A pulse of highly charged particles from the sun collided with the Earth's magnetic field this morning at 1 a.m. ET. The storm -- rated a G5, the highest on the space weather scale -- was expected sometime around noon. Space weather forecasters (we don't make this stuff up) feared the storm would cause power outages, mess with airline communications, and possibly damage satellites, but no major problems were reported.

According to those who track such things, a G5 storm last hit home in 1989. Sounds like more good news for bulls: The 1990s were great for stocks.

On a more serious note, our thoughts are with those battling the wild fires in southern California. Keep safe.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Nokia Doubles CDMA

In a period where investors are looking for some excitement to kick-start the next bull run, wireless stalwart Nokia(NYSE: NOK) dropped a mixed bag of Finnish financials on the market last week, announcing third-quarter earnings largely in line with expectations. Revenue -- in line (yawn). Earnings -- marginal drop of 2% (yawn). CDMA market share -- doubled (yawn... snort snort! Wait! Say again?).

Nokia doubled its share of CDMA handset sales in the global market. Some were unfazed because of the basis -- Nokia only claimed a single-digit share of the market one year ago. But claiming market share of CDMA handsets in the mid-teens is an important milestone for Nokia. Ignoring this statistic due to its dominance in the GSM space may be justified in the short term. But overlooking this event is a long-term blunder because of the small fact that -- oh, by the way -- CDMA is the future of all mobile communications.

Nokia's past performance in CDMA has been far from stellar. One of the first licensees of Qualcomm's(Nasdaq: QCOM) CDMA technology, Nokia has worked with the technology from the beginning. But the company has never put serious development dollars behind it until the last few years, favoring instead to capitalize on the dominant GSM, where it holds over 50% of the market for mobile phones.

Nokia's setbacks in CDMA stemmed from flaws in CDMA chipsets and software they developed in-house rather than buying from Qualcomm. Due to the delivery of poorly performing CDMA phones in the late 1990s, the two major CDMA operators in the U.S. -- Verizon Wireless(NYSE: VZ) and Sprint PCS(NYSE: PCS) -- have had rocky relationships with Nokia. But patience and perseverance (and probably a few frozen vodkas) have helped Nokia woo both carriers back into their corner in a small but significant way with recent launches of CDMA 1x phones.

Nokia displaced cellular king Motorola(NYSE: MOT) in 1998, when the U.S. giant failed to invest in the future -- digital cellular phones. A similar misstep with CDMA could reverse roles or even let the next great handset challenger, Samsung, jump in to steal the top spot. Many agree that the only way for Nokia to reach its own goal of capturing greater than 40% of the global handset market is to master CDMA. At this point, it's exciting to see Nokia making good progress towards that goal.

Quote of Note

"I dream for a living." -- Steven Spielberg

Monster Never Settles

Super Bowl admeister Monster Worldwide(Nasdaq: MNST), which operates the Monster online career service and other businesses, last night reported third-quarter financial results that suggest a business performing pretty well despite the current economic and job environment.

Somewhat perplexingly, Monster Worldwide's job search service actually performs better as a business in good economic times, when there are fewer active job seekers out there. The service, which accounts for most of the company's revenue and operating profit, is paid by the recruiters and corporations that use it. (It's free for job seekers.)

It's free for searchers, and when lots of people are looking for work -- as is the case today -- there's less need for companies to outsource in order to find qualified candidates. (We discussed this a bit more broadly in an article earlier this month that took a look at recent Labor Department data.)

But the doors can't close while Monster Worldwide waits for a prolonged uptick in the economy. Management must earn its keep -- and they're doing pretty well so far this year. Monster Worldwide managed to grow revenues year over year and turn in a net profit, in part by managing costs.

The operating model is leaner since the company spun off its eResourcing and executive search units in March, creating Hudson Highland Group(Nasdaq: HHGP). While operating margins fell year over year, they're improved from Q2.

Investors are sticking with Monster Worldwide, its shares outperforming the S&P 500 by quite a bit these last 12 months. So while the company appears stable and well-managed, investors thinking about a purchase at recent prices -- the shares are down in morning trading, but still appear fully valued based on projected 2004 EPS growth -- should consider whether the share price already reflects an employment environment that doesn't yet exist.

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Amazon Searching and Searching

Last Wednesday, Amazon(Nasdaq: AMZN) unveiled a new "Search Inside the Book" feature, which allows shoppers to search and browse actual content of many of the works sold by the e-commerce juggernaut. The feature came a day after the company reported its first-ever profit in any quarter other than the holiday-bolstered fourth, and a day before it announced plans to pay off $200 million in debt.

The move may be Amazon's latest maneuver in the battle against Google over search results. Besides expanding its offerings through partnerships -- as, most recently, with The Bombay Company(NYSE: BBA) -- Amazon has sought to take greater hold in the online marketplace through forming its own search unit, A9.com. In the days after Amazon's announcement, Google, perhaps on the defensive, announced that it had been holding its own conversations with publishers (free registration required at NY Times) about a searchable online database of published content.

The latest commentary on the "Search Inside the Book" feature is quite favorable, to put it mildly. Slate's Steven Johnson gushed in his article that the functionality "will probably turn out to be one of those transformative Web moments when a tool suddenly appears and six months later you can't imagine life without it." Wired's Gary Wolf, in his story, called it "an ingenious attempt to illuminate the dark region of books."

My own inside-the-book searching has left me a bit less enthusiastic. I chose to see all 5909 results of my first search -- for "Italian vegetarian cooking" -- and I sorted them by average customer review, as I usually do. The first results were, in this order, a novel called Waiting in Vain, a wonderful book called The Beatles Anthology, another novel, and a book on Fibromyalgia.

Why? Because Amazon's keyword search now searches inside the book by default, and because searching inside the book vastly increases the number of results. Think about it: If my search returns only those books that contain my three search terms in the title, author and keyword fields, there will be far fewer results than if it returns books that contain my terms anywhere. Fewer results, in general, mean greater accuracy.

Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" feature has been praised, as noted, by many a technology commentator. But sometimes such coverage overlooks the Web's most important element: the user. An inside-the-book search is no doubt highly innovative, and may lead to an interesting change in the publishing industry. But is it helpful? For now, ironically, I'll be using Google's Site Search to search for books on Amazon.com.

Discussion Board of the Day: Amazon

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More Fool News

For a list of all our stories from today, see Today's Headlines.

And Finally...

Today on Fool.com, we're Pushing the Netflix Envelope. After that, we ask the age-old question: Will Debt Destroy Us Again? Then we move on to our Ghoulish Trick of the Day: American Airlines parent AMR.

Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Paul Elliott, Mathew Emmert, Jeff Fischer, Jeff Hwang, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Alyce Lomax, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Dave Marino-Nachison, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim