Archive for May, 2008

Charting Publicly-Traded Securities

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

A great many resources exist for accessing information about securities that are publicly-traded. These securities can range from corporate equity to government debt to commodities futures. In general, if there is a public market, then a chart can be developed to track various aspects of a security.

Charting allows one to technically analyze different patterns in the security’s value and to attempt to predict what future patterns-and valuation-may occur. This is useful for everything from, for example, personal investment analysis and research to corporate due diligence and industry analysis for potential merger candidates.

Quite a number of charts allow you to customize parameters that include timeline, volume, comparison to competitors or benchmark indices, stock splits, dividend payouts, and the addition of various technical indicators.

Some useful websites that offer free charting, among other information, include:

* Finviz – This site offers a wealth of information, including a heatmap of the daily performance of individual equities and market sectors.

* BigCharts – Big Charts is one of the major charting engines and allows for easy customization.

* ClearStation – ClearStation is another site that provides a lot of information.

* StockCharts – StockCharts allows for a great deal of customization.

* Yahoo Finance – This very popular investment site has simple interactive charting options.

* Google Finance – Google has developed an interactive chart that allows you to drag the chart to quickly change time lines.

* MSN Money – These charts are easy-to-use and have good, simple explanations on changing chart parameters.

* Quote.com – This is another easy-to-use chart.

* Ask Research – Ask Research also allows for detailed customization of parameters.

Federal Acquisition Regulations and then some …

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Rules that govern purchases made by the federal government’s executive agencies are known as Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs). They’re available in the Code of Federal Regulations at 48 C.F.R. § 1 and at the FAR Home at Acquisition Central, the government’s website for the federal acquisition community and the government’s business partners. Acquisition Central also has the FARs available in a variety of downloadable formats, along with proposed rules, compliance guides, references and other pertinent information.

48 C.F.R chapters 2-99 contain the supplemental acquisition regulations of specific federal agencies. Acquisition Central has hyperlinks to each agency and its procurement regulation websites. These include the DFARs, the supplementary acquisition regulations of the Department of Defense (Military branches also have their own supplementary acquisition regulations.). The National Archives and Records Administration publishes most current titles of the C.F.R. online.

Ken Larson, a SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Volunteer Counselor, has a blog dedicated to small business federal government contracting. Deborah Kluge has a detailed website on doing business with the federal government and a blog on writing proposals for government grants and contracts.

Drawing That Explains Copyright Law

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words to Erik Heels, an engineer and patent/trademark attorney. Erik’s made a nice Venn diagram and then some showing copyright rights, fair use and unregulated uses. It’s here.

More details about copyright and registering a work can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office, where copyright records may also be searched.  Copyright law and policy, including current U.S. copyright law, regulations and current legislation also are available.  Finally, here’s a brief overview on international copyright law, highlighting key treaties and key differences between U.S. and international copyright law.

New Massachusetts Independent Contractor Advisory

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Massachusetts employs a stricter standard than under federal law regarding whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. The Commonwealth first established its Independent Contractor law in 1990. Since then, it has been amended a number of times and, in 2004, significantly broadened.

Massachusetts uses a test in which three separate elements must exist in order for someone to be classified other than as an employee. On May 1, 2008, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division issued an advisory superseding the prior advisories on this topic and clarifying on how the three-part test is applied.

In contrast, the Internal Revenue Service used to use a 20-factor test that later was simplified into an 11 point test organized into three primary groups: behavioral control, financial control and the type of relationship of the parties. IRS Publication 15-A discusses these characterizations in detail, and this text provides an overview and information on related topics.

A Very Cool Chart!

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

As a business lawyer for many years, I worked with clients in a wide variety of industries. One such niche in which I worked was the telecommunications industry. My clients ran nearly the full gamut: wireline, wireless, cable and wireless cable, Internet and even early wireless Internet (nothing with satellites or outer space, as I recall). The Office of Spectrum Management, part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, developed this very cool chart of frequency allocations in the U.S. radio spectrum.

I thought this was pretty interesting stuff and I wrote a few articles that appeared in publications ranging from the ACUTA Journal of Telecommunications to Cabling Systems to Utah Business. While the technology has moved forward, these articles provide good info on the basics. Here’s Understanding Wireless – Medium and Long-Range Technologies and A Short Primer on Optical Networking, the latter of which I wrote with my brother, Ed.