Capital Gainz - Newsletter #6

             Capital Gainz Newsletter #6
                   April 1, 1999
                     Dave Cohen
                  AlleyCat Software
In these newsletters, I'll provide useful hints and tips for
Capital Gainz. To make things easy for email, these 
newsletters will be plain old ASCII text.

If you want to be removed from the mailing list, send me a 
request via email.

All prior newsletters can be found on our Web site.


1) Securities Sold Off
2) Using InfoBeat
3) Moving to Another PC
4) Trimming Prices
5) Price File Format
6) Upgrading Data
7) Version 6.0 Problems
8) Printer Drivers
9) Virus Alerts
10) Microsoft Y2K Announcement
11) $20 Million Beat the Street Contest

1) Securities Sold Off

If you've sold off a particular holding and no longer want
to see it in the portfolio, there are three options:

a) You can check the Hide Inactive checkbox at the top of
   the Local Security Table, or in the User Settings form.
   The security and all activity are still in the portfolio,
   but this options hides any non-cash securities with 0
   shares currently open.

b) Move the security to another portfolio. You may want to
   create a new, 'inactive' portfolio for such securities.
   After creating the portfolio, use Security/Copy Security
   to copy the security and all related activity from the 
   original portfolio to the new 'inactive' portfolio. Go
   to the inactive portfolio and verify that the copy 
   succeeded. Then, return to the original portfolio and 
   use Security/Delete Security to remove the security and
   all activity.

c) Use Security/Delete Security to remove the security and
   all activity. This operation can not be reversed.

Personally, I like to:
- Use the Hide Inactive option.
- Keep securities that have been sold off in the original
  portfolio until I've done all the tax reports.
- Move securities that have been sold off and are no longer
  used in the current tax report to an inactive portfolio.

2) Using InfoBeat

I, like a number of users, have been using InfoBeat's free
service to update prices. Previously, I had used,
but this service, even though it wasn't free, was highly 
unreliable. The site itself was slow, and the billing 
department had  a lot of problems - I was charged for a 
full year of service in two consecutive months.

InfoBeat is an especially convenient service to use, since
you can configure it to email you the prices at the end of
each day. You don't have to go to the site, except to update
your portfolio. And, updating the portfolio is easy - a list
box lets you enter as many symbols as you want, then a click
of a button updates the portfolio. I have an online account
at E*Trade, and wish that setting up a portfolio there was
half as easy and fast - E*Trade forces you to go through a
couple of slow, tedious screens for each security.

I've had a portfolio set up with InfoBeat for about 6 months
now, and have only failed to receive prices once - 3/19. 
Compare this to - and remember, is not
free and InfoBeat is free - which typically failed to send
updates at least once a week. Plus, I didn't receive ANY
updates the last several weeks before I told them to cancel
the service, which was itself a chore since the Web page to
cancel service repeatedly failed.

The only issue with InfoBeat is that sometimes the email
price update comes very late, well into the evening, as late
as 10pm EST.

If you want to investigate using InfoBeat to update prices
in Capital Gainz:

For 5.2 users, see
For 6.0 users, see program help:
  Contents, Price History and Updates, 
  Update Prices from InfoBeat

InfoBeat's email includes price file attachments named
mmdd.TXT, such as 0330.TXT. Thus, since Capital Gainz
'remembers' the last price update file read in, whenever
I want to update prices all I need to do is change a few
characters in the file name to read in.

3) Moving to Another PC

Users often ask how to transfer Capital Gainz to a new 
computer. The answer depends on several things. Here are
complete instructions that should address most cases:

1) Create a Capital Gainz directory on the new computer.
   For instance, to create C:\CAPGNZ:
     - Bring up Windows Explorer.
     - Click on the icon for the C drive in the left pane.
     - From the menu, choose File, New, Folder. This will
       add a generically named folder.
     - Right click on the new folder's icon in the right 
       pane, and choose Rename.
     - Type CAPGNZ and press the Enter key.

2) See what directory Capital Gainz data is stored in on 
   the old computer. If you don't know, run Capital Gainz
   and use Config/System, and note the Data Directory 
   setting. For this example, we'll assume C:\CAPGNZ.

3) Copy all data files (*.DAT and *.K01) from the old 
   computer's Data Directory to a diskette. This can be 
   done with Windows Explorer, but the easiest way to be 
   sure you get all files is to use a command line:

      - Insert a blank diskette in the A: drive of the 
        old computer.
      - Start up a Command Prompt session - if there is 
        not an icon on the desktop for this, look for 
        Command Prompt and the MSDOS icon under the Start 
        Menu, Programs.
      - Change to the directory where the Capital Gainz 
        data files are located. For instance:
            CD \CAPGNZ
      - Copy the data files to diskette:
            COPY *.DAT A:\
            COPY *.K01 A:\

4) Copy all data files (*.DAT and *.K01) from diskette to 
   the new computer.  This can be done with Windows 
   Explorer, but the easiest way to be sure you get all 
   files is to use a command line:
      - Insert the diskette in the A: drive of the new 
      - Start up a Command Prompt session - if there is 
        not an icon on the desktop for this, look for 
        Command Prompt and the MSDOS icon under the Start 
        menu, Programs.
      - Change to the directory where Capital Gainz will 
        be installed. For instance:
            CD \CAPGNZ
      - Copy the data files from diskette (note that each 
        command below ends with a space followed by a 
        period) :
            COPY A:\*.DAT .
            COPY A:\*.K01 .

5) Install Capital Gainz on the new computer, specifying 
   the same directory where you copied the data files to, 
   such as C:\CAPGNZ. 

6) If the version of Capital Gainz you installed is a 
   later version than the one used to create the data 
   files, you need to upgrade your data. (Note: You can 
   only upgrade data using a registered version of 
   Capital Gainz, which requires correct specification 
   of the valid username/usercode at installation.) 
   This may occur automatically at the end of installation,
   but if not do the following on the new computer:
      - Use Start, Programs and find the Capital Gainz 
        program group. In that group, find "CG Upgrade" 
        and click on it.
      - The Capital Gainz upgrade program starts up. It 
        should detect the current version of the data you 
        have installed, but be sure to verify it. If you 
        are not sure what version of Capital Gainz was used 
        to create the data, go back to the old computer, 
        run Capital Gainz, and choose Config/System.
      - Click on Ok. When prompted, be sure to do the 
        quick backup suggested, then Continue to upgrade 
        the data.
      - If you want to maintain Capital Gainz on both the 
        old and the new computers, swapping data files back 
        and forth to stay in sync, be sure that the same 
        version of Capital Gainz is running on both 

4) Trimming Prices

If you update prices every day in Capital Gainz, you are
accumulating a lot of data that can slow down the program -
especially the price-related graphs - and use up disk space. 
The Rebuild Prices choice under the Prices menu gives you 
some options for trimming down data. Specifically, you can 
tell Capital Gainz to remove all prices except for those 
that are the last ones found for a specific security in 
each week or month. This trimming down can be applied to 
one security or all securities. You can also elect to save
price history entries that correspond to a buy or a sell 
for the security.

In Version 6.0, Capital Gainz added the ability to specify
only to trim up to a specific date. Thus, you can choose to
keep only weekly or monthly prices up to the beginning of 
the current year, while still maintaining all prices you've
recorded for the current year.

5) Price File Format

Capital Gainz can read in prices from almost any source. 
The trick is that the source must provide the prices in 
comma-delimited format, such as:

    Symbol,Date,Open,High,Low,Last,Volume,Open Interest

In Capital Gainz, the Prices/Update Prices From File option 
lets you specify the file to read in. More importantly, you 
must be sure that the format you told the program to expect 
matches the format ofthe actual file. 

There are two ways to specify the format of the file:

  - Automatic: From the Prices/Update Prices from File
    screen, choose the Settings button to bring up the
    Price File Settings Form. This form offers a number
    of predefined formats for popular sources to select
    from, including Yahoo!, InfoBeat, and IRNet. (This is
    a new feature in version 6.0.)

  - Manual: From the Prices/Update Prices from File
    screen, choose the Format button to bring up the
    Set Price File Format screen to explicitly select
    the order of fields.

For example, I am using InfoBeat for prices, but wanted
to get volume information, which is not included in the
default InfoBeat format (Quicken format). Thus, I have
specified the following for my Price File Format:

    Field  1: SYMBOL
    Field  2: PRICE
    Field  3: IGNORE1
    Field  4: VOL/100
    Field  5: DATE
    (Volume is a little tricky - VOL-TOTAL means that total 
     volume is specified, and it will be divided by 100 
     before being read into Capital Gainz, and VOL/100 
     means the volume is already in hundreds.)

In the Price File Settings Form, there are some additional
tweaks available for file processing:

    Start At Token: If you need to skip over advertisements
        that appear at the start of the price file, you can
        tell Capital Gainz to only start processing when it 
        sees 'Ticker' or 'Issue' (non case-sensitive match)
        as the first symbol on a line.

    Stop At Token: If you need to skip over advertisements
        that appear at the end of the price file, you can
        tell Capital Gainz to stop processing when it sees
        a blank line.

If you have any questions or problems with a specific 
price source, check the Capital Gainz Help, under
Price History and Updates on the Contents page. The
Help file lists detailed information on setting up and
using a number of price sources.
One caution: when you first define a format and read in
a file, use the View option instead of the Ok button to 
see if the format selected the correct fields. You don't
want to read in a bunch of nonsense and have to hunt 
through prices for all securities to get rid of the bad 
ones, do you? Once you know that the format works you 
can just go right to the Ok button.

6) Upgrading Data

Every Capital Gainz update requires data to be upgraded.
Sometimes that is as simple as modifying a single binary
file that stores the data version number, or as complex as
modifying security, activity, and price data. This upgrade
normally occurs at the end of installation, but can be 
manually triggered by running CG Upgrade from the Capital
Gainz group on the Start Menu. This may be necessary if
for some reason the automatic upgrade does not happen 
(which is very rare) or if you restore data from a prior
upgrade and need to resync it to the current version.

The upgrade process updates version by version, as 
necessary, to the current version. For instance, if you
install version 6.0 over version 3.2, it will upgrade
data from 3.2 to 4.0, 4.0 to 5.0, 5.0 to 5.1, 5.1 to 5.2,
and 5.2 to 6.0. All copies of Capital Gainz, even 
'upgrades', are complete, meaning they do not rely on 
past versions being already installed. 

In order to upgrade data, and have the CG Upgrade program
be installed, you must enter a valid username/usercode at
installation. Otherwise, the evaluation version, with a
'nag' screen, is installed. In fact, if you try to install
a newer version over an older version without correctly
entering a valid username/usercode, and skip the warnings,
then the new version will not be able to read your data,
since it will not have been upgraded.

Over the years, we've developed a very reliable upgrade
process, and very few problems have been reported. When
such a problem does occur, I request the user to send me
their data, so I could upgrade it. I did not say 'so I
could try to upgrade it', since I have always been able 
to upgrade the data and send it back, ready to go.

Note: When you upgrade your data, the quick backup option
offered stashes a copy of your current data files in
CGnnDATA directory under your main Capital Gainz directory,
where 'nn' stands for the version number. Thus, when you
upgrade from 5.2 to 6.0, there will be a subdirectory of
your original data files saved in CG52DATA. This has bailed
out more than one user who did not have current backups!
You can go back and remove these directories at some point,
but it's nice to keep them around for just a little while.

7) Version 6.0 Problems

Very few problems with Capital Gainz version 6.0 have been
reported, likely thanks to an extended Beta testing period.
I am still working on a few difficult issues, including:

    - A few users have reported significantly slower
      performance with 6.0 than 5.2. This is really
      puzzling to me, since I run on a machine that is
      probably slower than 90% of Capital Gainz users -
      a 120Mhz (upgraded) Pentium - and have seen no
      difference. If anyone does have significant
      performance problems, I'd love to get them to send
      their data and explain where they see the slowdowns.
      Perhaps it is an issue with a particular data mix.

    - A couple of users reported program traps with the
      Performance Report, in calculating IRR. Turning off
      the Use Internal Rate of Return option in the User
      Settings gets around this, but is not the solution,
      obviously. One user sent me data, and I can't 
      reproduce it, so this one is also a puzzler.

    - One user is reporting a problem printing to HP 870cxi
      printer. The text is inexplicably shifted so that
      some data in most fields gets truncated. I have not
      been able to reproduce this on several HP inkjet
      printers, and even tried it using the HP 870cxi
      printer driver. (You don't need the actual printer -
      the driver actually renders the on screen report

    - Some users reported they get the error:
      "Could not create graph (VtChart.Lib.VtChart)"
      when they try to create a graph. This usually
      means you have an older version of Windows 95,
      and need to update a particular DLL:
      1) Download the latest version of COMCTL32.DLL from
         the Microsoft Web site at:
      2) Follow the directions to install COMCTL32.DLL.
      3) Reboot your computer.
      4) Reinstall Capital Gainz - during installation,
         it registers the graphics DLL, which requires
         the newer COMCTL32.DLL.

8) Printer Drivers

So far, just about every single printing problem 
encountered with Capital Gainz is the result of a printer
driver error. Some users assume that Capital Gainz is at
fault because the on screen report preview shows the same 
problem. However, this report preview is actually rendered
by the printer driver, with a WMF (Windows Meta File) file
resulting for each page. Capital Gainz simply displays the
WMF file output from the driver.

In fact, this explains why some report columns may have the
last character appear 'chopped off' in the report preview.
The resolution of the printer is much greater than the 
resolution of the monitor. Thus, the printed output will 
likely be perfect even though there appear to be flaws in 
the displayed report.

9) Virus Alerts

No, I'm not going to sensationalize any particular virus
here - enough people do that in the press and on the
Internet. Rather, I just wanted to point out that even if
you do not run virus scanning software (and you should!),
there is one simple precaution to take that will stop
a lot of the new Internet viruses going around:
    If you receive an email with an attachment, exercise
    caution. If the attachment is an executable program
    (with a .EXE extension), DO NOT run it, even if you
    know the person who sent it. That's because some 
    viruses now replicate by attaching these EXE files to
    outgoing email, without the user knowing it. Some
    even create messages and email themselves to recipients
    from the user's online address book.

If you do have virus scanning software with an up-to-date 
virus signature file, you can scan the EXE first, then run
it. If you don't have virus scanning software, just don't
run it. In my experience, most of the email-attached EXE 
files are silly little animations or jokes anyway, and not
worth risking a virus to see. (If you want cheap laughs, 
just pick up a newspaper and check the front pages.)

It may be wise to request that friends send any email 
attachments as ZIP files. Even then, virus scanning 
would be wise. For instance, another virus is going
around that affects MS Word files (.DOC extension). It
operates by executing a macro when it is brought up in

Why the words of caution? Well, I've been active on the 
Internet since about 1987 or so, and for the first time 
recently received both a virus masquerading as an email 
attachment and an infected DOC file - both in the same
day, from different, known sources. I was impressed with
Norton AntiVirus, which caught the email attachment
immediately and even deleted the file. The DOC file
infection was caught in a routine virus scan - while it
was still embedded in a ZIP file.

Note: We send invoices for electronically downloaded
copies of Capital Gainz as email attachments. These are
plain text files, though, and the only way they could
possibly carry a virus is if they were really Word DOC
files, and you opened them in Word. However, these files
should be viewed in something like Notepad. If you ever
receive email from us that has a non-text file attached,
don't use it, and let me know!

10) Microsoft Y2K Announcement

(If you haven't seen this 'press release' yet, I know 
 you'll get a laugh from it.)

  Redmond, Washington (API)

  Sources at Microsoft today annouced a delay in the 
  projected release of the new Windows 2000 operating 

  The product is now expected to ship some time during 
  first quarter 1901. 

11) $20 Million Beat the Street Contest

If you can guess the weekly closing price and volume of 
the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you could be $20 million 
richer. To give it a shot, head over to and play their 'Beat the Street' 

The only catches are:
  - You need to provide them with some information (if you
    want the $20 million, they gotta know where to send the
    huge, oversized check!).
  - Periodically, when you go to the site, you need to
    answer a question or two. They are usually pretty 
    short, such as "Have you purchased over the Web?".
  - You must be EXACT on the closing price of the DJIA AND
    the volume. More precisely, you need to match the last
    6 digits (including cents) of the DJIA and the last
    8 digits of the volume.
  - You are limited to 5 guesses every 10 minutes. So, if
    you didn't sleep for a week, you could get in 5,000-
    plus guesses.
  - The odds of winning are roughly 200 billion-to-1. The
    odds of getting hit by lightning in one year are about
    800,000 to-1. So, in the words of Dirty Harry: "Ask
    yourself, punk. Do I feel lucky?".