Technology Investor 

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

Previous Columns
8:30 AM EST Friday, June 2, 2006: Qwest is moving up. Absolute Software is flat. Hana Biosciences and InSite Vision are staying up. I've been looking at investments other than stocks recently since I'm not sanguine about the summer. My ultra-savvy investor emailed me:

Ultra-savvy? Wish it were so. I used to have a big (for me) high yield bond portfolio in the early 90's which performed spectacularly. But the tax bill cured me of the urge for lots of ordinary income. As you doubtless know, John Malone has made his investment career centerpiece the absence of taxes. I also had a great grandfather who was a butcher in Chicago and retired at 45. When I asked my grandmother how he did it, she said, "There were no taxes in those days".

Anyway, for better or worse, I've grown to love assets that can be held indefinitely and are bound to appreciate over time, which was the case with cable and until very recently, I believe, real estate. But now I think it is oil, which, unlike either cable or real estate (in its public form), also can spin off tax-advantaged cash through corporate dividends. I could be wrong, but it is "where it's at".

I asked where?:

Well, for one you can get 8 - 9% taxed as a dividend in a royalty income trust. I own ERF (Enerplus Resources Fund) and PWTFF.PK (Penn West Energy Trust) both of which have also provided excellent capital appreciation since I've been involved. I'd rather bet on higher oil and gas prices than on healthy real estate over the unforeseeable next few years. I would short real estate if I knew how.

Remember: dividends are taxed by the feds at 15%. They're not ordinary income, which is taxed much higher. Don't ask me to explain why.

Funny thing, as I'm having this email conversation, I receive this email from one of my syndicators:

We've just sold 1200 Corporate (a syndicated building I own a little of). For every $100,000 invested you will be receiving $136,211 in sale proceeds. Combined with distributions to date, the compounded annual return (IRR) since inception was 22.4%.

Which, as they say in Australia, is better than a slap in the belly with a cold fish.

Summer travel tips: It will be awful. And this summer I'm traveling a lot. For long trips, my inviolate rule: I'm traveling business class or staying home. There are four ways of getting into business:

1. Use your miles to get a free ticket. This works if you want to go someplace no one wants to go to -- e.g. Australia in the Australian winter.
2. American Express Platinum card holders can buy a two-for one. This has traditionally been the luxury business deal of all times.
3. Buy discounted business class fares. They're sometimes called "J" fares. Two of them are sometimes cheaper than American Express's two-for-one.
4. Buy a full-fare economy fare. Use your miles or those you just bought to upgrade to business.
In everything, be very flexible as to your dates and times. Fares can be thousands of dollars more or less -- by dint of an hour or two. (I'm not making this up. I can give you examples.)

The ultimate gadget freak's list: This is PC World magazine's pick of the 100 best products of the year. I've marked the new ones in red that intrigue me the most. I've highlighted the ones I use. There's some neat stuff here.

PC World's 100 Best Products of the Year.
(50 today; 50 tomorrow). For more
click here.
My comments: * Used but didn't like it. **Am going to buy. ***Am presently using and loving.
Intel Core Duo microprocessor***
AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual-Core
3. Free selling of everything.***
Apple iPod Nano
Seagate 160GB portable hard drive
Google Earth
Adobe Premiere Elements 2. Video editor.**
Canon EOS 30D. Digital SLR with 8.2 megapixels.
9. Video sharing site. A little trivial.*
Apple Boot Camp. Free software to run Windows XP on a Mac.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4. (I prefer Photoshop CS)*
Mozilla Firefox 1.5. Fantastic web browser.***
13. Entertaining blog on gadgets.***
Toshiba HD-A1. $500 HD-DVD player.
Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV600. Laptop playing movies on a great screen.
nVidia GeoForce 7600 GT. Graphics card chip set.
Google. ***
Sonos ZonePlayer 80. Plays digital audio through your house.
RedOctane Guitar Hero. Game for Sony PlayStation 2.
Yamaha RX-V4600. First, home theater receiver to deliver high-definition radio.
Pioneer BDR-101A. Expensive Blu-Ray disc recorder and player.
Adobe Photoshop CS2.***
Citrix GoToMyPC 5. Turn any Web-connected computer into a clone of your distant desktop.
24. Online bargain tracker.*** (Froogle is better - HN.)
Palm GPS Navigator. $250.
MioNet. Remote access into your work computer from home.
Ubuntu. Linux for your PC.
Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5. Email with great junk-mail filtering and efficient address gathering.
Canon Proxima MP950. Fast multifunction color inkjet printer. Great photos printed.
Yahoo Mail (beta). "Best web mail client we've seen."
Avvenu. Remote file access (free) over the Internet for your PC.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1. 10.3 megapixel camera. Almost an SLR.
Apple Mac-Mini. Cheap desktop, which can run Mac OS and Windows.
Apple iPod.***
Lenova Thinkpad X60s. Ultralight fast notebook.
38. Travel site compares air fares from many airlines. Works for rental cars and hotel rooms also.***
Windows Live Local. Online maps from Microsoft. Hybrid of Google Earth and Yahoo Maps.
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi. Soundcard for PCs with 7.1 channel output.
41. Alienware Aurora 7500. Powerful desktop computer with the best of everything.
NEC MultiSync LCD 2180WG-LED. 21.3 inch flat panel LED monitor. "Only" $6,900.
Apple iTunes.***
Olympus Evolt E-330. Digital SLR.
Ultimate Ears Pro. Excellent $250 earphones.
Creative Zen Vision:M. Digital audio/video portable player. iPod alternative.
Google Desktop Search. (Free).* (I prefer dtSearch.)
Opera 9 (beta). Free browser, alternative to Internet Explorer.
Mitsubishi XD-460U. $2100 projector for conference room and living room use.
Vonage. VoIP telephone service.*
Keys: * Used but didn't like it. **Am going to buy. ***Am presently using and loving.

Getting Tennis elbow is like getting a virus on your PC. You need to figure what you just did differently which just messed your arm (or your PC) up. In my case it was my backhand. In my desire for added speed, I changed my backhand and put too much pressure on my arm and elbow. I am now changing it again to lean more into the ball with my entire body (like they're doing in the French Open). This worked yesterday. I got speed and no pain.

Judging by the many emails, many of you have had tennis elbow and have solved it with:
1. A larger grip.
2. A Nikken Kenkotherm elbow wrap.
3. Visits to the accupunturists.

4. Cortisone injections, which are painful and may weaken your arm long-term.
5. Exercises to strengthen the muscles in the arm. Pronation and supination.
6. Drinking Guinness which apparently is an anti-inflammatory.
7. Changing racquets. Loosening string tension.
8. Ice after playing. Ibuprofen before.
9. Give up tennis for several weeks.

Most readers agreed on three things: First, my backhand was probably the cause. Second, tennis elbow goes away eventually. Third, don't give up tennis, or worse, exercise.

The French Open Tennis is continuing. Set your TiVo or PVR.

French Open Tennis
Time (EST)
Friday, June 2

1:00 am to 2:30 am
5:00 am to 3:00 pm

Saturday, June 3
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Sunday, June 4
4:00 PM to 7:00 pm
Monday, June 5

12:00 AM to 1:30 AM
6:00 AM to 3:00 PM
11:30 PM to 1:30 AM

Tuesday, June 6
6:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Wednesday, June 7
1:30 AM to 3:00 AM
8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, June 8
1:30 AM to 3:00 AM
8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Friday, June 9
1:00 AM to 4:30 AM
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 10
1:00 AM to 4:30 AM
For more, click here or here.

A blonde male "joke"
Two blonde guys were working for the city works department. One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind him and fill the hole.

They worked up one side of the street, then down the other, then moved on to the next street, working furiously all day without rest, one
guy digging a hole, the other guy filling it in again. An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn't understand what they were doing.

So he asked the hole digger, "I'm impressed by the effort you two are putting into your work, but I don't get it why do you dig a hole, only
to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?"

The hole-digger wiped his brow and sighed, "Well, I suppose it probably looks odd because we're normally a three man team.

But today the guy who plants the trees called in sick."

An Old Cowpoke's deal
A West Texas cowboy walked into a drug store and asked to talk to a male pharmacist. The woman he was talking to said that she was the pharmacist and as she and her sister owned the store, there were no males employed there. She then asked if she could help the gentleman.

The cowpoke said that it was something that he would be much more comfortable discussing with a male pharmacist. The female pharmacist assured him that she was completely professional and whatever it was that he needed to discuss, he could be confident that she would treat him with the highest level of professionalism.

The old broncobuster agreed and began by saying, "This is tough for me to discuss, but I have a permanent erection. It causes me a lot of problems and severe embarrassment, and I was wondering what you could give me for it."

The pharmacist said, "Just a minute, I'll go talk to my sister." When she returned, she said, "We discussed it at length and the absolute best we can do is, 1/3 ownership in the store, a company car, and $3,000 a month living expenses.

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.
Go back.