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george.otty@yahoo.ca

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  • Neostem (NBS -15.3%) trades sharply lower on the session. Perhaps weighing on the shares is a paper by Stanford's Dr. Irving Weissman and others which questions the existence of pluripotent VSELs in mice. [View news story]
    Never heard of the guy but he's lowering the value of my portfolio and pissing me off....
    Jul 24 01:43 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Does This Reverse Split Mean For NeoStem Shareholders? [View article]
    In more at .53, late in the day. PPS may drop a little more on Monday but being a longer term investor, it's an opportunity to buy in to a company that's the same company with the same future potential it was yesterday but today, it's a better because people panic in emotional ways sometimes. I guess we'll see.......
    Jul 12 04:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on BlackBerry (BBRY) FQ1 earnings: The stock's off 16% premarket after the big miss on both lines. Smartphone shipments of 6.8M were up 13% sequentially, but fell far short of consensus of 7.5M. "The smartphone market remains highly competitive, making it difficult to estimate units, revenue, and levels of profitability." (PR[View news story]
    I've put this on another BB article but this one is more exciting to follow: Here's my comments:

    Well, they've also announced no BB10 OS upgrade for Playbook after all. Since Christmas I have shown off my Playbook, shown how fast it is, how cool it is and how well it works. If only it had Skype support. But those crafty Skype guys? They knew where to spend their money and it's not on the false promises of BlackBerry and Thorsten Heins.

    I've been a Blackberry fan for years and years. I used it at work, I used it at home and my teams in the office used them. Then, switching jobs, and watching BB stumble badly, I succumbed to the peer pressure and got an iPhone. And you know what? I really, really, really do NOT like it. I so miss the tactile keyboard of my beloved Blackberry. As the news came out of the Z10 and Q10, I started telling everyone I know and work with I was going to get the Q10 as soon as my 2/3 point of my current contract for the iPhone was hit (so I could get some kind of rebate). Then I bought Blackberry tablets for everyone in my family for Christmas. They were firesale cheap and I liked them. As I used mine, I quickly loved it. I did miss that it was not super-flush with available apps and I really wished it had Skype for work but I dreamed that if BlackBerry kept their word to me, then I'd eventually get the OS 10 version upgrade and surely Skype would soon be available. I would then get my Q10 and all would be right with the world again. I told everyone. I spread the word, I kept the faith.

    And now what? SLAP! Right in the face. Blackberry says to me thanks for being loyal (mostly), thanks for helping us, thanks for buying a bunch of our playbooks and trying to get them into the office/business world while we work on getting Skype for you and make that Playbook super-useful to our business clients: the bread and butter of our company. NOT.

    Bye bye BlackBerry. I don't consider that to be much of a business practice or a level of trust I'd expect. You've pissed me off to the point I cannot come back now, and I was one of the legions of the business folks you once prospered with. I suspect, I strongly suspect, I am not alone today.

    Good-bye and just in case you missed it somehow, this is NOT an amicable breakup. This is an ugly breakup.
    Jun 28 02:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry's CEO Discusses F1Q14 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    Well, they've also announced no BB10 OS upgrade for Playbook after all. Since Christmas I have shown off my Playbook, shown how fast it is, how cool it is and how well it works. If only it had Skype support. But those crafty Skype guys? They knew where to spend their money and it's not on the false promises of BlackBerry and Thorsten Heins.

    I've been a Blackberry fan for years and years. I used it at work, I used it at home and my teams in the office used them. Then, switching jobs, and watching BB stumble badly, I succumbed to the peer pressure and got an iPhone. And you know what? I really, really, really do NOT like it. I so miss the tactile keyboard of my beloved Blackberry. As the news came out of the Z10 and Q10, I started telling everyone I know and work with I was going to get the Q10 as soon as my 2/3 point of my current contract for the iPhone was hit (so I could get some kind of rebate). Then I bought Blackberry tablets for everyone in my family for Christmas. They were firesale cheap and I liked them. As I used mine, I quickly loved it. I did miss that it was not super-flush with available apps and I really wished it had Skype for work but I dreamed that if BlackBerry kept their word to me, then I'd eventually get the OS 10 version upgrade and surely Skype would soon be available. I would then get my Q10 and all would be right with the world again. I told everyone. I spread the word, I kept the faith.

    And now what? SLAP! Right in the face. Blackberry says to me thanks for being loyal (mostly), thanks for helping us, thanks for buying a bunch of our playbooks and trying to get them into the office/business world while we work on getting Skype for you and make that Playbook super-useful to our business clients: the bread and butter of our company. NOT.

    Bye bye BlackBerry. I don't consider that to be much of a business practice or a level of trust I'd expect. You've pissed me off to the point I cannot come back now, and I was one of the legions of the business folks you once prospered with. I suspect, I strongly suspect, I am not alone today.

    Good-bye and just in case you missed it somehow, this is NOT an amicable breakup. This is an ugly breakup.
    Jun 28 01:45 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry Q4 Earnings Highlights: What You Need To Know [View article]
    I don't believe we will really be able to see the direction of the company (going up or down) ultimately until the Q10 comes out. In my opinion, the strength that Blackberry still holds is yes, their security infrastructure but also that venerable little keyboard. I gave up my Blackberry around a year and a half ago and got an iPhone. Lots of people had them, my kids had them, everyone seemed to love them. They were cool, apparently. But I type a lot. Not just instant messages but emails while on the road, in a plane, standing in lines, wherever.
    Nothing has been more frustrating in my life in the past 18 months than dealing with a non-tactile keyboard. Ellen makes fun of auto-correct on her show. It's hilarious. But in business when you are trying to get information out quickly and often lengthy, it's not hilarious at all. It's just simply........frustrat... How my iPhone has not hit a wall at terminal velocity yet is nothing short of a miracle some days.
    So, when the Q10 comes out. I'm getting one. My nasty affair with that little iPhone flirt will be over. I cannot wait.
    And? I'll be willing to bet with stock purchases that there are a lot of people just like me out there.
    Mar 28 09:14 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Tesla Disrupt? [View article]
    Really? Motor Trend's car of the year is not good enough for you? A car with technology that is leading edge and potentially another piece of the game-changing arrival of electric-vehicles. What exactly were you looking for when you put down your deposit?

    I would think anyone on a board like this would know how to do DD and figure out what they are buying before they put their money down.....and before they decided it was too expensive. The cost of this car is not meant to match the luxury and maybe even "quality" (depending on what you decide determines "quality") of Mercedes. Surely you realize a lot of the value is in the new technology under the hood/body and was not meant to be a one-for-one match for the luxury of a Mercedes.
    Nov 22 11:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Biggest Threat To Apple's Sales Estimates [View article]
    The ipad mini has no wifi???? Um...........where do you get your information from??? Of course it does. How the heck do you think it surfs at home, starbucks, etc? Sheesh.
    Nov 13 05:42 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Principal write-downs on mortgages could be coming as the President's reelection likely means Ed DeMarco's days as FHFA chief are numbered. Applying the quaint notion the housing agencies are to be stewards of taxpayer money, DeMarco has blocked administration plans for write-downs, arguing they would not just be costly, but ineffective as well. Nice to know you, Mr. DeMarco. [View news story]
    And how exactly has that bailed out auto industry done since? I believe they have paid back their loans and thousands and thousands of American workers still have jobs and still pay their mortgages, taxes and inject money into the economy. How exactly would have letting them fail without bailout money would that have been better? And yes, I have read that even though the money was paid back, the Chrysler deal cost the government something like $1.2B (I could be off on that), which is the approx cost in today's dollars to a B2 stealth bomber. I like those bombers but this kinda puts it into perspective. Why you guys use Seeking Alpha to air your political statements is beyond me.
    Nov 8 12:02 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Electric Vehicles Are Still Not Ready For Prime Time [View article]
    Hi Neil.

    Unlike my Leaf friends in Arizona where the batteries are losing life due to extreme heat day and night and during charging and discharging and I'd say Nissan is facing a bit of a PR nightmare if they do not soon do the right thing, I have not yet experienced any measurable or noticeable loss of range at all. There are two meters in the Leaf: One is what we all call the GOM (Guess-o-meter) that tries to estimate your distance available based on the last short while of driving pattern vs how much charge available and one is the Battery Health (that's my name for it). It's the Battery Health that loses segments on it's bar display as the batteries' capacity starts to drop over time. Once you lose one of those segments go, they are gone forever (or until you buy a new battery). Some guys in Arizona after only 1 - 2 years have now lost 1 - 3 bars out of 12. I have lost none (yet).
    As far as fuel savings paying for the extra up-front cost of the vehicle which I have to remind people: I don't have to make up for the entire cost of the car. I just have to make up for the difference in cost for this car to the cost of a comparable ICE car. I've owned a lot of cars in my life. Some crap. Some nice. Some sports. Some Jeeps. One mini-van. The Leaf is a pretty nice car. It's well built and stylish inside (the outside.......well, I guess it's just what it is) and heated steering wheel, heated seats, near-instant air conditioning (which, by the way, takes 1/4 the power of the heater), lots of off-the-line acceleration, it talks to my iPhone, it turns on the heat for me before I get in each morning (fall/winter, of course) and charges overnight whenever it's schedule tells it too. It tracks crazy-lots of statistics that I can view online at any time about it's usages, consumption, compares to thousands of other drivers, etc, etc. So yeah..........um......... lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, the point is, it's a pretty nice car and fits me and my two daughters and all their hockey gear (and one is a goalie) no problem at all. So could I make a financial case for buying a smaller ICE car and probably at the end of a couple of years be financially slightly ahead? Probably yes. Especially as one day, well down the road I figure (Pun intended), I'll have to buy a new battery pack but I'm counting on that pack being slightly cheaper than it is today and at the very least, I expect it will be a generation-better with even more capacity than my current battery pack is today.
    What is value? I just gotta say there are two situations that make me smile many times every single day and it's like a zen moment for me: Every time I drive by a gas station and every time I take my foot off the accelerator pedal (cannot call it a gas pedal anymore) and watch my power meters swing over to producing power from the regenerating motor rather than using power. Every time I take my foot off the pedal. Is it enough to really create a ton of battery charge? Of course not. But it's still producing free energy for me then and an ICE car is still burning money even when coasting. And I won't even get into maintenance........
    I don't think I answered your question though. Will I really pay for the extra up-front cost of the vehicle? Compared to my Subaru WRX I had two years ago that sells today for approx $26,000, the Leaf is around $10,000 more. Yes, I believe it will make up that $10,000 difference in under 3 years possibly as little as a little over 2 years. But yes, you have to try and compare a zillion differences. For example my last two vehicles were a Jeep YJ Unlimited and the turbo-charged Subaru: two vehicles that suck fuel like......well, like it's going out of style. But I'm happy and everyone who stops and talks to me out on the street (and lots do), I tell them how happy I am and how I'd do it again. Those $300-$400 monthly gas bills on my Visa card are gone.
    Oct 15 11:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • RadioShack (RSH) announces that CEO James Gooch will step down from his position, effective immediately. [View news story]
    I guess he finally ran out of ideas on how he could damage the business. Talk about a retail store that has continually modified it's business and offerings in it's stores to react to what customers are looking for.....only to get it wrong over and over. They have completely lost who they used to be. It makes me sad.
    Sep 26 09:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook (FB) gets the Barron's treatment, making the cover along with an assertion it's worth $15/share. "Success in mobile is no sure thing," writes Andrew Bary, not surprisingly focusing on the rapid shift in the company's user base away from desktops. Mostly ignored by the sell-side, the firm has a whopping stock-based compensation expense. Toss this in, and even at $15, the shares would trade at 35X 2013 estimates. [View news story]
    However, if the users of facebook are getting complacent or possibly even bored with it's application (look up MySpace as a great textbook example). Facebook's value is only as good as it's ability to keep a fairly fickle user base happy and entertained. The next best thing that comes along that causes it's users to start moving across. Just watch that # unique visitors per month start to degrade and what happens to that stock then. It's a house of cards. Why people thought a site like this would be a great investment, I just don't get it. Most of those guys probably don't even use it or understand why it's such a draw right now.
    Sep 24 05:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Electric Vehicles Are Still Not Ready For Prime Time [View article]
    I guess the question is, what if you compare the amount of pollution is created by a modern coal burning power generating station to create the electricity to charge 10,000 cars vs 10,000 cars burning gasoline every day........ And I always smile every time people pull the "coal-burning" card when talking about supplying electricity to cars. There are other methods of generating power. Natural gas-powered and even renewable (solar/wind/etc) are the ones that are increasing capacity the fastest and forecasts show they are expected to do so. So lets say electric cars become so prevalent that we have to start building extra power-generating infrastructure to support them.......do you think that means more coal-powered power plants or natural gas plants?

    And lets not forget that most EV cars are charged at home at night.......when electrical companies usually have more capacity than needed to the point that in many parts of the country, electrical costs per kwh to the consumer drop.

    Anyways, the point is, please don't just broad-brush EV's as burning coal. It's not accurate and you lose credibility for what you write.
    Sep 24 09:29 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The EPA reportedly is conducting a criminal investigation of Chevron (CVX) after learning the company had been routing pollutants around monitoring equipment at its Richmond refinery and burning them off into the atmosphere. The probe is unrelated to the Aug. 6 fire that shut the central refining unit at the 245K bbl/day plant. CVX -0.6% premarket. [View news story]
    Heard at Chevron: " Oh, THOSE pollutants. We thought you meant just some of the pollutants. Our bad. We'll fix that right away. Just need to add a few more cents per gallon of gas to cover it....."
    Sep 24 09:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Electric Vehicles Are Still Not Ready For Prime Time [View article]
    The graph on the BEV does not surprise me. I've been a follower of the story on the Nissan Leaf since I first heard about their plans a couple years ago. It's not that battery technology is not ready yet. I completely disagree with that statement. It's like saying laptop technology was not ready yet when companies started making laptops. Technology advances, things get smaller and faster. Batteries will evolve as well but in my opinion, the current Lithium Ion batteries in Volts, Leafs, etc is doing the job more than adequately for where we are today.

    The two problems I see right now are advertising and public perception. I think the Volt has done pretty well with advertising while others like the Leaf have fallen well short. I don't know about where you are but I cannot get a through a day of driving with the radio on that I don't hear an advertisement about the Chevy Volt. I cannot remember the last time I heard or saw an advertisement about the Nissan Leaf. I talk to people about this all the time, I study and follow the owner's groups' websites where you learn everything, EVERYTHING about what is really going on with owning these vehicles, in real life.

    When the Leaf first came out, it's backlog was ridiculous and further complicated by it's difficult to break into pre-ordering system that was turned on at specific times and everyone tried to order at once (and the system basically crashed over and over). All those people who believed in automotive battery technology and have been waiting forever to get here on a reasonable scale jumped on board as fast as they could. All those people have one by now though. So now the manufacturer's are trying to sell to that next group, that next "level" of the population who kinda like the idea but not so sure it will work, don't really understand it, what if I get stranded, will it go fast enough, what about those guys on tv that ran one a short ways down the road and it died without seemingly any warning, etc, etc. But those people need to be educated by the industry in simple, real-life terms and examples before they will take such a leap. Lastly the group you get to are the guys (and some girls) who will forever hold onto their big powerful gasoline engine-driven testosterone-cars/trucks and would not be caught dead by their buddies ever driving a battery car. I do believe one day though, the Tesla-like cars will start dotting the landscape and make these guys do quite the double-take as the light at the intersection goes green....

    I own a Leaf. It's been my primary vehicle for 10 months now. I average over 2,000 miles per month on it between a long daily work commute and taking the kids to sports' practices and games all over and around the city. My work commute is 75 miles round trip and I've never had a problem, not even close in doing that trip. After my first couple months, just because they offered, my office building allowed me to plug my 120v trickle charger in at work. Heck, why not? The Leaf is rated at 100 miles per charge and I know there are studies out there that say it's not quite that high and I'd agree with that. But I'd also point out that on a nice summer day when the batteries are happiest in that temperature (not too hot, not too cold), I've seen the range estimator calculate a pretty darned decent 125 miles available. The first question people ask me (after "So there's not gas engine in there at all?") is always "How far will it go?". My answer is that people get too fixated on that. That is not really the question. If you are one of a small percentage of people in North America who average more than 75 - 85 miles per day everyday, then ya, this car is probably not for you.

    The question is not necessarily "What is the range?". The question is: Will your charging infrastructure available to you work in your circumstances. I put in a 240 "fast charge" charger in my garage, the cable is out at the front. I get home and as I walk by the front of my car, I pick up the cable and plug it in. Takes me maybe 4 - 6 seconds extra compared to just walking by my car. So after my daily commute, my car still has say 20 - 25 miles available. After I get home, it is charging back up while I relax and prepare to make dinner. Long before I go to bed, it's already texting my phone that it's fully charged and ready to go ("what do you mean you are going to bed soon, I'm charged up and wanna go travel the streets some more!"). That's what people need to understand. It's not like a car where it's tank starts to get empty and you need to go find a gas station. You simply plug in when you get home. You need to spend that 4 - 6 seconds per day. Wow.

    Is it perfect? Of course not. But let's not kid ourselves, neither is a gasoline-powered car. We've just learned to live with it's idiosyncrasies. People do run out of gas on the road (seemingly on bridges a lot where I live). Gasoline cars do break down. They are costly to maintain. They need oil changes routinely. Everyone has experienced what's involved in maintaining their car. But for PEV's you don't go to gas stations and you don't get oil changes or any of that stuff. I've got over 25,000 miles on my Leaf and so far I've had the tires rotated (just because) and that's it.

    Will my battery pack need replacing one day? Sure! But far more likely for the first part of that will involve replacing specific cell-packs as some wear down faster than others. But heck if I have to buy a new battery pack in 5 - 8 years and the battery technology has increased my range another (wild guess) 50 miles or something, I'm not going to complain. 5 - 8 years of not stopping for gasoline as it continues to increase in cost relentlessly will more than pay for that for me.

    So I do believe the technology is here. It works. I live it every day. Will it take the family on a long vacation trip? No, it certainly won't. But the vast majority of us use our cars 46 - 50 weeks of the year just around our towns/cities and work commutes, it's absolutely perfect. For the family (like mine) that's a typical two-car family, the gasoline car is sitting inside the garage with the insurance cancelled because I cannot remember the last time I needed to drive it other than our summer vacation.
    Sep 21 09:49 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • August Retail Sales: +0.9% vs. +0.8% expected, +0.6% prior (revised from +0.8%). Ex-autos +0.8% vs. +0.8% expected, +0.8% prior. [View news story]
    Ignore the economic news and just make a pointless political statement. Obama is to blame for gas prices? Really? He controls the price of crude?
    Sep 14 08:52 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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