Apricorn EZ II Hard Drive Upgrade Kit and the Dell 700m

I decided it was time to upgrade my Dell 700m’s hard drive.  It has been a great little computer and its hardware is getting to be a little old.  So I went looking to upgrade the bottle neck I thought would change the performance the most.  The 45,000 RPM hard drive is dirt slow.  I thought I would get a 72,000 RPM drive for cheap now that the hardware is old hat.  Was I surprised!  The hardware for my Dell 700m is becoming obsolete and therefore is either not around any more or cost far more then it should.  I did find a nice 54,000 RPM HD at BestBuy.com that would work but now how to go about the upgrade.  In my searching I came across the Apricorn EZ-UP-UNIVERSAL EZ Upgrade Universal Hard Drive Upgrade Kit. This looked easy enough. I bought it and waited for it to arrive.

The day came and I eagerly set it up according to the instructions. Everything was going smoothly. I watched the included software attempt to lock the partition from with in windows and then ask me to reboot. I rebooted and watched it check and attempt to lock the partition again before Windows had started. It then gave me a error message about the partition being changed and finished booting. I was confused as to what should come next. After letting it sit for a while I started the cloning software again and watched it go through the same process except this time it didn’t error on the reboot. The cloning now had begun. Both the light on the external drive and my drive were humming away. After it finished cloning I quickly switched out the drives as described by doing a Google search on Dell’s website for how to do it. I then booted up my computer expecting to see it all ticky-boo. My computer booted fine until it came to the “Loading PBR for Descriptor 2 . . . Done“. It just sat there and nothing happened. After some research I found that Dell has some secret partitions and for some reason the cloning software hadn’t copied them correctly. After trying it one more time I did it the non-recommended way according to the instructions. I booted from the CD and cloned the drive. Then I did the swap again. This time it came up right off. I was so surprised I thought it was a fluke. I was scared to reboot for fear it wouldn’t come up again. To sum it up everything worked fine after that. Now my 700m has larger and faster HD. I have a 80 Gig external drive and upgrade kit if ever I need it again.

Stock Tips – The Butcher of the Pigs and Sheep.

Yes, I was a pig. Greed over came me and I took a tip without even doing the slightest fundamental or technical analysis. Tips can be useful but they should be taken with a grain of salt. When the red flags start flying don’t trust others trust your own experience. For instance, my online broker account gave the day of the earnings announcement for the stock. I had bought options that would expire before then. Why didn’t I sell if I was playing the earnings? I let the tipsters talk me into believing it would be earlier. The book Trading for a Living by Dr. Alexander Elder told me the same advice I’m sharing with you. But did I listen? Nope. It is so easy to get swept up in the feeling of security from the tipster. You feel the easy money coming and greed overtakes you. I’ve learned from this and I hope that this post helps you stiffen your resolve to scrutinize a tip heavily before acting on it.

How to pick a Online Broker

Picking an excellent online broker really comes down to two things in my mind.  First of all what tools do they offer for the basic account and do they have a low commission fee structure.  One of the most valuable tools I’ve found so far is the live streaming of quotes and graphs.  Without that I can not make short term decisions.  A 20 or 15 minute delay can really cause you to execute in error.  The commission fee structure tells you what kind of profit you are going to need just to break even.  The lower the better!  There is a lot of competition out there.  It isn’t too hard to find someone who will under cut everyone else for your business.  I for one like Trade King.  They have some good credentials for a reasonable commission fee.

Adding Amazon’s Quick Linker Widget to WordPress

Amazon provides a Amazon Widget called Quick Linker. This widget can be used to easily add a affiliate link from your blog post back to a product on Amazon. For example here is one for WordPress for Dummies.  If you already have a Amazon Affliate account it is just a matter of logging in and getting the script it generates for you. But where do you paste it? I couldn’t find anything that would tell me. I finally decide to paste it in the header.php file before the body tag. So far it seems to be working correctly.  I did notice that when I edited a post with tags in it for the Quick Linker that the asin attribute was removed from the anchor tags.  I don’t know why that is.  I just put it back in and tried not to edit it again.  If anyone knows of a better way to do this please let me know.

How do you look up a Amazon ASIN number?

Amazon assigns a ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) to each product they sell.  There are two ways I’ve found to look them up.  One is to visit  ASINLookUp.com and use their free lookup tool.  The other is just to look at the URL in your browers when you navigate to the item on Amazon.com.  The URL will have either a “…\product\83726684\…” or “…ASIN\9383678\…” in it.  This is the ASIN and can be used to identify the product in question.  Try pasting it into the code you are using and you should see what you are expecting.

Naked Shorting – The Fleecing of the Retail Stock Trader

I’m relitively new to trading in securities.  I have stayed in the realm of stocks and options.  All the books I’ve read like A Beginner’s Guide to Short Term Trading by Toni Turner have said that you are in a minus sum enviornment when you trade stocks.  By the very nature of the size of the money I have to invest I realize that I’m at a disadvantage.  But when I saw this video on Google by Bloomberg entitled: Phantom Shares. I realized why my shares of SolarFun Power Holdings Co., LTD. (SOLF) were doing so badly.  Naked Shorting is killing SOLF.  I went to www.nasdaq.com and found the Short Interest Report to see how badly it was shorted.  I also noted that SOLF was put on the REG SHO (Regulation SHO) List  on 12-DEC-2007.  So what does this all mean?  It means the hedge funds and other large players are manipulating the price.  The little retail guys like me are getting sheared.  So what can I do?  I don’t know yet.  I’ll let you know when I figure it out.