Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it
Once again, Little Green Footballs proves what an invaluable resource it is by finding this piece about why Reuters is appeasing terrorists. The money quote in the article:
Schlesinger repeated this statement in a recent radio interview with CBC, when he described the 'serious consequences' if certain 'people in the Mideast' were to believe Reuters called such men 'terrorists.'
Certain people in the Mideast? I don't think they especially mean the shtreimel boys. Reuters is something that's an interesting case for me, as I regularly need to deal with them because of their importance in financial market data. Oh, Bloomberg may have better analytics, but even though they call it Open Bloomberg nowadays it's a far easier job to interface your pricing and portfolio systems with Reuters than with Mayor Mike's stuff. Truth be told, at least Reuters documented the stuff far better than any other market data vendor, and unless you wanted to roll your own ticker plant they are pretty much the big provider for the big boys in everything other than vanilla equities quotes. They aren't popular though, as I know several market data types who have a conniption when the word Triarch is mentioned. Reuters is in a bad position in that they have to change their data model to their recently-acquired Bridge network's paradigm in order to keep up with the rapid pace of data and new meta- and value-added data that's required in today's financial markets. This will force a lot of financial houses to put some serious investment into redesigning and rearchitecting their pricing and portfolio systems. That's serious bucks, and given the sensitivity of it, it won't be offshored. That I can guarantee. Oh, the big guys on the Street will put the plumbing and analytics development in Hyderabad without thinking, but if it even remotely touches real-time stuff, guaranteed the furthest that code will go will be Jersey City or Weehawken.
Which brings us back to Reuters. Presumably there will be some major pressure applied from the people who actually make their money for things to be done their way (you don't think reporting from spit,feh Palestine makes money for them, do you? Hell no. The money that keeps Reuters running for the most part comes from trading floors). The people at the institutions who provide Reuters' greatest revenues like things quiet, and would be disinclined to pressure Reuters on semantics, because it'll increase volatility. They'd call in the hit squads if a data field was moved and increased their risk, but they won't stand for a damn principle of calling a spade a spade.
The minor howler of the day is MTV's review of "Sky Captain". They gave it a thumbs-up but my nitpicking got this lovely little bit from the review:
The eerie posthumous presence of the digitized image of Sir Laurence Olivier ("courtesy of TM©2003 Wheelshare Limited as successor to the estate of Sir Laurence Olivier by www.dmgworldwide.com, www.laurenceolivier.com," which would look really awkward above the title) as Dr. Totenkopf (that's "dead head" in German)
Obviously the guy who wrote this is unfamiliar with German. The word "Totenkopf" means "Death's Head", as in skull and crossbones. Not "dead head" as in fan of the band formerly known as The Warlocks. Totenkopf is of course the name of the notorious SS division that ran the vernichtungslagers, and there's enough symbolism attached to the term without that horrible karmic baggage to make it notoriously iconographic. Interestingly enough, the Yiddish term for "Death's Head" is tsaylem, which is also used to refer to a cross or crucifix.