Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 3
Hello to everyone who may find the time to read this..

I am a reservist on a overseas tour in the middle east with the US Military. I have been here going on 7 months now and have just found out I will be here another year. I have been blessed to be stationed in a location which provides me with wireless internet access in our barracks for when we have downtime. Seeing we have nowhere to go out here and I am in my civilian life a busy bee doing several different things (Deputy Sheriff full-time, Registered Nurse part-time, Coast Guard reservist and Dad). I am finding myself in a need to pursue a part-time occupation to fill my void out here.

I have expressed an interest in learning the stock market for a long time now, seeing my pay is currently tax-exempt for another 12 months, I thought this to be an opportunity to learn the market. I already have a few thousand each invested in the Federal Thrift Savings plan and a Deferred Compensation account with a company called ICMA. I as well have another few thousand in "I" Savings bonds. Seeing I have some savings set aside, I should be able to afford a little risk this year and if successful, be in a position not to be taxed too heavily.

I read the recent article on Pencils2 and was inspired on not just his age, but his investment strategy. I was looking at using Sharebuilder, but wasn't sure of thier reputation vs. all the other online brokers. Pencils2 had mentioned using them in his articles, which has put me at ease for my decision to start an account with them. Now at this point it's a matter of learning the game.

For Starters, I was intreged by Ebay's acquisition of Skype, this being I am currently a Skype user in overseas as one, they offer a PDA version of thier software on my ETEN M600 PDA/cell phone, which is saving me about 30 cents a minute to call home through the cheapest means (Militel charges 18.5cents/min +my 15cents/minute to use my cell phone out here, additionally, they recently came out with thier "Skype in", which allows me to purchase a phone number in the US for $38.00/yr and it will transfer any local phone call from that area code to ethier my Skype if I am logged in or my Personal Cell phone out here in Kuwait, which the latter seems to work pretty good for a beta program.

My thoughts on this, along with Ebay looking to use it to enhance their on-line vendors with the "Skype me" button to contact the vendors directly (especially when they can have it directed to thier own cell or home phone without giving out the personal phone number) makes me believe that this will have potential in bringing Ebay out of thier slump later this year. I concur with Pencils2 in his belief of Ebay making a wise decision to purchase Skype as I see it greatly enhancing their services.

For this, I am looking to make my first investment into purchasing 10 shares of Ebay and with using sharebuilder, probably continue to purchase a few shares every couple weeks until I see what happens when Skype is incorporated into Ebay's operations. I feel optimistic on this companies potential..

Respectfully,
Gary
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Gary,

First off, cool user name! second, cheers to you for serving our country!



As for eBay, funny you mention it - I was considering trying to start a round table discussion on them. It seems as though the internet / technology arena is not big enough for everyone...

see the recent fool article. (http://www.fool.com/News/mft/2006/mft06070702.htm?ref=foolwatch)

or the fact that the paypal CEO walked away. (http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060706/ebay_s_paypal_troubles.html?.v=10)



color me concerned about their high-flying advertising (im sure most people have seen the "it" commercials on TV, or googled something and an ebay ad came up)... I see skype as a potential winner. i think the past has demonstrated that its hard to win in a cut throat business. im guessing its realitively easier to produce a cheaper skype alternative. margins wont stay juicy. skype does not have a large moat, as I see it.


do i think ebay is attractive at current prices? kinda. am i comfortable owning shares of a company in what is becoming a cutthroat business? not 100%. put ebay in my shopping cart. but dont take me to the checkout counter yet.

thoughts?

-pat
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Hi Gary,

Welcome!

Thank you for the work you are doing for the country, all of you in the military and out there in the middle east are true American heroes, so I am honored to have you posting on this board.

I'm actually not as excited about Sharebuilder as I used to be, but it is good if you plan not to sell that often. They actually might be the easiest for your position, but you might want to check out http://www.firstrade.com/ and set up an account with them.

As for your first purchase, eBay is probably a good long-term choice. I personally also like the looks of Makita and Hansen in the long run (Actually, any company in the Pencils Fund I see as a potential winner: http://pencils2.com/pencilsfund.html). Ebay has been struggling as of late, but I think they can get on their feet and become balanced again. So, if you are comfortable with them, I'd say go with an investment. If you are looking for other potential investments, look for companies that you know and love.

Again, I am honored to have you here, and don't hesitate to ask further questions!

Best,

David K
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
Thank you Fuma and Pencils for having a quick response. You are both in the middle of the day with the market alive and kicking before the weekend bell and I am out here where it's already going on 8pm, which I am practically getting ready to sleep for my early work day tomorrow.. I won't be looking at the close until then.

To talk about it a little more. Indeed, I plan on my Ebay being one to sit on for awhile. I started getting my interest up when I first purchased my PDA a little over a month ago and realized how well the Pocket Skype worked on a less expensive 400Mhz Texas Instrument processor (remember them from the 80s? I wonder if they might be coming back?). Not to mention that when my wireless internet connection is not congested (We are sharing bandwith, which is suppose to change in a couple months) The Skype sounds amazing. It worked quite well when it transferred to my cell phone. This feature alone I see useful in Ebay vendors being able to leave their homes for a weekend getaway and still be able to talk from a cell phone (or in the near future, a good PDA with broadband) about thier product to a potential buyer who is online looking at the item. Ebay has very good forsight on this one!!

None the less, I am not one who likes to put all of my eggs into one basket. I am reading the posts and all the learning resources that the fool provides for newbies like me. I expect to lose some as I learn and right now, I am in a good position to take some risk. I have until next summer to sit here in my bunk on a laptop when I am not working or sleeping for learning. This will be something which will make me feel like I still am in touch with the rest of the world while in a isolated location and not going anywhere for awhile.

By the way, I did have the opportunity to visit Dubai, UAE for a few hours on a Layover before coming back to Kuwait. They are indeed the building boom you may have heard in past posts. The name "Emerates" was plastered all over the place out there, from the airlines, to the hotel and university. There is literally an entire metropolitan city being built there. I am curious as to what companies are expanding in that region might be potential picks over the next year or two? I know in the newspapers that Dubai is trying hard to invest in other ventures to offset potential long term losses in the oil industry, they even are breaking tradition and changing their weekend from Thursday & Friday to Saturday and Sunday, this at the request of foriegn companies moving into that region. There is a lot of talk in Kuwait of shifting to this type of trade as well. Recently, The new Kuwaiti Amir has lifted the long standing prohibition on Alcohol sales in this country and it's currency (Kuwait Dinar) has been raised 1% in FOREX, which it has already been showing as being strong against the Dollar. In the shadow of the recent war in Iraq the surronding countries seem to be quite stable south of the Iraq border..

On that note, I look forward to reading your posts and hope to find myself gaining a better understanding on how to prepare for my retirement 16 years from now. Perhaps even have my 8 year old learn something about this as well in a few years. Not many 13 year olds have the attention span for a venture like this. You are fortunate to have the ear of your parents. Kinda reminds me of an article I read a couple years back of a Coconut Groove, Florida boy your age that started a business harvesting and selling his own brand of pure honey to local stores. It started as a summer job for him and landed him into a prospective small business. Children like you Pencils, show there is still much to fight for in keeping our capitalist society free..

Until then,
Gary
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
Gary Wrote:
"I started getting my interest up when I first purchased my PDA a little over a month ago and realized how well the Pocket Skype worked on a less expensive 400Mhz Texas Instrument processor (remember them from the 80s? I wonder if they might be coming back?)."


Gary,

Texas Instruments (TXN) hasn't gone away. The TXN processor in your PDA is a DSP (digital signal processor) not a general purpose CPU like those made by Intel or AMD. The difference is that a DSP is good at processing digital communications signals (like voice, video, music, etc) your PDA probably also has some kind of microcontroller in it to run it's operating system, because a TXN DSP isn't good at that kind of thing. Also 400 MHz is a very fast DSP (almost state of the art). Because of the computationally intensive functionality of a DSP they run at much lower clock speeds than the state of the art general purpose computers, but for signal processing they will kick a Pentium's butt any day.

Anyway, TXN has the number one market share of the DSP market, and the company I work for, Analog Devices (ADI), has the number two market share. I've actually designed a high-end audio interface for one of our Sharc DSP processors, although I work on digital image processors for digital cameras now.

I own some TXN stock and it hasn't been doing well for the past 6 years. It never really recovered from the tech crash of 2000. Neither has ADI for that matter.

I like eBay, by-the-way, and I own a little bit of EBAY stock as well. I think it is a good buy now with the recent drop in price. I don't think that Google is much of a threat to Paypal and I don't think that executive leaving the company is as much of a big deal as Wall Street is treating it. I'm thinking about adding to my position, since the current price is less than I paid.

Stick around the Fool boards you can really learn a lot, I sure have.

Good luck.

--Eric

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
The very name "Texas Instruments" reminds me of back when they had the really fat-sized calculators with the LED display. Thier first line of personal PCs were at first interesting. Somehow, the name has been branded old tech similar to that of a IBM typewriter.

With samsung coming out with their UMPC this year, do you see TXN getting into this kind of market in the future? Samsung seems to have been pre-mature in it's release from what it sounds, this I think was related to their negotiations with what I believe to have been intel in the microprocessor they wanted to use in the UMPC. From what I seen pretty much all Three UMPC manufacturers that were presented at a tech convention a couple months back were all having problems.

None the less, there seems to be a push for the UMPC to hopefully take over the personal PC market in the future.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Gary wrote:
The very name "Texas Instruments" reminds me of back when they had the really fat-sized calculators with the LED display. Their first line of personal PCs were at first interesting. Somehow, the name has been branded old tech similar to that of a IBM typewriter.


Yeah, I know what you mean, I remember my Texas Instruments "Speak & Spell" as a kid and I still have an old Texas Instruments scientific calculator on my desk at work. But TXN is far from "old tech", their chips are in all sorts of products they have moved away from banding consumer products with the "Texas Instruments" name. They are mostly a chip supplier now. But that doesn't mean they are any less innovative. I'm sure you've heard of DLP (Digital Light Processing), which is used in many large screen HDTV's and HD projectors.

http://www.dlp.com/Default.asp

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-Qcbiitln6ly/cgi-bin/prodgroup.asp?cm_re_o=kwufEzM%2Al5TnxiiDi%2A5TvSINDi&nvpair=YCScreen%5FType%7CDLP&g=147350&showAll=1


Also their DSPs and data converters are in all sorts of products from cell phones to audio equipment to PDAs to DVD players, etc.



"With samsung coming out with their UMPC this year, do you see TXN getting into this kind of market in the future?"

TXN is a huge company with tens of thousands of products, I have no idea of all the things they are into or might be getting into. I am familiar with the areas in which they compete directly with my company (DSPs, DACs, ADCs, etc), but they do all kinds of different things.



"None the less, there seems to be a push for the UMPC to hopefully take over the personal PC market in the future.

I have no doubt that computers will continue to get smaller and more powerful for a long time to come. In 10 years we will carry in our pockets many times more processing power than we could afford to put on our desks today.

--Eric
Print the post Back To Top