Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Could the IRS Tax Virtual Gold?

Well it seems that the Republicans are blocking the push though.
The antitax position isn't surprising coming from a solid Republican
like Saxton, but there's more to it than that. His chief economist, Dan Miller,
is a veteran gamer, with hours of World of Warcraft under his belt and the level
41 night-elf priest character to prove it. "We're not approaching this as a
partisan issue," says Miller. "But if there's a new issue, you want to set the
terms of the debate...to make sure that we're talking about this in a sensible
manner, not waiting until it's too late. I don't think it's a good idea to wait
until the IRS has already started writing rules."

When your economist is a Night Elf Priest then you know Saxton knows what he is talking about when it comes to taxing virtual Gold.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wii does great in Japan

It looks like the Nintendo Wii like a great success at least in the Japanese console wars.
The company sold 3.2 million Wii consoles in November and December,
together with 17.5 million pieces of software, it said today. The
first in the U.S. on November 19 and sales totaled 1.25
million units by the end of the year. In Japan, where it debuted on December 2,
sales were 1.1 million units and in Australia and Europe, where it was on sale
within a week of the Japan launch, sales reached 800,000 units before the year

Arab's Speak out Against Glenn Beck

I have started listening to this radio commentator about a year ago and it seems he has riled up the Muslim groups. It looks like if you give an opinion contrary to these groups then you need to lose your job. Why don't these groups just boycott Good Morning America?
The groups said that Beck _ who's drawing strong ratings with his
evening show on CNN Headline News _ has stated on his show that Arab and Muslim Americans are apathetic to terrorism. During an interview in November with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, Beck asked him to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

8th Century Ship Found

Now this is quite an interesting find in the Mediterranean.
The wreck [image] was found almost a decade ago but only today were details released after a prolonged series of excavations. Using carbon dating techniques, the wreck was dated to the early 8th century, some 1,300 years ago.

It was carrying some pretty interesting trade goods as well. I wonder if this ship was Roman or was it from the people that lived in this area during that time?

Kahanov said it is a rare find given the amount of wood that's been
preserved in the hull. Also found were 30 vessels of pottery of different sizes
and designs containing fish bones, ropes, mats, a bone needle, a wooden spoon,
wood carvings and food remains, mainly carobs and olives.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Motorola Cuts 3500 Jobs

It looks like Motorola is feeling the pain in the high end phone market and they are cutting expenses to compensate
Facing stiffer competition from its rivals' new products, Motorola
aggressively cut prices of its phones during the quarter, especially in emerging
markets, to gain market share but at the expense of profit margins. Executives
also acknowledged misjudging some markets and, as Zander put it, making wrong assumptions about how many products would sell at what price.

I think they just need a solid followup to the RAZR to compete in the high end phone market again. I mean they should still have the same design pros that came up with the RAZR on staff so they could probably do the trick. I think there is much more innovation and elegant design at Motorola then in their competitors. I think this will translate into higher margins in the long run. Of all the people that could create something to compete with the IPhone in the high end market MOT would be the one to do it.

LG Comes Out with Touch Phone

It seems that the big cell phone companies aren't waiting around to go after the IPhone.

The new phone has no traditional keypad but instead sports what LG
terms "the world's first advanced touch interface". This is said to make he
overall user experience a highly tactile one. It's a new design, said to be the
result of fashion legend
Miuccia Prada, in charge of the
eponymous luxury goods producer, and LG.

The PRADA (KG850) looks like a black, Lucite covered, brick though. And this has to be one of the dorkiest looking displays I have ever seen on a consumer electronics product. It looks like something that should retail for $20 in the toy section and not something that can compete with the Iphone's elegant design. I think LG needs to hire some design gurus from Japan or something to make their products look less generic.

McDonalds Opens First Drive Through in China

This should be a nice growth driver for McDonalds Chinese operations.
The Beijing drive-through is the first in McDonald's venture with China
Petroleum and Chemical Corp., which McDonald's China CEO Jeffrey Schwartz said would open 25 to 30 more in the next 12 to 18 months. Both gas stations and
drive-throughs are booming as car purchases by newly affluent drivers speed
China's change from a bicycle culture to a car culture

I think there is some Jay Leno joke waiting to happen with them teaming up with Sinopec to do this. Something about them needing an oil company so they can get enough oil to fry their McNuggets.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Netflix Rolls Out Video on Demand Service

It seems that Netflix is starting the long migration to digital downloads.
The Los Gatos-based company plans to unveil the new "Watch Now" feature
Tuesday, but only a small number of its more than 6 million subscribers will get
immediate access to the service, which is being offered at no additional

It seems like this would bode well for the stock but not so fast. They have gone from a 2 horse race between them and Blockbuster to a very crowded field:
Online movie delivery already is available through services like CinemaNow,
MovieFlix, Movielink, Vongo and Amazon.com Inc.'s recently launched Unbox. Apple Inc. also is emerging as major player, with hundreds of movies and TV shows on sale at its iTunes store and a new device that promises to transport media from a computer to a TV screen.

Unless Netflix can rise above the others and become the king of digital downloads they will probably go the way of the dodo. I would still rather get a DVD from the mail and put it into my DVD player at the present time. It is much better then waiting forever to download the thing and then having to move it to my TV through the purchase of some other $300 piece of hardware. I guess that attitude may be old fashioned in a few short years.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Great Article on Using RSI to pick Stocks

Now this is a very good article on Tradingmarkets.com about using a 2 period RSI (Relative Strength Index ) to pick stocks. And this is quite a sample size that they are using as well:
We looked at over seven million trades from 1/1/95 to 6/30/06. The
table below shows the average percentage gain/loss for all stocks during our
test period over a 1-day, 2-day, and 1-week (5-days) period. These numbers
represent the benchmark which we use for comparisons.

I certainly like when the 2 period RSI is 1 or less. A 1 day return is (+0.27,) 2 days (+0.62%,) and 1-week later (+1.05%) I am going to add this to my list of things to check on for a stock. It will certainly help time an entry point. They even have some trading strategies based around this aspect of the 2 period RSI as well:
This research we're presenting here is just the tip of the iceberg
using the 2-period RSI. For example, greater results can be found by looking for
multiple day readings under 10, 5 or 2. And, even greater results can be
achieved by combining the readings with other factors such as buying a low level
RSI stock if it trades 1-3% lower intraday. As time passes we'll share some of
these research findings, along with handful of trading strategies with

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The IPhone Suppliers: another way to play the gadget

Well it looks like the periphery companies that might be making IPhone parts are seeing a little lift in these past few trading days.
Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Craig Berger in a client note said
Broadcom Corp. is rumored to supply the touch screen controller chip for the
iPhone, which could add 2 cents to 7 cents per share to 2007 earnings. The
company could also be providing the AlphaMosaic video processor for the new
gadget, as it does for current iPods, but is not probably not providing the
item's Bluetooth enabler, added Berger.

However, Broadcom has sold off 2.8% today after it went up 4% yesterday. Maybe the big boys are running the stock down in order to buy back heavy. Or it could just be some profit taking now that analysts have run the numbers and aren't flying blind. I found this interesting though:
The analyst noted many people believe Marvell Technology Group Ltd.
is supplying the iPhone Wi-Fi chip. Sales related to the device could boost
Marvell's 2007 earnings by 2 cents per share, or $36 million in sales, he
added. Marvell shares added $1.05, or 5.3 percent, to $20.78 on the

I wonder if that Wi-Fi chip will let the IPhone share music and files through a short range ad hoc type network? It would be kind of like the Zune's Share-through-the-air feature but with a phone attached. The IPhone could actually be that true digital convergence device combining all of a persons multi-media apps in one easy to access place.

It certainly would be a whole new way of selling lots of videos, music, ringtones, games, etc. through that Ipod store at a buck a toss. If this is the case then Apple at $110+ a share might be in order.

Cisco Sues Apple over IPhone

Hmm it seems that Cisco had the IPhone name already trademarked and were in negotiations that Apple had backed out of.

Cisco said Apple had approached the
company a number of times over the past few years about a licensing agreement to use the name, and that the talks heated up in the past few weeks.

However, Cisco said communication between the companies ceased Monday, and even while Jobs was holding court at the Macworld Conference and Expo, Apple
lawyers had not signed and returned the final contract.

I wonder if this lawsuit will get as heated as the ones that went after Microsoft a while back? War of the Tech Titans is just the kind of thing that the business media eats up.

Scorpions on a Plane!

Now this is an interesting story. How did this scorpion get onto the plane? Maybe they are storing these planes in the desert or something when they are not in use or in maintenence.
"It felt like a shock, a tingly thing. Someone screamed, 'It's a
scorpion,'" Sullivan recalled. Another passenger stepped on the two-inch
arachnid, and someone suggested Sullivan seek medical help.

He scooped up the scorpion and headed to the hospital in
Burlington. His wife stopped at the United counter and was told the plane they
were on had flown from Houston to Chicago. The Sullivans surmised the scorpion
boarded in Texas.

The bad part is that this isn't even the first time it has happened:
Such incidents are not unheard of. An American Airlines flight was
delayed for an hour in Toronto on Sunday after a passenger was stung by a
scorpion that had made its way on board. Paramedics treated the man when the
flight from Miami landed. The delay came when officials searched the aircraft to
ensure no other critters had stowed away.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

O'Reilly to be on Colbert Report

Now this is going to be a fun show! The show is going to take place on January 18th. Now this is a classic Colbert line:
"I look forward to the evening," Colbert said. "It is an honor to speak
face-to-face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr.

Apple Unvails IPhone

It seems like an interesting new direction for the what will be now known as Apple Inc. and not Apple Computers. I wonder if they are going to change the equasion when it comes to seasoned competition like Motorola, Nokia, and RIMMs Blackberry? It certainly is expensive though:

The iPhone, which starts at $499, is controlled by touch, plays music,
surfs the Internet and runs the Macintosh computer operating system. Jobs said
it will "reinvent" the telecommunications sector and "leapfrog" past the current
generation of hard-to-use smart phones

It does look cool to me. It is nice and thin and has a pretty big screen. It looks very high tech and elegant like you would expect from Apple. However I wouldn't buy the thing when it costs the same as a low end PC. I'll wait until the early adopters get their hands on it before I'll make any final judgement calls. Also you would have to switch to Cingular if you want a crack at it in the first place.

Somali Escalation

It looks like we are widening the war on terror a bit. I wonder if the Dems are going to jump all over him for this action?
Witnesses said 31 civilians, including two newlyweds, died in the
assault by two helicopters near Afmadow, a town in an area of forested hills
close to the Kenyan border 220 miles southwest of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.
The report could not be independently verified.

A Somali Defense Ministry official described the helicopters as
American, but the local witnesses told The Associated Press they could not make
out identification markings on the craft. Washington officials had no

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

College Coaching is Far Better Then Pros

At least according to this columnist. This is the statement that I agree with the most.

We have written this before: Fans should remember that a very good
college job tends to be a better overall job than most NFL positions.

I agree with this 100%. Now that Bama is giving someone like Saban the big money to coach in college, there is no real reason to be a pro coach anymore. First of all they have to work 20 hour days to out think their opponent. Then they don't get much of an off season because they have to go to the Combine, NFL draft, etc. He has to constantly think about salary cap issues or which player is in jail this week. He is pretty much a slave to football and winning for the majority of the year. In times past these were the reasons why Pro coaches made the big bucks. Now that Alabama is dishing out the big checks what incentive do pro coaches have to deal with all the aggravation, stress, and the destruction of family life that comes with coaching in the pros?

This push to either make the playoffs (and do better if you are already a playoff team) or get fired is why I keep thinking many coaches are better off coaching in college. When I see a talented coach like Jim Mora pretty much get the axe because he was forced to stick with Michael Vick even though he isn't a passer (and will never be a passer) it makes me ill. Teams just loaded up and made Vick beat them with his arm instead of his feet. How can you win if you are forced into a corner like that?

Then you have an owner like Blank breathing down your neck and hanging around on the sidelines. I mean what does Blank care? He can't lose money on the team no matter what he does because the NFL has profit sharing. I think Mora is much better off coaching the Washington Huskies. He has all the time in the world to build that school back into a national power again. In fact he may even get the chance to stay there for 30 years if he wants to. He has the opportunity to become a legend.

That is why good coaches like Pete Carroll should stay in college and get the money, the recognition, and the fame without having to please some insane owner. I mean even winning a Super Bowl isn't enough for some owners. It looks like they are going to force out Cowher just a year after winning the big game. This is also after a decade of faithful service. You don't see people trying to force out the Longhorns' Mack Brown after Texas loses a few games and misses the BCS. I mean Cowher was forced to stick with an idiot QB that injured himself in a motorcycle accident, who threw a ton of picks, and was generally ineffective. He still was almost able to take the Steelers to the playoffs. Thanks for winning a Super Bowl coach, here's your pink slip.

That "win now or your fired" attitude is what I hate about the Pros. You can never have a coaching legend like Bear Bryant in the Pros because he would go 8-8 after winning 2 national championships back to back and then get fired. There is no sense of loyalty when you can't even stick with a guy that was able to win it all for you just a year after he does it. Oh well, the Pros loss is colleges gain.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

UFO Spotted Over O'Hare Airport

Now this is pretty strange to be national news. This is usually relegated to the Fortean Times type of magazines but this is an actual AP news item.
Federal officials say it was probably just some weird weather
phenomenon, but a group of United Airline employees swear they saw a mysterious, saucer-shaped craft hovering over O'Hare Airport last fall.

The workers, some of them pilots, said the object didn't have lights
and hovered over an airport terminal before shooting up through the clouds,
according to a report in Monday's Chicago Tribune.