Your Real "Real Money"

June 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Finances, Technology 

Jim Cramer's real money
Jim Cramer's real money: sane investing in an insane world
Jim Cramer; Simon & Schuster 2005
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Cramer writes as he speaks: a little too cocky, self confident, straightforward, candid, and with a couple of “insider” jokes that make you think he is the only one that finds them funny. It is a great flight book (that is a book to read on a boring 6 hour flight). That being said, the book is a good collection of sane (yes, I said sane) advices for the novice and no so novice investor. His stock-picking rules are a good organized way to summarize the basics of disciplined investing / trading. I have two pet peeves on his recommendations: the way he defines diversification (which is not exclusive of Mr. Cramer), and the 5 stock limit for part time investors. Let me explain.

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The battle for the Smart Phone is on!

June 14, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Technology 

Palm-Pre

The industry seems desperate to find an alternative to the iPhone so far with no success. Palm (the inventor of the category in a way) launched last week the “pre” a successor to the “pro” (pretty creative naming) that is supposed to be what we’re all been waiting for. Based on what Palm calls WebOS (do not try to pronounce it in Spanish) which is really a WebKit browser on top of a Linux kernel. It is to me just another “clever phone”, pretty well designed, but just a follow up.

The phone looks promising with a full touch screen, a sliding qwerty keyboard, a well thought out user interface and a great webkit browser. It is really an adequate challenger to the iPhone’s kingdom. The problem is the partner carrier. Sprint has been losing customers since the Nextel acquisition (at the tune of 300K/month at some point!) that did not go well at all. It has the worst coverage in the US and the least amount of international carrier partnerships. It has put all its eggs in the 4G JV with Clearwire and has not invested enough in the mundane 3 or 3.5G. If it wasn’t enough, the Pre is built on the CDMA technology, which is great, but very few carriers in the world support it. One will hope they thought about it and they are cranking an HSPA version as we speak for AT&T and most of the world. Better yet, a dual mode (like the Blackberry Storm) that supports both technologies in the same device. But for the Pre to stand a chance, it needs to find other carriers pronto.

The battle for the smart phone kingdom currently dominated by Research in Motion (aka RIM) the creator of the Blackberry with the most successful lineup in the industry that seems to yet unchallenged (yeah even by the iPhone). The interesting thing is that Windows Mobile (WM), the first mobile OS with (sort of) a real mobile browser after WEP is falling behind, way, way behind. LG, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and others serve up WM phone of varying success but no where near what RIM has been able to accomplish. When in 2006 there were twice as many WM phones shipped than any other smart phone.

Now, there is still the battle of the App Stores where Apple has an apparently unbeatable lead. Palm has not announced its store yet (as RIM has) but the Pre is iTunes compatible…weird thing. Is it a play for the true alternative to the iPhone or is it something else like someone getting ready to buy Palm? Who knows. But in any case, Nokia failed miserably with its store, RIM’s success is yet to be seen, and Windows’ App store, well …, will be Windows: late and not so impressive.

This battle brings memories of the glorious days of the RAZR, where everybody had one but Moto still sold 100M phones until it fell off a cliff with no true follow up. Will the iPhone follow the same fate? and the Pre, HTC-magic, G2, Moto-Q, STORM, Dare, and all sorts of weird unimaginative names – all probably registered trademarks – being the “me too’s” will also fall into oblivion soon? Check out a great comparison here.

A real mobile internet is what is needed. Check my other post What’s next after the iPhone and tell me what you think.

Enjoy.

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It is not about the gadget

May 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Technology 

Bike

Reading through my June 2009 Bicycling magazine – which I typically do cover to cover, ads and all – the article from the editor Loren Mooney caught my eye.  The author does a great piece on how keeping logs has changed and the the amount of data available for the casual rider thanks to multiple cool gadgets in the market.  Technology combined with biking, what can go wrong?  I then ventured to find my first logs too. Although I will not reveal the content, I found out that keeping a log by hand did not work for me not only because I was not too good, but because I was – actually still am – lazy too.  However, towards the end of 2008 I snatched the Garmin Forerunner 305® on a huge sell that couldn’t resist.  Given my definition of good weather, I have been able to try it out a couple of times only and I now realize this is the only real way to create a log.

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What's next after the iPhone?

April 23, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Technology 

We all have seen the success of the iPhone, what it has done to AT&T, and how it has changed the way we look at our phones. Blackberry maker RIM, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG, Samsung, and others have touch phones (the last three mostly with Windows Mobile or Android) that arguably perform similar functions.   App store clones are popping up like there is no tomorrow, carriers are warming up to WiFi, GPS is now a standard feature, and web browsing on a phone is a no-brainer.   We can’t help but question what’s next?  The problem with technology that took the industry by surprise is that it is very tough to follow.  Sure there is a 3.0 upgrade in store for the iPhone but it is evolutionary at best.  We all heard the potential improvements (a real keyboard, the ability to run multiple apps, a replaceable battery for crying out loud! etc.) but no analyst or company has come up with the next best thing.  A truly smart smartphone is what’s missing.

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Will WiMAX take off?

April 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Technology 

Sprint is touting its recently launched 4G service. It is a result of a joint venture with Clearwire. The underlying technology is called WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access).  WiMAX is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access with performance expectations similar to those of wired broadband like cable or DSL. WiMAX provides fixed, nomadic, portable, and mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station. In a typical cell radius deployment of three to ten kilometers, some WiMAX Forum Certified™ systems can be expected to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps per channel, for fixed and portable access applications.

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