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LOOSE CHANGE

LAST LAUGH: Warren Buffett was criticized for avoiding high-tech stocks in the 1990s. He said he didn't understand them. Now he's having the last laugh, Fortune magazine says in a profile of "the Oracle of Omaha." Buffett's diversified Berkshire Hathaway not only dodged the technology bubble and subsequent crash, it has moved higher in one of the worst bear markets.

CEOS COLLECT: Salaries and other pay perks for chief executives rose last year in most industries, according to the New York-based Conference Board, even as the economy slipped and the stock market fell. The study found the biggest increases were for executives in energy and construction businesses.

GOTTA GAB: Men have a harder time than women of following airlines' request to use cell phones only inside terminals. In a survey of 1,200 fliers by Fodor's Travel Publications, 16 percent of men say they reach for their phone as soon as the plane lands. Only 8 percent of women do the same. Another 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women say they never heed airlines' request to turn off phones.

SPELLBOUND: A word of wisdom to job seekers: Check the spelling on your resume. In a survey of 2,500 employment recruiters, sloppy spelling was mentioned by most as one of their top 20 pet peeves.

JOY OF CAR SHOPPING: Women seem to enjoy shopping for a new car more than men do, a Maritz Research survey of 1,004 people indicates. Forty-five percent of women said they enjoy the process, compared with 36 percent of men. Only 7 percent of women reported having a bad experience, while 15 percent of the men did. Among respondents of both sexes who disliked shopping for cars, pushy salespeople were the top reason.

_ Compiled by Cathy Keim from Times wires.

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