Part 6 – Reminiscences of Capt. Thomas Chatfield

“For God’s sake, Captain, do shorten that sail, you’ll tear the masts out.”

This is salty stuff. The Captain is crusing the “Artic”, dodging bergs, floes, and growlers, learns why Captain Cook got snuffed, returns to San Francisco, and has a close call with a lee shore.

I’m having a blast with this. Almost half-way and realizing I never truly read these memoirs before. Cousin Pete lent me his copy of the Captain’s war letters, which will be the night-time lonely guy project in Raleigh after this transcription. Then to the annotation with maps (I’m think of footnoting directly to Google Earth) but that may require a trip to the Kendall Whaling Museum in Sharon, Mass. which has Chatfield’s original ship’s logs with the latitude and longitude.

(I majored in American Maritime History at Yale, so this stuff is a dream come true. In another dimension I’d have become a college professor of maritime history.)

[update: added another five pages to part 6 — amazing description of nursing a wounded mate back to health after he gets whacked by a whale off of California: “…then with four men to help, and another with his elbow bare for a model, I got the elbow joint in place.”]

Google Finance

Google Finance

Google launches a finance thing. Is it a portal? Is it a portfolio tool? Is it headlines and tickers?

Well, it won’t track OTC pink sheets, so that sucks. Yahoo Finance does that. Actually, in a five minute kick of the tires I see absolutely nothing of interest. Yuck. This is like a sub component of Google News, only worse. The portfolio tool is entire unsophisticated, and sure, there’s a little AJAXy rollover thing going on with the market charts. Headlines click to news.

What was I looking for?

A very sophisticated portfolio management system — those are so 90s and have been beaten to death by the finance pubs, but ultimately owned by the brokerages. People want their stocks and bonds where they can trade em, not where they can look at them. To own portfolio page views you need desktop widgets, realtime quotes, etc. etc. Goog Fin ain’t even in the parking lot of the ballpark.

News is news. I don’t see any customization capabilities of headlines related to my stocks.

No technical analysis.

No original content — no Bankrate, no Money, no personal finance.

Here’s what the FAQ says is notable about the product:

Blech. This one should have stewed in beta longer. I’m sure it will get cooler, but for now, Yahoo wins in finance.

[update: the power of the product is what we called at a “tearsheet” model. to see it in action, run a stock symbol through the search box and the results are a fairly good consolidated tearsheet of what one needs to know about that instrument at that point in time. Google gets a B+ for tearsheet design and is actually superlative to Yahoo in that regard. The charting is pretty cool with the designators of major news events against the trendline — Google didn’t invent that — Valueline did]

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