Thursday, July 26, 2007

Keyboard Addiction

Notice the Windows key on your plain ol' keyboard? Ever wished you could teach it some tricks ... or ... maybe use it to launch programs? Then Hoekey is the answer.

There are many apps that let you customize your keyboard shortcuts in Windows but what sets Hoekey apart are it's tiny size and simple but extensive options.

Sample what it can do: Launch any program. Execute any command(s) that can be issued in the Run box. Control Winamp - one of my favorites is to pause or resume playback without having to leave my current window. Launch any website with default or other browser. Change the system volume. You get the idea ... real cool ain't it :)

As you explore the help page you find that you can even mimic actions within programs though this part gets very geeky.

Hoekey can be found here. Cheers!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mutual Funds for you: Difference between dividend plan and growth plan in a mutual fund scheme - The Tax Trap for Dividend Reinvestment

Picking up from where I began yesterday...

Gains from selling your growth plan funds will not have to face taxation if held for at least one year. Your dividends would also be totally tax-free. But, there's a catch - there has to be one in tax matters isn't it? If you opt for dividend reinvestment, and you are allotted units as dividend you'd have to hold those units for a year. That means, if you sell before the units are 1-year old, short term capital gains tax will be imposed on the gains arising from the sale. :(

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tip for photo lovers: Hassle-free webshots downloads

Webshots ( is a big source of quality wallpapers. But, many of the good photos are marked as Premium which means they have to be purchased. The rest of the photos, known as Regular, are available in 800x600 resolution. Even the Regular photo download is limited to 5 per day for a non-paying user.

Reading at makes you realize that you need to install software to download their photos. This software keeps the photos in encrypted form - even the Regular ones. So you cannot share or save them like other common photos. But there is a way to avoid installing the Webshots desktop software and use the downloaded photos freely just like any other ordinary photos you come across everyday.

The thing to note here is that if you use Internet Explorer, you will be informed that you need to install their software. But use Firefox and will not complain.

So, use Firefox to create a free account and login. Next, select one of the free non-Premium photos of your choice. Choose to download the Regular version. Now the download takes the form of a .wbz file - such as 54112fc5ffdc127da0d816369416be20.wbz. Save it to a folder on your computer. These .wbz files cannot be read by ordinary photo viewing and editing software or shared with others as .wbz is an encrypted picture format. Use wbc2jpg to extract the wallpaper into the popular jpg format that can be viewed, copied or have anything else done to it! Freee to use and enjoy!

Mutual Funds for you: Difference between dividend plan and growth plan in a mutual fund scheme

A lot of us who want to invest are ready to take the mutual fund route thanks to the never-ending reporting of stock market performance by the media. Many companies are in the MF business and each has several schemes on offer. Adding to the confusion, the MF agent may ask you if you want the dividend plan or the growth plan in the mutual fund scheme you finally select.

But what is the difference between dividend plan and growth plan in a mutual fund scheme? Many including the MF agents and staff, are not clear on this due to inexperience or lack of information. So, let us find out for sure.

First the basics: A mutual fund collects money from investors and pools it together to form the initial corpus for the scheme. This in turn, is used to invest in the stock markets, corporate debt, or the money market depending on the scheme's style of investing. A portion of the corpus may be retained as cash. Note that the different schemes launched by a fund house keep their monies separate.

Now, as expected, the market value of the fund's investments keeps fluctuating.

The market value derived above is added to the cash available with the fund. The total is divided by the number of units issued by the fund. This value per unit is nothing but the NAV publicly declared by the fund.

Growth Plan: The NAV changes as per the market value of the underlying investments.

Dividend Plan: The NAV changes as per the market value of the underlying investments. When a dividend is declared, the amount is paid out of the fund's cash reserves for those who have opted for dividend payout. Some investments may be sold for meeting this cash outgo. The NAV of the scheme gets reduced by the actual amount of dividend paid per unit. In the case of those investors who have opted for dividend re-investment, there is no cash outgo for the fund. The dividend amount is reinvested in the fund by dividing it by the NAV as on dividend declaration date. The resulting number of units are added to the investors' holding.

So, coming back to the question of choosing between dividend and growth plan options: there is no value advantage to be gained by choosing any one option over the other. This is due to the fact that your choice is all about how the profits earned by the fund are distributed to you. It's not about making more money by choosing either plan. If you opt for Growth, your profits are in the rising NAVs whereas in Dividend, they lie in cash paid to you or addition to the number of units in your portfolio. In any case the profits, or losses, remain the same.

So, there you are :)