It's been a little while since I put out a post of random thoughts and things that caught my attention. I'm hoping that you'll find some of them some them useful, and others entertaining.
- Amazon Glacier Provides Cheap Backup for Media - I love Amazon Web Services quite a bit. It brings very cheap computer power individuals without the buying power of a big company. They created a service called Amazon Glacier that allows people to back-up information for a penny a GB a month. This is idea for those pictures and music you want safe from fire or flood in your home. Sure you may have your photos on some web service (Picasa, Facebook, Flickr, etc.), but often they are compressed.
The biggest problem with Amazon Glacier is that they didn't provide a user-friendly graphical interface to it. It was made for software engineers. Third parties are stepping in and creating tools to fill that gap. I've used FastGlacier and it works well.
- Looking for the Ideal Ultrabook - My 16" Dell Studio XPS is still performing well, but I have to say that I like the idea of a lighter, faster machine. Two Ultrabooks almost seem to have it right, but I want them to merge their features.
The VIZIO Thin and Light has the right size and weight, 15" at under 4 pounds with the full HD screen. It has a Microsoft Signature, which means that it doesn't come with a lot of apps that only hurt slow down your computer. Now for the bad... if you want to get the fastest processor, you have to get the much more expensive and larger SSD hard drive. That drives up the price a bit for me. There's no option to get more than 4GB of memory, which is less than what came in my Dell XPS more than a year ago. There is no SD card reader, which is something that I use frequently. Lastly, many reviews say that the keyboard is below average and the trackpad is essentially unusable.
The ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A tops out at 13 inches which is too small for everyday use for me. It lacks the Microsoft Signature version of Windows that the Vizio has. It is also limited to 4GB of memory like the Vizio. It is also more expensive than the Vizio by a few hundred dollars (when comparing as many apples-to-apples as possible). On the plus side, it has an SD card reader and keyboard and trackpad with good reviews. So at least it works.
Looks like I'm waiting until Vizio fixes a few things. By that time, Windows 8 and touchscreen laptops and tablet-hybrids will be all the rage.
- Sports I: Boston Red Sox - It's been about a full year since I've much on the Boston Red Sox, one of my favorite teams. They haven't earned the any positive words for me in that time with the September collapse and this year's debacle of a season. At least the blockbuster trade of three high salary players allows them to rebuild. I watched fewer games than usual this year, but still caught dozens.
We saved about $300 in not going to the series this past weekend in nearby Oakland like we usually do. We didn't go because the Red Sox weren't good, but because with my wife full-term and a baby due any day now, we want to stay as close to the hospital as possible. Maybe junior knew something we didn't as the Red Sox got swept, losing by a combined score of 33-4, the biggest differential since the Boston Massacre in 1978.
- Sports II: New England Patriots - As bad as the Red Sox are performing the optimism is the exact opposite for the Patriots' season that starts in less than a week. One analyst played out the Patriots season and have them winning every game... except the Super Bowl. As implausible as it sounds, Las Vegas will probably have them favored in every game. They have one of the easiest schedules. The toughest game may be at the Baltimore Ravens. They have games at home against Denver, Houston, and San Francisco. Those are tough games, but having them at home makes them favorites.
It would certainly be something to win 18 straight games and then lose the title. You have to feel for anyone rooting for a team that does that.
- Rare Political Thought - I don't deal with politics or religion very often in this space. I probably mentioned each one about once before. However, I saw this from Chris Rock: "If you vote against Obama because he can't get stuff done, it's like saying, 'this guy can't cure cancer. I'm gonna vote for cancer.'"
I've been pretty clear about my thoughts about MLMs and pyramid schemes in this space and this Mother Jones article, Pyramid-Like Company Ponies Up $1 Million for Mitt Romney, pretty much seals the deal on who isn't right to lead America. We need people who shut down these companies from scamming American citizens, not people who take their bribes.
- While on the Topic of MLM - I liked this article about MLMs by Free From Broke. The Financial Blogger chips in with a great Primerica review. I liked the part where he points out the people's cars in the parking lot. Simple, but effective way to show that the people in Primerica weren't making big money.
- The Money-Saving Power of Cloth Diapers - Hat tip to my wife for this article on cloth diapering. Few things are more important to her right now. She's researching them in the same way that I research Ultrabooks. Ignoring that and getting to the article, cloth diapering can save over $1000. Save the environment and money at the same time? That's a no-brainer... at least that's what I'm saying until I actually have to use them.
- The Disappearence of Middle Class Jobs - Flexo at Consumerism Commentary had a great article about Five Tips for Dealing With the Job Shift Away From the Middle Class. This is one of the reasons why I got into blogging. I saw a lot of software engineering jobs go overseas. It got me thinking that I need to take care an active role in preparing my finances and look at alternative ways to earn an income.
Moving on from those thoughts here are some other personal finance artices that I like:
- Digerati Life talks about how to keep your sanity as a busy entrepreneur.
- My Dollar Plan on uncovering all the extra costs of going on a cruise.
- Generation X Finance gives 5 tips to help you take advantage of Happy Hour.
- More kids answer money questions are shared at Free Money Finance.
- Million Dollar Journey discusses immigration and its role in society.
- PT Money writes best place to buy used furniture: estate sales?
- Humble Saves presents how to save on electricity - quick money saving tips.
- Saving Tools looks at budgeting tips to fit your income bracket.
- Canadian Finance Blog shares 5 ways to eat healthier and save money on food.
- Saving Advice says front yard garden: your frugality is nobody else’s business.
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