Search found 1217 matches

by rjbraun
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Designing floor plan for furniture layout
Replies: 0
Views: 68

Designing floor plan for furniture layout

I'm just looking for something simple and easy to use. I have the room and furniture dimensions and would like something to help me try out and visualize different layouts. Is there an online website that can do this, for free?
by rjbraun
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?
Replies: 75
Views: 3286

Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

How well does he interview? Is it possible that he's not coming across well in interviews and that perhaps some coaching on that front could help to move things along? At a minimum, does he have a good handle on why he's getting passed over? It's been a long time since I've interviewed for an entry-...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Civil service: Long Shot Interview.. Would you go?
Replies: 31
Views: 2934

Re: Civil service: Long Shot Interview.. Would you go?

Please tell me you scribbled down the questions post interview as a cheat sheet for if you don't get it and another opportunity like this comes up. Obviously I am late to the party, but most people in life have a tendency to succumb, at least a little, to impostor syndrome, which shouldn't be confu...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: WSJ: NYU makes tuition free for all medical students
Replies: 2
Views: 1008

WSJ: NYU makes tuition free for all medical students

The NYU website says as much and is linked below, as I realize that the WSJ article is likely not accessible to all. The "full-tuition scholarships" will be offered "regardless of merit or financial need" (subject to maintaining acceptable academic standing, of course). Interesting development. I wo...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Barclay Card with American Airlines
Replies: 7
Views: 329

Re: Barclay Card with American Airlines

A Barclay card I had previously was, I think, the Barclay Arrival card. My recollection is that it was indeed a "chip and PIN" card that we used successfully to buy train tickets from machines in Europe. I'm pretty sure I am correct, as I vaguely recollection that this feature was the one reason I h...
by rjbraun
Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credi card balance transfer offer
Replies: 10
Views: 831

Re: Credit card balance transfer offer

App-o-rama (AKA credit card arbitrage) was a thing before the financial crisis. At my peak I had close to 300K in high yield savings accounts; the banks lent me a multiple of my annual income, unsecured, with no interest or fees. I still take the free money when offered--why not?--though the amount...
by rjbraun
Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credi card balance transfer offer
Replies: 10
Views: 831

Re: Credi card balance transfer offer

The spread used to be juicier, 0% with no fee, and you could safely earn 5% . Good times. Today the margins are slimmer. I churn credit cards, and quite often the ones that have a good bonus also happen to have a 0% purchase APR period for 6 months to 15 months. So I just send minimum payments unti...
by rjbraun
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?
Replies: 24
Views: 2058

Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

mortfree wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:55 am
Seems like excessive shopping in a short period of time for BH standards.

:mrgreen:
Ha! You're right. Most of the shopping ties to a current photo project I happen to be working on. :)
by rjbraun
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?
Replies: 24
Views: 2058

Re: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

An interesting reply to my self is that companies are seeking to drive up productivity to reduce labour costs. Amazon is famous for this. That pushes workers to work harder, and they make more mistakes. The equivalent of speeding up a car production line, where quality control is not measured. If A...
by rjbraun
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Civil service: Long Shot Interview.. Would you go?
Replies: 31
Views: 2934

Re: Civil service: Long Shot Interview.. Would you go?

What the prior posters said. Yes, go. Unless your 1/2-day off from work is so so sacred to use, it seems worth it to me. I guess the only caveat might be if there's any chance that you take off the half-day only to find the interviewer a no-show or something. On that front, maybe just be extra caref...
by rjbraun
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credi card balance transfer offer
Replies: 10
Views: 831

Credi card balance transfer offer

Barclays sent me Balance Transfer Checks. While I've never taken on credit card debt, I was curious to understand the offer and called the number provided. My understanding is that I can write a check to myself for pretty much the full amount of my credit line. To be precise, I can "borrow" 99% of t...
by rjbraun
Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are merchants more (too) careless these days?
Replies: 24
Views: 2058

Are merchants more (too) careless these days?

Experience with purchases in the past few weeks, of which these represent a decent percentage, i.e., I don't shop constantly. 1. Bed, Bath and Beyond online order was delivered in two shipments. The first package contained two picture frames that were, in essence, placed in a box with no additional ...
by rjbraun
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comfortably Retired and charity giving?
Replies: 25
Views: 1969

Re: Comfortably Retired and charity giving?

When you make the more personal donations, do you do it anonymously? For years I used postal money orders for my giving, with a phony name, so yes, anonymously, and never claimed it on taxes. I have one check account with just my name,(no address) which is relatively common, so still anonymous. I s...
by rjbraun
Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comfortably Retired and charity giving?
Replies: 25
Views: 1969

Re: Comfortably Retired and charity giving?

However, I plan on buying my way into the promise land on my last trick by donating 100% of my estate to charity. What do others do? I just checked with God. He told me it does not work that way... We spread our giving around, mostly to local organizations and people. Some of it we get charitable d...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Fire 8 HD tablet with Alexa 32 GB for $59.99 (limited time offer)
Replies: 17
Views: 1541

Re: Amazon Fire 8 HD tablet with Alexa 32 GB for $59.99 (limited time offer)

I got a Fire HD 8 on Prime Day for $49.99 and returned it the next day. I don't get the appeal at any price and would rather spend on a extra on a used last generation iPad. It was sluggish, had rather poor screen quality, and the UI leaves a lot to be desired. It might be fine if those things aren...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Fire 8 HD tablet with Alexa 32 GB for $59.99 (limited time offer)
Replies: 17
Views: 1541

Re: Amazon Fire 8 HD tablet with Alexa 32 GB for $59.99 (limited time offer)

Fair... Great deal if you have Citi Points promotion and can get it for $30 like many others are. https://slickdeals.net/f/11915967-citi-amex-mr-cardholders-32gb-amazon-fire-hd-8-tablet-30-free-s-h-select-accts-w-rewards-points I picked up the 16GB version on Prime Day for $20. Thanks. Okay, I thin...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Airlines measure checked baggages?
Replies: 33
Views: 2068

Re: Do Airlines measure checked baggages?

<snip> The personal item will be a backpack to put a DSLR and a Laptop in it. Any idea if a backpack is OK as a personal item? They are so vague in their website about that. Actually, the website seems clear on carry-on specifications: Economy Class: 1 x cabin bag with a maximum weight of 7kg and m...
by rjbraun
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Fire 8 HD tablet with Alexa 32 GB for $59.99 (limited time offer)
Replies: 17
Views: 1541

Amazon Fire 8 HD tablet with Alexa 32 GB for $59.99 (limited time offer)

This seems like a pretty good deal ... right? My Fire 7 just arrived yesterday (purchased on Amazon Prime Day). My iPad mini was purchased several years ago, but I'm not sure the Fire 7 or Fire 8 should be considered direct substitutes or replacements. Still, with various promos I only paid 10 bucks...
by rjbraun
Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Few weeks into new job recieved significantly better offer elsewhere
Replies: 103
Views: 9811

Re: Few weeks into new job recieved significantly better offer elsewhere

Tread carefully. You don't want a stretch of unemployment and a few week job on your resume very often. I might be inclined to stay where you are for 1 year. Money is not the end all/be all. Taxes chew up at your top level. Actually, many would disagree (as I do). For a 1-week job, you won't even l...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash flow problems - best way to handle?
Replies: 151
Views: 11260

Re: Cash flow problems - best way to handle?

<snip> I wanted to give an update: I received a promotion today - basically a new job has been created for me. It will be significantly more money and moves me up the ladder in a big way. I love my workplace and the people here, and I am so grateful that they are making it financially possible for ...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ--Vanguard Sent Erroneous Text Messages to Some 401(k) Customers Messages said loans had been processed
Replies: 12
Views: 1164

Re: WSJ--Vanguard Sent Erroneous Text Messages to Some 401(k) Customers Messages said loans had been processed

I have no idea if this latest event reflects serious internal issues at Vanguard, but for me I would say it reminds me of the benefits of some diversification among my service providers. I just need to determine the right balance and need to mull this over for some period of time. My assets are prim...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daughter wants to travel on her own to Montreal
Replies: 105
Views: 6789

Re: Daughter wants to travel on her own to Montreal

I am bothered by the solo part. It is not related to age or gender. I think going with another person or meeting someone there would be fine. I would be bothered even if my 40 year old son were going to Montreal by himself for a period of several days without a companion or a plan to meet a person ...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High school graduation monetary gift for nephew
Replies: 37
Views: 2069

Re: High school graduation monetary gift for nephew

What will he use the money for? Is he going to have to borrow for college? I don't know. I have not inquired. I think it likely his parents will be at least assisting. He's going to in-state school. If he would appreciate it, $1,000 would be great. Any number of $100 bills that you chose to give wo...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High school graduation monetary gift for nephew
Replies: 37
Views: 2069

Re: High school graduation monetary gift for nephew

Not sure if it's applicable in your situation, but one consideration may be if you have a number of nephews and nieces and whether you would want to give the same monetary amount to each one upon high school graduation. So, while you may be close to this nephew you might still want to be prepared to...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?
Replies: 23
Views: 1241

Re: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?

I found a mall gift card when walking around the local mall, good for any store in the mall. I asked at mall lost and found if anyone had reported losing one...no. Also talked to the mall gestapo...no report. I checked the balance online and it had about $200 on it. Owner had not registered so no w...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?
Replies: 23
Views: 1241

Re: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?

Still unclear about how to make gifts to friends where "hard cash" would seem kind of unseemly, imo, and where an actual gift would also be problematic. Used to be a check in a card with a note including a clearly optional suggestion of what to spend it on. "Treat yourself to a nice dinner on us or...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?
Replies: 23
Views: 1241

Re: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?

Thank you to everyone for the helpful feedback. Just to clarify, the gift cards I bought that were used fraudulently were purchased online at staples.com (and generated 5x in Chase UR points). They were Whole Foods gift cards, and the matter is being "investigated" by the grocer. I am supposed to he...
by rjbraun
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [A Splendid Exchange, by William Bernstein - on sale for Kindle]
Replies: 19
Views: 1947

Re: [A Splendid Exchange, by William Bernstein - on sale for Kindle]

Just bought it, thanks for the heads-up. Hoping that the book may resonate in particular with SO, who enjoys history (but not so much investment topics).
by rjbraun
Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?
Replies: 23
Views: 1241

Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?

I just got off the phone with a (major) merchant and learned that electronic gift cards I had purchased online were used fraudulently, thereby depleting my balance to zero. :( I'm not a big fan of gift cards, though I do buy them and, it seems, increasingly so :shock: . Sometimes, I will buy a gift ...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alaska Trip/Cruise Summer of 2020. Help me plan
Replies: 23
Views: 1704

Re: Alaska Trip/Cruise Summer of 2020. Help me plan

A trip to Alaska is also on our list of desired future trips, so I will be interested to follow this thread. In addition to the cruise option, I read about traveling independently via passenger ferries. I plan to look into this at some point, but a friend mentioned recently that the ferries can stop...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: suit shoe combo?
Replies: 49
Views: 3210

Re: suit shoe combo?

I think the skepticism that others seem to have expressed has merit. Also, in the event that there will be engagement party photographs, either "official" or informal ones, you and your outfit would have some permanence, so you presumably will want to dress in a fashion that you will be okay with in...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

I was really surprised to see two books show up as free ($0.00 Kindle price) the other day. These were legitimate books that we (or SO) were interested to buy at full price. I am talking about somewhat obscure books (one on First Nations art, another on Japanese history -- both by respected authors...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

FWIW, I didn't see much that interested me. I did buy a couple of Amazon Dots for additional coverage in our casa. That's it, though. BTW, if you have a reader, Prime members can download all six "early reads", instead of the normal offer of one out of six. So I have more eBooks to read. These free...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

If you keep items in your shopping cart to purchase later, Amazon will notify you of price changes each time you look at your cart. I do that with items that I need to buy but don't need immediately. Some items have steep price drops for a short period of time, either because someone else is sellin...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

The deals are totally random, I think. I saved $5 yesterday on a USB wall charger that I needed and had been on my wishlist for a few months. This morning Amazon sent me a notice that another item on my wishlist, some noise-cancelling headphones that had been on my list for almost a year, were $75 ...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?
Replies: 82
Views: 4360

Re: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?

This thread has me thinking. I was a pretty competitive violinist in my youth through college. I played on a student violin ($1300 25 years ago, now worth around $3.5-4K). In college I considered upgrading to a $10 range violin, but did not do so as I was not going into music as a long-term career ...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

The deals are totally random, I think. I saved $5 yesterday on a USB wall charger that I needed and had been on my wishlist for a few months. This morning Amazon sent me a notice that another item on my wishlist, some noise-cancelling headphones that had been on my list for almost a year, were $75 ...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

I bought 5x (the max) of the Kindle Fire 7" tablet for $9.99 each using the Prime Deal and $.01 of Citi Thank You Points. Also bought an 8" Kindle Fire tablet for $19.99 with the same method. Missed out on the 10", however. I see a Prime Deal Fire 7" tablet available for $19.99. I guess you use Cit...
by rjbraun
Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10179

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

I bought 5x (the max) of the Kindle Fire 7" tablet for $9.99 each using the Prime Deal and $.01 of Citi Thank You Points. Also bought an 8" Kindle Fire tablet for $19.99 with the same method. Missed out on the 10", however. I see a Prime Deal Fire 7" tablet available for $19.99. I guess you use Cit...
by rjbraun
Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?
Replies: 82
Views: 4360

Re: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?

I was always a good violin player (won almost all local/regional competitions but def not pro world-class soloist talent) and I couldn't believe that the mere act of switching to a better instrument actually dramatically changed AND improved my violin skill. It literally took me to the next level, ...
by rjbraun
Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?
Replies: 82
Views: 4360

Re: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?

Yes. I bought a piano to play myself. It was the most money I have ever spent on a single purchase apart from my home. I took lessons as a kid (no prodigy, at all) and realized that as an adult music (listening, primarily) provided considerable enjoyment. Yes, I still own the piano. While I did not ...
by rjbraun
Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving Tip and Ideas?
Replies: 23
Views: 1446

Re: Moving Tip and Ideas?

People seem to offer free moving boxes here reasonably often; you may want to monitor your area for opportunities:

https://freecycle.org/search
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Re: Printing photos from JPG files

Thanks to all for the really helpful feedback. I confirmed with the photographer from the start that the images would belong to us (this was tip I read when I was researching how to hire a photographer :happy ). He said that we are free to print as we like, so I think things should be fine. That blu...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Re: Printing photos from JPG files

The best quality prints and photo gifts that I've ever bought have been done by Bay Photo (bayphoto.com) They are way more expensive than Walgreens/Costco/Shutterfly, but they have top notch stuff. Their primary market is selling through photographers, but they'll happily print for you, too. I can ...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Re: Printing photos from JPG files

1. How should we proceed with printing some of the photos? I haven't seriously printed pictures since using actual film! We don't own a high-quality printer, should we send them out? If so, any recommendations as to where? In at least some cases we would be looking for a quality print (up to 8" x 1...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Re: Printing photos from JPG files

The paper is pretty much the same across the board. There are not many manufacturers who make photo paper any longer. As one poster noted, the limiting factor may be your JPEG. Most pro photographers shoot in .RAW format...which has a lot more data in the file than a JPEG. In layman's terms, let's ...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Re: Printing photos from JPG files

Make sure that the jpg files you received are high resolution versions meant for reprint. The jpg file may be the limiting factor; most high volume printers like Walgreens, Costco, etc. can produce high quality prints given good input. Thank you, good point. Yes, I should have high resolution files...
by rjbraun
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Printing photos from JPG files

Thank you all for the helpful feedback. Just to clarify, I am looking for (reasonably) high-quality prints. The pictures are of a special occasion and whatever gets framed will be given to parents, for example. While the book would probably be just for us, it is something that we plan to look at re...
by rjbraun
Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printing photos from JPG files
Replies: 30
Views: 1197

Re: Printing photos from JPG files

Thank you all for the helpful feedback. Just to clarify, I am looking for (reasonably) high-quality prints. The pictures are of a special occasion and whatever gets framed will be given to parents, for example. While the book would probably be just for us, it is something that we plan to look at reg...