V13:3 (551-552): PR: Option Master for Newton by John Sweeney

V13:3 (551-552): PR: Option Master for Newton by John Sweeney
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Option Master for Newton - By John Sweeney

Ken Trester, probably the most sartorially accomplished, smoothest-talking options nerd I've ever met, hit nearly all my hot buttons with his idea of putting options analytics on a hand-held, go-anywhere personal digital assistant from Apple Computer called the Newton.

"Personal digital assistants" (PDAs) - 4-inch by 7-inch, 1.5-pound machines - are so-called because they're meant to handle all your day-to-day business on the go. With these, there are no plugs to a wall to chain you to a desk, office or even a car seat. These devices run along with you, instead of locking you down.

Once you've got a Newton, it stays with you. It's not quite small enough or light enough to put in your breast pocket, but it can be stuffed into a jacket pocket. Built in are a scheduling calendar and an address book, so instead of lugging around a notebook computer, all you have to haul is just one little black brick.

Bad press has dogged the Newton and all the other PDAs, but nevertheless, sales continue to grow. Apple's newest version, the Newton 110, is better at recognizing handwriting than the 100. Further, its batteries are said to last longer. More and more software is appearing for all PDAs, especially in niche markets that can exploit the portability and communications capability of the devices. Most such devices can or are trying to hook into E-mail and fax connections. The Newton can do this, albeit somewhat clumsily as yet, but for options traders, the real advantage is in bringing options assessment to the hand, not a desktop, where, in addition to everything else it may do, Newton does your options calculations: pricing, probability of profit, Greeks and so forth. (See sidebar, "The Apple Newton.")

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