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Full Disclosure

Around this time of year, my boss sends an e-mail to me and every other reporter on The Post's Business staff. It includes a Word file, in which we're supposed to list our investments, in case any of them might pose a potential conflict of interest.

(The most obvious conflict -- investing in a company that you cover -- is outright forbidden.)

We're promised confidentiality in this form, but I don't see why you all shouldn't see this data as well. Then again, my investments are horribly boring.

They consist of three Vanguard mutual funds: its S&P 500 index, Wellington and Windsor funds. The latter two are socked away in my 401(k), which means I theoretically don't need to look at them for another 25 years or so.

We're also instructed to disclose "any possible conflicts" among investments by family members; the only one I'm aware of consists of 10 shares of Cisco Systems that my wife bought before we married.

While I'm on the subject, here are other facts you might find noteworthy:

* I use both Mac OS X and Windows every day -- a Dell Optiplex desktop running Windows XP Professional at work, an iMac running OS X Leopard at home. I also have a Post-issued Dell laptop at home running XP Pro and, on a second partition, Ubuntu Linux, but that's ready for the scrap heap and will soon be replaced by another Dell (if you've got any thoughts on the Latitude D430, XPS M1330 or Inspiron Mini 9, please share them in the comments).

* I pay Dish Network for TV service, Sprint for wireless-phone service, Speakeasy Network for Internet access (see my earlier note here on that) and Verizon for a minimal level of landline-phone service. In the not-too-distant past, I've been a customer of Comcast and Verizon Wireless.

You shouldn't take any of this as some sort of endorsement; I made many of these choices for reasons that may not apply to you (like using Verizon Wirelesss and then Sprint because I take Metro to work); in some cases, I could find myself switching to another provider if I ever bothered to sit down and compare my options.

Anything else you'd like to know?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  October 24, 2008; 9:16 AM ET
Categories:  The business we have chosen  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Apple MacBook Combines High Art and a Higher Price
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What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the full disclosure. It inspires confidence in your reporting and in you as a person.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Your disclosure produced the following side-effects:

* A full-sized sidebar ad for Cisco Systems.

And Google ads for:

* Dell,
* (Verizon Cell Phones) (twice),
* (Conflict of Interest?),
* (Conflict Resolution),
* (Is your bank in trouble?).

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

More importantly - what is your favorite Springsteen album? If you say "Born in the USA" then you lose all credibility with me.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

With ad blocking I never get to see those - I might turn it off. Probably not though.


Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Wait, why did you switch from Verizon to Sprint because you take the Metro? I switched to Sprint from VZ because Sprint's a better deal, but the service is marginally worse on the Metro (though I have a Verizon Blackberry I use as well). Anyway, I like Sprint better, but I thought it was Verizon that had towers down under. Is that not true?

Very cool of you to disclose all of that, though!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

When are the new "must be signed in to post" rules being rolled out here? Are you always the last one to get the cool new toys?


Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The third Anonymous posted about your disclosure's effects on the ads. Hilarious! Also, why is everyone "Anonymous" today?

—Brendan West

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting idea for a post. I should do something similar. It IS an endorsement of sorts. And speaking of Vanguard, by far they best every company I've ever dealt with in terms of positive customer service experiences. Of course, that's not much consolation when the market's imploded.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

If commenters press the Preview button before posting they will be able to change their "name" from Anonymous to whatever they like.


Posted by: DLDx | October 25, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that both PCs are running XP-Pro instead of Vista. Is that because Wapo requires it, although Vista allegedly runs earlier versions of Office, less than 3G of memory in one or both machines, or????

Posted by: lrmc623 | October 26, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Rob, there is substantial overlap between the stock portfolios of your three mutual funds. All three have mainly large-cap stocks.

You should consider diversifying, adding in funds for mid-cap and small-cap, as well as international stocks. Vanguard has plenty of options in those categories, indexed as well as managed.

Posted by: taskforceken | October 26, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse


Here’s my take on your three identified possibilities: Latitude D430, XPS M1330 and Inspiron Mini 9. Let’s start with the Mini first – the Mini 9 and the new Mini 12 (announced today, available end of Nov. ) are designed to be secondary devices – versus a primary PC. They were designed to be easy to carry, easy to connect, and handle simple quick tasks like checking email, surfing the web, “Tweeting,“ converting notes into a column on the subway ride in, etc. You’ve covered technology long enough to know that there almost always is a 2 out of 3 choices situation – for the Minis to achieve the small size and the strong battery life, we went with a smaller “engine” under the hood, Intel’s Atom processors. They are great for all the activities listed above – but if you start to open several applications, or want to edits photos or videos, this is not the system for that kind of work load.

So your other choices are dead on in terms of the best combination of performance and portability. For my own “full disclosure,” I personally carry a Latitude D430 because the ability to easily dock is high on my “must have” criteria list. I don’t use this system for entertainment purposes, so I don’t miss not having a DVD drive. I added an extended battery and get about 6 hours before I need to plug in again. It’s a sleek little laptop that gets no attention when I pull it out and start to work, unlike the XPS M1330, which has won more design awards globally (six this year) than any other laptop in the history of Dell. The XPS M1330 is also more powerful than the D430 – it’s powered by standard Intel Centrino processors (versus the ULV version in the D430), and can be configured with Nvidia graphics. As mentioned about its more entertainment friendly with the slot-load optical drive, capacitive touch multimedia buttons, and event an optional remote control that is stored in the Express card slot. The XPS M1330 also gives you the ability to ”trick it out” to meet your needs and deeds, including SSD drives, WLED display, Webcam, etc., and of course offers a choice of color – black, red, blue and pink. Final note – I did purchase an XPS M1530 (the M1330’s big sister) for my daughter, whose high school course work requires regular access to a PC. She's making good use of it and it was our primary entertainment control center last spring when we took her and her two best friends went on a road trip to Arizona.

Posted by: anneATdell | October 27, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Recently Dish Network informed my aged mother in Annandale that they were no longer going to support MSNtv. This came as a big shock to her because it is the only email account that she has ever had. Their customer service was no help whatsoever, and as a result she will be dropping their TV service for FIOS.

Posted by: SM33 | October 28, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Boxers or briefs?

Posted by: Bartolo | October 28, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Rob, Rob, Rob,...Ditch the Dell. I've had several Dells and they've all ultimately been nothing but trouble. Go with HP/Compaq or Toshiba. And please come back to Verizon Wireless, we miss you.

Posted by: mightykevbo | October 28, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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