Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
AM EST Monday, December 11, 2006: In the days of the Roman Empire,
they made the bridge's engineer stand under his bridge while the worker's removed
the scaffolding. If the bridge held up, the engineer got to build another. If
it didn't .. well, they got another engineer. There are a few money managers
I'd have stand under their bridge. Did the Roman engineers have contests to
build the most extravagant, widest span bridge -- like hedge managers have contests
today to borrow the most, to bet on the highest-flying, most thinly-traded stocks.
works. All of us are inundated with email about
hot stocks. You'll be pleased to know that this stuff works -- just not
for you and me, the unfortunate recipients. From this weekend's New York
Why Does Spam
Thrive? Easy: It Works
Canadas Voxbox World Telecom Inc. does not claim to be a profitable
company. But Francis, the spammer who hyped the company in e-mail
messages last week, doesnt care.
probably bought Voxbox stock cheaply before sending his e-mail message and
waited for gullible or greedy recipients of his spam to bid up the price so
he could sell his shares at a profit.
and dump stock schemes are exploding on the Web. The antispam firm
Postini said that unsolicited messages accounted for 93 percent of
all e-mail in November a record and spammers are always finding
ways to elude spam filters.
to prefer stock scams now, since they require no links to Web sites
just a message hyping an obscure stock.
An Oxford University
professor, Jonathan Zittrain, and a Purdue University assistant professor,
Laura Frieder, recently studied such schemes and reached a surprising conclusion:
they work. Spammers often make a 5 to 6 percent return in just days.
The suckers who buy the stock and some inevitably do lose 7
percent of their investment.
There is, of
course, a simple, foolproof way to protect yourself. Delete the spam. Do not
buy the stock. But for those who still dont understand or simply cant
resist, even stronger warnings are on the way.
Most of the
companies promoted in spam (including Voxbox) are traded on the Pink Sheets,
a New York-based electronic exchange that doesnt require companies to
file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Pink Sheets
chief executive, Cromwell Coulson, said the exchange will create a new tier
of companies in March that do file disclosures. Firms that do not will be
flagged with a skull and crossbones if they are promoted in spam, he said.
In the meantime,
Mr. Coulson offered some simple, age-old financial wisdom: A free
stock tip is worth what you paid for it.
NOT install Microsoft's new Office 2007 -- yet: I spent three hours
of totally wasted time testing Office 2007 over the weekend. I cannot find one
compelling new feature. It has a nice (read different) menu/interface. But what
you can produce and do with it -- documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides,
letters -- really hasn't changed one iota.
The biggest problem -- at least for me -- is that I have a label printer that
will print labels directly out of Outlook and Word. It's called a Dymo LabelWriter
My Dymo LabelWriter EL40
When installed inside Outlook or Word, it sets a small print icon next to the
normal printer icon. Hit the Dymo printer, and it prints a mailing label for
my Outlook contact or addressee in a Word letter. Its the most useful
desktop tool I have. It saves huge time making labels for envelopes. It no longer
works inside Outlook 2007 or Word 2007. I tried re-installing it. But that didnt
work. Microsoft, for some reason, removed something called an add in manager
from this version of Outlook. It was in previous version and it allowed you
to add in useful outside software. No more.
The second problem
is that Microsoft has messed up Lookout. Let me explain. Once upon a time, a
company called Lookout Software made a search engine for Outlook. You downloaded
it and installed it. Suddenly you could find things quickly in Outlook. Then
Microsoft bought Lookout and, well, the ending is not happy. Lookout no longer
exists. Microsoft has morphed it into something called Windows Desktop Search
which doesn't work 90% of the time and the rest of the time is wildly inaccurate
-- either saying it can't find anything or it finds completely wrong things.
In short, Desktop Search is completely useless. And Lookout is gone.
The only good
thing about Office 2007 is a new interface. It's more visual. Here's an example.
I truncated it on the right to fit the column.
My problem with
this new way of finding things is that my failing eyesight has trouble reading
it. Why anyone would design blue on blue is beyond my brain. Worse, there's
no way to change this miserable color scheme -- to say, black on light blue.
Office users (like you and me) will take a while getting used to this new menu.
And the opthamology industry will boom. I don't think the investment of your
time installing Office 2007 at this point is worth it.
I have told Microsoft of my problems. There's some hope -- slim at best -- that
they will listen and make a repaired version of Office 2007. Office brings in
a huge percentage of Microsoft's revenues. If others react as poorly as I have
and Microsoft doesn't fix it in coming months, Office 2007 will not be good
for Microsoft revenues.
tripping with the wife
Billy Bob tells Luther, "Ya know, I reckon I'm 'bout ready for
a vacation. Only this year I'm gonna do it a little different."
few years, I took your advice about where to go. Three years ago you said to
go to Hawaii. I went to Hawaii and Earlene got pregnant."
years ago, you told me to go to the Bahamas and Earlene got pregnant again."
you suggested Tahiti and darned if Earlene didn't get pregnant again."
Luther asks Billy
Bob, "So, what you gonna do this year that's different?"
Billy Bob says,
"This year I'm taking Earlene with me."
"You're in great shape," the doctor
confidently says, "You'll live to 70."
doctor, I'm 72," says the patient.
the doctor replies, "Did I lie?"
on the money
"The check you gave me came back."
Patient, "So did my arthritis."
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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look
mighty interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please
note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Claire's
law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.