Capital Gainz - Newsletter #8

             Capital Gainz Newsletter #8
                   October 26, 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) New Combine Securities
 2) Sending Screen Shots
 3) Report File Format
 4) Multiple Reports/Graphs
 5) Email For Life
 6) File Associations
 7) Moving to a New PC
 8) Selling Methods
 9) SpamKiller
10) Price Retrieval Problem

1) New Combine Securities

Capital Gainz 6.0f, available on the Web site, added a new
option to the Local Security Table's Securities pulldown
menu: Combine Securities.

Combine Securities is used to add holdings for the same
global security, but different local securities, together.
All buy, sell, and distribution activity is added. For
instance, say you own company ABC in Portfolio 1, and also 
own it in your wife's portfolio, Portfolio 2. If you combine
the actual accounts, you need to combine the two portfolios.
Steps to take are:
  0) Backup your data! A lot of operations will occur,
     and you need to guard against program or user error.
  1) Open Portfolio 2.
  2) For each security in Portfolio 2, use Securities, 
     Copy Security to copy the security and all activity to
     Portfolio 1. If there is a conflict with the local
     security symbol, rename the new local security in the
     Copy Local Security form. For instance, if the local
     security symbol ABC is in Portfolios 1 and 2, copy ABC
     from Portfolio 2 to ABC1 in Portfolio 1.
  3) Open Portfolio 1 and verify that the copies succeeded.
  4) Use File, Portfolios to highlight Portfolio 2, and
     click on the Del button in the toolbar to delete the
     entire portfolio.
  5) Back in Portfolio 1, use Securities, Combine Securities
     on the pulldown menu of the Local Security Table to
     combine any local securities that are logically the
     same. Using the ABC and ABC1 example, highlight ABC1
     and select Securities, Combine Securities. At the 
     Combine Local Security Form, specify ABC as the 
     'To Local Security'. Set the 
     'Delete Original When Done' checkbox so ABC1 is 
     removed after the combination. Click on the Ok button
     to execute the combine operation.
Some important points about the Combine Securities function:
  - It is not used to record mergers - use Convert 
    Securities for mergers and spinoffs.
  - The two local securities being combined must be linked
    to the same global security. Note that you can change 
    the global security a local security is linked to.
  - It will not combine two securities if either one uses
    the average cost selling method. This is due to 
    calculations involved when sales are recorded.

2) Sending Screen Shots

If you ever need to get help with a question or a problem
on a specific screen, it's very easy to take a 'snapshot'
of that screen and email it to us with your question. Some
of you may already have a program such as the excellent
PaintShop Pro (, which, among its many
features, has flexible screen capture and image manipulation

However, anyone can capture a screen, using the forgotten
PrintScrn key (probably somewhere on the top right of your
keyboard). With the screen in question displayed, use:
  - Ctrl-PrintScrn to take a snapshot of the entire desktop.
  - Alt-PrintScrn to take a snapshot of the current window.

These snapshots are placed on the Windows clipboard. You 
could use ClipBook Viewer from the Accessories program 
group to view the image, but it only allows you to save
the file in the little used CLP format. A better approach 
is to crank up MS Paint - it should also be in the 
Accessories group from Start, Programs. In MS Paint, use 
Edit, Paste  to copy the image from the clipboard to the 
program. With the image now displayed, use File, then
Save As to save the image to a common bitmap file (.BMP).

Construct an email message using your email program, and use
the program's file attachment feature to attach the BMP

3) Report File Format

If the ASCII Text File option is not set in Report Settings,
then Capital Gainz passes the data to your selected 
printer's driver. The driver formats the data as requested
and returns a set of WMF (Windows MetaFile) files, one for
each page of the report. This is similar to a graphics 
format such as BMP or GIF. Thus, when viewing the formatted
report, you can only save the currently displayed page to
a WMF file - multi-page reports will require multiple WMF

The WMF file can be viewed in a graphics program such as
PaintShop Pro that understands the WMF format - MS Paint
does not. Or, you can view a WMF file using Capital Gainz -
File, Pick File to View. The function decides how to treat
the file based on the file extension.

Thus, if you want to generate nice looking reports and email
them to someone, just attach the WMF files you save pages to
and be sure the recipient has a viewer that understands WMF 

The report generation process above indicates two important
  - Since the printer driver formats the data, any 
    formatting problems are virtually guaranteed to be 
    caused by the printer driver.
  - Since the printer driver has a higher resolution than 
    your monitor, the displayed page may appear to have some
    characters chopped off in places. The printed page will
    look fine, however.

4) Multiple Reports/Graphs

The next minor update to Capital Gainz will include a
feature that allows multiple reports or graphs to be 
displayed at one time. The way this works for reports is
that the report is generated, stored in a temporary file 
(or files), and then displayed using an external program. 
Thus, you can keep any number of reports displayed while
you continue to work in Capital Gainz. 

The external program used to view the reports can be 
specified by the user, and Capital Gainz will include a
small file viewer that can do the trick. Or, if you generate
reports using the ASCII Text File option in Report Settings,
you may want to send reports to Notepad - where you can edit
the results. Because of the way formatted reports (without
ASCII Text Option set, as described in prior section) are
handled - a WMF file per page - the file viewer provided
with Capital Gainz is the only real choice, as it can
handle navigating through the pages.

For graphs, a new Capture Image button will be provided
on the toolbar. With a graph displayed, clicking on this
button will save the displayed graph to a temporary bitmap
file, which will be opened in the external program to view
graphs specified by the user. Thus, any number of graphs
can be displayed while you continue to work in Capital

If you choose to send the graphs to a program such as
PaintShop Pro, you can use its features to manipulate the
image, or to save the image in a different format, such as
a GIF file for adding to a Web page.

If you are interested in getting a pre-release copy of
Capital Gainz that implements multiple reports/graphs
feature, send me email. It should be available in a couple
of weeks or so.

5) Email For Life

Do you like the freedom to hop from ISP to ISP, looking for
the fastest or most reliable Internet service? If so, you
probably hate dealing with the fact that your email changes
frequently, and you have to update your friends with your
new address. (One upside, however, is that you start fresh,
with an address not yet on any spammer's list!)

There are a number of companies that offer email forwarding.
The way it works is you get an email address through their 
Web site, then specify that all mail sent to that address 
should be sent to your current ISP. Now, when you change 
your actual ISP, all you need to do is point your email 
forwarder to the new ISP. Friends continue sending email 
to the forwarded email address.

For instance, say you have an Internet account with 
SlowNet, and your email address is You 
set up an email forwarder with the Forwarder company, and 
get an address of At Forwarder's Web 
site, you set up your account so that email sent to gets directed to You 
tell all your friends your new email address is, and promise them that this will not 
change anytime soon. Your ISP,, starts having 
very bad performance problems, and you are frequently 
getting bumped offline. (With a name like, what
did you really expect?) So, you switch to an ISP recommended
by a friend, FastNet. All that you need to do is go back to
Forwarder's Web site, and set up your account to forward all
email to

The advantages of such forwarding accounts is:
  - You can change your ISP without affecting your email
  - Even if you lose ISP access, many of these forwarders
    offer free mail storage as well - you can read and
    send mail right from the sites. (Before you make a
    smart remark, this might be useful if you share an
    ISP account with a friend, or use publicly available
    PCs to log into any ISP.)
  - Many of these providers are experts on email, and 
    provide good filtering tools for removing spam.
  - If you want a specific name, such as,
    it may be available at one of these sites. You are not
    limited to what your single ISP has available.

I have tried a couple of these ( and,
and unfortunately am underwhelmed. The service had
some reliability problems. As for BigFoot - someone else had
already tied my actual ISP email address to a BigFoot 
address, and I could not get those boneheads to free it up
so I could use my own address. BigFoot is the
pioneer in free email and email forwarding, but don't count
on ever finding anyone with any sense to answer a question
or fix a problem.

Anyone else out there using a free email, or email 
forwarder? If you have an opinion on one, let me know and
if there is enough feedback, I'll post the results.

By the way, a list of free email sites can be found at:

6) File Associations

A feature called 'file associations' in Windows 95 and later
allows you to double-click on a file in Windows Explorer in
order to bring up the application associated with that 
file's extension. Most of these extensions are either 
initialized at Windows installation or set up when other 
programs are installed.

For instance, some or all of the following apply to most
Windows systems:
  - Double-clicking on a file with '.htm' extension
    automatically opens that file in Internet Explorer
    (or Netscape Navigator).
  - Double-clicking on a file with '.txt' extension
    automatically opens that file in Notepad.
  - Double-clicking on a file with a '.zip' extension
    automatically opens that file in your ZIP program,
    such as WinZip or PKZip.
  - Double-clicking on a file with a '.gif' extension
    automatically opens that file in Internet Explorer
    (or Netscape Navigator).
  - Double-clicking on a file with a '.pdf' extension
    automatically opens that file in Adobe Acrobat.

What if you want to change the existing behavior, to
open the file in a different application? The application
itself may offer the option to do this for you. Or, you
can set this up yourself:
  - In Windows Explorer, choose View, Options.
  - Select the File Types tab.
  - Find the file type description in the list of
    'Registered File Types'. Click on any entry in
    the list, and the associated file extension is shown.
  - When the desired file type is found, click on it,
    then click on the Edit button.
  - In the Edit File Type dialog box, the important
    item is the list of Actions. In most cases, there will
    only be one action listed: open.
  - To change the application used to open the file, click
    on 'open' in Actions, then click on the Edit button.
  - The important item in the Editing Action for Type
    dialog box is the 'Application used to perform action',
    which specifies the path to the program used to open 
    the file.
If you look at the dialog boxes mentioned above, they
are somewhat intimidating. In most cases, you can let the
application take care of setting up this stuff. But, now
at least you know where to go to tweak things - be sure
to use the F1 key to get help on fields you are unsure of.

7) Moving to a New PC

There is a page on the Web site that provides details on
how to move Capital Gainz between PCs. It discusses moving
from one version of Capital Gainz on the source machine to 
the same version of Capital Gainz on the destination 
machine, or from an older version of Capital Gainz on
the source machine to a newer version of Capital Gainz on 
the destination machine.

If you need help doing this, it is not very difficult at
all. Check out:

8) Selling Methods

As the end of the year rolls around, you're bound to read
some article or other that talks about the different ways
to sell shares of your mutual fund:

- Average Cost Method: Averages out the purchase price.
  This method supposedly makes record-keeping easier. I
  fail to see how it can. In any case, it can NEVER provide
  optimal gains or losses, and actually requires a bit
  more care when using it with a program like Capital
  Gainz (ie, never record a purchase for a date that is
  prior to the date of a recorded sale). Plus, once you
  use this method for a sale, you can not switch to
  a different method for future sales.

- Double-Category Average Cost Method: This is just plain
  stupid. Record keeping is bad enough, but if you used
  this and had to deal with 1997's 3 levels of holdings -
  short, long, mid - I sincerely pity you. If you have a 
  lot of activity for a fund, an accountant may laugh at 
  you if you want your sales recorded this way (this is
  true - I have heard of at least one such actual case).
  Capital Gainz does not support this method.

- First-In/First-Out: This is the easiest method - when
  you sell shares, the earliest purchases still owned are
  sold first. In a steadily rising market, this will result
  in the highest reported gains, although holding period
  considerations may blunt this somewhat. Capital Gainz
  supports this method. I wish someone could explain to
  me why this method is so hard that average cost is
  often suggested instead.

- Specific Identification: When you sell shares, you
  pick which open shares to use. This is the only method
  where you can absolutely optimize realized gains - or
  losses. Capital Gainz supports this with 4 different 
  methods. Last-In/First-Out is just a variation of
  First-In/First-Out, except open shares are applied to
  a sale starting with the most recent purchases. 
  Max Gain/Min Loss will pick shares to maximize 
  realized gains (or minimize losses), and 
  Min Gain/Max Loss will pick shares to minimize 
  realized gains (or maximize losses). These two methods
  do not take the holding period into account. Finally,
  Specific Id lets you specify which shares to sell
  from open purchases. IRS documentation specifies that
  to use Specific Identification, you must explicitly
  tell the mutual fund company which shares to sell. Of
  course, they don't really care - a share is a share.
  In any case, several users have told me that as long as
  you have the documentation to back it up (which Capital
  Gainz can provide), you can use this method without
  explicitly telling the mutual fund company which shares
  to sell.

9) SpamKiller

If your email is getting jammed up with bulk email - or
'spam' - you may want to check on a pretty cool program
I've been using called SpamKiller. It won a shareware
award in PC Magazine for 1999 - you can find it reviewed 
in PC Magazine Vol 18 No 16, Sept 21, 1999. Using just its
predefined filters, I'd estimate that the amount of junk
email I receive has been reduced by at least 75%. To check
it out:

It took me a bit to figure out how exactly to get it all
going - the documentation focuses on functions, skirting
the big picture. But, once it's up and running, it's easy.

By the way, another spam tip for everyone: Never reply to
spam, especially if it says something like "To be removed
from this mailing list, reply to...". By responding, the
spammer knows that the address is valid and actively used -
and thus a good candidate for future spam or packaged 
mailing lists.

10) Price Retrieval Problem

Symbols greater than 6 characters long will not work with 
the automated price retrieval from Yahoo!. If you are 
running into this, send me email and I'll put you on list 
for a prerelease version that will fix this - probably will
be available in a couple of weeks.