Saturday, September 26, 2009

Looking to make more money? Do you have extra time?

Here's an article posted to Yahoo! Finance that lists 3 ways to make more money through the internet. Here hey are:
  • An open network. This is where you get paid to contribute and also a share of "clicks" to view your materials.
  • On-demand services. This is where you get paid to provide answers.
  • Crowd-sourcing. This is where you divide projects into many (possibly 100's) of small human intelligence tasks. Like finding the typo on a Facebook advertisement of "pscychoogist" which should be "psychologist")
Click here to read more details.

Which type of vacuum cleaner is best?

Here's a short article that says that it depends on your needs. This should be obvious.

When I was growing up, we had a canister. I remember that it dual-purposed as a toy. Among my memories included using it as a "wagon" that you could pull someone on and a "car" where one person could push another.

Now we have a Shark for a quick vacuum around the kitchen area and Kenmore canister vacuums for each floor. Yeah, don't remind me. I'm trying to think about the reasons for having two canister vacuums. If I remember, it was "rationalized" because of the inconvenience (and danger?) of lugging one up and down the stairs. Also involved was redundancy and feeling like needing a backup vacuum in case one failed.

The article ends by saying "don't buy more than you need." We may have bought (slightly) more than we needed, but we definitely didn't pay for all the bells and whistles.

Click here to view the article on the Orange County Register website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Video: What will it be? V, W, L, U, VW, or Square-root?

Wow. So many descriptors to what we're going through from an economic recovery perspective. Now here's a video of someone describing a "Square-root" recovery.

Click here to watch.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's the value of your football team?

According to Forbes, the most valuable football team is the Dallas Cowboys at $1.65 billion. The least-valued team is not surprisingly the Oakland Raiders at $797 million.

What's interesting is Revenue and Operating Income. While the Cowboys have a reported $9.2 million, the number two team (Valuation), the Washington Redskins valued at $1.55 billion has an operating income of $90.3 million. This is ten times that of Dallas. The number three team, the New England Patriots, has operating income of $70.9 million.

Dallas needs to pump up the revenue and/or decrease its costs. Get the cash flow going.

Click here for the complete rankings and see how your team is doing.

We need more of this. Especially in Southern California.

Well, not the wood pellets, but the grinding up of pine trees killed by the bark beetles.

So many nice and interesting articles in the current issue of Forbes (yes, getting for free).

This one is about a guy, Mark Mathis who went into a Home Depot and found out there was a shortage of wood pellets for his stove. Because of that, he started his own pellet mill. After one year, he's already turning a profit.

The best part, is that he's making the wood pellets with wood from trees that were killed by the bark beetles. The wood is dried in furnaces that are heated by sawdust.

Future plans include turning one ton of wood into 60 gallons of ethanol and 800 pounds of wood pellets.

Click here to read more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Forbes article on High-Frequency Trading

Wow. 40 racks of servers overseen by traders backed by two separate power substations and 196,000 pounds of batteries and soon, also a 2,000-kilowatt diesel generator.

In this Forbes magazine (yup, still getting it free), this article talks about the equipment, locations and ideas to make money within milliseconds. Some have a direct fiber-optic connection to exchange computers. Why transmit via the internet?

All this equipment is needed to do "high-frequency" trades. To me, it's a bunch of arbitrage. The systems perform 2,000 trades in one second. It tries to catch 0.1 0r 0.01 cent differences, but catches the difference thousands of times each day.

Now the NYSE is exploring renting out space for similar connections directly to its exchange.

Just don't get it wrong 2,000 times in one second.

Click here to read the article.

What? Limited reward with unlimited risk?

I hope I never get caught in something like this. Here's a piece on "accumulator" contracts. Where you have a one-year contract to purchase a stock every day at a discount. In this example they said you buy a $10 stock for $8 (20 percent discount) every trading day for one year. Sounds great, right? It's a purchase at a 20 percent discount, but if you could sell, it's actually a 25 percent gain!

Here the problem. If the stock goes up five percent, the contract gets cancelled. So you bought a bunch at $8.00 and once it hits $10.50, you no longer can buy at the $8.00 price. On the flip side, if the price drops to less than $8.00, you actually need to buy even more. In some cases, double the amount. Talk about a way to try and support the price of a particular stock.

So the maximum reward is $2.50 and any capital appreciation/dividends beyond $10.50, but the "guaranteed" 25 percent return is gone. The risk is (nearly) unlimited.

Beware, and read the fine print.

Click here to read more details.

Do people really routinely spend $575 for a white shirt?

Just came across one of the free magazines I get, the WSJ magazine ( There was an article about the "white shirt." It talks a little about the history in men and women and how to wear it.

It lists some six samples that range from $44.50 for the Gap model and up to $575 for the Giorgio Armani.

Not sure if the Armani model is truly worth the difference...or is it? Ask me, and I would say the marginal increase in cost is not.

Click here for the article.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wow! $8 for an Espresso (book that is)

Things are coming full circle with Google. First it scanned millions of books into its databases. Now it is making two million of the books that are no longer covered by copyright law available to a machine called "The Espresso Book Machine." The machine is capable of printing a 300-page paperback book in less than five minutes.

The machines themselves sell for $100,000 and there are lease options. Of the$8.00, $1.00 goes to On Demand Books (the manufacturer of the machine) and $1.00 goes to Google who promises to donate this to charities. The rest goes to the owner of the machine and to pay for variable costs (paper, electricity, etc).

Click here to read the article on Yahoo! Finance

Sunday, September 13, 2009

iPigs for iPods (and also iBoo and iPandas)

I don't have an iPod at this time (don't have a need), but here's a cute product. It's a docking station, but shaped like a Pig, Panda, or a ghost (if that's what they look like).

Here's a picture from this article:
The price is around $100 to $130 depending on the model. Remember to shop on-line through my Upromise link or purchase directly from Amazon using this link: iPigs on Amazon

Click here for Speakal, the manufacturer's website.

Real estate (obviously) popped. What's next?

Here's a list of 10 possibilities as posted on a Yahoo! Finance article:
  1. China
  2. Green
  3. Gold
  4. Federal reserve
  5. Trash stocks (risky stocks now overvalued)
  6. Education
  7. Subprime 2.0
  8. Life insurance securitization
  9. Commercial real estate
  10. Emerging markets
Click here for more details

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

AirPort Express Option (instead of Sonos)

In this previous post, I listed some options in lieu of spending relatively big money on a Sonos system.

Now I found another option.

If you have an Apple AirPort Express you can connect it to your AirPort Extreme Base Station. Now from your computer, you can control each of the AirPort Express devices and which music plays to each of them. Plus, there's an iPhone or iPod touch app (for free of course) that allows you to remotely access your iTunes library and control all AirPort Express devices. You can also simultaneously play the same music file through all speakers.

I think the only downside I see is that your computer needs to be on the entire time. With Sonos, your computer can be off because the files are on a network-attached drive.

At right around $100 each, you can fairly inexpensively "pipe" music into other rooms. There are no built-in speakers and you will need to connect the "Audio out" jack to some sort of amplifier/speaker system.

Just a brief search revealed that some have technical difficulties trying to connect their AirPort Express with non-Apple routers.

Click here to go to Apple's site for more information about AirTunes and this functionality.

Click here to view Apple's video tutorial on how to set this up with either a Mac OS or a Windows computer and also how to use iPod touch or iPhone as the remote.