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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment, Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
9:00 AM ET, Monday, December 7, 2009: When markets spike, they always turn and -- lately -- violently. The gold market has spiked. Last week, after the dollar rose, gold dropped nearly 5%. The perception is that after Friday's jobs report, things are now wonderful in the rose garden, i.e. the economy.

If the economy is now wonderful, "recession" trades like short the dollar and buy gold are now over. The recession is not over. The jobs report was manipulated (fiddled?) by Washington to conform to their "story" that the economy is now much better. Not true. But perception is the reality in a world where most investors don't study economic reports.

Which is why I'm watching this carefully. Very carefully. Frankly, I'd really like a sharp pullback. Then I'd pile into a bunch of high-yield stocks and index funds.

For more on dollar rises, gold falls and fed rate hikes, go to Seeking Alpha.

The big lessons from Dubai:

+ Ridiculous booms -- though amusing to watch -- turn on a dime.

+ Third world countries are still third world countries. They lack the rule of law.

+ When the rubber hits the road, they prefer their own and they screw the foreigners, i.e. you and me.

+ Contracts with governments aren't worth the paper they're written on -- if the country itself is in a mess, or changes its mind about supporting its babies.

+ Government officials -- like the dictator ruler of Dubai -- can act like the hype merchants, just like any other salesman.

Watch out real estate "bargains:" The banks have many loans in default. The idea is: Buy cheap houses. Rent them out. Make nice returns. Not so easy. To handle the defaults, banks have established rigid rules their employees follow. Many banks foreclose, don't negotiate, kick the people out, turn off the services -- like electricity and water -- and totally neglect the house. Without love and especially in cold weather, a house deteriorates very fast. Pipes burst. The place floods. Cracks appear. The banks don't pay the local taxes or past utility bills. The house becomes a disaster. Why banks act against their self-interest is beyond my brain. The lesson is Caveat Emptor.

Rechargeable batteries and printer toner. I am totally cheap. But buying non-branded cheap-junk batteries and toner have been BAD decisions. From now on, I only buy brand-name stuff.

I bought a cheap battery for my laptop. It lasted a week. I bought cheap batteries for our Panasonic phones. They lasted two weeks.

I do buy cheap light bulbs -- from I don't have any feeling that the pricey ones last longer than the cheap. I suspect they blow regularly just to spite me.

Don't be tempted by the new Google / Verizon Droid: Verizon hoped it would be an "iPhone killer." It's not. Five problems:

1. The keyboard sucks. It's flat. It doesn't have real buttons (like a BlackBerry). It's incredibly difficult to type on.

2. One big iPhone feature: You can listen to your voice mail messages in whatever order you want. Not with Droid. You're back to dialing Verizon's voice mail (as you do with any cellphone) and listening to your messages chronologically. You never know who called. And you can't listen to the most important one first -- the one from your boss or your biggest client.

3. It doesn't have anywhere near the number and sophistication of applications you can download for the iPhone -- most for free, or for a couple of bucks.

4. It doesn't have the clever finger movements of the iPhone. Pull your finger and thumb apart on the iPhone and the image expands. Not so with the Droid.

5. The Droid is clunky, chunky and cumbersome.

The only thing the Droid has going for it is Verizon's network, which is much better than AT&Ts. Most of my friends say .I wouldn't be happy with AT&T's service. But everyone who has an iPhone seems to love the phone and tolerate AT&T.

After he went Chapter 11 and he lost my entire investment, the chairman and primary stockholder felt guilty and sent me a Christmas present from Harry & David.

It consisted of of chocolate, a bag of nuts, two apples, five pears, and lots of packaging. I don't make this stuff up. I took the photo. It's real.

Christmas decorations. Inspirations for your house.


But my favorite is this one.

Writes the Christmas artist, "Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after two days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked themselves when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year-old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder, almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize he was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard."

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.