Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Funny: Funniest code comments ever encountered

The site:
Stack Overflow: What is the best comment in source code you have ever encountered?

Choice selections:

//
// Dear maintainer:

//
// Once you are done trying to ‘optimize’ this routine,
// and have realized what a terrible mistake that was,
// please increment the following counter as a warning
// to the next guy:
//
// total_hours_wasted_here = 16

//

**

// drunk, fix later

**

// Magic. Do not touch.

**

//When I wrote this, only God and I understood what I was doing
//Now, God only knows

**

doRun.run(); // … “a doo run run”.

Do click and get hours of laughter on.

Cheers!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coupon clickers gaining up on clippers

Online coupons are gaining popularity as more and more consumers abandon both the news paper industry as well as the paper versions and only seek the coupons they need, when they need it online. Some things just make sense.



Clipping coupons with a click
Discounts are more important to shoppers than ever in this tight economy, and one of the best places to find deals from major retailers is at your fingertips.

Online coupons are gaining popularity fast. Almost 60% of shoppers are using coupons more often to cut expenses, according to a recent survey from market-research firm comScore Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!scor/quotes/nls/scor (SCOR 14.60, +0.10, +0.69%) . About one of every three respondents said they use the Web to find printable coupons and promotional codes; visits to these sites grew 46% year-over-year as of December 2008, comScore reported.


Also consider:
Coupons Go Paperless on Twitter
Andrea Gillespie is on to something. "Actually I got this purse for 30 percent off for twittering the designer."

Forget paper coupons or ripping coupons. Many businesses are passing on paper coupons and are advertising for free on social networking sites like Twitter.

On Chicago's first coupon feed, Merchant Circle sends out daily coupon tweets to followers for thousands of Chicago businesses.

Mario Alonso says opening a tanning business in a not-so-hot economy has been hard. He looked at all advertising options and concluded: "You can't beat free. We are able to change the coupons on a constant basis."


Some dinosaur MSM media dish out old fashioned advice though:
MSNBC: Save now! 10 tips to be a better coupon sleuth
[shortened]

1. Remember those nice, old-fashioned coupons in your local paper.
2. Use child labor if you just don’t feel like clipping.
3. Remain alert for discount opportunities as you shop online.
4. Check reputable coupon-code sites. [only 4th - after manually browsing through paper, for me it's the opposite - as to many others]
5. Seek out free shipping
6. Register with your favorite retailers — but check the privacy policy first
7. Don’t forget to check clearance and sale sections.
8. Study that final check-out screen carefully.
9. Look for coupon codes in unexpected places.
10. Seek out coupons for out-of-the-ordinary purchases.


MSNBC were nice enough to make a propre list of online coupon sites, not bad:
try CurrentCodes.com and DealHunting.com, where codes are regularly verified and updated. Other sites that are worth checking include FatWallet.com, CouponChief.com, CouponMountain.com, Rather-Be-Shopping.com, RetailMeNot.com, Offers.com, CouponShack.com and Valpak.com
Happy frugal shopping,

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Developers, don't let Microsoft auto-update your system

Unfortunately - I did. On my work machine, I have visual studio 2005 and 2008 versions installed. That's because I have to support products under both environments. Last night, windows update tried to install "security updates" (without any explanation of what they would be) - as I allowed my machine to download and install every night automatically.



The result - a messed up installation setup, and a completely wasted day just trying to fix the installation by "reinstalling" visual studio components. It's amazing that they push "security updates" to development applications, which I can't imagine why anyone would need these updates - while not auto-updating or even bothering to fix real bugs which cause visual studio 2008 to crash or get stuck, for example:
Visual studio 2008 sp1 hangs frequently when using XAML designer

Was the solution "auto-updated"? Or even mentioned anywhere on MSDN?! No! You'd have to dig for it in blogs and support forums:
Finally: CLR Hotfix Available for Visual Studio 2008 Rapid-Crashing

Microsoft Connect: Download hidden hot-fix to "Visual Studio rapid-crashing with no Dr Watson dialogs etc when working with XAML, seeing CLR fatal execution errors in the event log when this happens"

Auto updates are causing me to waste a day because of the following issue:
Blend 2 opens VS 2005 instead of VS 2008

Perhaps all we need to know about Microsoft can be learned from the following videos of its current CEO


Developers! Developers!


Windows 1.0! WOW!!!


Cheers!

Kindle Price Dropped - A Note to Amazon - Can Go Lower




I'm sure lots of people would love buying this if it had a nice package including some kind of a gift card for downloading 10 books or something. This is IMHO an exciting product being killed by overpricing.



Thin



On the go, or at home.




My previous post about Kindle(on older blog): Kindle 2 – Release Feb 24!

Cheers!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Faux optimism in the air?

Consider the upcoming August 3rd newsweek cover:

The recession is over! * Good luck surviving the recovery

Please note the graphics. It's a balloon, as in a test balloon for proclaiming that the recession is over, and a nice prick pin to pop that balloon. I think it's brilliant.

Relevant newsweek.com article: here
Blogosphere coverage: Ace of Spades, Huffington Post

Now consider one tiny bit of info from today:
Case Shiller Index Has First Monthly Increase Since 2006

How likely is this to be a short term false upwards move, after which we will see house prices continue to sink?

All bad things eventually bottom, but the question is - at the bottom and from that point forward - how bad can an economy be and still be considered recovery? How long can the ills linger?

IMHO, the non-economist, not a financial professional - the economy has bottomed. The recession is over. The extreme moves taken by governments around the world have kept banks alive and in turn, banks allow the regular businesses to continue working. The credit spreads are stabilizing and while political negativity is abundant, and unemployment is an unavoidable reality - the business cycle has restarted.

So no - it's not false. There's plenty of reason to be more optimistic than pessimistic. Just keep in mind - what we might see as a "recovery" might not resemble prior such recoveries. We might be in a stable mode of unemployment and slow growth. European economies have been in that mode for decades.

Cheers!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yahoo Personal Finance Top Headlines, 4 Months Old

It's like no one cares about personal finance, or no one cares to produce new content.

Clicking on Yahoo!Finance-Banking&Budgeting

Then following two headlines that caught my eyes:
Banks Offering Big Perks to Lure New Savers - March 9 - and no, they aren't offering much lately.
10 Financial Myths Busted - March 13

Another thing I noticed, those two dates are around the bottom of the market - the absolute worst of the crash. It seems that while markets have marginally recovered, personal finance advice dispensers have not.

To be fair, there are a few new articles....

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free trading game and newsletter at zacks.com to improve investors skills

Free stuff from professionals - always worth checking it out.

Zacks investing research group has for a long time now offered two free and very useful resources:

  1. Zacks profit from the pro - a free daily newsletter with many professional insights and recommendations.
  2. Zacks Trading Game - Just as it sounds, it's a game where you can in minutes simulate what you'd do with a wad of 100k in trading over a couple of weeks.




The best part about the trading game is that it should discourage most of us "armatures" from even trying to burn our money on the market...

Cheers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prosper.com - how risky is it? Can individuals really make money this way?

Prosper.Com offers P2P lending. I don't know why would anyone like a 12% personal loan, nor would I like to hope for any return from a Joe Schmoe somewhere on the web.

How risky is it? Can individuals really make money this way? I don't know. Watch the video to see a few more people shaking their heads as the CEO tries to assure potential investors in his "pay day loan" for the masses internet service:

Mmmm. Securitization through diversification on sub-prime borrowers, where else did I hear something similar - oh yea, SUB PRIME MORTGAGE MESS!

I'm not enthusiastic, but I'd love to hear success stories from people who have been investing with prosper for more than 2 years, how are their success/failure yields? I'm sure there are success stories. I'll try looking for them.

Cheers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is the new passive 130/30 ETF for you?

I'm reading the news in excitement. Finally a vehicle for the masses to easily tap into this long praised strategy.

ProShares Launches First 130/30 ETF

The ticker is: CSM - ProShares Credit Suisse 130/30


The idea is simple but it took a couple of PHD-s to perform proper research and produce an acceptable index to track with enough liquidity: Credit Suisse 130/30 Large-Cap Index

What is 130/30? From investopedia:
What Does 130-30 Strategy Mean?
A strategy that uses financial leverage by shorting poor performing stocks and purchasing shares that are expected to have high returns. A 130-30 ratio implies shorting stocks up to 30% of the portfolio value and then using the funds to take a long position in the stocks the investor feels will outperform the market. Often, investors will mimic an index such as the S&P 500 when choosing stocks for this strategy.

Investopedia explains 130-30 Strategy
To engage in a 130-30 strategy, an investment manager could rank the stocks used in the S&P 500 from best to worse on expected return, as signaled by past performance. From the best ranking stocks, the manager would invest 100% of the portfolio's value and short sell the bottom ranking stocks, up to 30% of the portfolio's value. The cash earned from the short sales would be reinvested into top-ranking stocks, allowing for greater diversification in the higher ranks.


Time will tell how successful this strategy is in relation to the rest of the market. I do recall high hopes for other "smart" strategy, which were less than brilliant as actual investment.

One should always remember the disastrous results of one certain quant fund which collapsed in 1997....

The new fund will rise and fall based on it's internal ranking system. Can quants (computer generated models) really predict well enough which stocks will go up and which down? Also note, the new ETF is expecting a 6% monthly turn over. If anyone was left holding the bag last year on Proshare's cap-gains distribution, you won't be rushing to ever own anything this ETF company produces again...

Cheers!

I'm back, sort of - the joy of sudden home repair and stolen credit card info

I'll keep it brief - I'm back from a week away in California for work. Was happy to be with my family over the weekend. I was planning on buying some things... and then realized:

A. The basement had a nice puddle - need to call a plumber. Fantastic, just love these kind of surprises, don't you?
B. Credit card is suspended for suspicious activity - and yes there were a few charges we didn't make.



There's always something... no house - no house problems. As for the credit card, I guess I'm not the only one... This is the second time such a thing happened to us, I'm wondering how did our credit card number got compromised, I can only guess it was stolen with a big bunch of others through some vendor we used at some point or directly from the bank. No one would be kind enough to ever tell you that, nor update you on anything done to the perpetrators of the crime.

I once complained to the FBI on a similar theft, to the tune of over 2000$, they said - we'll call you back. Still waiting for that call 2 years later.

As for the plumber, I'm still looking for one. I don't think it's a huge problem to find one. Hey, I'm stimulating the economy... (sarcasm)

Hope for a better week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Traveling, will be back in a week

I'll be away, and will probably not blog. See ya in a week.



Lucky me... 5 hour flight... no meal...



PS. I got the "Airplane" DVD in Walmart I think a while ago for about 2$...



Cheers!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday funny, take your pick

The following link will list out many many common "humoristic" images people love using in discussion board:
http://super-genius.org/images/

Sample few:

eyes.gif


humerus.gif


kungfu_explosion.gif


nails1.jpg


Cheers!
Update
HA! the domain expired, images are gone...

Microsoft isn't worried about Google OS (part II)

I had my word about this issue the day it came out. Investors think otherwise as you can see that over the last few days - google is shooting up, while Microsoft and the market are down/sideways.

Please consider:
Five Reasons Why Microsoft Does Not Need to Worry About Google Chrome OS

[abbreviated]

* Windows 7 is not Vista: [Windows 7 will be released before Google OS]
* Microsoft is building its own browser optimized to run web apps
* Chrome OS will compete with Ubuntu.
* Are consumers ready for a life on the web?
* Google’s track record outside of search is poor


The investors are still just to ecstatic, are those who trying to pour chilling reality on them in the tank for MSFT?

Cheers!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to automatically reboot vista daily

Annoyingly, my office machine is being scanned daily by McCaffe - which leaves the machine crippled with memory usage and CPU slowdown.

To solve this problem, I have scheduled the machine to reboot daily - but it wasn't a trivial action. Here's how:
1. Open control panel
2. Type in the search box: "Schedule tasks", click on the "schedule tasks" result
3. In the "Task Scheduler" window, click on "Create Task..."
4. Type in Name: "Restart Daily", in description, type why.
5. Pick the "Actions" tab and click "New..."
6. In the new action dialog, put "c:\windows\system32\shutdown.exe" in program and "-r" in arguments.
7. Click OK to close "New Action" dialog and again OK to close "Create Task"

You're done. Just FYI though: you can click on "Task Scheduler Library" on the tree in left side of the "Task Scheduler" window to see current custom scheduled tasks. You would probably be surprised to find some irrelevant stuff like google update being run every hour....

H/T: a support thread

Cheers!

Update: You might want to change the task to operate regardless if the user is logged in....

Let's all get confused about oil prices together


The headline on Bloomberg's main site says:

Oil Falls Below $60 for First Time Since May as Fuel Inventories Increase


You click, and then the headline says:

Oil Rises From 7-Week Low as U.S. Jobless Claims, Dollar Drop


Crude oil rose from a seven-week low after the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell and the dollar slipped against major currencies.

Oil snapped a six-day slump, the longest losing streak this year, as initial jobless claims dropped to the lowest since January and car sales in China surged the most since 2006. The U.S. dollar weakened against the euro, spurring investors’ demand for dollar-priced assets to hedge against inflation.


Well the intraday didn't look very optimistic, just open Yahoo and look at the chart for USO.

Apparently trying to be "up to the minute" current by financial sites regarding very volatile commodity prices creates a temporal sense of schizophrenia.

Here's my 2 cents - pure uninvolved observer regarding oil prices:

After oil prices fell to unreasonably low prices as the leveraged manipulators collapsed starting September 2008, they have artificially been raised in anticipation of global economic recovery this summer. As we approach the middle of the summer and there are no real signs of recovery, to the contrary - the "summer oil trades" fizzles much sooner than prior years.

This could lead to a much stronger collapse in oil prices and an even stronger collapse in all commodity prices. While the unsustainable US national debt is assumed to eventually create "hyper inflation", evidence shows it has not yet happened. As such, deflationary trades are being played - and traders of all sorts have access to notes and etfs- to play in these fields, where they were prohibited from gambling before (DEE, DDG, DUG, and other such tradeable tools).

The fundamentals of gas prices, that is national reserves, inventories and OPEC production cannot fight the global winds causing such fundamentals to shift. Traders and economic strength of nations are what is driving oil prices, and while multi-day decline in prices of a commodity is bound to break at some point, all traders are aware and respect the trend.

The trend is frugal. The trend is thriftiness. Not just on a personal level, but on a global economic level.

I can't see into the future, I don't have such talents - but this is what I see as evidence of happening right now.

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Site Update, Lots of "blog relocation" activity today

https://fbs.usc.edu/depts/DC/files/2007/2/28/1.jpg

Lots of "blog relocation" activity today - With a good reason. It seems withinmymeans.blogvis.com - my older blog - is not with us. If it doesn't come back, then I will only lose a bit of traffic. I used some cache mechanisms such as google-cache to read my older content and port pages that were still linked from the layout of this blog. That's why it might seem like I posted a ton of new content today - it's not new, it's ported.

Cheers!

My favorite free software tools

You will find plenty of “best of” freeware sites out there. I don’t try to collect all of the available freeware for any situation. I want to share with you free software tools I found over the years that I think are most valuable.

* Please also consider freeware applications I've released my self.

ccleaner

CCleaner - Freeware Windows OptimizationYou hard drive is full of junk. Every application creates temporary files and nothing is very thorough and fast in an attempt to find those junk files and discard them. CCleaner is fast and simple and allows you to customize what to clean. Additional tools in the application allow you to remove “uninstall” lines which might not do anything anymore and search for registry items to clean. I advise against running any “registry cleaner”. If you feel there’s something bloating your windows performance, try uninstalling toolbars and Yahoo tools. Yahoo messenger, while a very nice tool – was a major culprit in slowing down my computers.

WinDirStat

WinDirStatWinDirStat - It’s virtually impossible these days to know what is clogging your hard drive. WinDirStat analyzes your disk usage and allows you to quickly trace where huge files or unnecessary folders with many tiny files are.

defraggler

Your computer will usually work slightly faster with all files aligned in contingent blocks close together at physical locations on the hard-drive. While there are other tools to defragment, defraggler works on
Vista and allows picking which items to defrag and which ones not. In my view, it’s an excellent tool.

CutePDF

CutePDF Printer - Make PDF-s for free from any application with a PDF Printer called CutePDF.

Picasa

picasaThere are many different photos organizing tools and most of those are for free. I like Picasa more because it’s super fast and takes care of importing photos from memory cards and cameras easily.

In comparison, Microsoft offers twice the same application with different names and different base code called “Windows Live Photo Gallery” and “Windows Photo Gallery”. The former is part of Vista. That application never stops re-grabbing the thumbnails and makes high usage of CPU. When the CPU is at high usage the computer fans begin to crank adding noise to heat and electric power over usage. It’s just slow and stupid.

GIMP

GIMP - Not to downplay the value in buying Adobe Photoshop Elements, Gimp offers powerful tools to quickly and easily create some electronic arts from your images gallery. For the basic stuff, I use Picasa – red eye, color and lighting touchups, even straightening the image and cropping out ugly artifacts. But I use GIMP if I want to do any actual image editing.

Skype

skypeThe best audio over the internet quality available, and gives you the cheapest international calling if you need it. If your family members aren’t lazy and turn on Skype on their side of the globe, then you talk with them for free (if you discount the cost of having a high speed internet connection).

Open Office

open officeAlthough I usually use Microsoft Office if it’s available to me, I recognize the value of having an alternative for free. Open office provides you with exactly what you need if you don’t wish to spend money on a word-processor and a spreadsheet. Microsoft Office is much better, but Open Office might be all you need.

Microsoft Visual Studio Express

c# expressMicrosoft allows anyone now to experiment with software development and I think that the easiest and best programming language out there today is C#. Any utility or need you have thought of – you might be able to make yourself now. Any task can be made into a short terminal application. If you have teenagers and you are worried about them spending too much time just playing games and chatting, suggest they spend an hour or two to learn C# and experiment with it. They might just really like it and will do something challenging with the computer.

I’ve been a programmer and a user of computers since the 80-s, since I was a teen. I always had a programming tool available to do what I needed. It’s been my view that it is something that’s necessary for any tweaking need.

Zoho.com

zoho.com - I prefer keeping my document on a hard drive, but when I need to share something, or edit in collaboration, I choose Zoho.com online applications solutions. Their best product in my view is the online spreadsheet and I think it is much better than google’s solution.

Winamp

winampBecause Windows-Media-Player sucks. I mean it. Winamp played MP3 songs on machines since the mid 90-s and never required the best wiz-bang machine to do so. Now it takes less than 3% CPU usage, while windows media player can barely play an mp3 without creating the oddest sound driver issues and CPU over usage. It’s ridiculous. I switched back to winamp recently and will probably won’t use WMP on this powerful dual CPU dell anymore.

Icarra

icarra.com - Online backtrack portfolios as well as compare performance of real world portfolios. You would usually have to pay extra to get a tool like this from your broker.

uTorrent

uTorrentI don’t advocate piracy. Still – if there’s a file you need from bitornet, that’s an easy and light tool that just works

IrfanView

infran I use this thing much less frequently than before, but it’s a great tool for mass conversion of image files as well as discovery of rare image formats.

iPodder and Miro

ipoddervideo player - Turn your computer into a radio/tv station with automatic content delivery through RSS feeds.

portable apps

Portableapps.com - Avoid disturbing your OS’s delicate registry, settings and temporary folders structures nor waste precious disk space; Portable-apps collected some of the best free-ware apps out there into a portable redistribution allowing you to install onto a thumb drive and run on any computer without the need to install/uninstall.

FileZilla

filezilla-project.org - If you need FTP, as a server or a client, this free tool will do it all for you.

File Hippo

Download from FileHippo.com - A very large collection of some of the best free software out there.

Investing Tactics

Below I provide you with a summery table I made for different tactics to manage an investment portfolio that I found through reading books and researching on the internet.

I urge people to read on investopedia.com about: "Tactical Asset Allocation" and about "Strategic Asset Allocation".

The table below mixes between the two, in essence, any asset allocation which includes rules for when to buy one thing and when to sell another is tactical/active. On the other hand, any asset allocation approach which is built upon defining risk tolerance and strive for a certain risk adjusted mix is said to be "Strategic". When managing a strategic portfolio, one occasionally rebalances to meet his initial goals.

I have before created several pages to address strategic asset allocations, and I intend to recreate these pages (based upon on the ashes of my former blog).

tactic pro con risk grade
(1 to 10, 10 the riskiest)
down side protection Income Yield notes
1 Index
fund a year
No brainer, trust the long term averages and a rising economy.
Low fees
Bear markets and stagnant economies such as Japan. 2000 to 2008
- flat returns! 2008 - belly up returns
5 Entire market cannot fall to 0 1.50% only works well when there’s a flow of new money. Cost average
and eventually fade into a balanced income/index portfolio to preserve
capital towards retirement.
100% cash
when index under 200 days avg, 100% index when above
"avoid" the bear until it’s over, simply hold cash,
join the "bull" and enjoy long-term average 9% returns
"only" 9% upside? Fake outs of bear markets touching
200 days avg, requires acting immediately on buy signals. Will miss out on
the biggest "pops" while accepting huge drops
3 strategic activism 2% Proven by research to be superior to just buy and hold the index
60%/40%
ACG/SPY
reduced risk, still allow enough upside on index ACG has no upside. A leveraged cef can lose value on credit
crunch
4 ACG is stable 4%
50% cash,
25% momentum stock, 25% income etf
balanced approach with a twist - instead of index, hold a high
risk, high gains momentum
no diversification produces a 25% risk on the single momentum
stock
5 large cash hedge 3% A good source for momentum picks is available for free on
zacks.com’s profit from the pros newsletter
Foreign
Currency, Commodity Index, Gold, Index mix; %30, %30, %15, %10, %15
Hedge your holdings, not necessarily grow them. gold has no upside (except inflationary). Commodities are due
for correction, foreign currency is subject to foreign central bank decisions
based on economic parameters
5 non equity holdings 5% Follow pro-s to guard your capital. See random roger
mish mash
of strategies while holding 5 to 15 different equities
Flexibility, diversification too confused, no discipline, mostly downside 6 mix and match 4% upon neglecting discipline can lose your shorts. Bad decision
lead to this - it’s not a strategy but an outcome of being unfocused
5 to 10
stocks at 80%, 20% cash
Full control and diversification. Fully exposed to market swings, experience huge bear raids at
narrow markets. Rely on being "correct" enough times. Mediocre
returns compared to index funds by most amature investors as well as pros
9 diversification 3% as suggested by many money manager books including Cramer’s
small
dividends close to purchase date+covered call
stream of income very active. tactic involves finding "value" - which
could mean entering a waterfall or falling knife pattern and never
recovering. Exposed to stock value breakdowns
7 continuously reduction in cost basis 8% both
require offline cost basis calculations
long
mergers + covered call
covered calls provide a stream of income. Mergers provide some
guaranteed premium at an expected date.
rely on merging company’s other value and news. Liquidity of
covered calls on merging companies is in doubt
6 a date is given for merger 5%
short term
acquisition arbitrage
High annualized return at small risk. Gauge the system about 1
to 2% at a time, reach a yearly return of almost 20%
Very active. Very boring. Low liquidity. long periods on cash
only - need to seek proper opportunity, deals can be broken. Not diversified.
Not worth the hassle if position is not big enough!
3 usually sits on cash - not in stocks
focus on one trade at a time, focus on acq and not mergers, buy
about a month prior to final deal, place limit sell close to final price as
GTC. Try mergerinvesting.com
long hold
on high dividends
supposedly achieve better returns than "risky"
investments while "enjoying" an income as the underlying assets fly
up and down.
how far down can a high income go? Very much so. If it gives
high income it’s because the street assumes the dividend is not guaranteed
6 high income 10% this was my strategy from mid Jan to June 2008. It produced
horrible results even though tried to steer clear from financials
3 etfs a
month
somewhat diversified. Use technical analysis to great returns.
Low commissions
Very active, very volatile. Technical and fundamental research
required. Wrong moves can steer portfolio to early demise
7 NONE! 1.50%
30 value
holds on an annual rotation
Many advantages - most are laid out in the book "The little
blue book that beat the street".
Rely on the average results of the ranking system and not on "gut
feeling".
On a narrow bear market -
trades with the bear. Painful to watch. Somewhat active.
7 diversification 2% As suggested in the magic formula book. Regardless of the
ranking system/formula. Suggest any value related stock screener. Add some
salt and pepper by incorporating your favorite analyst buy only
recommendations in the screener
sector
weighted etfs allocation
very comparable to index fund. A chance for better returns if
sectors research done correctly and weights aren’t at high deviation
work intensive. No bear market protection unless holding some
sectors short
6 diversification 1.50%
single etf
a week
chance for high returns. Assume that an ETF has many holdings
thus cannot completely lose value.
no downside protection. Very volatile. Very active 8 NONE!
Research better be spot on - the lack of diversification exposes
trader’s ass.
Single etf
a month + buying puts
reduced downside risk with high chance on upside returns a trade begins with a loss - cost of puts 5 puts
momentum plays are suggested
active
managed etf / strategy etf a quarter
no brainer - trust the PHD-s like a mutual fund investment with less fees. 6 NONE!
Suggest some diversification of ETF-s and ETF companies. Suggest
use liquid ETF-s with low fees
buy the
dividend, sell 10 trading days later
allow the stock price to regain value after the first couple of
days after ex-div
very active trader. Risk of not regaining value fast enough if
at all.
7 income 7% As implemented by the closed end fund AGD - disregard the
trading chart and check their net asset value. It proves that in bear market
- this strategy fails miserably
buy the divdends on 4 high income monthly trusts with different paydays although will lose value on ex-div day, can still capture industry wide trend stock devalued day after pay? Very concentrated in one industry 5 high income 20% ex-div: PVX 20, ERF 6, PBT 27, HTE 20, AWF 6, ACG 6, IGR 21, PHK and PTY 7 to 12, PGP 7 to 9
30 stocks on rotation, each paying divedend between 4 and 7 avg yield of acount ~ 5%, somewhat of a value play rely on stock picking ability 6 high income, diversification, long term 5.5% use technical buy signals on high yielding stocks. Do not sell for at least a year ( to assure avg yield)
Buy 10 days before ex-div for high yield querterly stocks, sell 1-2 days before ex-div. Sit in cash or ACG in between Avoid drop on ex-div, gain from buying pressure of people trying to buy the dividend no diversification, active trading strategy 4 Time Based 5.0% Consider FRO, BPT, NAI, NFJ, HRP, earn income from ACG while waiting for trades (buy the dividend on ACG)
one holding
for day or two, sit in cash a week
Try to capture short term upswings, limit your wins as well as
losses to short time frames.
active trading, time restrictive gains, akin to day trading
without margin or other restrictions
7 Time based
buy close to the end of the day. Put a limit with GTC for the next 2 days. Sell regardless of price on the 3rd. No stop loss on value - only on time
60%/40% IYK/ACG Reduce volatility, good long term chart. are you willing to get stagnant results at periods where the market skyrockets? 2 High Income, stable equities 4% tested on iCarra, the idea is to hold on to consumer staples - goods, which are non cycle and provide secular growth, while getting the highest safest income. These holdings were picked because they allow back testing as far as 2000


* GTC - Good till canceled order
* Risk grade - my subjective estimate

Disclaimer
The material posted on this Blog are the opinion of the author and should not be considered professional financial advice. Please consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

Cheers!

Google To Compete on OS with Microsoft? (no)

It was quite an exciting headline:
Google Announces Chrome OS

The first few paragraphs were promising too. Fast, turn it on and in a few seconds you're on the web.

But looking more closely, one can find the following statement:
The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel


It's called, a Linux. It's actually not an announcement of anything. Google will try to profit from Linux, just like many others before them. Yes they have the power and ability to make it much better. On the bright side, from the statement above one might conclude that the kernel is the only thing they will take from Linux. A silver lining indeed.

But will it compete with Microsoft? Consider the following statement, made before revealing that Google will use Linux:
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year


Netbooks (for now?) - are not direct competition with the home market and the business desktop and server market.

Microsoft might still pull a fast one with Windows 7, but not many are too optimistic. (Which could be an actual advantage for the few investors who are still bullish on MSFT).

Just thinking out loud.

Cheers!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't fly United, says the guy who wrote this song, whose 3500$ guitar was broken without compensation

Found on Fark (through my RSS utility "Free Stocks Ticker").


Cheers!

Wow, PIMCO head says: "If you're optimistic about near term investing, you're retarded"

In so many words... I extrapolate, but the punch line is unavoidable:

Do you really think that a national health care program can be paid for with cost-cutting as opposed to tax hikes at insurance companies and benefit-paying corporations throughout all sectors of the American economy? The new normal will not be investor-friendly unless your forecasting dial is turned to “Pollyanna” or your intelligence quotient is significantly less than 100.

Source: PIMCO's Bill Gross: "Bon" or "Non" App├ętit?

Be afraid, be very afraid.

A note about the title and the content of the quoted block:
I take no political stance in this blog for a good reason, the article quoted here is by a man who admitted to be a supporter of current president. Please refrain from politically oriented statements in the comments as well. This blog is for all, and I don't want the crazies looking out for me from any side.

Also, I mean no offense to people with disabilities, I extrapolated the delicate wordsmithing of the original author


Where's the economy headed?


No not there, this is where we are already at. The big question is, will we get out of there by digging deeper in the slime.


P.S. - Also in the related commentary, very relevant quote for this blog:

he supersizing of financial leverage and consumer spending in concert with the politicizing of deregulation describes in fifteen words our most recent brush with irrational behavior and inefficient markets. Greed will come again. But for now, the trend is the other way and it promises to persist for a generation at a minimum
Again, in other words: "Thrifty Trend Is Upon Us"!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Really Crappy News: New regulation may mean end to free checking


So... they'll give 0.8% APY on savings and less, while charging us to hold our money. Just peachy.

CNN Money: Is free checking on its way out?
Bank customers used to the perks of free checking accounts — unlimited check writing, online banking, debit card use and ATM access, to name a few — might have to recalibrate their expectations soon. That’s because overdraft fees, which banks use to subsidize the expense of free checking accounts, have been under fire by consumer advocacy groups. (A quick primer: You spend $8 on lunch at Burger King and pay with your debit card. But there’s only $5 in your checking account. The transaction is still approved, but the bank slaps you with a hefty overdraft fee for the privilege.)

There have already been some changes to the way banks must disclose overdraft fees on statements, but now there’s a bigger push to require institutions to obtain accountholders’ permission before charging them overdraft fees on debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals. President Obama’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency would likely address overdraft fees in some way.

That spells trouble for banks already hurting from the financial crisis. The bulk of revenue in bank retail deposits comes from penalty fees; economic research firm Moebs Services estimates that banks will rake in a total of $38.5 billion in overdraft revenue this year. In fact, a 2008 FDIC study concludes that 74% of all service charges on deposit accounts come from overdraft and insufficient fund fees, which typically range between $35 to $40 per incident. But there’s a small amount of consumers who shoulder most of the fee load: According to a May report from consulting firm Oliver Wyman, 68% of those fees come from just 5% of banking customers (who pay, on average, $1,614 each year). Meanwhile, 74% of customers pay no overdraft fees at all.

But with banks expecting roadblacks to fee income, some experts predict that the free-checking model might be on its way out. Aaron Fine, author of the Oliver Wyman report, recently told banking industry trade publication American Banker, “The industry has to change pretty dramatically because a substantial amount of the revenue that paid for free checking is likely to go away. That business model is not sustainable.”


More from around the web:
WSJ: Is This The Beginning of the End of Free Checking?
economyincrisis.org: The End of Free Checking?

JEERS!

Well, I hope it's just scare tactics ment to prevent the upcoming regulation - aimed at us by banks in order to stir some uproar.

There's no fun to being mugged monthly by your bank. Currently I have a TCF free checking account. I hope it doesn't change.

Cheers!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blocking Adult Sites - Free and Easy

Per a request from the wife, a while ago I blocked our home network from adult and inappropriate content. We have 3 girls and 2 of them have become quite proficient recently with the computer. It was free and easy and anyone can do it. Many people install subscription based software on their kids computers. Obviously it costs money and there are benefits to it, but my kid’s computer is slow - has little memory resources available and I prefer looking for the free way to do it.

I got the “scoop” on how it’s done at work. Unfortunately - our IT department have decided to block out half the internet to “save bandwidth” for “real work related content”. Which of course is a problem when the content you needed to accomplish something has some things hosted on sites that are unfortunately blocked. No - not adult sites, but every you-tube and many blogs are blocked. They have relaxed the restrictions since first imposed.

Anyways, that’s not the case for my home network. I simply blocked out the adult and illegal content. Sure there are ways around it - but I don’t think my kids will find out about it anytime soon.

Fast and Easy:

1. Open “www.opendns.com”
2. Setup your machine following the instructions on the site
3. Create an account and setup your own network
4. Setup a security level to block out content

It’s fast and light in effect on your machines at home. Even if you do go with the subscription nanny software - adding a little bit of extra security is suggested.

Have a (morally?) safe internet experience…

Cheers!

(This page was re-edited and re-posted from prior blog)

My Wii shopping list

I'm about to purchase a few items for our Wii system, here's my list - I'm happy to share it with any occasional web stumbler.

For family fun (including my 4 year old girl):


For my self:


Because we're missing one and want to play boxing against each other:


Because changing batteries is a drag:


Cheers!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Funny: Perverted Old School Video Games

Oddly enough, no mention of Larry Lizard Suite...

Cracked: The 10 Most Perverted Old School Video Games

Sample "erotics":


Hubba Hubba


Probably disqualified for Chucky Cheese:


Cheers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

TCF Bank mysterious actual Money Market APR, promise 3% - pay 1.6%

A couple of months ago I was persuaded by the clerks at TCF to move my money market funds to TCF, they said they pay 3%. Most recent payment averages at 1.6%, but there's no mention anywhere on their site what actual rate they do pay.

They might have acted within the law - but I feel cheated.

Jeers!

Previously:
TCF Bank Savings Account 3% Yield - liars.

Check out: Bankoholic Money Market Rates Survey.

It seems 1.6% percent is still pretty high relatively to all that is available out there.

PS. At this juncture in time, would it be prudent to invest in stocks and higher yielding bonds rather than 0% APY money market accounts? Consider a mix of 30 large cap companies with yields between 4% - 7%. Like ATT and Verizon. Don't take it as a recommendation by little ol' me - just thinking aloud.

Dell offering rock bottom pricing... on outdated and crippled desktops



It seems like they are admitting that these Inspiration Desktop models are outdated, with really weak hardware such as single core AMD CPU-s, but the prices start at $249 - so if the only thing you need is a machine to check your email, and the ultra-lite ones aren't doing it for you - you're in luck. "Brand new" , "old models" are on sale.

Also, with a flat panel 17" screen - you get the clunker for $349...

Click here for details on Dell site.

As for me, I'm tracking on "Deals of America" for better deals on better computers. Such as $430 for an intel dual core with screen...

Cheers!