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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 Friday, December 15, 2006: Australian stocks continue to climb. This is the ASX100 -- the 100 biggest stocks in Australia. It's sort of like the Dow, but more representative. The Dow has only 30 stocks.

My preference for investing remains index funds and my favorite remains the Vanguard Index Australian Shares Fund. There are two ways you can invest -- put less than $AUD500,000 in. Read this. Click here. If you're going to put more $AUD500,000, read this. Click here.

My logic for Australia remains simple: well-managed economy, infinite natural resources and they like us. I'm going there next week for Christmas.

My absolute best investments
1. Exercise. Tennis and bike riding.
2. Plenty of rest, with occasional 20-minute naps.
3. Regular dental hygienist visits.
4. Regular endoscopy and colonoscopy exams.
5. No added salt. No added sugar. No soda.
6. No fried foods.
7. No stress. Fewer confrontations.
8. Fewer and fewer riskier investments. More with a decent, safe yield. Dividends are good and are taxed cheaply. More bonds.

How to lose everything near and dear: My friend, Alex Braun, the editor of Semiconductor International Magazine, just had his computer blow up. A virus got him. He lost everything. Even the experts couldn't help. He had to reformat his hard disk and start from scratch. A gigantic pain. He believes his ails "will happen to everyone at some point."

What happened? He foolishly opened an attachment to an email. The attachment was infected. The moment he opened it, the virus spread through his computer, wreaking havoc. The big problem was the virus worked slowly, giving him time to back up his computer and the virus, thus destroying all his backups.

Here are the lessons:

+ The most obvious one: Don't open attachments from strangers. In fact, don't open attachments that look weird from friends. Weird attachments include those with the extensions -- .exe., bat, vhs, vbs, etc. If in doubt, email your friend and ask, "Is the attachment safe?"

+ You need two types of backups: First, one that clones your entire hard disk. You should have several clones of varying vintages. So if you do end up cloning a bad disk, there's always one lying around you can go back to. I personally have several clones. They are identical disks and I could pop any one of them into my main PC and be off and running within minutes. And yes, before you clone your virus-ridden hard disk, do a virus scan on it -- using the latest virus files from Symantec or McAfee.

The second type of backup is to back up your daily working files -- but not your software and your operating system (i.e. Windows). Your daily working files will not be infected. The virus works on the software and your operating system, not your Excel and Word files,

So, to save your tushy, you go back to an old clone of all your software and operating system (you won't have changed that) and you simply add back in your latest working files. To make sure you can do this easily, you should set up a folder called something like "AllHarry" and tell all your software to save to a subfolder under AllHarry. That way, when you back up, you simply back up AllHarry and its subfolders. And you this regularly. The software I use for this is called FileSync. It's flawless I use it twice a day. Click here. There's plenty of hard disk cloning software.

I'm sorry if I've harped on this subject of backup too many times in this column. But, when I see a computer expert, lose weeks and weeks of work I realize it's no longer a question of "Will it happen to us?" It's a question of "When it will happen to us?"

So, if we summarize,

It probably was an attachment to an email. Correct.

Had you only backed up only your working files, you would not have had a problem. Probably--no certainty about this, though.

You should have run a virus checker before you backed up. Correct? Not necessarily. My anti-virus utility regularly checks both my PC hard disk and the external hard disk. The firewall supposedly checks all incoming emails and downloads. Both firewall and anti-virus update themselves daily by automatically querying Symantec. All of this may prevent you from continuously being infected, but eventually you're going to hit something that's going to go around it and do something "funny" or create havoc.

Sadie and Yetta, two Jewish widows, are talking.
Sadie: "That nice tailor, Morris Finkleman asked me out for a date. I know you went out with him last week, and I wanted to talk with you about him before I give him my answer."

Yetta: "Vell... I'll tell you. He shows up at my apartment punctual like a clock. And like such a mensch he is dressed. Fine suit, wonderful lining. And he brings me such beautiful flowers you could die from. Then he takes me downstairs, and what's there but such a beautiful car.....a limousine even, uniformed chauffeur and all. Then he takes me out for dinner... Marvelous dinner. Lobster, even. Den ve go see a show... Let me tell you Sadie, I enjoyed it so much I could have just died from pleasure!

So then we are coming back to my apartment and into an ANIMAL he turns. Completely crazy! , he tears off my expensive new dress and has his way with me two times!

Sadie: "Oy! Vey... So you are telling me I shouldn't go out with him?"

Yetta: "No... No... I'm just saying, wear schmatte (junk clothing)."!

It's finally come to this
A blonde woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.

She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"

The clerk says, "What denomination?"

The woman says, "God help us. Has it come to this?

Give me 6 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran and 22 Baptists."

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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