Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and the senior financial analyst at AAII and former editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneTAAII.


Robert from CA posted over 4 years ago:

I see NAS RAID storage to be essential for avoiding inevitable disc failures. I believe that the need for impartial expert advice in this area is particularly acute, because the availability of these devices priced, configured and built for the consumer market is new.

Can you recommend a source for such advice?


Robert & lavonn from ID posted over 4 years ago:

Very well done as in the past, even better as you had more room for details.

I have a LG monitor I bought some time ago with the ability to have it in either landscape or portrait orientation. I find this very useful. Most of the time it is in portrait for emails and such, and I can see a full page of text without scrolling. When creating a spreadsheet, or some photo uses, I can again get full page without scrolling.

I only hope these features will continue in the future when either I upgrade to where I want more resolution or this monitor comes to the end of its "life."

George from PA posted over 4 years ago:

A serious ommission in this guide (to my way of thinking) is Data Security. While this is (or should be) a concern of every computer user, it is especially true for those managing finances through a computer.

That is: data is lost or stolen everyday and the problem is increasing rather than decreasing. And, computer vendors (especially hardware vendors) feed this problem in order to save money.

In terms of losing your data (be it family pictures or fianncial data -- including IDs, Passwords and account numbers) ALWAYS backup your data. For $75 you can buy an external harddrive and setup Windows to back up your data every week or even every day. You can also use online backup sites -- but I am leary of storing confidential finacial information on somebody else's computer. Not only can they lose it, their site's can be hacked just like so many others have been. You can also backup your data to flashdrives and other external media -- but that may not be as secure as an external harddrive. But, it is best to back it up to at least 2 places.

In terms of having your data stolen: no system is fool proof. If they want your data badly enough, they will get it. But you can make it harder for them. First, run a top of line comprehensive Firewall / Anti-Spyware / Anti-Virus program. And, if you can, use a separate computer for your financial transactions than you use for general use such as email and web browsing. That is, as you kid browses that online game site, they could be installing programs to steal your personal information.

You are better off with an older computer where your data is secured than a brand new one. In fact, as PC manufacturers compete more and more on price -- often the older computer may be more reliable. But, as I said, ALWAYS backup your information to an external device (or two!)

Most people dismiss the idea of data protection and mostly focus on the software or hardware. But while those can be replaced for a few dollars, your confidential and valuable information cannot. Once it is lost or stolen it is gone.

Spend your time and money on the things that will protect you and your information rather than going for the latest and greatest.

Alan from FL posted over 4 years ago:

I enjoyed the article overall and learned a few things from it. In the Monitor section I would have added some lines on the non-advantage of the current crop of 16x9 aspect ratio monitors available in stores and the great variety of 4x3 aspect ratio monitors available from on line retailers. This is mainly an issue for multi-monitor users who want maximum use of their desk space.

I still have a lot of unanswered questions about graphic cards. I run with six monitors. I have multiple windows of streaming quotes from two different brokers plus a streaming video feed of CNBC. I have one PCI Express x16 graphic card plus two older PCI graphic cards with 256 MB RAM each. The data feeds on individual stocks stop feeding from time to time and my video feed will stutter several times an hour. I am using an Intel duel core 4500 with 2 Gigs of RAM and Windows Vista. Where do I spend my money? Do I buy graphic cards with more RAM, upgrade my motherboard to get 3 PCI Expess slots, faster CPU and or upgrade to Windows 7 and use more motherboard RAM? In your next edition a discussion of these factors would be helpful for multi-monitor users trying to get improved performance without wasting money. I might add that anyone spending several hours a day at a computer trading stocks and not using multiple monitors is missing a great experience.

Merrell Young from OH posted over 3 years ago:

I would like to communicate with other retirees who utilize AAII & Schwab's SSE (Street Smart Edge).

Until I discover a better venue to use for communicating with a group of like minded souls, I can be found at Facebook under Merrell Young.

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