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Books on CD: Audiobooks

A few years back, I found that the time I spend commuting and running errands is lost. Since I wasn’t doing anything, I decided to listen to books on cassette. Over the years, I have listened to many novels (many abridged) and enjoyed this time that much more.

When I started writing here, I noticed that many financial advice books were beginning to get published on cassette and on CD, so now I tend to listen to them in my car as well. Is this the best way to absorb research and ideas? I have no real idea, but I find that it does pass the time nicely, and if an idea is a good idea, it does tend to stick in my head.

Things have changed again, and now we have streaming sites like Audible, Spotify, and others that allow you to stream audiobooks. I have adopted Audible. However, I use OpenAudible with it, so I have archives of what I have purchased. Libraries offer the same service using Overdrive or Libby.

Naturally, I cannot afford to buy all of this material, I borrow it from the Ottawa Public Library which has a fantastic online system for putting items on reserve and an easy method to pick them up. They also can download materials onto your PC and listen to them there (for a fixed period). Typically if a book is quite useful, I may purchase it (that rarely happens), but the library allows me access to a wealth of information that I would not usually have access to.

A friend also does this, but he tends to store the books on his iPod for later listening pleasure, which is also a great idea.

National Debt Update

Stats Can put out yesterday a statement about the Canadian Federal National Debt:

At March 31, 2007, the federal government’s net financial debt (defined as the excess of liabilities over financial assets) decreased to $508.1 billion, a 1.2% or $6.0 billion decline from March 31, 2006. An increase of $5.1 billion in financial assets and a decrease of $0.9 billion in liabilities explain this drop. The federal government net financial debt has decreased for the 10th consecutive year, a decline of $80.3 billion from 1997 to 2007.

So, the debt has dropped $80 billion over 10 years, which is not bad—about a 14% drop. If they can keep this payback velocity, it will only be another 65 years before the debt is finally paid off. I guess it’s better than going farther into debt.

U.S. Interest Rates Down Again?

Another 0.5% drop by the U.S. Federal Reserve yesterday to help prop up a faltering U.S. economy, which caused the Canadian dollar so sore above it’s American cousin for the first time in a while. I guess the Bank of Canada may follow suit sometime in the future, but don’t hold your breath either. Canadian banks are raising their long-term Mortgage rates (announced in the past week or so). This suggests that this drop in interest rates may be a very short-term thing. TD Canada Trust updated its interest rates (available through an RSS feed) on Tuesday.

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