Financial Reboot

One of the major tricks I learned when I was an I.T. dude, was how easy it was to fix problems if you asked your customer, “Have you rebooted your system lately?“. I also knew this drove my customers nuts, but it worked most of the time, and they had to then go away, and I usually had a good chuckle.

When I was at the Maundy Thursday service at my Church during Holy Week, it ends with a complete stripping of the alter and the turning off all the lights in the Church, effectively ending the Church year, and then on Easter morning, this is the start of a new year, effectively a spiritual reboot.

Restart Financially?

This strikes me as a useful idea for those who may be stuck in a financial rut, or feel they are drowning in their own financial plans. I am not espousing declaring bankruptcy or walking away from your financial issues (that is the ultimate financial reboot, and should really be a solution of last resort), but I am saying that maybe a reboot in your financial thinking is needed?

How can you reboot financially? Some ideas that might work are:

  • Re-vamp your investment ideas, and move away from an active investment plan to a passive or Index based plan. Maybe your issue with your investments is that you just don’t know enough about how to invest (I know I don’t), but if you go with the indexes you are more likely to succeed (as long as you choose the right indexes). This kind of reboot in your methodology may help you in the long run?
  • If you and your spouse don’t talk about money much, maybe it’s time to reboot, and then plan weekly discussions about what is going on with money so that both of you know what is going on. This might ease the money tension in your house and give you new ideas about things.
  • If you have no financial plan, reboot, and make one. If you feel living day to day is not working for you, reboot and restart with a plan that will help you feel more in control.
  • When you retire a debt (especially if it is a Credit Card), maybe retire that debt vehicle (i.e. close the account), so that it cannot resurrect itself later. Rebooting your credit vehicles by getting rid of unneeded credit devices is a good idea, if you have had issues with them previously.

Rebooting your financial life gives you a fresh start, and maybe can put you back on the right path?

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OK One Thing You Can Buy on Boxing Day

So a while ago I spoke about how Anti-Virus software is needed but the pricing trickery is ridiculous.

Yesterday on Boxing Day here in Ottawa that point was driven home like a nail from a pneumatic nail gun.

Norton 360

Anti-Virus which is Cheaper when Bought New

Last week, my mail program came up with a note saying, “About to renew your Norton 360 Subscription”, and it was going to use the credit card that it had on file, and it was going to cost $79.00 for my machine. After I stopped yelling obscenities, I logged onto the Norton site, to see that in fact the “renewal” had not gone through, it was Norton attempting to influence me to go to the site and simply hit the “ReNew” button (which I did not). I managed to figure out how to stop this automatic renewal from happening. I sort of suspected that this might happen given Michael James’ post on McAfee’s Persistent Trickery, but I was quite happy to have caught it before it happened.

I have noticed that the Boxing Day sales regularly have Anti-Virus software on sale so I decided I was going to wait and see what might happen with the sales.

Sure enough our Amigos at Future Shop delivered and had Norton 360 on Sale for $29.99, for 3 machines and for a 15 month subscription (remember to renew for 1 machine for 12 months was going to cost $79.99), so my patience seems to have paid off. I checked the Norton site and they had a Boxing Day sale for the same product (3 licenses Norton 360) for $69.99 (wow).

I guess we can add Anti-Virus software that you can purchase at the Boxing Day madhouse.



Cell Phone Cameras, not just for Duck Faces

In the early days of Cell Phones, I ridiculed when I heard that they were including a Camera in Cell phones (who would use that, and what for, I believe was my arguments about the validity of melding these two technologies), however (as usual), I have been proven wrong and these two technologies are now permanently cemented together (much to the chagrin of Kodak and Polaroid, I would wager). The Cell Phone Camera has caused an explosion of media on the web with folks sharing and posting pictures of:

  • Food: what you are eating, where you are eating it, and who you are eating with, astoundingly interesting. Evidently that is the biggest use for Cell Phone cameras.
  • Billions of photos of our children taking pictures of themselves in bathroom mirrors, in various states of disrepair (and or dress), smiling in odd ways (or even the infamous duck face). This has forced the porn industry into rethinking itself yet again.
  • Very jerky videos of odd events as they occur.

A Bad Example, but you get the idea. This is a photo of my wife’s new iPhone!

And this really only scratches the surface of what the Cell Phone Camera has touched in our lives, however, it can actually do a useful thing as well (no, not supply blurry pictures for blogs) it can help us more easily catalog the valuables in our houses.

As I mentioned in Theft and Insurance having a valid home inventory which is up to date, with photos of your valuables is a very good thing to have, and with a Camera Phone you really have no excuse any more.

Some tips that could make this even better:

  • Create an account on one of the many picture archiving sites (preferably one that allows for PRIVATE Albums of photos), where you can upload your pictures to.
  • When you are taking your pictures, if your camera has a GPS capability, use it to tag the photo as well. Never hurts when your insurance company gets the photos, to say they were taken at your house.
  • Make sure you are using your camera in Highest Definition mode and download them in that format as well.
  • Add a detailed description of what the picture is of, and possibly the value of the object
  • Make sure the picture is clear as well (you can take many pictures, you only need 1 clear one).

With this, you now have an off site backed up archive of the valuables in your house, in case of a fire, or theft, and it didn’t really cost you too much either (upload your pictures using Wi-Fi as well, saves you high data charges by your cell phone company).

Give the insurance company as much information as you can, and you are more likely to get your claim dealt with in a quick and concise manner.



Facebook IPO and Random Thoughts

The long awaited Facebook IPO (stock symbol FB) has been announced, is it time to jump in and make some money on this Tech darling (but the voices in my head say remember Nortel and Yahoo)? I will not be buying in, mostly because I wouldn’t buy a stock directly (I am in my passive investing phase) and while Facebook could be the next Google (symbol: GOOG) it has a chance not to be as well. I will simply watch with interest to see how the feeding frenzy goes.

It was Groundhog Day yesterday too, and as usual the various entrants all made their own predictions, but I can safely predict that Spring will come this year, some time (and if it doesn’t we are really in trouble).

It is also a Super Bowl weekend, where non-football lovers get to watch their loved ones turn into raving loonies over 1 game. I will attempt to create my standard chili, and make sure I have enough beer, in case the Giants don’t play well. The Super Bowl seems to be an event bigger than Christmas (and with a longer lead up period too).

Weekly Recap

We washed the all stars out of Ottawa, this week Winterlude begins, but in terms of posts I am fixated on mass transit it seems:

And thanks to those who added me on Twitter I am now over 1000 folks who follow me, zut alors! Check out my facebook page as well (but no I won’t be buying Facebook stock because of this either).

Links for the Week

Facebook’s IPO was big in the news, but RIM is still out there bubbling up, and TAX TIME is even more important too:

Other Bookkeeping

It’s Groundhog Day!

Remember my RSS feed is available too, for those who enjoy reading without looking at my crappy page lay out, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well.

Have alook at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on Digg as Big Cajun Man, on reddit, Tumblr and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well.

If you have social media accounts, don’t forget to vote for my posts (see the nifty dashboard on the bottom of each article, where you can cast your votes). As they say in Quebec, vote early and vote often!

This site is iPhone Friendly (and Android , iPod Touch and iPad Friendly), enjoy it on the go, in a readable format for the device. If you are reading with an iPhone or Android device, drop me a comment and tell me if this needs any improvements. This site is also in the Kindle US Blog list, if you are interested, not available in Canada yet (because no Blogs are available in Canada on a Kindle?!?).

A Quote for Groundhog Day

“There is no way that this winter is *ever* going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him. ”  

Phil Conner from Groundhog Day (played by Bill Murray), yes, I think the groundhog must be STOPPED!!!!


Computers and the Holidays

Were you thinking that someone deserved a computer this holiday season? You might want to watch the prices because thanks to the horrible flooding in Thailand, most of the hard disk drive plants are now not functioning (and aren’t likely to reopen any time soon).

What does this mean? Well if you wanted to buy a replacement 500GB drive for a desktop system last month it cost about $60 at a good on-line vendor, right now, it is at least $110 and could be going much higher very soon (is what I have heard from my distributors).

The obvious ramifications are if you want to buy an External Hard Disk (for backing up all that important data, and remember that is important to do), or a replacement drive for your system this is going to cost a lot more. Will this impact the price of off the shelf systems and such? That one I am not so sure about, I have not seen a noticeable price increase yet, it may be that manufacturers may absorb this cost for a while, hoping supplies can be restored quicker than hoped.

It is interesting that with the globalization of component production, that a major natural disaster can cause this kind of supply interruption. There may be other hard disk drive plants elsewhere in the world, but when the major center is affected, these kind of problems can arise.

Another interesting point is that the prices of Solid State Drives SSDs are not going up in price, and given these devices are much less prone to the issues that hard drives have (i.e. they have no moving parts, they are just memory), will this change the computer industry? Where there is chaos, there is opportunity, we shall see, how this is all resolved.


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