Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

POTW: Credit Card Digits

By -

Note: I began my "Peeve of the Week" just a couple of days ago. Maybe "week" is underestimating just how often these will show up. Ah, well. Nothing to say about the markets, so I'll put this out there until the morning….

Way back in 1992, when I started Prophet, I had to get us set up with a merchant account so that we could process credit cards. We wrote some code to do some basic checking to see if a card being entered was legitimate, and I remember learning that the first digit of a credit card tells you what kind of card it is. Specifically:

3 – American Express
4 – Visa
5 – MasterCard
6 – Discover

In the nearly two decades since then, I've been puzzled as to why almost all interactions with business that include a credit card also insist upon knowing what kind of card it is. Whether it's an (800) phone call, a web site, or a sheet of paper – – they always ask you to state what kind of card it is that you just entered.

First off, I don't see what difference it should make. A credit card is going to get processed irrespective of this knowledge. Having owned a business that processed hundreds of thousands of transactions, I can tell you that not once did we need to tell the computer whether it was a Visa or something else.

Second – – the number tells you already what kind of card it is! It would be like taking a call from a person with a deep voice whose name was Harold Luke Phillips and asking him if he was a man or a woman. AJC notwithstanding, it's usually pretty apparent if one is dealing with a female or male, and when it comes to credit cards, there isn't even room for doubt.

So there you have it, America. The next time a merchant asks you what kind of card it is, feel free to begin shouting loudly and fervently about this secret knowledge. They're wasting your time.


Chart on Cisco (Mike Paulenoff)

By -

Cisco (CSCO) is acting like it is building a base after a relentless corrective period. Let's notice that CSCO's early strength popped above its nearest-term resistance line and last week's rally peak at 16.51, on the way to this morning's recovery rally peak at 16.72.  Since then, however, CSCO has pulled back to 16.52 to retest the upside breakout level, which needs to contain the intraday weakness to preserve the bullish near-term pattern that has been carved out off of its May 25 low at 15.99.  The ability of CSCO to sustain 16.50, especially on a closing basis, will represent an important near-term sign that CSCO has established a significant year-long corrective low (15.99) and is in a base-building stage ahead of a climb to 18.00.

Originally published on

Band of the Hand (by Iggy)

By -

Ladies, Gentlemen, Slopers and Sloperettes,

I have an important announcement to make.  As many of you are aware, one of our trading family members has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  Tazman is a close personal friend of mine and he's the real deal.  The man we know out here is the same one you meet when you have the pleasure of meeting him and shaking his hand.

I had that distinct pleasure in February when Mrs. Ig and I took a vacation to Orlando and arranged to visit his home.  Thinking back to that visit and what a great time we had as he and his wife hosted us is a fabulous memory and even moreso knowing that not 2 months later he was going to the hospital due to slurred speech.

Here's the scoop… HumbleDukes and I have designed and ordered TAZSTRONG bracelets, similar to those everyone has seen with LIVESTRONG on them.  The link below will take you to a picture of them.  100% of the sale price will go to Taz and his family.  For a mere $10 each, you and your family can show your support of our friend and family member.  They're available in blue and green.  I can't guarantee which color you'll get, but if you order more than one you'll be sure you get a mix of colors.

The easiest way to order will be via PayPal.  I will use the contact information form PayPal to mail out the bracelets ordered.  $10 each, plus a one time $1 fee for shipping no matter how many bracelets you order.

My PayPal info is NC_PEPSI @YAHOO.COM (be sure to remove the spaces)

If you do not have a PayPal account but wish to order, email me at iggyslopefest @ gmail and we'll figure something out.

On a lighter note, one side says TAZSTRONG and the other side says FLAX MAN… the reason for that is that after Taz's first couple of radiation treatments, his trading was on fire, so a group of us put 2 and 2 together, just like Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider… Taz must have been benefiting from the effects of his treatments,, so we needed a super hero name for him.  Well, the Russian has him on a vegetarian diet heavy on the flax seed… so we now calll him FLAX MAN.  


Thank you and email me with any questions at iggyslopefest @ gmail


The Latest Billion Dollar Startup

By -

Well, the mania continues. But it's different this time, right?

The latest news is that a firm called airbnb (snappy name, huh?) got funding at a billion dollar valuation. The business basically connects people who want to rent out rooms in their house for the night to people who would like to rent them. It's sort of like finding a hotel, only cheaper and creepier.

Well, that's the billion dollar idea. I guess you'll want to keep your eye out for the IPO.