April 2006 Monthly Archive
Posted by Cap in Personal Finance
on April 28, 2006 | 7 Comments
Been writing up some post on my past financial fubar. As I cringe while working on the months-old drafts, I find myself wishing for a freaking time machine. Which is stupid. But eh, it’s wishful thinking.
If I have a financial time machine, I would go back in time and:
Punch myself in the face and say three words: “Delay gratification, moron.”
Posted by Cap in Stop Buying Crap!
on April 26, 2006 | 25 Comments
Part one of brand conscious buying advocated generic alternatives, using Cap’ N Crunch as an example. Here’s the flip side of it.
Unfortunately, sometimes the brand of a product does matter. To illustrate my point, I will be using the best example ever—toilet papers.
Yes yes, toilet papers.
Specifically, Charmin versus Scott toilet paper.
Days ago while at a friend’s house, I was busy free-loading food. This led to an eventual visit to the outhouse. It was at that moment that I had the unfortunate experience in meeting the Scott 1000 sheets toilet paper. Maybe I’m the sensitive type, but man, that’s some crappy toilet paper. I complained to my friend about the poor quality amenity, which promptly made toilet papers the least of my worries.
Fact is, Charmin is a better brand than Scott. Unfair comparison? (Ultra vs 1000) Bah! I’ve tried Scott Extra Soft before, and I was not impressed. Still don’t believe me? Besides being loved by yours truly, Charmin Ultra is also endorsed by Jonathan of MyMoneyBlog. Am I putting words into his mouth? Yes, yes I am.
Do I work for Proctor & Gamble? Uh… that’s not important.
Anyway, as mentioned, sometimes the brand of a product does matter.
If BMW was to bring an economy hatchback into the US market, and assume that its specs, features, and price are exactly the same as a Hyundai alternative—what would you go with? Let’s say we take away the prestige factor of the BMW, would you pick the Hyundai over the BMW? What happens if you take away the manufacturing quality variable? Which make would you go with then?
Another example. Computer parts. A Sony blah blah made in Japan versus a similar “Shony” blah blah made in China. Which to go with? Let’s say we take away the brand image, what will you go with then? What happens when they’re both made in the US?
In the computer scenario, the choice may be a bit more grey.
There are always generic alternatives to name brand products, some will be acceptable, some won’t. For many stuff, the easiest way to find out is to simply try the generic against the brand name. For big ticket items, it’s in the best interest of a savvy consumer to do a little research before committing to a purchase.
The final sway in the decision making would be your value system—because let’s face it, some people are perfectly fine with the Scott 1000. Be wary though—many times, you do get what you pay for.
P.S. The Kirkland Signature toilet papers from Costco, are a pretty good alternative to Charmin Ultra
Posted by Cap in Customer Service
on April 25, 2006 | 8 Comments
Airbus in discussion with Asian airlines to offer padded backboards to have flyers stand, increasing capacity of the largest jet to 853 passengers.
Yeah, the standing room option will only be available for short trips, like island-hopping in Japan. But uh, this is seriously stupid. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to feel awfully ridiculous paying for an airfare—even if it’s cheaper—just so I can stand in an airplane against a padded backboard, while strapped in place by a harness.
The standing room space would be only 25 inches front to back, instead of only 30 inches now for the thinnest seats on commercial jets.
Now you can really feel like you’re being shipped in a box!
I’m pretty sure the airlines aren’t crazy enough to go with Airbus’ idea. Yup. Pretty sure.
Posted by Cap in Personal Finance
on April 24, 2006 | 21 Comments
Question from a reader:
Do you have a friend or relative whose spending habits drive YOU crazy? Totally wasteful with their money?
Let me start by putting on my hypocrite suit, because to be fair, I use to be quite a spender myself. Now let me put on the groin cup, because my sister might read this.
My sister’s spending habit drives me nuts. She recently bought a condo and she’s filling the place up in full force. I’ve already mentioned her big screen 50″ HDTV. Couple days after she moved in, my sister got another TV, this time a flat panel plasma TV—so you know, you can hang them on the wall.
Recently, I walked into her kitchen and found myself starring at two refrigerators. She bought a new one. It’s a really nice one, big enough to store a cow or two, but the old refrigerator was still in working order.
Argh. I tried to talk to my sister about it, but my poor attempts usually come out as if I’m lecturing. Which doesn’t end well. Which brings me back to that groin cup I mentioned.
Feel free to rant with me.
Posted by Cap in Miscellaneous
on April 21, 2006 | 8 Comments
Loving sushi seems to be a mandatory requirement to live in Southern California. Most people freak out if I tell them I don’t like nigiri sushi (or sashimi). There’s just something about raw fish that makes me feel, well, eww?
Plus, $3 to $10 for a piece or two? No thanks.
Other than that, I love Japanese food.
Posted by Cap in Business Ramblings
on April 21, 2006 | 3 Comments
Say hi to part one of “Monetizing the Internet.”
Part One: Hi.
Will I be showing you amazing secret tricks on how to be an Internet baller, making hundreds of thousands thanks to the explosive growth of the web?
I’m the last person that knows anything about making money—not to mention making it online. Having said that, what this series will cover is some of the interesting ways other people have utilize the web to make money—whether as a simple side income to supplement hosting fees for their hobby site, or a full-fledge stepping stone to a viable career. In the process, I hope to also highlight some interesting websites I’ve come across through the years.
Now, Let’s take a look at our first case…
Laurie’s Crazy Aunt Purl, without a doubt, is one of my favorite blog. Though I’m not as avid of a reader as her many subscribers, her personal diary/knitting blog continues to entertain and humble me throughout the year. Some important life lessons that I have learned from reading Crazy Aunt Purl:
- In-N-Out goes with everything, even wine.
- Cat’s aren’t so bad after all.
- Men are pigs.
- Aut Purl’s hot.
Check out one of her recent post for a taste of the goods.
It’s no secret that you can make money online by blogging, though obviously the amount varies from blog to blog. Frequent reader of Crazy Aunt Purl would know that Laurie’s blog has been ad-free since 2005, and some of her readers enjoy the blog because of the ad-free environment. However, that’s not the case for this reader! When I saw the BlogAds appeared on Crazy Aunt Purl recently, I was ecstatic.
Why? Because it’s pretty cool to see someone making money from something they enjoy doing, whether the amount is earth shattering or not.
Although this is an assumption, I’m fairly certain that the majority of Laurie’s readers don’t mind the BlogAds too—especially since they’re tastefully implemented and has a high level of relevancy towards the blog’s content.
As Laurie’s readership continues to steadily grow, with feed subscription numbering in the thousand, the popularity of the blog is ever more evident with readers leaving behind first post comments. When do you know you’ve stumbled onto a popular blog? When it contains an Internet phenomenon or two.
The reader’s testimonial below, I believe, best sums up how many readers of Crazy Aunt Purl feels about the blog:
“I started reading Laurie’s blog about six months ago and, like so many of her readers, have come to feel like she’s one of my very own girlfriends, even though she lives on the opposite coast and we’ve never met. She’s one of the very few bloggers that can make me laugh long and hard out loud at her hilarious experiences and turns of phrases. And the next day, she’ll bring me close to tears when she so openly bares the pain of her recent divorce. We (her devoted readers) continue to beseech her to write a book, and before too long some publisher will wake up and smell the marketing potential of this truly lovely and entertaining girl.”
If you would have told me years ago that I will be reading a blog about knitting by a lady with four cats, I would have thought you were crazy. Today, I’ll go crazy if I miss my monthly horoscopes from Crazy Aunt Purl.
Coming up next in the series: “From Architect to Online Doodler”
Posted by Cap in Updates
on April 19, 2006 | 6 Comments
The last post was pretty depressing—at least to me anyway. Oh well, too late now. You can only delete so many post per year.
Was reading Blogging for Dummies (no joke) and it talked about transparency in blogging, how you should leave your mistake and correct it in a tasteful fashion. Seems pretty wacky but their point is understandable.
One of the suggested method is the often seen strike-through, like so: I’m super hot, SMRT, and have a blog with consistent topics I’m stupid.
Edit: Nevermind. Screw transparency! This is my blog, dammit. Looking at that post makes me depressed, so it’s not gonna show up as a published post anymore! Bwahaha.
Posted by Cap in Updates
on April 17, 2006 | 3 Comments
Earlier today the SQL database server (whatever that is) was out of commission, so the blog was in limbo. I lost out on thousands of traffic and millions in ad revenue. heh.
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