Little Rishi

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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Just a thought: Educating the common people to better manage their 401(k) plan - will it work?
In the wake of people suffering 401(k) plan losses due to substantial decline in financial markets over the past year, some people are proposing educating workers to better manage their 401(k) plan and avoid such declines in future.

Question, however, is:

- if highly educated and experienced MBAs, CFAs, hedge fund and mutual fund managers and other financial professionals couldn't avoid losses
- when banks and investment houses like Washington Mutual and Lehman Brothers ended up going down
- when even supposedly safe target-dated retirement funds and auction-rate securities went down substantially in price,

then how are the common people, with regular jobs, family and other responsibilities, can become so educated that they will be avoid substantial drops in future? Just a thought.
posted by Little Rishi @ Thursday, January 29, 2009   0 comments

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Yahoo Briefcase to close on Mar 30, 2009

Logged in to my Yahoo Briefcase account and found that Yahoo is closing its Briefcase service. I use Yahoo's Briefcase extensively to back up my files and so was disappointed to read that message.

Since past year or so, Yahoo's service seems to be on the down. I used to like its My Yahoo portal's Classic layout. Next thing I see is that they totally destroy it with its supposedly cooler, new layout! Worse, they took away the option of reverting back to its classic layout for the users who preferred that layout!

Similarly, used to like its Map Directions but they made changes there as well. Am not sure why, in the name of innovation, companies mess up things that have been working. Sometimes, innovation involves not messing with the existing things so much that your customers flee. But then if Yahoo had known these things, probably it, rather than Google, would have been the leading Search company.
posted by Little Rishi @ Wednesday, January 28, 2009   0 comments

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Olevia HDTV problem - channel controls not working
Recently, we started having problems with our 42" Olevia LCD (Model 242-T11) channel control buttons.

As we were away, we hadn't used the TV for a few weeks. Recently, when I turned it on, the TV was working fine but for some reasons, the channel up and down buttons on the TV as well as on the remote stopped working. The only way I could change channels was by entering the channel numbers directly (using the 1 through 9 buttons) on the remote control. All other buttons located directly on the TV as well as on the remote were working fine. Removing and reinserting the remote control batteries also didn't fix the problem nor did a quick search on the internet provided much clues.

Finally, I emailed Olevia's Tech support and through their help, was able to resolve the issue. Basically, I needed to do the Auto Channel Search again. The steps were as follows:

1) Press the SOURCE button on the remote (or the TV itself) until CABLE is visible on the upper right (as per the Tech Support, I needed to make TUNER visible, but since I didn't have that option, I just set it to CABLE and that proved option proved to be fine in resolving the problem.
corner
2) Press the MENU button on the remote,
3) Press the DOWN arrow key until you see SETUP, press ENTER.
4) Press DOWN until you see TV, press ENTER.
5) Press DOWN until you see AUTO CHANNEL SEARCH, press ENTER
6) Press DOWN until you see CABLE (for antenna, use AIR), then press ENTER.
7) Choose the STANDARD (if STANDARD does not give you the channels, try AUTO) option. The scan process starts and takes about couple of minutes to complete.

The above steps did the trick and I can now change the channels using the buttons on the TV and remote.

Here's the contact info for Olevia's Tech Support in the US:

Olevia's Web site: Olevia Tech Support
Phone: 866-965-3842
posted by Little Rishi @ Tuesday, January 27, 2009   0 comments

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
Class action settlement: Up to $78 for customers of Bank of America, Fleet Bank, US Trust Company or LaSalle Bank
As part of a settlement, customers of Bank of America, Fleet Bank, US Trust Company or LaSalle Bank may be eligible for up to $78. You can submit the claim online or via mail. Deadline is May 1, 2009.
You are a member of the Settlement Class and eligible for a payment if you resided in the United States at any time between the dates set forth below, had an account at a bank listed below, and meet all three of the following requirements:

Your account was accessible through a debit card, check card, or any other bank card used for debit purchases; AND

You paid at least one:

insufficient funds fee, overdraft fee, returned item fee, or similar fee that was assessed to your account within five business days after a Bank of America debit card transaction either occurred or posted to your account; OR

overlimit fee or similar fee that was assessed for an account cycle in which a Bank of America debit card transaction either occurred or posted to your account; AND

The insufficient funds fee, overdraft fee, returned item fee, overlimit fee, or similar fee was paid between the following dates:

For customers of . . . From Through
Bank of America 12/6/2000 12/31/2007
Fleet Bank, N.A. 4/1/2004 12/31/2007
U.S. Trust Company, N.A. 7/1/2007 12/31/2007
LaSalle Bank N.A. and LaSalle Bank Midwest N.A. 10/1/2007 12/31/2007
...
The total payment to each qualifying Settlement Class Member will depend upon the total number of valid claims submitted by all Settlement Class Members. However, no Settlement Class Member will receive more than $78.
For complete details, see:

Closson v. Bank of America

FAQs
posted by Little Rishi @ Sunday, January 25, 2009   0 comments

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Saturday, January 24, 2009
Problems with wireless connectivity
I have a Dell Latitude D620 laptop and use it to connect to the internet frequently using my WI-FI/wireless network. I was able to connect to the internet without any problem until recently, when all of a sudden, I could no longer connect to the internet. I was getting the following error:

Wireless Network Connection Not Connected. Right-click here for more options.

Searches on the net recommended that I check my router as well as my wireless network adapter.

My router and other wireless networks were working fine but I could no longer view the available networks – neither my own wireless network nor anyone else's in the vicinity. Using the Device Manager functionality (to access it, go to Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Systems Tools > Device Manager in Windows XP), I troubleshot the Dell Wireless network adapter but it indicated that the device was working correctly. I then updated the Dell driver. While I still couldn’t connect to the internet, I started getting the following error:

The Dell Wireless WLAN Card is still disabled. Slide the Wireless ON/OFF Switch to enable it.

I wasn’t aware of any Wireless ON/OFF Switch and initially had problems finding it. Finally, I found that it was located on the side of my laptop, next to the slots for the microphone and speaker. Sliding the switch restored my wireless internet connectivity and finally, life appeared to be good again! Seems while cleaning my laptop, I must have accidentally turned off the switch which led to all these problems.

As always, it was a good learning experience - all problems in life provide a valuable lesson. I should have been more careful while cleaning my laptop. However, fixing the problem was a bit of confidence booster as I'm a novice when it comes to computers but just by doing searches on the internet and playing around with various computer settings helped me resolve the issue, while saving me a trip to the repair shop as well as some money.

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posted by Little Rishi @ Saturday, January 24, 2009   0 comments

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Friday, January 23, 2009
Insider stock purchases - a buying signal or an invitation to getting fried signal in the current market?
CNBC and other financial media are abuzz this week with the recent purchases of Bank of America shares by company insiders. Typically, insider buying is considered a bullish sign on stock since insiders are putting their own money on the line. However, as the Wall Street Journal article points out, in the current environment, be very careful and avoid following the insiders. The past few months have clearly shown that the current crisis is more serious that many of the value fund managers, insiders and other investors had imagined. Insiders from various companies, including Wachovia, Thornburg Mortgage and others rushed in to buy their company stocks thinking that their low valuations were unjustified and buying was the right thing to do. However, the current crisis has shown that insiders aren't better in identifying stock bottoms and if anything, they are often too early in buying. Moreover, these days, insiders seems to be engaging in stock purchase more as a show to encourage others to jump in but again, it pays to be careful since while insider executives have tons of money and can afford to make purchases, most of us don't have sufficient money to throw away, especially now when our bank and retirement accounts are already depleted.
Lewis and his compatriots purchased more than 513,000 shares of common stock Tuesday, as The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick reported. BofA’s shares rose 31% Wednesday, fueled by a wider rally that also lifted Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and other financial stocks.
.....
Let’s look at just a few, brief examples. Last November Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and his deputies bought 1.3 million Citigroup shares after the stock had fallen below $9. Pandit alone spent $8.4 million. But that didn’t prevent a deeper rout in the stock nor the need of an additional $301 billion in government backstops for Citi’s toxic debt. Oh, and the stock closed Wednesday at $3.67, and that’s after rising 31% on the day.

Directors at Wachovia snapped up hundreds of thousands of shares in October and early November, only weeks before the bank was shoved into an arranged marriage, first with Citigroup and then Wells Fargo. At Washington Mutual, the bank’s decline was presaged by a months-long buying spree by directors and officers–none of which persuaded investors or depositors of WaMu’s viability long enough to forestall an FDIC near-seizure and fire sale to J.P. Morgan.
....
The lesson? That investors believe that no one, including executives, know enough about the market these days to confidently predict all the factors that could affect the future of any company.
For complete article, see:

WSJ.com: Bank of America: Can a $15 Billion Problem Be Solved by Buying 513,000 Shares?

Related article:

SeekingAlpha.com: Lessons the Market Taught Us in 2008

Insider stock purchases - a buying signal or an invitation to getting fried signal in the current market?
posted by Little Rishi @ Friday, January 23, 2009   0 comments

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