Exchange Traded Funds

Today I bought my first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). These are like mutual funds which invest in a bunch of different companies, but ETF’s are sold on the market like a stock with their prices changing throughout the day. For the most part ETF’s reflect some kind of index like the S&P 500 or, in the case of the one I bought, the Nasdaq 100. They are similar to closed-end mutual funds where an investment company would gather a bunch of money and buy a portfolio of stocks and then sell shares on a market. The problem with closed end funds is they usually sold at a discount to the value of the assets in the portfolio because the people running the fund would take out expenses each year and over a long enough period of time the fund would be worth nothing. The price and value could get out of sync by 10% or more.

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Wireless Network in a Snap

Susan’s new office gave her a laptop as her primary computer. So she was wanting a way to hook it up to her high speed internet service when she “works from home”. I told her she would need a router and they would be $20-40. But I recommended she spend a little more and get a router that would support wireless for her laptop. Since a wireless router (802.11g) was $60 (after rebates) and the wired router was $40 and the wireless router still had 4 wired ports she agreed to get it and then possibly get a wireless card for the laptop later on. “But you could watch TV and be on the internet at the same time if you had wireless,” I said. She said “That may be a dream of yours, but not me.” But before we checked out she decided it would be nice to work while in bed, so she bought the card for $40 (after rebates; each item had two $10 rebates so the cash register printed out nearly a whole roll of receipts).

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HDTV Reception

Last year when I bought my Sony HDTV it was “HDTV ready” meaning it couldn’t actually show you HDTV signals it was receiving. When I first moved into the house I had terrible TV reception with an indoor antenna. Then I got a neat looking antenna that didn’t really work. Then I eventually bought a big multi-pronged aluminum one and put it in the attic. That didn’t work all that well either. But eventually local stations were offered on satellite (first DirecTV then I switched to Dish Network) for $6 so I just paid the extra for very clear local stations. When I got the Dish PVR with its built in digital recorder, having the local stations over satellite was a real plus.

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eMusic conclusion

Just a brief follow-up (see first and second posts). I finished all my downloads. I looked in the Soundtracks section and found Charlie Brown Christmas. That’s a good one so I downloaded the whole album. I also found Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I remember liking the the different themes for each character so I downloaded the whole 20-minute track. Honestly it was disappointing, not really a complete work but just those few themes over and over again plus the narration of the story. Other than that I continued as before, downloading a few more Pixies B-sides, Peter Murphy, Pavement, Rancid, Charlatans UK, The Church, and NOFX. It’s a challenge finding 100 songs you will like, but I was very pleased with discovering Pavement (“Grounded” “Cut Your Hair” and “Trigger Cut”) and NOFX (“Bob” and “Linoleum”) and I like some of the Peter Murphy tracks (“Cuts You Up” “Sweetest Drop” and “Low Room”), Pixies (“Manta Ray” “Dance the Manta Ray” and “Into the White”), and Rancid who have a strong Clash influence (especially on “Time Bomb”). If you’re interested in trying the service out you don’t have to buy Dockers. They offer a free month with 100 songs to anyone with a credit card.

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