Search found 321 matches

by brianH
Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal suit purchase options--need, but don't want
Replies: 52
Views: 7486

Re: Frugal suit purchase options--need, but don't want

Just went through this myself as an IT person looking for a new job. Wore the suit once before getting the job and was overdressed, but I digress. I bought a decent Tommy Hilfiger worsted wool one from Macy's for $200 out the door after a bunch of discounts. As others have mentioned, fit is key. I t...
by brianH
Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Divorce question for the Bogleheads
Replies: 101
Views: 6169

Re: Divorce question for the Bogleheads

You absolutely should get a pre-nup. Just going through the process of negotiating the terms was helpful for me as I saw a side of my fiancee that I did not like and I decided not to marry her. This is a good enough reason to spend the money even at a low current savings level. You may learn some v...
by brianH
Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard is on the Password Hall of Shame.
Replies: 250
Views: 50312

Re: Vanguard is on the Password Hall of Shame.

provide something along the lines of a YubiKey As a software developer who has played around with one, I really like the Yubikey. It's pretty easy to implement (use their webservice or roll your own), and from a user's perspective, it's simple to plug in (USB) and push the button. My current softwa...
by brianH
Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adblock Plus; Chrome & Firefox
Replies: 8
Views: 1534

Re: Adblock Plus; Chrome & Firefox

Both good browsers. But Firefox is extension friendly. I haven't looked into the internal of Chrome in a while, but it used to be the case that extensions are done very differently in FF/Chrome. FF extensions allow you to manipulate what the browser is doing at a very low level. That is, you can do...
by brianH
Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard is on the Password Hall of Shame.
Replies: 250
Views: 50312

Re: Vanguard is on the Password Hall of Shame.

Some sites, including Vanguard, provide a security "image" to assure you you're not at a bogus site. I assume this is to protect against phishing but I always wonder if this offers any real value or whether a true hacker, infiltrator, etc couldn't just offer up your security image picture to fool y...
by brianH
Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for low cost "natural" peanut butter
Replies: 37
Views: 3792

Re: Looking for low cost "natural" peanut butter

To an extent. The lipid and micronutrient profile of peanuts is not as good as actual nuts(ie. almonds, walnuts), peanuts are a legume. If the choice is nothing but conventional pb, I'd definitely limit intake. To that point, almond butter is a better choice. More magnesium, calcium, and a better f...
by brianH
Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Windows 8: Time to Short Microsoft?
Replies: 57
Views: 7304

Re: Windows 8: Time to Short Microsoft?

MSFT is far more than just their home computer operating system, which Windows 8 falls into. Some counterpoints off the top of my head: -Many businesses will be forced to move off Windows XP to Windows 7 in the coming year as XP support expires. $$$ in MS's pocket -Windows Server 2008 and 2013 OS ar...
by brianH
Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 8: Are you upgrading?
Replies: 67
Views: 6225

Re: Windows 8: Are you upgrading?

Every preview review I've read on Windows 8 says Metro can be turned off to resemble Windows XP/7. It can't so much be turned off as you can just jump past Metro (new Start screen) directly to the more traditional desktop. The Windows key + D will jump you into the desktop. What bothers me, however...
by brianH
Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for Heated Mattress Pad
Replies: 9
Views: 2214

Re: Recommendations for Heated Mattress Pad

I put my electric blanket under the bed sheet when I make the bed. With a thick, flannel bed sheet, the coils in the blanket are almost unnoticeable. You could do 2 twins on a queen/king to get dual zones. Personally, I just use a single twin on my king bed, as I'm (usually :twisted: ) the only one ...
by brianH
Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Energy deregulation - Looking for new electricity supplier
Replies: 50
Views: 4144

Re: Energy deregulation - Looking for new electricity suppli

Did you mean 2500 kwhr per month? I live in a lot milder climate than Pennsylvania (London England) but in a solid brick wall row house (Victorian) I burn 30,000 kwhr on gas a year. So 2500 kwhr pa would be very little energy-- you'd have an amazingly well insulated home. Consider getting an air so...
by brianH
Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 8: Are you upgrading?
Replies: 67
Views: 6225

Re: Windows 8: Are you upgrading?

No. Strike that, heck no. I don't like the direction Microsoft is trying to move with locking down applications (in Metro) to only those sold through their store. In addition to functional limitations, if you write software, MS wants a 30% cut of your money just for being there. As someone who progr...
by brianH
Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Energy deregulation - Looking for new electricity supplier
Replies: 50
Views: 4144

Re: Energy deregulation - Looking for new electricity suppli

I just had fun with this process in South East PA (PECO). You really have to pay attention to the fine print in the agreements - it was like shopping for mutual funds. I finally settled on a company that offered 7.5 cents/kwh (generation and transmission) for a lockin of 7 years. Many of the other o...
by brianH
Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New version of KeePass question
Replies: 21
Views: 2595

Re: New version of KeePass question

Here's an article from May that explains how to transfer from Lastpass to Keepass with a csv file. However, things could have changed since May, so be sure to check if each step still makes sense before doing it. http://www.guidingtech.com/11787/transfer-passwords-lastpass-to-keepass-right-way/ One...
by brianH
Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New version of KeePass question
Replies: 21
Views: 2595

Re: New version of KeePass question

I usually keep my KeePass up to date, but I haven't noticed much in the release notes that have been must-upgrade features. I've never had an issue with DB corruption after an update, but as others have mentioned, backup the DB file (and any keyfiles) prior to the upgrade. All of the old versions ar...
by brianH
Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Graphing Calculators
Replies: 38
Views: 4522

Re: Graphing Calculators

If you are going with a TI calc, welcome to one of the most obvious extortion schemes in education. The TI calcs are probably $5 worth of materials but sell for close to $100. That said, I've had my TI-85 since high school, and I still use it fairly frequently for work (computer programmer.) It's si...
by brianH
Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Space Heater Recommendations?
Replies: 31
Views: 3343

Re: Space Heater Recommendations?

As hicabob mentioned, electric heaters are all going to be near enough to 100% efficiency that they are equivalent. Knowing that, I'd just find the cheapest one you can that seems sturdy. The biggest danger is it tipping over in use. Most have a shutoff, but if it tipped and fell onto something flam...
by brianH
Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking to switch to online checking- ING or Fidelity?
Replies: 37
Views: 5652

Re: Looking to switch to online checking- ING or Fidelity?

I've had Fidelity ever since they started offering the checking (SmartCash) account. I've been very pleased with the service. They offer a billpay, through CheckFree, that works well. They offer a Mint/Yodelee-like 'full view' account aggregation service, which also works well. The ATM rebates are a...
by brianH
Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?
Replies: 11
Views: 1285

Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Digital River, a licensed distr. of MS software, makes the ISO images available online: http://www.mydigitallife.info/download-windows-7-iso-official-32-bit-and-64-bit-direct-download-links/ . You can burn these to a DVD to have a clean install disk. I'm not sure if OEM Windows keys work with these...
by brianH
Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using a computer with "server" operating system?
Replies: 16
Views: 1946

Re: Using a computer with "server" operating system?

I used Windows Server 08 as my primary OS for a while. Generally it works seamlessly, just like the OS it is modeled after (2003=XP, 2008=Vista/Win7). You occasionally run into software which checks the Windows version and refuses to install, but this can sometimes be overcome with the 'Compatibilit...
by brianH
Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?
Replies: 11
Views: 1285

Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Digital River, a licensed distr. of MS software, makes the ISO images available online: http://www.mydigitallife.info/download-windows-7-iso-official-32-bit-and-64-bit-direct-download-links/ . You can burn these to a DVD to have a clean install disk. I'm not sure if OEM Windows keys work with these ...
by brianH
Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:54 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Case against Index funds
Replies: 50
Views: 7503

Re: Case against Index funds

I hope that the Buffett challenge reflects the *true* return to a simulated investor in both. Hedge funds have typically (though a some a bit lower now) charged a 2 & 20 fee of 2% straight management and 20% of any positive performance. Compared to Vanguard's VFIAX fee of 0.05%, that is a major disa...
by brianH
Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Being 'in the cloud' was helpful with a hard drive failure
Replies: 29
Views: 3125

Re: Being 'in the cloud' was helpful with a hard drive failu

For encryption with cloud storage, I recommend AxCrypt (free-Windows). http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/ Once installed, you can right-click a file and encrypt it with a password. Decryption is just as seamless - just click the .axx file, and AxCrypt will decrypt it, and place a copy in your temporary...
by brianH
Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying New Laptop: Wait Until Windows 8 Rel.?
Replies: 27
Views: 2639

Re: Buying New Laptop: Wait Until Windows 8 Rel.?

Another consideration, that may not be relevant here, is what will be used in your place of business. I can all but guarantee that Win8 will not be adopted by the 'Enterprise'. Many of them are still executing their XP->7 migration. Any software for Win7 will be compatible with the Win8 desktop mode...
by brianH
Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying New Laptop: Wait Until Windows 8 Rel.?
Replies: 27
Views: 2639

Re: Buying New Laptop: Wait Until Windows 8 Rel.?

I agree with the negative votes for Win8. I'm a pretty big MS fan, have a unlimited software subscription (MSDN) to all Microsoft products, and I've been using 8 since the developer preview. I dislike it strongly both as a software developer and as a general user. If you're comfortable with the stan...
by brianH
Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How I Handle Information Security
Replies: 68
Views: 5902

Re: How I Handle Information Security

Great tips. I'll add my own for using KeePass for the slightly more computer literate: 1. Use a keyfile + password. KeePass has the option to use a file (it creates) on your disk in addition to the password you enter. Assuming you use a sync service (Dropbox) to move your PW database around, having ...
by brianH
Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Economics of eating out
Replies: 75
Views: 8683

Re: Economics of eating out

Unless you are considerably overweight and already hypertensive, I wouldn't worry about sodium intake. Agreed. Far more concerning is the use of cooking oils in restaurant settings. At worst, some trans-fat laden oil/shortening may be used (usually in baked goods), and at best it's probably a PUFA-...
by brianH
Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Economics of eating out
Replies: 75
Views: 8683

Re: Economics of eating out

I haven't found any meals out that are cheaper than making them at home from a pure $ perspective. Even something like the $1 cheeseburger from McD can be done (Wegmans' prices): 1/8 lb ground beef: $.25 ($2/lb) Roll: $.25 (8 for $2) Slice cheese: $.16 (16 for $2.59) That still leaves $.34 for elect...
by brianH
Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Man in the Browser Malware defeats 2-step bank authent
Replies: 27
Views: 3166

Re: Man in the Browser Malware defeats 2-step bank authent

Same as it ever was. I'm currently writing a web portal login and decided to use a one-time password method that is compatible with the 'Google Authenticator' program for cell phones. With proper implementation, this prevents a 'replay attack', i.e. malicious browser plugin/javascript/keylogger obta...
by brianH
Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turning wealth into health
Replies: 101
Views: 9767

Re: Turning wealth into health

I always laugh at the calories in - calories out, as it is a gross simplification of far more variables: CIN - BMR - TEF - CPA - Excretion = Calories Stored CIN=Calories (kcals) in: food energy measured by a calorimeter BMR= Basal Metabolic Rate: varies by individual TEF=Thermic Effect of Food: Prot...
by brianH
Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Facebook IPO will be the biggest disaster in IPO history
Replies: 151
Views: 16297

Re: Facebook IPO will be the biggest disaster in IPO history

They know that they can't "cross the line" with the sale of user's data, or too much advertising, or user fees. If they do, the users walk, and/or a competitor gains traction. The problem is that for the company to really be worth what it is valued at, they would need to cross the line. It is a par...
by brianH
Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turning wealth into health
Replies: 101
Views: 9767

Re: Turning wealth into health

I'm a vegetarian, eating quite healthy. I avoid most starches. No bread, no pasta, no potatoes. No processed foods. Mostly veggies, lentils, fruits, nut, olive oil etc. A daily quare of dark chocolate (Lindt 90%) is my daily treat. An Atkins-style diet is all but impossible for a vegetarian. The po...
by brianH
Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hit By Online Banking Hacker - Change Login ID and Passwords
Replies: 74
Views: 7842

Re: Hit By Online Banking Hacker - Change Login ID and Passw

I'm less concerned about the government than the large target painted on the back of LastPass for any would be hackers. It's also a bit of a stretch to compare not fully trusting a very small company with 2 years in the business to one of the largest and oldest software companies in the world. No sy...
by brianH
Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hit By Online Banking Hacker - Change Login ID and Passwords
Replies: 74
Views: 7842

Re: Lastpass Security

This would simply be keylogging, which I mentioned. But the point remains, Lastpass, or Lastpass under threat from the government, or a hacker that compromised certain aspects of their systems could access everything in your vault if they chose to. Lastpass is a large and potentially very valuable ...
by brianH
Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hit By Online Banking Hacker - Change Login ID and Passwords
Replies: 74
Views: 7842

Re: Lastpass Security

It would be impossible for LastPass to somehow implement an update that would retroactively decrypt your stored hashes and retrieve them. This isn't correct. Lastpass has your password database encrypted with a hash derived from your password. All they would need to do is update the plugin (extensi...
by brianH
Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Specific Lot tracking for vanguard funds. How complicated?
Replies: 11
Views: 898

Re: Specific Lot tracking for vanguard funds. How complicate

I might also recommend, if at all possible, selling full lots to close them out. I guess that's what I meant when I wrote 'even amounts'. To somehow make it easy to sell full lots when needed, perhaps by purchasing small enough lots that it would be rare to have to 'break it up' when selling? NS A ...
by brianH
Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Specific Lot tracking for vanguard funds. How complicated?
Replies: 11
Views: 898

Re: Specific Lot tracking for vanguard funds. How complicate

It's worth it...or it sure was for me at the end of last year when I sold some older, stinky lots for a loss instead of using AC which would've resulted in taxable gains. Since you need to send a letter to Vanguard explaining the lots you are selling out of, just hang on to that letter for later ref...
by brianH
Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $683 for an office visit with a Physician Assistant?
Replies: 24
Views: 1444

Re: $683 for an office visit with a Physician Assistant?

Had a simple blood test done (RBC/WBC), an outside lab would cost me $15, since it was done in a "hospital setting", insurance was billed $627.81, I had to pay $170 for it. Never again, if the doc wants tests run, I'm using an outside lab. The medical profession then wonders why people are aggravat...
by brianH
Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reasons?
Replies: 154
Views: 13072

Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Married men live longer and healthier lives than unmarried men. Even for men, this oft-quoted stat is largely false because it doesn't control for confounding variables. It also implies no causality: if I marry, I'll live longer. Men that don't marry may ride motorcycles or skydive more often, for ...
by brianH
Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reasons?
Replies: 154
Views: 13072

Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

I was married once for a short time (about 1 year), and I won't be walking down that road again. I woke up to the fact that marriage doesn't mean what it used to, as far as commitment, to many people. My ex was not interested in taking me to the cleaners, but it became clear to me that it could've b...
by brianH
Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why no tech in investing?
Replies: 15
Views: 1320

Re: Why no tech in investing?

Voted: already exists. I co-wrote a rebalancing/portfolio tracking engine that is currently used by some of the advisor arms of Vanguard, but which I will decline to name due to not working with it anymore. It was geared towards the advisors themselves, not at the direct customers. I think the bigge...
by brianH
Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vitamins and Supplements
Replies: 38
Views: 4196

Re: Vitamins and Supplements

As a fellow vegetarian, it sucks that the medical industry has not come up with a way to replace the gelatin in capsules They've tried. There are 'veggie caps' available that are made from plant (usually soybean) cellulose. I believe 'VCaps' is a major brand. The problem with these pills is the inc...
by brianH
Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Hacked -- how?
Replies: 62
Views: 8443

Re: Credit Card Hacked -- how?

I have only ever encountered this at the US Post Office. But yes -- I write in large print with a Sharpie, "***CHECK ID***" and then in small print with a fine-tipped pen, I sign in the corner. It's technically signed, but you can't check the signature without seeing the additional instruction. The...
by brianH
Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cooking oil polyunsaturated fat
Replies: 22
Views: 1745

Re: Cooking oil polyunsaturated fat

It's not an oil, but I use butter, coconut 'oil', tallow (beef fat), or lard (pig fat) for higher temp cooking/sauteing. Most of those are solid at room temp, so the application may require something like olive oil if the temps don't get too high. Overall, you want monounsaturated and saturated fats...
by brianH
Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Read Food Labeling?
Replies: 23
Views: 1289

Re: Do You Read Food Labeling?

As a general rule of thumb, if one needs to read the list of ingredients, the food isn't healthy. This was basically my response. I *would* read the label, but I try to eat foods that only have 1 ingredient (eggs, vegetables, meat, etc.) Much like Lon, minimizing carbs in my diet really surprised m...
by brianH
Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Replies: 68
Views: 8596

Re: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

And what about the third study? I still stand by my assertion that the preponderance of evidence taken as a whole will point to a diet high in saturated fatty acids increases the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly. It took me a while to find it for free (http://www.atkinsexposed.org/atkin...
by brianH
Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Replies: 68
Views: 8596

Re: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

I thought it was common scientific/medical knowledge that saturated fat causes arterial disease. I don't think I've ever seen any hard empirical evidence that this is true. I could be missing something. http://www.annals.org/content/153/5/289.abstract http://mygreendiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/...
by brianH
Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Percentage Would You Put Down to Buy First Home?
Replies: 12
Views: 1518

Re: What Percentage Would You Put Down to Buy First Home?

I put down 15%, as it was the most I had access to at a young age (24). I did, however, aggressively pre-pay the principal and got rid of the PMI about 6 months later. The PMI at 15% down was not really that bad, but I don't know if current underwriting allows <20% without a ton of hassle.
by brianH
Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Replies: 68
Views: 8596

Re: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

On juice fasts: assuming a bunch of fruit, you're looking at a good deal of sugar. I don't think it's all that healthy to spike blood glucose with sugar water many times a day. Fruit is meant to be consumed whole so that the fiber slows the sugar absorption (and naturally limits you to a piece or tw...
by brianH
Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager?
Replies: 109
Views: 11282

Re: Password manager?

I don't think you're understanding the threat. All programs seems to have unfettered access to the clipboard. If that's the case, then a virus (or whatever--I can never keep the terms straight) could be designed to immediataely capture, log, and transmit anything written to the clipboard. Clearly, ...
by brianH
Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you drink milk?
Replies: 96
Views: 6265

Re: Do you drink milk?

Nope, too much sugar (lactose) for my liking. I do drink heavy cream, or at least I used to. The brand I would buy that was reasonable is thickened with stuff that I'd rather not eat.

I do eat cheese and 4% cottage cheese on occasion.