BMW Ethernet Presentation

As a followup to a previous post, BMW presented at Freescale’s Technology Forum 2010 Ethernet for Automotive Applications an overview on what they are doing for automotive Ethernet. By 2015, there will be 9 million RSE (rear seat entertainment), 5 million In-car TV, and more than 15 million parking aids installed in cars. For good or for bad, there is one standard for wire transport from metro, to cell phone backhaul, to your desk IP phone. It’s called Ethernet. There’s one set of protocols for Ethernet: internet protocol suite (TCP/IP and UDP)*. Do you want to re-use and adapt all of the Ethernet technology available for low cost and no royalties, or re-create the Ethernet ecosystem in an expensive, royalty-based closed system that includes an ad-hoc implementation of Ethernet?

*FCoE proponents may disagree with this, but just wait 5 years.

The $200 Omelette

Ross flew up to The Waypoint Cafe at KCMA (Camarillo) last week in his Centurion and graciously invited me along. The Waypoint got remodeled, and the food is pretty good, especially for an airport cafe. We flew back to KSNA @ 180 Knots and Ross let me take the controls part of the way. Apparently retirement isn’t exciting enough or something. After flying a 172, the 210 feels like a minivan. It’s very comfortable though, and you think, “can I buy one?” until you notice the gph gauge didn’t drop below 14.6 the entire trip, and 100LL is selling for $5 per gallon in LA.

Illustration of compound interest

If you bought 100 shares of Exxon 35 years ago for $2.77 per share, and reinvested the dividends,you’d have $230,944 today. source. That’s an annual return of 19.2% compounded, exclusive of taxes.

** update **
if you bought Exxon on Dec. 31st 1976, you would have had a compounded return of 17.1%. Berkshire Hathaway, by contrast, gave a compounded annualized return of 21.1%. Source

If the price of oil goes up to $130 next year as Mark Waggoner claims it will source, the annualized return on Exxon from 1976-2011 could exceed that of Berkshire Hathaway.

Tomasetta Indicted Part III

Tomasetta, Louis, et al. Indictment. Some hard time there if convicted.

Tomasetta Indicted Part II

***updated***
Here’s the SEC’s complaint. The backdating charge is pretty minor. The SEC desperately wants individuals to be tried and convicted for backdating.

I will say that Dr. Tomasetta approved my hiring at Vitesse and I am grateful. The engineers I worked with in Austin and Camarillo were some of the best I have ever worked with. I think Tomasetta should take credit for making the company engineer friendly. However, the company was also the most political and disfunctional entity I have ever worked for. I believe, if the charges alleged are true, that Tomasetta was distracted by all the activities from running the company.

Item #8 is funny, “During an interview of Tomasetta by Vitesse’s attorneys, who had begun an internal investigation; Tomasetta admitted to these lawyers that he had told Hovanec and Mody that this conduct ‘is the Martha Stewart thing, this is dumb, we need to stop -we’re going to go to jail.’. Remember:

ALWAYS HIRE YOUR OWN ATTORNEY!!!
NEVER SPEAK TO COMPANY ATTORNEYS UNLESS YOUR ATTORNEY IS PRESENT!!!

Company attorneys represent the company, not you. Be very careful what you say to them. Even better, don’t say anything, and don’t say anything to federal investigators, either, even if you hadn’t “inserted these fabricated minutes into the stock option administrator’s computer and turned back the clock on the computer thereby creating the false appearance that the minutes had been written at the same time as when the purported meetings occurred.”

now for the juicy stuff

It is obvious that the reason they went bananas on the backdating coverup was because they didn’t want close scrutiny of the books. When I was interviewing, trying to find a job after the shenanigans came out, and people asked me, “what the hell was going on over there?” I told them “Uncle Lou” ran the publicly traded company like an Italian grocery store. I thought, from family experience with Italians running food businesses, that he was keeping two books. Italian food business always have two polices:

1) CASH ONLY, receipt only on request
2) Family members, and only family members, operate the cash register

Turns out the SEC says that I was right.

The Best Building Material Available, Except in California

Guess I won’t be building my house out of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete blocks, that is, if I build in California, according to CNN. It’s a shame that a termite resistant, fire resistant , earthquake, and environmentally friendly building material is banned. Unless, you own a timber plantation. The seismic concerns are stupid because AAC is extensively used in both Japan and Croatia, countries which suffer from earthquakes and have strict building codes.

Tomasetta Indicted

The US DOJ charged Lou Tomasetta with fraud. I’m trying to get the indictment.

On a side note, it took over 4 years to bring charges?

DCF Estimates By Request

By request, I did DCF estimates for Jet Blue – JBLU and Steve Madden.

Jet Blue looks like it’s a buy, but be careful. One of my friends described investment in an airline as ‘controlled descent into poverty’ Warren Buffett lost a ton of money in USAir in the ’90s. That said, I know one individual (very wealthy) who invested in Southwest immediately after Sept. 11th and sold in early 2004 for a 30% profit. I know another individual who sold Delta recently after buying it last march, for almost 300% profit. Jet Blue is non-union, and if it ever unionizes, its costs will increase substantially.
I actually like Jet Blue because the planes are comfortable and you can watch satellite TV during flight. Southwest is the Greyhound of the sky and seems to attract gutter trash and desperate business people. I hate their no assigned seat system. Anyway, back to Jet Blue. All of my experiences have been pleasant. They had trouble moving from their old fare booking system to Sabre, but it looks like those troubles are behind it, finally. So, remember that the secret to making money with an airline stock is buying and holding until you hit your price target, and then get out.

Steve Madden looks expensive despite the glowing report in Barrons a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I am missing something in my valuations?

My Stock Portfolio Performance

Here are the stocks I’m currently invested in with their performance tabulated:

Stock Annualized Performance YTD
XOM 10.86% 4.40%
PFE -3.08% -8.08%
WTR -1.36% 23.24%
LLTC 33.01% 12.34%
JNJ 0.16% 0.16%
ADP 12.29% 12.29%

I bought two stocks this year, fewer than last year. A long-term (11 year) investment, Exxon is up modestly for the year to date.  Pfizer continues to disappoint.  Aqua America is up quite a bit this year, but the holding has not performed very well since I bought it.  Linear and ADP did well.  Johnson & Johnson did poorly because of the recalls, and how they handled them.

I think my criteria for Pfizer was: “it does what? — I should buy a lot of that stock, it’ll do great!”  I’ll never do that again.  I bought Aqua America, because I wanted a utility, but I overpaid for it.  After these stocks, I decided to utilize more sophisticated analysis than interpreting drug commercials with Bob Dole in them. Working for Vitesse when the shenanigans were uncovered might have had something to do with wanting to weed out overpriced stocks, or stocks with problems on their books.

My stocks are pretty diversified, although you could argue that PFE and JNJ overlap quite a bit. My aggregate return for stocks I picked using my method are up 8% this year and were up 42% last year.  The S&P 500 is up 9.83% so far this year and was up 23.43% last year.  Goldman Sachs is not going to beat my door down for my stock picking advice but I am confident in the screening method I use.