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, Monday, May 14: Australian stocks are doing great. Check out this chart the Wall Street Journal ran on Friday. I'm betting it doesn't include the gain in the rise of the Australian dollar. Add another 8% for that in the last 6 months.

How stockmarkets have performed this year
( to end of trading Thursday May 10, 2007)



South Korea
U.S. (Dow Jones Industrial)
Hong Kong
Source: Wall Street Journal Data Group

Here are the two easiest ways to benefit by Australian stock gains. Both are index funds. The first trades on AMEX.

This one trades in Australia.

Management fees on EWA are 0.54% a year. On Vanguard Australia, they're

+ For the first $50,000 0.75% p.a.
+ For the next $50,000 0.50% p.a.
+ Balance over $100,000 0.35% p.a.

There's also a buy/Sell spread: Purchase +0.20%; Withdrawal -0.10%

The new Windows laptops are only marginally enticing: New Intel chipsets, now called Core 2 Duo and carrying the numbers L7300 (1.4 GHz) to T7700 (2.4 GHz) are definitely faster than the present variety. But their higher speed gets absorbed by Vista's fancy new Aero interface -- giving you, the user, no net gain. Unless you choose not to use the Aero interface. The computer press now refers to Vista as a "resource hog," which means it runs slowly and it drains laptop batteries speedily.

The "big" development in new Windows laptops is that screens are getting wider, to accommodate"one more column" on a spreadsheet." There's a big demand from the corporate world. Toshiba's new M9 screen has a ratio of 1280 pixels wide x 800 high. The present M5 is "squarer." It is 1024 x 780. The screen is the same 14.1", measured diagonally.

If you're buying a new Windows laptop, you can probably still get it with Windows XP. If you beg the manufacturer gently. I'm staying with Windows XP with SP2 -- but no updates since then. My machine works fine. Ditto for my 15" MacBook. (Have you watched Apple's stock recently? It's flying. Thank you, Harry.)

How to keep your Windows laptop running:
Many of my friends' Windows machines have blown up recently, locking up permanently. Please follow these rules:

1. Don't open attachments to emails.

2. Don't download anything from any web site. That includes "plug-ins."

3. Don't install software you have not tested on another machine -- your test machine. You don't need most new software. Read my lips.

4. If your PC is working fine and doing what you want it to do, don't download patches, fixes and upgrades from any software vendors, including and especially Microsoft. Keep reading.

Yet another reason to buy a Mac:

May 11, 2007: Redmond, WA (AHN) - A Microsoft update that was intended to fix flaws in the software company's products kept users from using their computers because of a long-standing bug in the update system itself.

Shortly after releasing seven security updates on Tuesday, Microsoft support boards was flooded by angry users complaining that their computers had locked up because of a bug in the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Until Friday, some users were still having problems.

The problem, which has plagued Microsoft users for months, causes the Windows Automatic Update feature to lock up. A component of the software, svchost.exe, eats up 100% of the computer's resources, during the update and renders the entire system unusable. Users need to reboot to get their computers running again.

A fix was released by Microsoft on Thursday. The hotfix can be downloaded and installed manually on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems. The patch will be available as part of the Microsoft Update bulletin late this month or in June.

To completely fix the bug, users are urged to download and install a new stand-alone WSUS version 3.0 client.

"It's important to keep in mind that the new WSUS client is only a partial solution and clients must have both KB927891 and the new 3.0 client installed for a full solution," the WSUS team said in its blog.

New Airline: Skybus: Why anyone sane would want to start an airline. There's a new one. It's called Skybus. Some flights are dirt cheap. Some are not. It's hubbed out of Columbus, Ohio. It serves only 10 cities:
+ Boston
+ Columbus
+ Ft Lauderdale
+ Greensboro
+ Kansas City
+ Los Angeles
+ Richmond
+ San Francisco
+ Seattle
+ Vancouver

Neat advertising:
The baggage carousel at the Venice Airport sports this wonderful advertisement for the Venice Casino.

The little old lady and the hard-of-hearing old man
A slightly deranged old lady was running up and down the halls her nursing home, screaming "Supersex" at all the men.

She ran up to an elderly man in a wheelchair. Flipping her gown at him, she said, "Supersex."

He sat silently for a moment or two and finally answered, "I'll take the soup."

This is priceless
Hasidic family is most concerned that their 30-year-old son is unmarried.

So they call a marriage broker and ask him to find their son a good wife.

The broker comes over to their house and spends a long time asking many questions of the son and his parents as to what they want in a wife/daughter-in-law. They give him a long shopping list of requirements.

The marriage broker takes a long time looking and finally asks to visit the family again. He tells them of a wonderful woman he has found. He says she's just the right age for the son...she keeps a Glat Kosher home...she regularly attends Schul and dovens (prays) by heart...she is a wonderful cook ...she loves children and wants a large family and, to crown it all off, she's gorgeous.

After hearing all this, the family is very impressed and begins to get excited about the prospects of a wedding in the near future. But the son pauses and asks,

"Is she also good in bed?"

The marriage broker shrugs his shoulders and answers, "Some say yes...some say no."

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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