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How to plan for a drop in the stockmarket. What are the new growth areas? How to protect against ransomware

I’m not predicting a 10% (or more) drop in stock prices — though lots of people are:

Bank of America Merrill Lynch says that a stock market drop of at least 10% is coming by Valentine’s Day and that the “most obvious catalyst” would be a spike in wage and inflation data that brings back “fear of Fed.”

You can’t predict the market. But given today’s prevailing forecasts, there are actions you should take:

+ This weekend, look at every stock you own. Ask yourself “Does owning that one and that one continue to make sense?” Are there some that just look “iffy?” For example, retailers. They look The Big Iffy. Would you rather own GE or Honeywell? I love Honeywell.

+ Have you bought anything on margin? If so, do something to pay back the monies you’ve borrowed. Do it today. Now. I don’t feel good about Monday. Black Monday 1987 was a Monday. (Whatever that means.) Am I superstitious?

+ Has the recent run-up caused your portfolio to own too much of some stocks? Is your portfolio now a little unbalanced? Maybe it’s time “to take a little off the table?”

Fast growth areas. Areas I’m investigating:

+ Voice. Look at Alexa. Siri. Cortana. And Google’s Assistant. Imagine joining them with your products. Making a new app that responds with voice? “Siri, how do I get the tomato stain off my jeans?” And then sell them some Shout travel packages. Click here.

+ Geriatrics electronics. We’re all, sadly, getting older. It’s time our watch talked to a computer that monitored our health and warned us if we were going awry.

+ AI. Artificial Intelligence. Especially in data analytics. Time to learn what Harry likes to buy and suggest new things he’d like. God, there’s so much!

Somewhere here is the next Amazon. The next Google. The next Square.

The joy of electric bicycles.

Today’s huge time waster is city driving and searching for a parking spot.

Solution: an electric bicycle. Every bike maker in the world sees this market as the greatest since sliced bread. As a result there are dozens of electric bikes to choose from. Don’t believe me? Go into Google or Amazon and search “Electric bicycles for adults.” Here’s a clip from a Google search:

electricbicycles

The next bike is from Specialized (those guys are good). It’s called a Turbo Vago. They have models from $2,700 to $4,800. You can go a bit faster on the pricier one.

TurboVado

For Turbo Vago bikes, click here. 

Many electric bikes will get you to and from your office. Most let you remove the battery, charge it at your home or office and keep on trucking. There are commuter electrics. There are mountain bike electrics. And there are foldable electrics. I would only buy one from a reputable maker like Specialized — on the basis that one day you’ll need parts.

Ransomware is on the rise

It’s horrible. Gut wrenching. Frightening. The bad guys lock your computer with a virus. You can’t get to anything on your computer — desktop or laptop, Windows or Apple. To unlock it, they demand bitcoin (that way the money is not traceable).

You pay them the money. They unlock your computer, giving new meaning to the term “honest crooks.” But the virus is still on your machine. They can blackmail you again in six months.

There are three solutions:

+ You need a flash drive backup of every one of your working files. You need to update those files at least twice a day. I use the software FreeFileSync. It’s a two minute task.

+ You need to clone your hard drive onto another hard drive. Windows and Apples have ways to re-create your original hard drive, software, files and all.

+ Set up another identical laptop/desktop, with all the software you have on your working machine. When you get hit with ransom demands, abandon the infected machine. Transfer all your flash drive working files to the new machine and go back to work. Don’t trust me? eBay sells perfectly fine second-hand laptops identical to the one you have. They cost often no more than a few hundred dollars. That’s cheap insurance. Far cheaper than you’ll pay someone like Kroll to fix your machine.

My hat’s off to the Santa Rosa couple

The roads were blocked.  They couldn’t leave. The fires rushed on them. They jumped into the neighbor’s swimming pool. The fire raged around and above them. They stayed in the cold swimming pool for 6 hours.

firesurvivors

Lucky smart people. For more, the LA Times story, click here. 

Wonderful, wonderful aerial photos

You’ve been to these cities. But you’ve never seen them like this. Gorgeous. Stunning. Thank you Lucky Marr for sending this absolute joy.

centralpark

Click here: what_pilots_see

Some wonderful funny photos

promisedland fallingrocks mistakes iowa makeamericacrateagain lowflying

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who’s still perplexed by bitcoin. Maybe this weekend will magically produce enlightenment and comfort? And a win at tennis? Fingers crossed.