Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sex offenders want to steal your identity

Or so you would think… Like many others, I received a notice from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that my personal information was among the many that were compromised and as a result I was offered free credit monitoring for a limited period of time.  So like a fool, I froze my credit and accepted the free credit monitoring… the frozen credit has resulted in an inability to obtain a store credit card and as far as the free credit monitoring most of my alerts have been to let me know that there is a new sex offender in my area.  As someone who has passed the 50 year mark, there are times that I’d be flattered if someone would make a sexual advance but more to the point of this post I fail to understand the relationship between sexual offenders and identity theft.  Do sexual offenders have a greater propensity for stealing identities?  Where is that study?  I haven’t seen it and have a hard time intuitively making this type of conclusion.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Used Phones – the Samsung Galaxy S3 versus the iPhone 4S

 (Galaxy S3 on left; iPhone 4s on right).
At first blush one may wonder, “Why this post?”  Certainly there are plenty of good reviews of both.  Another first thought may be, “Is this a fair fight?”  I mean, just look at the 2 phones and the picture would suggest a David vs Goliath match up.

The reason for this post is to discuss 2 decent choices for used cell phones.  A little over a year ago, I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3 for $125.00.  Recently, I purchased an iPhone 4S $80.00 with the expectation that it would be a nice transition for my wife who is using a “flip phone” on AT&T’s “Go Phone” service.  Given the excellent communication, honed over 20 plus years of marriage I guess it should have not been a surprise when my wife responded by saying, “just cause I say something, doesn’t mean I’m going to do it” (or words to that effect).  So what was I to do, but give the iPhone a try.  This match up came as a result of a price – both are used phones that can currently be purchased for around $80 - $125 so there is a budgetary match up.  This post is not meant to replace any of the many fine individual reviews already available; rather, it is geared to practical consumer type reflections after using both phones.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cell phone service for about $40 per YEAR

Yes, that is per year (not per month) – it is not a typo.  I will admit from the start that $40 per year will not get you one of those “all you can eat” buffet style cell plans.  $40 per year is about what I’ve paid for the past year for very infrequent voice, text and data – yup, that $40 is even using a smart phone.

I’ve posted previously of my disenchantment with both AT&T and T-Mobile and introduced my migration to a MVNO, Airvoice Wireless.  Well, it’s been about a year now and I can tell you it has been terrific!  In fact it has been so good that I also opened cell phone service for my son so that he can make occasional calls from school for pick up, etc.  Here’s why I’m loving it (it’s pretty simple)*:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tai Chi Walking

Like many I have a desk job, but I enjoy walking during a break or lunch.  I’ve walked regularly for years, but the years have taken its toll on my body.  Despite regular walks I was still experiencing significant stiffness (I suspect a combination of prolonged sitting and arthritis) and just wasn’t feeling as refreshed as I thought I should from taking a walk.  This has lead me to explore ways to enhance my regular walks and among these was to explore Tai Chi.

First, I want to make perfectly clear that I make no claims of Tai Chi expertise; in fact to the contrary I characterize myself has an extremely rudimentary beginner.  I realize that there will be many Tai Chi professionals (and those that think they are) who are rolling their eyes with a doubtful smirk when a novice such as myself expresses ideas deviating from the purity of the discipline.  Regardless, I tend to think that more often not, it is far better to try to do something new than to continue to do the same thing and get the same results.

Here are my reflections in regards to applying Tai Chi principals to walking:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Decrapify your laptop with Windows 10

The “free” Windows 10 offering from Microsoft to current Windows 7 and later users is likely old news to most.  While many are pondering “should I do it,” if you have a computer that has become bogged down – maybe from the start with all the “extras” that computer manufacturers load onto a new system or maybe just by years of adding assorted programs – it may be a good time to consider making the move.  I recently purchased a Toshiba Satellite A665.  It seems to be a good machine which shipped with a 64 bit version of Windows 7.  I even have the system restore disks… but… Toshiba is notorious for loading “crapware” on its computers so that means even if I use the Toshiba restore disks all I do is re-add a lot of stuff I don’t want, such at their “Tangent” games and utilities that confuse me more than help me.  And so it was that the coming of Windows 10 triggered the thought that maybe I could free myself of all the unwanted extra software from Toshiba.