Funding a start-up company

I’ve been doing a lot of research into running a start-up recently, and a name that always pops up is Paul Graham. He runs the Y Combinator, an early-stage venture funding company, and has written an extremely informative article on funding your start-up. I love the analogy he gives about how the different stages of financing your company works like gears on a bike; you should get just enough funding that enables you to drive your company to the next stage. This makes a lot of sense to me. Inc magazine also had an interview with him which I enjoyed.

dhclient and resolv.conf

For some reason, when I get onto a client’s network and run /sbin/dhclient on my hacked-together-linux notebook, dhclient gets an IP address via DHCP, but doesn’t update my /etc/resolv.conf with the local name servers, so names don’t get resolved using DNS.

I haven’t figured out a fix for this yet, but a temporary work-around is to have a look at the lease in the /var/state/dhcp/dhclient.leases file. You should see a line like “option domain-name-servers 192.168.94.49;”. Just put that IP address in the /etc/resolv.conf file (ie “nameserver 192.168.94.49”).

Financial models need more complexity?

A post over at the New York Times is arguing that one of the main causes of the financial crisis was inadequate quantitative models – models that tended to understate risk because they failed to provide a realistic model of the way the world works – neither incorporating risks such as a failure of liquidity, nor the complexities of human behaviour.

I certainly agree that the current stable of models which are in widespread use are inadequate given that the competitive market has made the spreads on trades so tight that there is no longer any buffer to cover the many short-falls in the models. Back when vanilla options were an exotic trade, the trader would incorporate plenty of fat in their options trades. Intense competition, a market that has steadily grown over the past 20 years (notwithstanding small glitches), and increased familiarity with the trades has served to camouflage the risks the traders were running in their options books.

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Eclipse Phase RPG

I just read this awesome thread over at RPG.net about character creation in the new RPG Eclipse Phase. Man, this RPG sounds awesome! As ExNihilo mentions in the thread:

The fact that a question like "Can my character upload his 
living consciousness into a distributed network-swarm of
microscopic robots?" results in actual debate is enough to
convince me that I'll like this game regardless of what the
answer itself turns out to be.

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Getting Postfix sending email on your Mac

I have recently been setting up my MacBook (running Leopard) to send email using the local email delivery system, i.e. Postfix. This means modifying the default installation to relay email through my ISP/email service – in my case; FastMail. I use FastMail because they have a nice secure email setup with both IMAP and SMTP access encrypted using SSL, but the instructions below will also work with Google Mail. The advantage of having your Apple Mac set up like this is that it enables command line scripts and various unix programs to send email. In my case, it allows me to use Mutt and Emacs as my email client.

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Blogging and SEO talk by Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts gave an extremely interesting and dynamic talk at WordCamp about blogging and Search Engine Optimization. Not only was it extremely entertaining, but it contained lots of interesting tidbits about how to increase the PageRank of your site.