Search found 3433 matches

by magellan
Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how to destroy hard disk with personal info
Replies: 99
Views: 7774

Re: how to destroy hard disk with personal info

All of these physical destruction methods are inferior to a simple wipe, and then secure erase If you 0 out every bit on the drive, there is nothing to read This may work a lot of the time, but it's simply impossible to 0 out every bit on a disk drive. Disk drives ship with unmapped extra physical ...
by magellan
Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: LMP at age 50 (help with TIPS Ladder)
Replies: 28
Views: 2970

Re: LMP at age 50 (help with TIPS Ladder)

Is anyone serious (goldbugs disqualified) actually forecasting double digit inflation in the US any time in the near-medium turn? My comment was just to illustrate the considerable risk in the real cash flows from a TIPS portfolio held in a taxable account. It wasn't meant as a prediction. That sai...
by magellan
Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I move abroad to minimize health care costs?
Replies: 80
Views: 6510

Re: Should I move abroad to minimize health care costs?

For the OP, one thing to consider is that depending on where you live, you may be able to get more stability and security just by moving to a different state. Several states have reasonably well-functioning individual insurance markets that are backstopped by a state level commitment to keeping thin...
by magellan
Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I move abroad to minimize health care costs?
Replies: 80
Views: 6510

Re: Should I move abroad to minimize health care costs?

We are a non-Medicare family of four. Last year we spent $8300 on medical care, including health/dental insurance. That included one minor surgery and medication for two chronic conditions. ...But $10,000 buys all the healthcare needed for many people/families. Actually, it often doesn't. My guess ...
by magellan
Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Way To Code A Text Parser
Replies: 27
Views: 1820

Re: Best Way To Code A Text Parser

You didn't mention what operating system you'd like to do this with. If I'm on Windows and for whatever reason don't want to use a batch file, I use a portable c compiler called lcc. For stuff like this on Windows, I prefer compiled languages like C because the result is a self-contained executable ...
by magellan
Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation of Security Cameras for Exterior of House
Replies: 36
Views: 4918

Re: Recommendation of Security Cameras for Exterior of House

I agree with others that wired is the way to go if it's at all feasible. I also recommend BlueIris, especially if you'd like to control multiple cameras from a single application. One big advantage of Blue Iris compared to a DVR package is that you're not locked into one camera brand. The software s...
by magellan
Sat May 27, 2017 7:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paying someone to build a website
Replies: 28
Views: 2641

Re: Paying someone to build a website

The benefit for using GoDaddy is that they update the WordPress on your website when the software is updated at no extra charge. Most wordpress installations can be set up to auto-update regardless of who's hosting the site. In fact, auto-update is really best practice now to be sure your site gets...
by magellan
Thu May 18, 2017 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheshire County New Hampshire: Which town for retirement?
Replies: 14
Views: 1704

Re: Cheshire County New Hampshire: Which town for retirement?

When considering property taxes in NH, research the tax base in each town, historical tax rates, and recent major expenditures. In many cases you'll see a step function in tax rates from town to town. One town will build a new school and their rates will be considerably higher than nearby towns for ...
by magellan
Thu May 18, 2017 6:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window tint (film) on house windows?
Replies: 24
Views: 3063

Re: Window tint (film) on house windows?

I applied DIY solar film on the inside of 2 velux skylights about 5 years ago and overall I've been very happy with the result. Unfortunately, the air seal on one of the skylights blew and this has dramatically reduced its insulating capability in the winter. It's very noticeable after a snowfall. T...
by magellan
Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric
Replies: 79
Views: 8728

Re: Bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric

I am sorry but solar is just not the choice for base load electricity. Natural gas wins easily in the US. Natural gas definitely wins on both cost and flexibility. However, I'd suggest that the idea of as base load electricity has outlived its usefulness. The concept of base load generation was cre...
by magellan
Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric
Replies: 79
Views: 8728

Re: Bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric

The exelon guy probably doesn't consider the regulated utilities to be "privately owned utilities". He's really referring to merchant utilities like exelon, which the statement definitely is true for them. But the key point is still that nuclear is thoroughly unable to compete without a h...
by magellan
Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cost of Solar Power
Replies: 99
Views: 8287

Re: cost of Solar Power

Not to take this too far off topic, but here's a link to Lazard's latest levelized cost of energy report (PDF): m The report shows the current "all-in" levelized cost for each MWh of electricity produced by each generation source, taking into account the cost of capital, cost of fuel, main...
by magellan
Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cost of Solar Power
Replies: 99
Views: 8287

Re: cost of Solar Power

...just pointing out that some parties (including some large utilities) will be aok with conventional net metering for a long time...but the vested interests that own the generators will probably take political action...as they did successfully in Nevada, and unsuccessfully in Florida. I think that...
by magellan
Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cost of Solar Power
Replies: 99
Views: 8287

Re: cost of Solar Power

How long will this all take? Not 5 years for sure. But unlikely to be 25 years, either. Just to clarify, my bold prediction wasn't so bold as to claim electricity will be too cheap to meter in 5 years. My prediction is that net-metering will likely be unavailable for new rooftop solar installations...
by magellan
Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cost of Solar Power
Replies: 99
Views: 8287

Re: cost of Solar Power

For example, modules on the west pitch of a roof, modules that spend half the day shaded by a tree, the neighbors home, etc. Shading of a module has a disproportional effect on production, especially with crystalline modules. For example, a module that is 10% shaded will drop 60-80% of its nameplat...
by magellan
Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cost of Solar Power
Replies: 99
Views: 8287

Re: cost of Solar Power

To me, the biggest risk of rooftop solar right now is regulatory uncertainty. No one predicted the plunge in solar PV costs and it is completely changing the regulatory environment. In many markets, solar PV is contributing to a glut of power during peak daytime hours, causing wholesale prices to cr...
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 5689

Re: Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

White Coat Investor wrote:You split your money so you wouldn't have to deal with 12 minute periods where you couldn't look at your balance?

Today's downtime was well over an hour, probably closer to two.
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 5689

Re: Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

I'm in now too. I had planned to do my taxes this morning and needed to pull the Vanguard tax forms down from their site. Not the end of the world of course, but it did manage to mess up my schedule for the day and unless Vanguard can explain why it happened, what they've done to prevent it from hap...
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 5689

Re: Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

To me the inexcusable part is that their phone lines aren't working and their twitter feed is completely silent. Downtime can happen to anyone, especially if they're the target of a DOS attack or something. However, a competently run operation wouldn't have gone incommunicado for over an hour during...
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 5689

Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

In case anyone else is experiencing problems, it seems that for the last hour or so Vanguard's login portal has been down and their main phone number just rings and rings, or it abruptly disconnects. Their twitter feed is silent on the issue, but a twitter search yields lots of complaints from unhap...
by magellan
Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anybody else out there still pay for an email address?
Replies: 73
Views: 7788

Re: Does anybody else out there still pay for an email address?

It's relatively easy and cheap to get your own domain and set it up to give you personal email addresses that you own and control. Namecheap offers $10-15/yr domains that include free email forwarding. This works great if you want to create several email addresses tied to services you use and have t...
by magellan
Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are my parents in good hands with this adviser?
Replies: 88
Views: 7988

Re: Are my parents in good hands with this adviser?

My suggestion is to freely share what you've learned in a direct and forthright way. However, be sure to leave plenty of room for them to ignore you and stay where they are. It can be helpful to frame things in terms of what you've done and what you believe to be a good approach, rather than what th...
by magellan
Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax 2016 purchase source
Replies: 91
Views: 14098

Re: Turbo Tax 2016 purchase source

Digging around on TT website and seeing how much fraud has been involved with their softwear over the past couple years, I'm now wondering whether there could be something embedded in this copy of TT that could "hijack" my SS# for a fradulent return. Generally, when you download software ...
by magellan
Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Does Hospice Work?
Replies: 38
Views: 4280

Re: How Does Hospice Work?

Here are some data points on home hospice care from a Massachusetts perspective using a non-profit hospice care provider paid under the medicare hospice benefit. I believe the hospice provider gets a per diem reimbursement from medicare of around $155 a day. This may be different from patient to pat...
by magellan
Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who will run my Ethernet Cables for me?
Replies: 25
Views: 3341

Re: Who will run my Ethernet Cables for me?

Edit: I misread the OP's post and thought they were building or renovating instead of looking to just add a couple of ethernet drops. Most of my post doesn't apply to the OP's situation. When we built our house in 1998, I ran two cat 5 cables to each room in the house for phone and network. In some...
by magellan
Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Musk Says Tesla’s Solar Shingles Will Cost Less Than a Dumb Roof"
Replies: 78
Views: 10169

Re: "Musk Says Tesla’s Solar Shingles Will Cost Less Than a Dumb Roof"

...I also don't believe very many more people are going to buy his electric cars; there will probably come a point where sales growth will trickle. IMO, it's all but certain that within a couple decades, most new cars will be electric. The trajectory is baked in and the transformation will be drive...
by magellan
Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ethernet Question
Replies: 12
Views: 1795

Re: Ethernet Question

A big question is whether the cable will be exposed to sunlight. If the cable won't be in the sun, I'd probably go with a flat cable like this one . These flat cables will be much easier to run through a window and bend around corners compared to an outdoor cable. The downside is that an indoor rate...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

OK, so why don't the insurance companies raise rates and let the consumer pay a larger share instead of just leaving the exchange? It hasn't gotten much press, but I think most of the companies running away from the exchanges are relatively new entrants to the non-group market. Humana, Aetna, and U...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

It seems ACA is designed to increase costs over time; the govt guarantees "paying" customers to private insurers, who are free to price plans as high as they want? This gets to the heart of why the law is so complex. The law counts on competition between insurers to prevent gaming and spi...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

No way people earning less than 100% of poverty level are going to be paying for individual coverage without subsidies. I think the expansion population earns between 100% and 138% of poverty, but your point still applies. I've read that this population often works at least partly off the books and...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

OK, I can buy that, but the amount insurance companies are losing on ObamaCare is significant. If losing money is laughable, losing billions is hilarious. I never said losing money is laughable. It's all about context. IMO, there are two major reasons for the chaos in some individual marketplaces t...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

Nice to know I'm in the 0.6% who actually buys insurance on the open market without a subsidy. No wonder no one ever talks about my situation. I'm right there with you. Although to be fair, news reporting this year seems to be better. In the past, they constantly quoted the "85% of people get ...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

The insurance companies have made out like bandits in the last few years. I don't think this is true. Many insurance companies have had steep losses from ObamaCare and have exited the exchange(s). I think you're both right. The acasignups.net website built this great pie chart that puts the relativ...
by magellan
Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

It seems that this requirement would cause an increase in the number of insured folks in their early to mid 20's. It does. The downside is that it takes a lot of healthy young people out of the individual insurance market and that causes rates to be higher than they would be without that provision....
by magellan
Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

I doubt many truly rich people are taking subsidies. Early retirees with maybe $1M to $3M in assets (no pensions) are often eligible for subsidies, but I would not consider someone in that category "rich." I'm using vague terminology on purpose because this isn't black and white. I was tr...
by magellan
Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

All that wil happen is rich people will take just enough out to stay under and get all the subsidy they can. If the market completely bifurcates as many expect, these rich people would have to accept low-quality medicaid-like insurance in exchange for the subsidy, since that will be the only choice...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling
Replies: 19
Views: 1771

Re: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling

The insurance company is charged $805 for every 30 day refill. I pay $45. On Healthcare.gov it lets you put in prescriptions to see which plans cover that drug. I mt says none available cover it. Not sure what that means for me. Wow, that's an expensive drug. The lack of inclusion in any ACA plan f...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling
Replies: 19
Views: 1771

Re: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling

On the Rx side, you have to figure out whether it makes sense to use the insurance or buy the medicine without insurance using a discount card or from an online canadian pharmacy. So the first step is to price your prescriptions using GoodRx.com and canadadrugs.com to see what kind of prices you'll ...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

We just got our annual increase letter. It's going to be $101. A 29% increase. Way more than has happened in previous years. This varies by state, but in our state, premiums for grandfathered plans are tiered based on 5 yr age brackets. This is just how it worked before Obamacare. So people ages 40...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Penalty Exemption and Short-Term Coverage = Reduced Costs
Replies: 1
Views: 376

Re: ACA Penalty Exemption and Short-Term Coverage = Reduced Costs

Does the short term plan have the possibility of an HSA deduction? Assuming no, and assuming they could make a $7,750 HSA contribution with an ACA plan and get a 30-40% tax break, their total savings with the short term plan would drop from $7,700 down to under $5k. Further, if they're self employed...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

I have no idea how often this happens - but here, for us, twice. Our result for 2017 from this resulted in a 38% increase in net premium, when the gross premium was only up around 21%. Since I haven't heard others with this exception, perhaps its rare everywhere else. I think what's happening is th...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

The question is, what if there is only one silver plan? There's probably some rule about how that's handled, but I don't think that's likely to ever happen. Each insurer usually offers several plans at each metal level. In fact, in more competitive markets, there's a thing called 'silver spamming' ...
by magellan
Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 16129

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

...you have to have a silver plan to get the premium, and as you pointed out... As I understand it, the amount of premium subsidy you get is based on the cost of the second lowest priced silver plan in your area. However, you can choose a plan with a different metal level and apply your subsidy to ...
by magellan
Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2017 ACA plan previews
Replies: 172
Views: 14054

Re: 2017 ACA plan previews

2. ACA is awful. But, as someone who had an individual policy pre-ACA, I can assure you the individual market back then was worse. Coverage was routinely "non-renewed" if the insured had large expenses; yearly or lifetime maximums were enforced. This point is key in ACA discussions. I've ...
by magellan
Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mirai malware botnet
Replies: 12
Views: 1750

Re: Mirai malware botnet

With a good router/firewall There are a lot of routers available with high name recognition. How does one judge "goodness" when it comes security? Are there any ratings? My feeling is that getting a device from a major brand that's super popular is probably the safest bet. With this appro...
by magellan
Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mirai malware botnet
Replies: 12
Views: 1750

Re: Mirai malware botnet

The key takeaway from this incident is that you must have a robust router/firewall between your home network and your ISP. Don't rely on ISP provided equipment, especially if it's locked down and doesn't let you verify settings. If your ISP requires their router to be used and it's locked down, put ...
by magellan
Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car dealer "Internet Sales Department" - Useless?
Replies: 58
Views: 6763

Re: Car dealer "Internet Sales Department" - Useless?

If the dealer's website lists their inventory with VINs, don't request a quote based on options or colors. Just tell them that their online inventory shows a VIN that meets your needs, you'd like to buy it, and want an out-the-door price for that specific VIN. It's fine to reiterate the options/colo...
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 8228

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

Not so fast. You can't just move to the next zip code over . . . Thanks for looking this up. I hadn't heard about the change requiring insurance coverage to be in force prior to the move. As long as they beef up verification to prevent outright lying, that really should shut down most of the gaming.
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 8228

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

Yes, I looked it up. Healthcare.gov says moving to a different zip code or county is an example of a qualifying event. This adds a new dimension to my retirement planning. Thanks for enlightening me. Heck, all the good hospitals and doctors are in different counties. But that leaves you exposed to ...
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 8228

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

Amazing. Moving one county over is a qualifying event. I didn't know this. So the minute I get diagnosed I sell the house and move closer to where the hospital is and file for insurance. I think you at least have to move to a different county, but don't quote me on that. It all depends on how your ...