Sunday, November 30, 2014

Race and Yellow Journalism

The opening lines of Wikipedia provides this definition of Yellow Journalism:
Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.  Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

APC UPS for the Suburban Power Outage

Each year around Thanksgiving time, I tend to start informally identifying a few items that I may want to pick up if the right sale should arise.  This year I had placed the purchase of an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) on my wish list.  APC is the leading manufacturer of these devices in the United States (or at least in my area).  I had long recommended these devices in my Amazon store, but shamefully had been too cheap to purchase one.  I was happy to find that for me, Black Friday came early this year with Staples offering the 600VA model for around $45 minus a 15% coupon (and plus tax) brought my actual price to around $41.  The battery for these devices is estimated at around 3 years so the simple math would put the annual cost at around $14.  (Strong argument could be made that it is much less than that as at the end of 3 years, there would be some residual value to the device as the battery is replaceable so it would not be entirely true to say the device itself is 100% valueless at 3 years).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Obi-Wan? No, Obihai

I had discussed Obi and other home phone options in an earlier posting.  At the time, I did not follow through because there was concern that Google Voice support was ending which would have resulted in the need to pay for service through a VOIP provider.  Although this option may have yielded some savings over my Time Warner cable phone, the savings would not be as significant as being able to have free service through Google Voice.  Well good news!  Obihai has worked with Google Voice so that Google Voice is now a supported Obi service!  So one slow weekend day, I pulled the trigger and ordered an Obi100 from Amazon which included free shipping.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Linux and SSD revisited on a Lenova Thinkpad Edge

My 60gb SSD drive had been sitting idle on my stairs for about 9 months or so.  One of my biggest “lesson's learned” in regards to purchasing a SSD drive would be to purchase a 128gb or larger drive.  At the time, cost was a consideration (it still is) and I thought that a 60gb drive would be more than adequate to contain a bare bones operating system.  It sort of is - and that is fine for testing and playing, but when the novelty wears off you want a computer that you can use for daily use and this is where a small 60gb drive falls short.  I had initially tested my SSD on a very old Windows Vista machine that had a single core Celeron processor.  I thought that the SSD might resuscitate that old turtle.  It provided some juice, but not enough to warrant the squeeze.  I had tested the SSD with both a Windows install and a Linux install.  I was disappointed to find my boot times were not that much different between between the two operating systems, certainly not sufficient to convince me to give up my Cadillacesque Microsoft world of Microsoft Office tools, nor sufficient enough to convince me to abandon my larger SATA hard drive.  So my SSD gathered dust.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

MVNO Mooove over T-Mobile!

As reported in an earlier post, my misadventure with T-Mobile did have the fortuitous result of exposing 2 more under $20 options for light cell phone users.  These 2 options are Airvoice and P Tel.   As with all my service options, I always begin with a Google search for reviews.  I look for 2 important factors in the Google search results.  First, I check for reviews within the past 12 months or so.  This provides a picture of the current state of affairs with the service.  Secondly, I look for actual use of the service as experienced by a real customer (as opposed to an "online reviewer" who restates what is advertised).  I found a review for each that I felt was worth sharing here.  For Airvoice, I recommend reading this posting on Simple Cents.  For PTel, I recommend this posting on the Mr. Money Mustache forum.