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, Tuesday, October 23, 2007: There is a natural fear of "high-priced" stocks -- like Google, Apple, and Research in Motion. Can they go higher, the pundits and the press ask? Yet they do and they will (my prediction). All three companies are benefiting by explosive demand for their products and services.

These three distort statistics. Mike O’Rourke, Chief Market Strategist of BTIG, points out "at the close of today’s session (that was yesterday) the NASDAQ 100 was up 400.55 points year to date. Of those 400 points 206 came from 3 stocks. Apple inc. supplied 127 points, Research in Motion and Google accounted for 47 and 31 points respectively. Those three stocks are responsible for approximately half of the nearly 23% the NASDAQ 100 is up year to date. That does not include the effect the additional $13 dollars Apple gained in the after hours session. This stat gives a whole new meaning to narrow leadership. Then, on the other hand is it that much different than the days when Microsoft, Intel and Dell ruled to the roost a decade ago. We have argued in the past that those companies revolutionized they way in which business was transacted.

Wonders will never cease. After ending 2006 essentially flat, my commodities fund is up 16.5% after fees this year. This brings up the question of how much leeway you give managers before bailing.

You wonder what God could do, if only He had the money. Or more precisely what we could do with the money (like education, health care, medical research, etc.) if it weren't being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. What prompted this? President Bush's latest budget requests yesterday for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would bring the total cost of the wars to more than $600 billion.

Mr. Bush increased his supplemental war funding request by $45.9 billion for a total of $196.4 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends next September. Most of the newly sought money, $42.3 billion, would be channeled to the Pentagon and fund plans outlined by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Senate testimony last month, Much of that funding would buy armored vehicles designed to protect U.S. troops from mines and roadside bombs, and pay for the higher operation costs due to the expanded size of the 160,000-plus force currently in Iraq. Do you really think this war is worth the lives and money it's costing us?

Track your buddies. It's the latest cellphone craze. Sign for a service that shows where your friends are. There are a thousand more applications for this technology. We'll see them develop in coming months.

A phone with Buddy Beacon, a tracking service offered by Helio, a mobile phone service provider.

The New York Times today has a piece on location tracking. Excerpts:

Privacy Lost: These Phones Can Find You by Laura M. Holson.

Two new questions arise, courtesy of the latest advancement in cellphone technology: Do you want your friends, family, or colleagues to know where you are at any given time? And do you want to know where they are? Obvious benefits come to mind. Parents can take advantage of the Global Positioning System chips embedded in many cellphones to track the whereabouts of their phone-toting children.

And for teenagers and 20-somethings, who are fond of sharing their comings and goings on the Internet, youth-oriented services like Loopt and Buddy Beacon are a natural next step. Sam Altman, the 22-year-old co-founder of Loopt, said he came up with the idea in early 2005 when he walked out of a lecture hall at Stanford. “Two hundred students all pulled out their cellphones, called someone and said, ‘Where are you?’ ” he said. “People want to connect.”

But such services point to a new truth of modern life: If G.P.S. made it harder to get lost, new cellphone services are now making it harder to hide.

“There are massive changes going on in society, particularly among young people who feel comfortable sharing information in a digital society,” said Kevin Bankston, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation based in San Francisco. ...

Kyna Fong, a 24-year-old Stanford graduate student, uses Loopt, offered by Sprint Nextel. For $2.99 a month, she can see the location of friends who also have the service, represented by dots on a map on her phone, with labels identifying their names. They can also see where she is.

One night last summer she noticed on Loopt that friends she was meeting for dinner were 40 miles away, and would be late. Instead of waiting, Ms. Fong arranged her schedule to arrive when they did. “People don’t have to ask ‘Where are you?’” she said.

Ms. Fong can control whom she shares the service with, and if at any point she wants privacy, Ms. Fong can block access. Some people are not invited to join — like her mother. ...

So far, the market for social-mapping is nascent — users number in the hundreds of thousands, industry experts estimate.

But almost 55 percent of all mobile phones sold today in the United States have the technology that makes such friend-and- family-tracking services possible, according to Current Analysis, which follows trends in technology. So far, it is most popular, industry executives say, among the college set.

But others have found different uses. Mr. Altman said one customer bought it to keep track of a parent with Alzheimer’s. Helio, a mobile phone service provider that offers Buddy Beacon, said some small-business owners use it to track employees.

Consumers can turn off their service, making them invisible to people in their social-mapping network. Still, the G.P.S. service embedded in the phone means that your whereabouts are not a complete mystery. ...

Southern California is burning up. My friend has abandoned his house under the strict police evacuation order in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He does not expect firefighters if his house catches on fire. He fully expects his $7 million dream house to burn to the ground. Already over 750 houses have burned. His area has had not had rain since January. The day temperature is well over 90 and the fires are being fanned by 65 mile an hour winds. The problem is that the winds pick up burning embers, carry them to distant houses or dry trees which explode (literally). Other friends in Southern California report that the local air is almost unbreathable, as clouds of mustard and ochre smoke obscure the sky. It will get worse. There is no sign of rain. The winds are not dying. And residents of some places like Malibu know that their communities are now vulnerable to mud slides with the first heavy rain. More sadness ahead.

Last Lecture by Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch. Pausch is dying from pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the university September 18, 2007. His lecture was called "How to achieve your childhood dreams." Over a million people have watched it on YouTube. He gave the lecture on Oprah yesterday. I cried. Here's the YouTube link. GoogleVideo link

More urban myth:
Readers rushed out yesterday to check their gas gauges.

And the conclusion? It's nonsense. Writes one Jim Underwood:

I checked two cars (as I am sure many other of your readers have done) and your explanation seems to be backwards. The symbol tells you which side of the pump you have to drive up to. If the filling nozzle appears on the RIGHT side of the little gas pump symbol, it means you have to drive up to the pump on this side because your gas cap is on the LEFT and vice versa.

Another reader writes:

n my small fleet of three cars (real cars, no SUVs or trucks) each from different a manufacture and different ages only one gas gauge points to the tank side while the other two point upwards, perhaps the two smarties are predicting the cost of oil?

And the moral of this stupid story? Once again, don't believe anything your friends send you. Even the naked ladies my friends send are heavily photoshopped, though the end result can be pleasing (or amusing).

Dumb logic -- 1
A blonde is walking down the street with her blouse open and her right breast hanging out. A policeman approaches her and says, 'Ma'am, are you aware that I could cite you for indecent exposure?'

She says, 'Why, officer?'

"'Because your breast is hanging out."

She looks down and says, "Oh, my God, I left the baby on the bus again!'

Dumb logic - 2
A group of Alabama friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day.

That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck. "Where's Harry?" the others asked.

"Henry had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail," the successful hunter replied.

"You left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?" they inquired.

"A tough call," nodded the hunter. "But I figured no one is going to steal Harry!"

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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