Search found 398 matches

by coalcracker
Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International car rental fine: ignore?
Replies: 6
Views: 611

International car rental fine: ignore?

I rented a car in Europe at the end of September. Today I received a letter from the (US based) rental car company that I was fined 25 Euros for an unspecified traffic violation on one of the dates we were there in September. My guess based on the date is that I missed or otherwise screwed up a toll...
by coalcracker
Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart locks: integrate with security system or stand alone?
Replies: 1
Views: 203

Smart locks: integrate with security system or stand alone?

I'm having a home security system, the first I've ever used, installed on my new home. The company (Guardian) sells 2 styles of Kwikset Z-wave deadbolts which fully integrate with the security system, i.e., you can coordinate them with setting the alarm and control them from the Guardian app. Howeve...
by coalcracker
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Katmai Advice
Replies: 13
Views: 1517

Re: Katmai Advice

We're also in the process of visiting the National Parks and went to Katmai this summer. Our attitude was to not economize for some of the less accessible (several of the parks in Alaska) parks. Our thinking was that if we are going to go to all of the trouble to see our national parks, we want to ...
by coalcracker
Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Windows laptop <$200 (NOT chromebook)
Replies: 16
Views: 903

Re: Cheap Windows laptop <$200 (NOT chromebook)

Can you explain what you mean by "program"? Are you using Visual Studio or something like that to program a new piece of software? Are you running a canned program provided by Lutron? It is Lutron's RadioRA2 programming software to design and configure a whole house smart lighting system. Windows o...
by coalcracker
Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Windows laptop <$200 (NOT chromebook)
Replies: 16
Views: 903

Re: Cheap Windows laptop <$200 (NOT chromebook)

PFInterest wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:23 am
Also thats a weird spec to quote. Looks like an i5 750 from 2009......
Craigslist is your only real hope.
Sorry for my tech ignorance, just copied and pasted the software recommendations
PFInterest wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:21 am
You can get a Win10 key for like $20.
Could you elaborate on this? I see Windows 10 online for ~$100.
by coalcracker
Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Windows laptop <$200 (NOT chromebook)
Replies: 16
Views: 903

Cheap Windows laptop <$200 (NOT chromebook)

I'm looking for a laptop, new or refurbished, with at least the following specs: -i5 2.67GHz processor -8 GB RAM Currently I only have a pair of Macbooks, but I need a PC in order to program smarthome software (Lutron). Yes, I know I could run a windows emulator, but I don't have a windows license s...
by coalcracker
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home sale etiquette: wall repair
Replies: 53
Views: 3637

Re: Home sale etiquette: wall repair

OP here. Interesting to see the varying opinions. It seems it split fairly evenly. My instinct is to do what is easiest, ie. just leave them. However, I should mention two other possibly relevant facts: 1. We are moving down the street, so the new owners will be future neighbors. Our neighborhood is...
by coalcracker
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home sale etiquette: wall repair
Replies: 53
Views: 3637

Home sale etiquette: wall repair

I will be closing on the first home I ever owned in a few weeks. We plan to give the house a reasonably thorough cleaning after all the furniture is moved out. Over the years, we have a few dozen nails and nail holes scattered throughout our plaster walls. What, if any, is the prevailing etiquette f...
by coalcracker
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upstairs Floor is No Longer Used....
Replies: 22
Views: 2817

Re: Upstairs Floor is No Longer Used....

Similar to TomatoTomahto's idea, you might consider something like the ecobee smart thermostat, which uses remote sensors to even out the temperature throughout the house. I imagine you could place the main thermostat where it currently is, but place a few sensors in the upstairs bedrooms to better ...
by coalcracker
Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Argentina Trip Over Winter Break
Replies: 20
Views: 1676

Re: Argentina Trip Over Winter Break

We did essentially this same trip about 10 years ago. Some things may have changed, but the mountains are the same :D First, both my wife and I agree it was our favorite vacation of all time; we travel extensively and it still holds up as #1. Patagonia was really the highlight. If you are into the o...
by coalcracker
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Indoor Play toys for toddler
Replies: 31
Views: 1822

Re: Indoor Play toys for toddler

Each evening during dinner prep, my 16-month-old likes to remove all pots, pans and utensils that are within her reach and bang them on stuff. Then, as dinner time approaches, she will climb on the dining chairs and sometimes the dining table to indicate her hunger. I'm sure I will look back on thes...
by coalcracker
Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bathroom and Basement Remodel Costs
Replies: 56
Views: 3819

Re: Bathroom and Basement Remodel Costs

It depends. In our current home (going on the market today!), we have gutted/remodeled 2 bathrooms, kitchen, and a master bedroom. In our new home, we are nearing the end of what amounts to whole house remodel. In the course of these projects we have used 3 different GCs and, from this limited sampl...
by coalcracker
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia
Replies: 32
Views: 1536

Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

I love this part of the country, and have vacationed here 3 times in the past 5 years for about a month total. While Big Sur is beautiful, it is more of a "drive and walk" than a true hiking destination. If you do go, check out Pfeiffer state park for sunset. The best hike in Yosemite, IMHO, is Half...
by coalcracker
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Large Family Trip - Florida or Carribean
Replies: 24
Views: 1795

Re: Large Family Trip - Florida or Carribean

If you were thinking Puerto Rico, consider Vieques. With that number of people you could even charter a flight from San Juan for a reasonable price.
by coalcracker
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to tell which vent is dryer vent?
Replies: 40
Views: 1815

Re: How to tell which vent is dryer vent?

Off the top of my head, put something loud like a few quarters in your dryer, and see if you can hear it.

Sincerely,
MacGuyver
by coalcracker
Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gentlemen: underwear shopping question
Replies: 35
Views: 4121

Re: Gentlemen: underwear shopping question

I began buying these for travel about 8 years ago. Eventually I got to the point that they are what I wear at all times. The pockets are very handy for securing some extra cash, passport, backup credit card, room key card, etc while traveling. Plus they're a handy place for carrying your cell phone...
by coalcracker
Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Native German speakers: need help with translation.
Replies: 17
Views: 2020

Native German speakers: need help with translation.

I am remodeling and have a powder room door that opens outward by necessity. I am looking to get one of those deadbolts with an occupancy indicator (occupied versus vacant) on the outside. To have a little fun, thought I would create a custom indicator in German, with the appropriate words on a eith...
by coalcracker
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retire and become an Adventure Guide
Replies: 34
Views: 2854

Re: Retire and become an Adventure Guide

I used a guide from discovery treks for a hike to Havasupai (near the Grand Canyon) with my brothers last April: https://discoverytreks.com/ Our guide was a young woman who worked part-time for the NPS at the Grand Canyon, and supplemented her income with these guided hikes. Sure, she got to hike wi...
by coalcracker
Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: JFK Traverlers: How to go from NJ to JFK and the opposite?
Replies: 48
Views: 2497

Re: JFK Traverlers: How to go from NJ to JFK and the opposite?

Do any hotels near JFK offer "park and fly"? We did this when leaving on a 2 week trip from DC (we live in western PA). The hotel allowed us to leave the car in their parking lot for the duration of the trip, provided we stay there the night before. We took their shuttle to the airport. This approac...
by coalcracker
Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3570

Re: International Vacation Ideas

Deciding where to take an exotic vacation is a great "problem" to have :D . You'll have a memorable experience no matter what you choose. My wife and I spent 3 weeks in Nepal and India as our last trip before kids, about 5 years ago now. If you could swing a 3-week trip, a trek in Nepal and some tim...
by coalcracker
Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Destination - are you happy with your choice?
Replies: 127
Views: 16467

Re: Retirement Destination - are you happy with your choice?

I'm not retired, but if you are looking for moderate, beautiful weather (for a price :twisted: ) consider the central coast of CA. I've visited friends in the San Luis Obispo area in all four seasons and I'll be damned if the weather wasn't the same each time.
by coalcracker
Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3570

Re: International Vacation Ideas

Thanks for the responses. It was very helpful! I think we like the idea of Southeast Asia (Nepal + others) and/or an African Safari depending on PTO availability/cost/etc. My wife is a little worried about medical in some of these destinations as she has a pre-existing condition. It's relatively we...
by coalcracker
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3570

Re: International Vacation Ideas

I've traveled a ton. Here are a top 3 for you: 1. Patagonia. Never been to a more beautiful, wild place (although I haven't been everywhere :wink: ). Torres del Paine and hiking on the Perito Moreno Glacier were highlights, but the whole region is a highlight. Could combine with Buenos Aires (we did...
by coalcracker
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: can we afford to spend $20K on travel annually
Replies: 89
Views: 7631

Re: can we afford to spend $20K on travel annually

My wife and I are in a very similar situation (age 39, kids are 4 and 1), and we LOVE to travel. We went all over the world as DINKs, and have traveled a good bit with our first child, including Portugal, France, London, Hawaii, Mexico, and Costa Rica. We are planning an international trip or two in...
by coalcracker
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I prewire my home network myself?
Replies: 40
Views: 2784

Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

I haven't priced the cable itself in quite a while, but don't pay a significant premium for Cat6 vs. Cat5e. It is next to impossible for a non-professional installer to terminate Cat6 within spec, due to the extremely tight 0.5" maximum untwist requirement. If it's not terminated to spec, then it's...
by coalcracker
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I prewire my home network myself?
Replies: 40
Views: 2784

Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home. Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve. Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next ...
by coalcracker
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I prewire my home network myself?
Replies: 40
Views: 2784

Should I prewire my home network myself?

Most of my future home is gutted at the moment, and it was suggested by a friend that I should think about prewiring my home with CAT6 and coaxial cable to most of the rooms. This will presumably allow the most flexibility and least headache for any future AV or network components I may want to add....
by coalcracker
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does everyone here earn so much?
Replies: 131
Views: 8772

Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category. PJW Outside of this message board, my wife, and my accountant, no one knows how much I earn. Disclosing my true salary here was never about bragging (perhaps this is a meta-brag?). Some DO earn high sala...
by coalcracker
Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does everyone here earn so much?
Replies: 131
Views: 8772

Re: How does everyone here earn so much?

The ones who do brag. The ones who don't keep quiet on the subject. I'm in the second category. PJW Outside of this message board, my wife, and my accountant, no one knows how much I earn. Disclosing my true salary here was never about bragging (perhaps this is a meta-brag?). Some DO earn high sala...
by coalcracker
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?
Replies: 31
Views: 3373

Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Second-hand story from a friend: went on a surf trip to El Salvador (not sure of exact location) with his wife and young child. Had a fantastic, uncrowded experience at the beach. However, on the last day of the trip in San Salvador, was having lunch and witnessed a gunfight with automatic weapons a...
by coalcracker
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...
Replies: 235
Views: 15295

Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

I can give a n=2 sample size studies of two LAC graduates (my wife and I) from the early aughts. We attended a good (top 25) but not uber-top liberal arts school and both opted for the pre-medicine track. It was great. There were no graduate students, so we and the vast majority of our friends worke...
by coalcracker
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Awning over door: style and size?
Replies: 3
Views: 547

Awning over door: style and size?

In our newly-purchased home, we will enter primarily through the back door, which currently sits on the outer envelope of the house with no overhead protection from the elements. With 2 young kids and a dog, I'm thinking we will want at least a small awning for entry during rainy weather. I've alway...
by coalcracker
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Etiquette of hanging up on live telemarketers
Replies: 77
Views: 4390

Etiquette of hanging up on live telemarketers

I don't answer 99% of phone calls from unknown numbers, but once in a while I'll get tricked (usually when I'm waiting for a call back but not sure what the number will be). In these cases, someone will begin a spiel about my electric bill or some other nonsense. My response is to immediately hang u...
by coalcracker
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Third floor too hot with central A/C: options?
Replies: 24
Views: 1852

Re: Third floor too hot with central A/C: options?

What do you do with your vents in summer in winter? In summer, we close all basement vents. I partially close some main floor vents. All vents open on the 3rd/top level. In winter, we reverse. All basement vents open. Main floor vents about the same, maybe a bit more open. All vents on top floor fu...
by coalcracker
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Third floor too hot with central A/C: options?
Replies: 24
Views: 1852

Third floor too hot with central A/C: options?

I am in the midst of a significant remodel of a newly purchased home. It has central heat and A/C, and a finished attic in which we are 2 large bedrooms, a landing, storage closet, and full bath. We have noticed this winter that the central heat works well on the third floor, but were warned by the ...
by coalcracker
Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands
Replies: 25
Views: 1573

Re: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands

i have many dozens of the Halo RA4 floods and spots in my 1.5 year old home, both inside and out. They are all working very well. Don’t be afraid to go with the 3000k units. They are not too cold. Lutron Maestro dimmers. No flicker. Have you noticed any buzzing with those lights and dimmers? That i...
by coalcracker
Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands
Replies: 25
Views: 1573

Re: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands

MichaelRpdx wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:42 pm
Why 2700K color?

I've been switching to LEDs. While my wife doesn't know the details she is happy with the 6500K bulbs I'm using.
Yes, I'm a fan of daylight color temps.
I'm very picky about lighting color. If I had 6500k bulbs I'd be sitting around the house in sunglasses 8-)
by coalcracker
Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands
Replies: 25
Views: 1573

Re: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands

livesoft wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:15 pm
I've seen such lights overheat and cause problems: flickering because they got too hot, then failure.
I'm open to suggestions for alternatives. I had read that LEDs gave off less heat than alternatives.
by coalcracker
Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands
Replies: 25
Views: 1573

Recessed 4 inch LEDs: Recommended brands

I'm having a heck of a time researching this subject. I will be using a few dozen of these as part of a large remodeling project, and are looking for the following criteria: 4 inch 2700k color temperature dimmable These can get pricey, so more economical options would be welcome. I'd love to hear pe...
by coalcracker
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon: basement stair and basement gym considerations
Replies: 11
Views: 1376

Re: Radon: basement stair and basement gym considerations

EagertoLearnMore wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:53 am
Radon remediation suggested when level 4.0 or higher so you should definitely remediate.

Hot air rises so it is possible for the air to move upstairs, but why wouldn't you remediate if you are going to use the basement?
Remediation has already been done.
by coalcracker
Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon: basement stair and basement gym considerations
Replies: 11
Views: 1376

Radon: basement stair and basement gym considerations

I recently purchased a house which required radon mitigation (levels were 12 pCi/l) with a sub-slab ventilation system and radon exhaust fan. We are doing some remodeling before we occupy the home, which will include a new basement stair. First question: Is it wise to create an basement stair which ...
by coalcracker
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart home lighting: which lights to automate?
Replies: 19
Views: 2020

Re: Smart home lighting: which lights to automate?

Lutron smart switches (Caseta) seem to get the best reviews, but they are pricey at around $50 per switch. I have ~60 switches or so throughout the house. One thing to keep in mind is that anything like this will likely be obsolete in ten years and you might have to pay again to take them out when ...
by coalcracker
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart home lighting: which lights to automate?
Replies: 19
Views: 2020

Re: Smart home lighting: which lights to automate?

BogleMelon wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:37 pm
I wake up in the dark every morning. I decided to automate the bedroom lamp. It cost me $13!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MV ... UTF8&psc=1
Very nice, but can you yell at it to turn the lights on? :wink:
by coalcracker
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Working in the real world
Replies: 118
Views: 10767

Re: Working in the real world

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. My father has an associates degree and worked various blue collar and lower/middle management jobs during my life. The most he ever made was around $50k/yr. My mother was trained as a speech pathologist but took about 10 years off to raise me and my siblings. During ...
by coalcracker
Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart home lighting: which lights to automate?
Replies: 19
Views: 2020

Smart home lighting: which lights to automate?

I purchased a home that will need fairly extensive remodeling before we move, part of which will be an update of many of the (fluorescent) lighting fixtures. There is also some knob and tube wiring, so we will be doing close to a complete overhaul of the electrical system. As part of this, I'd like ...
by coalcracker
Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AJ Madison?
Replies: 11
Views: 1500

AJ Madison?

I am in the market for a new appliance suite for a kitchen remodel, and AJ Madison keeps popping up on my Google searches for different appliances. They tout free delivery nationwide (they are domiciled in Brooklyn), price matches, etc. I am in PA, so one big downside would be lack of installation s...
by coalcracker
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?
Replies: 90
Views: 10096

Re: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?

OP UPDATE:

I have completely sold my bitcoin and ethereum in several "lots" over the course of this week (via Coinbase). The end value deposited into my checking account was $25,063 on a $7,000 initial investment, for a 258% ROI since July.
by coalcracker
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?
Replies: 90
Views: 10096

Re: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?

Not a soothsayer, but, like you, I am holding a small position in crypto (BTC, ETH, LTC and BTG). Looking at it today and something in me is screaming "sell", but I don't think I can (lol..). I kind of feel like a member of the Titanic's band, but I kind of think I'll just ride it out a bit and see...
by coalcracker
Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?
Replies: 90
Views: 10096

Re: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?

quantAndHold wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:12 pm
Where does bitcoin fit in your overall asset allocation?
Play money. The initial investment was less than a biweekly paycheck. It's current value is about 0.5% of my net worth.
by coalcracker
Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?
Replies: 90
Views: 10096

Want to sell my Bitcoin, but when?

I bought about $7000 worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum in July as an experiment and learning process. Well, it is now worth about $21,000. I had planned to buy and hold until July 2018 so any gains would be long-term, but the recent run-up has me worrying the bubble pop may come sooner. I can afford to ...