The end of a long weekend for the kids, and I'm reminded about finances and the need to finish compiling all the records for our taxes. OK, I'll get that done this coming weekend. But I was reminded by Guy Kawasaki of the these investment lessons of the 1930s in the post 1930s Lessons: Stocks for After a Crash from WSJ.com. (also available at http://adjix.com/ce7a)
FEBRUARY 14, 2009 1930s Lessons: Brother, Can You Spare a Stock? By JASON ZWEIG
"In the worst of times, which are the best of stocks? So many readers have emailed me to warn that we are going into another Great Depression that I decided to find out which companies and sectors did best after the Crash of 1929. With the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index down 39% last year and another 8.5% this year, it can't hurt to learn what separated the winners from the losers back then.
"With the help of the Center for Research in Security Prices, or CRSP, at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, I sought to answer this question: If you had invested on Jan. 1, 1930, after the crash already had destroyed a third of the stock market's value, where would you have gotten the greatest gains?"
Time to rebalance the portfolio in Oz.
But back here in Kansas, today was the first day of the Mobile World Congress and Harry McCracken reported on Sixteen New Phones (February 16, 2009)
"Phones. More phones. Phones that look a lot like iPhones, except for the ones that don’t. Phones that may never show up in the good old US of A. Phones that are full of style, and ones that seem to be devoid of discernible personality. That, in short, was my Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where I spent the entire day bopping from press conference to press conference, learning about new handsets from most of the major manufacturers (as well as laptop titan Acer, which announced today that it’s getting into the phone biz). "So here’s a stab at a convenient, concise guide to nearly every new phone I encountered as of Monday evening (I left off a couple of far-off models which Acer mentioned only fleetingly and cryptically). Most of these phones have been announced only in GSM models, except for the two HTCs. Nobody revealed anything about American carriers today, although in some cases you might be able to make educated guesses."
"I like the new Windows Mobile 6.5 interface, specially the new home screen, which is brilliantly executed. Running on the new HTC Touch Diamond 2, everything looked smoother, cleaner, and matched the iPhone's lick factor."
And now to more items from my reading pile – have a good, shortened week.
Computer Repair Utility Kit @ Technibble "A Resource for Computer Technicians: Welcome to our "holy crap, the social sites are slamming our servers so we had to static-ize this page" layout. The first version of Technibbles Computer Repair Utility Kit was so popular, we’ve created a second version. For those of you who don’t know, the Computer Repair Utility Kit is a combination of computer repair tools in one easy to use pack. The Computer Repair Utility Kit allows you to run all of the repair tools from your portable drive (eg. USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive, IPod etc.) and comes with an easy to use, right-click menu. A must in any computer technicians kit."
Microsoft Unveils the “Windows Phone,” “Windows Marketplace” and “My Phone” Service By Michael Santo, Editor-in-Chief, RealTechNews, 021609 - "None of this is unexpected, but at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft finally took the wraps off the Windows Mobile 6.5, their new App Store (called Windows Marketplace) and My Phone, a free sync service along the lines of Apple’s ($99 annually) MobileMe. Microsoft is also taking another tack in terms of marketing: while the OS is still Windows Mobile, they will refer to devices running the OS as Windows phones."
A Look at the New Windows Mobile - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com, February 16, 2009, 9:00 am By Saul Hansell - "I had a chance to preview the new Windows Mobile 6.5 cellphone operating system that Microsoft is introducing today. I was unimpressed with the new graphic flourishes that are the bulk of the changes. But the demo reminded me of some of the nicely open aspects of Microsoft’s approach that have always been there. Most of Microsoft’s changes to the operating system are meant to update it to work better on phones that people touch with their fingers rather than tap with a stylus..."
Some LG Cellphones to Use Microsoft System - NYTimes.com, By KEVIN J. O’BRIEN, February 16, 2009, BARCELONA, Spain — "Microsoft said on Monday that LG Electronics had agreed to use Microsoft’s new mobile operating system on 50 of its smartphone models, increasing the software maker’s bid to gain a bigger share of the fast-growing mobile software business. Microsoft’s Windows operating system software powers more than 90 percent of all personal computers, according to the research firm Gartner. But Microsoft trails its rivals in mobile software for smartphones."
Microsoft Updates Windows Mobile To Make It More Like The iPhone. (My Phone, Anyone?) by Erick Schonfeld on February 16, 2009 -- "Once again, Microsoft is throwing some flattery Apple’s way by following its lead. Earlier today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft announced the latest version of its mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5. The new OS takes cues directly from the iPhone. It has “an improved touch-screen interface, making it easy to take action with a finger” (so advanced) and a dashboard-like interface with different application icons in honeycomb cells (screen shots)."
Barry Schwartz on our loss of wisdom | Video on TED.com -- Feb 2009 - "Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world. About Barry Schwartz Barry Schwartz studies the relationship between economics and psychology, delivering startling insights into modern life. His latest field of inquiry: wisdom."
Lawsuit targets Microsoft over Vista-to-XP downgrades – A Calif. woman paid extra for XP, blames 'anticompetitive' licensing for Vista By Gregg Keizer, February 13, 2009 (Computerworld) show."
Google Apps Unseats Incumbent Microsoft Office in Washington, DC - Written by Rick Turoczy, October 13, 2008 1:15 AM -- "With a US presidential campaign in full swing and a current president at his term limit, the world is prepared for changes in Washington, DC. But abandoning Microsoft Office? "Enter the dark horse Google Apps - the new platform for day-to-day business operations in DC - now that Vivek Kundra, Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia, has decided to switch the District's 38,000 employees from the installed Microsoft Office suite to the Web-based Google suite."
What Microsoft Can Learn About Retail from Apple and Best Buy | Robert Scoble's innovator's and geeks' blog By: Robert Scoble, Feb 13, 2009 at 5:52 PM -- "Now that Microsoft has decided to open up its own retail stores, they need some help from all of us in building a great retail experience. Remember, this isn't Microsoft's first time. Microsoft used to have a store at San Francisco's Metreon but that was a good example of what to do wrong. Here's some things they did wrong on that effort..."
pocketwit - A twitter client for the Windows Mobile platform
No Stopping the Mobile Internet Growth from Om Malik, February 15, 2009. "By now you all know, despite the spotty coverage and expensive rate plans, I am a big fan of Mobile Internet. Down economy or not, I want my 3G wireless connection. Apparently, I am not the only one.According to a survey of 50,000 wireless customers in US and five major West European mobile markets, nearly 71% of wireless users are likely to use some kind of wireless data services. These countries collectively have about 200 million mobile data users and more than half expect to increase their mobile data usage. The survey was conducted by Nielsen on behalf of telecom equipment maker, Tellabs."
Mining The Thought Stream -- "Listening to Twitter’s investors gives a good sense of how they think Twitter can become a game-changer in real-time search. While it is instructive, it is also important to note that much of this vision has yet to materialize. Twitter’s current search is extremely crude, as Borthwick readily admits. It simply brings up the most recent Tweets with the keyword you are looking for. There is no ranking or clustering beyond that. An undifferentiated thought stream of the masses at some point becomes unwieldy. In order to truly mine that data, Twitter needs to figure out how to extract the common sentiments from the noise (something which Summize was originally designed to do, by the way, but it was putting the cart before the horse—you need to be able to do simple searches before you start looking for patterns). But what is the best way to rank real-time search results—by number of followers, retweets, some other variable? It is not exactly clear."
Microsoft Recite Voice Technology Preview Home -- Microsoft Recite -- an easy way to remember, search and retrieve mental notes and reminders. http://recite.microsoft.com for Windows Phones.
Also see the Microsoft Recite Announcement of the Technology Preview (15 February 09). "What Is Microsoft Recite? Microsoft Recite is a search technology for your voice that runs on Windows Mobile* devices. With Microsoft Recite, you can use your voice to easily store, search and retrieve the things you want to remember, where and when you need them. Microsoft Recite is available as a free technology preview beginning February 16, 2009. *Microsoft Recite can be used on devices running Windows Mobile version 6.0 or higher. Not sure what you’re running? A complete list of devices can be found at http://recite.microsoft.com ."
Is America Ready to Quit Coal? - NYTimes.com, By MELANIE WARNER, 021409 - "With concerns over climate change intensifying, electricity generation from coal, once reliably cheap, looks increasingly expensive in the face of the all-but-certain prospect of regulations that would impose significant costs on companies that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As a result, utilities’ plans for new coal plants are being turned down left and right. In the last two-and-a-half years, plans for 83 plants in the United States have either been voluntarily withdrawn or denied permits by state regulators. The roughly 600 coal-fired power plants in the United States are responsible for almost one-third of the country’s total carbon emissions, but they are distinctly at odds with a growing outlook that embraces clean energy. "
Ping - How Google Decides to Pull the Plug - NYTimes.com By VINDU GOEL, Published: February 14, 2009 "GOOGLE recently set the blogosphere abuzz by announcing that it was pulling the plug on several products. What’s that, you say? You don’t care? You couldn’t tell a Jaiku from a haiku, and the last time you thought about dodgeball was in elementary school gym class? You’re not alone. When evaluating nascent projects, Google takes a hard look at interest — and in these cases, the interest simply wasn’t there. “There’s no single equation that describes us, but we try to use data wherever possible,” said Jeff Huber, the company’s senior vice president of engineering. “What products have found an audience? Which ones are growing?”
America's Best Social Entrepreneurs – BusinessWeek is launching its inaugural search for the most promising social entrepreneurs in the U.S. "We are looking for companies that aim to both turn a profit and solve social problems. To do so, we're asking for your suggestions of for-profit companies based in the U.S. that are tackling social problems in new and innovative ways here or abroad. Concepts are great, but we insist that companies that warrant coverage have been in operation for at least one year. What do we need from you? Send us your nominations using the form on this page and tell us why the particular company you have in mind stands out. Tell us what it does, what it has achieved so far, and explain what sets it apart. Our reporters and editors will also be scouring the field."
11 Most Overlooked Deductions in the washingtonpost.com By Kevin McCormally, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Sunday, February 15, 2009; Page F04 -- "Every year, the IRS dutifully reports the most common blunders taxpayers make on their returns. And every year, at or near the top of the "oops" list is forgetting to enter a Social Security number or making a mistake when entering those nine digits at the top of the tax form. "Before you bemoan such stupidity of your fellow Americans, ask yourself a simple question: Is that the most common error? Or just the most easily noticed goof?"
Change Happens - O'Reilly Radar -- "We're in the midst of enormous upheaval right now, between the Scylla and Charybdis of economic meltdown and climate change, with the promise of the Singularity visible in the distance like Apollo or Athena might have appeared to Odysseus' frightened sailors. "This is not new. History is full of optimism and despair, discovery and upheaval, with distant hope inspiring us to the great efforts that alone can save us. And despite all our attempts to prognosticate, it has a way of surprising us. The makers of The Man in the White Suit were fascinated and frightened by the possibilities of industrial chemistry: it had all the magic that today we associate with great advances in computing or synthetic biology. And inventions of new materials did in fact change the world, though not in ways that the film's creators lampooned."
This post is also available via http://tinyurl.com/read021609