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8:30 AM Tuesday, May 31, 2005: The best part of the long weekend was the family, the exercise and a little reading. The worst part was being home and forced to play Handyman.

1. The more you own, the more time you spend fixing it.
2. Don't buy complex things.
3. There is little reason to own half the junk we own.
4. When you can't fix it and you need to call in the serviceman, stay with him, play assistant and ask questions. You'll learn useful stuff.
5. Replace everything that usually goes wrong. I replaced the two thermostats on the refrigerator. One was busted. The other probably would soon be.
6. The best thing you can do for your house is to install something called a Whole House Surge Arrestor. I got this idea from our Sub-Zero repairman. He told me our 20-year Sub-Zero had nine working parts. The new ones have 110. If the new one gets hit by a voltage surge, you can damage the refrigerator's Main Control Board, which costs $500! My 20-year old refrigerator doesn't have a main control board. The Whole House Surge Arrestor costs $200 to $400 and is clearly worth every penny. Think of all your TVs, DVDs, refrigerators, answering machines and phone systems that are no longer analog gadgetry but are low voltage digital computers and susceptible to voltage surges and spikes.
7. The refrigerator repairman charged $225 just to show up. He said there was a desperate shortage of repairmen. Some were working into their 90s. He was 72.

The biggest investment issues of the weekend:

+ Hedge funds vary in style dramatically. Some borrow huge amounts of money to (theoretically) improve their gains and are thus risky. Some, like the fund of hedge funds, are very expensive and eat up fees like there was no tomorrow. Some trade esoteric things like distressed debt and derivatives. I'm with Warren Buffett. If I can't understand it, it's not for me -- no matter how impressive the geniuses I'm dealing with. The point is you'd better understand what your hedge fund does or intends to do.

+ Long-term interest rates are low and have fallen. They're staying low (and prices are high) because there's too much money sloshing around in search of too few opportunities -- something we've talked about. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't own bonds. It just means we should stay in very short-term ones. My favorites at present -- seven-day triple tax-free floaters -- typically cities in New York State.

+ The press (and Alan Greenspan) remain obsessed with "The Real Estate Bubble." First, you can't tar all of real estate. Second, the press is lazy. If magazine A writes about real estate busting, then magazine B will eventually also. It's easier than thinking up something new.

10 tips to improve your wireless network. Extend the range and the strength of your wireless network. This is a useful checklist, replete with neat diagrams. Click here.

Only in Vermont: My son spied a humongous Ford F350 truck with the license plate, "
Yum, Gas."

"It's OK. I speak blonde."
A plane is on its way to Houston, when a blonde in economy class gets up, and moves to the first class section and sits down. The flight attendant watches her do this, and asks to see her ticket. She then tells the blonde that she paid for economy class, and that she will have to sit in the back.

The blonde replies, "I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to Houston and I'm staying right here."

The flight attendant goes into the cockpit and tells the pilot and the co-pilot that there is a blonde bimbo sitting in first class, that belongs in economy and won't move back to her seat.

The co-pilot goes back to the blonde and tries to explain that because she only paid for economy she will have to leave and return to her seat.

The blonde replies, "I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to Houston and I'm staying right here."

The co-pilot tells the pilot that he probably should have the police waiting when they land to arrest this blonde woman who won't listen to reason.

The pilot says, "You say she is a blonde? I'll handle this. I'm married to a blonde. I speak blonde."

He goes back to the blonde and whispers in her ear, and she says, "oh, I'm sorry." And she gets up and goes back to her seat in economy.

The flight attendant and co-pilot are amazed and asked him what he said to make her move without any fuss.

I told her, "First class isn't going to Houston."

You got nice house, boss.
Hung Chow calls into work and says "Hey Boss, I not come work today, I really sick. I got headache, tummy ache and sore leg. I not come work".

The Boss says, "You know Hung Chow, I really need you today. When I feel like this, I go to my wife and ask her for sex. That makes everything better and I go work. You try that."

Two hours later Hung Chow calls his Boss and says "I do what you say and I feel great. I be at work soon. You got nice house."

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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