Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Stocks: Tenaris (TS) climbs on

You might have read here, that I bought Tenaris (TS) on May 5th, at $69.
Today, TS has reached $138.
Now, if you follow rational or growth investing techniques, you might want to take some money off the table - reduce your total holding back to its value about 50%-60% ago.

But, if you’re following Nicolas Darvas’ strategy, you might want to buy MORE of this stock just about now.

My gut feeling tells me that I need to buy more of this stock - but - I have no funds left - I am all in-the market.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Journal: Pictures from Sri-Lanka and India

Some pictures from better times, when Lilach and myself were travelling in India and Sri-Lanka. I get the travelling itch twice a year, every year: autumn and spring.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Recipe: Romanian Lebanese fusion of Baba Ghanush – eggplant salad

Take two mid-sized egg plants – just put them on the stove’s open fire. Make sure you turn them around every once in a while. After about 5-7 minutes, they will tare and smell the whole house of wonderful roasting eggplant. Give them more time, until their peel is all cracked up.

Let the eggplants cool off.

Peel the eggplants.

Put them (without the thorn) into a big plate, where you’re going to made the Baba-Ghanush. To the plate, add 2-3 tablespoons of Tahini, salt, pepper, Squeeze in 2 big juicy lemons, 4-6 crushed garlic tooth.

Using a fork, mice the eggplants, mix them well with all other ingredients. You’ll have the salad ready in 1 minute of good mixing.

Now is the “West meets East” part of the dish, the twist. Romanians make their eggplant salad with Mayonnaise while in the mid-east, it is being done with Tahini.
Being a offspring of fusion of Romania and Lebanon, I now add a good tablespoon of Mayonnaise into the ball, and mix well. See how the color changes to be lighter.

Put the ball in the fridge, let it cool, and let all the ingredients love each other.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Recipe: End-of-Summer Salad

The summer is officialy over. From my window to the Jaffa sea, I can smell the winds of autumn, hear the waves breaking on the old port's wall. The sun's path is lower. The birds are different. My neighbours are preparing their houses to the furious sea-borne winds and rain that winter shall surely bring.

This salad has it all: the colors and tastes of summer, along with the darker wetter feel of the forthcoming winter. Just the salad to go with your autumn mood. I first made it in Lilach’s old house in Neve-Zedek, about two-three years ago.

  • Lettuce leaves – torn by hands

  • 2 cucumbers (small American, regular Mediterranean) cut to thin sticks

  • Pecan nuts - crushed. easy crush tip: put them in a plastic baggy, and pound them with whatever you want (a glass?).

  • Rockford cheese - grounded

  • Steamed Asparagus, cut in rings

  • 2 slices of mango cut in small cubes

  • 1 small avocado cut to cubes

Lemon, vinegar, sesame seeds, Za'atar (Majorana syriaca) (if you can’t get the real thing – don’t use a substitute), salt, ground black pepper, sesame oil

Nature has so many textures tastes and colors. The less you touch it, the tastier the dish gets. Handle everything lightly.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stocks: SFCC downgraded by Robert Baird

SFCC downgraded today by analyst Robert W. Baird from outperform to neutral. Stock weakened 4% on early trading today, but still above breakout price. As always, I am going to keep my position unless it dives below 7%. This “feel the water” buy might prove a false breakout. Or maybe not?

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Journal: My Music station

Next time you feel like listening to some good electronics big beat with touches of 90` check out my radio station. It’s a cool listening experience while you work with your computer, you geek.

Other than that, you can start your own radio station using Yahoo! LaunchCast. You rate a number of albums / genres / artists. The radio plays, and you rate the music you hear. (I use yahoo messenger to listen to my station). As you rate the music the radio station brings more relevant songs for you to hear. I have already rated about 640 songs, albums and artists. Here is my station’s home-page.

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Mink Coat anyone?

Daddy, daddy, where does mink coats come from?

ATTENTION: The video is very difficult to watch. don’t play it if you have low tolerance to violence. You might end up loosing sleep over it.

The video did not play on my Firefox, but only on MS-IE.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

M.F. Flicker picture

Originally uploaded by Babsi Jones.
Smoke up, people of the world!
Smoke up


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Analysts moving the market (BIDU)

For those of you who have read previous post about BAIDU,  might remember I said it is a “Very risky, gamble like position” because there's not enough accessible information (technical or fundamental).
Well, apparently – when there’s not enough information – people tend to listen to analysts.

Baidu has soared 36% in the previous three trading days, following a Morgan Stanley coverage of the stock. The night before last, Goldman Sachs and Piper Jaffray started coverage of BAIDU with “underperform” – the stock plummeted a wowing 28% yesterday, and pre-market trading indicates this trend might persist today.

My position on BIDU is still in the OK zone, and I am going to hold to it, unless it’s going to dip below -7%.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Blog Search Released

Google has publicly released today a search facility for blog postings.

As always the search is fast, and provide high quality results. Interestingly enough, indexing is done by reading the blog’s RSS feeds every time a ping is sent to, and not by conventional web crawling.

User’s can also use this search through and through the blogger dashboard (for people with accout).

Subscribe to search results  with RSS
Also one can use RSS to subscribe for specific search results! Your RSS reader will inform you everytime someone has used the “search term” you are subscribed to, within their blog post.

Neat. going portal?
On the same lines, the new homepage includes a scrolling window of updated blogs, a "blog of the day". Is google trying to kill technorati? why shouldn't it - it will probably do a better job at it as it is. When will they introduce - a search engine to search everything that is tags? flickr, 43place, 43things, RawSugar, delicious, yummy, MyTube, etc... ?

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Monday, September 12, 2005

BUY SFCC Feel the water

SFCC (homepage) has broken its cup-with-handle base that formed end of February.
A clinical research / drug company.

A reasonable  growth stock, operating in a medium sector (3% over the index in past month). – 77% 3 years sales rate, 3 years EPS as 42%. Solid. No PR / news.

Its breakout point was 42.24 which broke on Sep/9 (Friday) with a big volume – as needed. I am buying a “feel the water” lot – to start seeing if it behaves as expected.
If it does, I’ll increase my hold at around +5%, if it does not, I’ll cover my losses at -7%.

Gut feeling:  none. Wait and see what happens. The market is hot – there were no distribution days for over a week now, why not go into a new position?

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BAIDU (BIDU) Chinese stock of the day

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Shay asked me of my opinion of Baidu – a Chinese company that has recently gone public and created a lot of buzz as it takes Google’s market share in China.
A brief research of this company got me to a conclusion that I can’t say anything interesting about it  since it has a very short market track-record.

During the last couple of weeks, there was a big fuss about Google snatching Microsoft’s ex-VP in charge of Chinese related strategy.  If you read the buzz, two things become clear:
  • both Google and Microsoft are eager to get into the Chinese market (surprise surprise)

  • Microsoft has troubles getting into the Chinese market.

  • Google might have troubles getting into the Chinese market.

These convinced me to take a gamble, and buy a bit of BIDU stock. Four days later, BIDU rallied, and I was +5%, and decided to double my holding, realizing that this is a blind bet, and I was to monitor this position closely, and cut my losses at first sign of trouble. It’s a very risky, gamble-like position.

Today, BAIDU has jumped over +12% (at the time of writing).

Here are my past BIDU transactions.
In the future, if you would like me to post whenever I go into a new position, or out of an existing position, please drop me a line, or leave a comment to this post.

Old BIDU transactions:

08/26/2005 Bought 10 BIDU @ 80.23
08/30/2005 Bought 15 BIDU @ 82.99 -
09/09/2005 Bought 25 BIDU @ 88.88

Current BIDU price: 109.20 (~ +27%)

Tags: stock market, investing, guide, howto, BIDU

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ruby on Rails – a real gem

Last night I got back from a friend’s bachelor’s party only to discover my better half performing a topological improbable feat: with all of her 1.59m (5.2foot) she managed to somehow place her perfect body on our 2.10m by 1.60m bed in such a way that I would not have any place to lie down where all my body parts are placed on the mattress. I bet Dijkstra would love to see that in action.

That served as a perfectly sound excuse for sitting at the computer at 2am, wading through the endless picture stream of flickr.  Since I wasn’t drunk enough - I developed the urge to write a little web program that will use flickr API to search through flickr for all pictures tagged with a specific term, and then post the set of pictures results to a blog using the Blogger API .

I then came across flickr.rb – a ruby interface to Flickr. One thing led to another, with a little help from RawSugar search I have found this great ruby on rails tutorial from the wonderful people of ONLamp.

Now, I’ve seen a framework or two in my life, but it has been quite a while since I found myself laughing at loud with great joy seeing how easy it could be to develop a web based applications. It was even more pleasant to see that an “inherently complex” problem is solved in such an elegant way just by keeping the number of problem variables to the minimum by using convention over configuration.

The same principals that make UNIX an incredible operation system for programmers are used by Rails to make it an incredible framework for web application developers: Connecting many small & simple components through a convention-based scheme to create a powerful, flexible, extensible and timeless system. KISS and all that jazz.

It reminded me of the MAGIC application generator. By using it one can develop a database application quickly and bug free. The secret is that the program flow is fixed (predefined) allowing well defined extension points. That’s the approach with Rails also – everything is nailed down for you – from the file structure up to database interaction, you just write the real important stuff. It is easy, fast, rewarding, and produces higher quality code.

It felt like being 9 years old again, discovering the power of the Plot and Draw commands in legendary ZX Spectrum’s genius basic.

Let me finish off with a couple of Dijkstra's quotes that appear in Wikipedia’s article referred above:
  1. "The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim."

  2. "Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes."

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Microsoft web search vs Google - download plugin for mozilla firefox

Recently, whenever Google fails to find what I look for, I try the same search on MSN search. In many cases, I found the latter to provide better, more suitable results.
That’s right. MSN search providea better results than Google.
Yet, converting the masses from Google to MSN using just a “sometimes slightly better search” is not enough. Microsoft will have to come with something much better than that.

For a more accessible comparison with MSN, go here to install the MSN Web search pluging for firefox and mozilla.

You are using Firefox, right?

Tags: Google, Microsoft, search engines, Mozilla , Firefox, plugins, comparison

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pictures for Bella's afternoon walk

Here are a couple of photographs I tool today when I went out with Bella for her daily walk in the Jaffa old port.

Tags: jaffa, pictures

Sunday, September 04, 2005

RECIPE – stock fundamentals – investing in companies providing services to a booming industry – how-to guide

All companies operate in markets. Every company has supplier companies, facilitator-companies and service companies feeding on its ability to grow its business.
When you identify a company with extraordinary growth, it sometime may be too late for you to buy stock, as its stock technical analysis might not reveal any good pivot points and sound bases. When confronted with this – try looking for companies that “feed off” the success.

I first encountered this with synaptics (SYNA), a company that manufacturers touch pads for laptops and hand-held devices. The important thing to note, is that this company had a contract with Apple, to supply the successful iPods touch-pads. Naturally, the booming iPod sales had drove Synaptics stock price to the roof.

A lesson learnt, and, to be honest – later applied by me without intent.

aapl synaptics chart

SYNA (blue) and AAPL (olive) Jul 03 -Dec 2004 - both price grow over 200%.

During the last year, the oil prices sky rocket. There are many quoted reasons for that – although I must say none of them strike me as being the real reason for the oil prices jump. Personally, I feel that somehow, the surging oil prices are the way in which gulf region oil producing countries get back at the all mighty US. That’s my take on the matter, although – it might be hindered by my prolonged existence in the Middle-East.

I first got acquainted with Tenaris (NYSE:TS) through MSN’s strategy lab’s Viviam Lewis.  Tenaris is a foreign company manufacturing pipes for the gas and oil industry. The two key points are: Foreign, and oil-industry.

Here is a chart for the crewed oil prices 2004 to date:



Being a foreign company, Tanaris is conceived as a company less likely to get affected by events in Iraq or the U.S and is based in a fast-growing market – definitive strong points.

The war in Iraq, along with the surging oil prices, has driven expedited development of oil-fields and the need for transferring oil to, from and within fields has grown extensively.
Tenaris to Oil like Synaptics to Apple.

I bought TS on May 05, 2005 for 69.00, purchased a same lot (doubled my holdings) on 20 June 2005 @ 77.85, summing up to a total price of 73.42 a pop. Here is the graph of the stock from that time on.

tenaris chart

Graph generated from using their java based charting tool.

Interesting enough, this was a “by the book” position, as the technical analysis was just right: on May 05, TS broke out from a “cup with handle” base, on an extremely large volume.

These days, I am +60% (price @ 118) in the money – trying to decide weather I should try and sit out the 10-15% pullback which I expect to develop, or just move to cash right now.

Any suggestions?

Tags: stock market, investing, guide, howto

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Frankfurt airport

well, well well,
the flight from hell.

Departed San Francisco on Friday 2pm yesterday - a long time ago. Flew to Chicago with Universal Airlines. I have two words for you: "don't fly with them". After a considerable delay, got to Chiacgo, fly to Frankfurt with Lufthansa. I've got two words for you "why can't Universal be like Lufthansa?".
Anyway, got to Frankfurt at around 13:30, My flight to Tel-Aviv only leaving at 22:35. I was tired, and did not feel good. The flight somehow messed with my ear-based balance system - which had some bugs lately.
I just needed to put my head somewhere - and sleep.
The only hotel accessible was the in-airport Sheraton - which was over priced, and kicked me out of the room at 19:30, or they double my charge.
I've got two words for them "I wish for the Sheraton CEO to need desperate sleep and only have Sheraton to help him out".
Here I am in the airport, talking to Lilach on Skype.
Just wanted to share.