I was watching The View while exercising, and they said that you can take a scratched DVD, smear toothpaste on it, and it will taste just like new! width=15 Actually, it's supposed to make it playable again. They said to rub the toothpaste from the inside out. So the host smeared on a bunch of paste, then circled her fingers from the innermost track on the disc to the outermost. Sigh. What she should have done is move not in circles but in straight lines from the innermost track to the outer rim. That way, if you scratch the disc, the correction software might be able to compensate. If you rub in a circle, you could scratch the disc so a large portion of the information on a track is wiped out.

To make a long story short, I tried the method using Crest toothpaste and it worked! A once unplayable DVD now jerks along at the start but then plays like brand new when it didn't before. I would also suggest that you use toothpaste without any additives that might scratch the CD or DVD (like baking soda toothpaste or even some of the tartar control things). And yes, I tried once to clean the disk with soap and water, but that didn't help.

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With some chart patterns, determining the breakout direction is easier than with other chart patterns. Let's take a look at broadening tops.

The chart of Apple Computer (AAPL) shows a broadening top chart pattern. There are a number of identification guidelines that help with identification. They are:

  1. Price should trend up leading to the start of the pattern (if it trends downward, it's a broadening bottom).
  2. The shape of the pattern should resemble a megaphone with the smaller end toward the left, wider to the right.
  3. Price follows two diverging trendlines, one along the peaks and another along the valleys.
  4. Price should touch each trendline at least twice.
  5. Look for partial rises and declines.

The chart shows a partial decline. Once the broadening top has passed the identification guidelines (meaning only begin looking for a partial rise or decline after point 2 in this case, since bottoms 4, 5, and 6 were made earlier) then watch for price to drop from the top trendline but not make it down to the lower trendline. In broadening tops, these partial decline correctly predict an immediate upward breakout 72% of the time.

In this example, the breakout was not immediate as the partial decline predicted, even though it correctly signaled an upward breakout. It took another move down before price recovered and broke out upward.

You can review the links for more information on these pre-breakout features. You will find partial rises and declines helpful in all varieties of broadening patterns as well as rectangles and even triangles.

-- Thomas Bulkowski