Jim Cramer's "Stay Mad for Life" – Part One

Despite Amazon’s best efforts to delay our Christmas festivities, one of the presents I received was a copy of Jim Cramer‘s “Stay May For Life” Apparently he’s an investment guru whom my mom has been following for a while. Despite the criticisms he’s received (see the Wikipedia link above) I’m inclined to hear what he has to say. Why not, right?
I’ve decided to share some of the highlights of his book as I read through it.
In chapter two, he mentions three important things:

  1. Create a budget for daily, monthly, and annual expenses.
    Okay, so far, I’m with him on this. Although I’ve rarely budgeted my personal expenses, putting together a budget is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, so this seems as good an excuse as any.
  2. Carry health insurance.
    This is also a timely piece of advice. Given that we are seeing another double-digit (18%) increase in health insurance premiums this year, I asked my wife to investigate alternatives such as self-funding insurance or a health savings account. Unfortunately, it appears that the best course of action is to pay somewhere around $800/mo. for health insurance, with a $10,000 deductible. Crisis? Maybe. Ridiculous? Definitely.
  3. Carry no balances on credit cards.
    This one’s a no-brainer for me. I can remember once in my life when I carried balances on a credit card intentionally, and that was to get me into college when I showed up to find that financial aid hadn’t come through as planned. I paid them off within a year, but other than that, I am well aware that carrying 20%+ interest rates for a short-term cash loan is insane. If you need short-term loans, seek out your local credit union. I know, (from experience, as I’m a member of my local credit union‘s board of directors) that they are there to help you.

Assuming the book continues to hold my attention, I’ll post updates as I read through it.

All I Want For Christmas

Alright, fiends and family have asked what I want for Christmas, so here goes:

Social Networking – Friend and Follow Everyone?

I’ve noticed a few “web-celebs” have a tendency to “friend” and “follow” everyone who “friends” and “follows” them. My first impression remains: what can anyone do with all that chatter?
For example, Robert Scoble, an “A-List blogger,” claims he follows everyone that follows him. He’s got 5,000 friends in Facebook (the current limit), and is following 6,946 (at the time of this writing) people on Twitter. Author J.C. Hutchins has 741 followers and is following 745.
I can’t imagine what that’s like. I suppose since I review my Twitter and Facebook feeds via RSS, my method simply would not work, and I’d miss, well almost everything. From a “snapshot in time” perspective, these guys’ method may be more interesting, but if your motive is more like mine, to actually track everything that goes into your feed, it’s practically impossible to manage the sheer volume of noise that is going to be flying through that stream.
So, just for kicks, I am following more of the folks who follow me on Twitter. If I end up not following you after a period of time, I apologize in advance. I’m sure it’s not because the content of your feed is boring, I just don’t have the time to track it all (and play World of Warcraft). Okay, maybe it’s because it was a tiny bit boring, but please don’t assume that. Besides, it’s hard to compete with World of Warcraft.

No Comment?

I haven’t gotten any comments on the blog lately, other than the spam that Akismet’s been catching, but I have been getting comments via Facebook, Twitter, and email. Ted Roche was kind enough to point out that registration was turned off on my site. I’d totally forgotten that I shut off comments months ago because of all the spam, and never turned them back on after installing Akisment. So, comments are open once again.
Let’s hear it, people! What do you have to say?

Installing NX Free on Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

Last week I read an article in this month’s Linux Magazine on remote desktop access via NX Free. While Ubuntu ships with a great client for Windows Terminal Services and VNC, NX free is more powerful in that it gives you full access to a Linux desktop environment, including such things as sounds. Unlike VNC, which requires extra effort to secure, NX Free runs over SSH, so encryption is built in. Continue reading “Installing NX Free on Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon”

People Do Not Listen

I have blogged in the past about how people do not know how to use voicemail, but I feel the need to revise this. “People are stupid.” A bit harsh. “People do not listen.” Yes, that’s better.
Okay, here’s the deal: last night, we got a voicemail to our customer service line at Paradigm. It was from a person who was checking on a job application… to be a flight attendant.
Okay, so maybe there’s some wiggle room here. After all, our voicemail greeting does not explicitly say “we are information technology consultants,” but then again, nobody would listen if it did. But if you’re given a choice of “current clients who need technical support,” and “you are not yet a client and have questions about our services,” do either of those remotely sound like a place where you’d send a job application to be a flight attendant?

How I Enabled My 1440×900 Widescreen 19" Flat Panel under Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

As you may have heard on a November Fresh Ubuntu podcast, I was disappointed at Gutsy’s inability to reliably detect my widescreen 19″ flat panel display. It failed to give me the option to set the display to its native resolution of 1440×900 pixels. However, booting from the live CD correctly detected and set the resolution!
The fix?

  1. Back up /etc/X11
    cd; tar cvfx X11.tgz /etc/X11
  2. Boot from the live CD, and mount the Ubuntu partition (/dev/sda1 on my computer) into /media/sda1.
    sudo su; mkdir /media/sda1; mount /dev/sda1 /media/sda1
  3. Set the screen to its proper resolution, if it’s not there already.
    Click System | Preferences | Screen Resolution | Choose the desired resolution | Click Apply.
  4. Copy the working X11 config over to the inactive copy on the hard drive
    cp -fuvr /etc/X11/* /media/sda1/etc/X11/

Reboot from the hard drive and presto! We have 1440×900.
Now… if only I can get Windows to do the same thing. But that’s a separate blog post.

One Blog to Rule Them All?

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of breaking my blog up into separate blogs based on categories, instead of one monolithic mashup of tech, rants, and local politics. I can’t decide.