Vista System Requirements, Upgrade Advisor

Microsoft has announced the base minimum system requirements to run Windows Vista.

They are:

    • Processor (CPU) – 800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
    • System Memory (RAM) – 512 MB
    • Graphics capability – SVGA (800×600)
    • Hard Drive – 20 GB
    • Hard Drive Free Space – 15 GB
  • Optical Drive – CD-ROM drive (can be external)

However, these requirements are only for Vista Home Basic. You’ll need a little more power for Vista Premium:

    • CPU – 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
    • RAM – 1 GB
    • A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero
    • 128 MB of graphics memory
    • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space
    • DVD-ROM Drive
    • Audio output capability
  • Internet access capability

Computers that meet the first list can get a Windows Vista Capable sticker, while those good for the second list can get a Windows Vista Premium Ready sticker.

The actual full Aero requirements are:

DirectX 9 class graphics processor that

    • Supports a WDDM Driver
    • Supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
  • Supports 32 bits per pixel

Adequate graphics memory

    • 64 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor less than 1,310,720 pixels
    • 128 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions from 1,310,720 to 2,304,000 pixels
    • 256 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels
  • Meets graphics memory bandwidth requirements, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor running on Windows XP

Microsoft has released a program designed to advise users in which version of Windows they need, called the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Beta.

Here’s the intro screen:


And here’s the main screen:


Now, the program starts off with Vista Home Basic, and checking any single check box moves you up to Vista Home Premium or Vista Business. The options are:

    • Strengthen Security (Included with all editions of Windows Vista)
      I want to protect my PC from malicious software like worms, viruses and spyware. I would like to know when my PC is vulnerable to attacks and how to make it safe again.
    • Search and Organize (Included with all editions of Windows Vista)
      I would like to instantly find what I need on my computer. I’d also like to quickly search my computer from almost anywhere in Windows Vista.
    • Elegant User Experience with Windows® Aero™
      I’d like to see my information in realistic and dynamic new ways. I would like a smoother, more stable desktop experience with a modern look and feel.
    • Work Anywhere
      I’d like to more easily detect and connect to WiFi hotspots. I would like to use Windows Tablet PC features like digital ink, touch and handwriting recognition. I want to edit and share documents whether or not I am physically connected to a network.
    • Watch and Record TV
      I want to record and watch TV on my PC or through connected devices and TVs throughout my home.
    • Premium Photo, Music and Movie Experiences
      I want to enjoy and share my pictures, music and movies throughout my home with Windows Media Center. I want to burn music and movies to DVD.
    • Connect to Corporate or Campus Networks
    • I’ll need to connect my computer to my company or school network. I’d like to remotely access and control my computer from a different location through another computer. I want to ensure that I have network backup for my PC.
  • Simplify My Business
    I’d like to have integrated faxing and scanning capabilities. I want to protect the data on my PC in the event that it is lost or stolen, by taking advantage of advanced encryption. I need tools that make it easy for me to set up and use my PC even if I don’t have IT staff.

The first two, security and search, are checked by default and cannot be turned off, presumably to remind you what Vista Basic does have. All of them activate the suggestion at the bottom for Vista Home Premium, except the last two, which suggest Vista Business. Accordingly, if you choose any one option from the middle four Premium options, and any one of the last two Business options, you get recommended Vista Ultimate.


So, what wonderful suggestions does the program have for me? Well, they don’t like that I don’t have 15 gigabytes of free space (easily solved). Since I have a TV tuner and TV-out, I’m fine for the premium entertainment experiences and recording TV. I’m golden for everything else, including Aero (thanks to my ATI Mobility Radeon X300).


Next, it talks about drivers, listing your system devices that already have Vista drivers you’ll need to install, the ones that don’t need new drivers, and the ones with no drivers Microsoft is aware of. My SigmaTel C-Major Audio integrated sound controller has a Vista driver update, but my Dell AIO 922 printer, Mobile Intel 915GM Express Processor, Intel Wireless Connection Agent Miniport, and Intel 82801FBM Ultra ATA Storage Controllers don’t have known Vista drivers.

Devices with drivers that come with the Vista installation, requiring you to do absolutely nothing:

    • HP DeskJet 600
    • Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Controller
    • Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection
    • Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Controller
    • OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
    • SDA Standard Compliant SD Card Controller
    • Ricoh R/RL/5C476(II) or Compatible CardBus (PCMCIA) Controller
  • Conexant D110 MDC V.92 Modem

Obviously, unless you have the exact same Dell Inspiron 6000 I have, you’re experiences will be different, but if you’re reading this and recognize some familiar hardware, you can worry jus that much less.

Thoughts On Microsoft’s Future

The recent Microsoft news (Scoble leaving, Gates taking a reduced role, Ray Ozzie stepping up) combined with the last 10 years worth of evolution in networking and of the web really got me wondering about Microsoft’s role in the future.

What’s Microsoft’s Next Move?

Specifically, I have three problems in mind. Solving any one of them will make someone very, very rich and improve computing for the rest of us. Solving all of them will show the world who the top technology company is for the 21st century.

Web/Desktop Bridge
The way I see it, desktop applications are not going away. Web applications are not going away. But web applications are changing user expectations about how desktop applications should behave, be distributed, and be priced.

But there are very few desktop applications that work “natively” with the web. Applications are, for the most part, either desktop-centric or web-centric. I’ve seen few (if any) that were designed with both in mind.

Nobody has made it easy to bridge that gap. There’s little infrastructure or guidance in place today. Live Clipboard could be the beginning of that.

Device Bridge and Synchronization
We have desktops, laptops, palmtops, game consoles, PVRs, and “set tops” with Internet connections and useful data to share. But they’re all islands of different sorts. The devices often aren’t aware of each other. And even when they are, interoperability is a craps shoot.

We need a way for devices of all shapes and sizes to be able to speak and share/sync data in a meaningful fashion. And given that no one company (so far) dominates on all of these platforms, a real solution is likely to be comprised of open file formats and protocols.

A New OS
We need a new operating system. And I don’t mean the “Internet Operating system” that Tim O’Reilly often speaks of. I mean that someone needs to re-think what “personal computer operating system” should mean in an age when the vast majority of computers will be on the Internet most of the time.

We all need it but most of us don’t know that yet.

After all that thinking has been done, someone needs to build it and support it.

All Signs Point to Microsoft
I honestly can’t think of more than one company that has the assets necessary to do all three.

I can think of a lot of companies that could solve one of those problems–maybe two. But when you look at all three of them, only Microsoft seems to have what it takes.

The $60 billion question is whether or not they can pull it off. In my mind, all three of those are vital to the future of Microsoft.

What do you think?

IPO Hardball!

This last week, buyers were back. On Tuesday, the Nasdaq had its biggest one-day point gain, 254 points. For the week, there was positive gain. Even the Queen of the Net, Mary Meeker, has proclaimed that the worst is over. Let’s hope so.

Shortened due to Good Friday, last week most investors could have gotten all the IPO stock they wanted at the IPO price. Here are last week’s IPOs, ranked by % change from the IPO price.

Embarcadero Tech, +60% to $16 from IPO price The San Francisco-based Embarcadero Technologies (EMBT) got the best reception. They lowered their initial price to $10 to raise $42 million. In the immediate aftermarket EMBT traded at $10 3/8, then moved up to close at $16.

Embarcadero Technologies helps companies with their enterprise and e-commerce databases. Its primary product, DBArtisan, works across multiple operating and hardware systems. Customers includ GTE, AT&T Wireless Services, Bank of America, and Universal Studios.

The lead underwriter was Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

360networks, +36% to $19 from IPO price On Thursday, 360networks (TSIX), a fiber-optic network builder, priced their IPO at $14, which was under the proposed $16 to $18 range. This was a shrewd move as 360networks rose 36% to 19 by the end of trading. In the New Net reality, such a rate of return is consider very good.

360networks is quite the fiber-optic builder. They project that by the end of 2001, their overall network will be approximately 56,300 route miles, mainly in North America and Europe. They are also building two fully protected undersea cables. One is a 7,600 route mile cable between America and Europe, and the other, a 14,000 route mile cable between South America and North America. Seems like there is lots of this cable already – but investors nonetheless are interested.

The co-Lead Managers were Goldman, Sachs and Donaldson, and Lufkin & Jenrette.

QS Communcations, +16% to $28 1/8 from the offering price QS Communications (QSCG) gave it a try on Wednesday. QS Communications rose 26 percent to 30 1/8 from its opening of $24.64. It was down to 28 ½ on Thursday.

QS Communications is a German provider of high-speed DSL Internet access for small and midsized businesses in Germany. QSC is constructing a network linking 40 German major cities. They project that by next year, they will serve over 20 million customers with full broadband service nation-wide.

The lead underwriter was Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

Packard Biosciences, +1/8 to $9 1/8
Packard Biosciences (PBSC) priced at $9 Wednesday evening for Thursday trading.
The original filing price range was 16 to 18, so PBSC effectively cut in half its hoped-for IPO price.

Based in Meriden, CT, Packard Biosciences has a split personality, with 60% of its business life sciences research instrumentation and 40% in nuclear industry instrumentation.

Merrill Lynch was the lead underwriter

Rockford Corp, no change at $11
Rockford Corp (ROFO) priced Wednesday evening at $11, the bottom of its price range, for trading on Thursday and closed unchanged at $11.

Based in Tempe, Arizona Rockford designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance aftermarket car audio systems. ROFO is profitable, although on a quarter-to-quarter based sales and profits are declining.

Dain Rauscher was the lead underwriter.

PEC Solutions, -4% from IPO price to $9
PEC Solutions (PECS) just was not buff enough. Facing little investor interest, it had dropped its opening price. It wasn’t enough. It opened at 9 ½ and staggered to 9 by the end of the trading.

The Fairfax, Va., PEC Solutions provides Internet and security technology services mainly to government, often building their applications from the ground up, as well as integrating with legacy systems. They provide encryption programs to protect sensitive information, including biometric authentication, a process that identifies people by their physical characteristics. Definitely cool stuff. But it was not what investors wanted.

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette was the lead underwriter.

Of the 19 companies ranked Sunday 4/16 by Gaskins IPO Desktop, five of the top six successfully completed IPOs last week. The six successful companies, discussed above, are identified with an asterisk (*) before their name (below).
The rest were rescheduled, postponed or withdrawn.

Pre-IPOs ranked by Price-to-Earnings (Loss) ratios
Posted Sunday 4/16 by Gaskins IPO Desktop Recent qtr’s
IPO Price
(Mrkt Cap
to Profit
/ qtr profit
(Loss) Ratio
‘*’ = successful IPO the week of 4/17
LowerPrice/Earnings ratio is better
Four profitable companies 
*Rockford (ROFO)
Qualstar (QBAK)
*Embarcadero (EMBT)
*Pec Solutions (PECS)
One breakeven company
*Packard Bio (PBSC)
14 unprofitable companies
Lower ratio of Market Cap to Loss Rate (Price/Loss ) is better
…for example -149 is lower & better than -6
*360networks (TSIX)
ParadigmGen (PDGM)
Software Tech (STCS)
BirchTelecom (BRCH)
Virologic Inc (VLGC)
Digitalwork (DWRK)
-19 (NTJ)
Yupi Internet (YUPI)
Coolsavings (CSAV)
Inventa Tech (INVA)
Crown Media (CRWN)
Genomic Slns (GNSL)
OneSoft Corp (ONSF)
-7 (TCHS)
*excl non-cash chrg
Two non-edgar filings
Camtek (CAMT)
non-Edgar filing
*Qs Comm (QSCG)
non-Edgar filing
‘*’ = successful IPO the week of 4/17
IPO Price to profit (loss) ratio = Market Cap / most recent quarter’s profit (loss) * 4
Business Model Rating Criteria…
A = high growth market, potential leader; B = more competitive market;
C = ‘public venture capital’

OpenTable ‘over the top’

OpenTable (OPEN)
+60% close = at this stage ‘over the top’
. IPO Priced at $20
. 54% more than the original range mid-point of last week
. raised $60mm
. trading Thursday, May 21
. Current price OPEN

IPO report updated with 1st day’s close IPO report

> either the below or it’s such a small offering ($60mm) that the trading is/could be about over enthusiastic ‘diner-investors’ getting nailed by funds who are bailing out of the IPO.
Or perhaps
> It’s about defining & leading a growing market in the US at least, and about recurring revenue. On a comparative basis (CRM) is the best-known recurring revenue high multiple Internet model. It’s a mature company with a trailing 12 months P/E of 113 or so.

but OPEN is defining a growing emerging market, has no apparent competitors that are at the same scale at least in the US, and has constructed some formidable entry barriers to competition such as 10,000 restaurant clients & 3mm reservations for the March 09 quarter.

And once the economy levels & and starts to grow, then OPEN’s growth rate should pick up. In climate of very visible restaurant closings, it’s surprising that OPEN generated a 5 quarters of sequential growth in top line revenue.

What happened here is they picked up market share and may have emerged as the major leader to whomever is second in their marketplace.

Investors are very much attracted to the recurring top line revenue growth generated by OpenTable. Recurring revenues are like the IPO ‘mother lode’ or ‘holy grail’ sought after by investors.


Recurring reservation revenues increased to 43% of revenue for the March quarter, up from 41% in the December quarter — during a time of many restaurant closings, suggesting that OPEN’s client base is includes mostly established, healthy restaurants.


In spite of the economic distress of the past year, OPEN has generated nice sequential growth in top line revenue for each of the past five quarters.



The Start Menu is one aspect that has improved in the Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 will display a Start Menu that adjusts to the device running the operating system.

This article is intended to introduce the new Windows 10 interface for Tablets, which also applies to Desktops. Windows 10 has not been released to the public, but those who have signed up for special programs can get it, and the version used for this article is Windows 10 technical preview 10074.

This is a new feature that is very useful in Windows 10. Virtual desktop allows users to add several new desktops, and can easily add several new windows on a new desktop that has been added. That way, user productivity will increase. This article will explain the functions of virtual desktops, and things that can make it easier for you to use them.

Get to know Task View

Virtual desktop can be seen in Task View. Press the Task View button in the taskbar. By default, the button is next to Cortana.

This is like the Windows + Tab Logo feature that was previously found in Windows 8.1 and earlier versions of Windows; but has more functions with virtual desktops. Of course, you can also use the button as a shortcut key to open Task View faster.

Initially, you will see a thumbnail of each window that is being used.

Add a new virtual desktop

To add a new virtual desktop, just click “New desktop”.

Then select the thumbnail of the new virtual desktop to open it.

To delete a desktop, simply click the “X” Close button on its thumbnail, then automatically, the windows that are currently open on the deleted virtual desktop will immediately move to the desktop that is still available.

Manage Windows between Virtual Desktops

Still in Task View. Here there are thumbnails of all windows of all available virtual desktops. Users can see the desired window by clicking on the thumbnail. In addition, using the keyboard (Windows Logo + Tab & Arrow) can speed up access.

To view windows on another desktop, just click the next desktop thumbnail, sorted by number.

For faster access, use Alt + Tab. This method has been around for a long time. When pressing both together, release your pressure on the Tab without taking Alt off. Then press Tab again to hover the thumbnail you want. When you release pressure on both, the selected window will open. But this method is only for desktop that is being used.

Users can also move windows to other desktops in a fast way, by pressing and holding the thumbnail of the window that you want to move, then sliding it and releasing it on the desired desktop thumbnail. This method is done when Task View opens.

In addition to holding down, the user can also move the window to another desktop by right-clicking on the thumbnail: Move to> (desired desktop) or “New desktop” to move it to the new desktop to be created. This method might be very useful for users who often use a lot of virtual desktops.

Shortcuts with keyboard and swiping with keyboard

  • Add a new virtual desktop: Windows Logo + Ctrl + D
  • Switch desktop to previous desktop: Windows Logo + Ctrl + Left Arrow
  • Switch desktop to the next desktop: Windows Logo + Ctrl + Right Arrow
  • Close the virtual desktop currently in use: Windows logo + Ctrl + F4
  • Open Taskview: Windows Logo + Tab

With swiping

In addition to using a combination of two or more keyboards as shortcuts, there are several shortcuts for faster and easier use of virtual desktops. The trick is to use a touchpad, which is swipe.

Swipe can be done using the touchpad on a laptop. The swipe function on the touchpad certainly requires more than one finger gesture. For this reason, this swipe method requires a dual-gesture touchpad and a touchpad type on it. Not all laptops have a touchpad with gestures that support more than one finger.

Open Task View: Press the touchpad with three fingers then swipe up.
Closing Task View: Press the touchpad with three fingers then swipe down.
Swapping open windows (like Alt + Tab): Press the touchpad with three fingers then swipe left or right.

IPO Year In Review: Mkt Disappoints Despite Strong 4Q

IPO Year In Review: Mkt Disappoints Despite Strong 4Q
By Brian Coyle

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones), Jan 3 –The U.S. initial public offeringaftermarket closed out 2001 with a bang, as 32 offerings were priced in the fourthquarter, raising $11.06 billion.

This compares with 50 IPOs priced in the fourth quarter of 2000, raising $5.31 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

After closing out 2001 on a positive note, the potential IPOaftermarket for 2002 looks healthy, as spin-offs from establishedcompanies such as Verizon Communication’s (VZ) wireless unit, Citigroup Inc.’s(C) Travelers Property Casualty Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc.’s (CAL)ExpressJet Holdings Inc. prepare to come to market.

While the fourth quarter finished up with solid results, theoverall IPO market in 2001 was a disappointment. For the year, 98 IPOs werepriced, raising an estimated $36.05 billion in proceeds, according to ThomsonFinancial. For 2000, 384 IPOs came to market, raising roughly $58.89 billion.

Overall results for 2001 were down significantly from the pastfew years. IPOs in 2001 checked in with the lowest year for proceeds since1995, when 574 IPOs raised $32.6 billion. The year also marked the firsttime there weren’t at least a hundred IPOs in a year since 1979, when 62IPOs were priced.

In 2001, no IPO doubled its offering price in its first day oftrading. The nearest in 2001 was Simplex Solutions Inc. (SPLX), whichmakes software for integrated circuits, which rose 77% in early May. Theyear marked the first time since 1995, that there wasn’t a first-day doublefor an IPO, according to Thomson Financial.

Technology issues are expected to regain some momentum in 2002
after finishing up with solid returns at the end of 2001.

Francis Gaskins, Editor of, said he believes the
market is back on track for a “normal IPO market” in 2002, with neither
the “excesses of the bubble nor the doldrums that followed.”

Gaskins also noted that “some companies are whizzing through
the IPO process in less than 60 days, so the backlog of IPOs is less of an
indicator of future activity than it once was when companies spent more time in
the pipeline.”

There are 31 IPOs on backlog for 2002, seeking to raise an estimated $8.2 billion
in proceeds, according data from Dealogic CommScan. This compares with 154
IPOs that were waiting to go public at the beginning of 2001. Of the 154 IPOs
planned for 2001, only 91 made it to market last year amid turbulent market conditions.

In mid-January, look for several health-related issues to kick-off aftermarket
pricing as Alliance Medical Corp. and Ribapharm Inc. plan to sell their initial shares.

Alliance Medical plans to sell 4 million shares at $14 to $16 a
share, while Ribapharm plans to offer 18 million shares at $13 to $15 a
share. Both deals will be done through lead underwriter UBS Warburg.

After a somewhat lackluster year for IPOs in 2000, the market
for new company listings in 2001 once again mirrored the overall stock
market’s poor performance.

For the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped
7% to close at 10021.50, marking the second consecutive year in which the
indicator fell. In 2000, the DJIA gave up 6.2%, compared with gains of 25% in
1999 and 16% in 1998.

Other stock market barometers also recorded significant losses
in 2001, with the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index falling 21% to close
at 1951.02, after plummeting more than 39% in 2000. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Stock Index declined 13% to close at 1148.16 for 2001.

IPOs Rebound In 4th Quarter
Despite lackluster performance in the IPO aftermarket throughout the year,
the fourth quarter finished up strongly, with several large offerings.

The year-end resurgence in offerings came as the IPO market had a
revival in performance in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The September 11 attacks, combined with unpredictable market
conditions, caused a more than month-long drought in IPO pricings, the
longest such period in the last 25 years. When the IPO market returned
in October, however, the offerings began to outperform those deals priced
before September 11.

Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU) checked in with the largest
offering of the fourth quarter and the third-largest of the year, raising more
than $3 billion in proceeds through Goldman Sachs & Co. and Prudential Securities.

Other significant offerings in the fourth quarter included
insurance company Principal Financial Group Inc. (PFG), which raised $1.85
billion, reinsurance company Converium Holding AG (CHR), which raised $1.84
billion, and managed care provider Anthem Inc. (ATH), which raised $1.73 billion.

IPO Calendar Pre-IPO Ratings

. Diabetes is the sixth leading casue of death by disease in the U.S.
. Blood glucose self-monitoring market is the largest medical self-test monitoring market
in the world…projected to grow from $3.5 billion in 2000 to $9 billion world-wide in 2005
. The U.S. market size in 2000 was $2 billion
. The current world-wide market is 90% controlled by four companies
. THER’s product is called a ‘FreeStyle System’ kit that retails for a list price of $75
and includes a meter for reading test results, 10 lancets and 10 test strips
. The product is FDA cleared to be used on the thigh, upper arm & hand, and represents the
broadest array of off-finger sites cleared by the FDA
. A primary selling claim is that THER’s product is ‘painless’ relative to the competition
. THER’s product is distributed in the U.S by nine of the ten largest retailers, including Walgreens,
Wal-Mart & CVS through wholesalers including McKesson, Cardinal Health & Bergen Brunswig
. THER’s product is in the process of being distributed in the Europe & Japan by the leading
distributors of insulin pumps…Disetronic in Europe & Nipro in Japan
. Diabetics who use insulin pumps are top prospects for the FreeStyle System
Direct to the consumer sales
. During the month of June end-users through telephone & web orders received $12.9 million
in product (all with a 30 day money-back guarantee), not recorded as sales until returns
are counted…we think only a small fraction were returned from June shipments
. On an annualized basis, June end-user gross sales were $155 million (not counting returns),
indicating a very healthy consumer product response
. Four companies control 90% of the worldwide market for blood glucose self-monitoring systems:
Roche Diagnostics, LifeScan (Johnson & Johnson), Bayer, MediSense (Abbot Labs)
Two products from competing companies are approved by the FDA for continous monitoring
. A physician (not consumer product like Freestyle) product from MiniMed. MiniMed is in the
process of being acquired by Medtronic
. A prescription product from Cygnus, for adults over 18, which is not yet commercially viable
. A successful continuous glucose monitoring system could impact THER’s FreeStyle product
. THER is also developing a continuous glucose monitoring system
. THER is 65% owned by venture capitalists pre-IPO
. THER has licenses but no patents, and is not currently involved in any litigation
. Use of proceeds: $50 million for sales & marketing, $10 million for R&D, $10 million for
manufacturing expansion, balance for working capital

IPO price change as of 10/26/01
Week of October 1
-38% Given Imaging 
products for non-invasive analysis of the gastrointestinal tract
Yoqneam, Israel
1999 yr
2000 yr
June 6 mos
June Qtr Est
IPO Mrkt
Revenue (mm)
Cap (mm)
ized rev.
Gross Profit %
Profit (loss)
Profit (loss) margin %
. R&D
. Marketing
. General & Admin
Price /
Price /
Price /
Price /
% offered
Given Imaging (GIVN)
Cap (mm)
in IPO
no sales
Market Do-
1-5, 5 is high
20 is perfect
Management — no sales yet — 1
Market Growth — non-invasive analysis of the gastrointestinal tract — 3
Market Domination — no sales yet — 1
Proprietary — application of wireless & software technology to non-invasive analytical procedures — 2

. Development stage (no sales) company incorporated in January, 1998
The Given System
. Disposal imaging capsule that is swallowed by the patient at an out-patient clinic
. Wireless data is transmitted to a portable data recorder the patient carries during the next
seven hours
. Upon return of the portable data recorder, color imaging data is analyzed by proprietary software
on a computer workstation by the physician
Product focus
. Initial focus is on the analysis of the small intestinal tract
. Future gastgrointestinal tract diagnostic areas can include the esophagus,
the stomach and the colon (colonoscopy)
Installation & Payment Challenge
. GIVN’s expected profit is in the sale of disposable capsules
. Therefore, GIVN must widely install its computers & software, plus portable data recorders so that
it can sell disposable capsules (which transmit color images wirelessly to a portable data recorder)
Payment Challenge
. GIVN needs attract ‘early adopter’ physicians who can recommend the new approach
. GIVN also needs to convince third-party payors to pay, including government payors
such as Medicare and Medicaid, HMOs and other private insurers
. The SMG Marketing Group estimates that more than one million procedures to examine
the small intestine will be performed in the U.S. in 2001 utilizing current diagnostic methods
. GIVN plans initially to sell in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Spain,
Portugal, Utaly& Belgium
FDA clearance
. In August 2001 GIVN received clearance from the FDA to market the Given System in the U.S.
as an additional tool (“adjunctive use”) in the detection of abnormalities of the small intestine
. GIVN will need to obtain additional FDA clearance before commercially distributing the Given
System for other intended users or for any other new products
. The current worldwide gastrointestinal endoscopy market is controlled by three companies:
Olympus, Asahi Optical (owner of the Pentax brand), and Fujinon
. GIVN is aware of R&D efforts by some of the above and other companies & individuals
to develo imaging capsules that may be competive to GIVN
Use of proceeds: inventory, R&D, manufacturing operations, capital expenditures, working capital

BloombergTV interview — Skype-hype from eBAY & the IPO Market

BloombertTV Interview

based on this blog
Skype-hype from eBAY & the IPO Market
(1) EBAY’s Skype-hype, not seen since Google
Skype-hype message to Wall Street – eBay focuses on core business
. Top line revenue — because of encroachment by Amazon & others.
. Balance sheet — to convert a soft asset into hard dollars
eBay is pre-conditioning the IPO market, very much pre-IPO. Similar to what Google did. That ploy only works for large, heavily branded companies, who can get away with it, not smaller emerging companies.

When a well-known force (eBay) starts to pre-condition the IPO market for a division spin-off — in what is basically an IPO vacuum — then that’s a sign of an expected much stronger IPO market.

(2) Three successful IPOs this month, and all are up
. Popped 40% yesterday, up again today
. Generates good cash flow, public market segment leader
. Understandable growth plan includes overseas expansion – 95% of sales now are in the US
. High branded consumer awareness

. 30% haircut in IPO price, rose a little from reduced IPO price
. Lots of sector headwinds in the post-secondary online education market segment
. Questions about the market leader Apollo (APOL) accounting practices sunk the segment since Feb 1
. APOL itself touched almost $90 in early Feb then sank to almost $60 this month.
. The bloom is off the rose in the online post secondary education sector

One trick gaming pony from China
Underpriced IPO at 7 times earnings

(3) IPO SIMILARITIES – all three are
. Profitable
. Generate positive cash flow, which means they are not crippled by too much interest and/or overhanging debt re-financing problems
. Computer-related
. Have high gross margins: Changyou (93%), Rosetta Stone (87%), Bridgepoint Education (71%)

Investors are now very much aware of IPOs, especially because of Rosetta Stone’s success and because of eBay’s ‘Skype-hype”

Up until sometime in March many investors simply did not want to hear about IPOs. But if investors think they can look forward to getting in on a potentially ‘in demand’ (hot) IPO from Skype then they will also look at other IPOS in the meantime.

Right now (and this applies to Skype, also) a successful IPO appears to need
. High gross margins
. Top line revenue increases going into the IPO, with a believable growth plan for top line revenue
. Profits
. Positive cash flow
. Very little overhanging debt

In other words, back to basic investing principles. Because ‘pie in the sky’ dreamy prognostications.have no credibility in this market.

. Not too much in the pipeline right now
. However, there are many companies standing outside & looking into the IPO window. Those that have a good March quarter and meet the above criteria (#5 above) may be able to step through the window and actually IPO
. If their March quarter numbers good and if they push it, it is possible qualified companies can IPO by the end of the second quarter, June 30, 2009 or shortly thereafter.
. The summer IPO season ends the second week in August, so I expect to see some interesting IPO filings in the next month or so.

Disclosure: no positions


IP Telephony Profits Under Fire

IDC (International Data Corp), based in Framingham, MA, says that broadband demand is increasing at 1000% per year (broadband carries video, voice, data, fax).
Yankee Group, based in Boston, believes that “the (fiber-optic backbone for the) carrier business is an extremely viable, lucrative business. The scarcity of fiber in the backbone is making this business very attractive,” according to Sanjay Mewada, a telecommunications analyst.

Although fiber-optic cables currently carry less than 1% of total voice traffic, in four years market researchers believe that fiber could carry 13% of total voice traffic.
Fiber-optic growth “really challenges the fundamental foundation of the industry. By the beginning of the year 2000, value-added services on top of voice-over-IP will be the new battleground, with multimedia and universal messaging functions coming into play as priorities to customers,” said Mark Winther, International Data Corp.’s group vice-president for worldwide telecom.

“Today {data} is about a twelfth of the size of the voice market, in five years it will be half the size of the voice market,” said Matthew Kovar, senior analyst at the Yankee Group.

Estimated to be worth almost $30 billion in revenues by 2000, broadband data transmission, including video, voice, text, and Internet, is the fastest growing portion of the telecommunications market.

But is Level 3 worth 1/3 the value of Sprint, or 1/10 the value at AT&T? Around Thanksgiving Level 3 was selling at $20, cash value. Four months later it’s around $75 (4/1/98).

Yes, younger companies have high sales multiples because they are blazing new ground. Bigger companies, however, are very much aware of the looming opportunities.


Level 3(LVLT)
Plans to lease, construct and own both long distance fiber-optic backbones and metropolitan fiber systems, to provide end-to-end fiber-optic, converged IP packet services to businesses.

Recently leased an 8500 mile network from Frontier to resell capacity while building its own fiber-optic network.

Also provides web/Internet-related consulting to businesses and generates about $100 million per year from consulting.
$3 billion in cash. Management team considered very strong.

Metromedia Fiber (MFNX)

Development stage company. Constructs and owns fiber networks in metropolitan areas. 26 employees when it filed for IPO in August 1997. IPOed October 29, 1997.
Qwest/Lci (QWST & LCI – companies are merging)

After the merger, the fourth largest long distance company in the U.S., after AT&T, Worldcom/MCI and Sprint. Also building a nationwide fiber-optic system for IP packet switching.

Ahead of Level 3 in long distance fiber-optic construction and implementation. Increases business and retail revenue through acquisitions. Qwest IPOed June 24, 1997.

Sprint (FON)

“We’ve been migrating toward packet technology and asynchronous transfer mode [ATM] switching for some time now.

“We’ve been building a long-distance backbone network that is both more survivable and more robust than the others. For instance, our entire network as of early next year will all be Sonets: synchronous optical network,” the company says.

Worldcom/MCI (WCOM & MCIC – merging)

“WorldCom’s recent series of acquisitions combined with its expanding network of fiber across the U.S. and Europe make it one of the largest providers of network infrastructure in the world,”said John Sidgmore, WorldCom’s chief operating officer.

“They (Qwest, Level 3) haven’t created the formula for cold fusion. They can’t buy equipment we can’t buy,” says Brian A. Brewer, senior vice-president at MCI Communications Corp.

AT&T (T)

AT&T plans to offer a version of IP voice through its WorldNet Internet-access business this spring. By year end, the company expects to complete a new network of 55 fiber-optic rings throughout the country. While the rings carry mostly traditional voice traffic now, they will be able to carry data packets with the installation of new electronics and photonics. Advances in technology will exponential and the capacity of those rings should grow fivefold by next year, the company says.

Baby Bells

The Baby Bells think the technology could jump-start their push into the long-distance business and several, including U S West Communications Group and SBC Communications Inc., are asking the Federal Communications Commission for the right to build converged networks.

News: April 1, 1998: Bell Atlantic Plans $1.5 Billion Upgrade.

In one of its largest phone system upgrades ever, Bell Atlantic plans to pay $1.5 billion for high-capacity fiber-optic switching equipment and software to sell business users more data and Internet services.


GTE thinks it’s inevitable that all the traffic eventually will flow over a converged network. ”We’re not upgrading–we’re putting in brand-new technology from the get-go,” says George H. Conrades, executive vice-president at GTE.
GTE is reportedly the largest customer for “dark fiber” provided by Qwest (see definitions below).


Copper Wire: old, slow (unless enhanced with xDSL), provides the famous “last mile” from the local telco Central Office to your computer/telephone.
Fiber-Optic Cable: newer, much faster, supports voice, data, fax, video (converged broadband) applications. Used for long distance backbones, “rings” around metropolitan areas and cable TV/Internet to the home.

“Dark” versus “Lit” Fiber
Dark Fiber: is installed but not equipped with transceivers at either end and can’t carry traffic. It’s often deployed for future use or expansion.
Lit Fiber: has transceivers at either end, carries traffic and often refers to a building that has a fiber optic connection for tenant use.
Because fiber optics utilize light as the transmission vehicle, the terms “dark” and “lit” are appropriate.


Circuit Switching: old, supports voice. Like reserving for the entire trip… a freeway lane from San Francisco to Los Angeles. High quality voice and doesn’t require compression.

Packet Switching: Each packet is a like a car on the freeway. Each car zips along with a piece of data or voice or fax or video. Pieces are reassembled at the destination. It’s a more efficient, less costly system than old-fashioned circuit switching.

Packet switching (Internet Protocol, IP) over fiber-optic cable: can provide broadband end-to-end service at perhaps 3% the cost of old fashioned circuit switching.
IP Telephony: voice over the public Internet and over private broadband networks that use Internet Protocols.

A “converged” IP packet switched network can carry voice, video, data, fax traffic, is considered a data network and is not subject to the 4 cents per minute local access fee.
In other words, voice over converged (data) networks enjoys an automatic 4 cents per minute cost advantage over circuit-switched long distance calls.

Tiered Pricing:
Because of the access fee differential, there is “rate arbitrage” in the current market between circuit-switched voice and IP telephony (voice over the Internet).
Old-fashioned circuit switching:
10-15 cents plus per minute
Voice over IP (Internet Protocol packet switched data networks):
5-8 cents per minute
Voice over the Internet:
5 cents and less

Rosetta Stone’s IPO (RST) is better than Bridgepoint Education’s IPO (BPI)

IPO Analysis, Grading, Scoring from
Rosetta Stone IPO:
Bridgepoint Ed IPO:
both scheduled for April 13wk

(1) Both are educational stocks
. Rosetta Stone provides language learning software
. Bridgepoint Ed provides post-secondary online education

(2) Both report revenues for 2008 in the $200mm range & both were profitable in 2008

(3) Both have good internal growth track records

(4) The trailing 12 mos P/E ratios are in the same range at price range mid-points: 23.4x for Rosetta; 29.7x for Bridgepoint

(1) Rosetta is a market segment leader with a differentiated product

(2) 95% of Rosetta’s sales are in the US, and growth plans are set for international expansion

(3) Rosetta’s gross margin is higher, 87% versus 71% for Bridgepoint

(4) Price-to-book value is more favorable for Rosetta: 2.7 versus 20.8 for Bridgepoint

(5) Online comparables to Bridgepoint suggest it is fairly priced (trailing 12 months) relative to Capella Education (CPLA) at 28x and Strayer Education (STRA) at 29x. The range is wide, however, with Apollo (APOL) at 15x ($10bb market cap) and Grand Canyon (LOPE) at 93x ($677mm market cap).

Notice that post-secondary online ed stocks sold off 15-17% since March 31, so there are some headwinds in the sector.

Rosetta Stone IPO:
Bridgepoint Ed IPO:
Disclosure: No positions