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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 Monday, November 14, 2005: Weekend too nice for stock picking. Thinking of trends:

+ Energy prices now making alternative energy real, e.g. tar sands, solar cells, wind mills.
+ Broadband Internet access means new ways of running businesses, delivering movies, etc.
+ Search engine changing nature of print publishing industry.
+ Huge explosion in new drugs being tested. Today Hana Biosciences (one of mine) reported positive interim results for Talotrexin.
+ Nanotechnology getting real -- much faster than I originally thought.

Need more research. Idea?

Triple tax-free muni floaters are now paying 2.7%: That's the equivalent of 4% taxable. Excellent.

Weekend reading and thoughts:
+ The Economist loves the airline industry. Says it's getting it act together and travel is booming. The headline: Governments should unleash the potential of an amazing recovery in airlines. For more, click here.

The Vatican would ban new priests who "present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" but not exclude candidates who overcame any gay "tendencies" roughly four years before final ordination, according to a new document described in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale on Friday.

+ Motorists in Australia are unhappy with speed cameras which automatically catch drivers over the limit; citations are mailed to the registered owner. In the past year the cameras brought in US$39.6 million, leaving drivers so unhappy that over the past two years there have been 74 cases of vandalism against the cameras. The Roads and Traffic Authority has responded by installing surveillance cameras to watch over the most-vandalized speed cameras. Now, angry motorists are smashing the security cameras before taking out their frustrations on the speed cameras.

+ I had a haircut with shampoo on Friday. In the old days they shampooed your hair before they cut it. Now it's after. Which reminds me of trip long ago to Tokyo. Standing at Japanese urinal, my Japanese friend asked why Americans always washed after they peed. He thought it was more hygenic to wash before. That way you wouldn't touch it with dirty hands. Lesson: Always question your assumptions.

Two things you don't want:
+ For $199 you can buy a rechargeable battery pack that will power your iPod for 200 hours. Click here.
+ For $350 to $800 you can get a pair of custom-made jeans. Call 212-242-3414.

Alt-Tab replacement software: I don't often recommend software. There's so little decent stuff around. But I do like Microsoft's Task Switcher Powertoy. Every time you hit Alt-Tab it gives you a large thumbnail of the program you're about to switch to, viz.

For this free Microsoft software, Click here.

I visited them on Friday. I wanted to know if I should load up the boat? My thoughts:
+ New management. Good.
+ Unexciting present product offerings. Bad.
+ Limited strategy to replace DirecTV distribution. Bad.
+ Still no ability to communicate why anyone should buy TiVo. Ultra-bad.
+ Web site stinks. Bad.
Far too much money being spent on G&A. Bad.

For now, I'm not impressed. But I do like this apochryal story:

Sidney telephones Rabbi Levy.
"Rabbi, I know tonight is Yom Kippur, but tonight the Yankees are in the playoffs. Rabbi, I'm a life-long Yankees fan. I've got to watch the Yankees game on TV."
Rabbi Levy replies, "Sidney, that's what TiVo is for."
Sidney is surprised. "You mean I can TiVo Yom Kippur?"

Friday private equity deal. Neat idea. Fast-growing. No patents. Just on break-even. BUT -- and here's the BIG but, they want $2 million for 20% of the company. Thus a valuation of $10 million. For a company with no profits, no patents, nothing proprietary .. you got to be kidding!

Save yourself a visit to your next investment. Ask three simple questions on the phone:
1. Any profits?
2. Any patents? Anything proprietary?
3. What's the valuation after the money raise?

Someone will invest at $10 million. But it won't be me.

Investing in private equity deals is saying NO a lot.

No sense of humor. A true story:
My wife and I Were watching "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, "Do you want to have sex?"
"No." She answered.
I then said, "Is that your final answer?"
"Yes." She replied.
Then I said, " I'd like to phone a friend."
That's the last thing I remember.

How are the sexual relations?
An elderly couple was sitting together, watching their favorite Saturday night TV program.
During one of those commercial breaks, the husband asked his wife: "Whatever happened to our sexual relations?"
After a long thoughtful silence, the wife replied:"You know, I don't really know .. I don't even think we got a Christmas card from them this year."

Recent column highlights:
+ Dumb reasons we hold losing stocks. Click here.
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click here.
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click here.
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click here.
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ All turned on by biotech. Click here.
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available: Click here. The full audio is available. Click here.
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click here.
+ When to sell stocks. Click here.

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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