October 2011 - Posts

Want To Save On Printer Ink?
Monday, October 31, 2011 6:08 PM

Personal printers seem to cost next to nothing these days. You buy your new home printer without worrying about the cost and print bill payment receipts, good coupons, hotel confirmations, maps to unfamiliar places, etc.


But once the ink runs out and you find out the cost for new cartridges, you then realize why the printer didn't cost much -- they make their money on the ink! I have a $50 printer / scanner / copier that has ink cartridges that cost $55 brand new! 


Now the decision is whether to go with those online ink discount services that offer ink for less. Not sure about that yet, but here are some tips I recently viewed online that might help prolong the life of your current ink and save you money when it comes time to replace it.


-The Vera Sans font is said to use 30% less ink than other fonts. It has holes in the print that are invisible to the human eye and will use less ink over the life of your ink cartridge; 


-Use the fast draft setting on your printer. It will use less ink , dry fast and print faster than the normal setting;


-Use PrintWhatYou Like.com to remove those annoying background images and ads from webpages that you would otherwise want to print. Get the pages you print as close to text only as possible to save tons of ink;


-When turning off your printer, use the power button rather than a power strip button. This is because using the power button on the printer itself causes the ink cartridges to settle in a position where they will save ink rather than dry out. By turning it off using a power strip, they will stay in print position and dry out faster;


-When ink runs out, get the genuine cartridges refilled a few times before purchasing brand new ones for less. If you live near Costco, they offer this service for about $8 per cartridge versus what you would pay full price for a manufacturers cartridge;


-You can also try using refill kits for a few times. Be careful, as they can be quite messy, and use on black ink cartridges only. It's not worth it on the color cartridges;


-If you don't need to print in color, set your printer to the black & white setting to keep the color ink cartridges from running low so quickly. Depending on your printer, you might have one or several color cartridges that can save you a lot of money during the year if you don't use them on every print.


Happy Printing!


by parker | with no comments
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Why Are These Children Driving?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:10 PM

I'm still trying to erase the shock from a few incidents recently reported in the news. In separate incidences in two different states, the police pulled over vehicles where they found 9-year olds to be the drivers! In each case, the father was too drunk to drive and so rather than waiting it out before getting in the car, they decided that their 9-year old child should drive. What in the world! Each child was pulled over while driving a VAN, not a car.


I have so many questions, on so many levels, but it need not be said that if these two were "caught", there are probably many others that are never found out about. In one case the child did hit something with the family vehicle and it was witnessed by an officer. In the other, the officer noticed a child was driving and it was around 3 am!!!


Wow, these poor children obviously are being forced to care for their parents rather than the other way around. I'm sure they don't realize the true risk in helping their parents by driving, and the parents really need to have their licenses (and vehicles) suspended.


On another note, when a 5-year-old girl came home from school yesterday and couldn't find her parents, she decided to take the family SUV to look for her mom! Apparently, the mom and dad had a misunderstanding as to who would be home to meet their daughter, and the little girl was scared at home alone, so she found the keys and started the SUV. She ended up backing into her neighbors yard across the street and then went back into her house to dial 9-1-1 and explain that she needed someone to come put her mommy's SUV back before she gets home. Her parents were contacted and all worked out ok in this situation.


The latter story teaches how important it is for parents to have an emergency plan in place for children, which includes emergency contacts for children to call when they can't reach their mom, dad or guardian. Practice the plan with them to be sure they know what to do, rather than just telling them and have emergency contacts other than your spouse, on hand in the event that you can't reach them right away.

by parker | with no comments
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Did You Know It Could Do All Of This?
Thursday, October 20, 2011 1:01 PM

Do you ever find yourself using air fresheners in your home? How about buying expensive conditioners for your hair hoping it will do for you what it did for the woman with gorgeous hair in the commercial? Have you been buying fabric softener for your clothes for years?


There is a natural remedy in a bottle for these and many other uses that you can pick up at your local grocery store for less than the cost of a cup of coffee! In addition to replacing the common household & beauty products above (by the way, how much do you think you spend on those items put together and how often do you think you buy them) how would you like to be able to eliminate that "smell" in the kids' lunchboxes; remove a clog in your sink drain or remove calcium and lime deposits from hard water. What if this product could also treat dandruff and exited the life of cut flowers.


All of this and more can be done with one simple item: apple cider vinegar!


You can look online for these and many other uses and let us know how it goes in the comments.

by parker | with no comments
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Wow! Free BlackBerry Apps Until December 31st
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 11:23 AM

As a BlackBerry user, I must say that I was quite disturbed by the lack of service during an outage they had last week. Today, I am a much happier customer. Research In Motion has announced that beginning on October 19th, they will be offering select premium apps free of charge until December 31st. This is great news. Not all of the selected apps will be available on the 19th, they will be made available over time.


They have released a partial list, with more to come in the near future, so keep checking their website for an updated list. Details about Technical Support for the apps are included on their page as well. 


Here are some apps that are already currently free in their app store that I either use or plan to install:


-TuneIn Radio - access to over 50,000 radio stations, including local radio (be careful with this one. Data rates apply while streaming.)


-Cozi - I did a blog post on this website, BlackBerry offers the app;


-Weather Channel - local and national weather; current and forecasts;


-Hangman - great game for the kids to play when you're waiting in doctor's offices, at restaurants, etc. Helps my youngest with her spelling too!;


-Yahoo Messenger / BlackBerry Messenger - other instant messaging apps available as well. Great for people on the go who don't want to wait on emails and don't use the texting feature;


-Evernote -  I haven't begun to use this app yet, but I did get it to clean up the handwritten notes in my life;


-Lister - Great little "to do" list app. Can see using this one for many different tasks that need to get done throughout the week. Again, cleans up the handwritten notes in my life.


I plan to go through the premium apps that they will make available later this month to see what other handy apps they are making available.

by parker | with no comments
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What The iPad Has Done For Reading
Friday, October 14, 2011 9:06 AM


by parker | with no comments
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Getting Rid of Ants In Your Home - Naturally
Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:01 AM

I was reading an interesting article on Yahoo! this morning about using home made / old fashioned solutions to take care of common household problems. In many instances, they offer ways to take care of common problems with natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals. When you have a family, this type of information really gets your attention.


One of the problems that the article addresses is ants in the home. Often ants find a way into your home when it rains. If you only treat areas where you see them, you know all too well that they will find another area to enter your home and pose a pesky problem there.


We often use an outdoor treatment around our home to keep them from coming in, but this year they have found their way around that. Unfortunately, we had to use our chemical in the home, which we don't like to do. 


Next time, I'm looking forward to trying what the article suggests: GRITS! Yes, feed them grits and they are supposed to expand in the ants stomach and eliminate them. This suggestion is assuming that they have a significant presence in your home. If you find the scouts in the early stages, here are other suggestions I've found from various forums and websites:


-AT FIRST SIGN OF ANTS (SCOUTS)

Spray with soapy water or Windex (kills the "scout" ant & masks the trail left for others so that they won't follow later).


You can also use vinegar and water. This can be used to get the ants already inside AND to form a barrier so they won't want to come in from outside.


-FORM A BARRIER TO PREVENT MORE FROM COMING IN

The following have been said to be useful for this: cinnamon, vaseline, chalk



My Disclaimer:

Again, these seem to be the most commonly agreed upon solutions on different forums and websites. Try at your own risk. I'm not to be held responsible if you end up with more ants!!!

by parker | with no comments
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Learn How To Invest Using "Virtual" Money
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 5:16 PM

I am way behind the eight ball when it comes to investing. I haven't begun to learn the slightest thing about how to get my money to work for me and I thought it was about time that I look into learning more about that.


As I was researching different advice from financial experts, I came across an idea I hadn't heard of before. The article highlights using fake money to learn how to invest! This is perfect for someone like me who doesn't have money to lose trying to figure out investing on my own. This is not something that was done in the past by my family (other than 401K savings) so it's time I break the mold.


There are sites and games available that actually simulate stock. They will help you to learn how to invest and what types of stock would work best for you, based on your habits. It helps you to figure out what risks you are willing to take.


Investopedia.com offers a free investing tool to learn. I haven't started using it just yet, but definitely wanted to share this with my readers. Happy Investing!




by parker | with no comments
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She Was Fed Up With School Lunch!
Friday, October 7, 2011 11:42 AM

In recent news, a teacher in the Chicago area, Sarah Wu,  came forward to be the anonymous "Mrs. Q". "Mrs. Q" was known for blogging about the lunches provided by her school. She would apparently take a picture of the food and then post it on her blog with descriptions that made parents cringe! 


She says that she started the blog because she forgot her own lunch one day and had to eat school lunch. Even though she worked at the school, it wasn't until she actually picked up her meal that she realized something just wasn't right. Although I'm not sure of what the exact contents of that particular meal were, she does reveal things like fried chicken nuggets made from only 50% chicken; hot dogs are often served; "rib-b-que", and pizza that doesn't look like, well, pizza!


She mentioned that the school food is processed for the most part and most meals are full of sugar, salt and starch. She found that in her school, a large percentage of the children are on the free lunch program that is offered to families who don't have the means to buy their children lunch. This means that lunch is potentially the best meal of the day that these children will receive. A disturbing 20% of children are obese and she feels it is highly probable that school lunch is a factor. Schools are probably choosing these meals due to the fact that the children don't tend to eat the fruits and veggies, they tend to like the processed foods more. They are heating up frozen food for the children to eat and the children tend to throw away anything on their tray of nutritional value, like the fruits and veggies that are provided.


Sarah says she wrote her blog day after day for a whole year. When she was asked about some of the worst food she had during the year, she mentioned "some sort of peanut butter and jelly thing" that was processed, packaged and served to the students. It made her sick.



Sarah's blog and book, "Fed Up With Lunch" are getting a lot of exposure in the media this week. You can go to her blog to see pictures of meals that she was served during the course of the year.

by parker | with no comments
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Now You Can "Will" Your Passwords
Monday, October 3, 2011 2:32 PM

I've been scouring the internet today to find some sort of helpful, insightful website to pass on to my readers and I found an interesting little blip on a service called "PassMyWill." PassMyWill.com actually allows you to "will" your passwords to your relatives in the event of your death! 


It might just be me, but isn't this a bad idea? The service is free and apparently you can save the email addresses of people you would trust to take care of your affairs for you if you die. Well, of course my first question is: How do they know you've died??? The same way anyone who knows you personally does? No! They check for regular Twitter & Facebook updates or emails. If you are not active for quite a while (not sure how long) they will email you to verify you are dead. If you don't respond, your passwords are sent to whomever you have on file with them. Let's hope that they don't do it too soon!


This just sounds so scary to me! I realize that this is for those who are really connected to the "world wide web" and must be dead if they are not using Twitter, Facebook or email, but this is just so risky. If you want to be sure that loved ones have access to your passwords (banking; credit cards; email; whatever) in the event of your death, I'm sure there are more reasonable ways to set that up. Keep them with your will or something. Do you really trust that if you give all of this sensitive information to whomever is running this website, that only your relatives will have access to your accounts? If I asked you to create an account with my blog to have me store your passwords for you until you die, would you do it? (This is only rhetorical, please don't try). 


They probably have gotten some sign ups, so I guess some think it's a great idea. They say that you have to give a special encryption code to those who might get the email when you die. If you don't provide the key code to them or they can't guess it, they still can't get to your passwords.


Wow, I think that this is just insane. Just in case you were wondering, I won't be using it myself.

by parker | with no comments
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