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, October 15, 2007: The message remains. Capital preservation is the key. Potential high returns are irrelevant when your capital is at risk. Hence the need to check, check, check. This is a sad email from a reader:

Dear Harry,
I have been a long time reader but this is the first time that I am writing you. Hopefully you can give me an advice:

I had some money (1 year and 18 month CDs and money market) with NetBank which has been declared insolvent and it has now been acquired by ING. So everything above $100,000 has been cut in half, I mean: FDIC reimbursed us, the depositors, of 50% of our losses and will pay, as they liquidate the assets, any dividends in accordance with the priorities established by law. After speaking with FDIC members I understand that the only think I can do is to wait and check their site. Is that true?

Sadly, there is nothing you can do, except wait. What is surprising for the rest of us are two things:

+ Banks are still failing.

+ Your money with the bank is only federally-insured to $100,000.

I know of conservative friends who put $100,000 in many banks -- but never more than $100,000 in any one.

Is your bank likely to fail? No. Could your bank fail? Absolutely yes. There are no guarantees in this world. And the chances of bank failure are now greater with subprime mortgage exposure, etc.

Should I be wary and spread my monies? Yes. You have nothing to lose.

NetBank actually didn't collapse, though it was doing some pretty stupid things with its depositors' money. It was closed down by the Federal Government's Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.

I believe it's the first bank to fail/to be closed down in six years.

Where were you on October 19, 1987? Continuing our series. Email your recollection, please.

From Barb Adams:

I remember it so well. I was in Seattle WA on a long weekend with my friend. He was listening to the news and the stocks and the current numbers.

The previous Friday I had been at a business lunch with the banker from my company. He was talking about the unsureness of the market. I immediately went back to my office and called my broker, I didn't have Internet in those days, and told him to sell everything. Harry Hobbs argued with me, but I insisted and told him if I was wrong, I could buy a new set of stocks and he wins twice. He sold my stock.

I couldn't believe my fortunate situation!

Stephen Campbell

In October of 1987 I was in Washington DC as a broker with Kidder Peabody. I remember one client in particular who had been shorting OEX puts, “picking up found money”, for most of the ‘87 year. He was making $3,000 to $4,500 each time by selling the puts and watching them go to zero (therefore keeping all the sale premium).His famous last words before the crash were “the market would have to go down 480 points for me to lose any money”. It didn’t – it went down 650 points. His small profits turned into a $190,000 loss over the weekend. Fortunately for both of us it was his idea originally and we were able to close out the position on the Wednesday after the crash and reduce his losses to only $85,000.

Like one of your other readers, I also had a friend who bought puts every couple of months starting in January of 1987. He would lose the full $10,000 each expiration cycle as the market went higher. He kept buying the puts and eventually made over $500,000. I don’t think it would have been possible to make the $12 million your other reader stated. They would have had to have cornered the put market (like the Hunt brothers tried to do with silver) – the level of the market just could not drop enough to make that much money.

A soldier in Iraq: This is the very sad story of an idealistic super-bright, super-talented young American who volunteered to go to Iraq and died there. First read why he joined in his own words. Then read the Christopher Hitchens story in this month's November, 2007 Vanity Fair.

Roger Federer's amazing shots. YouTube has slow motion clips:

+ The way you're supposed to hit a topspin backhand. Click here. , Click here or Click here.

+ The way you're supposed to hit a backhand slice. Click here or Click here.

+ The way you're supposed to hit a top spin forehand. Click here.

+ The way you're supposed to hit a smash. Click here. offers ticketing and upgrade strategies. It compares deals and dissects various loyalty programs, enabling travelers to get the most out of their membership plans. Regular blog topics include booking first- and business-class fares at coach rates and selecting the most comfortable seats. The site also offers upgrade alerts by e-mail. FlightBliss is a good companion to

Technology wish come true.
From Bjarne Stroustrup, who invented an important computer programming language called C++, and someone you'd expect to be thoroughly at home with computers:

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

Life in Southern California.
In San Diego, a California Highway Patrolman pulled a car over and told the driver that because he was wearing his seat belt, he had just won $5,000 in the statewide safety competition.

"What are you going to do with the money?" asked the policeman.

"Well, I guess I'm going to get a driver's license," he answered.

"Oh, don't listen to him," yelled a woman in the passenger seat, "He's a smart alec when he's drunk."

This woke the guy up in the back seat who took one look at the cop and moaned, "I knew we wouldn't get far in a stolen car."

At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a voice in Spanish said, "Are we over the border yet?"

Ah technology!
A lonely man checks into a hotel on a business trip. He thinks of the girl whose card he picked up in telephone booth. He dials the number.

"Hello?" a woman answers.

Good, she sounded sexy. "Hi, I hear you give a great massage and I'd like you to come to my room and give me one. No, wait, I should be straight with you. I'm in town all alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hot, and I want it now. I'm talking kinky, the whole night long.. You name it, we'll do it. Bring implements, toys, everything you've got in your bag of tricks. We'll go all night. Tie me up, wear a strap on, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything you want. Now, how does that sound?"

She says, "That sounds fantastic, but for an outside line, you need to press 9".

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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