Technology Investor 

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Auction Rate Securities. Auction Rate Preferreds.

Previous Columns
9:00 AM EST Wednesday, July 2, 2008: What's hard is switching the brain. Today it's easier to pick disasters than bargains. The press is full of cockroach stocks. Think stocks there's "not a single reason to own." Swiss Bank UBS ranks right up there. Today the Judge said it had to ante up its clients' names. A Swiss bank turning over its secrets! I bet the lines are forming to get money out. If your account is no longer secret from Uncle Sam, what use is having a Swiss bank account?

Today The Wall Street Journal writes:

Already under scrutiny for its role in the credit crisis, the Moody’s Corporation said that some employees violated its code of conduct in rating some complex European securities.

There are dozens of other stocks I don't want to own -- from Citigroup to Yahoo, from Lehman Brothers to Microsoft.

For my "sorta interesting" story of the morning, try this. Our Government is so worried about the banks, it's taken to advertising that some of our money is insured. I found this ad in Forbes.

Harry's Health Secrets:

1. Eat less. At restaurants, skip main courses and deserts. Give up ice cream and bread.

2. Exercise aggressively daily. I play tennis. My son runs. Claire does the gym. Choose your least painful pleasure.

3. Nap often. Crawl under your desk after lunch. Nap after meals. A 20 minute nap can be total rejuvenation.

4. Be wary of the outdoors. There's the sun. There are deer ticks. There is getting hit by a bus.

Harry's Life Secrets:

1. Figure your five critical tasks. First thing every day, write down the 5 things you want to accomplish that day. Do the hardest first. Hence you start the day on a high.

2. Check. Check. Check. Last night I bought a business class ticket -- New York to Brussels. Jet Airways was 40% less than American Airlines.

3. Figure what makes you happy or sad. Do more or less of it.

4. When in doubt, stay out. But, when not in doubt, just do it.

5. Obsession is good. You do better when you love it. My tennis game is thrilling.

6. There is nothing you can't do, or learn. You weren't born a doctor or a pilot, or an investor.

7. Spoil your children rotten. They will choose your nursing home.

Harry's Writing Secrets:

1. Give up commas. They break up thoughts.

2. Break long complex sentences into simple short sentences. One thought per sentence. Sentences do not need verbs.

3. Give up the words "but", "however", "although" and "though." They confuse things and mean nothing.

4. Don't start sentences with "and."

5. Stay away from parenthetical thoughts. Make them separate, short sentences.

6. PowerPoint is not writing. Give people real explanations -- with real sentences

Harry's latest Computer Secrets:

1. If it works, don't mess with it -- no matter how old it is, or how much your children make fun of you. Don't assume that newer is better. It usually isn't.

2. When the web site screws up, use Internet Explorer. I prefer Firefox. But some web sites -- e.g. Jet Airways -- simply work better with IE.

3. Use Lookeen to index your Outlook and your hard disk. I've tried every which way -- from the free ones to the expensive ones. Lookeen works best. Trust me. It costs $40, but you can get a free trial.

4. Backup. Backup. Backup. You must have at least two backups of everything. Three are even better. Hard disks are insanely cheap. I just bought a 250 gigabyte 2.5 inch hard disk for $99 from TigerDirect.

Wimbledon continues today. The men will play if the rain ever stops. Here is the TV schedule. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time (L) = Live (T) = Taped

Wednesday, July 2 7:00 am - 10:00 am Quarterfinals (Gentlemen's) ESPN2 (L)
Wednesday, July 2 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Quarterfinals (Gentlemen's) NBC (L)
Wednesday, July 2 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm Quarterfinals (Gentlemen's) ESPN2 (L)
Wednesday, July 2 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Quarterfinals (Gentlemen's) Tennis Channel (T)
Thursday, July 3 7:00 am - 12:00 pm Semifinals (Ladies') ESPN2 (L)
Thursday, July 3 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Semifinals (Ladies') NBC (L)
Thursday, July 3 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Semifinals (Ladies') Tennis Channel (T)
Friday, July 4 7:00 am - 12:00 pm Semifinals (Gentlemen's) ESPN2 (L)
Friday, July 4 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Semifinals (Gentlemen's) NBC (L)
Saturday, July 5 9:00 am - 2:00 pm Semifinals (Gentlemen's) ESPN2 (L)
Saturday, July 5 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Semifinals (Gentlemen's) NBC (L)
Sunday, July 6 9:00 am - 3:00 pm Semifinals (Gentlemen's) NBC (L)
Sunday, July 6 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Semifinals (Gentlemen's) ESPN2 (L)

Son-in-laws, whom we love.
Mr. Cohen loved his daughter very much and so when she got married he gave his son-in-law Chaim a 50% interest in the business.
"Chaim, what you'll do is go into the factory for a few months and learn the business and work your way up."

"No, I don't think so, said Chaim. "Factories are too noisy for me and I really don't like dealing with the blue collar people who work in them."

"Okay then," said Mr. Cohen, "You'll work in the office until you know everything. My accountant for 35 years will help you and then you'll be in charge of the office."

"I really don't see myself as an office person. I can't imagine myself spending the whole day behind a desk. It's really not a job for me."

"OK, I understand. Then you'll join the sales dept. and you will take care of the most important customers. All travel expenses paid of course."

"I hate airplanes and hotel rooms are very uncomfortable. Sorry, not for me."

"What do you mean!!!???" exploded Mr. Cohen. "Here I give you a 50% interest in a well established and profitable business and nothing is good enough for you. What can I do with you?

"Buy me out!" responded Chaim.

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.

Go back.