Technology Investor 

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM EST Thursday, April 13, 2006: Momentum rocks. There's always momentum. What's in the news. What people are talking about. Alternative energy is in the news, with a recent emphasis on ethanol. On January 31 I published a portfolio of alternative energy and coal stocks. If you had a bought 1,000 shares of each, you'd presently be up $17,540. Of course, you wouldn't have bought 1,000 of each, you would have bought more of the lower-priced stocks, since they're the ones that always pop on momentum speculation. Here's last night's close (Last) versus January 30's close (Cost). I've marked in green all the stocks that rose, some quite strongly.

The Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column today talks about ethanol popping. It highlights Archer-Daniels-Midland, which was not on our list, but it also talks about Pacific Ethanol, which was on our list and was of our sterling performers. I'm guessing that some of our lower cost companies will continue to pop, though I'd stay away from Pacific Ethanol, which looks like it's had its run, for now.

The Journal also reports that VeraSun Energy, of Brookings, S.D., and Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings, of Pekin, Ill., the second-largest and third-largest ethanol makers, both filed two weeks ago with the SEC to do IPOs.

The message is simple: Ask your broker for an allotment on the IPO. These two are hot and I'm guessing will pop strongly in their first few days of trading.

You can read the Journal's piece, click here.

Check out the financials: The trade magazine InfoWorld has a gruesome story about buying a corporate phone system. The buyer listened to the salespeople's assurances of endless happiness and violated its own rule about seeing vendor finances. The phone system went in. But before it was complete, the vendor got acquired. The new owner said it was no longer handling certain phone systems, including the half-installed new system. The end-result was a disaster that went on for months.

The real estate frenzy is over. My friends are back to building and selling entry level, also called first buyer, homes -- typically those under $250,000. My friend Court Wilson told me last night of his new condo conversion project and why it would sell. "Heck," he said, "If you can stand and breathe, you can qualify for a loan to buy one of these condos." Then, he got worried. He feared that it might be hard for some of his buyers to do both -- namely stand and breathe. So he loosened his criterion to "If you can fog a mirror, you can buy one of our condos."

I hate PowerPoint, but.. if you must use it, buy and use this $85 gadget. It's brilliant.

This is the Interlink Electronics' Remotepoint Navigator

There are two parts to Interlink Electronics' Remotepoint Navigator. The part you hold in your hand (see photo) and a part you plug into your laptop's USB port. That part looks the same as a small USB flash memory drive. You turn on PowerPoint. You plug the thing into your port. And bingo, you're live. The right > button moves your PowerPoints to the next slide. The left < button goes back one. The top button is a laser pointer. The best part is that it doesn't dump any software on your laptop. It takes seconds to set up. I used it at MIT on Monday. The thing worked flawlessly. Buy one at B&H Photo. Click here.

By the way, the reasons I hate PowerPoint: First, PowerPoint is serial "logic." One boring point after another. The brain doesn't work serially. Second, PowerPoint forces you not to stay on a pre-defined path. It forces you to ignore your audience. It forces you to ignore what they may be interested in.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease:
Cardiovascular disease is the US's primary cause of disability and death. All three risk factors can be controlled:
1. High blood pressure
2. High blood cholesterol
3. Smoking cigarettes

Find the man.

Doctors believe if you find the man in 3 seconds, the right half of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, your right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, you can justifiably conclude that this "test" (not you) is stupid. Try the test on your kids. I bet they find the man faster than you did.

Updating your BlackBerry's software:
If you have a BlackBerry from Verizon, you need to update your gadget's software. To update, dial *228. Listen to the prompts. Verizon's technical support is 866-788-9387. They're actually helpful.

Passover began last night:
On the way to the promised land, the Jews reached the Red Sea. Moses called his VP engineering, "Build me a bridge."
The VP Engineering replied, "No way, boss. This is the desert. There are no trees."
Moses called his VP Sales. "Go work a deal with the Egyptians. Negotiate our freedom."
The VP Sales beetled off and returned an hour later, "No way, boss, the Egyptians want us dead."
Despairing, Moses called his VP Public Relations, Yankele.

"No problem boss. You see that rock. Go stand on it. Raise your arms and ask God to open the Red Sea. Take the Israelites through to the other side. There you'll find another rock. Stand on it. Wait until the Egyptians are in the Red Sea. Put your arms in the air and ask God to bring the Red Sea together. He will. Your enemies will be drowned. And you will progress to the promised land."
Moses looked quizzically."This nonsense going to work?" Moses asked.
The VP Public Relations replied, "I don't know, boss, but, if it does, I'll get you three pages in the Old Testament."

Remember last night and the four questions?
An English Jew, a prominent novelist and Intellectual, is informed that he will be knighted. The queen's protocol officials prepare him and the other knights-to-be for the ceremony. He is informed that, when he stands before the queen, he is to recite, "Philosophum non facit barba. Non in solo pane vivit homo." just before being knighted.
On the day of the ceremony, the man is very nervous and, sure enough, when he approaches the queen, he forgets the Latin expression. As precious seconds tick by, the only non-English words he can think of pour out of him: "Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?"
The queen, confused, turns to her protocol officer and asks, "So, why is this knight different from all other knights?"

Happy and healthy Passover.

Harry Newton

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.
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