These topics have nothing in common apart from a sort of odd orthographic cousinhood.

Xobni
is a highly-touted system for managing Outlook mail and contacts that I initially liked when I tried it last year. But as soon as I applied it to some large, real-world size Outlook .PST files, it ground to a halt and dragged the rest of my computer down with it. I immediately took it off my machine and later heard from the Xobni designers that, yes, they were having a few "performance" issues with the program. (In software land, "performance" basically means how fast a program runs.)

Now a new version is out, which at least claims to have addressed this problem. From the press announcement I received:

Xobni Is Ready For You! Massive Performance Upgrade

After using Xobni's beta product, you asked us to inform you when Xobni's performance had improved.

After months of work and user feedback, today, for the first time ever, Xobni is available without the beta label. Xobni is ready for prime time.

For the next few days I am in a remote area with trickle-speed internet connections and so can't download the file. But, ever hopeful about software updates, I will give it a try when I can.

Lou Pai, is, again, the man who got out of Enron with more cash than anyone else, even after allowing for the $31.5 million fine and settlement he paid to the SEC over insider-trading charges. When I mentioned him recently, it was to wonder what had happened since he bought an entire mountain in Colorado and established a kind of John Galt stronghold there.

Thanks to readers for this 2006 update from the NY Times, reporting that he had sold his mountain and moved to the Houston suburb of Sugar Land with his wife, whom the Times identifies as an "exotic dancer." Last year Natural Gas Weekly, which is not available online, carried an update on Pai's payment of the $31.5 million fine and his re-invention as a green tech guy, making markets in emission-reduction credits. Someone who gets Natural Gas Weekly sent me the story; after the jump, a few fair-use quotes from the story.  More

From Natural Gas Weekly, August, 2008:

The  Enronification of the energy business continues unabated, with the latest development being among the strangest.

Lou L. Pai, the shadowy ex-head of Enron's power division, suddenly emerged from his vast Colorado estate last week to pay a near-record $31.5 million civil fine to settle allegations of insider trading. But the deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission carries no admission of wrongdoing, and is a fraction of the $270 million or so Pai is said to have made cashing in his Enron shares only months before the company went belly up.

The rub: The ex-Enron executive apparently intends to become a market-maker in emissions reduction credit trading.

Pai is a major investor in Element Markets of Houston, which hails itself as "an innovative carbon management and alternative energy company." Specialty business lines include alternative energy development and trading and asset management, with the latter's focus on carbon credits, emissions credits and renewable energy credits (RECs).

"Pai's trying to corner the market on RECs," an energy industry executive told Natural Gas Week -- and admiringly, at that. Indeed, mention Pai to many folks working in the energy field and not a few will shake their heads and say, "That lucky sunuvagun." ...

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