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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 EST Wednesday, October 11, 2006: Opening accounts on Wall Street is always a pain. Oodles of paperwork. Endless filling the same information in, again and again. Yesterday I opened an account at a brokerage firm. A new experience. I gave them some standard information over the phone -- address, phone, email, social security number, etc. And lo and behold, the papers came with all the information filled in. All I had to do was sign on the dotted lines.

I asked my rep, "How come?" He said the firm had asked its salespeople what was the number one client bitch? Answer: it was filling in paperwork. Hence their new system.

When I started writing this column, I thought I'd list zillions of improvements I'd like to see in my online brokerage accounts. I made a huge list -- from being able to chart the value of my portfolio, day by day. Even Vanguard doesn't do that... But I gave up the exercise when I recognized that Wall Street believes in the Mushroom Strategy -- a technique for keeping clients in the dark (where mushrooms are grown best), thus allowing them to feed you (the clients) whatever nonsense they want.

The classic Cockroach Stock: Sovereign Bancorp (SOV) bought my bank, Independence Community. Since then they've had huge management turmoil, culminating in firing their CEO. Meantime, they've destroyed Independence. Everyone of talent has left; customers (including me) are leaving in droves. We're frustrated with the idiots left behind and Sovereign's new policies and procedures which give stupidity a whole new meaning. Sovereign's stock is destined for a hefty decline.

Great investment ideas: I had some great investment ideas yesterday. But research killed the ideas. Hence the paucity of interesting stuff in today's column. Apologies.

300 spam emails a day: That's how many I get. Most are automatically filtered by Outlook. BUT...
1. It filters out emails I want. Hence I can't automatically delete the junk e-mail folder. I have to eyeball it.
2. It filters out some emails despite the fact that I dubbed them "safe senders."
3. It doesn't filter out the penny stock pushes that come in emails with images. I have to kill those manually.
There is a better way: Change my email address regularly. Include some numbers in it. That would make it harder for the spam computers to find me. My friends would go nuts changing their contact lists. I suspect this is a problem with no real solution. Yuch..

Iraq's new devastation: A new study, according to today's Wall Street Journal, shows 600,000 Iraqis have died since the U.S. led invasion in March 2003. In contrast, Human Rights Watch has estimated Saddam Hussein's regime killed 250,000 to 290,000 people over 20 years.

I initially supported the war to bring democracy to the mid-east. It hasn't worked. We now have full-scale civil war. Surely our stop loss order should kick in around now. It's time to get out.

The Perfect Password:
A woman was helping her husband set up his computer, and at the appropriate point in the process, she told him that he would now
need to enter a password. Something he could remember easily and will use each time he has to log on

The husband was in a rather amorous mood and figured he would try for the shock effect to bring this to his wife's attention.

So when the computer asked him to enter his password, he made it plainly obvious to his wife that he was keying in....


His wife fell off her chair laughing when the computer replied:


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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