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Zopa fever!

6. August 2008 | Category Internet, Money, Technology

By now you should know I like delving into interesting financial concepts, especially those online. Having a community based lending option has been intriguing as Prosper has shown.

Well Zopa has finally come into it’s own in the U.S. An import of the U.K. that has now also expanded into Italy and Japan. They were almost 2 years late in the coming to America. Oh, well, at least they made it and could give Prosper a run for it’s (lending) money.

Zopa is a somewhat different beast, but interesting none the least. It also lends out $ but these loans are based at local credit unions. They are associated with Affinity Plus, a credit union from the Cities that I had been acquainted with from my schooling at MSU, Mankato. But the loans are cool. If you get someone else to invest in a CD with Zopa, they can actually help you out. For every CD you purchase through Zopa (CDs are FDIC insured through the credit unions) you help someone out by reducing the rate they pay for their loan thru Zopa. Yes, you can even get your rate down to 0% (i.e. no loan payment) if you get enough help from other Zopa members. That is very cool.

Every CD you purchase is much like a CD at a local bank/credit union. Their current rates continually beat the pants off of local CD rates. These CDs are currently only for 1 yr terms, pretty common for most CD holders out there. With the purchase of a CD you get to apply what ever percent of your return on your money you want to your friend/family member through the site. Say the site offers 3.75% on your money, if you were real generous you could knock down your rate to say 3%, thus giving 0.75% as help to the person of your choosing or even stay at 3.75% and still help someone out a bit more minimally. You get a great rate on a CD and your money goes to help an actual person with their loan rate. Pretty cool.

So ready to help a man out. Check out the link to the left if you are so far interested. Otherwise, contact me and I’ll answer any questions you may have. Wouldn’t it be nice of you to help me pay less on the loan I’m taking out to help with wedding finances? I intend to pay this loan back shortly after festivities, it’s more of a cushion for me.

Thanks!

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Geni.com

29. July 2008 | Category Genealogy, My Websites, Rest of Site, Technology

I’m disappointed in Geni.com. They have all the makings of a neat, Web 2.0 company that just happens to focus on genealogy.

But I can’t get behind it. I realize it’s in beta, but there is one small thing that irks me and I’m sure it’s a deal breaker. As I have played around extensively with genealogy software like Legacy here and PHPGedView here, I’ve tried and test drove most genealogy software out there.

The one and only thing that has me not investing more time/effort into Geni is the fact that when you add women it does nothing about maiden names. It assumes whomever you add them off is their name. I for one recognize women by their maiden names and don’t appreciate typing/ retyping in every maiden name because of a software shortfall.

Geni is promising. But I’m waiting for them to work out all their beta features. Maybe then I dip my toes back in.

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Digitally obselete

5. June 2008 | Category Observations, Technology

Surprise, surprise.

With a giant eye on the future of technology, the government has decided it no longer needs analog TV signals transmitting a loved and long cherished obsession. So out with the old and in with the new – digital TV.

Oh, but wait, the populous will need to either a) buy new TVs with a digital tuner or b) get a setup converter to dumb down digital broadcasts. This in itself has led to a great reason for most people to ditch the old clunker TV that in many cases would still work fine for years to come. This is regardless if they actually would need a digital TV for general viewing, do to the fact that cable and satellite TV are already digital pictures.

That leaves the rest of us, namely the poor and/or rural left with the other option – convert the digital to analog. The government in it’s wisdom decides that since these boxes will sell for 40+ that it will offer a discount on these boxes, which for almost obvious reasons will never cost just $40. Rather than provide the masses these setup converters free via a local federal institution (i.e. Post Office), they sell them at any electronics shop.

Wal-mart, the king of cheap, promptly has a run on these as they are about the only company willing to sell them near cost. This pushes the rest of the suckers out to the high priced outfits that sell these units for greatly inflated prices.

While a fairly easy device to set up, the devil is in the details. Now instead of one remote for a TV, you must either juggle two or figure out a quasi universal remote to function as your goto TV manipulator. Yuck. I don’t really wanna power on/off two things just to watch my old TV. No doubt this in itself is another great ploy for you to go out and upgrade TVs as well.

While is awesome to have a weather station affiliated with KARE TV and a FOX affiliate out of Mankato, it’s just another bunch of fairly useless TV options to flip through.

I can’t imagine what the uproar will be when all those poor, unenlightened and/or old people find next that things don’t work like they had. After all, that’s who will be the most effected by this turnover. The government will be to blame for selling out this demographic in return for the millions they can make by auctioning off the old TV spectrum we loved. They will also be giving the electronics industry a second boost by people scrapping out their old TVs for something that just plain works without all the trouble and pain this transition.

What a joke!

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Child’s Play

3. July 2007 | Category Rant, Technology

I find it endlessly fascinating that a toddler nowadays knows more about computers than most people over 30 years of age. But in some ways, it’s fascinating to watch what draws a toddlers attention on the internet.

Of course, kids are enamored by all the cartoon characters they see on TV. They want to then play games online with these characters in them. So Nick and Cartoon Network are often top destinations.

I wonder who makes the decisions for these websites. They have so very many options that the smallest child is often at a loss for what they really want to do ~ play games. I think it idiotic to try and signup a toddler for email updates or sell them some toy or memorabilia, all from the same webpage. Toddlers and young kids don’t hardly know how to read, let alone comprehend the marketing that these companies are trying to shove down their throats.

They are kids for pete’s sake. They like the pictures they see. They want to interact. They don’t buy online, they don’t know how or even care for that matter. They don’t care about all that other jazz you’re trying to push them the same way you would for adults. That’s grownup material. Get their parents involved a different way, don’t force them to navigate your site because you can’t effectively design the sites for your target audience. Add to your image by letting kids interact with your characters in fun,educational games, but don’t market to them in the same screen.

They don’t understand and you just piss off people by having them navigate around the garbage in order to find the stuff of some value.

Be there for the kids, not the greed!

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Email to my phone

7. June 2007 | Category Internet, Technology

Found a neat new company, Teleflip, that will actually send your email to your via a text message.

Neat thing about it is that you have control over it. You can set which email addresses you get text on your phone from. It works well with Gmail, an awesome email service as well.

I don’t have to log into my email to see what messages I’m getting, I just get them on my phone. It may also be of note that I can receive all my text messages for free with my service from Midwestwireless, which is a good thing too for the cost the messages might cost with any other provider.

So, if you’re eager to get email from certain ppl on your phone and aren’t charged for received text messages, I’d highly recommend this awesome service. FYI, it’s still in beta.

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