Full disclosure: My investments and interests
Every year, Post business reporters have to fill out a form detailing their stock and bond-market investments to confirm that none of these holdings could represent a conflict of interest.
Because the paper already frowns on us investing in companies we cover, indulging in such forms of market speculation as day-trading and short-selling, and acting on private tips from sources, this form can be a boring proposition. But that didn't stop me from disclosing my own dull investments in a post here last year, nor will it stop me this year.
Once again, I've confined my money to a handful of mutual funds: the Vanguard Group's 500 Index, Windsor and Wellington Funds, plus the Berkshire Hathaway Stock Fund. (The last fund, one of my 401(k) choices, is a perk of Post employment.) My wife's only consumer-tech-relevant investments consist of minimal holdings in Cisco, Sprint and CenturyTel; the latter two date to a job she held in Nextel's IT department years ago.
As an American taxpayer, I am also now a part owner of American International Group, Chrysler, Citigroup, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and General Motors. But then again, so are most of you.
Last year, I also disclosed a few other details of my life that you might find relevant to my coverage. My computer and telecom choices haven't changed too much since last year -- I still use Mac OS X and various versions of Windows every day and I still use Sprint for mobile-phone service and Verizon for landline, but I no longer subscribe to TV service because I switched to over-the-air broadcasts a few months ago. This time around, I'd like to expand on my past disclosures to discuss other issues that might color my coverage.
* I drive far less than most people in the U.S. -- I haven't had a job that requires driving to work since I was in high school and am blessed to live in a walkable neighborhood. I feel that I suffer enough traffic on I-66, the Beltway, I-95 and the Jersey Turnpike to stay conversant with the auto-centric lifestyle, but it's possible that I'm missing some finer points of GPS navigation apps or car audio systems.
* I watch a lot less TV than most people; it's not uncommon for us to go a couple of days without turning the TV on. This has certainly made me a bit of a cultural illiterate with respect to some popular shows, but it may also lead me to discount the appeal of video devices and services meant for four-hours-a-day viewers.
* I save almost all of my e-mail (the relevant folder on my desktop at home now measures 11.6 gigabytes), so I probably place more of a value on searching, sorting and indexing features than people who don't have an archivist's mindset.
* Outside of tests done for my reviews, I don't know of any successful malware attacks on any computers of mine since I was in college; back then, my Mac SE picked up a few easily removed viruses from shared floppy disks. I think my history proves that a skeptical-computing approach works; you may think I don't understand how lucky I've been. (For what it's worth, I hope I haven't jinxed myself with this paragraph.)
* I am not a videophile or an audiophile. I think "good enough" is not a slur when it comes to home-theater hardware and have no patience for people who insist that they can hear defects in any sort of compressed music file, no matter how high its bitrate.
* Given a choice, I would rather pay a large sum one time than a small amount every month: I know I'll come out ahead eventually.
* I tend to buy new hardware later and less often than you might expect a tech columnist to. I blame much of this on what I call the CES Effect -- when every January includes four days of trade-show marketing types telling you about all the great stuff that will be on sale in the future, it's easy to postpone a planned upgrade. (Please remember that I don't get to keep any of the hardware I review.)
* Computer errors and malfunctions make me angrier than they should, considering I've been putting up with them for more than half my life and ought to be used to the drill by now. Then again, I've grown less tolerant of these problems since I started writing a computer Q&A column and became the primary provider of tech support to my mom, my brother and my in-laws.
* I worry about what corporations can do to limit my choices at least as much as I worry about what the government can do to limit them -- in part because I don't get to vote on who runs the former. And I really worry when corporations try to enlist the government's help in furthering their agendas.
I could go on, but then this post would resemble one of those "25 random things about me" lists. So let's sum things up this way: I have a life outside of work. (I hope this doesn't completely rock your world, but so do my colleagues.)
You could seize upon any of these disclosures as proof that my articles should be disregarded, but I hope you won't do that. For one thing, I have tried to play fair in my assessments. For another, you shouldn't need to know anything about me to judge the accuracy of my work. I'm supposed to tell the truth, and if I don't you should require no further proof of my error than my own words.
Got any other questions about my background? I'll take them in the comments.
And lest I forget: Happy New Year!
December 31, 2009; 2:10 PM ET
Categories: The business we have chosen
Save & Share: Previous: Bonus (overdue) review: EyeTV brings HDTV to a Mac
Next: Ubuntu 9.10 brings polish but may demand tinkering
Posted by: LBinVA | December 31, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ombudsman1 | December 31, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mccxxiii | December 31, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | December 31, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: klaatu1 | December 31, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tbva | December 31, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: query0 | January 1, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: alsnow1 | January 2, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MichaelJMurphy | January 3, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: nighthawk700 | January 4, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: chrisviking | January 4, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: prokaryote | January 5, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.