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Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

Is Microsoft Money dead?

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Later, I’ll write a more philosophical blog about online financial services, like But this is actually a legitimate question–I think Microsoft might be killing MS Money.

I’m currently using Money 2006 and, based on my installation date, it’s now telling me that my online services are about to expire (starting Sept 1) and that I need to upgrade. But clicking on the Upgrade link does nothing.

So I figured I’d just go buy a copy of the new version. Here’s where it gets strange: the Company Store is Sold Out. (As a former Microsoft employee and paying Alumni member, I have limited access to the Microsoft Company Store–a nice little perk that lets me buy a limited amount of Microsoft software at a discount).

It’s very strange for the company store website to show a product as Out Of Stock. So I sent them an email asking about it. They tell me (quoted):

—–Original Message—–
From: Microsoft Company Store
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5:25 PM
To: ‘joel grossman’
Subject: RE: Microsoft Money? ~259719

It is actually discontinued, and we are sold out so will not be receiving
any more.

Thank you,
Microsoft Company Store

 I ask for clarification. They say:

We have not been told if it’s being replaced with anything new.

Thank you,
Microsoft Company Store

Does anyone out there know? Could Microsoft really kill the product (has it been that much of a failure? I like it!)? What happens to those of us using the software that is apparently about to expire??


SF Crime Maps

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

I love my neighborhood: full of restaurants, bars, parks, and even a couple of delicious ice cream shops. Apparently, though, I’m walking around with my eyes closed. Here is a crime map of the last 30 days in my neighborhood (green is larceny and purple is drugs). I hope my mom doesn’t see this.

SF Crime Map of my Neighborhood, past 30 days

Oh yah, and red is homicide.

You can check out your own SF neighborhood here:

I think I might need to move. Thanks to Sean P for opening my eyes (and then making me feel better by moving to this ‘hood too).

Who waits in line at midnight for an operating system?

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

It has been some time since I’ve blogged. I won’t waste your time trying to think of an excuse.

This afternoon, I was watching a video on CNet about the San Francisco release of Windows Vista. They said that they were expecting 500 – 1,000 people to wait outside.

Who on earth would wait in line outside of a store (CompUSA) at midnight for an Operating System?

  • It’s not going sell out like the XBox (since the OS is just software, it’s easy to make more)
  • It’s not that much “fun” (I apologize to my ‘softie friends, but c’mon, it’s an OS–what are you going to do, watch your disk defrag?)
  • It probably takes upwards of an hour to install, so if you get home at 1 AM… I honestly don’t get it.

Then I watched the video. The applesauce explanation does clarify most of it…

Wow! More "health" scams… Anti-bacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap

Friday, July 29th, 2005

This isn’t as eggregious as my earlier post (Echinacea doesn’t do anything), but it turns out that there are many more “mainstream” scams out there. Here’s one I found today:

Anti-Bacterial Soap is no more effective than plain soap, just more expensive

Sheesh. Y’know, when I was 5, I was pretty convinced that a quick soapless splash under the faucet was plenty. I’ll bet I was right.


Why I’m not a Cat Person

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

I just don’t trust them.

Now you can’t blame me. Isn’t Pinky such a Loving Cat?


Echinacea doesn’t actually do anything

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

Well, this is going to be one of the few arguments I’ve won with my girlfriend. It turns out that Echinacea really doesn’t do anything.

Does this scare anyone else? Any idea how big the market for Echinacea is? I couldn’t find it on the web–research firms wanted to charge me for that kind of data. But it’s big. The best I could do was $7.1B for “nutraceuticals,” of which Echinacea, I believe, is just one. Also, way back in 1997, the Echinacea market was $4M.

In the US, neither the FDA nor any other government body regulates Echinacea or any other dietary supplement for content, quality, or efficacy. That apparently means that I could go into my back yard, pick a few dandelions, grind them up and make a pill that I could claim cures Bad Job Doldrums. And I’d just need to buy an ad spot on TV and charge $25 per bottle and I’d have a great business.

Or, I could just sell Echinacea. Probably wouldn’t even need to advertise, then.

It’s ridiculous. As long as consumers will believe anything that they see on TV or read in an ad, the government has a responsibility to protect them. How many people will see this scientific study debunking Echinacea? Who has the motivation to publicize it (and where will the money come from)? Now who has the motivation to HIDE it?

One of these days, it will turn out that one of these dietary supplements is actually HARMFUL–something which would have been discovered if the FDA had done testing. Then we’ll see some change. In the meantime, I’m going to go work on my own ripoff pills, I mean my “All Natural Anti-Doldrum Herbal Dandelion Supplement.”


Why My Cell Phone Reception sucked in Seattle

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

Apparently, there were no towers near me…

Cell Phone Towers on Google Maps (Seattle)
You can change the city to see how intensely you are being irradiated.


When you think you’re having a bad day

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

Remember these poor guys… Their day was worse.

Holly and I were driving around San Francisco when we happened upon this moving truck, STUCK, on the crest of a hill. The 18-wheeler was too long and the middle of the truck bottomed out! They’re stuck–you can see the front of the trailor coming off the hitch.I laughed, then I cried when I saw these poor movers realizing that they were having the worst day on earth. Then I made Holly drive back so we could take a photo. It was so funny that I posted it to my Section Blog as well.

Hope everyone is doing well!