FTC Disclosure

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't, whether I got it free or NOT!



Please check out my other blogs
Pick of the Literate 
or Azure Dwarf’s Horde
or visit my web site

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Win a copy of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans

Starting December 3rd

Win a copy of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans a rollicking fantasy. Authored by Robert Louis Smith M.D., MSc by entering at Azure Dwarf on December 3rd or on the Interview with the Author that will be posted at Azure Dwarf on December 6th. The Contest runs from Dec. 3 to Dec. 10 and shipping has been restricted to the U.S. or Canada.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Online Shopping Frustrations

One of my pet peeves is the hidden costs of shipping. I’m guessing that the retailers hope you will ignore the cost of shipping once you get to checkout. I just was on the Walmart site and was going to buy something that seemed to be aggressively priced. It had free shipping to the store. If I wanted to go to the store I would not have been shopping on line. Duhh!

It would not give me the price with shipping until I went through the checkout procedures. Guess what! Not worth my trouble when I think they are playing head games. Give me the full price before I have to put in my credit card not after! Lost sale due to annoyance!

You would think these guys would learn by now that annoyance probably costs them far more sales than sneaking in the shipping costs at the end earn them in sales.

Grinch me not!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 iPad Aps on Finances--Guest post

This post is a repost from bestonlinecolleges.com. and is just a brief summary. Click on the link to get the real skinny on the 10 apps they have researched.   Thanks to Rose King from bestonlinecolleges.com for the link and post.   This is not an endorsement of their services or products just a repost of an interesting post. 
So much of our time is spent using a device to keep us connected to the world, so why not use these gadgets to manage our money as well? The iPad's portability and user-friendly features make it the perfect tool for managing your cash flow and accomplishing your financial goals in one convenient place. All you have to do next is load up on a handful of reliable financial apps, and you've got yourself a portable and personal financial adviser. Get your money in check with these 10 iPad apps.

1.     Mint.com

2.     Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker and Reader

3.     Pageonce

4.     powerOne Financial Calculator

5.     Ace Budget

6.     ATM Hunter

7.     Loan Shark

8.     MoneyWell

9.     iCompta

10. PayPal

Sunday, November 20, 2011

AmazonBasics 8 GB microSDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card with SD Adapter

First of all I love the form factor of the microSDHC memory cards.  It goes into  so many things.  I have converters to make it into a standard SD memory card or a USB drive.   So the form factor gives it great versatility. 

This specific card was appreciably faster than one that was two years old.  Sadly I have no specs on the 2 year old one.  I did a relatively unscientific but practical test of the cards speed.   I copied a 10gb file from my hard drive to the new AmazonBasics card and it showed up in substantially less than a second.   I copied the same file on my 2 year old card and it took 4.5 seconds.   So from a layman’s point of view this card is seriously faster.  
I liked it. 

I was provided this card at no charge for testing and review.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sharable 1TB Hard Drive, LG’s Super-Multi NAS N1A1

This drive set up beautifully.   No issues, three different users on three different computers accessing the drive through a wireless router.  It was $89.99 with free shipping from Buy.com.   The following is copied directly from their site.  The accolades above are due to a product that set up easily out of the box with no calls to tech support necessary. 

With smart phones and tablet PCs becoming essential tools for business, healthcare and education, LG’s Super-Multi NAS N1A1 is able to stream information and media directly to portable devices. Open up new possibilities of distributing information to clients, doctors, patients and students. The LG NAS lets you go beyond the storage limitations of handheld devices and gain access to videos, music and presentations via the internet. Whether streaming video seminars to students or sharing medical information with patients, the LG NAS delivers a new level of interactivity.
Access Data or Stream Media via the Internet
1 Terabyte Storage
Gigabit Ethernet Support (10/100/1000)
USB 2.0 ports for freedom to add additional drives
Remote Access/Multiple User Access
Network Print Server Support
Built-in FTP Server Functionality
Active Directory Support
Auto Sync. Back Up Support
iTunes® Music Server Support
One Touch USB/Memory Copy & Synchronized Backup
Journaled File System
Processor Marvell 88F6281 1.0GHz
Memory 128MB
Speed (Read/Write) Read: 60MB/s
Write: 40MB/s
HDD Capacity 1TB * 1 (3.5", 7,200rpm)
Manufacturer Hitachi®
RPM 7200
Buffer 8MB / 16MB
Size 3.5”
File Sharing Protocol CIFS/SMB
Network Services DHCP
Management HTTP/HTTPs, FTP/FTPs
Time Syncronization NTP

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Budgeting for Your Investment Property--A Guest Post

Summary: this article takes a look at the importance of budgeting when investing in realty and who can help you establish and stick to a budget.

(I accept guest posts.  This is a guest post and I am not recommending the companies that are represented by the links.  I have not researched them in more than a cursorily manner to just determine they are not offensive to my personal taste.  Posting the article is not to be seen as a endorsement of any kind except I thought it was worth reading.)

Propertyinvestment can be a huge financial risk, especially to those who haven’t established a well-planned budget.  In fact, having a well thought out budget is an essential component to owning and keeping and investment property.

Detailed below are the reasons why you should plan out a budget, those professionals who can help you establish a budget and some helpful tips on how to stick to your budget.

The Importance of Budgeting

Bad financial decisions are the root cause of many failed property investments. People often over stretch themselves financially, either on the sales price, or by taking out a loan that they will be hard pressed to pay back, or by neglecting to calculate the upkeep costs of the property. Having a budget can help you avoid all these situations.

The purpose of a budget is to help you understand what you can afford to spend on a property and what its maintenance costs and are likely to be. It can help you plan out and keep track of your loan repayments, taking into account your expected profits, and how such profits can be used to help pay off your loan and upkeep costs.

Getting Professional Help with Your Budget

It is always advised, when thinking of investing in property, that you seek help from a financial adviser as looming loans and multiple repayments, combined with incoming profits, can be overwhelming.

When seeking financial advice, regardless of whether you go to your bank, a home lender, or an accountant, it’s essential that your financial adviser has a background in property investment. This is to ensure that any financial advice given is tailored to establishing a budget that is efficient and practical for investing in property.

Financial advisers, with experience in investment property, have the necessary know-how and often use property valuationsoftware programs. They can help you organise the frequency of your loan repayments, the property’s upkeep costs and your property’s projected profits and exponential growth.

Seeking out good financial advice can help you work out the most efficient and effective budget for your specific investment property needs.

Tips on Sticking to Your Budget

Having a great budget is only half the battle — it’s sticking to your budget that’s really going to test your resolve! Below are some handy tips on how to stick to and survive your budget:

1.     Always keep the end goal in mind!
It’s easy to lose your self in the costs of day-to-day living. So, it’s handy to continuously remind yourself of why you are keep a budget.

2.     Keeping track of your spending.
Monitoring your outflow of cash will help you see where your money is going. This may reveal areas in your life where you can reduce your spending and, perhaps, invest a greater portion into achieving the goals of your budget.

3.     Resist spending money on unimportant things.
Unfortunately, when budgeting, you have to always ask yourself — do I need this? Will this make it harder for me to reach the goals of my budget? So it’s good to keep your spending on things that you don’t need to a minimum.

4.      Prepare for changes in your circumstances.
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and we can get hit with a host of unexpected expenses, like emergency surgery, or insurance payments etc. Changes in your financial circumstances might require you to revaluate your budget. This is why it is also good to be careful with your spending on unnecessary things. It’s better to have extra cash saved just in case the unexpected happens.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Etonic Stabilizer Golf Shoes 2011

 Etonic Stabilizer Golf Shoes 2011

I wrote about my dissatisfaction with a pair of Etonic golf shoes back in July.   Last month the CEO of Etonic World Wide called me and apologized for my experience.   My complaint wasn’t that quality control could miss a bad pair of shoes but that customer service appeared to be non-existent.    I was told that the customer service issue had been addressed and I was thanked for making Etonic a better company. 

Tom Elwell (the CEO) is a man of his word.   There is now a wealth of contacts on the Etonic website.   In addition he asked if I would be willing to review a new pair of Etonic Stabilizers.   I agreed to try them and he sent me a pair.   First there is a bunch of spikes on this puppy.   What I like is that there is a spike in the center of each spike for increased stabilization.  (I think this is where the name came from.LOL)   In addition to that is a block in the insole that helps to prevent foot collapse on the turn and on the torque.   I get torqued which was obvious in my first review but I also torque a lot on my golf swing.   I frequently have my foot slip with the resultant bad shot. (That’s my story and I am sticking to it.)   This little block seemed to have a measurable impact on foot slipping.   As a bonus the shoes were really, really comfortable.  

I am not a shoe tester but I am a golfer.   This shoe exceeded my expectations and I really liked it.   Etonic you have changed my mind and I will be recommending your shoes here and to the duffers I hang out with. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

ReManufactured Ink Cartridges

Sophia Global Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for Canon PG-40 and CL-41 (1 Black and 1 Color)

I'm always hesitant to use 3rd party ink.  When I was still in the computer business, we had a client bring in a printer that looked like a small animal had been butchered inside it.  His refilled ink cartridge had leaked and the fast back and fourth left an astounding mess.  These ink cartridges still are not recognized by my Canon printer so the convenient low ink warning is missing. However the pair of cartridges are a better price than the single cartridge from Canon.  I have printed out some photos and they are not quite as good as the Canon cartridges but so close that I needed a magnifier to tell the difference.  I recommend them. I purchased them at Amazon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

9 Essential Tips for New Home Buyers--A Guest Post

Summary: What are some essential tips for new home buyers? Read on to find out!

(I accept guest posts.  This is a guest post and I am not recommending the companies that are represented by the links.  I have not researched them in more than a cursorily manner to just determine they are not offensive to my personal taste.  Posting the article is not to be seen as a endorsement of any kind except I thought it was worth reading.)

Buying your first home or first
investment property is a huge responsibility. Your personal financial future is often heavily invested in the value of your home. While a real estate agent can guide you through the process of buying a home, having a bit of knowledge beforehand can really help you avoid many of the costly pitfalls new home owners make.
Here are nine essential tips for new home buyers:
  1. Know Your Limits
Before you do anything, you have to know how much you can afford to pay. While you can easily get this information from banks and lenders, you should always have your own idea on what you can afford. These institutions don’t always have your best interests in mind. They want to maximise their profits and don’t always consider how much of a burden a large mortgage is on a new home owner. Also, be conservative when you estimate your financial strength.
  1. Determine What You Want
Once you know what you can afford, consider what kind of property you want to put your money towards. Do you want an inner city unit? Do you need to be close to public transport? Would you prefer a large country house? Figure out what you’re looking for first so you don’t end up wasting your time especially if you are considering it as a property investment now or in the future.
  1. Buy Smart
Always use common sense when buying a home. While you might fall in love with a certain property, it might be impractical to purchase it. Always use logic when determining what home you need to buy so you don’t inadvertently sabotage yourself.
  1. Don’t Overlook
Once you’ve found the home you want, stop looking. Prolonging your search can hold you back. As a first time home buyer your resources are generally limited. Don’t dawdle.
  1. Save for Twenty Percent
Although there is the standard minimum requirement for borrowing money for a property, you should always aim for at least double that figure. Twenty percent is a good, safe figure to aim for. Not only will you save thousands of dollars in interest in the long term, but in many cases you will be able to receive a better mortgage.
  1. Remember Closing Costs
Many first time home buyers often overlook potential closing costs. There is a litany of costs involved. Taxes, real estate agents’ fees and appraisals can quickly add up.
  1. Get Pre Approved
Make sure you are pre-approved for your mortgage before you start signing off on any deal. The last thing you need to do before your closing is to scramble for financing. Make sure this bridge is well and truly crossed.
  1. Calculate Moving Expenses
Depending on where you plan to move, moving expenses can be quite significant. A move down the road isn’t too bad but if you are moving to a different city, expect to spend some serious money.
  1. Furnishings
First time home buyers often go over budget, leaving them with very little in disposable income. They soon find out that, although they have a beautiful new home, they cannot afford to buy furnishings. Remember, you need to fill your home.
Buying your first home can be intimidating, but with these nine tips the process should be a whole lot easier to understand.

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