Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2013 Windows April Fools' joke becomes 2014 Windows reality

"Microsoft skips 'too good' Windows 9, jumps to Windows 10," blared the headline April 1, 2013 on Infoworld's web site.

Today, the real headline is "Microsoft Offers First Peek at Windows 10," confirming that the April Fools' joke is correct: There isn't going to be a Windows 9.

(A tip of the hat to John Gruber who writes Daring Fireball.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Milestone today: 20,000 page views

My milestone today: This blog reached 20,000 page views today, with this being the 99th post. I'm not sure what I expected when I published my first post on Oct. 12, 2012 but I am pleasantly surprised that people are finding my posts and reading them. I hope readers are benefiting from my posts. Now, have you sold your stocks yet?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sell your stocks now!

Update January 24, 2015: My brother got back into two stocks and an index fund.

Update October 29: The small, -7.4% correction appears to be over and my brother is looking to get back into the stock market. Will there still be a larger correction? I will write another post in November to discuss this. Still, the advice in the last paragraph stands.

My brother, based on my recommendation, sold the index fund and both stocks in his IRA yesterday. Many stock advisors are saying that the S&P 500 is due for a "correction" of 20% to 30% by the end of 2015. But nobody knows when. So, instead of trying to time the peak, he went ahead and sold his index fund and captured a 22% gain.

The problem with waiting is that when you realize that it's time to sell, so does everyone else and it's too late to keep from losing large sums of money. The stock market can drop over 22% in one day, like it did on Black Monday in 1987.

The next step is to find a bond fund that invests in short-term corporate bonds (one to two year maturity) and try to capture a 2% to 3% return until the S&P 500 has its correction. Then we can sell the bond fund and get back into an index fund.

Ultimately, the S&P 500 will undergo its correction and then start heading back up. That's when you get back into stocks. Despite many advisors saying that this is time for that now, it isn't simply because it hasn't hit bottom yet. In my opinion, timing the exact peaks and valleys is really difficult and I don't try to do that. But timing 20% corrections and 20% increases isn't as hard.

Before making any investment decisions based on this blog post, please read my investment advice disclaimer.

I've found rather few investment advisors who are willing to recommend selling 90% or more of your stock holdings at the peak. To me, this is one of the keys to long-term gains in the stock market. If your investment advisor isn't willing to make dramatic changes to your portfolio, you should find one who will.

Scorecard: How good is my prediction?

DateS&P 500 CloseChange From
Recent Peak
Change From
Sale Date
Sept. 18
Recent peak
Sept. 23
Sept. 30
One week after sale
Oct. 6
Two weeks after sale
Oct. 13
Three weeks after sale
Oct. 20
Two weeks after sale.
Correction is over.
Oct. 27
Three weeks after sale

Updated Oct. 29 to add figures and a paragraph at the top about getting back into stocks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Women play a big role in computer programming

The stereotype is that is that all computer programmers are men. This is false. The first programmer was Ada Lovelace, who worked with Charles Babbage. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper is credited with developing COBOL, a programming language still used every day. I work with women all the time who are good programmers. Similar to playing the piano well, some people have a knack for programming but many do not. However, the people who have the talent can be female as well as male.

Walter Isaacson has written a book about the women who were involved with programming ENIAC during World War II. Click here for an excerpt from "The Innovators" that is in the current issue of Fortune magazine.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beware of phish messages

This was my response to this image of an email message that a friend of mine shared on Facebook. It was originally posted on May 26 by Country 93.3:

"If you get this, you need a better email provider. Phish messages should go into your spam folder.

"Alternatively, use this as a educational message to learn about phish messages. Phish messages may be one way celebrities' nude photos were stolen from Apple's iCloud.

"Another rule: Don't click on the link in the message. Go to a new window or, better yet, a different browser and sign on the regular way. Then you can see for yourself if the problem really exists.

"Sadly, this may based on a real Netflix message. Many big companies are clueless where security is concerned and actually send phish-like messages to their own customers."