Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST, Friday, May 25: Off to Boston. My
daughter graduates today from law school. That makes her a real lawyer. She
can't "practice" law until she passes the Bar Exam this summer. But
I have no doubts she'll pass with flying colors. She's a bright girl and studies
like a beaver on steroids. She got all her brains from her mother.
friend, the idiot: He sprinkles PCs around
his house, like his wife sprinkles Persian carpets. He had eight PCs. Yesterday
he came home and two of the eight wouldn't boot. He has zero idea what happened.
We're guessing a power spike. Meantime, he's reformatting the hard disks from
scratch and loading all the software from scratch. Doing everything from scratch
is hugely time-consuming (several hours each machine) and a genuine pain.
home to dead PCs will happen to you one day. Trust me. You must have
a hard disk clone of your hard disk. This is far more useful than keeping original
discs from the factory. When your main machine crashes, you remove the dead
hard disk, replace it with the clone, then clone the dead one (assuming it's
OK, just has its data corrupted -- otherwise buy a new one). This takes minutes
woman who won't do the web site. A friend runs
a successful retail store specializing in beautiful housewares. Her clients
beg her to open a web site. This way they can see all the new things she gets
in (she has exquisite taste). But the web site is in her "too hard"
repeat, a web site is the easiest and fastest way to go from a one shop retail
operation to a global business. Everyone should have a web site. And these days
they're trivial to put up. End of lecture.
sent me their newest BlackBerry to testdrive: And
I must say I'm very very impressed.
is the new BlackBerry 8830. The big difference in the keyboard layout
is the addition of standard buttons for making and receiving phone calls
and the center trackball, which is easier to use than the scrollwheel
on the right side of the 7250 (and, I think, all other BlackBerries).
is the old BlackBerry 7250 which I now own and use. It's been ultra-reliable.
email. That's why people buy them. I like them because I synch my Outlook with
them and see my contacts, calendar, tasks and notes. When I rush out of the
house to an appointment, I can check my BlackBerry as to where I'm meant to
be going. I don't have to enter all this information manually, like on most
normal cell phones, which don't synch with Outlook and require you to painfully
type in all that stuff. I dial phone calls with the BlackBerry using my Outlook
The BlackBerry 8830 has one major improvement. It will work overseas
on all GSM networks (that's virtually everywhere, including Europe, Australia
and Asia). It will make and receive both voice calls and emails. It keeps
your local phone number and your local email address. The big bargain is the
unlimited global email for a $65 to $70 a month. Phone calls are not
a bargain, (I talked about these on Wednesday.)
But it all depends on who's paying for them, and how important staying in touch
is. If you're in the middle of a big deal (and who of us isn't?), then the ability
to receive phone calls on your American number while you're schussing down the
slopes of Kitzbühl in Austria is invaluable. It could mean getting that
zillion dollar deal. One deal will pay your Verizon charges for the rest of
From my preliminary
testing, the 8830 is also a far better phone. For one, it has a speakerphone.
I've never been able to cradle my 7250 to my ear. Finally, I can put the thing
down, talk into it and take real notes, including typing on my laptop with two
hands. This is a huge productivity improvement for me.
It's got some
other niceties: a brighter screen, slighlty longer battery life, a trackball
instead of a scrollwheel, and the standard "answer phone" and "hangup
phone" buttons that all cell phones have. It's now easier to use as a phone.
It's half an ounce lighter than my 7250, is a bit thinner and slides into my
pocket easier. I don't use the belt cradle. That thing makes you look like messenger,
attached to your boss with an electronic leash.
It's also got
voice activated dialing. Lay the thing down, talk to it and it will dial your
It will also hold
pictures of your family, play music or videos. And it will play them through
the speakerphone, earbuds that come with it or (I believe) through a Bluetooth
thingee for your ear. As far as I can see, if you have an 8830 you don't
need an iPod.
The 8830 might
well be the universal pocket-portable gadget. It's around $299, which
is only $50 more than I paid for my iPod. But this BlackBerry does so
much more. I'm going to buy one, instantly, if not sooner. Highly recommended.
to build a new home. This is really useful. Reader John Eckstein
reading your column, I understand that you are building a new home.
years ago I started a company that provides air quality testing services and
healthy home consulting in the San Francisco Bay area. We advise homeowners
how they can make their homes cleaner, greener, and more energy efficient.
Although many homeowners immediately assume that hidden mold is the cause
of their problems, we find that problems with heating/cooling systems and
ventilation is most often the source of many indoor air quality problems and
energy waste. With the escalating price of energy combined with the well-intentioned
efforts to make homes greener and more tightly sealed, homes are
not as healthy or as energy efficient as they should be.
Here are some
tips based on over 100 inspections:
An efficient heating system needs to be sized properly, yet most residential
contractors dont take the time to do a Manual-J heat loss calculation
or Manual-D duct design calculation to make sure that the system is designed
correctly. Improperly sizing the system will mean years of discomfort and
inefficient energy utilization. You are good at asking questions. Ask your
contractor or their heating sub, to provide you with copies of their calculations.
Then go find an outside heating contractor to evaluate what they gave you.
Bigger Not Better: Bigger is not better when it comes to sizing an air
conditioner; a properly sized air conditioner will operate more efficiently
and will not subject occupants to extreme temperature changes between too
cold and too warm.
Think System, not Furnace: Your heating system is more than your furnace,
it includes both the furnace, filtration, and duct system. Traditionally ducts
were sealed with duct tape. Like most tapes, after a few years the adhesive
wears out and you no longer have a sealed duct system. To make matters worse,
in some homes nothing but tape was used to seal the duct system. The ducts
are the delivery system of conditioned air through your home. When we test
duct systems, we find typically 30-50% leakage, meaning that only a portion
of expensively heated or cooled air is actually being delivered to your home,
the rest is leaking out in the attic, walls, or crawlspace. Your ducts should
be sealed professionally and then pressure tested to confirm that duct leakage
is 6% or less than total system airflow. Most heating contractors do not even
know about this, but the good ones do.
Sealed Ducts: Duct leakage is more than wasteful, it also can create pressure
imbalances in your home. I wont go into the details here, but if you
have leaky ducts in the crawlspace or attic, this can draw pollutants into
your home or can cause backdrafting of indoor combustion appliances. Again,
ducts needs to be tested and sealed.
Clean Ducts: Also regarding ducts, I cannot tell you how many times I
have found saw dust, coke cans, dorito bags, water, and other construction
debris in brand new ducts in brand new homes. Once the duct is installed,
it should be sealed to prevent the entry of all the things you dont
want to be breathing for the next 30 years in your home.
Furnace Filters: Most filters were designed to protect the furnace from
debris, they were not designed to protect our lungs from fine particulates.
Have your HVAC contractor install a easy to access, disposable 4-6 inch, merv
13 or better filter. I dont believe that cutting edge, expensive, UV,
filtration equipment is necessary. But ask questions, dont just accept
Noise Issues: Not related to the furnace, but still important is the sound
of appliances. Believe it or not, kitchen range hoods do not have to be noisy.
You can now purchase remotely located fans that can be placed in the attic,
that will be very quite. If you dont ask, you wont be offered
this option. For bathroom fan, Panasonic has a terrific line of very quiet
bathroom fans called WisperQuiet
Dont Mistake Leakage for Ventilation: Ventilation air in a home
is important. Pollutants, humidity, odors, and chemical compounds will accumulate
in a home that is not ventilated properly. Homes used to be so leaky that
getting enough ventilation air was never a problem. You will hear contractors
say a home can be too tight. This is old school. A better approach
is to seal it tight, then ventilate right. Rather than leaving
ventilation to chance penetrations in a structure, all penetrations should
be tightly sealed and the home should be pressure tested with a device called
a blower door to confirm that proper ventilation rates are achieved.
Insulation: I think you wrote about closed cell foam insulation in the
past. This is expensive, but ideal because it provides both a thermal barrier
and an air barrier. Before walls are closed up, you might want to find an
independent insulation contractor to evaluate the quality of the job. Also,
efforts should be made to seal all gaps around plumbing and electrical penetrations
between the attic and the home.
Canister Lights: This popular architectural feature, is also a huge air
leakage pathway between the home and the attic. Air sealed canister light
fixtures that are IC (Insulation Contract) rated should be used, but many
contractors dont even consider using them because they are a few bucks
Crawlspace: Out of sight is out of mind, yet these overlooked areas of
the home have a huge impact on the quality of air in a home. Do to the stack
effect in a home were hot air rising through the structure draws cool air
into the home from the crawlspace, it is estimated that 30% of our homes indoor
air comes from the dusty, and frequently odiferous crawlspace. If your home
has a crawlspace, it should be designed for easy access for inspection and
maintenance For new construction, there is no excuse for it not to be well
lit, dry, clean, free of debris and dirt. It should be covered with a wall-to-wall,
sealed vapor barrier. If you have a finished basement, then exterior water
proofing, insulation, and drainage systems are important to be designed and
I had no idea
that I was going to write this much when I started. these are the big things
to think about they may not all apply to you. There is more information
on my websites -- ecamold.com
If you need
any additional information, I would be pleased to help you find the right
BTW, I completely
changed careers three years ago. I was tempted to take a job working for someone
else. Even though it has been slow going, I have never regretted taking your
advice to build my own business. Hopefully some of this information will be
of help to you. Thank you for your daily thoughts!
The Performing Home, john@ThePerformingHome.com
does this amuse me? This came from a web site
advertising a new laptop.
Actual writings from hospital charts
1. The patient
2. The patient
has no previous history of suicides.
3. Patient has
left white blood cells at another hospital.
4. She has no
rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last
5. Patient has
chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
6. On the second
day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.
7. The patient
is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
8. The patient
has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
9. Patient had
waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
10. She is numb
from her toes down.
constant infrequent headaches.
12. Patient was
alert and unresponsive.
13. Rectal examination
revealed a normal size thyroid.
14. She stated
that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.
of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.
16. Patient has
two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.
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
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note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Claire's
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