My understanding of technology is quite low. I’m not talking about the technology that allows you to make four easy payments instead of using cash, or how Netflix saves movies on their own hard-drive and then you watch them through the internet. That’s all pretty simple.

I’m talking about semi-conductors.

So I guess it’s a bit like the computer version of ‘I broadly understand how digestion works’, but ‘not how the skin lining in my stomach doesn’t get eaten – beyond that it doesn’t’. I know they exist and are used in pretty much anything that requires an electrical impulse in its circuitry.

I read the book ‘Higher Intelligence: How to Create a Functional Brain’ by Peter van der Made, the inventor of Brainchip (BRN.ASX) and it opened my eyes to some of the things that limit current computing capabilities, and in order to actually create AI in the future we will need a new thing that doesn’t rely on strings of 1s and 0s.

Its well worth a read, even if you don’t want to buy into Brainchip, as ever-increasing amounts of data conveyed in 1’s and 0’s require large amounts of electricity. Whereas little spikes or pulses of energy can have variable heights and variable distance between the spikes and can convey significantly more data with the same amount of energy.

What it didn’t do was turn me into a whiz in that area, probably even got that simplest explanation wrong. So given the stream of information that I need to take in, all day every day, to stay in tune with the markets and stocks (and live a normal-ish life), I’ve had to put up mental blocks on taking in that sort of information, sort of like a bouncer that can only let the right people into a club as they only have so much capacity.

So in order to learn more about the semi-conductor industry I would need to have more capacity for taking in knowledge, so that the knowledge that I need to exist didn’t get blocked on the way in.

I would also have to have more capacity for converting that knowledge from sound or light into rational thought, then I would have to have more capacity for storage of that information, and when I need to use that information I would also have to have more capacity for retrieving that information. And so forth.

And, back in primary school, and I remember this clearly, a cute girl implied one time that I had a big head. And it stuck in my mind ever since, always worrying that I might have to buy a bigger hat or pay more for haircuts (even though I probably grew into it). So I definitely do not want the increased capacity to come with a bigger head.

In ‘Total Recall’ the response to consumers wanting more boob was to add an extra boob to the same body, and try and squeeze it onto the same sized chest, which created the problem for the end consumer that he did not have enough hands. Such is the challenge for semi-conductors; they need to squeeze more of them into an ever-smaller space to do more, and improve the experience for the end user.

So, with my limited understanding of semi-conductors, I know I do not know enough about them to feel confident buying a semi-conductor stock. But what I do know is that there is a large amount of demand already, that demand is growing, and there needs to be a lot of improvements made if we are to all have a house robot, tending to our every need.

So there are a lot of companies looking to improve the technology, and in all honesty they are not likely to be listed on the ASX.

So if I read all the research on the semi-conductor market (instead of watching old Arnie movies) and came up with one that appeared to be offering a pretty speculative chance at having breakthroughs in the sector, and even had some revenues from the IP that they already had, and that could go from zero to a hundred pretty quick as a trade if they had a breakthrough, and were down nearly 46% from their retail bubble highs, I’d still need to buy them somehow.

So I could open an Aussie online account that deals in NASDAQ shares, transfer my money into their pooled account and pay my 0.7% cash transfer fee. That would be $70 for $10k. Then ask them to buy the stock for me to stick in their pooled account, and at the end of the trade get my money back moved back to Aussie dollars at 0.7% (cash transfer fee) which would be another ‘whatever its worth’ x 0.7%.

Let’s pretend it’s the same amount, that means it would cost me $140 round trip. But free brokerage…

Well, let me tell you about the thing that popped up on my radar recently. A company listed in Australia that owns a piece of a semi-conductor company on the NASDAQ called Atomera Incorporated. Atomera does ‘something with silicon that might mean something with computers is faster and uses less power’….and that’s all I could take in about them before the bouncer pulled across the rope to stop any more getting into my brain.

But there is Google if you are all that interested, and its free, and the point of this article is not about Atomera.

The point is also not that there is a company, listed in Australia, called K2 Energy, under the ticker code KTE.NSX. Don’t bother plugging it into Commsec or CMC or Selfwealth or wherever you currently trade, as it won’t be there. Its on the NSX, after recently moving across from the ASX, and we are the only ones that have the NSX available online.

So a while back KTE invested in a project of Atomera’s, and ended up with a pretty decent chunk of that stock. And, they also have the global rights for distribution of the MST technology in solar power applications. Back on the ASX, they also used to do oil and gas exploration, but not anymore, so they moved to the NSX as its for more techier/earlier stage companies.

So to date, the NSX hasn’t had much online broker access. That meant that they didn’t have a lot of volume on their stocks, and if someone wanted out they would probably have to keep ticking down their sell price, and down and down.

Again, with all of my musings, this is not a stock recommendation. This is a rambling way of making a point about markets and volumes and opportunities.

Forgetting about KTE’s distribution rights for a moment, they hold a stake of Atomera that was worth about $12m in AUD. The whole company, KTE, is worth $7.5m. Their net assets was last quoted at 4.16c, last trade at 2.5c.

So, again, not a stock recommendation. Not saying semi-conductors are a good place to invest. Not saying Atomera is a good investment, not saying you should buy KTE, just because you’re getting exposure to a speculative semi-conductor stock at a circ 40% discount.

What I am saying is that there are still stocks out there that are unloved, that you might not have heard of, that may offer you some opportunities that you hadn’t even thought of. Maybe the mining trade is crowded, maybe the travel stocks are just ‘hope for freedom’ stocks, but maybe there are still some good punts out there beyond the common themes.

And this one would also only cost you $10 brokerage to get in and out, not $140 in FX fees.

I don’t really know how to finish this, just that I do, so here’s a couple of Arnie quotes.

“Your levity is good, it relieves tension and the fear of death.”

‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’.

“Put the cookie down, now!”

‘Jingle all the way’.

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