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

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8:30 AM EST Tuesday, May 13, 2008: The best news: My Australian miners are exploding. EWA, the Australian ETF, is roaring back. Apple is exploding. And my favorite oil ETFs -- OIH and OIL -- are holding in. There are vast areas of the market I've avoided (and railed against). I'm not unhappy.

Hewlett-Packard is buying Electronic Data Systems (EDS) for $13.9 billion. There are two things to note:

1. H. Ross Perot started EDS with $1,000 in 1962. That's an 88.25% annual rate of return. That's better than any hedge fund or Warren Buffett has done. Need I bore you? The best investment is your own business. Start one today.

2. Two-thirds-plus of acquisitions don't pan out. This one won't, either. First, it's too big. Second, EDS is in the service business, hard to manage. Third, HP overpaid. (Remember Newton's Rule of Buying: The price you buy determines your ultimate profit.) EDS' stock has lately been on the skids because of lower growth, which I don't see HP arresting. How?

Eating crow: I thought Apple would blow Research in Motion away. Wrong. It looks like BlackBerry will beat Apple to creating a 3G (i.e. much faster) phone . BlackBerry is showing reporters its upcoming creation, the BlackBerry Bold 9000. ComputerWorld writes:

Equipped with support for tri-band HSDPA and quad-band EDGE (which means that it will support the highest-speed GSM-family data networks wherever they are available worldwide), 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, and both assisted and autonomous GPS, the Bold could prove a formidable challenger to Apple Inc.'s next-generation iPhone on connectivity alone.

It even looks a bit iPhone-esque, with its glassy display area, generally flat profile and rounded corners. Still, the Bold comes configured with a QWERTY keyboard, and it retains the general dimensions of its predecessors, so it's much shorter and somewhat thicker than the iPhone.

The Bold's removable back is covered in black leatherette, and you'll be able to personalize the device by buying replacement backs in different colors: blue, brown, green, gray and red.

The redesigned keyboard has guitar-inspired frets -- thin metal strips -- between each row. The keys themselves are sculpted to help users avoid fingertip slippage. The device also carries a 2-megapixel camera capable of up to 5x digital zoom.

The Bold's 624-MHz StrongARM processor with full MMX (multimedia extensions) is the most powerful CPU on a handheld to date. The BlackBerry Curve, in contrast, uses a 312-MHz chip without MMX. The Bold's extra power enables the device to handle full-motion video on its 480-by-320-pixel, 65,000-plus-color display (that resolution is double the Curve's at basically the same screen size). In a demo at PC World's offices last week, video clips on the Bold looked smooth and exceptionally sharp.

RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9000 could be a formidable challenger to Apple's next-gen iPhone

Of course, little commercial video content is available as yet for non-Apple media players. Further, the Bold's screen is diminutive compared with the current iPhone's roomy 3.5-in. display, and it isn't a touch screen. (RIM President and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis simply smiled when we asked about reports that the company is working on a touch-screen BlackBerry).

But since the Bold's smaller display holds the same number of pixels as the current iPhone's, images look much higher-resolution on it than on its competitor.

The Bold's 1GB of on-board secure memory (on top of its 128MB of flash) will appeal to BlackBerry's core enterprise community, providing storage for items that companies would rather not make available for transport on a micro SD card. But users who want to carry their music and video libraries on their handsets will be able to do so via a micro SD card.

Carriers will determine pricing, and RIM had no details on which U.S. carrier will introduce the Bold (though AT&T, with the largest HSDPA network in the U.S., seems a likelier candidate than T-Mobile, which has just begun to roll out 3G service stateside). RIM said that it expects the Bold to be shipping worldwide this summer.

Research in Motion is overpriced with a P/E of now 63. But that hasn't stopped it exploding:

Meantime, my Apple continues to blossom. Its P/E is "only" 39.

Makes you wonder what God could do if only He had the money., a YouTube knockoff for the evangelical set, seems to be one step closer to building a kingdom on earth after receiving a $30 million investment from GLG Partners, a big London hedge fund. The investment valued at a lofty $150 million. The investment will help sustain the on-screen Bible and a prayer wall on which Web surfers can petition God to bless the afflicted or revive a drifting relationship.

Unlike its secular cousin, YouTube, all content on GodTube must gain approval from the site’s headquarters in Plano, Tex. Vulgar and overtly sexual material isn’t allowed. Neither are videos promoting other religions — for that, there are and (which looks to me like a Google site).. is, however, for sale. GodTube’s advertisers sell Bible software and degrees from online seminaries. All this from NYTimes.

The Prayer Wall. GodTube only works with Internet Explorer. Each of the inscriptions on the wall are hyperlinks.

A boring backup reminder: Back up your working files. I like FileSync. Do it every day. Clone your hard disk every time you add or mess with software. I like Apricorn's collection of hard drives. I also have a backup laptop which I bought on eBay. If my laptop crashes, I simply swap the hard drive into the new one. And then I don't go nuts if the repair shop takes eons to fix my old one.

How life changes: Two years ago, Wal-Mart was all washed up because it wasn't catering to rich people. And everyone was becoming rich. Two years later it's catering to poor people and doing richly. "Our business is even more relevant to our customers today, given the current economic pressures," said CEO Lee Scott, announcing a first quarter 7% profit rise. And the stock has flown away:

The essence of being a great stock picker is to pick these trends before they happen. I'm learning. ... Who else will do well in a lousy economy?

The Millau Viaduct is one of the most spectacular bridges in the world. It's in Southern France. At its highest point, it's 886 feet above the ground. That's taller than the Eiffel Tower, but not as tall as the Empire State Building. It was completed in 2004.

Imagine how much infrastructure we could be building for $1 trillion -- the present cost of the Iraqi War.

The absolute worst racist slur this year:
Responding to complaints that FOX News doesn't show enough Black and Hispanic people on the network, FOX has announced that they will now air 'America 's Most Wanted' TWICE a week.

Are you a real cowboy?
As he sat sipping his coffee, a young woman sat down next to him.

She turned to the cowboy and asked, 'Are you a real cowboy?'

He replied, 'Well, I've spent my whole life breaking colts, working cows, going to rodeos, fixing fences, pulling calves, bailing hay, doctoring calves, cleaning my barn, fixing flats, working on tractors and feeding my dogs, so I guess I am a cowboy.'

She said, 'I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about women. When I shower, I think about women. When I watch TV, I think about women. I even think about women when I eat. It seems everything makes me think of women.'

The two sat sipping in silence.

A little later a man sat down next to the old cowboy and asked, 'Are you a real cowboy?'

He replied, 'I always thought I was, but I just found out I'm a lesbian.'

The Mental Hospital...
I was walking past the mental hospital. The patients were chanting "13...13....13...13."

The fence was too high to see over. I saw a little gap and looked through to see what was going on.

Some jerk poked me in the eye with a stick.

Then they all started chanting "14...14...14...14...."

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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