Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

1/26/2018

When To Buy What

Filed under: About The Author,Personal Care,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Yes, you can save money by buying at the right time.

About a week ago, our dryer died. Or maybe our washing machine died. All we know is, right in the middle of a load, my wife started to smell the most horrible stench of burning electronics. She turned everything off and unplugged it all, but the fried electric smell of dead appliances lingered in the air for a couple days afterward. It was sad. But, on the other hand, that washer and dryer were over sixteen years old and, frankly, due for replacement. Actually, that’s one reason we’re not entirely sure which one became a deadly house fire potential hazard. When we refinanced our house last year, we agreed that when either of these appliances died, we would replace them both. We even set aside the money to pay for them, so that we wouldn’t go back into credit card debt after working so hard to get out from under those immoral interest rates. Sadly, they didn’t wait until the right month so that we could save money with a good sale, because the best time to buy household appliances is apparently November, especially around “Black Friday”. (Which is okay, really, because we already knew what we wanted to get and they almost never seem to go on sale.)

Are you surprised that I know there’s a good time to buy appliances? Don’t be. I only know because finance websites always seem to publish a guide to what month is best to buy what consumer good. This year, take a look at the one at Time’s Money section’s Month-by-Month Guide for the Best Time to Buy Everything. For instance, they suggest that the best time to buy a TV or other consumer electronics is the second half of January and February. Or that May might be the best time for furniture sales, which I did NOT know! In any case, if you can afford to wait and plan, you might be able to score yourself a good deal with their guide.

Good luck with your saving and spending in 2018!
(And, for those of you who are curious, we bought an American made washer and dryer; Speed Queen, though we actually got two separate units, not the combo.)

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

 

9/22/2017

Money from Equifax

Filed under: Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 1:10 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Your credit information has likely been stolen.

As you’ve probably read in the news, or heard on telly, Equifax, one of the three largest U.S. credit bureaus, was hacked earlier this month, exposing over 143 million American’s personal information. And, trust me, no matter how bad it sounds, it is most assuredly worse than you think. What’s more, it seems like this breach was strictly due to negligence on the part of one of their system administrators, who didn’t keep up to date with patches on some of their backend software, leaving them vulnerable to the attack. But, unless you’re a professional geek like me, you probably don’t care about that. Rather, what you care about is what to do next.

Luckily, Consumer Reports has some suggestions on how to respond to the breach of your personal data, and they’re pretty good suggestions. Thankfully, since my wife and I recently refinanced our house to get out of most of our consumer debt, I have some credit monitoring already in place. If you don’t though, now is a good time to get that going. And, as always, it’s best to keep a close eye on your credit reports and bank accounts regularly. Breach or no breach, that’s just a good habit to get into these days. Identity theft is big business in the digital underworld. It’s unfortunately a “growth business”.

But, none of those are the links I’m really intent on sharing with you this week. No, this week, the very important link I have for you is via Boing Boing and it’s a chatbot that will help you sue Equifax for your loss of privacy and personal data. It’s not available for all states yet, just the ones that have class-action lawsuits filed already, but I’m sure more states will be “piling on”, as we used to say in Chicago, in the coming months. Also, the app is being hit pretty hard, as you can imagine with almost 45% of all U.S. Citizens potentially being effected by this breach. There are a lot of people that might be trying to use this chatbot!

So, hang in there and good luck! And, come back next week for something a little lighter to take your mind off the financial trouble of almost half the U.S.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

4/7/2017

Blog Posts

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Fun,Geek Work,On Creativity,Stimulus and Production — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My creative blog posting well is dry.

So dry.
Seriously, if you count my original blog, I have been doing this blogging nonsense for almost 17 years. My first blog post went live May 4th, 2000. How crazy is that?  Back then, I hand coded every page, making the HTML myself with Microsoft Notepad.  Then, I installed Moveable Type.  That was followed by a definite upgrade to WordPress during the great licensing debacle of 2004.  So, yes, I’ve been using WordPress since version 1.2  A lot has changed since then, but I can tell you one thing that hasn’t; the terrible struggle to create new and interesting content.
My wife, The Organizing Decorator, and I were talking about this very thing recently.  She just finished moving her site to her own hosting and content management system, so that I wasn’t responsible for her site as well as all of mine, and she told me how she need to stop tweaking and tampering with it.  My response was that it was a lot easier to mess with formatting than it was to actually create content.  And, after 17 years, I’m really feeling tapped out.

So, what’s my response?  To share with you two links about generating content!
First, a post from the very brainy and entrepreneurial Growth Lab titled How to find 20+ blog ideas your audience can’t wait to read.  It’s a process, but it’s a process that will help you generate content tailored to your blog, brand, or business.
The other is How To Think Outside The Box with 200+ writing prompts by CoSchedule.  And, it’s just what it sounds like, a list of prompts with blanks to get you started on a blog post.  They’re pretty generic, but they may not all be applicable to your chosen subject matter.

Well, there you have it.  Two links that are free and useful, if not exactly “fun” for non-bloggers or content producers.
Maybe I’ll have something better for you next week.
Maybe not.  Only time will tell.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

11/26/2010

Create Your Own Debt Plan

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Been spending big on the holidays?

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally known as “Black Friday” because it’s when retailers get out of the “red” and start really turning profits for the year, is when a lot of people do their Christmas shopping.  But, today, I’m going to share something else with you, instead of the traditional Black Friday sales.
Gentle readers, I, too, have worshiped at the altar of plastic and run up huge debt.  Granted, my ex-wife helped me with that and so did my medical debt, but, still, the bulk of the responsibility is with me.  Today, I plan on not buying anything, but, rather, enjoying the things I have.  My Christmas shopping can wait another couple days, what I haven’t done already, that is.  And, yes, I’m trying to spend less and, more importantly, debt less, though, I admit I find it difficult to stop entirely.  It’s a bad habit, to be sure.   Of course, I do pretty well, so I’m impacted only a little by my huge debt.  And, it’s just me that’s effected these days.  I don’t have a family I’m weighing down with my remaining debt.

But, it’s not that way for everyone.  Some people have really big problems with debt.  Bigger than my problems.  For them, though, there is hop.  There are solutions.  And, today, as most of America wallows in the excess, that’s what I’m bringing to you.  It’s only one alternative, but, I hope it becomes a growing trend.
It’s a website called Creditable and it’s a site designed to help you get out of that crushing debt, anonymously and free.

And, either way, whether you need this or not, enjoy today and be thankful for what you have.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
   --Will Rogers

9/10/2010

DIY Mini-Softbox

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:57 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, that’s not some collapsible shipping container.

It’s camera equipment!  Why pay huge money for a little, tiny softbox for your hot-shoe flash when you can just make one?  Yep, fold yourself a mini-softbox from a sheet of A4 paper!  Okay, sure, it can’t be as good as a professionally made commercial product, but, when budgets are tight, it may not be a bad second choice.

Besides, what else are you photographers who are stuck in the office going to do on a Friday?


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