Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Friday, February 1, 2008: This
is not good: Statistics released this morning show job growth contracted in
January for the first time in more than four years. Nonfarm payrolls fell
by 17,000 -- much weaker than the 85,000 job gains expected by economists
surveyed by MarketWatch.
two things. Economists aren't good at forecasting. Second, the economy is hurting.
watched the Republican debates. I watched Hillary and Barack "battle"
off last night. All are giving boredom a whole new meaning. I pray someone somewhere
comes up with a Vision I can get excited about. I'd like out of Iraq. I'd like
to save the economy. I'd like healthcare for most. To me, those are like paying
the rent. Got to be done. But not what I want my life to be about. I want to
go to the moon, or its 2008 equivalent. Is anyone listening?
I was so bored
with politics, I watched two ultra-violent, but super movies:
I've had a bunch of startups visit me. Nice that they're starting. Some great
ideas. But three things are often lacking: an ultra-defined focus (they usually
try to do too much), a marketing plan (someone has to sell the stuff) and realistic
financial projections (tripling earnings every nanosecond doesn't look believable,
or am I getting old?).
forward to an active weekend -- anything to get the cobwebs out of my brain
and get the juices moving.
bids $44.6 billion for Yahoo! That's a P/E
of a ridiculous 68 times. Yahoo is dying, struggling against a smarter,
quicker Google. Yahoo made 31% less money in 2007 than it did in 2003.
And it will make less this year. Microsoft says the combination of it and Yahoo
will "create efficiencies" that will save $1 billion annually -- about
50% than Yahoo earned last year. I heard this "logic" when AOL bought
Time Warner. It's nonsense.
so often companies do really stupid things, for really stupid reasons. This
is one of them. Short Microsoft's stock.
utility condenses Windows Vista from 15GB to 1.4GB. I
don't recommend using Vista, but if you must, read this wonderful story from
2008 (Computerworld) A Croatian college student has created a utility that
installs a seriously stripped-down Windows Vista, saying the heft of Microsoft
Corp.'s biggest desktop operating system is just too big to believe.
justify a 15GB operating system?" asked Dino Nuhagic, a fifth-year student
from Split, a Croatian city on the Adriatic. Not Nuhagic, or the uncounted
users who have turned to his creation, vLite.
The free program
lets users pick and choose which Vista components, hot fixes, drivers and
even language packs are installed, then builds a disk image that can be burned
to a DVD for unattended installation of the operating system.
I do it? Well, it's performance and work environment," Nuhagic said when
asked why he came up with vLite. "Performance, that's easy to explain.
The less things running, the more responsive the OS. But the environment part
is where it gets down to personal preference."
include options for leaving out virtually every component of Windows Vista,
from the minor -- such as the bundled screensavers -- to the major, such as
the firewall or Universal Plug and Play.
Some vLite users,
in fact, have made it a contest of sorts to come up with the puniest-possible
installation package for the operating system. While Microsoft recommends
that users set aside 15GB of hard-disk space to install its pride and
joy, Nuhagic's fans boast of squeezing it into an image file as small as 515MB
that takes up just 1.4GB on the hard drive.
One user reported
condensing Windows Vista Home Basic into a 526MB .iso file and installing
it in a virtual machine that used just 1.3GB of drive space. "It worked
well inside the virtual machine and since I have 1GB of RAM on the host I
guess the little Vista would work well," said amocanu.
come right out and say it, but he hinted that he -- like more critical users
and pundits -- thought Vista was bloated and could use some reducing. "To
be frank, I don't need 90% of Windows. But that 10%, which guarantees that
you can run [the] majority of games out there, is what is worth isolating."
wasn't easy, he said. But the time Nuhagic spent on its predecessor, nLite,
which similarly squeezes Windows 2000 and Windows XP, paid off in spades.
"Since I had four years of experience with tampering [with] older Windows,
it was a lot easier than nLite," Nuhagic said of the development of vLite.
"Also, it was easier than in XP because Vista does not have the old-style
installation. It doesn't install components one by one, but simply extracts
the image. Where XP would fail during install because a certain file was missing,
that issue is not present in Vista."
vLite features a simple graphical interface that lets users remove a component
with a click, Nuhagic warned that the utility isn't designed for the average
user: "Because of certain possible compatibility issues with the programs
out there [that] expect full Windows, I'd recommend [it] only to users [that]
want exactly that kind of tool. In other words, I would not recommend it to
someone who installs their OS once every few years. But if you do it every
few months, then it's a must." ...
of the tools -- Nuhagic said the company has contacted him in the past about
possible employment -- but it's done little to quash the condensing. When
asked whether it had any thoughts on vLite, a company spokeswoman e-mailed
a lukewarm warning.
does not recommend using any tool to strip out applications from Windows Vista
prior to installing it on your system, as it may affect your ability to download
future Windows Updates and Service Packs, and may cause your system to become
unstable," she said.
users praised Nuhagic's efforts with blunter language. "Thanks for spending
your time making our OS less bloated," said one.
VLite 1.1 can
be downloaded from Nuhagic's
is hysterical: The background: The city sued Merrill because Merrill
had sold it stuff without disclosing what it was. From Bloomberg this
& Co. has agreed to pay Springfield, Massachusetts, $13.9 million to settle
a dispute over collateralized debt obligations it sold the city that plunged
in value. The money will reimburse Springfield for the cost of the so-called
CDOs, securities tied to loans, mortgages and other debts that have been battered
as more U.S. homeowners failed to make mortgage payments. New York-based Merrill
said it agreed to refund the money after discovering the purchase was made
without the city's consent. ...
agencies from Florida to Washington state have been stung by their purchases
of CDOs and other complex securities backed by collateral no one wants. The
market for CDOs has frozen up because of surging subprime mortgage defaults
that have hurt their credit ratings, making the securities difficult to sell.
week said it will cut back on packaging home loans and consumer debts into
securities because demand for the products has eroded. Similar securities
have also saddled Wall Street banks with losses and threatened to undermine
the bond insurance companies that guaranteed the debts would be paid.
bought its CDOs between April and June of last year from Merrill, according
to city records. The value of those securities fell to $1.3 million in November.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin's office subpoenaed documents
and sought testimony last month from Merrill regarding the sale of the CDOs.
world's largest brokerage, sold Springfield investments in S Coast FD V CDO,
TABS CDO, and Centre Square CDO, according to city records.
carefully reviewing the facts, we have determined the purchases of these securities
were made without the express permission of the city,'' Merrill said in a
statement. "As a result, we are making the city whole and we have taken
appropriate steps internally to ensure this conduct is not repeated.''
- Part 1:
Patient: "Doctor, one night I dream I'm a wigwam. The next night
I dream I'm a tepee. What's wrong with me?
"It's clear that you're just two tense."
-- Part 2:
One night on a camping trip, Sherlock Holmes
wakes Watson up and says, "Look at the stars. What do you deduce?"
for a minute and says, "Well, I see millions of stars, many of which resemble
our sun, which most likely have their own planets, which most likely have life-forms
like us, so I deduce that there is life on other planets."
"No you idiot, someone has stolen our tent."
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
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