Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
AM EST Friday, September 15, 2006: Due diligence on
some interesting startups. Yuch. Time. Time. Time. I guess I'm a "business
angel," though a very conservative one. For more on angels, read this week's
Thank you, Dennis,
for Absolute Software (ABT.TO):
Chart from Yahoo.
Thank you Harry for Qwest (Q), which keeps inching up.
Next tech gamble that looks interesting: Gateway:
read it here first: I know why eBay
spent the amazing sum of $2.6 billion buying Skype. It's because eBay
wants to start video auctions. The idea is simple. If a seller can show
his item visually to a bunch of online interested buyers and answer real-time
questions, that seller will get everyone's juices flowing, the price will rise
and eBay can charge more.
You can make video calls on Skype today. It's in beta. The quality of the video
and the sound are truly remarkable. There are 6.6 million on Skype as I write
this column this morning.
is Skyping me with stories how they use Skype for distant relatives, for traveling
clients and for holding conference calls with up to five people any place in
I used Skype extensively
yesterday. Calls computer-to-computer in the U.S. were crystal-clear (and free).
I called landlines and cell phones. Some conversations were clear. On some,
the person I called couldn't hear me and I had to hang up. I spoke to my wife
Skype-to-landline and she never once complained. That's a huge compliment to
Skype. Normally Susan has a short fuse when it comes to Harry and his cheap
The key to getting decent quality on Skype is a decent headset. Keep your mouth
close to the mike.
if the Internet were a real place? Comedian
David Chappelle has a wonderful routine. He sees the Internet as "disgusting
and intolerable." He proves his point as he searches the Internet for the
score to the Nicks game. You'll die laughing. Caution there are some four-letter
1. Bagged spinach. Bagged
spinach was being blamed Thursday for a deadly case of E. Coli in Wisconsin
and for making dozens of people sick in the Midwest and across the country.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday warned people not to
eat bagged spinach. You can get abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting --
and if you're unlucky (i.e. not Popeye) you'll die. Someone has.
2. Segway recalled all its scooters. It said there was a software problem
that could toss riders -- causing them to fall off, break their teeth and their
wrists. Fortunately, Segways were never very popular so there's only 23,500
3. Apple, Dell and others recalled the lithium-ion notebook batteries made
by Sony. It's millions of batteries.
4. True Religion is recalling children's sweatshirts and drawstrings due to
a strangulation hazard. The product is sold exclusively by Neiman Marcus.
5. John Deere is recalling its gas barbecue grills due to fire and burn
6. Pier 1 Imports recalls 4,300 Ming TV stands because they tip over.
You don't want your TV to fall on you.
7. LeapFrog is recalling 186,000 Playground Activity Centers because
kids can become entrapped in the activity center's plastic tube.
8. Atco International is recalling 27,700 Patio Umbrellas because the
poles contain paint with excessive levels of lead, which can seriously mess
up young kids if they eat the paint.
And that's just
part of September. I can't figure if all this is funny or sad, or both. If I
hadn't gone out for dinner last night, I would have eaten a salad made from
bagged spinach. And maybe I wouldn't have been around to write today's
Given luck or timing, I'll take luck every time.
and copying DVDs, downloaded music and movies and TiVos: The entertainment
business has a million ways to stop you copying its products. The copying of
CDs and music and their free distribution to all and sundry has hurt that business.
to fix the movies and shows you bought legally:
+ To change TiVo downloads into normal downloads, use DirectShow Dump Utility.
+ DVD Decrypter
program makes a local copy of an encrypted DVD disk's contents. You can then
burn a DVD from it with any normal burning software such as Nero, Roxio, etc.
and of course Unlike a disk image only copier, you can also edit or view it
on your PC. Click
+ RipIt4me, also freeware, that extends DVD Decrypter's capabilities for some
of the newer encoding schemes. Click here
+ Also useful is a site called VideoHelp.com. Click
+ Maximum PC
Magazine likes DVD Copy 5 Platinum, (click
here) but it doesn't include any software that will decrypt CSS-protected
DVDs -- in other words most commercial DVDs. For that you'll need AnyDVD. Click
+ FairUse4WM will extract the personally identifiable information (description
keys) from Media Player for the purpose of allowing the user to improve the
interoperability of legitimately acquired media files. At least one file with
an active license is necessary. Click
All this information
applies only to backing up DVDs you have bought legitimately, i.e. paid money
for. I have to say that, or the next column you read from me will be date-lined
happens if they ALL accept? Ford Motor Co. will offer buyouts to
all 75,000 of its North American factory workers. Ford is also firing
30% of its salaried work force. Senior Ford execs are also bailing, probably
wondering if there'll be anything left to manage. Meantime, Mr. Market loves
Now there's a Boeing man running Ford, it will be neat to see how BIG
Ford can really build SUVs!
soon to a Wal-Mart near you:
These are not see-through skirts. They're prints on the skirts to make
them look as if the panties are visible. These are probably a hoax, but who
cares? They're fun.
the perfect way to remember a BIG birthday. In
June I took a zillion photos at my father-in-law's 90th birthday. I used my
trusty Canon SD700 to photograph all the guests. I picked 120 or so of the best
photographs and had YorkPhoto organize them into a "Memory Book."
A week later, two of the most gorgeous hard cover 9" x 12" coffee
table books appeared on my doorstep.
My father-in-law will love his YorkPhoto hard cover Memory Book. For more
"Crikey, mates, a croc." Steve
Irwin, 44, TV personality and wildlife conservationist died recently when a
stingray pierced his heart. Steve was beautifully nuts. All of us will mourn
In its grief,
Australia has gone on a stingray killing spree. (I don't make this stuff
up.) Australia's FEDERAL Environment Minister Ian Campbell has appealed
to Australians not to show their grief over Steve Irwin's death by senselessly
are shy, unobtrusive fish that typically rummage the sea bottom for food
or burrow into the sand.
A teacher asked her class, "What do you want out of life?" A little
girl in the back row raised her hand and said, "All I want Out of life
is four little animals, just like my Mom always says".
The teacher asked, "Really and what four little animals would that be?"
The little girl
said, "A mink on my back, a jaguar in the garage, a tiger in my bed and
a jackass to pay for it all."
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.