Sunday, April 13, 2014

End of an era – goodbye desktop PC

Folks of my vintage recall a world without computers.  Desktop computers were the first widely adopted computers in the home.  I recall guiltily slipping my first computer into the home past my wife, having spent around $1300 from the Montgomery Wards on a no interest if paid in 12 months deal for a 386 having a whopping 128mg (yes megabyte) hard drive and 1mg of memory.  From there, I read many “For Dummies” books, tinkered and became a rebate hound where I enthusiastically amassed computer paraphernalia.  At the height of operations, I had amassed 3 desktop computers in the home and a basement holding many parts and peripherals.  I had scaled back to only 2 remaining desktops in the home when the remaining family members agreed it was ok to divest of the desktop.  I had not used these computers in years; my son using one for XP based games and my wife (resisting learning to use a laptop) had used the other.  Regardless, it fell to dear old dad to get rid of them.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Misadventures in iTunes Land

Ok, I fess up.  I have iTunes on my laptop, but seldom make a purchase from the iTunes store.  Instead, I primarily use iTunes to rip my CDs into MP3 format so that I can play them on most digital devices.  I have converted my entire CD collection of about 100 or so CDs to MP3 format using iTunes.  It came as no surprise when I finally went to make a purchase to use up the $10 iTunes gift card that I've had for a couple of years that I was prompted to respond to security questions and had no idea what the answers would be.  (I don't believe I ever set security questions – yes, the account is that old).  Any who, the Apple prompts walked me to their help which had me enter my telephone number and I received a message that I would receive a call in 10 minutes.  Well apparently that message is not correct if you are calling on Sunday… no call back until Monday.  Being the impatient person that I am, I didn’t wait for a call back so I called the Apple help number and got through to a live person in a reasonable amount of time (honest, that is a compliment).  Without too much drama, my issue was resolved and I was on to purchasing my app (which was the paid version of my top (free) choice Craigslist app).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

50 Shades – a male perspective

Yes, I'm nearly through Volume II of the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy and family members have given me more than the usual number of strange looks.  Needless to say the reputation of this trilogy is well known; in case you're amongst the uninformed it is considered in the literary category of erotica which is another way of saying lots of kinky sex.  What may be most striking about this trilogy is that it is written by a woman, likely is most popular with female readers and has risen to a level of acceptance and popularity in mainstream reviews.  So finally, it can officially be proclaimed that when it comes to sex and porn, you ladies can be just as piggy as us guys… oink, oink, my fine ladies!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tax babble

As reflected by some recent posts, I have survived another year of income tax preparation.  In this post, I'm assembling some thoughts regarding taxes at all levels.  First, after discussing various tax preparation software and tax treatment of education expense, a common theme may be drawn – our current income tax process is just too complicated.  It should not take complex software to attempt to meet the requirements of tax law and it should not take extensive study to understand all of the nuances.  It would be a welcome relief if we could get rid of the present income tax centered form of taxation and move toward a sales tax on the Federal level.  Why not?  In most states, businesses are already adept at collecting sales tax and in others I have little doubt that if the businesses have been able to cope with the nightmare of income tax, they can certainly figure out sales tax.  Second, I would also argue that sales tax may be a fairer way to raise revenue.  Simply stated, what can simpler than the precept that if you can afford to spend money to buy something, you can also afford to pay a tax on that item?  While not perfect, sales tax would eliminate much “under the table” revenue that we all know exists, but has been hard to touch.  Further, sales tax would help to spread the cost of our government by all who partake – and this includes “illegal” immigrants, those on temporary “visas” as well as tourists – all can contribute to a degree proportionate to what they partake in the goods and services of the Nation.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Left, Right, Bush-lite, Red

I've been way overdue for a political quip.  The winter has been long and during winter months I tend to focus on hard covered books, leaving the paperbacks for summer outdoor reading.  In my case, most of the hard covered that I've hoarded during the warm months tend to be non-fiction, some history and some political.  Amongst the collection are finds that struck me as “a little different,” including David Horowitz’ “Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left” and Bill Ayers, “Fugitive Days”.  (I suspect they may not appreciate sharing the same bookshelf).  And of course, political reading wouldn't be complete without some sort of political circus bantering in the background and my background was replete with the saber rattling of Bush-lite Obama and my favorite Red, Putin.  Instead of cracking jokes about the antics of leadership, this quip is going to focus on some of my political perceptions – some from the reading and some more general.