Technology Investor 

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor.

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9:00 AM EST, Friday, September 12, 2008: Cash is King has been our mantra. Cash lets you buy cheaply. Cash allows you be opportunistic, i.e. it lets you invest quickly in handsome fleeting opportunities. Finally some great opportunities are emerging.

Opportunity 1: And I have to be careful. My friend is bidding 40% of the asking price of some super-great Caribbean real estate. As one argument for bidding so low, "I can buy some phenomenal real estate in Florida at 30 cents on the dollar." This is no done deal. But the fact that the seller's broker is still talking is a good sign.

As I've said, the major key to making money in real estate is the price you pay. You can fix a property up nicely. You can layer it in gold leaf. But the price you get on exit will be determined by Mr. Market. You can't influence him, except with prayers. And they don't work. Trust me.

Opportunity 2: Time to form your own bank. What the world needs is a new bank. One that started post-2008 Credit Crunch. One that is squeaky clean, free from the doubts that it might fail (11 have already in 2008) and free from doubts that FDIC will run out of money to repay the depositors -- I've heard that fear several times in the last few days.

Think about this opportunity: A bank thrives by attracting deposits and lending to sound borrowers. There is no shortage of money. Everyone and their uncle (including me) want out of their existing toxic bank. They'll give you their money. All you need do is to offer a modicum more interest than the utterly miserable 1.17% I am currently receiving with ModernBank -- my latest brilliant idea to spread my money around in chunks of $95,000. There's no shortage of borrowers. I can name a dozen people who would happily borrow money from you, pay you more interest than you ever imagined and give you collateral up and personal guarantees the whazoo.

If you do form your own bank, I want to be given the opportunity of investing. OK, deal?

By the way, I bitched at ModernBank. Their reply:

As we discussed at our initial meeting, the higher rates start at $1,000,000. The rate would jump to 2.75% at that level and possible more if the term is longer. We also offer negotiated rates for CDARs at higher amounts. Please give me a call if I may be of assistance.

In other words, give us more money and guarantee to leave it with us longer, and we'll throw you a few crumbs. By way of comparison, I recently bought some New York City general obligation bonds paying 4.5% triple tax free. That's equivalent to around 7.9% pre-tax, a lot higher than ModernBank's 1.17%. You could run a handsome-profitable bank, taking in money at 1.17% and investing it in 10-year U.S. government treasuries at 3.62%.

Rules on listening to Harry: I have pounded the table for Washington Mutual this week. The stock cratered. A reader bitched at me. How could I be so irresponsible? I emailed him back yesterday:

Look. It's very simple. I recommended the stock. Then it cratered. It's reasonable to assume that my readers are intelligent and they don't rush in and buy instantly….. I did buy WaMu this morning at $1.99.

It closed last night at $2.83 but is down to $2.69 in early morning trading. Timing is everything. If it gets below $2.50, I'll be out and buy back in later. Unpredictable volatility is not my shtick.

Two technology recommendations:

The Nikon D700 is a professional SLR (single lens reflex) that is getting rave reviews. See DPreview.

I'm not buying one because I already have the D100 and actually use my pocket size Canon 850 IS more. But, if I were in need of a professional grade SLR, this is the camera I'd buy.

Yesterday a friend brought in an Apple MacBook Air notebook. It weighed 3.21 lbs. By comparison my Lenovo X61 weighed 3.34 lbs, just slightly more.

The big differences: One's a Mac. One runs Windows. The Mac has a touchpad. The ThinkPad has a red pointing stick. I find the stick faster, but it's personal choice. I prefer Windows because I'm used to it. I can swap out hard disks more easily on my ThinkPad. The MacBook Air costs a lot more than my ThinkPad.

Why I read the Economist: My friend, the editor at the Economist, explained to me the difference between his magazine and other "business" magazines. He said all his competitors think they can write about business in a vacuum. He told me, you can't. Business is intimately involved with politics. You can't write about one without discussing the other. And the classic case? Zimbabwe. Latest news is:

The country’s official inflation rate is 11.2 million per cent. A third of its 12 million citizens have fled. Most of those who remain survive on barely a bowl of sadza – mealie-meal porridge – a day. Services such as health, education and transport have all but collapsed, Aids is rampant and Zimbabwe now has the world’s lowest life expectancy.

It's Fashion Week in New York City. The world's most most beautiful girls are strutting their thing. This is one of them. Every good column should have a little sex. It gets readers...

I'm guessing someone asked her about her Lehman stock.

The world's worst puns. Share them with your kids.

+ I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan Island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

+ A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

+ The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

+ No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

+ A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

+ A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

+ A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

+ Atheism is a non-prophet business.

+ A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

+ The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

+ When the cannibals ate the missionary, they got a taste for religion.

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 on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look 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 Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.