Search found 809 matches

by Gray
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laser Printer: Buy a New One?
Replies: 54
Views: 3866

Re: Laser Printer: Buy a New One?

I buy Brother when buying for others. I buy HP when I buy for me. The one I recommend is this one. I have an earlier version of this product line from 2014 and it’s going strong. I love the scan to network, the free outgoing fax feature, and the printing is very clear. The configuration options are ...
by Gray
Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Figured out how to make google voice never expire
Replies: 25
Views: 2365

Re: Figured out how to make google voice never expire

I, and my family, all have Google Voice and never use it for calling or texting. We have it associated with our cell phones for incoming calls/texts. Our Google accounts are actively used and we have several paid subscription. I don’t know if that revenue stream is the reason it’s never been cancell...
by Gray
Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RESOLVED: Should I contact Credit Card to stop payment on an order I placed yesterday - big ticket item...
Replies: 30
Views: 3726

Re: Should I contact Credit Card to stop payment on an order I placed yesterday - big ticket item...

If all else fails, you could monitor the shipment and when it arrives,, let UPS or FedEx (hopefully it’s not USPS) know you’re refusing the delivery. Then wait for your refund. Document the shipping history.
by Gray
Wed Mar 10, 2021 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Listing Realtor asking me to have mortgage lenders call her directly.
Replies: 85
Views: 6506

Re: Listing Realtor asking me to have mortgage lenders call her directly.

My understanding is that you’ll have issues if you see a house with the listing agent and later get your own buyer’s agent. I obtained a buyer’s agent first, and I’m glad I did.

I would never use a listing agent (representing the seller) to do anything for me (the buyer).
by Gray
Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daughter taking a Job in DC - where to live?
Replies: 111
Views: 7145

Re: Daughter taking a Job in DC - where to live?

I live in Falls Church City, and like it. Though I think I would rather have a place in the Tenleytown or Cleveland Park area. Perhaps after my daughter finished college. I love walking from downtown to there, walking past the National Cathedral. Now if I want to walk home, I have to walk west acros...
by Gray
Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mark’s Financial Computer Security Methods
Replies: 24
Views: 3435

Re: Mark’s Financial Computer Security Methods

Nice List I prefer LastPass Premium Family and LastPass Authenticator I use the integration on my iOS devices, but not desktop browsers. I don’t favor paying bills with single credit card. I spread them out to avoid signals points of failure and to generate activity. I’m not too worried about PayPal...
by Gray
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Records for paying rent with 529
Replies: 3
Views: 445

Re: Records for paying rent with 529

The student (I don’t know if that’s you) could open up a checking account for paying educational expenses. My daughter has a (free) checking account (not one she uses for other purposes) that receives distributions from the 529 account and the University debits that account. I keep the statements sh...
by Gray
Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Score / Credit Cards - College Freshman
Replies: 16
Views: 950

Re: Credit Score / Credit Cards - College Freshman

My daughter (19, Freshman), has credit cards from Navy Federal, USAA, and Chase (Freedom Unlimited). She also has a small Federal student loan (to put some skin in the game), which is reporting against her credit. She doesn’t use these cards, but we cycle some bills through all of them to generate u...
by Gray
Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: microsoft hotmail vs SMS for 2FA
Replies: 17
Views: 874

Re: microsoft hotmail vs SMS for 2FA

I use LastPass Authenticator for Google, Turbotax, and countless other services. It backs up my multifactor configurations to my encrypted LastPass Vault (I’ve paid for this service since 2012). I also use Microsoft Authenticator (paid subscription), Adobe Authenticator (paid subscription), as well ...
by Gray
Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changes to LastPass free
Replies: 209
Views: 14637

Re: Changes to LastPass free

Interesting. This is how it used to be and then they offered mobile for free. I think you can still use a phone browser to lookup passwords. Clunky, but works in a pinch. Yep. This is how they use to run things. Frankly, if you’re using LastPass for important things, why not get a family subscripti...
by Gray
Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I received an offer for an Apple Card. Please tell about your Apple Card experience.
Replies: 11
Views: 1097

Re: I received an offer for an Apple Card. Please tell about your Apple Card experience.

It’s a credit card. It gets me 3% off Apple hardware, software, and services. I’ve used it elsewhere. I have used the interest free split payments to pay for some AirPods over time. I think Apple also offers 6% cash back for some holidays. This is going to continue to evolve. It’s not bad, but it’s ...
by Gray
Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer monitor
Replies: 40
Views: 2691

Re: Computer monitor

I recently replaced my 38” ultra sharp monitors with two full height 43” 4K screens. I have them in a V configuration so each faces me straight on. These are for productivity, not for photo editing or gaming. Buy during the major sales. https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/dell-ultrasharp-32-4k-usb-...
by Gray
Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 56
Views: 4695

Re: home security camera

I have 3 Nest IQ Outdoor Cams with a 4th on the shelf that I want to install in a tricky location. I loved when they switched to $12/month for all cams. I paid about $350 for mine and I believe they will be refreshed soon. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/google-nest-cam-iq-outdoor-security-camera-white...
by Gray
Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting Rid of TV
Replies: 28
Views: 2803

Re: Getting Rid of TV

We got rid of Verizon FIOS TV and two TiVo DVRs and switched to Google TV via a Family Plan. Now 6 of us (separate profiles) can watch TV on any device we want. I like it because I can DVR as many recurring shows (like news) that I want, so I can watch them without commercials. This provides live TV...
by Gray
Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Causes Burnout at Work?
Replies: 124
Views: 10146

Re: What Causes Burnout at Work?

So many things can cause burnout. Keep a long view of your career arc that is independent of any one job. How you develop, how long you stay, where you go—that is your responsibility. Nobody else is going to manage it. So when burnout occurs, if the reasons cannot be resolved (e.g., boss, customers,...
by Gray
Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2FA: Is Google Voice really a good second form of Authentication?
Replies: 23
Views: 2429

Re: 2FA: Is Google Voice really a good second form of Authentication?

I use my GV # as an additional factor for some services. I run the app on my phone with messages to email. I have MFA in-place to access my Google Account, with backed up one-time authentication codes.
by Gray
Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager
Replies: 94
Views: 8180

Re: Password manager

I’ve been using LastPass since 2012 with zero issues. I have a family plan for my family, and I’ve got them using it religiously now as well. I also have them using the LastPass Authenticator which is backed up to their vault.
by Gray
Thu Dec 31, 2020 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cord cutting 2020 - Youtube TV
Replies: 142
Views: 12858

Re: Cord cutting 2020 - Youtube TV

We switched over to YouTube TV and we love it. I have three of the dongles to setup—we’ve been using Apple TV.

I’m surprised Apple hasn’t been able to build in a similar service.
by Gray
Thu Dec 31, 2020 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What kind of bike and where to get it - 2021 edition
Replies: 57
Views: 4074

Re: What kind of bike and where to get it - 2021 edition

Are we at the point where bikes have lidar warning and auto slowing and stopping?

Do any have gyroscopes to add in stability?
by Gray
Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House Purchase Sanity Check
Replies: 92
Views: 6632

Re: House Purchase Sanity Check

I would ask for a price reduction to $400K. If not, there are plenty of small single family homes You didn’t say if you lived in Falls Church City or not (as I do) which has a terrific school system, but higher property tax. Many people refer to Greater Falls Church (Fairfax and Arlington) as “Falls...
by Gray
Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Billpay
Replies: 28
Views: 2117

Re: Billpay

... Again, this autopay is for a USAA credit card. ... BA supports billpay from external checking accounts (your USAA checking account) and also supports ebills. If USAA also supports sending ebills, BA can pay it automatically on the due date using your USAA checking account as a source. You may h...
by Gray
Thu Nov 05, 2020 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Billpay
Replies: 28
Views: 2117

Re: Billpay

If you can't switch banks, why not open an account at a credit union that has a decent billpay system? Set up regular transfers to cover your usual cash flow. I use Fidelity billpay on their web site but only for payees that I can't set up for automatic payment through Paypal (preferred*) or a cred...
by Gray
Thu Nov 05, 2020 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Billpay
Replies: 28
Views: 2117

Re: Billpay

I was not talking about modifying transfers, but modifying a recurring bill pay payment, or creating a new recurring bill pay payment. Can you set up these bill payments on the provider's side, instead of at your bank? I pay my electric coop bill from my bank account each month, but I log into the ...
by Gray
Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Billpay
Replies: 28
Views: 2117

Re: Billpay

I’m confused, what exactly is USAA billpay not doing right now? Everything seems to be working fine for me and I’ve recently added and removed some monthly reoccurring external transfers. I was not talking about modifying transfers, but modifying a recurring bill pay payment, or creating a new recu...
by Gray
Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Billpay
Replies: 28
Views: 2117

Billpay

I’m looking for a reliable billpay service that works with USAA. USAA’s own billpay is under construction with no end in site. If you turn off an automatic payment (you can’t modify one), you can’t establish a new one. Ad hoc payments are not affected. I don’t know why this is, and I don’t care. How...
by Gray
Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto insurance costs – USAA vs ????
Replies: 24
Views: 2429

Re: Auto insurance costs – USAA vs ????

With USAA it really depends on what tier you are in. You can find out which tier you are in if you look at your policy. Someone might have more details but it goes something like this: Top Tier - Military Officer (Can't beat the rates and benefits in this tier. I'm convinced when you hear about the...
by Gray
Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Wi-Fi 6 Router
Replies: 53
Views: 5232

Re: Replacement Wi-Fi 6 Router

:arrow: Asus RT-AX86U or RTAC86U. This is a powerful wireless router in a vertical form factor. AX is Wi-Fi 6. If you have a pre-AC router, I would go for the AX. Asus routers can be connected to each other in a mesh configuration. They also pump out firmware updates at least 5 times a year with new...
by Gray
Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Wi-Fi 6 Router
Replies: 53
Views: 5232

Re: Replacement Wi-Fi 6 Router

:arrow: Asus RT-AX86U or RTAC86U. This is a powerful wireless router in a vertical form factor. AX is Wi-Fi 6. If you have a pre-AC router, I would go for the AX. Asus routers can be connected to each other in a mesh configuration. They also pump out firmware updates at least 5 times a year with new...
by Gray
Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Wi-Fi 6 Router
Replies: 53
Views: 5232

Re: Replacement Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus RT-AX86U or RTAC86U. This is a powerful wireless router in a vertical form factor. AX is Wi-Fi 6. If you have a pre-AC router, I would go for the AX. Asus routers can be connected to each other in a mesh configuration. They also pump out firmware updates at least 5 times a year with new feature...
by Gray
Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA Bank Gets Failing Grade Over 'Illegal' Practices
Replies: 39
Views: 5627

Re: USAA Bank Gets Failing Grade Over 'Illegal' Practices

We have used USAA for decades for credit cards, insurance, and banking. Their banking has been innovative and remains more flexible than most, but their competitive edge is less than it was. They have transitioned into a money-focused corporation despite their member-owned structure (owned by milita...
by Gray
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BCBS or GEHA?
Replies: 78
Views: 5079

Re: BCBS or GEHA?

We have had so many different Federal health plans. BCBS GEHA and others. The one we currently have is below. Can’t complain. My wife uses this constantly for Dr visits for her conditions. High deductible is just stupid when you have medical conditions requiring constant care and expensive procedure...
by Gray
Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Schwab closed my checking $0 account without a warning. Is that common?
Replies: 26
Views: 2777

Re: Schwab closed my checking $0 account without a warning. Is that common?

I use USAA to transfer $1 on a quarterly basis into accounts I’m not using. It’s never failed.
by Gray
Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking for real estate agent/Lender in NOVA, suggestions?
Replies: 7
Views: 543

Re: Looking for real estate agent/Lender in NOVA, suggestions?

I sent you info on the buyer’s agent we hired when we moved to NOVA. Typically, agents have portfolios showing the houses they helped sell or worked as buyers agents to help buy, as well as customer recommendations/referrals. Personally, if the buyer’s agent has sold only $300K homes and I’m looking...
by Gray
Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Treadmill recommendations
Replies: 43
Views: 2865

Re: Treadmill recommendations

Las wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:19 pm Looking for recommendations for a cost effective quality basic treadmill
We got a Sole F85 on sale from Sole for $1700. We also have a bike, rower, and elliptical from them. We got turnkey installation which was nice.

If money was no object, a Woodway Curve would be nice.
by Gray
Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tech/IT to govt jobs
Replies: 68
Views: 5108

Re: Tech/IT to govt jobs

FDIC, SEC, State, DHS, others. Some are based on an incentive pay structure. Others, pay bands.
by Gray
Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tech/IT to govt jobs
Replies: 68
Views: 5108

Re: Tech/IT to govt jobs

The Feds will not be close to competitive on salary. I don't know about their rates in the Bay Area, but in DC metro top of a grade 15 is about 170K. For budget issue analysis, the feds figure employee total cost is 122% of salary, benefits being a 22% ad on. You can use the calculator below to det...
by Gray
Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tech/IT to govt jobs
Replies: 68
Views: 5108

Re: Tech/IT to govt jobs

The Feds will not be close to competitive on salary. I don't know about their rates in the Bay Area, but in DC metro top of a grade 15 is about 170K. For budget issue analysis, the feds figure employee total cost is 122% of salary, benefits being a 22% ad on. You can use the calculator below to det...
by Gray
Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Set my heart on a Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage...anyway I could join?
Replies: 32
Views: 5658

Re: Set my heart on a Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage...anyway I could join?

We got our jumbo mortgage with NFCU in 2017. I got a better quote from Ally, fully approved, and Navy matched/beat it per their policy. I would have refinanced this year but closing costs and Navy’s fees are expensive. It’s not worth it.
by Gray
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: who do you bank with and why?
Replies: 168
Views: 16522

Re: who do you bank with and why?

USAA (since 97), Ally (since 2012), and Navy Federal (since 2010). They all have strengths and weaknesses, but we’ve never had a problem. USAA’s web services have always been very flexible. Ally provides a decent rate and fast transfers. Navy holds our Jumbo mortgage and their website is getting bet...
by Gray
Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anybody else enjoy sitting around and doing little in retirement?
Replies: 106
Views: 14856

Re: Anybody else enjoy sitting around and doing little in retirement?

I suggest a fitness watch so you can measure your activity level. Just because you retire, even if you don’t want to travel, it’s important to stay active and a good watch will keep you honest with yourself.
by Gray
Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Offshore Bank Account?
Replies: 33
Views: 4171

Re: Offshore Bank Account?

Sounds like a better approach is to work with a bank (multinational) with a significant presence in many countries, or that is geared to support customers working (or deployed) around the world. I bank with USAA, Citibank, Chase, Barclays. I would imagine that at least one or all of them would meet ...
by Gray
Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apple’s iCloud Keychain?
Replies: 19
Views: 2143

Re: Apple’s iCloud Keychain?

I have used LastPass since 2012 and have over 500 passwords in it. On the iPhone, I use it as my default auto fill option. Apple Keychain isn’t enabled for auto fill. This provides a cross-platform solution with many more capabilities than KeyChain.
by Gray
Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Have you seen 'Dark Web Alert - Compromised Email Address' message?
Replies: 9
Views: 1472

Re: Have you seen 'Dark Web Alert - Compromised Email Address' message?

Friends, my CC company offers credit alerts and scores through creditwise. Today, in the alerts section, I saw an alert that says - "Dark Web Alert. Creditwise found your email compromised on the dark web. CW scans the dark web daily for your email address and SSN. If we find your information,...
by Gray
Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What % of income to spend on car?
Replies: 122
Views: 8810

Re: What % of income to spend on car?

Don’t you really mean what % of your disposable cash flow? I have a 7 year old car and I will probably own it for another 5-7 years, and it may be passed to my daughter as a 10 year old car. 7 year old car, own for another 5-7 years = 10 year old car I'm not a rocket scientist or anything but I can...
by Gray
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What % of income to spend on car?
Replies: 122
Views: 8810

Re: What % of income to spend on car?

Don’t you really mean what % of your disposable cash flow? I have a 7 year old car and I will probably own it for another 5-7 years, and it may be passed to my daughter as a 10 year old car.
by Gray
Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Surge protector power strip - what to look for?
Replies: 49
Views: 3030

Re: Surge protector power strip - what to look for?

This is one of the best surge protectors you can get. I’ve used Tripplite’s ISOBAR products for surge suppression since 95. If I need a UPS (which have lesser surge protection), I plug it into the surge protector—never ever the other way around. If you have a printer, only use surge suppression, not...
by Gray
Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VG can't send email to me.
Replies: 9
Views: 871

Re: VG can't send email to me.

Open up a Gmail account. You could, for example, use this as the email account you use for all important email. Invoices, statements, etc. Leave your existing one for cookie recipes from Aunt Marsha. Add multifactor authentication and a cell phone for backup. As was suggested, create a (filter) rule...
by Gray
Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Brother printer 'trips' my battery backups
Replies: 47
Views: 2899

Re: Brother printer 'trips' my battery backups

Never connect a laser printer to battery power. It isn’t worth it. A surge suppressor is sufficient. Most UPS have outlets that provide surge suppression without battery backup.
by Gray
Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Choosing a university/college for my son a future Computer Science Major
Replies: 131
Views: 11447

Re: Choosing a university/college for my son a future Computer Science Major

Go for a flagship in-state or one that is aligned to CS. My daughter chose Virginia Tech which is a great deal. I love the emphasis on learning CS in an engineering context. She’s also got a minor in Cyber in the Computer Engineering Dept. All freshmen there are General Engineers (they breakout into...
by Gray
Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College tuitions and how to help our daughter pay them
Replies: 85
Views: 5100

Re: College tuitions and how to help our daughter pay them

This is very specific to your family and belief system. Being that you are asking, I assume you do not have 529 funds or money set aside specifically for college. Being that you can "cashflow" it, you seem to have ample ability to pay. If you decide to. Some options: You co-sign loans and...