Tuesday, 27 November 2012

08:44 – More smoke and mirrors on the Greek bailout. Essentially, the EU and ECB (but not the IMF) have agreed to take a huge loss on their outstanding loans to Greece, but not by an explicit writedown of those debts. Instead, the EU/ECB are taking that loss in the form of extended maturities, reduced interest rates, and rebates that allow the actual debt to be reduced significantly while the nominal value remains the same. In other words, Greece will default, again, but the EU/ECB can (falsely) claim not to have written off any of the debt. So they’ve kicked the can down the road yet again, ensuring that Merkel can be re-elected before any of her voters notice that they’ve been royally screwed.

The ChromeBook arrived yesterday. I fired it up briefly and then put it on the charger. I’m still considering what exactly to do with it. For the time being at least it’ll be running ChromeOS, although I haven’t ruled out installing Linux on it. One way or another, it’ll be Barbara’s personal system. She’s already using the Chrome browser on her Linux desktop, so that won’t be a problem. But she’s running standard Linux applications for other things: Korganizer/Kontact/Kmail for mail and calendar, LibreOffice for documents and spreadsheets, and so on. I’m not entirely sure that Barbara is ready to be migrated to web-based apps for those things. Or that I want to migrate her email to gmail. I mistrust the cloud, and I’m not delighted at the idea of Google seeing (and storing) everything we do.

I got snail-mail yesterday from a company called MuniServices, saying that they were working on behalf of the City of Winston-Salem to identify businesses that didn’t have a business license. So I called the city offices this morning to ask why I needed a business license for Winston-Salem since my business was buying and selling on the Internet; that I worked out of my home and had no business premises; that I didn’t meet customers at home or at their locations; that I had no business signage or vehicular traffic at my home, and so on. I said that if I needed a business license, there must be literally a thousand eBay sellers in Winston-Salem that also needed one. The woman I was speaking with jumped in to interrupt me, saying that I didn’t need a business license and that she’d send email to MuniServices to let them know that.

14:21 – UPS just showed up with six cartons of bottles and caps, something like 7,000 of the things. At first, I was going to do what I usually do, which is move the boxes off the front porch and into the library, off the foyer. But then, not being a rookie at this being-married thing, I had second thoughts. Barbara just finished putting up the Saturnalia tree and otherwise decorating the library, so she probably wouldn’t be best pleased if she came home to find the room filled with boxes. So I asked the UPS woman if she’d mind rolling the boxes down around back. She did so, and even put them in the garage for me. So now the worst thing Barbara will notice when she gets home is a large stack of boxes next to where she parks.