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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 7, 2007: Nothing confounds more trying to impute "logic" into the stockmarket. Logically, it shouldn't be going up. But it is. So, my call to cash on November 13 has proven 100% WRONG:

Those of you who took my call to cash as a call to jump into the market big-time (the contrarian view) made out like bandits. Congratulations.

For me, I'm semi-pleased. I didn't go 100% to cash. I kept investments in hedge funds, some ETFs, and most importantly my Vanguard index funds. My big mistake was bailing out on a bunch of ETFs, which have come roaring back -- namely DRW, EWG, EWJ, EZU, IJJ, IJK,ILF, IWD, IWF, IWN and IWO.

As to where we go from here.... your guess is as good as mine. I'm still convinced the world is fraught with serious risks of an economic slowdown. But no one has ever (or yet) equated the stockmarket with logic, or the economy. Check out this chart from Yahoo! Finance. Look at the stats (they're for yesterday) -- the new highs, the advances versus the declines. Pretty solid stuff.

The best bluetooth cellphone earpiece: It's called Jawbone.

If you don't believe me, watch this demo. Click here. If you want to buy one, AT&T has a $97 sale. Click here.

The faster, better laptop: If I were starting from scratch, I'd buy a Mac. I would not buy a Windows machine. There are two basic reasons. First, Macs don't get viruses. Checking for them, cleaning them, out, protecting against them are all major pains in the tushy. You didn't pay to have a big part of your computer's gee-whiz speed bogged down in virus B.S. Second, Macs are simply and in virtually all respects, better computers. Here's a simple example. Unplug either machine from the Internet. Start up your browser. Go to a site, e.g. this one. Then plug the cable back in. The Mac will come alive and reach the site. The PC will take time to get with the network, and sit dead until you hit Enter several times.

The only reason to get a PC is because you need to run software which only works in Windows. There is plenty of this in the corporate world -- which is why corporations tolerate the ongoing nonsense and heavy overhead associated with Windows. If special software is not your concern, stick with a Mac. There's more than enough useful software. And most of it is a lot easier to use than Windows software.

My friend, Dan Good has just put Apple's new operating system called Leopard on three machines (his own and his grandkids). I asked him for the top five things he liked about Leopard:

Time Machine (backup) is #1. It is automatic to an external drive and enables you to quickly search your computer for any file. You can even see what your computer looked like on any past date. Cool. #2 is Spaces which gives you four separate screens. #3 is how your documents and downloads are arrayed in a fan presentation rather than on your desktop so you never have a cluttered desktop again. #4 is iChat Video conferencing where you can have a four way conference call free with other Mac users, particularly the family. #5 is a tie between an amazing iPhoto presentation and a HD Quicktime movie. Many more features including, of course, the intuitive ease of operation and just plain fun.

Intercepting Iran’s Take on America: I'm not a liberal pinko commie. I'm a concerned citizen who is searching for ways to move us to more logical ways of running our lives. (More about my searches later). Meantime, this piece by Thomas Friedman, who is not liberal pinko and who has supported the war in Iraq, writes in The New York Times:

There are two intelligence analyses that are relevant to the balance of power between the U.S. and Iran — one is the latest U.S. assessment of Iran, which certainly gave a much more complex view of what is happening there. The other is the Iranian National Intelligence Estimate of America, which — my guess — would read something like this:
To: President Ahmadinejad

From: The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence

Subject: America

As you’ll recall, in the wake of 9/11, we were extremely concerned that the U.S. would develop a covert program to end its addiction to oil, which would be the greatest threat to Iranian national security. In fact, after Bush’s 2006 State of the Union, in which he decried America’s oil addiction, we had “high confidence” that a comprehensive U.S. clean energy policy would emerge. We were wrong.

Our fears that the U.S. was engaged in a covert “Manhattan Project” to achieve energy independence have been “assuaged.” America’s Manhattan Project turns out to be largely confined to the production of corn ethanol in Iowa, which, our analysts have confirmed from cellphone intercepts between lobbyists and Congressmen, is nothing more than a multibillion-dollar payoff to big Iowa farmers and agro-businesses.

True, thanks to Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. Congress decided to increase the miles per gallon required of U.S. car fleets by the year 2020 — which took us by surprise — but we nevertheless “strongly believe” this will not lead to any definitive breaking of America’s oil addiction, since none of the leading presidential candidates has offered an energy policy that would include a tax on oil or carbon that could trigger a truly transformational shift in America away from fossil fuels.

Therefore, it is “very likely” that Iran’s current level of high oil revenues will last for decades and insulate our regime from any decisive pressures from abroad or from our own people.

We have to note that obtaining open-source intelligence in America has become more difficult, because traditional news shows have become more comedic and more comedic news shows more authoritative.

For instance, CNN’s nightly business report is hosted by a man named “Dobbs.” Real journalists come on his show and present transparently propagandistic stories about immigration and trade and then he fulminates about them, much the way our ayatollahs used to do about “Satanic Americans” on late-night Iranian TV. So viewers have no real idea what’s happening in the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, at 11 p.m., something called “The Daily Show,” which appears on Comedy Central, has fake journalists presenting what turns out to be the real news.

Yes, our last I.N.I.E. in 1990 concluded that after the collapse of communism, America was on track to become the world’s sole superpower and most compelling role model for Muslim youth — including our own. We were wrong. We now have “high confidence” that America is on a path of self-destruction, for three reasons:

First, 9/11 has made America afraid and therefore stupid. The “war on terrorism” is now so deeply imbedded in America’s psyche that we think it is “highly likely” that America will continue to export more fear than hope and will continue to defend things like torture and Guantánamo Bay prison and to favor politicians like Mr. Giuliani, who alienates the rest of the world.

Second, at a time when America’s bridges, roads, airports and Internet bandwidth have fallen behind other industrial powers, including China, we believe that the U.S. opposition to higher taxes — and the fact that the primary campaigns have focused largely on gay marriage, flag-burning and whether the Christian Bible is the literal truth — means it is “highly unlikely” that America will arrest its decline.

Third, all the U.S. presidential candidates are distancing themselves from the core values that made America such a great power and so different from us — in particular America’s long commitment to free trade, open immigration and a reverence for scientific enquiry wherever it leads. Our intel analysts are baffled that the leading Democrat, Mrs. Clinton, no longer believes in globalization and the leading Republican, Mr. Huckabee, never believed in evolution.

U.S. politicians seem determined to appeal either to the most nativist extremes in their respective parties — or to tell voters that something Americans call “the tooth fairy” will make their energy, budget, educational and Social Security deficits painlessly disappear.

Therefore, we conclude with “high confidence” that there is little likelihood that post-9/11 America will, as they say, “get its groove back” anytime soon.

Who needs nukes when you have this kind of America?

God is Great. Long Live the Iranian Revolution.

The best Chanukah present:
Another Chanukah dinner at the home of a learned and distinguished rabbi. The candles glow softly, the table is crowded with family, congregants, and visitors.

Suddenly, a flash of light, and the angel of the Lord appears.

"Rebbe," says the angel. "For your life of unselfish service and exemplary behavior, you are to be rewarded. You have the choice of infinite wealth, boundless wisdom or utter beauty. Pick one."

Without hesitating, the rabbi says, "Wisdom."

"Done!" says the angel, and disappears in a cloud of smoke and a bolt of lightning.

All heads wheel to the rabbi, who sits, stunned, an expression of dawning comprehension breaking across his shocked features.

There is a long silence. Finally his teenage grandson speaks. "Say something wise," the young man insists.

The old rabbi looks around the table and says, "I should have taken the money."

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 on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look 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 Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.

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