Technology Investor 

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, Tuesday, March 6, 2007: The stockmarket's fall has been gruesome. How gruesome? Draw the index on a daily basis. It looks awful:

Draw it on a weekly basis. It doesn't look so bad.

Ditto for the S&P. This is daily. Looks awful.

This is weekly. Not so bad.

What now? There are several strategies:

1. You shouldn't be on margin. If you are, pay the money back instantly, if not sooner.

2. Go "defensive." Sell those stocks that still have high P/Es. Sell those large stocks that could be hit by a recession -- if we have one. (There is a real chance.)

3. Sell short some stocks that look over-priced based on industry specifics. More about that tomorrow.

4. Don't panic. Don't dump everything and move to deserted Pacific island. There are an awful lot of hedge funds and mutual funds with money that will pounce on your stocks. Gently goes it.

5. Don't jump in because "prices are now cheap." They may get a lot cheaper. As I said, there is a real chance of a recession later this year....

Housing's recovery. My friends in the residential real estate business tell me:

1. Their sales of houses, apartments and condos dropped to zero in the last four months of 2006.

2. This year sales have roared back. They don't know why. Some think it was because of their 20% price drop. Others who didn't drop prices were lucky because they were in hot places, like Manhattan. The new apartment building three blocks down the road from me is selling condos at over $3,000 a square foot. That's a lot of money. New York, Arizona and California are coming back. Many other states remain slow.

3. A lot of housing foreclosures are about to hit the market. These will be at the low end of the housing market -- largely from subprime borrowers. Buy them cheap enough and you might have a rental business. But, be aware, renting cheap is a hard business. And maintenance is hugely expensive.

Tired of voice mail? Try Simulscribe: Simulscribe converts your voicemail into emails and sends them directly to your inbox -- which can be on your BlackBerry and/or your laptop. There are huge advantages to reading voice mail.

1. You don't have to keep checking your voice mail for the important one you're waiting for.

2. It's easier to read than listen. There are places you can't listen, but can read, like meetings.

3. They attach a wave recording of the voice mail. You can always listen to the message if you think the transcription screwed up.

4. It's great for traveling. Easier than calling the U.S. to find if you have a message, or not.

5. You can email a response to a voice mail.

6. You don't have to write down all the numbers and other information in your voice mail. As an email, it's there and indexable by your PC's search engine. You can find the information easily.

7. It's easier to scroll through emails than it is to scroll through voice mails. To get to an important voice mail, you have to listen to all your messages. Yuch.

My son, Michael, turned me onto Simulscribe. As a test, I called him this morning and left a voice mail with numbers. A minute later, my voice mail came in. The transcription from my weird accent to text was flawless. Simulscribe had even improved my miserable grammar. The message made more sense than the way I had spoken it. No kidding. Try Simulscribe for a week for free. Click here.

Use Internet technology to boost your profits: If you run a company, you need to focus on how the Internet can help you get a leg up on your competitors. Here are some of my favorite "customer-pleasing" that some (very few) web sites have:

+ A "permanent" Shopping Cart, also called basket. My Amazon shopping cart will always be there - even if I have to shut my laptop down and go out. The contents of most Shopping Carts disappear the moment you close your browser.

+ I like sites that store my profile. If I buy from you often, why should I have to keep typing my address in. And yes, you should store my credit card number.

+ A reminder list of what I bought last time. As I go to check out at, it brings up a list asking me if I'd like to reorder some things. It reminds me I need more toner for the copier and more paper for the fax machine. This nagging is actually useful.

+ A reminder emailing. When Zappos gets new Pumas in, it tells me. It also includes a link so I can easily buy more Puma sneakers I don't need.

+ A "continue shopping" button that takes me back to the place I just left. Often if I buy two of something. I added it to my shopping basket. It's taken me there. But hitting the continue shopping button won't take me back to where I was. It should.

+ I like "Wish Lists." When I get rich, I'll buy them. Meantime, it's great to have my list kept for me.

+ "It's out of stock, but when it comes in, we'll send you an email." This is useful. Many sites simply say "It's out of stock. Tough."

+ Customer reviews of products are useful. Most web sites are afraid of what their customers might say about their products. But a great customer review will sell more than a great seller review.

+ I like the full specifications. That includes size, voltage needs, etc. I had to email to find out the size of a printer they were selling. The printer fit my pocket. But I didn't know if it fit my space. It took PCCConnection two days to respond to my email. Which brings me to:

+ Your web site should have an easy way customers can email you and ask a simple question. They should get an email response within 15 minutes - not 48 hours as many of today's web sites say.

+ The search engines on most web sites are pretty miserable. To find something, you often have to enter it in many "creative" ways before you actually find what you want. For example, I wanted to buy a Canon SD800 camera. But I didn't know if it was spelled SD800, SD-800 or SD 800. Searching all three ways on camera retailer sites turns up remarkably different results.

+ Some sites are awfully slow. Vanguard is a disgrace. It gives slowness a whole new meaning.

+ Some sites are "all over the place." In some you'll find buttons on the top, on the left side, and on the bottom. My favorite is the site that puts in the logon button at the top and the logout button on the bottom.

+ I like sites that include maps.

+ Do it yourself boarding passes, movie tickets, etc. I have a printer. Use it. Why should I stand in line when I can print my own boarding pass or movie ticket. Remember we do have something called bar codes. And they work remarkably well.

A motorcycle patrolman was rushed to the hospital with an inflamed appendix. The doctors operated and advised him that all was well. However, the patrolman kept feeling something pulling on the hairs in his crotch.

Worried that it might be a second surgery the doctors hadn't told him about, he finally got enough energy to pull his hospital gown up enough so he could look at what was making him so uncomfortable. Taped firmly across his pubic hair were three wide strips of adhesive tape, the kind that doesn't come off easily.

Written in large black letters was the sentence. "Get well soon..... from the nurse in the jeep you pulled over last week."

Is it Scotch?
On the first day of school, the children brought gifts for their teacher.

The florist's son brought the teacher a bouquet of flowers.

The candy-store owner's daughter gave the teacher a pretty box of candy.

Then the liquor-store owner's son brought up a big, heavy box.

The teacher lifted it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit.

She touched a drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it.

"Is it wine?" she guessed.

"No," the boy replied. She tasted another drop and asked, "Champagne?.

"No," said the little boy..."It's a puppy!"

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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