Non-Financial

New meaning to the word “fineprint”

When signing up for a contract or trying to qualify for certain promotions, we are always told to remember to read the fine print. In the online world, fine print has also become “faint” print.

Consider the following promotion from Firstrade:

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Here’s how the “faint” print (that appears on the same page) looks like:

2007-02-16-fineprint2.png

The print is so faint that it actually is very straining to read. It is as if Firstrade is telling you not to bother reading.

The fine print on Wells Fargo’s checking account sign-up page is smaller but looks to me a bit easier to read since the print is darker:

2007-02-16-fineprint3.png
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Alternative Asset Class : Parking Lots

Talking about alternative asset classes, barefootjan from the Diehards forum posted an interesting article that appears in the New York Times. The article “Is It Time to Add a Parking Lot to Your Portfolio?” notes:

Macquarie Bank says parking lots and roadways are potentially as valuable as oil pipelines or electric companies. It views a private parking lot, for example, as operating much like a utility: throwing off lots of cash, increasing its rates as the economy grows and often chugging along with little direct competition.

Macquarie executives say infrastructure is a new asset class, deserving a place in investors’ portfolios alongside the usual stocks, bonds, cash and real estate. According to this line of thinking, the durability and stability of the assets protect against the zigzags of stocks and bonds. In other words, London Bridge may fall down, but only long after Enron has crashed. Infrastructure can help to hedge a portfolio against inflation, said Martin A. Jaugietis, a senior consultant in the asset consulting group at Towers Perrin. “When prices rise, infrastructure assets tend to be able to increase prices in concert,” he said. “The cash flows are similar to the rent you’d get from a building.”

Macquarie has two closed-end funds that invests in this area: Macquarie Global Infrastructure Total Return and Macquarie/First Trust Global Infrastructure / Utilities Dividend & Income.

PS. I wouldn’t bet my farm on these funds.

OpenDNS – A Safer and Faster DNS

After reading a recent article in PCWorld, I switched my DNS server on my router from those operated by my ISP to those from OpenDNS. In my unscientific tests, I noted a drop in delay in the time taken to lookup a given website.

The following information is from OpenDNS:

Why should I use OpenDNS?

Why is OpenDNS safer than what I’m using now for DNS?

OpenDNS intercepts phishing attempts. OpenDNS customers will be warned if they attempt to visit a phishing site.

Why is OpenDNS faster than other DNS services?

Two things make OpenDNS faster than similar services. First, OpenDNS runs a really big, smart cache, so every OpenDNS user benefits from the activities of the broader OpenDNS user base. Second, OpenDNS runs a high-performance network which is geographically distributed (see network map) and serviced by several redundant connections. OpenDNS responds to your query from the nearest location. That means we’re very fast (and extremely reliable, to boot).

Why is OpenDNS smarter?

We fix typos in the URLs you enter whenever we can. For example, if you’re using OpenDNS craigslist.og will lead directly to craigslist.org.

If we’re not sure what to do with an error, we provide search results for you to choose from.

Does using OpenDNS cost me money?

No. OpenDNS is free to use.

How do I start using OpenDNS?

Change your DNS settings to the OpenDNS servers:

    • 208.67.222.222
    • 208.67.220.220

More details are in the Getting Started section, with step-by-step instructions for different routers, operating systems, and networks.

Reminder: there is no software to install, no cost, and you can switch any time.