Saturday, March 19, 2005

New Gizmo

I just ordered this digital camcorder (DV5300) from Aiptek for $79! It records in MPEG-4 (over an hour of footage on a 512MB SD flash card) and takes 3 megapixel stills. Only 4" by 2" by 2", it fits in the palm of your hand. Perhaps it is just a toy - I will report on how well it works. The competing product from Panasonic is about 3 times as expensive. Aiptek is a Taiwanese company based in Hsinchu, the silicon valley of Taiwan.

Last night I watched a movie "Last Life in the Universe" shot in Thailand with a Japanese/Thai cast, Thai director and Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, and seven others in collaboration with Wong Kar-wai). I'm a huge fan of Doyle's, and Last Life is excellent (I had already seen it at the Pacific film festival in LA last year). Among the extra content on the DVD was a nice interview with the Thai director. It got me thinking about the possibilities of a small DV camcorder...


Anonymous said...

An interesting interview:

March 18, 2005

GEOFF COLVIN: It isn't often that a famous and highly respected authority announces new findings that are practically guaranteed to change your most fundamental views about investing. But hold on, because some of those views are about to get shot down.

Looking for innovative, fast-growing firms to invest in? You shouldn't be. Fighting to get a piece of the hottest new IPO? Don't waste your time. Resigned to accepting the returns of index funds? There is an even better approach.

Jeremy Siegel of Wharton wrote an investing classic, Stocks for the Long Run, and his new book, The Future for Investors, may be even more influential. Jeremy, you start shooting down the core beliefs of many investors with the subtitle of this book, which is: Why the Tried and True Triumph over the Bold and New. What do you mean by that?

JEREMY SIEGEL: It surprised me also. I used to think that one of the reasons the S&P 500 gave such good returns was all the new firms that kept on being added…

COLVIN: Yes, people should realize that index is consistently being refreshed with new firms.

SIEGEL: Updated, yeah. In fact since its founding in 1957, there's been almost 1,000 new firms that have been added. You know, Intel, Microsoft and all the rest. What I've found actually is the old original ones taken as a group actually outperformed all the new firms that came in the last half of the century.

COLVIN: You mean if you had bought the S&P 500 firms in 1957 and just held them and forgotten about all the companies that came into it since then, you would have beaten the S&P 500 index with all the firms that have been added?

SIEGEL: Yeah, absolutely. And we know the S&P 500 index beats most money managers. It's a very hard bogey for them to match. So it is really surprising. Just those original companies, follow through all the mergers and all the acquisitions, you beat the dynamic, updated S&P 500 index....


Anonymous said...

Remember I noted the vibrancy of international value stocks over decades. Sure enough....


Anonymous said...

John Bogle was with us in Cambridge some years ago, and mentioned that he thought a fund that simply included the largest 100 or so companies and then never varied might have an edge over the S&P. I need to play with some simulations.


Anonymous said...

By the way, I think the interview interesting. Whether convincing is another matter.


Anonymous said...

Compared with India or China is there an anti-intellectual strain to American culture? I do not care for the way in which I asked the question, but ask it I will. MFA? Steve? Carson? I must narrow the frame of the question, but I do not know how just now.


Anonymous said...


Can you remember a position I was trying to make sense about a while ago on individualism? I always keep notes to come again to stray thoughts, but then I have to find the notes. I owe you an answer, on individuality and education, but in what way?


Anonymous said...

What? They Never Heard of WorldCom?
By Gretchen Morgenson

WHAT a week.

Bernard J. Ebbers, founder of WorldCom, got to add felon to his already colorful curriculum vitae. Maurice R. Greenberg, dictator in chief at American International Group, the global insurance giant, was toppled after almost 40 years at his post. The Federal Reserve told Citigroup it could not make any major acquisitions until it cleaned up its compliance act. And General Motors laid a big, scary earnings egg.

Isn't it nice to know these incidents are anomalies and that most American companies are chugging along, reporting good solid earnings?

Sure would be. But contrary to popular belief, the quality of corporate earnings is on the slide again and, as a result, Richard Bernstein, chief United States strategist at Merrill Lynch, is advising investors to tread carefully.

'There is an impression that the quality of earnings has improved dramatically,' he said. 'That is true relative to the worst levels of post-bubble reporting, but relative to history, the absolute quality of earnings is quite poor.'

And getting poorer.

Mr. Bernstein reaches this depressing conclusion by analyzing the difference between the earnings that Standard & Poor's 500 companies have reported under generally accepted accounting principles and operating earnings, the figures companies typically trumpet because they do not include write-offs and other unusual items.

The difference between the two figures, Mr. Bernstein says, is the G.A.A.P. gap.

And it is widening. In the most recent period - the fourth quarter of 2004 - the gap was 13.7 percent. In other words, operating earnings were on average 13.7 percent higher than reported earnings. While that figure is well down from the 40 percent gap reached in 2002, it is much higher than the long-term, pre-bubble average of 6.7 percent....


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