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by hicabob
Wed May 20, 2015 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?
Replies: 14
Views: 1808

Re: Any advice on handling frequent weekend getaways?

I have found Priceline is much more cost effective than hotels.com or loyalty programs. It does require you to wait until the day or two before your stay which is unnerving at first.
by hicabob
Wed May 20, 2015 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How should drivers react to bicycle riders on one lane roads?
Replies: 68
Views: 2667

Re: How should drivers react to bicycle riders on one lane roads?

The new law in California as of this year is to always give bicyclists 3 feet of room which seems reasonable enough.
by hicabob
Tue May 19, 2015 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Tax (WA State)
Replies: 9
Views: 648

Re: Estate Tax (WA State)

Perhaps do early retirement in WA then move to NV for later retirement? They certainly do have a relatively punitive estate tax.
by hicabob
Tue May 19, 2015 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chip and sign card working great in Nice, France
Replies: 5
Views: 611

Re: Chip and sign card working great in Nice, France

My Cap one Quicksilver "chip and signature" also worked without problems in Germany last week. It's interesting how infrequently native Germans use credit cards compared to folk in the US and that many restaurants in Germany do not take CC's .
by hicabob
Sun May 17, 2015 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Office Flooring - Boglehead Choice?
Replies: 17
Views: 1013

Re: Home Office Flooring - Boglehead Choice?

stan1 wrote:
hicabob wrote:Pergo type laminate snap-together flooring is great for home offices. Not expensive, easy to install, durable, smooth and looks good.


Does it scratch when using rolling chairs?


Nope - the stuff is really tough.
by hicabob
Sun May 17, 2015 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Office Flooring - Boglehead Choice?
Replies: 17
Views: 1013

Re: Home Office Flooring - Boglehead Choice?

Pergo type laminate snap-together flooring is great for home offices. Not expensive, easy to install, durable, smooth and looks good.
by hicabob
Wed May 13, 2015 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any experience with plasma donation to boost income?
Replies: 67
Views: 4833

Re: Any experience with plasma donation to boost income?

I did it a few times in uni when I was particularly hard-up. It made me really hungry afterwards so I would then eat a good portion of the compensation. One time my vein started ballooning up when they re-introduced the refrigerated blood cells - I yanked it out, told them to keep the blood/saline a...
by hicabob
Thu May 07, 2015 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with 1940's refrigerator that still works?
Replies: 36
Views: 2697

Re: What to do with 1940's refrigerator that still works?

A few thoughts 1. Freon is not poisonous (it's actually very inert) but it is bad for the atmosphere (reduces ozone in upper atmosphere). That's why we have regulations and why we attempt to reclaim as much as possible. Even so much is lost. As a result different freon compositions are now used. &q...
by hicabob
Thu May 07, 2015 7:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with 1940's refrigerator that still works?
Replies: 36
Views: 2697

Re: What to do with 1940's refrigerator that still works?

3. Even older refrigerators have a separate compressor in the basement. So this is not astonishingly old. My Dad bought an old house with one of these decades ago. We were seeing if we could make it work again when the sulfuric acid type refrigerant started escaping. Not as bad as it sounds but not...
by hicabob
Sun May 03, 2015 11:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Financial reasons to get a summer job?
Replies: 36
Views: 1839

Re: Financial reasons to get a summer job?

Just about everywhere in the US there is a small biz that want a new website or an old one redone. While not very esoteric in terms of computer science it's nonetheless a useful skill, looks good on the old resume and it's easy to find someone willing to pay a few bucks for the work.
by hicabob
Fri May 01, 2015 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Powerwall: The Arrival of Home Battery Backup System
Replies: 53
Views: 4988

Re: Powerwall: The Arrival of Home Battery Backup System

A good dog and pony show by Elon explaining the Powerwall
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKORsrlN-2k
by hicabob
Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Am I being scammed?
Replies: 13
Views: 2440

Re: Am I being scammed?

A copy of a title is not a valid title - you could always write COPY on it with a Sharpie too.
by hicabob
Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best roofing material?
Replies: 17
Views: 1770

Re: What is the best roofing material?

There is thin shake and thick shake in these parts. Thick lasts a lot longer. I just replaced the 40yo thick shake roof on my house with composite a year ago. Although perhaps less aesthetically pleasing, it makes a better roof (more waterproof and rodent proof unlike shake) and is infinitely more f...
by hicabob
Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: taking break from computer use - to avoid back pain
Replies: 17
Views: 627

Re: taking break from computer use - to avoid back pain

cheese_breath wrote:Is there an easy way to raise your workstation so you can occasionally work standing up?


A few cinder blocks and a board or ....
http://www.amazon.com/Original-Stand-St ... nding+desk
by hicabob
Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is too long to stay the course?
Replies: 50
Views: 3786

Re: What is too long to stay the course?

Since it's inception in 1999 QQQ has handily beaten SPY (the s+p 500 etf). http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=QQQ+ ... 1%7D%7D%7D
by hicabob
Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blacktop Driveway Sealing
Replies: 20
Views: 1689

Re: Blacktop Driveway Sealing

How often are roads sealed? Never Agreed - I share a very long driveway with a neighbor. I am at the end so use "his" part of the driveway to get to the road. We split repair on the shared portion but he likes it sealed. I consider it to be painting it black so decline to contribute (whic...
by hicabob
Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?
Replies: 47
Views: 3458

Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

There are a lot of posts earlier in the thread suggesting that you do it yourself. For a pittance in material cost, you can get the satisfaction of completing a home project with your own sweat equity. They make it sound pretty easy (and fun!). I haven't done any tilework, although I've seen plenty...
by hicabob
Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wire money to Crimea?
Replies: 6
Views: 761

Re: Wire money to Crimea?

bitcoins would work if the developer was amenable.
by hicabob
Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 11074

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

Wow I will try never to grumble about our almost 9K tax (1.86% in metrowest MA). I've never heard of >3% property tax before this - what are you getting for your money? I ask myself the same question. Since I usually go by the adage "there is no free lunch", what are you getting for 3% pr...
by hicabob
Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 11074

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

Also in northern NJ but unfortunately I pay $56,000! And yep marginal tax rates are high and NJ caps your property tax deduction at $10k for state tax purposes - AND we have the nation's most penal estate tax regime! Not many better alternatives for Manhattan commuters, and I love it here, but from...
by hicabob
Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7277

Re: What is safest vehicle on the road today?

school bus always wins the title
by hicabob
Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: mandatory 17% tip at a buffet
Replies: 32
Views: 3612

Re: mandatory 17% tip at a buffet

In Vegas buffets the typically middle aged woman that gets and refills your drinks, picks up the dirty plates between trips to the trough, brings that steak knife for the prime rib then cleans the table makes about $7/hour + tips so you really should leave them a tip. $4 per person doesn't seem too ...
by hicabob
Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Collecting: A Hobby First, Investment Second
Replies: 33
Views: 2962

Re: Collecting: A Hobby First, Investment Second

My late uncle used to collect antique clocks and became quite the expert clocksmith. He did it as a hobby since being a long haul airline pilot he had a lot of spare time and he enjoyed mechanical things but they were expensive and he always anticipated they would be a good investment - turns out th...
by hicabob
Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?
Replies: 35
Views: 2168

Re: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?

just frank wrote:I have never seen a generator put out a square wave....only inverters and UPSes. Coil rotating in magnetic field == sine wave....?


I should pull out the scope and look at it, but my 2 UPS's do not like my Chinese generator.
by hicabob
Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?
Replies: 35
Views: 2168

Re: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?

I guess I am the poster child for doing things the opposite of what you say Magellan. I have never had a problem. Running my sump on the 700W/900W surge genny does a big pull down, and true I have no other loads at all. Running all my loads the refrigerator will cause a little pull down when it kic...
by hicabob
Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor hired a surveyor. Should I be nervous?
Replies: 81
Views: 10190

Re: Neighbor hired a surveyor. Should I be nervous?

meebers wrote: We pulled the plot plans, and compared the measurements from each house to the "line". Her fence was 2 " already into my property.



The plot lines are not relative to the houses, which of course were put there after the plots were divided. They are relative to a known marker.
by hicabob
Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:03 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [retired guy said] terrible crash is coming
Replies: 71
Views: 8622

Re: Dr. Ron Paul politician says terrible crash is coming

That's what he's said for years. He's a gold bug and "talks his book".
by hicabob
Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts to take to Scotland.
Replies: 33
Views: 2239

Re: Gifts to take to Scotland.

Some American candy bars for the kiddies or "sweets" as they are properly called. Candy bars are still surprisingly localized and most kids love new ones.
by hicabob
Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?
Replies: 55
Views: 4698

Re: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?

Desperate HouseWiFi is pretty good.
by hicabob
Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Unsolicited offers to buy your house
Replies: 14
Views: 2078

Re: Unsolicited offers to buy your house

Robert Bruss used to advocate this methodology in his books way back when he was the pre-eminent real estate columnist/author in the SF Bay Area.
by hicabob
Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?
Replies: 60
Views: 4502

Re: Engineering as a career for a graduating HS student ?

I worked with mechanical engineers for most of my career writing code to make their stuff move. The wonderful thing about mechanical eng. is that it is so cumulative. The older guys often run circles around the young whippersnappers due to the accumulated knowledge in a field that knowledge seems to...
by hicabob
Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best fish oil/omega-3 supplement?
Replies: 18
Views: 1273

Re: Best fish oil/omega-3 supplement?

To add to nutritional confusion google "fish oil + prostate cancer"
by hicabob
Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting married-do I really need a will?
Replies: 26
Views: 2079

Re: Getting married-do I really need a will?

Make a will. The fill in the blank one from our states website was good enough until we had kids and complicated finances. I second the idea of doing a fill in the blank state will. Going through the process will let you know if you need something more elaborate. It's a good start, educational and ...
by hicabob
Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy extended warranty for our new Toyota Sienna
Replies: 50
Views: 3457

Re: Should I buy extended warranty for our new Toyota Sienna

For an additional 6 years it's not too bad. If it's six years from the date of purchase it's redundant with the original warranty for most of the coverage period. I'd skip it either way though. Toyota is known for reliability in electronics as well as other things. I have a relative who works for HK...
by hicabob
Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Nailed it! $223,199/yr: magic# for making it in SF Bay Area
Replies: 117
Views: 11492

Re: Nailed it! $223,199/yr: magic# for making it in SF Bay A

The nice thing about the SF Bay Area for enginerds is the opportunity, contacts, infrastructure and energy. Many of us would not have accomplished what we did had we lived in "flyover country". Yes, 200k or so is required for an upper middle lifestyle as you describe but that's cheaper tha...
by hicabob
Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Magic Eraser Ruined Cabinet Doors
Replies: 11
Views: 1301

Re: Magic Eraser Ruined Cabinet Doors

refinish the doors , or more likely get the doors refinished at a cabinet shop.
by hicabob
Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone have experience with water softeners?
Replies: 41
Views: 1877

Re: anyone have experience with water softeners?

If you have PEX or copper, you need some more specialized skill sets ... And, with PEX, some specialized tools. For example: http://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=pex+tool That's nice to see the PEX tools are readily available now. About 15 years ago I had so re-plumbing done with PEX and the plu...
by hicabob
Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone have experience with water softeners?
Replies: 41
Views: 1877

Re: anyone have experience with water softeners?

I had a house that came with a system that had been bypassed. I left it that way and eventually removed it. >Changing water chemistry via sending it through magnetic fields is dubious at best. It's not dubious (sic) it's totally bogus. Everybody knows that magnetic fields are for improving gas mile...
by hicabob
Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone have experience with water softeners?
Replies: 41
Views: 1877

Re: anyone have experience with water softeners?

Do your own research. Google around. Most water softeners remove Calcium and Magnesium but add a ton of Sodium which is bad for the heart. Plus, you will spend half of forever trying to wash off soap in the shower. Not only are they expensive, but most water softener manufacturers recommend you not...
by hicabob
Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?
Replies: 132
Views: 12895

Re: Hate where we live, do we make major changes?

My tentative plan for early retirement is winters on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and summers at a lakefront home in upstate NY, unbelievably affordable as far as I've so far determined. BFG Lakefront homes in NY can be surprisingly expensive. There are many multi-million dollar "cottages&q...
by hicabob
Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:55 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: San Jose, CA Area Bogleheads Chapter
Replies: 22
Views: 2592

Re: San Jose, CA Area Bogleheads Chapter

Hi San Jose area Bogleheads. I would be curious what you think about the housing market here and whether it makes "Boglehead" sense to buy a house now when prices are so high. This showed up for me today and I'm just offering it without affirming or denying its implications: [url]http://s...
by hicabob
Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Earthquake coverage in CA
Replies: 20
Views: 1133

Re: Earthquake coverage in CA

Look and see if you are in California Earthquake Zone 3 or 4 (maps on Internet USGS). 4 carries a higher risk of a damaging earthquake in your vicinity, whereas 3 not so much. Are you single-story or two-story? Two story houses transfer heavier loads to the foundation. What type of construction is ...
by hicabob
Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Norwesco water tanks
Replies: 17
Views: 1816

Re: Norwesco water tanks

I have a similar tank but 5000+ gallons for my well water as required by the fire department. It's made of high-density crosslinked polyethylene and the stuff is amazingly durable - It has been in full sun for 10 years now and no sign of UV decay at all. The base that the tank sits on is important s...
by hicabob
Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:37 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: A 'Like' Function for Posts on this Forum
Replies: 18
Views: 1357

Re: A 'Like' Function for Posts on this Forum

One drawback is that some folk have the tendency to become what is colloquially known as a "karma whore" if a rating is available on a BB and strive to maximize that rating. I think it makes for a better discussion without.
by hicabob
Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4575

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

[ A Tesla car battery has 60KWh of power which is enough for a few days for most households. More if they are careful, so it could replace a generator for a few days. The car battery would currently cost more than a nice household generator though - about $10k for the car battery pack then you woul...
by hicabob
Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4575

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

Could these by an alternative to whole-home generators? We live in a city, have natural gas and no fireplace. I'm always scared of long power outages in winter since we have no alternative heat source and running a generator isn't practical due to space/potential theft. Could a battery like this pl...
by hicabob
Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Engine Immobilizer Issue
Replies: 11
Views: 996

Re: Car Engine Immobilizer Issue

If it still has its original battery a new one might fix it - costco batteries are good and priced right. I replaced the original battery on my daughters VW and it fixed a few weird electrical problems. Newer cars are a lot fussier over battery voltage than old ones used to be due to all the electro...
by hicabob
Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4575

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

I wonder how the efficiency, longevity and cost will compare with regenerative fuel cells which use excess power for electrolysis to generate hydrogen from water for fuel cell fuel?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_fuel_cell
by hicabob
Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boglehead Jeep owners? ("real Jeep's")
Replies: 51
Views: 2940

Re: Boglehead Jeep owners? ("real Jeep's")

I rented a Jeep Cherokee on my recent AZ trip and wasn't too impressed with it. It had 4X4 emblemage, but in looking over the owners manual, it had the el cheapo transmission, primarily FWD with some sort of dynamic power transfer to rear wheels depending on mode selection and conditions. I played ...
by hicabob
Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child's prenup
Replies: 19
Views: 2491

Re: Child's prenup

barnaclebob wrote:Why don't you leave it up to your child. Where your money goes after you die affects you in zero ways.


I agree. I do my best to teach my kids the ways of a Boglehead. After I'm gone it's up to them to carry on (or not).

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