Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amazon released 'Kindle for PC'

I had to google the link, I think Amazon had not updated their pages to link to the download page yet: Download Kindle For PC

So why should you care about Kindle For PC?

Simply put - Amazon provides you with discounted E-Books. If you have no problem using your laptop instead of flipping pages - then you can use the Kindle-For-PC to buy and read the very latest best-sellers at a discount.

Of course, you could buy used books - and then sell them back on Amazon - but paying 10$ a book instead of 25$ for the latest release hard cover sounds like a good bargain!

FYI: There are plenty of classical books available for free on Amazon for Kindle!

And Many More...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

EzBacktest 1.0.0 release, adding compare portfolios tool

I'm happy to announce the release of EzBacktest version 1.0.0 . The latest version adds the ability to compare several portfolios at once providing:
a. monthly returns graph comparison

b. per portfolio sharpe score in a bars chart

c. sharpe plot to allow examining risk/return per portfolio.

Download here.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Article says study suggest 3 ways to improve 401k results

May I suggest a 4th? Try EzBacktest - plan and back test your potential portfolio. Next version will include a comparison tool.

From US News and World report: Study: 3 Effortless Ways to Get Higher 401(k) Returns
401(k) participants who use target-date funds, managed accounts, or online advice get better returns on their retirement investments than those who do not, according to a Hewitt Associates and Financial Engines study released Monday. The median annual return for 401(k) account holders using any of these forms of investing assistance was 1.86 percent higher than among investors who choose their own investments with no guidance from their employer, the study of 400,000 401(k) plan participants at 7 companies between 2006 and 2008 found. The improved return takes into account fees paid on the investments.

Retirement savers not receiving investing assistance from their employer tended to take on more risk in their portfolios and failed to shift to more conservative investments as they approached retirement, the study found. About a quarter of the study participants used at least one type of investment advice offered through their 401(k) plan.

“Employers offer workers investment help like target date funds, online advice, and managed accounts because they help participants make smart investment decisions with minimal effort or expertise,” says Pam Hess, director of retirement research at Hewitt. “Simply taking advantage of them can equate to thousands of dollars in additional retirement savings over time.”

The researchers didn’t find statistically significant differences between the three types of investment advice studied. But they did discover that employee preferences for various types of investment help tended to vary by age. “To really help a participant do better they really have to offer multiple forms of help and people can transition to the help they need for that part of their lives,” says Chris Jones, chief investment officer of Financial Engines. Here is who tended to use each type of investment assistance.

Target-date funds. Target-date funds were largely used by younger 401(k) participants with shorter job tenures, lower account balances, and smaller salaries and contribution rates. The typical participant with 95 percent or more of their retirement account balance invested in a target-date fund was 38 years old, had been at their current job about 4 years, and had a 401(k) balance of $6,295, the study found. Target-date funds are a common default investment for companies that automatically sign up their workers for 401(k) plans. “About half of the people in the target-date fund pool were defaulted by their employers,” says Hess.

Managed accounts. Retirement savers who chose managed accounts tended to have the longest job tenure and were the closest to retirement. The average age of workers investing in managed accounts was 49 and they had an account balance of $45,816.

Online advice. The average retirement saver who sought investment information online was 41, had about 9 years of job tenure, and an average balance of $69,057. “As people get older their life circumstances become more complex and that’s where online advice can be helpful because there is a higher degree of personalization,” says Jones.

The study didn’t examine the investment returns of retirement savers who met with a financial adviser in person. “It’s just not cost affective [for employers providing investment advice] to have a sit down with someone who has a $50,000 account,” says Jones

I believe 401k 's goal should be to preserve money first, then consider returns. But that's just me opinion following what has happened over the last 3 years, and what is still going on...


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Microsoft's OpenMP solution leaks memory, Microsoft says that's by design

Completely ignoring the comments from people complaining about it - that intel's implementation which is also directed at the windows platform - doesn't leak memory...

I have some experiments to run tomorrow. I've seen the leaks at my job - and I'm now suspecting there might be more risks to look at...

OpenMP leaks thread handels and memory when used in threads

By design? sure...

Well, thinking about it - it would be a bad practice to have different algorithms within one process utilize OpenMP from differently invoked threads. It's obvious that OpenMP was not designed nor implemented with that 'practice' in mind.

Regardless, an interesting read on codeproject:
32 OpenMP traps for C++ developers

I believe this "Microsoft-Fail" image is based on the famous 'left handed store' failure Simpsons episode.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Netflix on wii approaching, excited?

The folks at nintendo are doing their best to stay behind and copy from their competitors - knowing that most families choose their console due to the remote capabilities. At some point, the men/boys of the house start to envy those who have great quality HD 3D with XBox/Sony - and begin getting really annoyed with the girls playing littlest pet shop.

Anyways, some people think its a big deal that netflix, although will be available, won't support HD content.

Still, something is better than nothing.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Reporting" from CES as Vegas

Feet Hurt...
Lots of People...
3D TV-s are all the rage.
Sahara sucks.
6 Pounds Burrito at NASCAR Cafe was a BAD IDEA!

Yes - I'm a Certified Weenie, and that thing took its revenge on me for the last 24 hours...


PS. 90% of what I saw at the show you can observe at your local Best Buy. If not today, next week. I was hoping to see an internet enabled, web cam, skype integrated TV - but no such luck. There's an external box coming to help with that this summer though.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

EzBacktest 0.9.4 released

Today I released EzBacktest 0.9.4 with the following changes:

* Add tool bar and changed color of main form
* Within the same application instance, cache downloaded data to allow quick review of changed portfolio allocations.