some gains this week. I think we're still in for a fall.

  36. simchaland


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    65   11:58am Fri 28 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    And my very first experience programming in Basic was on the Commodor Vic 20 with a cassette tape drive:

    commodor vic20

    I was so thrilled when I made a program that could print "hello" on the screen. That was my first program. It took 20 minutes to save it on the cassette and 20 minutes to call it up to run it from the cassette tape. I was babysitting for a guy who had this computer and he would let me use it once the kids went to bed.

    Maybe they'll allow me to have my prune juice at the home now... :)

  37. Vicente


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    66   9:03pm Sun 30 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Kids today don't appreciate what it was like reading and writing programs in from a cassette recorder. I vaguely remember on my Atari you could hear the data squeals as you read it in.

    There was something wonderfully DIRECT about the process. I ran a BBS in North Georgia that was famous in it's time, and it was on an Atari, with program read in from tape and run from RAM for as long as I could keep the thing running. Uploading & downloading software by xmodem, later zmodem. I ran into one of my BBS users a few years ago, well he recognized me first by my name and said "hey didn't you run that BBS back in...." and off we went.

    The BBS ran first on Atari 800XL, awesome piece of equipment in it's day:

    Final iteration had this:

    Upgraded the RAM with a soldering iron, used the excess for a RAMdisk to speed everything up. I forget when I finally got off cassette and had my first 1050 floppy drive. Woohoo SpartaDOS and using a clipper to cut a notch on the floppy so you could flip it and use the back side. Good times!

    Yep, time for my prune juice.

  38. ¥


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    67   9:43pm Sun 30 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Ca early 1982 I discovered a rather disused 4K Model I in the back room of the advanced Math classroom. This was the only computer on campus. Teacher showed me how to cload and I was off to the races. The next summer we finally got a room full of Apple IIes for the business dep't, and one of the business teachers was nice enough to buy just about every Apple II game ever made up to that time (I think with her own money, dunno).

    My senior year I hadn't failed any classes so I took first period off, had "independent study" for 3rd period, and my 7th period history teacher let us cut class since the material was so boring for us. With lunch (5th), that meant I spent every odd period in the computer lab my senior year, LOL. I even had my own system that nobody else used, one of two that had a color monitor along with a monochrome CRT for reading 80 col text, CP/M card, IIRC Mockingboard sound card, mouse card, printer.

    I thought computers still kinda sucked in the 80s, until the Mac II came out. That was the first machine I desired with every fibre of my being. Worked two jobs in 1987-89 and was able to get a Mac IIcx soon after they came out. Great machine that I hand-carried onto the plane three years later when I went to Japan. With a mail-order LaserJet 4MP I got in 1993, I was rockin'.

  39. bob2356


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    68   4:57am Mon 31 May 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    My first computing experience involved COBOL and punched cards. The second was learning why you never drop the card deck.

  40. simchaland


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    69   9:56am Tue 1 Jun 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Vicente says

    Upgraded the RAM with a soldering iron, used the excess for a RAMdisk to speed everything up. I forget when I finally got off cassette and had my first 1050 floppy drive. Woohoo SpartaDOS and using a clipper to cut a notch on the floppy so you could flip it and use the back side. Good times!
    Yep, time for my prune juice.

    Wow, you are really bringing back memories with this comment. I remember using a clipper to notch floppies so I could use front and back. Wow, I almost forgot that detail.

    Oh and I remember how expansion meant way more than plugging in cards into ports. LOL!

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