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Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Price: $9.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, despite the hyperbole and oversell, April 15, 2014
"Flashboys: A Wall Street Revolt", by Michael Lewis, is an investigation into the phenomenon of high frequency trading, or HFT, on the various stock exchanges. It is posed as an expose', but is arguably oversold. Lewis describes HFT by arguing that 'the market is rigged'... and I believe he isn't actually wrong. The problem with the book is that the oversell has far broader implications than the argument actually supports. Yes, the market is 'rigged', but in a narrowly and limited way, and the rigging is structured in ways that are at least, on the surface, transparent to most investors... but nonetheless do affect all investors, both institutional, and private.

The story is told through the experiences of Brad Katsuyama, a Japanese-Canadian stock trader working for the Royal Bank of Canada. Some time in 2009, Katsuyama noticed a change in the behavior of the stock market, as he conducted his trades; up to that point, when a client asked him to buy shares in a particular company, Katsuyama would first examine his trading terminal to see what shares were being offered. When he hit the button to execute the trade, the offered shares would suddenly vanish from the screen, appearing only later, and at a slightly higher price.

Katsuyama had a burning curiosity about why this was suddenly happening, and engaged in a lengthy personal investigation of the phenomenon, recruiting various other traders, as well as computer geeks engaged in financial software. Eventually, he traced the phenomenon to high frequency traders... and suspected that the HFT guys were 'front-running' their trades.

'Front-running' is a term that encompasses several different techniques, but the simplest explanation is the notion that traders with information that is not broadly known by the investigating community can provide an 'edge' in the profitability of trades. In the strictest sense, trading on such information is highly illegal, although it becomes clear that it happens all the time. In traditional 'front-running' (the kind which is illegal and could land a broker/trader in the clink) is easy to explain. If a dishonest broker receives a large order to buy a stock, he might search among the various exchanges, snapping up as many shares as possible for his own proprietary trading account, which will boost the price of the stock slightly... he then executes the client's trade, at a higher price, pocketing the difference in profit for his firm. If he does this, many hundreds of times per day, day in and day out, the profitability can be huge.

The knowledge of a pending trade is indeed information which, if not disseminated on the broader market, does provide an edge to the dishonest broker. Of course, traditional 'front-running' is a real-time process which, since it is executed by human beings, and not computers, takes some time... minutes, at least. In the case of HFT, the trades aren't being conducted by humans... they are conducted by computers, operating in time scales measured in milliseconds and microseconds. In fact, the time element is so important, the HFT traders try to 'co-locate' their own computers near the stock exchange computers, shaving critical microseconds off the speed with which trades can be made in advance of competing interests.

The real philosophical question is whether HFT is simply representative of some firms using the most advanced technology to make their operations more efficient than their competitors... or if HFT is simply 'front-running' being conducted on a microsecond time scale. I have heard some argue the former, but after reading "Flashboys", I have to disagree. Traditional front-running is clearly insider-trading.... trading on knowledge which is not fully disclosed to the investing public. It is no different than if a corporate executive sells off his shares in his company because he knows that the company is about to release a bad earnings report. HFT trading is really the very same thing, just on a time scale which is measured in microseconds.

How profitable is HFT? According to Lewis, HFT constitutes over 60% of all trades on public exchanges (as well as private ones... while most people are familiar with the NYSE and NASDAQ, there are actually 13 public exchanges in operation, and over 42 private exchanges, known as 'dark pools', which don't release trading information at all). Lewis estimates that HFT generates between $10 and $20 billion dollars a year in trading profits. One HFT consortium actually built a proprietary fiber optic line from Chicago to northern NJ, in order to shave a few milliseconds off their trading delays; when you consider the costs of contructing a physical fiber optic line over an 860+ mile distance, it is easy to see jsut how profitable HFT must be.

Some argue that HFT isn't a disadvantage to the broader market. The differences in execution prices as a result of HFT are very small... pennies per share. I agree at least somewhat; Lewis' overstatement of the situation ('the stock market is rigged') may be technically true, but it has little effect on roughly half of the investing community, which by definition are long term investors... private investment portfolios which are not day-traded.

Such is not the case, with institutional investors. It may be true that HFT front-running might add only a tiny fraction of cost to their trades, but big institutional investors trade massive quantities of stocks, and the 'edge' being exploited by high frequency traders adds up, over the long haul. Imagine, by way of example, the government imposing a tax of a single penny, on every person living in the US. There is no one in this country for whom a tax of a penny would have any material effect on thier personal economics... yet the tax would raise $3M each time it was imposed. A tax of a single peny per week could raise $150M per year, but still, no single individual would be undully burdened by the levy. Even a tax of one penny per day, $3.65 per year, would be affordable by the poorest among us... but would generate over $1 BILLION dollars per year. Someone is collecting an analogous 'tax', due to HFT; even if the personal impact is tiny, it is nonetheless simply wrong.

In the end, Katsuyama and his team end up leaving the Royal Bank of Canada, and setting up their own stock exchange... by their own description, an 'ethical' exchange where HFT traders cannot front-run the market. They do this by building in delays to the electronic communications so that orders arrive simultaneously on all other exchanges (implemented partially by software, and partially by a shoebox-sized enclosure filled with 62 kilometers of fiber optic cable, thereby providing a 350 microsecond delay to trade information). The exchanged, called IEX, attracted clients by arguing that their exchange was honest and could not be front run by the HFT guys.

The book is a satisfying read, regardless of the hyperbolic oversell. The story of how Katsuyama and his crew managed to understand the effects of HFT, despite the fact that the HFT industry is extraordinarily secretive, is interesting. The book has been criticized as being a promotional pitch for the IEX exchange, but it's a forgivable excess. I'm giving this book a three star rating, knocking off two stars for its rhetorical excesses, but I'd still recommend it for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of how the market works.

LEDwholesalers Linkable Under Cabinet Light Set of 3x 10-inch LED Strips, 1977WW
LEDwholesalers Linkable Under Cabinet Light Set of 3x 10-inch LED Strips, 1977WW
Offered by LEDwholesalers ®
Price: $24.99
2 used & new from $24.99

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nicely constructed, but way too dim, September 24, 2012
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I ordered two of these undercabinet lighting kits and received them a few days ago. While the product was nicely built, with convenient linking cables so multiple light strips could be interconnected, the light output was surprisingly dim. I bought this product to replace some halogen undercabinet lighting whose bulbs were expensive and had very short lifespans. Unfortunately, the LED light strips were far too dim to be an acceptable replacement.

It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism
It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism
by Thomas E. Mann
Edition: Hardcover
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laying out the facts, June 18, 2012
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This collaboration between Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein pulls no punches in examining the relatively recent phenomenon of crippling polarization in our national politics. Mann, from the Brookings Institution ( a left leaning think tank), and Ornstein, from the American Enterprise Institute (a right wing think tank, although he considers himself a centrist) dissect the current political obstruction in Congress from both an historical perspective, and from observations on the current state of affairs.

The book has been widely criticized by the right as being hopelessly biased against the Republican Party, but as Mann and Ornstein put it, the objective truth is rarely ever `balanced'... we wouldn't assign equal blame to the hit-and-run driver, and his victim.

The book details the way in which the GOP, for the purposes of political advantage and the desire to seize power, have obstructed the halls of Congress so severely that the country suffers as a result. In the opening chapters of the book, Mann and Ornstein carefully detail the debacle of the debt limit `crisis', demonstrating clearly that the GOP inflated the importance of the issue, and then worked overtime to obstruct, in a way that detracted from the more pressing problems facing the country's economy.

In the second chapter, Mann and Ornstein trace the emergence of the phenomenon to the `Gingrich Revolution' in the 80's and 90's, when the collegial atmosphere and working relationship between the two sides of Congress began to break down, with the emergence of the `take no prisoners' perspective on the part of the right. The bipartisanship demonstrated by Reagan collapsed, and in its place, came a hostile, arrogant obstructionist perspective.

Additional chapters talk about the skyrocketing use of Senatorial holds and filibusters, even against nominees who eventually are confirmed by near-unanimous votes, a clear and obvious ploy to stall Congress and minimize the effect of any new legislation... the nullification (by the failure to confirm nominees) of legislation, for lack of department heads to implement the laws... and other stalling and obstructionist techniques.

Unfortunately, the book then descends into a lengthy treatise on possible ways and means of effecting reform in Congress, most of which are interesting, novel, clever.... But few, if any, are practical or would stand a chance of passage in Congress today. The ideas presented range from modest to extreme, but could only be described as wishful thinking, in today's poisonous atmosphere in Congress.

I give the book only three stars, because of this... as well as the fact that nearly a quarter of the book is taken up with footnotes (not a bad thing, per se, but I think the authors could have dramatically expanded on the research presented in the first part of the book).

Nonetheless, it is well worth reading, if only for the first three or four chapters, which are a rather frank and in-depth examination of the events which have transpired since President Obama took office; they serve as a warning for the nest Presidential administration, who may face even worse obstructionism and political partisanship.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2012 9:19 AM PDT

Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America
Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America
by Charles H. Ferguson
Edition: Hardcover
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: 'Predator Nation', May 29, 2012
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Subtitled `Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America', this book by Charles H. Ferguson (director of the documentary `Inside Job') is a compendium of much of the information revealed in numerous previous books on the state of the financial industry in America.

Ferguson's more specific take on the subject concentrates on the notion that the culpability of the financial industry in the economic collapse of 2008, as well as the decline of the middle class and the escalation of dramatic economic inequity, rises to the level of criminality. Ferguson points out numerous specific incidents in which, were it not for the failure of the Justice Department (and the influence of billions of dollars of lobbying, on the part of the industry), many industry professionals, CEO's, and managers would have, and should have, been prosecuted criminally for their behavior. Instead, the few civil prosecutions which did occur resulted in fines which were well below the level of profits made as a consequence of the behaviors... and in most cases, insurance covered the cost of the fines, allowing the perpetrators to avoid not only imprisonment, but any loss of their ill-gotten gains.

Ferguson traces the seeds for the widespread amorality of the financial industry back to the era of deregulation, beginning in 1980, and covers the deregulation of the S&L industry, which led to massive criminality, most notably, Charles Keating; although charged with fraud in the 1970's, he was nonetheless permitted to take over a relatively healthy S&L in 1984. His eventual frauds while operating the S&L made him millions, and he spent $300K in campaign contributions to five senators (the infamous `Keating Five') in order to head off SEC investigations... although the effort eventually failed, and Keating ended up in prison. The cost to the taxpayers, for the Keating scandal alone, was $1B, and the entire set of numerous S&L fraud prosecutions eventually cost the taxpayers $100 Billion. Both individuals as well as complicit accounting firms paid big fines... but nowhere near the profits they made in committing the frauds, and few were criminally charged or imprisoned.

From there, Ferguson traces the synchronicity of both the deregulation, as well as the rising amorality of financial institutions, aided and abetted by weak and underfunded regulators, massive lobbying, campaign contributions, and other forms of corrupt influence, enabling the industry to act with increasing irresponsibility... leading up to the collapse of the housing market (a mere symptom of the more broadly applicable overleveraging), and the Recession starting in 2008.

Ferguson's book is decidedly apolitical; he skewers Reagan, both Bush presidents, Clinton, and even Obama, with similar ferocity, albeit with different emphasis. His main thesis concentrates on the amoral behavior of the industry itself, coupled with the shortsighted deregulation, as well as the inability and/or unwillingness of the regulators and Justice Department to gain control of the runaway train.

I highly recommend this book, although I give it only 4 out of 5 stars, simply because there really isn't all that much new information revealed in it. However, it is a superb compendium of information provided in preceding books, and it ties the information together in an informative `big picture' way.

by Sterling Hayden
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.02
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex and fascinating man, and a splendid tale, April 23, 2012
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This review is from: Wanderer (Paperback)
I rarely ever read autobiographies; most are essentially auto-hagiographies which probably don't reflect anything like the actual life experiences of the author.... or, they whitewash essential elements of their lives, providing a distorted and biased picture of what they are all about.

So, what prompted me to read an autobiography of an actor, long dead, written nearly 50 years ago?

I got interested in Sterling Hayden by chance, after reviewing some historical stuff about the early 50's, the 'Red scare', and McCarthyism. Sterming Hayden was somewhat involved in this, as someone who was compelled to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee... and who named names... although he later said it was the greatest regret of his life.

Unbeknown to most people, Sterling Hayden was a lifelong sailor, committed to, and loving of, boats and the sea. His upbringing was not a happy one; after his father died when he was 9, his mother remarried, to a man who proved to be a grifter and con-artist, and the family was constantly on the move, living in boarding houses, one step ahead of creditors after leaving debt in their wake. He shipped out on a freighter at the age of 16, and throughout his life, had a nautical wanderlust which dominated his life. He hated acting, resorting to it only in order to make enough money to indulge his love of sailing, although he was indeed a good actor. He served in the Marines, and in WWII, served heroically in the OSS, helping the partisans in the Balkans oppose fascism.

This is really not a typical biography, at all. While lacking in an education beyond the tenth grade, Hayden was a remarkably gifted writer. While he wrote only two books in his life (this one, plus a novel called 'Voyage', which I read some years ago, and was a gripping tale of the voyage of a coal freighter), his writing was remarkably literary in style, and his autobiography reads at a vastly higher level than one would expect. Hayden attributed his education to the more than 500 books, many of them literary classics, which he kept aboard his various vessels.

The 'ruse' of the autobiography begins in 1959, when in the midst of a bitter, acrimoneous divorce, he ignores a court ruling and takes his four young children, plus another half dozen adventurers, on a voyage from Santa Barbara, California, to Tahiti. In the context of this rebellion, he details the story of his life, his adventures, the times he turned down significant money to star in numerous pictures, and the times he was bankrupt, or nearly so.

I'd recommend this book, for no other reason, than the nautical tales, although Hayden was a complex and fascinating character, in his own right.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
by Sandy Tolan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.80
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal tale of impersonal conflict, March 4, 2012
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This is not a new book; it was written in 2006, but I stumbled across it while browsing for something interesting to read on my Kindle, and I wasn't dissapointed.

In some ways, it is a great deal like 'One Palestine, Complete', by Tom Segev, which was a history of Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict from the late 19th century, until partition in 1948 (and a book I highly recommend). The biggest similarity is how the author weaves a very personal tale of the conflict, as seen through the lives of both an Arab, and an Israeli.

In 'The Lemon Tree' (subtitled 'An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East'), the author Sandy Tolan provides the true story of Dalia Eshkanazi and her family of refugees from Bulgaria during WWII, and Bashir Khairi, whose family lived in the town of Ramla, in what is now Israel, before the partition.

The story describes how the Eshkenazai family, fortunate to have gotten warnings of impending arrest, deportation, and enslavement in death camps by the Nazis, managed to escape from a horror that over 14,000 of her neighbors in Bulgaria could not. It tells of their harrowing journey and escape from near-certain death, to a port city, and then by steamer, to Palestine. It also tells of the story of the Khairi family, a prosperous one living in Ramla, who were summarily forced from their family home, leaving behind nearly all of their posessions, their fields, their harvest, and chased out of Ramla by Jewish paramilitary units, ending up as refugees living an impoverished life in Ramallah. Dalia's family were told to simply pick a house, among the ones abandoned by the refugees, and it would become their family home. They picked the home of Bashir Khairi and his family.

Both Dalia and Bashir were very young, when partition came... but twenty years later, circumstances permitted Bashir to travel back to Ramla to see his old home, and he struck up a strange, and strained, friendship with Dalia. Over the course of years, Dalia grew up, married, bore children, succesfully survived cancer; Bashir became a lawyer, was periodically imprisoned by the Israelis fore alleged terrorist activities, was actually deported to Lebanon for a time, and eventually returned to Ramallah. They periodically saw one another... but never could overcome the barrier that was set between them; Bashir's resolute belief that he deserved to return and reclaim his ancestral home, and Dalia's inability to concede the injustice, and her insistence that her life in Israel was yet another 'fact on the ground' that could not be overcome by Palestinian nationalist aspirations. Their relationship was one of deep respect, and deep differences in political and moral belief.

The background of this relationship is detailed in a recitation of what went on the the succeeding 50+ years, in terms of the politics and military activites in the disputed territories.

Like the Segev book, this tale humanizes the situation by putting it the most personal possible terms, which strikes me as the only way to even attempt to understand.

(Note: the lemon tree, in the title, refers to a tree planted by the Khairi family in the mid 1930's, when they built their home, and its fruit is a powerful symbol for the Khairi family. By the advent of the 21st century, the tree finally died, an ironic commentary on the tale)

Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist
Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist
by Jack Abramoff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.43
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but hagiographic, December 12, 2011
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I ordinarily eschew autobiographies of controversial contemporary figures; it is unlikely that they would be unbiased or truthful accounts of one's life. For this reason, I've read neither George W. Bush's book, nor any of Bill Clinton's. However, I decided to buy and read 'Capitol Punishment' based primarily on several interviews with Jack Abramoff on TV and on radio. He interested me because of the obvious conflict between his pious observance of orthodox Judaism, and his ethical and moral lapses as a lobbyist.

I was correct, however, in my initial skepticism. Abramoff's book is, to a great degree, an exercise in self-adoration. Despite the seemingly sincere apologies and confessions of guilt that Abramoff has made in the press since being released from prison, one gets the general impression that his apologies diminish the gravitas of the crimes committed. He explains intermittently that he was guilty of one or more violations of law, almost as if the transgressions were minor misdemeanors, virtually excused by his claim that he gave most of his ill-gotten gains to 'charity', although we learn in the book that his definition of 'charity' was large contributions to the founding and operation of an orthodox religious school... which is certainly not my definition of a charitable endeavor. Along the way, he talks about the manner in which he co-opted congressmen and their staff with free dinners at his own restaurant in DC, trips to Scotland to play golf, and so on. He spends several pages on making $10,000 bets in single holes in golf games with a fellow lobyyist, in a style which makes it seem more 'braggadocio' than 'confessional'.

Still, the book does provide a texture of the kind of corruption in Washington that most of us are already well aware of. His very first exposure to the ways of Washington was interesting; he was approached by a Latino Democratic congressman from Texas, who was more than willing to sell out his caucus' opposition to Reagan's MX missile program, in exchange for getting a proposed naval base moved from Pennsacola FL to his own district, in Corpus Christi, TX. This sort of horse trading should not come as a surprise to anyone interested in US politics; Abramoff merely provides the anecdotal experience to the reader's existing framework of knowledge.

He portrays his arrest, prosecution, and subsequent imprisonment as some sort of terrible hardship which implies ill treatment at the hands of prosecutors and jailers. His whining about prison conditions, at a minimum security prison camp, is especially annoying.

Abramoff's 'prescriptions' for correcting the corruption of Congress occupy but a few pages in the end of the book, and could be easily learned from his 60 Minutes interview.

In all, I'm not sorry I bought and read the book; it was an interesting read. I was dissapointed, however, in that his admissions of guilt and culpability were far thinner and less convincing than what I learned on the TV interviews.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2012 8:00 AM PST

The Unmaking of Israel
The Unmaking of Israel
by Gershom Gorenberg
Edition: Hardcover
60 used & new from $1.16

41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into the mix of religion and politics within Israel, November 16, 2011
This review is from: The Unmaking of Israel (Hardcover)
Gershon Gorenberg's vivid description of the rather complex intermixing of religion and politics in Israel is an engaging read. In the book, Gorenberg describes the highly fractionalized politics of modern Israel, emphasizing the surprising (and distressing) hold on elements of the military by various ultra-Orthodox factions, especially those associated with illegal settlements in the West Bank. He discusses the efforts in the past few years to engage young haredi (very orthodox) in a program of military service; however, the alliegance and loyalty of these soldiers is undermined by the authority and influence of the orthodox rabbis whose political perspectives clash with the secular military leadership. This results in a questioning of the willingness of young officers from the ranks of the haredi to obey and remain loyal to the officer corps; such a situation could be extraordinarily dangerous, when a conflict erupts.

Along the way, Gorenberg provides additional insight into the illegal settlements in the West Bank, the tacit approval and support of the Israeli government, and the expropriation of land from Palestinians, as well as the effects of Israel's security fence to block Palestinians from freedom of movement, and even from tending their own crops.

The final chapter, however, strikes me as incongruous. After making a very persuasive argument that Israel's internal politics and religious schisms make it essentially impossible to ever result in any sort of reform, Gorenberg lays out his own vision of how these issues might be resolved. His recommendations, however appropriate, seemed to me to have been essentially excluded by the picture he paints in the earlier chapters.

I gave this book only three stars, based on the incongruity of the final chapter, as well as the fact that half the volume of the book is devoted to notes and bibliography; it's half the 'read' I was expecting and hoping for. Regardless, for a very good picture of internal Israeli politics, it's still worth the effort.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2012 4:16 AM PDT

Cowon C2-16BS 16 GB Video Player, Black with Silver
Cowon C2-16BS 16 GB Video Player, Black with Silver

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On balance, a good product, September 9, 2011
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I purchased the Cowon C2 MP3 player as a replacement for a dead 5th generation iPod. I had been using my iPhone as an alternative, but the iPhone sound quality was poor, and 16Gb just wasn't enough memory.

I was initially attracted to the Cowon device for two reasons. The first: it's internal capacity (16Gb), plus the fact that it could accept a micro-SD card as expansion memory capacity. My music collection runs nearly 16Gb, and I also like to use the device to watch movies, so the additional capacity was necessary. In comparison, an iPod with 32Gb of memory was at least 40% more expensive.

The second reason: the claims of superior sound quality. I've always thought the iPod sounded good, but there's no question that the Cowon is audibly far superior. It has a far better equalization and sound characterization library than competing products, so when you want a solid bass boost, the result is excellent.

There are some other nice attributes to the product, as well. When plugged into my PC, the Cowon presents as a standard mass storage device, with clearly marked folders for each type of media: music, videos, etc. There is no need to use any proprietary program to access the device; as a PC user and sometimes professional programmer, I have always considered the iTunes program to be the worst application ever written for the PC, and the Cowon device eliminates the need to put up with it.

Additionally, the Cowon supports a wider variety of media formats, including FLAC (lossless audio), and especially, .avi files.... I was fed up with having to convert video media to the iPod format.

The product is not without its poor attributes, though. The resistive touchscreen is decidedly inferior to the capacitive system used on iPods, requiring pressure to activate. The touch screen is imprecise, and often results in unintended selections.

The worst problem is the user interface, which is VERY non-intuitive.... it took several hours for me to figure it out. Trying to scan through a list of artists or songs is difficult; scrolling the screen is often mistaken for selecting an item, and only 4 or 5 members of the list can be seen at any one time. Granted, there is a keyboard search feature if you want to find a specific file, but it is cumbersome, and I'd much rather be able to scroll easily.

In general, I'd rather put up with this problem, for the sake of superior sound quality, memory capacity, wider acceptance of differing media formats, than suffer those limitations on the iPod simply for the sake of a superior user interface.

One additional advantage: the built-in FM tuner is remarkably good; I was able to get excellent reception from the Boston NPR station while sailing 12 miles south of Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island.

The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street
The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street
by John R. Talbott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.78
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a populist diatribe, July 9, 2009
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The title of this book might imply that it's a populist diatribe, but the book is so much more than that. John Talbott manages to provide very clear, concise, and (most importantly) logical explanations for the roots of the current financial crisis, along with his strong opinions about how it might have been handled, and what's in store for the future. Along the way, he does manage to dispel a number of popular myths about this recession.

Interestingly, the book is about as totally non-partisan as a book on the politics of economics could possibly be. He simultaneously lambastes the corporate world for it's greed, excesses, and short-sightedness, while at the same time strongly criticizing Obama's strategy for ending the economic malaise. He couches his explanations in terms other than liberal vs. conservative, or Republican vs. Democrat.

For people who would like to understand the roots of our current situation, and listen to some practical suggestions and (sadly, rather dour) prognostications on the future, this book is an excellent investment.

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