2008-12-29

Patent busting websites

http://www.articleonepartners.com/ get up to $50000 bounty for busting existing patent

http://peertopatent.org/ community review of patents before issuance

http://www.linuxdefenders.org/ open source related patent reviews

2008-12-28

Generating white(/pink/brown/blue/violet) noise with your computer

While there are all kinds of hardware based "white noise" generators are out there, having one installed in your computer could offer a nice personal privacy bubble. Some choices are:
"white noise" generator with sox for Linux
White Noise CD
simplynoise
Serene Sound
Burninwave Generator (read disclaimer first)
thefreesoundproject (white noise)
audio system test files
AMS (audio masking system)

2008-12-20

Online appliance stores

http://www.ffemax.com/ http://www.homeeverything.com/ http://www.us-appliance.com/ http://www.absolutehome.com/ http://www.pcrichard.com/ http://www.universal-akb.com/ http://www.amroyal.com/ http://www.abt.com/ http://www.appliancesonlineus.com/

2008-12-10

Matlab/Mathematica Open Source/GPL clones


Another site listing various math software is Alois' Mathematical Software. Also see Simulation tools for Linux systems.

When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge by K David Harrison (2008)

Human languages are fascinating reflections of the human mind. The author offers engaging examples on the various myths and legends, and storytellers; classification of plants, animals, seasons; map perceptions and expression of (relative) directions; timekeeping and calendaring techniques; (body part based) numbering schemes; object/subject/gender information packaging made up by our human species, and argues that the loss of these languages is losing human knowledge gathered for millenniums. This is certainly to be argued for, and the knowledge preservation work the author and other linguists are doing is very valuable in this regard. The dilemma is that achieving preservation might not mean these languages are able to survive. While there are certainly cases, when oppressive governments cause languages to assimilate or disappear altogether, in most cases societal changes are the causes. The problem is, that many of these languages are ill suited for modern life, and do not exhibit the required flexibility to adapt. Also I do not think, it is for the author to decide, that reindeer herders are to stick to their previous style of life and so keep their language well suited for the old lifestyle going, and should not be given a choice to get a degree (possible in linguistics of the disappearing languages) outside their home village, and possibly to join the author in his noble academic quest.

Free (although limited functionality) tax preparation software

http://www.taxact.com/

http://www.taxslayer.com/classic.aspx

http://turbotax.intuit.com/

2008-12-05

Rainbow tables

Rainbow tables are used to find the original plaintext for a hashed password. The password can be hashed using different hashroutines, where the most common are MD5, LM and NTLM.

http://www.freerainbowtables.com/

http://www.freerainbowtables.com/en/faq/

2008-11-28

Firefox privacy add-ons

Stealther https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1306

Distrust https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1559

2008-09-25

Flashcard learning tools

http://www.opencards.info/

2008-09-24

SQL Structure Export/Import Tools

http://jailer.sourceforge.net/

http://www.liquibase.org/

http://schemaspy.sourceforge.net/

2008-09-14

EV (Electric vehicles)

V is for Voltage
EcoModder

Manufacturers:

EVT America (range 30-45 miles, speed 45 mph,$2899)
Vectrix (range 45+ miles, speed 60 mph, $9395)
X-Treme (range 50 miles, speed 43 mph, $2499.00)
Zapino (range 30 mile, speed 30 mph, $3495)
FalconEV (range 25 miles, speed 33 mph, $2400+shipping)
e-max (European sales only)(this is the cautionary tale, predecessor went bankrupt, never fulfilling warranties)

Code search plugins for Eclipse

http://www.koders.com/downloads/IDEplugins/Eclipse/site.xml searches http://koders.com

http://merobase.com/updates searches http://merobase.com/ (login required)

Roll your own:

http://browsebyquery.sourceforge.net/eclipse-site/site.xml from http://browsebyquery.sourceforge.net/

http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/opengrok/

Without Eclipse plugin:

http://www.codase.com/
http://www.codefetch.com/
http://www.google.com/codesearch
http://www.google.com/codesearch/advanced_code_search
http://jsourcery.com/
http://www.krugle.org/
http://www.quickref.org/
http://labs.oreilly.com/code/ code from O'Reilly books
http://www.planet-source-code.com/
http://www.codeproject.com/ .Net only
http://www.ucodit.com/espviewer/

JavaDocs:

http://www.jdocs.com/


Code review

http://code.google.com/p/jupiter-eclipse-plugin/

2008-09-13

The Code Book by Simon Singh (2003)

This is a very nice introduction to cryptology for a "teen" version of the book, offering peeks into the various historical events affected by code making and breaking. Stories of Greek stenography, Mary Queen of the Scots, Enigma (and successful code breaking efforts by Polish and English scientists/military), Navajo "wind" talkers, discovery of the public-private key based RSA algorithm (and it's implementation in PGP and the political wrangling around it) offer a wide background and lots of historical lessons. In addition, the book also presents basic introduction to various ciphers and cipher breaking techniques, like frequency analysis.

2008-08-29

Websites offering free creditscore

http://Credit.com/ (???)
http://CreditKarma.com/ (Transunion based)
https://www.quizzle.com/ (Experian based, owned by Quicken, no SSN required)

It should be noted that these might or might not be your "official" FICO score ...

And there is also the Annual Credit Report site at:

http://annualcreditreport.com/

2008-08-18

Java mutation testing/fuzzing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation_testing

http://jester.sourceforge.net/

http://jumble.sourceforge.net/

http://cs.gmu.edu/~offutt/mujava/ ┬ÁJava http://muclipse.sourceforge.net/

http://www.doc.gold.ac.uk/~mas01sd/mutants/index.html

http://www.nada.kth.se/~karlm/a_mutation_testing_tool_for_java.pdf

http://www.laughingpanda.org/mediawiki/index.php/Test_Police

2008-08-08

Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run by by Alton Brown, Jean-Claude Dhien (2008)

There are still back roads in America leading from Louisiana to Minnesota following the great Mississippi, lined with all kind of (in many cases hole-in-the-wall) eateries. While the author comes through as a flaming a*hole, he seems to be able to talk to folks running said establishments, and get them to share their authentic recipes. The koolickles (Kool-Aid pickles) are worth mentioning, but there are a good number of other recipes too, from bread pudding, through BBQ sauce, to Russian borscht. No chain restaurants in this book.

2008-07-06

Jesse James: The Man and his Machines by Mike Seate (2003)

Master bike builder Jesse James (yes a far relation to the real Jesse James) is an excellent self promoter (going from being a college dropout, and bar bouncer to running a million dollar business), and also a master welder and metal worker, who seem to be immensely enjoying his craft, working himself and his "mexicans" with 12+ hours days. Learning from the rough neighborhood his shop is located in, he melds the images of chopped bicycles, prison issue exercise cap, and the like into his form of art. 60% of the business comes from apparel sales, which shows at the West Coast Chopper site, as motorcycle chopkits nowhere to be found. Nice chopper photos and a compelling story.

2008-06-02

Robert Ludlum's The Moscow Vector: A Covert-One Novel by Robert Ludlum, Patrick Larkin, Erik Bergmann (2007)

A story so stereotypical, that it almost feels OK. We got Jon Smith, the super agent, and Randy the female counterpart. Helping them is another very attractive female. On the other side, we got the bad boys in the Kremlin, a rogue Serbian born billionaire, an East-German born biological weapons scientist and ex-Stasi and other trained killers on their payroll. The one intriguing idea worthy of Michael Crichton, is the personalized biological weapon, which only attacks the intended victim as targeted by DNA. With all told, another world shattering confrontation is averted. Might be enjoyed as in car listening.

2008-06-01

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (2008)

From the harrowing opening pages, through the surprising ending, the detective story (as "inspired" by Andrei Chikatilo's crimes) is an engulfing read. But what makes this an outstanding book, is the recreation of the all permeating fear as the essence of the Stalinist state terror. If you happen to think, that a big and strong government is good for the citizenry, this book might offer some discussion topics.

2008-05-24

The Appeal by John Grisham (2008)

After his pizza debacle, here is the latest from Mr. Grisham. So this is Erin Brockovich sprinkled with bought election of state Supreme Court judges, as a way to overturn lawsuits from the little people. The details on election rigging by special interest groups might be just too timely as to the upcoming elections in the US. Is he back? It is not a fully convincing effort ...

2008-04-19

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (2006)

An excellent collection of short stories on magic, many are spin-offs on Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, all just ever slightly bordering reality as set in the 19th century English countryside. Recommended.

Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads: Coping with the Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Counselors Who Can Rule--or Ruin --Your Child's Life by Elizabeth Rapoport (2006)

Want to be transported back to your high school (or maybe middle school) days, of cool kids, sidekicks, outcasts, outsiders, the strongly kept social hierarchy of every "respectable" educational institution? Counselor Rapoport notes, that parents helping their offsprings are also creating similar social cliques themselves, and the existence of those cliques might have a strong (and usually negative) effect on the education of your child. Starting from this description, the author offers simplistic, one shoe fits all approaches to many problems facing children and adolescents (and their parents). The simple mindedness of approaches taken/offered might reflect the skill levels and approaches of many school counselor.

2008-04-06

The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and Investment Opportunities by Bernard Baumohl (2007)

This book offers all and more you ever wanted to learn about the various economic indicators for both US and other countries (unless you are somebody doing analyzing them for a living), including the description of the secretive release processes to ensure that data is not leaked early. The data collector (the government in many cases, but sometimes private organizations), data collection methodology, release schedule, internet location of current and historic data, analysis dicussion, market impact and more are discussed for each of these indicators, although there is no table listing them all in order of perceived importance (and/or market impact). Learning and following these (delayed) data release might help you to gage the health of the economy (here you are competing with significant brainpower hired by the Fed, and any number of organizations tried to make money in the markets), and indeed only knowing the expectations of expectations (and so on :) would be helpful to apply this knowledge to the state of the markets. The few pages discussing the indicators influencing the stock, bond and FX markets are probably the most interesting part of this book. The order of influences are different for all three markets. The main influencer seems to be the Employment Situation for all three. Other important indicators for the stock and bond markets are ISM Manufacturing Reports, weekly unemployment claims, consumer prices and producer prices. The FX market (in particular the US Dollar exchange rate) is influenced by international trade, GDP and the like, although one could argue that whatever has an effect on one market should effect other markets. There is also a listing of market leading indicators, yield curve, and orders for durable goods (M3), producer prices and personal income and spending being the most important, and indeed one would look for multiple indicators reinforcing each other confirming findings.

2008-03-11

Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It by David S. Platt (2006)

If you wonder how a book with a provocative title, and with an endorsement from the author's barber (sic.) would turn out, the book is all right. While the author displays a somewhat limited view of the worlds (based on him being a Microsoft software legend, basically a book author with lots of copies sold), concentrating with strong humor (and a few haikus) mostly on web site annoyances and Microsoft products. He does pinpoint the main reason, software sucks because the developers do not know (or maybe do not care) about who is the real user, and what the real user is trying to accomplish using the software. Or maybe this is just the geeks taking it out on the jocks for all that suffering in high school? Can you do something about this? Certainly, complain (maybe to C* level executives at the offending companies), vote with your purse and spread the word.

2008-03-02

E: The Story of A Number by Eli Maor (1993)

Puzzles of Finance: Six Practical Problems and Their Remarkable Solutions by Mark P. Kritzman (2002)

This book is to be started by reading the last chapter, offering a basic introduction to investment concepts, including continuous return on assets, definition(s) of risk, normal distribution and the like. Then jump onto the puzzles.
The first one is "Siegel's Paradox", which seem to be basically a prolonged discussion around the fat that losing 50% of your investment means that you need to make 100% to get back to where you started, expressed in the terms of foreign exchange rate moves (or I might have just missed something on this one). But of course, the actual purchasing parity moves the opposite direction, so there is no free lunch to have based on exchange rate movements.
The next chapter discusses, how the likelihood of loss can be about anything, depending on how exactly the criteria is spelled out.
Chapter 3 on time diversification discusses if/how the investment time horizon effects risk (this is dependent on how we defined risk) and the surprising answer might be, that longer term investing carries the same risk as shorter term (in particular if risk is measured in using log wealth utility function). The log wealth utility function (first expressed in Daniel Bernoulli's St. Petersburg Paradox, the Bernoullis also had a major role in defining the number e) conveys, that $100 uninvested ( ln($100)=4.6052 ) is equivalent to a 50% chance of 1/3 gain and 50% chance of 1/4 loss ( 0.5*ln($133.33)+0.5*ln($75)=4.6052 ). Variability of loss decreases (hence the love of portfolio managers to long term investing, results can be made look better on paper), while the magnitude of loss increases, and the utility stays the same. Another utility function is -1 divided by wealth (which is more conservative than log wealth).
Chapter 4 demonstrates, using bootstrapping (which is resampling of the results of a past period repeatedly) of real returns on securities, that geometric average/mean of a compounding distribution is higher than its median, so your expected return on your investment is not to be expected. Chapter 4 also demonstrates the asymetricity in compounding effects of geometric returns, where the high end of returns are further away from the middle value, than the low end of returns (both in percentage and actual values). At the same time, the percentage of continuous returns stays symmetrical.
The next chapter offers the view, that an investor is better off using a balanced strategy (investing in a riskless and risky asset at the same time), as contrasted to switching between those same assets for equal periods. While the cumulative wealth are the same, the switching strategy has higher variance (it is riskier). To arrive to the same Sharpe ratio (as expressed by dividing the excess return of an investment by the standard deviation of that same excess return), the switching 100% each year strategy would need to bring an extra 5% of return (this is the market timing skill needed to make switching worthwhile). These results are even more pronounced if log wealth utility is applied to these returns. Another demonstration of increasing risk for longer timeframe is shown by option pricing, prices for options increases with volatility, but it also increases with longer expiration (even if volatility stays the same).
Chapter 6 explains how the pricing of options is independent from the expected return of the underlier. The Black-Scholes formula indeed has no reference to the expected return (although one probably should argue that volatility, which is assumed to be known and constant by the formula is greatly influenced by the changing perceptions and expectations of the expected return), instead the riskless return determines the option price (based on equivalence of hedged positions). Volatility of an asset can be expressed using beta, which represents the asset's non-diversifiable risk (which relates the return of the asset to the market's expected return). The chapter offers a good history of the formula from botany, through heat distribution to corporate finance. The law of one price is also related, stating that price of assets is independent of the capital structure and dividend payment policies.
Good brainteasers.

2008-02-29

Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices for Better Returns by Alfred Rappaport, Michael J. Mauboussin (2001)

This surely must be an excellent book, as it is endorsed by Jeff Skilling of Enron "fame", and throws in a good word for Enron as the reinventor company. But joke aside, the book starts out with an interesting idea, instead of the usual calculations (read pulling it out of a hat, or maybe from a body part a bit lower) trying to determine a correct valuation of the company, could we go backward from the stock price, as established by the market, to the expected valuation, and make judgement calls on the validity of those expectation. The trouble is that there are a whole lot of assumptions need to be made on the current and future state of the company, and knowing those facts can be very hard even for insiders (if one believes the "they all just did this behind my back" defenses in cases like Enron), and it is definitely even harder for an investor learning this information from annual reports and other observations. One should also assume, that similar approaches are already used with all those mutual funds there, who can throw a whole lot of analyst time and processing power trying to figure out these numbers, and still arrive to mediocre investment returns when compared to market averages. Case in point is the Gateway case study as presented in the book, which, after a whole lot of pages of calculations and assumptions, arrives to three prices for the company, from which one would be expected to select the right one to use, based on your expectations of the expectations of the market, which does not take us very far from acting on the perceived random behavior of the market. Gateway itself was purchased by Acer for $1.90, which is well below of any of the expectation price ranges as calculated in this book. There are also some chapters offering generic discussions on how mergers and acqusitions, share buyback and executive compensation influences the perceptive and real outlook of companies. Do not expect much reading this book.

2008-02-28

The Day Trader: From the Pit to the PC by Lewis Borsellino (1999)

The author and his brother (also a trader in the S&P pit), grown up in a Sicilian Italian family, with their made man father serving a organized crime robbery conviction in their younger years, and who was later murdered by his own associates. The childhood education sticks, he and his brother shaking down exhibitors as a summer job with the and it also earned Mr. Borsellino a battery conviction during college. It also helped him to muscle in quite literally (by beating up other traders) into several pits of the Merc. We also learn how much their father loved them, how they loved him back, how hard it is to be discriminated against as an Italian, and how smart and hard working the author is. Fortunately for him, the author was not indicted in the FBI sting against illegal trading practices at CME. We also learn of escapades, with trades outside of any reasonable trading limits, with throwing up right afterward in the bathroom, and also how to scalp the customer order flow for nice quick profits (of course this is only nice if you are the one doing the scalping). The author also offers his (narrow-minded) views on electronic trading (basically it is good-for-nothing), where his limited knowledge of computer systems does show. Some references to support and resistance, reading the mind of market are there, but if looking for some trading knowledge, there is not much to see here, so move along. Otherwise the book makes a nice biographical read of the almost bygone era of the pit trading, similar to Charlie D.: The Story of the Legendary Bond Trader.

2008-02-21

The Science of Winning (High Stakes) by Burton P. Fabricand (1977)

The author leads us from the applicability of random walk and normal distribution to various areas of human behavior, including wealth distribution, gambling results, and in particular to parimutuel betting (read horses) and the stock market. In the author's view both of these markets are efficient in expressing market expectations of participants, but this does not mean they are "strongly efficient". Statistics and methodology are presented on beating the tracks and the stock market (although the 15-20% "take" from the top might make the tracks a harder nut to crack). Statistical formulas like expected standard deviation Ö`N`*`p``*`q (calculated from the number of trials, percent of losses, and percent of gains), chi-square tests, "t" test, ballot theorem are used to substantiate the findings. At the tracks, favorites are underbet and last minute information are not absorbed to change the expectations of the outcome. Betting on favorites and utilizing last minute information (and following a myriad of other proposed rules), might allow the reader to beat the "take" and come out ahead. The author actually takes less than half the number of pages as compared to racetrack betting to discuss his stock market approach. Going against the mainstream efficient market hypothesis (EMH), the author offers statistics proving, that corporate events (like earnings surprises) are not discounted quickly enough (one explanation could be that big market players just cannot get quickly enough in/out of a particular security and also that they do not have lots of choices of companies to invest in, so might choose to stay in a security, even if it is already understood to be declining). Of course various other discussions like this were made available on this subject, mostly proving this same point. Actual process seems simple enough, investments are selected by comparing ValueLine estimates to actual earnings reported by the Wall Street Journal (of course one can substitute other sources for this information if preferred, one could also take time to do earnings swags as the "real" analysts do), and companies with an earnings increase of more than 10% are bought and with an earnings decrease of more than 10% can be shorted. With the market's upside bias, the short positions were doing worse than the long positions. Options could also be used to simulate the same positions, or enhance the leverage. An entertaining read, although the (likely computer generated) rules on racetrack betting getting to be a tedious read (and probably even more painful to implement :) ...

2008-02-05

Our Brave New World by GaveKal Research (2005)

Indeed, "this time it is different" are the most expensive words pronounced. This excellent book by Louis V. Gave and associates offers an overview of the economic landscape, and unfortunately offers some conclusions, which clearly became incorrect based on the current happenings in the US finance and housing markets. The author argues, that we are well on our way into the The Third Wave as described by Alvin Toffler. Free trade, technological progress, industrial overcapacity and easy movement of goods, led to the creation of "platform" companies, which keep the high value added parts of their processes in-house, and outsource all the rest (including most production). These companies need much less working capital (a good example of this would be Ikea, entirely being financed by its profits, taking in no external capital). The outsourcing eliminates industrial employment (and trade unions) in the developed countries (where most of these companies like to be located, as they also rely on the rule of law for their functioning), and exports volatility to producer countries. The old forms of accounting and economics also describe this process incorrectly, hence the big discussions on the US trade deficit (this is not to say, that the US dollar exchange rate will not worsen ...). Most profit of any production stays with the platform companies, and the profit generated abroad also has a strong incentive to be repatriated into the stable developing economies (as investment, real estate purchases, luxury consumption, and the like).
There is also the giant sloshing pool of capital invested with the various hedge funds, trying to find inefficiencies (and quickly eliminating any and all), working with leveraged "return to mean", "momentum based" and "carry trade" strategies. Lots of capital chasing less opportunities, so capital is becoming cheaper, but mostly for the customer in the developed countries (as platform companies need less capital, and it is likely not smart to lend to the volatile industrial producers and to their workers, who can get laid off very quickly ...) moving us towards a deflationary environment.
So where does this lead us? The conclusion on the decreased volatility and sustainable real-estate prices were incorrect conclusions, based on the latest dips (or depression ...) in the US Housing prices and great increase in the market volatility. Maybe this was just another asset bubble (sustained by the extra low US interest rate) or the world economies need to be observed as a whole. Also the deflationary pressure seem to be lacking just by looking at the US budget deficit. But there are other valuable pointers: invest in customer related companies (retail, finance, although finance stocks are not doing that great either), buy scarcity assets (like high end real-estate, art, and the like), invest in emerging markets (with an eye on the economy cycles) and invest in platform companies everywhere. There is also an interesting table evaluating various economies, on how much Ricardian growth (based on economic freedom) and Schumpeterian growth (based on economic creativity) is expected to happen (the UK and Eastern Europe do quite well, the US and Australia lining up behind). Recommended.

2008-02-01

Full of Bull: Do What Wall Street Does, Not What It Says, To Make Money in the Market by Stephen T. McClellan (2007)

If, after learning the stories of Henry Blodget, Jack Grubman and the like, you still harbor any illusions on the usefulness of security analysts and their investment advice, this is a book to read to clear your view. The author is an industry insider ("McClellan, are you still writing all that bullshit?" as Michael Bloomberg being quoted to be said in the book), who on one hand seems to be proud of his own qualifications of having an MBA and CFA, his own Institutional Investor Reasearch Team rank and being member of the "club" in general, while on the other, bashing the the investment advice industry overall, where advice to "Hold", means "Sell Yesterday", and also offering a few kind words on mutual funds, their biggest customers. Even if the advice coming would be worthy, it gets very very stale until the "retail" (an being "retail" is a dirty word in this context) participants get their hands on it and has been acted upon by all other market participants. In addition to the usual quantitative approach, the author practiced and advocates gaining investing information by smoozing corporate executives (which this approach might simply be out of reach for most investors), which includes frequent golfing on best known greens preferably on a corporate dime, to learn their character and for the rest of us, as a good substitute, listening to conference call, which would allow learning of the character and trustworthiness of the executives. Lots of worthy observations are also listed like:
  • deletion of stock coverage is a major read flag (this happens in lieu of downgrading)
  • there is a large company bias, and small companies are rarely covered (this also shows that this research is oriented towards institutional investors)
  • executives never think that their stock price is too high
  • executives and hedge funds curry, cajole and muscle favors with analysts (and the companies employing them). Major PGA golfing events definitely come to mind here ...
  • prefer specialized simple businesses (as compared to generalist companies)
  • avoid weird tock structures (voting, non-voting shares), and sweetheart management setups
  • invest in themes and rising industry sectors (maybe using ETFs)
  • prefer NYSE listed stocks to NASDAQ
  • tread lightly with International Companies
  • turnarounds almost never work
  • do not invest in IPOs
  • mutual funds offer safety bundled with mediocrity
  • (for US investors) focus on the one year mark (for reduced capital tax rates)
  • do not sell on downgrade (in particular on the day of a downgrade), the stock price likely has already fallen
  • be aware of the January effect, as January goes, so goes the whole year
  • do not read quarterly press releases, but do listen to the quarterly earnings conference calls
  • investigate hedge fund positions (if they happen to be accidentally revealed), but give little head to mutual fund positions (as they get paid by the size of the fund, not based on their performance)
  • give stocks to your kids
  • dramatic acquisition during troubled times is a diversionary tactic
  • stock buybacks usually do not accomplish much
An excellent list of various executive management styles are also given (smartly characterizing Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and others). The book completes with a call for reforming the industry (although one could argue that it is another middle man industry, which outlived its usefulness in the light of improved access to the markets and company information ...). The author had a good sense to choose retirement after the year 2000, when the gravy train stopped (and salaries up-to $1,000,000 per year were no longer given for questionable advice) and now advocates a longer term view to the market. It is unclear, except for mentioning some instances were those investments worked out, what his overall investment results happened to be over the 32 years spent advising clients in the industry. Proceed with some caution.

2008-01-26

Invest Like a Shark: How a Deaf Guy with No Job and Limited Capital Made a Fortune Investing in the Stock Market by James "RevShark" DePorre (2007)

I was expecting to see lots of hype from this book, as the author is a known associate of "Mad Money" Jim Cramer. The author does develop a sensible idea: the whales of the markets are so big, that it is not possible for them to cover their own tracks and by looking for those tracks, you might be able to join in into smart market action. List of rules and behaviors of the sharks are offered, together with little jabs towards hedge funds and the "Mad Money" Jim Cramer himself, discussion on why the traditional Wall Street advice on investing for the long run and the like are bad for small investors, with cutesy classification of investor shark styles. Unfortunately, little detail and examples are provided on how to identify those whales of the market, basically turning a second half into an infomercial of the author's site. (Unless you count those references to 30 and 50 day moving averages, support and resistance areas and the like, which I certainly hope for his subscriber's sake does not constitute the whole approach ...) One certainly wonders, why somebody who as per his own admission is (or maybe just was??) able to make several million dollars of profit a year in the markets, would bother with running a subscription based website, but again the good explanation is that it is nice to receive income with minimal investment (for running a site) and not risking one's own funds in the market. At least the small print on the site spells it out clearly: "Shark Investing, Inc., which owns and operates www.sharkinvesting.com and the Sharkfolio for James and Jeanette DePorre, is an affiliate of Shark Asset Management, LLC ("SAM"). SAM is managed by a SEC registered investment adviser that provides individual investment advice to clients in a managed fund. As such, SAM has a fiduciary obligation to its clients, but not to the subscribers of sharkinvesting.com. The information presented in Shark Alerts is general information for educational purposes for active traders. The information provided should not be considered investment advice. In addition, the advice that is provided to clients of SAM is different from the information discussed on the site." Maybe one would want to become a real client instead of subscribing there ...

Robert Ludlum's The Altman Code: A Covert-One Novel by Robert Ludlum (2003)

Another ghostwritten Ludlum novel, which shows on both language and plot. Factions in the Chinese Central Committee, Hong Kong shippers, an international investment (and covertly arms-dealer), Chinese and American reconnaissance organizations fighting over the documentation of a secret Chinese shipment of weapon chemicals to Saddam Hussein's Iraq (of course the storyline lost it's relevance to real events ...). On the sideline, there is the story of an American MIA, kept prisoner by the Chinese for the last 50 years, who happens to be the father of the sitting US president. With some luck here, there and everywhere, the Jon Smith, the good agent completes his job, and peace reins over the earth. An OK listening standing in traffic.

2008-01-13

Playing For Pizza by John Grisham (2007)

It seems that Mr. Grisham finally lost its touch. A disgraced NFL player finds a low paying job in Italy? The story line is a good way off from legal thrillers and it shows (in particular in the boring writing). Spend your money on something better (like his earlier legal thrillers).

2008-01-12

Book "rentals"

Considering the availability and good to excellent selection of public libraries in the USA, this might be a strange business model. While one could make a preference for reading brand new books purchased, I'm not sure what differentitation these services can offer.
booksfree
Bookswim

High Probability Trading by Marcel Link (2003)

Lots of pages, little (if any) original content, which would not be that surprising as the author is an (ex?)brokerage owner and current proprietary trader(read that he couldn't make a living trading ...). While I liked spme features of the book, including the listings of "dos-and-don'ts" and questions-to-ask from self after each chapter, considering the lack of originality, you would be better off reading Magee's Technical Analysis of Stock Trends to learn more about technical analysis and the some of the other personal finance books recommended in this blog.