I also know very little about investing, so I'm not really the best person to try and figure out Berko's hidden reasons (if there are any) for throwing such a wet blanket on the idea of investing in Altiarnano. We've seen financial reporters being skeptical of Altair before, but they've come around.
Anyway, Berko doesn't like some of Altair's non-battery work, and has been hearing CEO Alan Gotcher talk the talk about the nano-batteries for too long to be enamored with them. The person writing in to Berko says they've heard good things about Altair from WR Hambrecht. That might be true, Berko says, but Hambrecht is Altair's underwriter, so tread carefully.
All that said, there's at least one error in the column. The person who asked Berko about making the investment said, "I would like to buy 20,000 shares of Altair at $3.90" and, later, "I would like your thoughts on this stock, which would also give me an added level of comfort before I invest $39,000." That's probably just a typo (20,000 shares at $3.90 would cost $78,000), but when we're looking for people to trust with piles of money, I'd say the fewer mistakes they make the better.