Subject: General Tech | January 19, 2012 - 11:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: dell, nvidia, insider trading, tech, Law, ethics
There is an important distinction between working within the confines of the law to make the most profit possible and going outside those lines to make a profit while hoping you don't get caught. To drive that point home, the FBI has stated "what distinguishes you from the dozens who have been charged is not that you haven’t been caught; it’s that you haven’t been caught yet." Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk wrote that when referring to a recent bust of seven individuals accused of insider trading of Dell and Nvidia stock. The arrests, made as part of Operation Perfect Hedge, include seven men who are connected by "friendship or business association."
Thanks to three of the seven men cooperating with the FBI, we know that the men used information about Dell and Nvidia's quarterly earnings prior to any public release of such earnings documents to purchase stock to resell after positive earning documents caused the stock value to increase or to short their stock to avoid losses that would be incurred by lower than expected quarterly earnings causing the stock price to drop. On the Dell side of things, two employees in the know provided quarterly earnings numbers to various hedge funds. The first employee, Sandy Goyal, is charged with providing a hedge fund with Q1 earning results for 2008 in exchange for $175,000. The hedge fund then used that insider information to make $3.8 million dollars. Another (former) Dell employee, Jesse Tortora furnished three hedge funds with quarterly earnings numbers who each then made $4 million on Q1 information and $53 million on the Q2 information, $1 million in profit, and the final Hedge fund avoided #78,000 in losses by selling stock before the inevitable price drop thanks to knowing the negative earning numbers before hand.
Finally, Danny kuo knew someone who worked at Nvidia and provided information to the other members of the insider trading group.
Let this be a lesson to those business folks that slept through ethics classes, stay away from insider trading, especially when you are paid for the information as you are just asking to get caught. (Cue the "Cops" theme song). Normally we don't cover this kind of news; however, I thought it applicable since it involves Dell and Nvidia. Also, speaking of quarterly earnings, Josh will have all the details from today's Intel Earnings Call up soon.
Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2012 - 11:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: terrible idea, tech, SOPA, Internet, bill
Let me say right off the bat, that personally I'm very much against the idea of SOPA due to how easily the system could be abused and the degree to which innovation would be stiffed all in the name of "stopping piracy." Fortunately, I'm not the only one against the Stopping Online Piracy Act, and many of the opponents include Internet giants Google, Facebook, Ebay, and Twitter.
While money being paid to congressmen may speak louder than a few tech enthusiasts writing to voice their opposition, when no one is able to perform Google searches, update their Twitter, or check their Facebook you can bet that the thousands of Americans are going to go nuts and is surely to get the attention of the everyday-person. And when those same sites show their users who to blame, people are going to react. (Seriously, have you been around someone when their internet has gone out for a day and they haven't been able to get on Facebook!?). According to CNET, various top Internet sites have an ace up their sleeve and are prepared to blackout their sites such that visitors will be greeted with censorship logos naming SOPA and the government for the lack of user content and users' social networking fix.
"When the home pages of Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA, you'll know they're finally serious" says Declan McCullagh.
If SOPA passes, there will effectively be no internet, so maybe it is time to institute some MAD (mutually assured destruction) by encouraging sites to go with, as Mr. McCullagh puts it, their nuclear option and motivate people to let Congress know just how bad of an idea SOPA is. After all, if SOPA passes how would you get your YouTube laughs, or even more importantly your PCPer fix!? Have you called your Congressmen yet (nudge, nudge)?
As the neighborhoods are adorned with lights and reindeer decorations, and the airwaves are ringing with Christmas carols, one realizes that it is that time of year again! Although December arrived much faster than any of us at PC Perspective expected, there is no doubt that time to purchase gifts is running short and this year is almost over.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, the PC Perspective team got into a discussion about items and services that we would want for Christmas and that we felt would make really great gifts for our loved ones. And thus the PC Perspective Holiday Gift Guide 2011 was born!
Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 11:29 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: torrent, tech, networking, jstor
In light of Aaron Swartz’s recent legal trouble involving charges being brought against him for downloading academic papers from the online pay-walled database called JSTOR using MIT’s computer network, a bittorrent user named Greg Maxwell has decided to fight back against publishers who charge for access to academic papers by releasing 18,592 academic papers to the public in a 32.48 gigabyte torrent uploaded to The Pirate Bay.
Maxwell claims that the torrent consists of documents from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society journal. According to Gigaom, the copyrights on these academic papers have been expired for some time; however, the only way to access these documents have been through the pay-walled JSTOR database where individual articles can cost as much as $19. While Maxwell claims to have gained access to the papers many years prior through legal means (likely through a college or library’s database access), he has been fearful of releasing the documents due to legal repercussions from the journal’s publishers. He claims that the legal troubles that Swartz is facing for (allegedly) downloading the JSTOR library has fueled his passion and changed his mind about not releasing them.
Maxwell justifies the release by stating that the authors and universities do not benefit from their work, and the move to a digital distribution method has yet to coincided with a reduction in prices. In the past the high cost (sometimes paid by the authors) has been such to cover the mechanical process of binding and printing the journals. Maxwell further states that to his knowledge, the money those wishing to verify their facts and learn more from these academic works “serves little significant purpose except to perpetuate dead business models.” The pressure and expectation that authors must publish or face irrelevancy further entrenches the publisher’s business models.
Further, GigaOm quoted Maxwell in stating:
“If I can remove even one dollar of ill-gained income from a poisonous industry which acts to suppress scientific and historic understanding, then whatever personal cost I suffer will be justified . . . it will be one less dollar spent in the war against knowledge. One less dollar spent lobbying for laws that make downloading too many scientific papers a crime.”
Personally, I’m torn on the ethics of the issue. On one hand, these academic papers should be made available for free (or at least at cost of production) to anyone that wants them as they are written for the betterment of humanity and pursuit of knowledge (or at least as a thought provoking final paper). On the other hand, releasing the database via a torrent has it’s own issues. As far as non-violent protests go, this is certainly interesting and likely to get the attention of the publishers and academics. Whether it will cause them to reevaluate their business models; however, is rather doubtful (and unfortunate).
Image courtesy Isabelle Palatin.