Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Return to Sender - Fight Back Against Junk Mail

I created a new Facebook cause to fight back against junk mail.

Here's the details:
  1. For companies, the environment is (almost) always secondary to profit.
  2. The best way to help the environemnt is to make it uneconimical for companies to continue practices that damage the environment.
  3. To more than double the cost required for companies to send us junk mail, we need to mail it back to them on their dime.
What you need to do each time you receive a piece of junk mail:

1. Open up the letter and look for a return envelope that says "No Postage Necessary if Mailed in the United States"
2. Place any other content from the letter that doesn't identify you in the return envelope.
3. Seal the envelope and drop it in the mail.

That's it - you're done! That's all it takes to fight back. And it's surprisingly refreshing and therapeutic.

This is especially costly to the junk mailers since they get to send the letter at discount bulk rates but don't have the same luxury, or at least as much of a luxury, for the small volume that gets sent back to them.

If you're bold you can modify the above steps to also include your return address on the envelope. Potentially, this would give the junk mailer the opportunity to remove you from their list, although it is more likely that their processes won't be able to react and they will probably just keep paying extra for their wasteful mailing.

If everyone did this, it would greatly reduce the number of products that could be profitably marketed using wasteful, non-targeted mail, and thus reduce said mail from stuffing our mailboxes.

It takes a lot of resources and energy to create paper, print and process them into mail, and then deliver them to each and every mailbox in America.

Please join the cause!


Monday, December 22, 2008

The Economy: Finding a Bottom

So, I've lost my ass in the stock market recently, along with 99% of everybody else, but things are getting cheap enough that I feel it might be time to make a move. The problem is, it's still hard to see just how much more the world has to de-leverage, unwind - whatever you want to call it - before we reach the next local minima, to put it into annoying math terms.

I'm still a bit nervous to jump into a select few stocks or even an index for that matter; however, you shouldn't invest with fear and you should fear not investing. I like the idea of putting a limit order in to buy should things go even lower. Better yet, I would love to get paid to put in a limit order to buy if things get worse. Enter, the cash secured put.

Because of the unprecedented volatility, you almost feel like a sucker buying anything right now because it could swing down 5% for as good of a reason as America had invading Iraq. So instead of sweating bullets praying that you got lucky, why not keep your cash and say, "okay market, I'm not going to buy today, but if you pay me a little I'll promise to buy in if things go lower." So pick a stock using your favorite screener that has a low P/E, a profit margin of any kind, a low price/book ratio, low debt to equity ratio, and maybe even a positive yield, and oh yeah, a stock that is more volatile than the indexes, and you've found a good candidate to "not" invest in.

That's right, you can make a cool 5-10% by fairly conservatively betting stock XYZ won't go down 20% in 2 months. We've seen plenty do it, but if you set your screen right, then do the homework on the results, you should be able to beat the Vegas Odds.

This will put more money in your pocket, turning you into one of those mythical good Americans that buy flatscreen TVs and Corvettes.

Well that's the direction I'm going to go, I think. And another tip on picking a company... there's a 1001 companies that have fallen to fraction of what they were just a short while ago. Some deservedly so and others not so much. How do you get that extra edge to know which ones are being bullied. Look into the insider buying. If a bunch of execs are pouring money into the stock, it gives a heck of a lot more of a fighting chance.

Hope this helps someone out there make a few bucks back from the crooks.

Take Care,

Friday, May 2, 2008

You've Stopped. You've Yielded. But Have You Ever Stielded?

This morning I found myself weighing fuel-efficiency, convenience, and safety aspects regarding stop signs.

Every day on my morning commute, there is this stop sign where I make a right turn. Because of the geometry, you can see far, far to the left for quite awhile when approaching the stop sign. So often, I can clearly see, after having at least 5 seconds to monitor the traffic, that there is no one coming. Yet legally, I have to come to a complete stop before continuing on my way. Stopping versus slowing down adds to the wear and tear on my brakes and requires more fuel to return to normal speeds from a complete stop.

Now to the stop sign's defense, you can't see traffic coming from the right very well, so if you were to make a left turn, it would be prudent to stop and smell the exhaust, so to speak. This particular stop sign in question is a three-way, but if it were a four way, then a stop sign would also be a good idea for straight-through traffic.

So, I have a solution to make it a win-win for everybody. Behold- the Stield sign! The left half of the sign looks like a stop sign and has the ST of STOP. This indicates that you stop when turning left or going straight. Now, the right hand side is in the shape of a yield sign and has the IELD of YIELD. This indicates that you don't have to come to a complete stop to turn right, traffic permitting.

Benefits to consumers:
  • Increased fuel-efficiency when making right turns
  • Less wear-and-tear on brakes
  • Less average wait time for cars ahead of you to to turn right
  • Increased driving satisfaction - no one like to stop when there's no need
  • Less pollution generated by stop signs because of above benefits
  • Confusing old people when they have to take a test to renew their license
Drawbacks (to some):
  • Potentially reduced margin of safety
  • Potentially less revenue from city police departments from traffic violation fines
So basically, since six is more than two, the positives outweigh the negatives; therefore, this sign needs to be implemented nation-wide ASAP.

Who's with me?!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why You Should Buy a Garmin

So Garmin (GRMN) stock has been on a water slide straight down to zero since the start of 2008. Why?

Fundamentals would seem to indicate that Garmin has a lot of growth ahead. Yes, the market is afraid of anything these days, even if it's a cute fluffy bunny, but it seems people are extra afraid of Garmin... or are they? Could it be that someone with deep pockets has an agenda, knows Garmin has good growth ahead of it, but is for the time being preying on the market fear to drive the price down?

Well one can only speculate, I guess, but just in case there is an evil plot, you should buy a Garmin nuvi and a nuvifone when it comes out so we can punish these evil doers.

Besides, what are tax rebates for? That's right... nuvis!

Friday, February 8, 2008

OK Jones Show Tonight!

Hey everybody!

OK Jones, the most amazing rock band ever, is having a show tonight at the Jackpot Saloon in Lawrence, KS. We're first, show starts at 10pm. Hope you can make it!

The Volunteers are headlining - you don't want to miss these guys.

You can check out our stuff at\okjones

Also we are on iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, and many other digital music outlets.

Hope to see you tonight!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A preivew of chronicles to come

Hello world,

A fitting introduction for me since I'm a computer programmer by trade that got his start from those very words. Okay, after learning of the millions of dollars I've forgone by not having a blog, I've decided that I should get one started. I'll call it an experiment for now - until I get my first million.

This first post will be a blog of blogs. Consider it a preview to the postings that will soon rock you to your very core!

Here are the things I'm good at and/or do anyway despite my aptitude:

Strike up conversations with person next to me at the bar
Host holiday parties
Write software
Play guitar in a rock band
Play bass in a rock band
Run marathons, half-marathons, and such
Fanatically cheer on the Jayhawks
Play Scrabble
Appreciate music - especially Steely Dan
Appreciate comedy - movies, TV shows, even commercials
Invest in real estate
Manage my own investment portfolio using long-term fundamentals
Manage my own investment portfolio using short-term market inefficiencies
Write blogs
Play video games to unplug for a bit
Scheme for the extra buck

I'll do my best to dive into each one of these topics on a regular basis, but for now I leave you to ponder what is to come...