Search found 1615 matches

by dukeblue219
Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Light for Zoom Calls
Replies: 8
Views: 955

Re: Light for Zoom Calls

Thanks all! I will give the desk lamp a try. You can try, but a point source like that is usually what people are looking to avoid. It will cast strong shadows across your face and give you a "video conferencing from the basement" appearance. You need soft, diffused light from multiple an...
by dukeblue219
Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:30 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: does anyone buy ibonds under kids' names?
Replies: 22
Views: 2626

Re: does anyone buy ibonds under kids' names?

I guess be aware that you're taking investable assets in your child's name and putting them in a vehicle designed by its very nature to not grow in real dollars.

Near term college savings are possibly a use here, but I personally don't want my kids owning anything but broad equity index funds.
by dukeblue219
Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: travelbusinessclass.com [is it legit?]
Replies: 16
Views: 1752

Re: travelbusinessclass.com [is it legit?]

gwe67 wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:42 pm
candb wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:27 am their fares are way lower than what I can find on the other traditional travel sites
They quote New York to Paris and return in business class as $1,784.

Google Flights quotes same trip as $7,194.

Scam alert!
They quote it "as low as" which is shady as hell, but not scammy.
by dukeblue219
Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:17 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What are the Vanguard ETF fees on Fidelity?
Replies: 12
Views: 1050

Re: What are the Vanguard ETF fees on Fidelity?

Why would I want to put a few pennies on FSKAX? Is FSKAX good for a taxable account? Does carrying FSKAX on other brokerages carry worse fees? I believe the suggestion was that if you had a small balance leftover, even after buying partial shares with ETFs, you could put it in FSKAX. Some people ab...
by dukeblue219
Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: travelbusinessclass.com [is it legit?]
Replies: 16
Views: 1752

Re: travelbusinessclass.com [is it legit?]

These sites aren't usually scams per se, but tread carefully.

See https://thepointsguy.com/2017/11/premiu ... avel-scam/
by dukeblue219
Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ink Tank Printer
Replies: 13
Views: 1209

Re: Ink Tank Printer

General rant: printers seem to have turned into one of those products where the manufacturers no longer care about the quality. Every printer seems to have one major issue or another when you read the reviews. I may go for a monochrome laser printer next time around. More money, but I don't need co...
by dukeblue219
Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sliding Glass Door (to deck)
Replies: 17
Views: 1463

Re: Sliding Glass Door (to deck)

Replaced our old builder grade slider with a French door to the deck. It cost money but we couldn't be happier.
by dukeblue219
Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HP Support for purchase of new laptop
Replies: 41
Views: 1937

Re: HP Support for purchase of new laptop

Unless you pay extra for "Pro" support, all support is with folks overseas. It can't be any other way. Consumer-grade laptops are a commodity item and they're priced at the bottom of the market for a reason. There's just no margin to include any technical support to "setup" or t...
by dukeblue219
Mon Jul 05, 2021 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 11
Replies: 68
Views: 6335

Re: Windows 11

I installed the insider preview via the developer channel on Windows 10. I wouldn't recommend anyone do that who isn't willing to take some risk, but it's really, really nice. Like the relationship between 7 and Vista, it's what Windows 10 should have been from day one. Much softer interface, better...
by dukeblue219
Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retirement Move to DC area?
Replies: 70
Views: 4287

Re: Retirement Move to DC area?

We have 3 weeks at an AirBnb in Capitol Hill coming up soon. I’m sure it will be our most clear experience of what it’s like to be a DC resident. Just try to do it right and live like you would if you lived there, if that makes sense. If you drive all over the city it will frustrate you, if you go ...
by dukeblue219
Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you send your kids to a high school rated 3 of 10?
Replies: 91
Views: 6433

Re: Would you send your kids to a high school rated 3 of 10?

Please stop looking at Great Schools. My wife is a public school teacher and it drives her up the walls. 95% of the time a low GS score means that the school serves a large population of poorer or minority kids who perform lower of testing. It does not mean that your kid will not receive a quality e...
by dukeblue219
Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Bank in Indianapolis area with excellent web presence and offers safe deposit boxes?]
Replies: 26
Views: 2546

Re: Need to abandon Bank of America

It'd take a lot more than a safe deposit box to pry me away from BoA Premium Rewards Visa (with boring Merrill Edge account providing the minimum balance).
by dukeblue219
Sun Jun 27, 2021 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend me a premium laptop
Replies: 18
Views: 1588

Re: Recommend me a premium laptop

XPS 15

Gaming is the kicker. The new M1 Macs cannot dual boot Windows nor do they support external GPUs. Windows is still the be-all end-all for PC gaming.
by dukeblue219
Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: External hard drive to back up photos
Replies: 33
Views: 2351

Re: External hard drive to back up photos

Is it a real possibility of deterioration of the stored photo quality over time, however, with this Samsung T5 2TB portable USB 3.1 external SSD? I suppose "over time" might also mean leaving this SSD for the kids as fond memory photos of me :mrgreen: The photo quality will not degrade. H...
by dukeblue219
Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tire flat fixing for beginners
Replies: 159
Views: 8945

Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

On the subject of FixAFlat ruining the inside of the tire, when was the last time anyone had a tire repaired instead of replaced anyway? Do any major service chains even offer that anymore? It doesn't seem like it to me. Tires are still repaired all the time due to punctures. Punctures are extremel...
by dukeblue219
Sun Jun 20, 2021 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tire flat fixing for beginners
Replies: 159
Views: 8945

Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

On the subject of FixAFlat ruining the inside of the tire, when was the last time anyone had a tire repaired instead of replaced anyway? Do any major service chains even offer that anymore? It doesn't seem like it to me.
by dukeblue219
Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: External hard drive to back up photos
Replies: 33
Views: 2351

Re: External hard drive to back up photos

A portable SSD is one thing, but please don't use a USB flash drive (a thumb drive). They're built from the cheapest materials and do not have the sophisticated controllers of SSDs even though they are both flash based. The failure rates are way too high. Just get a WD Passport 4TB for under $100 an...
by dukeblue219
Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it better to pay cash for a solar roof array or to finance it?
Replies: 26
Views: 3089

Re: Is it better to pay cash for a solar roof array or to finance it?

It is a rare circumstance where paying cash for anything is not the best option. For consumable items I agree. But for productive assets paying cash is almost always inefficient; no business would save cash for a few years to buy a new tractor and no utility would save cash to build a new solar pla...
by dukeblue219
Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Securing a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Replies: 77
Views: 6321

Re: Securing a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Oh keep in mind some content providers, notably streaming services but also others, will block access if they detect you're coming from a known VPN provider. That's because the most common use for VPNs is for people in one country or region to access content that is geographically limited.
by dukeblue219
Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Securing a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Replies: 77
Views: 6321

Re: Securing a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN provides no additional security over HTTPS, which your browser and the majority of websites out there already use. It does a little. Without a VPN, others on the network would know who you are communicating with. For example, they could see that you are connecting to Bogleheads.org. They coul...
by dukeblue219
Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any pilots actually find utility in GA flying?
Replies: 7
Views: 1235

Re: Any pilots actually find utility in GA flying?

No, not on the East Coast anyway. There's probably some transportation value out west and obviously Alaska is another matter altogether. I got my private and instrument 12 years ago now. It was fun and I'm glad I did it, but the utility (relative to driving or flying commercial) wasn't a net gain. I...
by dukeblue219
Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap second refrigerator?
Replies: 21
Views: 1743

Re: Cheap second refrigerator?

If you buy new, consider separate freezer and refrigerator units - basement storage is typically heavily skewed towards frozen items, and separate units allow you to get a freezer of appropriate size. A chest freezer in the basement is well worth it if you don't really need the fridge space. You'll...
by dukeblue219
Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift tax
Replies: 53
Views: 3269

Re: Gift tax

2 year old's cannot own property. Giving it to parents to use for child is a gift to parents. I don't disagree that giving it to the 2 year old in order for the parents to use it directly my not be within the spirit of the law, but 2 year olds are perfectly valid recipients of financial gifts, and ...
by dukeblue219
Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?
Replies: 118
Views: 9672

Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

There are lots of non-phone devices out there capable of using 4G data. Tablets and watches come to mind immediately as the most common cases for adding a data only "line" to your plan. This was the case when you could not do hotspot with your phone which was more than 5 years ago. Now yo...
by dukeblue219
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?
Replies: 118
Views: 9672

Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

As others have said, they're usually cheaper... by a lot. And if you're resigned to paying a phone bill for the rest of your life, who cares if it's at the beginning or end of the month? Some serious judgment going on with equating them with bad credit or deadbeats. +1 I have prepaid because it is ...
by dukeblue219
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?
Replies: 118
Views: 9672

Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

I recently was in the market for a data only mobile plan for a laptop. Now I realized what I read. Why? What for? I though data for devices is a thing that disappeared about 5 years ago. Why would it? There are lots of non-phone devices out there capable of using 4G data. Tablets and watches come t...
by dukeblue219
Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2009 Corolla, 75k miles, too old?
Replies: 46
Views: 4006

Re: 2009 Corolla, 75k miles, too old?

It's a perfectly viable car for transportation. It is not the safest choice. Since you said you value safety as a priority, I agree with others to look at something much newer if you can afford it, especially with a young child. Kids are a distraction, and automatic braking, blind spot sensors, and ...
by dukeblue219
Wed Jun 02, 2021 6:26 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Loser at 55???
Replies: 41
Views: 8462

Re: Loser at 55???

You make more money than 99% of Americans and probably have more saved than 97% of Americans. I'm not saying that to be snarky but to emphasize what others are saying - that you are fine, you have time to make your plan and retire comfortably.

Take a deep breath 🙂
by dukeblue219
Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Thieves Still Go Thru Trash To Steal ID?
Replies: 41
Views: 3945

Re: Do Thieves Still Go Thru Trash To Steal ID?

The return on investment here must be unfathomably low compared to all the low hanging fruit of phishing scams, debit card scams, return fraud, and on and on. Reminds me of the overkill of multi-pass erasure of old hard drives followed by mechanical destruction. Criminals have better things to do wh...
by dukeblue219
Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tricks to get a safe deposit box?
Replies: 22
Views: 2633

Re: Tricks to get a safe deposit box?

I had no idea. Is this just a California thing or is this happening everywhere? Is this just more of a continuing trend for banks to provide fewer and fewer of their once-customary services? I suspect it's partly the closure of so many brick-and-mortar bank branches. I certainly have no use for a b...
by dukeblue219
Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic Cell Phone Plan - flip phone...emergency use only
Replies: 15
Views: 1097

Re: Basic Cell Phone Plan - flip phone...emergency use only

(yes I know that should they find themselves in an emergency - every single kid in school will have a cell phone, and every single teacher and adult as well... Nothing to be apologizing for. Emergencies when surrounded by friends and teachers aren't the ones I worry about. It's the random stuff out...
by dukeblue219
Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ATT Mark the Spot going away
Replies: 7
Views: 2308

Re: ATT Mark the Spot going away

"We're the phone company. We don't have to care." https://vimeo.com/355556831 How appropriate. Just wasted an hour+ on hold and talking to rep and computer for porting a phone number. Get down to the end and a computer is asking to confirm the number being ported and of course the number ...
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Keurig K-cups for espresso, or ?????
Replies: 14
Views: 1454

Re: Best Keurig K-cups for espresso, or ?????

We went Nespresso for this reason and never looked back. But, we never make a "pot" of coffee. Either Nespresso pods or a two-serving French Press. Are the Nespresso pods better than K-cups, taste-wise? Unquestionably yes, with lots of rich flavors available and a lot of good foam on top....
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance (when)?
Replies: 12
Views: 1257

Re: Refinance (when)?

My strategy is to refinance when the APR is lower than my current by at least 0.375%, and I never pay closing costs. The only reason I don't do it for smaller savings is the hassle of paperwork. I'll keep kicking the payoff date out indefinitely as long as my rate gets lower. What are the closing c...
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Keurig K-cups for espresso, or ?????
Replies: 14
Views: 1454

Re: Best Keurig K-cups for espresso, or ?????

We went Nespresso for this reason and never looked back. But, we never make a "pot" of coffee. Either Nespresso pods or a two-serving French Press.
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility to read USB memory stick temperature?
Replies: 3
Views: 530

Re: Utility to read USB memory stick temperature?

The NAND likely has a temperature sensor internally but the USB controllers don't usually report it via an equivalent of SMART settings. I've seen it from a manufacturers' tool I think, perhaps on an enterprise-grade drive, but not a generic third party software.
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance (when)?
Replies: 12
Views: 1257

Re: Refinance (when)?

My strategy is to refinance when the APR is lower than my current by at least 0.375%, and I never pay closing costs. The only reason I don't do it for smaller savings is the hassle of paperwork. I'll keep kicking the payoff date out indefinitely as long as my rate gets lower.
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free
Replies: 97
Views: 13568

Re: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free

I don't get it. Why would I ever want to connect via my neighbor's Internet? Especially since we all use the same ISP. So if the ISP is down, we're all down. I always thought it would be cool to use your neighbor's Internet (and vice versa) as a fallback option but it would only come in handy if we...
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Unwinding Relative From Parasite Advisor
Replies: 64
Views: 6554

Re: Unwinding Relative From Parasite Advisor

This isn't "preyed on" territory. It's not ideal but hardly abusive or parasitic as you claim.

Does this person want significant change?
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer Files - the cloud, paper, or external drive?
Replies: 39
Views: 5314

Re: Computer Files - the cloud, paper, or external drive?

I'm not sure how I would setup a laptop with Bitlocker for travel especially if it had sensitive files. I've been away from IT for years. I speculate that the federal government has a tech person that sets this up to some specifications and trains the user. I would speculate that the critical data ...
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free
Replies: 97
Views: 13568

Re: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free

Honestly though, I can't figure out for whom *this* would be the last straw. Personally I'm happy with the service from my Echo devices and my smart doorbell is indispensable. Others feel creepy having a microphone in the house or camera out front and that's fine, but this particular feature is quit...
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free
Replies: 97
Views: 13568

Re: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free

The only Alexa device I'm aware of having is our Amazon Fire Stick. I can't figure out if this is an issue. Alexa won't give me any help and just says something like "Hmmm. I don't see any skill named 'Sidewalk.' You can browse our catalog," or something like that. You'd need to use the A...
by dukeblue219
Mon May 31, 2021 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud?
Replies: 10
Views: 774

Re: Should I subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud?

You can purchase Acrobat Professional for $119 as a student (you seem to be eligible, but technically you can't then use it for commercial use). That's a permanent license. It's $449 for the permanent license for the regular Pro version. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/adobe-acrobat-pro-2020-student-an...
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice for seat assignment on United
Replies: 43
Views: 3936

Re: Need advice for seat assignment on United

OP here. Thanks so much for the super useful replies. A few clarifications: 1) I have not yet booked any tickets. When I saw the limitation I stopped the booking. So I can still execute any smart strategies you suggest. 2) I was booking Economy, not Basic Economy (yes I saw all the limitations on B...
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice for seat assignment on United
Replies: 43
Views: 3936

Re: Need advice for seat assignment on United

02nz wrote: Sun May 30, 2021 8:44 pm
Alaska did fly DCA-SFO before the pandemic, and they're resuming as of July 2.
Huh. Had that been going long term? I fly IAD to SFO non-stop on United 4-5 times a (normal) year and was unaware of the Alaska option as a backup.
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice for seat assignment on United
Replies: 43
Views: 3936

Re: Need advice for seat assignment on United

Have you considered Southwest out of BWI? I think that's still the best choice with a family group. There is a nonstop from BWI to SAN but I think you'd have to have a stop from BWI to Bay Area. Also, Alaska flies from DCA to SFO non-stop. Not sure what their family policy is. Alaska does not have ...
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need advice for seat assignment on United
Replies: 43
Views: 3936

Re: Need advice for seat assignment on United

This really shouldn't be a surprise - United doesn't allow you to book Basic Economy without agreeing to some very clearly spelled out restrictions, including on seat assignments. This is it. When you search for economy tickets you have to go out of your way to pick the Basic Economy level, which i...
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity Credit Card--3% Cash Back--Targeted [June 1 to July 31]
Replies: 27
Views: 5357

Re: Fidelity Credit Card--3% Cash Back--Targeted

I hope I get one. I’m about to have a new HVAC installed next week that I’ll charge to my Fidelity Visa, and and that would be icing on the cake. I’ve received these types of offers before, have alway signed up, but rarely exceed the required spend level to benefit. The spend levels are tied to you...
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 5:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental property and LLC
Replies: 8
Views: 1011

Re: Rental property and LLC

Whatever you do, don't believe anyone who claims an LLC offers comprehensive liability protection.
by dukeblue219
Sun May 30, 2021 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free
Replies: 97
Views: 13568

Re: Amazon Sidewalk, Use Your Neighbor's Internet for Free

Terrible. Default Opt-in is generally a no-win situation for users. Thankfully, by choice, we are exclusively Apple for hardware and most software. Is this any different than Apple's FindMy network that uses the global installed base of iPhones as a mesh network to locate Apple trackers and find lo...