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Weekend reading: Lots of good reads, at last

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

A bit late with the links today. Blame BT broadband. It fell over in my house and made it impossible to load about nine out of ten of the websites I tried.

Google, of course, remained accessible throughout. It’s tough as a cockroach.

I’m sure we’ll be Google-ing cures for radiation burns and tasty recipes for three-eyed rats come the apocalypse.

Let’s crack into the links.

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: Mexican restaurant Chilango is offering an 8% yield on its ‘burrito bonds’ with the prospect of free burritos on top. But beware – this sort of offering is much riskier than it might appear, as FT Alphaville explains in Crowdfeeding: The burrito option. [Search result]

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1

Passive investing

  • Canadian investors are losers – Huffington Post
  • An interview with William Bernstein – ETF.com
  • Be skeptical about financial advice – WSJ [Featuring Mike]
  • Portfolio construction is easy. Teaching people is hard – ETF.com
  • The thinking behind some new factor-weighted funds – Morningstar

Active investing

  • The risks and rewards of investing in renewables – Guardian
  • So much for the permabears’ stupid 1929 comparison chart – WSJ
  • Investing in high-growth shares [Audio interview]Motley Fool
  • Emerging markets are coming back into favour… – Bloomberg
  • …Russia in particular is flying higher – Bloomberg
  • Alpha to beta: The demise of hedge fund edge – Pension Partners

Other stuff worth reading

Book of the week: Tim Richards, the author of The Zeitgeist Investor and The Psy-Fi Blog is back with a new tome: Investing Psychology. Tim’s a great writer, but there must also be something canny and psychological going on in terms of the huge list price for his book. At £3.99 on Kindle, Zeitgeist is a much cheaper introduction to his work.

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  1. Reader Ken notes that: “FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.” []

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • 1 Financial Samurai June 28, 2014, 2:38 pm

    Im in your neck of the woods staying at a flat at Alsgate Station!

    I love, love London and am kicking myself for not buying a pied de terre here 8 years ago, the last time I was hear.

    Went to Centre Court at Wimbledon on Thursday to watch nadal and Federer plan. Magical! Debenture tickets are outrageously priced btw! Can’t believe the queue.

    If you are around Sunday, June 29 to meet up, let me know!

    London’s makes San Francisco seem dirt cheap!

  • 2 Grumpy Old Paul June 28, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Re the BT internet access problems. The issue appears to have been the BT DNS servers and I successfully circumvented it by changing my router settings to use the Google DNS servers:
    Primary DNS Secondary DNS
    Alternatively you can use OpenDNS:
    Primary Secondary

    However, I have seen references to some BT-supplied routers having the DNS settings locked down.

    Incidentally I had a problem a while back with a Samsung internet-enabled Blu-Ray player not loading and running Apps which turned out to be a Plusnet DNS server problem; the solution I adopted was to change the Blu-Ray player settings to use the Google DNS server.

    Hope this may be of use to some folk in the future.

  • 3 ermine June 28, 2014, 4:22 pm

    Free burritos eh – but the restaurant trade is notoriously short-lived. I like the way you can get a 3% increase in yield by taking value in kind though!

    I found out GOP’s solution broadband fix independently this morning, though I changed it on my PC network settings, which would get round locked down routers. BT broadband have been ratty on DNS for a couple of weeks, but today was particularly bad.

  • 4 Tony June 28, 2014, 5:30 pm

    Re the BT thing, I had the same problem. It wasn’t DNS – I’ve had my DNS set to google since they started their own DNS service. It was something else – I monitored my network connections and every site’s IP address was resolved through google DNS immediately. It was the actual connection to the websites themselves that BT was blocking. This is my area of expertise, and it absolutely definitely was not a BT DNS issue. (They might well claim that it was, but they’d be wrong.)

    If your internet started working again after you changed DNS settings, that was just a coincidence. The whole outage didn’t actually last that long, and it came back up suddenly mid-morning – I can’t remember the exact time, but I was doing constant tests from different devices, and as I started a different test, suddenly the problem went away.

    It was strange. I found for example that a website might be inaccessible from one computer on my network but be reachable from another computer on the same network, even if that same website had been visited earlier the same day from both machines. It was a really, really weird error – and all my computers, phones etc. as well as my router are set up to use google DNS (and as I’ve said, my connection logs showed that every computer was happily getting DNS results the whole time – they were stalling when they attempted to reach the actual IP address they got from the DNS lookup).

    I could reach Facebook from my iMac but not from my MacBook, for example. I couldn’t reach google (I was getting “certificate errors”) from the iMac but had no problem on the MacBook.

    I’ve never seen that kind of failure from an ISP before. It was a total mess.

    And it led me to check my router firmware, which reminded me how spooky these companies are. There’s an open hole on BT routers which allows the router to communicate with BT whenever it wants and to update the firmware. You don’t get any say in the matter. My firmware was updated 4 weeks ago and I wasn’t told. I’ve noticed some weird problems with the router for the last few weeks, and that’s probably why – but we aren’t told what was updated or how to downgrade.

    Time to get a new router I think…

  • 5 Grumpy Old Paul June 28, 2014, 6:12 pm

    We had consistent results across a couple of laptops. Email worked. Our router is not a BT router and we haven’t changed the firmware recently. However, I did notice things had been a little slow over the last couple of days.

    I guess it could have been a coincidence that everything appeared to work after I changed the DNS server setting. However, after the router DNS address was set to Google, the Samsung internet-enabled TV,which had had its DNS setting set to the IP address of the router, did not work until that too was set to Google.

    Do you know how BT implements Parental Controls?

    I suppose BT will not reveal the true nature and extent of the problem especially if hacking was implicated!

  • 6 Lee June 28, 2014, 11:34 pm

    Aberdeen are screwing me at the moment with a couple of funds with TER of what looks like 3.2% (from MorningStar – I need to check the literature properly). I do need to get out, but I keep waiting one more year. I bought these on the basis of their MS rating (5 stars) before I knew better. They shouldn’t evaluate and award such expensive funds this level of rating IMO. Rooky investors (as I then was before I started reading blogs like this) put a lot of faith in these assessments.

  • 7 ermine June 29, 2014, 1:10 am

    I keep waiting one more year.

    The clock is ticking, too. Get out, while you can 🙂

    Every 24 hours, you lose a day of life… Like land, they ain’t makin’ more of it

  • 8 Tortoise1000 June 29, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the articles roundup. I really appreciate it, whatever time it arrives.

  • 9 Aidan June 29, 2014, 9:11 pm

    Within 3 mins of Angel tube we have Tortilla, Chipotle, Chilango and even Bombay Burrito – yes a Mexican/Indian burrito fusion just in case you are already bored of regular ones. I can’t see the fad lasting the four year term of the bond and competition (here anyway) is pretty robust. I think their Upper St store was misjudged given the competition that was already here.

  • 10 Neverland June 30, 2014, 9:53 am


    I met the guy Chipotle had imported from the US to roll them out in the UK a couple of times when they first started in the UK, I think a couple of years ago now

    He was a bit of an arrogant ar$e to be honest

    Their Angel store is a dog and their Soho site opened in location just too far north of the main drag with has seen a dozen restaurants fail in a decade

    Trouble is there is too much competition in London for Chipotle to be a draw for anyone except homesick mid-western tourists

  • 11 The Investor July 1, 2014, 12:34 am

    @Sam — Glad you’re enjoying London! I’m just back online with this blog after virtually kicking over my Mac and swearing off the blog for three days (see IT problems above, and the blues on Friday). You know it’s always this sunny in London in summer, right? Right? 😉

    @GOP / Tony / ermine — Thanks for the technical insights. I saw what Tony saw. Incidentally, is it bad we’re all on BT? Should we be on some savvy niche super provider?

    @Lee — 3.2% is horrific!

    @Tortoise1000 — Thank you! I have now done Saturday morning roundups for the best part of seven years of Saturdays. It’s always nice when someone says thanks. 🙂

    @Aidan @Neverland — Even my American friends don’t like Chipotle here anything like as much as there. I think it’s much cheaper proposition in the US. It’s like a slightly worthier fast casual dining place, rather than a cheap restaurant as pitched here.

  • 12 OldPro July 2, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Many thanks as always for the reading material… Commiserations for your Internet difficulties… Down with the computers, down with the Spinning Jennies!

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