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Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor. Previous Columns
8:30 AM Monday, March 7, 2005: It's a good time to be cautious. Cash remains king. Remember there are a lot of scams out there, all attracted to the wads of money sitting on the sidelines. Be careful. Our path is presently not certain.

Warren Buffett is not sanguine on the US trade deficit, describing Americans as "rich spending junkies" who could turn into a nation of "sharecroppers". In his annual letter to investors in Berkshire Hathaway, the fund he has run for more than 30 years, Mr Buffett painted a bleak picture of a future US in which ownership and wealth continues to move overseas, leaving the economy in hock to foreign interests and faced with financial turmoil and political unrest. Read his just released annual report. Click here.

In contrast, the CEOs are optimistic. Our economy is expanding, according to the The Roundtable's CEO Economic Outlook Survey, which provides a forward-looking view of the economic assumptions and outlooks of Roundtable companies.The March survey was completed by 118 of the Roundtable's 160 member companies, which represent 10 million employees in the U.S. and $4 trillion in annual revenues. Any number above 50 is expansionary. “Of particular importance in this survey is that capital spending plans are sharply higher with a 10 point gain in the percentage of CEOs planning increases, compared to our last survey in December 2004,” says Roundtable's chairman.

The Perfect Investment? Writes a reader: Writing options on the S&P is almost the Perfect Investment. There are too many stocks to keep up with. The S&P is a broad gauge of the market. It is easier to pick where the market "may" not go, instead of where it will go." For more, see Friday's column. Click here.

One I missed: Remember the money management I talked about? They target great companies which fall on bad times. I have no idea if they picked Martha Stewart Living (MSO). But MSO seems to fit the profile.

The latest issue has recipes for pancakes and risotto. The column "Ask the Editors" has reverted to "Ask Martha."

Bernie Ebbers "I am dumb" defense: Bernie Ebbers is testifying he was guilty of WorldCom's $11 billion fraud. He says he didn't know the technology and didn't understand finance. The New York Times headlined its story about Bernie's defense, "Did the buck stop anywhere?" I love the headline.

How to hook up to cable broadband: I'm in California, escaping New York's cold. I rented a house and hooked up broadband cable and then screwed up. I forgot:
+ Cable TV broadband, like Roadrunner, gives you only one IP Address.
+ To run multiple computers on Roadrunner, you need a router, not a hub. I brought a hub, not a router. Dumb.
+ Radio Shack sells Linksys routers that work just fine. I'll buy one at Radio Shack this morning.

Do Photoediting programs make sense? : The two main ones are Google's Picasa 2 and Adobe's Photoshop Elements 3. They do two things: First, they give you the tools to clean up your photos -- remove red eye, lighten the photo, change the colors, etc. Second, they force you to organize your photos their way and save two copies of every photo. I like the first -- fixing photos. I hate the second -- organzing them. As a result, I don't use them. I use Photoshop CS. It cleans but doesn't organize. "But, Harry, Photoshop is expensive," you will say. That it is. You now have three choices.
+ Use the software that came with your camera. It will do the basic cleanup job.
+ Buy an older version of Photoshop on eBay.
+ Get the latest Photoshop CS version with an educational discount -- the latest "trick" in buying software. Because I have a daughter going to school, I'm allowed to buy software for her at hugely-discounted prices. is gaining momentum: More and more readers are posting comments on why the incompetent Carly Fiorina should not be made president of The World Bank. Tell your friends about Tell them to tell their friends. This is really important.

How not to make love:
Upon hearing that her elderly grandfather had just passed away, Katie went straight to her grandparent's house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother and comfort her. When she asked how her grandfather had died, her grandmother replied, "He had a heart attack while we were making love on Sunday morning."

Horrified, Katie told her grandmother that two people nearly 100 years old having sex would surely be asking for trouble.

"Oh no, my dear," replied granny. "Many years ago, realizing our advanced age, we figured out the best time to do it was when the church bells would start to ring. It was just the right rhythm. Nice and slow and even.
Nothing too strenuous, simply in on the Ding and out on the Dong."

She paused to wipe away a tear, and continued, "He'd still be alive if the ice cream truck hadn't come along,"

How to fix the problem:
Three women go down to Mexico one night, get drunk, and wake up in jail, only to find that they are to be executed in the morning, though none of them can remember what they did the night before.

The first one, a redhead, is strapped in the electric chair, and is asked if she has any last words. She says, "I am from Grace University, and believe in the almighty power of God to intervene on the behalf of the innocent," They throw the switch and nothing happens.

They all immediately prostrate themselves; beg for her forgiveness, and release her.

The second one, a brunette, is strapped in and gives her last words, "I am from the Creighton School of Law and I believe in the power of justice to intervene on the part of the innocent." They throw the switch and again, nothing happens.

Again, they all immediately prostrate themselves; beg for her forgiveness, and release her.

The last one, a blonde, is strapped in and says, "Well, I'm from the University of Alabama, Huntsville and just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I'll tell you right now, you ain't gonna electrocute nobody if you don't plug this thing in."

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. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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