September 09, 2006

Hack: Rent 4 DVDs from BlockBuster for $1.25

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/09/2006 05:42:00 PM
$1.25 for 4 movies? No way! Wrong! I was at BlockBuster the other day and uncovered a way to rent 4 DVDs for $1.25! The best part is you get to keep the DVDs for up to 30 days. Now listen carefully. BlockBuster is currently promoting a deal where you can buy 4 DVDs for $20. However, in the fine print, BlockBuster says:

"If customers later decide they don't want to own the movie or game, they can return the product within 30 days, and Blockbuster Inc will reverse the sale and only charge a minimal restocking fee of $1.25."
I rented 4 movies, watched them, and returned them for $1.25. There are several reasons why I like this better than NetFlix.

1) I found this to be a pretty good deal because when I want to watch DVDs, I don't have the patience to wait for NetFlix. I hate waiting for NetFlix. It takes forever and you don't know whether you'll get your movies.

2) I only rent movies occasionally so I don't like paying $5.99 per month for NetFlix. For $1.25, I get to go into the store, pick up the DVDs, and get to keep them for up to 30 days. I like that.

3) There are plenty of movies to choose from at BlockBuster and they are almos always in stock.

For once, I think BlockBuster might have gotten things right! Now go and get your 4 DVD rentals for $1.25.

Related Video Article: Watch Free TV Show at Amazon Unbox
Related Video Article: DivX IPO Update: DivX Offers Shares to Retail Investors
Related Video Article: DivX IPO: Is It A Good Deal?

September 08, 2006

A Great Week for China IPO: New Oriental Education

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/08/2006 07:14:00 PM
Just checked the stock price of EDU, New Oriental Education which went public on Wednesday. It's up $6.57 from its IPO price of $15! What a ride! The company offers test prep services - SAT, GRE, TOEFL, etc - to students in China. It looks like China tech IPOs are back. Read my post earlier this week which said New Oriental Education would be a very strong deal.

September 07, 2006

Watch Free TV Show at Amazon UnBox

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/07/2006 03:33:00 PM
Hurry! Amazon.com, Inc is giving away free TV shows. It's giving away free $1.99 downloads. I just tried out Amazon Unbox. It's Amazon's new iTunes competitor and by the looks of it, it's pretty snazzy. I watched an episode of CSI:Miami using the service and the sound quality was sharp. The video quality is Amazing! The video is encoded at 2,500 kilobits/sec using the VC-1 codec. The best part is that I could start watching shows immediately after pressing play. There is no need to wait for the download to finish because Amazon uses progressive downloading.

TV shows seems to be doing very well at Unbox. The top sellers today are:

1) CSI:Miami - It's pretty addictive
2) Prison Break - Can't get enough of this Fox drama
3) Comedy Central Standup: Dane Cook
4) 24 - Another Fox drama
5) Laguna Beach

I'm pretty sure Amazon will give Apple a run for its money. They're offering hardware/content bundles. They're giving away $20 of free videos with a Zen Vision M 30GB.
Nice! I would have loved it if Apple had given me some free credits on iTunes when I bought my iPod! Hey, maybe a little competition will bring the best out of both Apple and Amazon.


Online Poker CEO Arrested by the Feds

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/07/2006 04:14:00 AM
Every now and then the Feds have to remind everyone that sports gambling is illegal in the US. Apparently, the chairman of Sportingbet PLC reportedly the largest online gambling operator in the UK forgot that little detail. The guy running the largest sports book in the world has been detailed by the Feds. The Chairman is Peter Dicks - yes, he's a dickhead for not knowing the law. Oopps. Reports are that he's being held on racketeering and fraud. Don't mess with the Feds! That makes 2 bookies going to jail in as many months. Last month Dave Carruthers from BetOnSports PLC was arrested.

I love the press release (note the emphasis):

Whilst visiting the US on non-Sportingbet business, Mr Peter Dicks, aged 64, Non-Executive Chairman of Sportingbet Plc, was detained by US Authorities at approximately 2.00am BST on Thursday, 6 September 2006.

Apparently, Dicks was not booking gambling bets while in the US!

And look at the stock, it's been roller coaster!


September 06, 2006

At the Internet Cafe, Day Traders in India Live Mumbai Dreams [WSJ]

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/06/2006 09:33:00 PM
At the Internet Cafe, Day Traders in India Live Mumbai Dreams [WSJ] - Very amusing. Sounds like Stock Bubble 2.0 has arrived in India.

New Oriental Education: Looks Like a Strong Deal

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/06/2006 07:42:00 PM
New Oriental Education priced its IPO at $15 above the range of $11-13, raising $112.5 million. This is looking like a very strong deal. The company provides test preparation to students in China. The ticker is EDU.

Rojo Sold, Google Gets Into News, Sprint Launches Movies

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/06/2006 05:24:00 PM
SixApart acquires Rojo. Rojo was funded by BV Capital. Rojo looks like a mashup of Digg and an RSS reader. It looks like a sympathy acquisition since SixApart won't be using Rojo's technology.

Google Archives allows users to search deep web.

Sprint Offers Pay Per View Movies on Your Phone. Now you can watch "National Treasure," "Spider-Man 2" and "Scarface" on your phone. The service is operated by MSpot, funded by Trinity Ventures.

Tom Perkins Resigns from HP Board, because of corporate cloak and dagger.

Updated: Herb Greenberg Tells His Story of Getting His Phone Records Stolen.

DivX IPO Update: DivX Offers Shares to Retail Investors

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/06/2006 04:34:00 PM
It looks like DivX Inc is going the retail route with some of the shares in its IPO.If you are a Fidelity customer, you may be able to participate. Below is an e-mail from Fidelity alerting investors to the IPO.

Why is DivX Offering Shares to Retail Investors?
Typically, underwriters let retail investors into details when either the company asks them to as in the case of Google or when the IPO market is very weak as in the case of Vonage. Allowing retail investors into the deal can serve several purposes:

1) Increase demand for IPO shares if demand for new offerings is weak.
2) Generate buzz among retail investors so they talk about the company.
3) Get attention of media outlets who undoubtedly like to cover tech IPOs.

Who are the DivX Underwriters?

DivX has five underwriters: JP Morgan, Banc of America Securities, Cowen and Company, Canaccord Adams and Company, and Montgomery Securities LLC. The lead bookrunner is JP Morgan. According to Thomson Financial's 2Q investment banking league tables, JP Morgan was ranked #5 in 2Q 2006.

It is important to look at the underwriters because they provide post-IPO trading support of the new issue. A higher ranked underwriter often means better post-IPO performance. #5 is good. Getting a #1 would have been great.

Conclusion

When an underwriter is not confident of institutional support, it often goes to distribute its shares to retail. It pays to be cautious when underwriters offer shares to retail investors. After all, with the Vonage IPO still stuck in the rearview mirror, who wants another blowup.

Related DivX Article: Divx IPO: Is It a Good Deal?


Fidelity Alert - New Issue Offerings


Fidelity is pleased to announce that we are able to provide eligible customers* (see *Eligibility below) with the possibility of participating in the following public offering:


Name of issuer DivX, Inc.

Industry Communications Software


Security type Common Stock


Expected size of offering 9,100,000 shares


Expected price range $12.00 - $14.00 per share


Offering type Initial Public Offering


Distribution by The Issuer and Selling Shareholders


Expected pricing date 09/21/2006

To access and download the preliminary prospectus with respect to the offering, please visit https://scs.fidelity.com/customeronly/ipoprosp.shtml.
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How to Print a Book on Demand With Amazon BookSurge

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/06/2006 01:42:00 AM
I have always wanted to publish my own book. Like many aspiring authors, one often wonders, how do you publish your own book on demand? After all, few authors are lucky enough to win a book contract before embarking on a literary career. Even fewer are as lucky as the notorious plagiarist Kaavya Viswanathan, who signed her first book deal before turning 17, plagiarized her way to an award winning novel/movie deal with Dreamworks, and was finally caught at the ripe old age of 19. I was doing a search on Yahoo for "print books on demand" when I came across the Web 2.0 solution.

While Internet juggernauts such as Yahoo!, eBay, and Google are trying to figure out how to address the market for publishing books in the digital age, Amazon.com Inc has solved the problem of booking publishing for those of us who still live in the age of the printing press. Amazon.com Inc has been quietly promoting BookSurge, a company it acquired in 2005, which provides on demand publishing for aspiring authors. BookSurge can fulfill print jobs of 1 or 100 books within 24 hours. Authors retain all rights to their intellectual property.


How does BookSurge Work?
BookSurge provides authors with a Global Publishing System (GPS) software platform. The GPS system has been used by AmazonPod to allow publishers to bring back out of print titles, test experimental titles, and market niche content with reduced financial risk. Small publishes have also been using the sytem to fulfill orders for books, so they can focus on working with authors.

1) Submitting a Manuscript
BookSurge provides layout and design for authors. Authors can submit Black and White manuscripts ($499) or color manuscripts ($699-899). Color manuscripts have a minimun of 24 pages and a maximum of 60 pages which is ideal for story books.

2) Submitting a PDF
If the book is already laid out, BookSurge charges $99 for Black and White and $299 for Color.


3) Copy Editing
Every needs copy editing. This can be expensive. BookSurge charges $3000.

4) Publicity for your Book

When your book is completed, BookSurge even offers a $499 publicity kit as well as book signing opportunities.

5) The All In Cost is $5299
When all is said and done, the total cost of publishing a work of fiction with BookSurge is $5299. That's not counting cost of printing copies of the book which can range from $8.99 for a 5.25"x8" 50-pager to $39.99 for a 7"x 10" 750 pager. The best part about using BookSurge is that you can feature your book on Amazon and pair it up with a best seller to offer shoppers added value for buying both items simultaneously.

Don't let the book printing costs scare you away.
Since your books are printed on demand, incremental costs won't matter until you receive your first order - at which time, you'll have the dough to pay! So, for $5299, you just might come up with the next great American novel!

September 05, 2006

How to Tell When A Management Team Is Covering Its Ass

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/05/2006 09:54:00 PM
When a management team covers up bad news in the form of a positive press release, I find it very disturbing. How do you tell a good management team from a bad management team?

1) A good management team will guide down the numbers for its shareholders before the bad news arrives. Bad teams wait until the last minute. An example of a great management team is Microsoft. It is one of the most well run companies in the world. Microsoft has rarely blindsided investors with overly optimistic guidance. And during the dotcom correction, it guided expectations down - prior to announcing earnings. That is why it is so easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Good teams face the facts and tell the story like it is, so that shareholders can make the decision as to whether to buy, sell, or hold. When the bad news arrives, a good management has already disclosed the problem. Rather than talking about the past, it is already talking about the solution, and the future.

2) A good management will be forthcoming about the extent of the bad news. Nobody is perfect. However, it is surprising to me how many large Fortune 500 companies are not forthcoming about the extent of bad news. Remember Google's earnings miss two quarters in a row or Yahoo!'s earnings disappointment? These were wipeouts for the average investor, who lost a signifcant amount of wealth in each case. These are hard earned dollars, and managers have a responsibility to shareholders. The difference between a good management team and bad one is that good management teams know how bad the situation is, and communicate it directly. A bad management team will waddle around, providing overly optimistic guidance to the board, until the proverbial sh*t hits the fan - and until it's too late.

3) Finally, good management teams work for shareholders. Bad ones leave shareholders out to dry. This is most easily seen when looking at stock options transactions and allocations. When you look at the Rule 144 filings of executives, do you see the management team time and again selling their options heavily prior to announcing the bad news? Or did they give shareholders and owners an equal opportunity?

Being able to tell good management from bad is a key skill for investors. Take for example, the company Cryptologic Inc (CRYP), a provider of online poker software to several major online casinos. The company has known for several quarters that it will lose its largest customer, Betfair. Rather than disclosing the extent of the potential loss of business, insiders have been selling shares while trying to downplay the extent of the loss. In fact, when Cryptologic finally conceded today that Betfair will be leaving, the management team tried to downplay the issue saying "CryptoLogic Confirms Previously Announced Betfair Exit". Cryptologic has yet to disclose how much business it will lose to investors.

Management's lack of transparency leads me to 2 different conclusions: either they have no clue about the extent of the loss, or they do, and they don't want to admit it. I am fairly certain they know the extent of the loss, but just don't want to admit it.

Knowing that investors are very concerned, I find it very disturbing that Cryptologic paper overs the issue rather than facing the facts, procrastinates until the last moment to announce the bad news, while withholding from investors material information about the business.

Now that you know how to tell a good management team from a bad management team, you can apply it the next time you come across a lemon.

How do I Setup A FrappR Map?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/05/2006 01:32:00 AM
If you have a website and want to build a community, FrappR gives you an easy for your users to add themselves to a map, interact, so that now they can all learn where everyone comes from. It's a cool Web 2.0 mashup created with Google Maps. I setup a FrappR in about 3 minutes, because I'm curious where my readers were coming from. Click here to check out Mr Wave Theory's FrappR map and shout out your location.

Setting up a FrappR is very easy.

1) First go FrappR and get yourself a FrappR account.
2) When you are done, go to your home page and click on the button that says "Create New Map."
3) Type in a name for your map and click on "Location" to indicate where you are from, and click "Create Map". You're done!

Invite Your Friends!

1) Setting up a FrappR map easy. When you done, you definitely want to invite your friends, so you can populate your map. The best option is to let FrappR import your contacts from Yahoo Mail, Gmail, MySpace, and Hotmail.

Don't Forget to Add Your FrappR Map to your Website

1) This is crucial. After all your hard work, add your FrappR map to your MySpace, Hi5, or Friendster account. FrappR can add it automatically for MySpace and Friendster.

Voila! Done! Finito! This is what my map looks like. Now, if you found this tutorial useful, do me a favor, and shout out your location on my FrappR map.