Category Archives: General

Leaving MySpace

The rumors are true. After nearly five years of making and breaking stuff at MySpace, I’ve decided to move on. Tomorrow will be my last day.

The decision to leave had more to do with the new gig than the old; it’s a small start-up where I’ll be leading the product side of things, facing new responsibilities and challenges, and hopefully learning something along the way.

As for MySpace and all my former and soon-to-be-former colleagues, I hope they all succeed fantastically. Partially for their sake, but mostly for my own. It’s tough doing tech in LA; the more any one of us succeeds, the better the chances we all succeed. Or at least get a few million in funding to go chase some crazy idea.

I bought a new computer in pieces from NewEgg

Five years ago I went hunting around for the best prices for computer parts online and at Fry’s. I ended up getting parts at all different times and driving to a couple different Fry’s. This time around I ordered everything from NewEgg. They generally have great prices on things, and I also like the idea of spending my money locally (their HQ is about an hour east of here). They’re pretty fast, too; I placed the order Sunday at 2, and everything showed up this morning around 10.

Case: Antec Sonata III 500
Newegg: $119.99 – $20 discount – $20 MIR = $79.99

Motherboard: MSI P55-GD65
Newegg: $159.99 – $10 MIR = $149.99

CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Processor (8M Cache, 2.66 GHz)
Newegg: $199.99

Graphics: EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX+
Newegg: $129.99 – $20 MIR = $109.99

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB DDR3 1600
Newegg: $105.99

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive
Newegg: $64.99

Cooling Fan/Heatsink: Zalman CNPS9500 AT
Newegg: $40.99

Total: $891.11 shipped – $50 MIR = $841.11

If I were smart, I would have done the 2% Bing cashback and saved another $18.

Related: Help me build a new computer, The New Poker Machine

Help me build a new computer

The old computer is painful to use, and since I built it five years ago, I’d say it’s definitely time for a new computer. Any suggestions on components to buy?

I’ll probably go for a newer Sonata case, intel CPU, nVidia card, Zalman CPU fan, etc., but I’d appreciate any insights or tips y’all might have to offer. I’m not particularly interested in computer hardware, so I have no idea what’s out there, what’s good, etc. Nor am I that interested in scouring Tom’s Hardware to find out. Yep. I’m lazy.

As was the case the last time around, I’m not really interested in getting something that can play the latest video games flawlessly, just something that will give me decent performance for the price. I don’t intend to scavenge parts off the old machine except maybe the optical drive, and I’ll use my old monitor with the new machine. Overall, I’ll probably feel pretty good about the whole thing if you keep my budget around $550.

Related: The New Poker Machine

There’s no shame in walking away

Apparently there’s a growing number of people strategically defaulting on their mortgages. Or, at the very least, there’s a growing fear that this is happening. For some commentators, this is a sign of low moral fiber, that the strategic defaulters are somehow breaking their word, losing their honor, etc.


Housing loans are not based on the belief that the borrower will pay the money back because his honor is at stake. They are based on a contract, which spells out exactly what the lender can do if the borrower stops paying back the loan. The lender can choose to take the house and sue the borrower for the difference between the house’s value and the loan amount (unless it is a non-recourse loan).

There’s also this refrain of unease that not only is the decision to default immoral, but it’s just too easy and trivial to do. That the borrower somehow escapes punishment-free for buying too much house or getting a terrible loan.

But losing your home and getting sued is not a trivial thing. Not to mention the massive hit your credit score will take. For the borrower who defaults, it means that credit will either be unavailable or offered at exorbitant rates. Moreover, employers and landlords often do credit checks prior to hiring or renting, which will further limit the borrower’s options.

Nor is it necessarily easy! The lender has the option to take the home, but no obligation to do so. If there’s a glut of inventory in a particular submarket, a backlog of defaults to process, etc., the lender can choose to send nasty letters to try to get the borrower to pay, but may hold off on actually seizing the property. In the meantime, the borrower still owns the property and any liabilities that go along with it.

Finally, there are those that mention other effects of the foreclosure, such as declining house values and higher borrowing costs within the submarket or economic cohort. But aren’t these effects the natural outcomes of a market? We are coming off a 7 year bubble; houses are going to go into foreclosure, prices will drop, costs will increase, and to expect anything else is insane.

The bottom line is that the decision to take a loss, just as the decision to purchase, should be evaluated rationally by the individuals involved. There are a lot of things to consider beyond the value of your house, the amount of your loan, your monthly income, and the monthly expenses, but morality is not one of them.