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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, Wednesday, April 18: Tax day, Yuch. (Unless you got hit by the rainstorm.) And the lessons you learn:

+ Money is money, whether it's ordinary income or capital gains. But ordinary income gets ravaged by the IRS. I loaned money and made some interest. I also received interest on some bank CDs. That was ordinary income and expensive. I had stocks that have risen for more than a year. If I sold them, the profit would be capital gains, and not stupid. Actually some ordinary income is useful in order to deduct some (within reason) business expenses.

+ Money managers like Private Capital manage your stocks in your own account. This means you're responsible for checking the transactions and finding "wash" transactions. Hedge funds send K1s. That can be easier.

+ K1s are always late. This means you have to file for an extension, but pay estimated taxes in the meantime. If you guess too little, you'll be hit with penalties, etc. I seem to be running a constant balance with the IRS, with them owing me money.

+ Certified, return receipt is still the best way of sending the IRS and state agencies your filings. Ordinary first class mail has no proof.

Ask and ye shall receive: Yesterday I was rolling over my one-week 5.20% CD with my local bank. On a whim, I asked if they could raise it to 5.25% (a number I plucked out of the air). They said they could do 5.22%, which, as they say in Australia, is better than a slap in the belly with a cold fish.

The American Express Centurion card. My friend has one. It's the black one, their top of the line. When he comes to New York, he gets a great deal on a hotel room and two massages, all breakfasts for two, and one dinner free. He also gets a free round-trip limo to the airport. He emailed me, "I can't afford not to come to New York." I'm joining him on Monday for the free breakfast. Last time I had breakfast with him, I felt guilty about the bill. It was nearly $100 for orange juice and muffins. This time, with AMEX paying, I'm having Kobe steak.

In Microsoft Outlook, change Drafts to Inbox: Type part of an email. Suddenly the phone rings, an interruption. Forget to send it. The brain will think you sent it. Which is annoying later because you didn't. Sadly, Outlook hides your half-completed email in a folder called "drafts." Solve this idiocy by saving your half-completed emails in a place you'll find them -- in your inbox, the place you spend most of your time.

Here's how to do that: Tools / Options / Email options / Advanced Email options / change to Inbox.

LLBean creates Gore-Tex clone: Also called the power of branding. Gore-Tex is waterproof, so is LLBean TEK2.5 material. But one is much cheaper than the other. Check out the TEK2.5 $59 Trail model rain jacket and the $149 Gore-Tex rain jacket.

The $145 Gore-Tex model
The $59 TEK2.5 model

You can understand my obsession with staying dry, given all the rain we've had in recent days. I bought the Gore-Tex model before I realized my dumb mistake.

The Internet is full of contradictions: Zappos sells Rockport shoes for more than Rockport does. Bargain airline sites are often more expensive than going to the airlines direct. Ditto for hotels. Often, you get a better deal by calling the supplier directly. I once negotiated a first class upgrade (from business) to Kuala Lumpur on Malayasian Air by simply arguing it was a quick trip and I needed the sleep.

Three more great talks from TED worth watching:

+ Jennifer Lin: Magical Improv from a 14-year old pianist. About this talk:

"If you follow only one link from this blog in your life, let it be [this one]," wrote Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, pointing his readers toward this performance by pianist and composer Jennifer Lin. Lin, then 14, starts by playing Joseph Hoffman’s "Kaleidoscope," then Robert Schumann's "Abegg Variations." She talks about the process of composition and discusses the state of flow, when she can improvise beautiful music instantly -- a state of mind that cannot be forced. Lin invites audience member Goldie Hawn to choose a random sequence of notes, from which she improvises a beautiful and surprisingly moving piece, known to draw tears even via podcast. She finishes with a lightning performance of Jack Fina's "Bumble Boogie."

+ Kevin Kelly: How does technology evolve? Like we did. About this talk:

Kevin Kelly uses evolutionary theory to discuss the purpose and value of technology. By asking, "What does technology want?" he shows that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life. Using a discipline-hopping range of examples -- from exotic flora to the Big Bang, from the Amish to Mozart -- Kelly not only draws an encompassing picture of humans and machines evolving, but discovers, while he's at it, a moral assignment for everyone in his audience. About Kevin Kelly Kevin Kelly has been publisher of the Whole Earth Review, executive editor at WIRED.

Kelly has web site on which he reviews technology he likes. It's called Cool Tools. The site is great for browsing. I found Pictopia there. It makes beautiful huge prints from your digital photos. Here is Pictopia's own web site.

Richard Dawkins: An atheist's call to arms.

The session was titled "The Design of Life," and the TED audience was probably expecting remarks about evolution's role in our history from biologist Richard Dawkins. Instead, he launched into a full-on appeal for atheists to make public their beliefs and to aggressively fight the incursion of religion into politics and education. Scientists and intellectuals hold very different beliefs about God from the American public, he says, yet they are cowed by the overall political environment. Dawkins' scornful tone drew strongly mixed reactions from the audience; some stood and applauded his courage. Others wondered whether his strident approach could do more harm than good. Dawkins went on to publish The God Delusion and become perhaps the world's best-known atheist.

Kids talk about who to marry
How do you decide who to marry?
+ You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. -- Alan, age 10

+ No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. -- Kristen, age 10

How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. -- Derrick, age 8

What do your Mom and Dad have in common?
Both don't want any more kids. -- Lori, age 8

What do most people do on a date?
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. -- Lynnette, age 8

+ On the first date, they just tell each other lies. Usually that gets them interested enough to go for a second date. -- Martin, age 10

When is it okay to kiss someone?
+ When they're rich. -- Pam, age 7

+ The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that. -- Curt, age 7

+ The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do. -- Howard, age 8

Is it better to be single or married?
It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. -- Anita, age 9

How would the world be different if people didn't get married?
+ There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? -- Kelvin, age 8

How would you make a marriage work?
+ Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck. -- Ricky, age 10

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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