Friday, August 31, 2007


Wells Fargo Gorges on Mark-to-Make-Believe Gains

Pay attention to how WFC has "creatively structured" it's Mark-to-Make-Believe pnl on MSRs...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Mortgage Lender Implode-o-Meter, a fun way to look at the sub-prime mortgage train wreck in slow motion.

Also check out the new Hedge Fund Implode-o-Meter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

MSBuild Custom Task

How to implement MSbuild Custom Tasks: Part I, Part II

The built-in Exec task of MSBuild has quite a few limitations, so in order to invoke command line tools such as isql/sqlcmd in your build file, a recommended approach is to build your custom task base on ToolTask.

HD-DVD Players

Thanks largely to the competition between PS3 and XBOX360, the prices of HDDVD and Blu-ray players are finally droping like rocks, with HDDVD player in the sub-$200 range. And with deals like this, my crystal ball tells me that my upconverting DVD player is on its borrowed life.

XBRL: eXtensible Business Reporting Language

While reading company financial reports on SEC web site, I have always been wondering why these documents aren't published in XML format. That would make data analysis that much easier as it's very hard to export data in text/html format to excel or database.

One article in the Journal today says that the XBRL standard has been there for a long time, just being utilized on a limited scale.

A small sample of XBRL and what it represents:

And here is an example of how XBRL can help producing fancy interactive reports. Unfortunately only a few companies produce their filings in XBRL format.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bear Stearns' letter to investors

Bear Stearns' letter to investors (PDF) on "their disappeared money".


Fund managers and account executives have been informing the Funds’ investors of the significant deterioration in performance for May and June. The preliminary estimates show there is effectively no value left for the investors in the Enhanced Leverage Fund and very little value left for the investors in the High-Grade Fund as of June 30, 2007.

In light of these returns, we intend to seek an orderly wind-down of the Funds over time. This is a difficult development for investors in these Funds and it is certainly uncharacteristic of BSAM’s overall strong record of performance.


How lovely...

But you don't even know the meaning of the words "I'm sorry"...

Today's Journal has an article on how hedge funds coming up with all kinds of excuses for the market turmoil in the recent weeks in order to avoid the embarrassing "I'm sorry".

The two (mock) letters below summarized it pretty well. Read the originals here:

How to Say All Their Money is Gone

by Mr Juggles

Dear Valued Client:

As you may know, the investment process has a normal course. Generally accepted investing practices follows that you, the investor, give us, the manager, money. As manager we take that money and buy something with it. This something generates profits and at the end of the year, we pay ourselves some percentage of what we bought with your money, as well as some percentage of the generated profits. Everyone profits which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the money you gave us did not follow this normal course. Per usual, we “invested” your money in tranches of CDOs comprised solely of loans to people who specifically would never be able to pay down their mortgage. Their inability to pay was the very thing that made these such great loans and allowed us to demonstrate to you a profitable two year record of performance. This could have continued but your money decided to disappear.

As far as we can tell, there is no current record that points to existence of your money. It’s no longer part of our assets under management. Look, it’s up to you how you raise your money and I don’t want to get into a nature vs nurture sidebar with you, our valued client. But don’t you think that maybe you should have imbued your money with more of a sense of sticktuitiveness? I mean, it literally seems to have vanished at the worst possible time, what with the depressed prices and attractive yields which now litter our market. This is when we could be printing profits for you (if only your money hadn’t disappeared).

I guess, for us, we’re disappointed in you. Your role is to let us take your money, assume none of the risk and allow us to give you some of the return. Don’t you see how this relationship breaks down if you allow your money to disappear? We’re not angry with you, just disappointed. It’s your loss, as we still earned our management fee, it just seems like a waste for you.

I have enormous confidence in Long or Short Capital management and the ability of our talented professionals to bring you the highest quality products and services now and in the future as they have in the past. You can count on us to deliver…if you don’t let your money vanish.


Mister Juggles

How to Say All Their Money is Gone - Part II

by Johnny Debacle

Dear Valued Client:

Last week you received a letter from the head of Long or Short Capital Management, Mr Juggles. In this letter Mr. Juggles told you that although your money was invested wisely according to the prospectus, that money has subsequently disappeared. We wanted to write you to let you know that after further diligence this is 100% accurate. Your money is definitely, definitely gone, for sure.

The feedback we received on the previous letter has revealed that you are unhappy that your money is gone but you were especially upset with our refusal to accept responsibility for your money being gone. Well first we would like to remind all of our valued clients that you shouldn’t point fingers. This is not just your fault, it’s everyone’s fault. Even ours, just to a much lesser degree than it is yours( especially important point for you to take away). We have completed a detailed and rigorous analysis of whose fault it is and thought it was important to share the results:

The chart depicts graphically the small size of our fault. After further study it was determined that all of our market share of the fault stems from one person: Mr. Juggles. As of this morning we have resigned him. Kaiser Edamame, our Germo-Japo restructuring expert and portfolio manager of our anti-union humor portfolio, will take-over for Mr. Juggles effective immediately.

We have also implemented several restructuring measures to ensure that when your money disappears in the future, it is less our fault than it was this time. Starting on August 30th, before we invest in low-yield, illiquid securities with high default risk we promise to “think-twice”. This represents a 100% increase in the amount of thinking we have done in the past. Also, in the case of our most risky investments, before we increase our exposure to them we will now “sleep on it,” something we have not done previously. We feel confident that these measures will significantly increase your returns and hence our fees over time.

Please contact me with any questions.


Johnny Debacle

EVP Long or Short Capital Managment

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dr. Watson

A common problem bugslayers all have faced one day is that your application crashed on a client's machine. There is simply no debug tools available for you to investigate further each if you have the source code and symbol files on hand.

It's good to know that Windows does come with a default error logging tool, Dr. Watson. It would create a crash dump file with the call stack and variables. Later, you can load the dump file in Visual Studio to reproduce the crime scene.

Here is all you need to konw in order to set it up and make it work...

Monday, August 6, 2007


A very common maintanence task for a file server is to purge files older than a certainly date. For example, to delete all files under a directory that's more than 10 days old.

I'm sure some one can do this in Perl or some other script language in no time. But here is another handy tool for the job: Forfile comes with Windows 2000 Resource Kit and later versions of Windows .Net Servers. It can accomplish that task in just one command, sure beats mingling with date format in a batch file.

One thing to note is that the examples given in that msdn help page don't really work. You need to test things out yourself...