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There isn’t a business you can’t improve with technology. The new tax bill. Two tips.

I haven’t studied the latest version of the tax bill. But it seems to me;

+ Next year, they won’t allow you to choose which stocks you can sell. You’ll have to sell the oldest — typically those with the biggest appreciation, hence the biggest tax bill. If you want the choice of which stocks you can sell, do it before the end of 2017.

+ Don’t forget to pay your real estate taxes before the end of 2017.

Bitcoin is up, again, despite the warnings.

Has anyone found an easy, painless, safe way to buy a little bitcoin?

I only want to hear from you IF you bought some bitcoin and cashed out in real money (dollars). And the process was painless. At least on a par with dealing with one of the online brokerage companies, like Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard or Schwab.

The bloom has gone off the New York apartment boom.

Apartments are still pricey. There aren’t many bargains around, but owning them for appreciation is no longer a good idea. That probably applies to other towns also.

Net Neutrality rules disappear. Here’s what it means:

I pay Verizon money to get on the Internet — to get me anywhere on the Internet. Under the new, lack of rules, “rule,” I may not be able to get to places Verizon doesn’t like — like places that may compete with Yahoo Finance, which Verizon is buying. Or Verizon may work a deal with Bing and keep me away from Google. Maybe it will speed access up to Yahoo Finance and throttle back access to my blog.

Under the old rules (from 2015), Internet service providers were required to treat everything online the same. They were not allowed to deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites, nor were they allowed to put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

Now there are no rules, they can do whatever they like.

If Verizon did things I didn’t like, I could switch to Spectrum (the old Time Warner).

Many people don’t have choices. They’re stuck with their local phone company and its slow DSL lines. Hence they could be disadvantaged.

No one knows what will happen. None of the big Internet service providers — Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Spectrum, Charter, Cox, CenturyLink — have said really anything substantive. Those who have said something say they’ll be fair. AT&T and Comcast say they support an open Internet. But AT&T also owns DirecTV which competes with Google’s YouTube.

There are many small vendors afraid that access to their web sites will be hurt, viz-a-vie Amazon, which could buy a fast track to the Internet. Maybe one day Verizon will send me a bill for allowing people to access Right now they just charge me to get on the Internet and reach any site I want to. But they don’t charge me for having my site on the Internet.

The commission’s chairman, Ajit Pai, vigorously defended the repeal of the net neutrality rules. He said the rollback of the rules would eventually benefit consumers because broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast could offer them a wider variety of service options. “We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr. Pai said. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

This is unmitigated nonsense.

Some net neutrality weekend reading:

+ F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules. Click here.

What the Net Neutrality Repeal Means for Us
The Federal Communications Commission just ended regulations that kept the Internet an equal playing field – so what happens now? Click here. 

Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You. Click here.


There isn’t a business you can’t improve with software.

I could give you a thousand examples — from our local car park to our local tennis courts.

I especially liked this pitch I received yesterday from a company called Vacasa which manages rental homes for their owners. I’m not recommending their service, since I know nothing about them. But the letter is the best direct mail piece I’ve read in eons. Click here: Vacasa.pdf 

A hotel owner got sick of guests stealing stuff and blackmailing him —  “Give me a 20% discount or I’ll give you a lousy review on TripAdvisor.” And he formed:


It keeps a database of bad guests — contributed by hotel owners. Neat idea.

Restaurants give you too much food

I had one dinner, and two lunches, from a dinner I had earlier this week.

Just ’cause they give you all that food doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

Creative begging. From our local car park:


Totally offensive “humor”
I came out of the chip shop with a meat/potato pie, large chips, mushy peas & a jumbo sausage.
A poor homeless man sitting there, said, “I’ve not eaten for two days.”
I told him, “I wish I had your will power!”

A fat girl took a while to serve me in McDonald’s at lunch time today.
She said, “Sorry about the wait.”
I said, “Don’t worry dear. You might lose it eventually.”

A woman has a medical at the doctors…
“You are grossly overweight,” he says.
“I want a 2nd opinion,” she exclaims.
“OK. You’re ugly as well.”

Harry Newton. Two years ago I put out the 30th edition of Newton’s Telecom Dictionary, which is basically a dictionary of technology — from computing to the Internet, from cellular networks to all the new improved standards. We’re up 4,000 new, changed and improved definitions. There’s 1400 new definitions. That’s a 5% increase. If you want a measure of technology’s progress, that’s it. It’s amazing. It’s also obviously why my biggest shareholdings are in tech stocks, despite their volatility. I see tech stocks are up this morning. Thank you, God. Please keep them up, not like yesterday.