Coping: Building the Home Information Platform

If you are a serious news junky, oh boy, do we have the concept for you!

image When the market starts acting up – as it has this week – our thoughts naturally turn to the only two things that matter:  Making a buck and staying ahead of the herd.

Almost a year ago, we treated our subscribers to a few thoughts on how easy it is for a dedicated person to build a very impressive home information platform.

You don’t really need a genius level mentality:  Just a natural sense of curiosity and a desire to stay out front of trends.

Here’s an extract from the article where we discuss how to build such a system to actually take in HUGE swaths of data and distill it down into something that makes sense.  So, for those who have been wondering what Peoplenomics content is like, this is a portion of our report for last April 5…when we were fixing to get ready to see what’s been coming and which is now by some accounts here and now…

—————- commence extract ——————–

Business and Personal Applications

Just because of insider trading rules one can’t completely toss out the use of various technologies on the web to “smooth one’s way.”

Keeping tabs on developments at a competitor’s web site, for example, is perfectly reasonable and yet not many people use the ability of the internet to really exploit competitor weaknesses.

The process is the same, however, as an old-time monarch off spying on an enemy.  The process begins with just a single name – or two – of the company in question.  Then you’re off to social media to see who they are connected to.  The government uses social mapping techniques which means nothing more than seeing who has what connections on Linked-In and Facebook, for starters.

Once you have a couple of executive email addresses collected, you can start scanning the internet using a large engine like Google and seeing which forums, alumni associations, or other affinity/interest groups the person is associated with.

Search Engines and Meta Searches

Simply used:  If you employ Google or Bing (lots of people do) you could be missing content on the web.  That’s because these are single engines.  Big, powerful, but don’t get me wrong – there are other search engines out there.  Like

Even the venerable WebCrawler has become limited in recent years, so there’s been a rise in the big meta-crawlers like and or

If you’re not used to meta engines, they take a bit of getting used to, so start with some known results off Google and Bing (like your own company) and then run the same search on the meta (multiple search engines with one click) sites.

Use of Imagery and Media

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Google has tabs that will allow you to display only image or video results.

Everyone knows about Google Earth and Google’s street views, but not so many people know about freeway web cams.

If you’re a news junkie, you’ve got a couple of ways to go:  One is to rely on a camera directory and linking service, like  which I have used to zoom in on Salt Lake City, for example.

If your interest is in a specific area, like Salt Lake, for example, you don’t need a directory.  You can just bring up the Utah Department of Transportation site’s traffic cameras.

Now, lest we forget, there are many other online sources that can provide valuable intelligence for personal and business use that are seriously under-appreciated.

One such example is immersive local media.  I’ll show you how this works in a moment, in a real news-chasing/news-junkie’s world.  But a quick visit to or will allow you to listen to local radio stations virtually anywhere in the country. 

A Real News/Intelligence Operation

How can a person use such “intelligence” in a useful manner?

It becomes really easy if you understand some of the functionality in Windows and other operating systems. 

I’ll use a current project as an example.  You know I had a weird dream back in January about an “April 9+ earthquake,” right?  This is a fine example to use because it will allow me to use some concrete examples of how to “set up” for an area.

image The first thing to do is set up the master folder on the desktop.  To do this, simply right-click,  select “NEW” and then select “FOLDER.”

In our example this morning, I have called my master folder Big Quake.

When you have many projects going, you can quickly discard a lot of research by putting things into a master folder. 

imageIn addition to Big Quake, I have other folders for the cities where our kids are:  Phoenix and Payson, AZ, as well as the Seattle-Tacoma area.

The next step, once you have your state’s set up is to consider the kind of intelligence folders you want to include.

As you can see on the right, I’ve been preparing for the Big Quake by dropping tons of shortcuts into their appropriate folders.

If/When a big quake actually happens, I’ll be able to quickly open the appropriate folder, then have “one-click” access to tons of information.

The ready access to information is what separates the “men from the boys” in the breaking news world and this is one way to stay far, far ahead of the crowd.

I use the same strategy for major long-term news stories.  You’ll remember my recent post on the UrbanSurvival site where I posited that we are drifting toward a Shi’ite versus Sunni war in the Middle East?  That kind of information is easily organized in this manner.

Sure, there are other information management tools that could be used for the purpose – like Microsoft OneNote,  but selecting the “RIGHT” tool for the mission is always critical.

Let me see if I can explain it better.  OneNote and other PIMS (personal information managers) work well on wide data.


Wide data might include a ton of clips and notes about a particular topic.

But hierarchical systems work best when you want to organize something in phonebook-like fashion – which is what reporters and intelligence types often need.  Along with investors, of course.

The “height versus width” analogy is also useful when sizing up people for promotion when you’re running a business.  And, if you’re wanting to move up the food chain, it’s good to remember that the good manager not only has decent width of knowledge, but to be really good, you’ve got to have vertical skills as well – knowing all the high people or resources to reach out and utilize.  It’s this gridding concept that makes like a very manageable game.

In practice, IF one were building a home intelligence platform for either writing, news collecting, or investing, the “right” thing would be a combination of approaches:  There is some hierarchical data about companies (like where to find the latest 8/10K filings, as well as setting up Google news searches for your target of interest (set the Google news alerts to send as soon as things happen – you don’t want a daily digest -that’s too slow for us!).

Getting Full Use of Shortcuts

Once you have a file structure, the next problem is learning to use shortcuts effectively.

It’s similar to creating a File, except when you get prompted to create a shortcut, you can put in a web address.  And name your shortcut.

imageLet’s say that you were interested in just how “hot” things were getting up in Ferguson, MO during the recent problems.  You might find a stream looked good over at

You would paste that in as the shortcut’s target and give it a useful name.  Admittedly, my name wasn’t particularly creative, but it was easy to create.

Some other housekeeping details:  On the www.broadcastify scanners you need to select which feed you want and yes, a serious news junkie would have a subscription to several such feeds in order to really be “plugged in” to what’s going on.

In our little exercise (building a modest intel platform in advance of a POSSIBLE earthquake) a couple of hours of effort results in a very solid little platform that will give me seismographs, cops, first responders, traffic cameras, a whole slug of news-talk radio stations and much more.

If/when something happens, you will want to have all your news or intel gathering preset as shortcuts in an easy to use format.

imageOn our media server, the shortcuts become streaming music pushbuttons for Seattle’s KNDD and San Francisco’s KMEL, along with all news stations up and down the coast.  Takes only a few minutes to set up and it’s really fun once you master some of the basic concepts here.

And yes, the same principles apply to keeping track of companies.  However, just be aware of what we talked about earlier:  If you have 20 company CEO’s Facebook pages on shortcuts, along with their chiefs of marketing and accounting (a surprising number have FB, Linked-In and/or Twitter accounts) just be aware of what we talked about earlier with regard to the “public information” problem when you go making trades:  Too many winners which cause the options writers to write big checks can trigger a visit.

Not that L-I, FB, and Tweets aren’t public…but you start getting too good at this stuff and you can pop up in filters.  You don’t want that – remember “The Man” has an employee in the gubmint which is not there to ensure “fairness.”  If you don’t KNOW that “fairness” line is a load of crap, go ask those winners in Atlantic City who won because the House made a mistake and they seized on the opportunity.

Judge basically told them, if it wasn’t luck, they wouldn’t keep their winnings…

Life ain’t fair – and there’s nothing more asymmetric than information warfare – in either direction.

Oh  – if nothing else?  You’ll have a dandy time on your desktop with local all-news stations in the top 50 markets because you can get a very good sense of what’s going on around the country by not only listening to local news and comment, but also listening to local weather and advertisements…

Have fun with it!  It’s the replacement for shortwave listening, but that will be back after the big EMP events to come…but maybe those won’t be in this lifetime….

———————- end of extracted portion ——————-

This concept has a simple and direct application that is of interest to skitterish investors.

You set up a Google News alert.  Use a couple of key words like “gold –sports” so you get stories about gold but not the asinine stuff about “gold medals” in sports.

Set your Google Alerts up to send you an email any time a new news story crosses.  Or, maybe you might want to have something like “Deutsche Bank” as a news alert.  It’s all up to you.

Now comes the important part:  In order to manage all this wave of content that will come into your email inbox, make a new subfolder somewhere called “Gold”  (or DB, or whatever).

imageThen, when the next Google Alert on point lands in your Inbox, right click (in Outlook, anyway) and create a rule.  If I was tracking concerns about famine, my rule and alert might look like this:

Now the key thing here is set up your automation sources (Google News is great for this) and then let your email program do all the dirty work of routing all your email to where you want it to go.

Then, once a day, or twice, or when you take a powder, or whatever, you can click in intel folder of your choice and see what is crossing on the net.  You can also set up folders for things like CNN Bulletins and so on.  For these, you might was a small dinger to go off….or not.

And when you’re sitting at your desk doing something – and you hear something big going on – if you have done all the programming work ahead of time – iHeartRadio favorites or direct to streams with desktops, you can literally be at the scene of the action.  If you have also set up a few key major market news streams, those might come up too.

Then it’s just a matter of getting into the old newsman’s knack of taking apart a story:  They all come down to 6 major items:  Who, what, where, when, how, why, and – because we do finance – How much?  So there’s seven items.

Pretty quick you’ll realize that when most big stories happen, the only thing that changes is a few numbers.  So you can template your thinking so all you need to drop in is the current (stock price) (body count) (number of injured) and so forth.

When you have all the facts and you can “plug and play” numbers and you have a set of things to do at specific threshold levels (a solid close below 1,720 on the S&P, for example will set a few things in motion around here), then you can relax and sit back – and watch the world panic.

As a practical matter, I’m sure you think you have all this wired, but when you woke up this morning did you have a collection of English-speaking foreign news article links lined up and ready along with a template to help you speed through the analysis part?


It’s OK…most people don’t.  Instead, they will hang breathlessly on whatever Robin Meade is cutting to live…and when events happen, they will not have a clue as to how to line up the developments so nothing comes as a surprise.

Remember, one of the best sayings of all time in management is?  “We don’t have surprises.”

Whether you are a news junkie – or just a road warrior who wants to get immersed in a new city before a trip there, so you can act like a “local,” the home information platform is free (except for the time involved in set-up) and you can turn it on for any purpose you want, whether that is track a company you are thinking of investing in, or just keeping up on the latest GMO dangers.

Ah the Weekend is here…or almost…

If you haven’t gotten that ham radio ticket, that’s something you could work on this weekend, too – and you do have some seeds down on a heating mat, right?  I’ll be on the working end of a tractor and chop saw so…

More Monday if the world is still here, lol… write when you break-even…and enjoy this morning’s rally.



Coping: Building the Home Information Platform — 7 Comments

  1. It must suck being in your shoes and lacking the acknowledgement you deserve for putting in tremendous amount of effort with regard to making a buck. It’s not easy to be correct successively because if any of us were perfect dreams of avarice would be ours in very short time. However, since you’ve been around the internet, which are the two sites that you could not do without for financial insight beside yours? There are just too many sites just going bla,bla,bla! Thank you, and prosper!!

  2. To clarify a little simpler there’s a search engine at the top of your Urban Survival page and you with your proverbial know how will use the search engine to enable both urban survival and people economics and any other website that you have, to appear on the search engine n/a format where the free stuff is shown first then second is the pay for search of the site, this will be possible because of your big library online, you say my house is possibly going to increase my business well you can look at the past and you have like all things you’ve done and done this and done that and people go like yeah that can work as a last resort but people but people are doing things like I said off the flies are another like hey this try this and then to make sure things don’t get out of hand you have to be like the painter doesn’t go over the lines and what this is going to do is increase subscribers because people are searching and if they are able to look at you like a Google at the top of the middle of your page and they type and something because they know that you have covered every topic then there you go and the other part that we haven’t even gotten into yet is that if you’re able to find out what people punch into your search engine and you don’t have it on your site then you know that you have an interest or a market in that direction, that will be evident that will be rational and that will be the future last resource

  3. The ship has already hit the iceberg. It appears you are so interested in the activities of the rats that you haven’t noticed that the lifeboats are all leaving, most of them only half full(or less). Its ok to moderate this comment into the bit bucket.