February 29th, 2008

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I just want to start a flame in your heart

It's been one full month since I received my Kindle, and I'm still loving it.  In the 29 days I've owned it, I've read 31 newspapers (2 issues of the San Francisco Chronicle and 29 of the San Jose Mercury News), 3 magazines (3 issues of Reader's Digest), 2-1/2 books (Little Fuzzy, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and currently reading Roo'd), 2 short stories (The Masque of the Red Death and The Cask of Amontillado), 1 poem (The Raven), 1 audiobook (The Roads Must Roll) and hundreds of blog entries (Ars Technica, Amazon Daily and AP Strange).  I've also used the Kindle's wireless web browser to check the weather forecast, movie times and stock prices when I wasn't home and I've performed dozens of Wikipedia lookups both at home and away.

I'm reading a lot more than I was before I got the Kindle, I'm watching much less television, spending less time on the computer, and I'm actually keeping up with news and current events. 

Amazon released an upgrade to the Kindle 2 weeks ago, promising they would roll the update out gradually over a span of two weeks.  I kind of figured I would be near the end of the list, since I had only received my Kindle a couple weeks previous, but I didn't realize I'd be nearly dead last.  I still had version 1.0 this morning, but it updated some time this afternoon.  Version 1.0.4 doesn't appear to offer much in the way of new features (so far I can only find some new screensaver images), but it definitely feels more responsive, especially the web browser.  Trying to use an image intensive site like VCL was frustrating before; with the update it's almost as fast as using a regular computer.

I'm still getting 5 bars on the cellular modem, which is strange because I'm out in the middle of nowhere and my Verizon RAZR barely gets one bar.  Even stranger is that my Kindle is getting a better signal out here than it does in Omaha (where it's usually 4 bars).  My contract with Verizon expires in about a month, and although I've been a customer since the days of Airtouch Cellular, I'll likely switch to Sprint.
Stock Market

Timing is everything. Or is it luck?

The stock market had been slowly creeping back upwards, and by Wednesday was set to actually finish February with a gain, the first in three months.

I had a hunch, though, and sold off all my shares of DDM (Proshares Ultra Dow 30, an ETF that follows the Dow Jones Industrial Average and doubles any gain or loss) for $77.05, even though it was still $6500 in the hole since November.  I hung on to all my foreign funds as well as the Excelsior Energy & Natural Resources Fund.

Turned out my hunch was right, the market was down 112 points Thursday and a whopping 315 today.  With less than 5 minutes left in the day, I put in a Limit Buy order for DDM, at $72.05.  In the last minute or so of trading, the price dropped below that level, triggering the purchase, before drifting back up to close at $72.10.  I managed to save myself a loss of $5 per share.

I still ended up $1300 in the hole for the day, but selling and repurchasing DDM saved me from losing another $2000.  I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't buy DXD (Proshares UltraShort Dow 30) on Wednesday; that could have made me another $2000 or so in profit, for a net gain of around $700 today, but that would have been significantly riskier and I'd have been unable to buy anything else with that money until Tuesday.
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