Posted on December 18, 2012
Solar City (Ticker: SCTY) is in the news at least partly because last week Goldman Sachs was forced to price the initial public offering (IPO) at $8 per share which was about forty percent below the $13 – $15 price indicated in the original Securities Exchange Commission filing. Since Goldman is the most powerful securities underwriter the IPO price is a major concession.
Although based in Silicon Valley, Solar City does not manufacture electronic components. Instead, it installs photovoltaic panels much like thousands of local electrical contractors around the country. Goldman would have been no more likely to accept Solar City as a client than any such contractor but for two exceptions.
First, Solar’s “financial engineering” is the investment banking equivalent of OxyContin. Ultimately it is every bit as addictive and equally destructive. Specifically, SCTY vigorously promotes lease financing that (1) enables homeowners to avoid a down payment and (2) is structured in a manner to optimize tax and rebate incentives for investors providing the financing. For example, earlier this year Morgan Stanley sold investors $300 million in a fund used to provide such financing. For starters, investors get a 30% Federal tax credit as well as applicable utility rebates authorized by various state and local governments. The conventional interest rate return implicit in any lease is icing on the cake.
Second, Solar City is well connected in Silicon Valley. Elon Musk who was the founder of PayPal and current CEO at Tesla Motors is the Board Chairman. Draper, Fisher leads a group of venture capitalists who invested almost $500 million before the IPO. Read more…
Posted on December 10, 2012
For example, if I want to interview a Digital Media expert at a conference I am attending, the iPhone is an ever-present tool for recording the interview so that it may be released later as an audio podcast. Alternately, I may simply want to record the interview to be certain I don’t miss any key points when I later might choose to write a summary of the interview.
Even in college it was difficult for me to keep notes synchronized with lecture commentary. I simply could not write and spell fast enough to keep up. Thus, a voice recording is a great option and the iPhone is a handy tool.
Apple provides its own App for iPhone voice recording. However, it is not easy to get the recording off of the phone and saved on my computer for later editing. Thus, I have chosen a free App from Griffin entitled iTalk. Today’s video podcast demonstrates how iTalk works. There are two steps.
First is to download the iTalk App to the iPhone. Second is to download a separate program, called iTalk Synch, to the computer. The purpose of iTalk Synch is to transfer the recording from the iPhone to the computer, which it does via WiFi.
The iTalk App works consistently as advertised on the iPhone. Unfortunately, iTalk Synch sometimes is unable to “locate” the phone or transfer the recording. I had to restart the computer on a few occasions to get iTalk Synch to do its job. Since I have an iMac the restart procedure is not nearly as annoying as it is for a Windows machine that can take five minutes, or more, to restart. Nonetheless, even on an iMac the restart procedure is grating because it should not be necessary.