- multiple down weeks (close lower than open) followed by
- current close > previous open with
- current volume higher than previous volume
December 2006 Archives
Originally a LA Times article on the lack of federal protection for 401(k) plans, the article is no longer available at latimes.com. Link to a PDF that has the original content.
Thefts from 401(k)s at large companies are practically unheard of. These plans generally are run by big investment firms whose reputations could be ruined by pilferage.
Employees typically choose their investments from a menu of mutual funds and can monitor their account balances around the clock.
It's a much different picture at many smaller companies. The plans may be overseen by the firm's owner or business manager. Employees often have no say in how their money is invested and no way to monitor their accounts. When theft occurs, it tends to happen at companies on the edge of bankruptcy. As the firms collapse, there may not be enough assets left to repay workers or enough insurance to cover their losses.
The Economist on a theory of Division of Labor
NEANDERTHAL man was a strong, large-brained, skilful big-game hunter who had survived for more than 200,000 years in the harsh European climates of the last Ice Age. But within a few thousand years of the arrival of modern humans in the continent, he was extinct. Why that happened is a matter of abiding interest to anthropologically inclined descendants of those interloping moderns. The extinction of Neanderthal man has been attributed variously to his having lower intelligence than modern humans, to worse language skills, to cruder tools, or even to the lack of a propensity for long-distance trade. The latest proposal, though, is that it is not so much Neanderthal man that was to blame, as modern woman.
The New York Times on The New, Soft Paternalism
But what if it could be shown that even highly competent, well-informed people fail to make choices in their best interest? And what if the government could somehow step in and nudge them in the right direction without interfering with their liberty, or at least not very much? Welcome to the new world of "soft paternalism." The old "hard" paternalism says, We know what's best for you, and we'll force you to do it. By contrast, soft paternalism says, You know what's best for you, and we'll help you to do it.
Here's an example. In some states with casino gambling, like Missouri and Michigan, compulsive gamblers have the option of putting their names on a blacklist, or "self-exclusion" list, that bars them from casinos. Once on the list, they are banned for life. If they violate the ban, they risk being arrested and having their winnings confiscated. In Missouri, more than 10,000 people have availed themselves of this program. In Michigan, the first person to sign up for it was, as it happens, also the first to be arrested for violating its terms when he couldn't resist sneaking back to the blackjack tables; he was sentenced to a year's probation, and the state kept his winnings of $1,223.
What do you do when your computer won't boot, your most recent backup is three months old, and you don't have an emergency CD? What if you're using a laptop that doesn't even have a CD drive? Kiss your data goodbye-or just whip out the bootable USB key (or thumb drive) you prepared in advance. The key will boot into a free Windows-based system called BartPE (that's Bart's Preinstalled Environment), devised by Bart Lagerweij, from which you can copy files on your hard drive to the key or, in some cases, send them over a network to another machine.
Now, not all computers can boot from all USB keys; you'll need to experiment with yours-unfortunately, there's no way to predict if it'll work.
The tools you'll need are a USB 2.0-compatible drive with 256MB or more of storage space; a Microsoft Windows XP installation CD with Service Pack 2 (see step 1, below, if you don't have a Win XP CD with SP2); and Bart's PE -Builder, from www.nu2.nu/pebuilder. For faster booting on some but not all systems, you can try FlashBoot (20 euros, or about $25; www.primeexpert.com), which automates the process of installing the BartPE environment to a USB key.
Before booting from your USB key, locate your PC's BIOS settings and explore the menus to find the USB settings, or possibly the boot order settings, to add the key to the list of boot drives (write down any settings you change, in case you have to restore them later). You may need to specify that a USB key will be read as a hard drive, not a "super-floppy." One important note: There's a serious security risk involved in allowing your PC to boot from a USB key-anyone with a bootable key can take advantage of the capability.
- Got SP2?
If your Windows XP CD includes Service Pack 2, skip this step. But if not, use AutoStreamer (www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=223562) to build a burnable CD image from your original Win XP CD with a "slipstreamed" SP2 file (download it from www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2; click Download and deploy SP2 to multiple computers). The Restore CD that comes with mass-market machines won't work; only an original Win XP install CD will.
- Start Building
PE Builder builds a BartPE disk by combining files from a Win XP-with-SP2 CD with its own files. For faster building, copy your CD to a folder on your hard drive, as we've done here. Choose Create ISO image to use your USB key-of course, Burn to CD/DVD would create a bootable CD.
- Select Plug-ins
PE Builder's plug-in dialog lists files included with the PE Builder download and others that require you to add commercial and freeware programs. You can also add network and other drivers following instructions on the PE Builder site; you may need to add drivers for network connectivity.
- Flashboot It
The easiest way to get BartPE on a USB key is with FlashBoot. Simply point the program at the ISO file created by PE Builder, select Convert BartPE Bootable Disk to Bootable Flash Disk, and let FlashBoot do the work. If the resulting USB key doesn't work, a slower-booting method may work instead. For details, see www.911cd.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10806.
- Start It Up
It looks like the first screen you see when Windows XP starts up, but it's BartPE booting from a USB key.
- That Should Be It. . .
If all goes well, and you choose to start the network, BartPE will use DHCP to configure your network client automatically. If that doesn't work, move on to step 7.
- . . . But if Not
You may need to configure your network hardware manually. It's not difficult if you've ever dealt with network settings. You'll probably need to know the name of your network and the IP numbers of your router and any other networked machine that you want to access. But you don't really need a network, because you can save files directly to the USB key for retrieval from another machine.
Automate Internet Explorer for testing web applications and screen scraping content. I recently used this to log in to my notepad.yahoo.com account, find all the pages, and download the content to a file so that I could backfill my blog content. The object model is very simple and since it integrates with the .NET development environment, it has intellisense.
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