Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Only 11% of Blog Readers Use RSS Readers

One in 10 Weblog Readers Personalizes Content with RSS Feeds, According to Nielsen//NetRatings

Some interesting figures in the press release:

Use of RSS Feeds, June 2005
Survey Response Percent of Respondents
I use feed aggregation software to monitor
RSS feeds for blogs 4.9%
I use a feed aggregating Web site to monitor
RSS feeds for blogs 6.4%
I've heard of RSS and know what it does
but don't use RSS feeds 23.0%
I've heard of RSS but don't know what it does 15.7%
I've never heard of RSS before today 50.0%

CEO Pay: Obscene

CEO pay: Sky high gets even higher:

In 2004, the ratio of average CEO pay to the average pay of a production (i.e., non-management) worker was 431-to-1, up from 301-to-1 in 2003

These levels are ludicrous. I could accept maybe Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and a handful of others getting these types of pay packages but those who you might think deserve such high pay don't receive such large pay.

In 1990, for instance, CEOs made about 107 times more than the average worker, while in 1982, the average CEO made only 42 times more.

The cumulative pay of the top 10 highest paid CEOs in the past 15 years totaled $11.7 billion.

The report also compares the growth in average CEO pay - which was $11.8 million in 2004 - to the growth in the minimum wage. Had the minimum wage risen as fast as CEO compensation since 1990, the researchers calculated, it would now be $23.03 an hour instead of just $5.15. And the average production worker would be making $110,126 a year instead of $27,460.

Some might try to argue that these CEO's are being paid this due to the free hand of the market (supply and demand). I find it crazy for people to actually believe this. These pay rates are being made by board of directors who seem to be more interested in helping out the "Brooks Brother Bureaucrats" that they play golf with. Many of these companies are paying large percentages of what would otherwise be the companies total profit to their Brooks Brother Buddies who then support them (through high paid board seats, sitting on boards of their companies and approving similar exorbinant pay etc.).

I would love to see a report showing the executive pay of these overpaid CEO's compared to the net profit of the companies (showing what percentage of the profits are being paid to these individuals compared to the stock holders and other workers). At some point I will do this myself if someone else doesn't. Obviously unjustified practices suffer when those practices are publicized.

And I believe the more publicity of exorbinant packages the better. In my opinion, this harmful practice is due to a few people taking the profits owed to other workers and shareholders and giving it to their pals. You can certainly see example after example where these payments don't seem possible to justify as a wise use of companies money. However, this change will not be easy, the Brooks Brother Bureaucrats have an incentive to continue the current system where they can enrich themselves by enriching their pals.

My previous comment on Dan Gilmor's blog post (Mar 2005) on this topic:

Actually it probably didn't influence their decision much. They probably would get the same payouts whoever they sold to. That seems to be part of doing business in America.

Hopefully, at some point, the cry over the shareholders money going to the "brooks brother bureaucrats" (my name for high paid USA bureaucrats who pay huge amounts to their friends and colleagues) will greatly reduce this practice. I am glad to see you point out these payments to your readers.

I don't believe those payments are justified. It is especially disconcerting to see the people who claim competitive forces require those jobs filled by people who don't wear expensive suits, and play golf with them at their country club, have to be shipped overseas pay themselves huge amounts. It is amazing the ridicules payments that are made to so many high paid American executives. In my opinion, very few who are paid over $1 million are worth it (though some are).

Yes they are able to get someone to pay them such an amount in the marketplace. But I think those that authorize the payments, do so, not in the interest of those they represent but to make their own lives easier (so they can get reciprocal unjustified large payments). I believe we are slowly reducing the level of this behavior, but that may be more my hope than reality.

The 5 most Outrageously Overpaid CEOs

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Google AdSense

This is only of interest to a small percentage of people, but for those few it is really cool. The Google Inside AdSense blog (which is a new blog that is definitely worth reading for those of you hosting Ad Sense on your web sites or blogs) post today mentioned:

"Top Queries" reporting feature to see the Top 25 searches performed on your site. It's a peek inside the minds of your visitors (x-ray equipment not included). To see it in action, check out your Quick Reports section or go to Advanced Reports for even more customization options.

Search the Curious Cat web sites

Sunday, August 28, 2005

India Outsourcing

Is India's outsourcing honeymoon over?

Gartner estimates that India's current 85 percent ownership of the BPO market share could dwindle to about 45 percent by 2007.

In dollar terms, that would be a significant blow to India, Chohan said. In 2004 India raked in more than $2 billion of an estimated $3 billion global offshore BPO [Business Process Outsourcing] market with more than 250,000 workers.

He estimates that the worldwide offshore BPO market will grow to about $24 billion by 2007 of which India will earn about $13.8 billion.

So India is going to see its absolute dollar value of outsourcing grow from $2 billion to $13.8 billion in 3 years and that is a significant blow to India. I'm not sure what I am missing but that seems like an amazingly good thing to me for India. Other parts of the article make some sense but what am I missing in the above quote????

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The 5 most Outrageously Overpaid CEOs

The 5 most Outrageously Overpaid CEOs

While the Ovitz payout may have been legal, it's the type of corporate behavior that costs investors millions of dollars every year. And it's not just a few spendthrift companies throwing good dollars after bad leaders. We scoured corporate regulatory filings and found plenty of examples of overpaid underachievers in executive suites. Ultimately, we came up with a list of the five most overpaid bad chief executives, and another of the five most underpaid good execs.
It’s getting worse, by some measures. The ratio of CEO compensation to pay for the rank and file was roughly 200-to-1 in the early 1990s. Now it's more than 450-to-1, says David Lewin, a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Worse, many average workers are now paid partly through bonus systems and stock options, meaning their livelihoods are tied to often-volatile company stocks. Many executives have similar incentives, but at a vastly greater scale. They win almost regardless of how their stocks fare.

It really is a disgrace.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Google Desktop 2.0

Google Desktop 2 is out and looks interesting so far. Of course, privacy folks are worried about Google and this only adds to those worries. Still it offers some nice functionality. Here is a
good post with all sorts of details.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Here is a great site to help deal with the problem of false claims made by many politicians and their colleagues at special interest groups lately:

For example: Estate Tax Malarkey

Individual citizens don't have the time to verify all the claims made. And the news media overall seems less willing to do so. It is often not popular to question what the powerful claim, especially when you want favors from them on the regulatory front.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

HDTV personal Camcorder

A Look Ahead at HDTV, Shot by You, New York Times

I got an HDTV (Toshiba 65" HDTV)a few months back and it is great. This camcorder seems like it could be pretty cool too.

Sony's new HDR-HC1 is the world's smallest and least expensive HD camcorder. At 7.4 by 2.8 by 3.7 inches, it's about a third the size of previous HD models, and small enough to pass for an ordinary digital camcorder. At $1,750 online, it's about half the price of the FX1. And as if price and size didn't make the HC1 distinctive enough, here's the best news of all: it's also an absolutely terrific camcorder.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Berners-Lee on the read/write web

Berners-Lee on the read/write web:

For years I had been trying to address the fact that the web for most people wasn't a creative space; there were other editors, but editing web pages became difficult and complicated for people. What happened with blogs and with wikis, these editable web spaces, was that they became much more simple.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Record Low Highway Fatality Rate

DOT Announces Record Low Highway Fatality Rate in 2004 in the United States.

You might think the emphasis would be that "42,636 people died on the nation's highways in 2004." But, if so, you would be wrong. That number means an average of 116 people die each and every day all year long.

The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was 1.46 in 2004, down from 1.48 in 2003. The fatality rate has been steadily improving since 1966 when 50,894 people died and the rate was 5.5.

The death rate per VMT has decreased to 26.5% of the rate in 1966 yet deaths have decreased very little - due to the huge increase in VMT. I would think the goal is to decrease the number of deaths. Yes decreasing the dealth rate per VMT seems like a wise course of action but it hardly seems sufficient. We still have 116 people dying each and every day and we tout that as a "record low." It seems to me we may have become a bit complacent when so many deaths are not greeted with a determination that such a high number of deaths was seen as something terribly wrong, and something that needed to be fixed.

In 2004, 55 percent (down from 56 percent in 2003) of those killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing safety belts. This underscores the value of the need for states to adopt primary safety belt laws.

Hopefully they have some more data than this (which I am sure they do) since this doesn't really have enough detail to reach the conslution. What percentage of those in the acidents had on safety belts (was their survival rate higher than those without?). And doe sthe law increase the use of safety belts? I could also imagine those wearing safety belts are more concerned with safety and therefore less likely to crash in the first place (though they may not be able to avoid someone drunk person, some person talking on a cell phone... who crashes into them).

See more data

YubNub, Wall Street Journal Portraits

YubNub - YubNub is a command-line for the web. Very cool, you must see it to understand why you need this.

Portrait Drawings and Pen and Ink Illustration by Wall Street Journal portrait artist Noli Novak. A neat site with illustrations with the unique Wall Street Journal look.