10 Things Not To Buy in 2015 - Comments Page 1

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Posted by:

Jerry C
31 Dec 2014

Now that I have gotten knee deep in online services TW/Comcast are probably going to cap our bandwidth. Now what?

Posted by:

Carole
31 Dec 2014

You mentioned EXTENDED WARRANTIES. There are credit cards today that will double your warranty on an item for no additional charge. A few years ago, I bought a Samsung computer. It had a 1 year warranty on it. All of a sudden after having it for about 18 months, I started having a lot of problems with it. I contacted my credit card company and explained to them what was wrong. They gave me all my money back, because it would cost more to fix then to replace. The only thing I had to do was replace it with another computer and that was fine with me. So before you obtain a credit card, make certain it will double your warranty.

Posted by:

Phil
31 Dec 2014

Interesting article, Bob. BUT....I definitely disagree with you on some of your statements. INK: I've tried the discounted stuff many times. Always a failure. I'm a dedicated, serious amateur photographer and I enjoy working with my images and printing them. Because of that I carefully calibrate and adjust my PC/printer combination so that "what-I-see-is-what-I-get". Whenever I've tried the non-branded ink I end up with poor color balance and lousy looking prints. When I would use any of the cheaper stuff...and it came time to replace cartridges....I'd find that the ink in the replacement was different and I'd have to go through my calibrating process nearly every time. After I went back to the HP ink cartridges I no longer had that problem.
Digital Cameras: Sorry....I've never seen a decent quality photo taken with a phone camera. The optics are almost always inferior and the firmware just isn't up to the job. I enjoy using my Canon DSLR with excellent quality lenses and, for more casual picture-taking I use my compact Canon pocket camera. I'm no pro....but, as I indicated previously, I am a serious amateur.
MUSIC: Nope.....as a dedicated audiophile who likes to have the symphony orchestra, instrumentalist....or classical or theater pipe organ right in my living room with me....I'll take a finely recorded vinyl disk or CD anytime. Actually the best audio quality is obtainable from the analog disks.....not CD's. Stuff streamed off the Internet is like going back to the old acoustical record players with the big horn and tinny sound. So I'll stick with my big stereo system, thank you.
As far as ditching cable TV is concerned....we're sort of half way there. Still have cable but ever since we purchased our "smart" TV we've watched a few programs/movies from NetFlix and/or one of the free services. However, my wife is a long way from being weaned from her police and detective series. Don't think cutting the cord will happen very soon in this house.

Posted by:

RandiO
31 Dec 2014

Mr. Rankin,
You never surprise me anymore by outdoing yourself and how spot-on your topics are and how easily these topics come to you (and us). I must thank you for them, and hope they don't stop for the upcoming year of 2015.
Unfortunately, I will be violating 3 of your recommendations for the foreseeable future:
#1. CableTV >> $100/month is a worthy expenditure for us to continue being able to receive entertainment on our big screen via DishNetwork Hopper DVR but without the advertisements and commercials.
#7. Digital Cameras >> Probably for most this is a good recommendation but [IMHO] there is nothing like a DSLR with interchangeable lenses and flexibility for composing the proper photo. Plus the fact that I am the only person left in the US that still refuses to own a smartphone.
#8. Storage Media >> Cloud storage capabilities have not gained my trust fully (and never will). I like my personal/private data very close to me and w/o having to worry that "oops, there was another security breach but we apologize"! I just purchased the WesternDigital MyCloud EX2 that will allow me to have access to my own data anywhere I happen to be and w/o worry that Edward Snowden may yet to reveal some new 'gotcha'!
YMMV, RandiO

Posted by:

Gene
31 Dec 2014

While I agree that the free open-office software is very goos, and I have recommended it to many, none will fully convert Access databas files. They cinvert the tables just fine but then one has to totally recreate the forms, queries and reports. I have several Access DB's I have created for some organizatons I belong to plus a couple I use at home. If there is something I can use to actually convert them to open-offices versions I would do so.

Posted by:

BobD
31 Dec 2014

Local storage can have advantages over clouding.
For example, digitized medium format photo negatives, at 5,000 points/inch, can require 759 MB per negative.
Uploading 1,000 digitized negatives (759 GB) at 50 KB/second, running 10 hours/day, would require 422 days.
Writing to a 1T disk locally at 40 MB/second would require 5 hours, and another 5 hours to make a copy.

... more or less.

Posted by:

Daniel
31 Dec 2014

I will add a Bonus to your Bonus: Clark Howard pushes taking a blow dryer and drying your razor after using. It is the water that corrodes the blade and causes it to dull. I don't use a blow dryer, I just blow it dry with my own breadth! I have used a generic triple blade razor to shave my face for over a year!! I have also heard of using olive oil to soak your razor but haven't tried it yet. That would seem to work from the same principle. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Posted by:

Milt03
31 Dec 2014

Bob I agree with you about not buying brand name ink cartridges. What I found, that works extremely well, and is cheaper then remanufactured cartridges, is refilling my own.
I found a company inkproducts.com that sells refillable ink cartridges for my HP Photosmart Inkjet They are easy to refill and the ink is high quality. I found trying to refill HP cartridges was not a good experience.
I have been using their cartridges and ink for 2 years with no problem.
Milt03

Posted by:

Lael
31 Dec 2014

Bob, I have been getting your newsletter for a bit over a year and I really get a lot of info from them. As a non-techie I appreciate the fact that you don't write above my head, and I can understand what you say. Just wanted to say thanks, and keep up the great work, it is appreciated. Lots of good info in this article in particular and I am having some friends sign up for your newsletter because I shared this one with them.

Posted by:

Bill
31 Dec 2014

Thanks, as always, for such practical information!

Posted by:

Paul
31 Dec 2014

I stopped paying for cable recently and have no regrets. I bought an external antenna (this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DIFIO8E/) that I have mounted on the wall and can still get the local broadcast channels in hi-def for free. I still mostly watch streaming services through my Roku box as I hate the incessant commercials on broadcast TV.

Posted by:

Steve
31 Dec 2014

I was making my own prints at home. Then I got smart and now I take my memory card to Walmart and have them print them. Also, Costco now can refill your ink cartridges for much less than buying new ones. Great savings either way.

Posted by:

Thom
31 Dec 2014

Bob:

The inkjet stories and the razor blades are closely related for the same reason!

Posted by:

Steve
31 Dec 2014

Another good article, Bob - thanks. Several of your comments however assume availability of consistent high speed internet service - wish that was true everywhere, but it's not. So for me cloud storage, 4g phone service and video streaming are still things to read about.

Happy New Year!

Posted by:

Dave
01 Jan 2015

Thanks for the tip on the razors. I cannot believe what I was able to purchase so cheaply.

Posted by:

Sleddogger
01 Jan 2015

Bob, your comments may be spot on for those that have access to real high-speed internet. But for those of us living on the wrong side of the digital divide here in the US (i.e. rural) and whose only real option is still satellite internet...anything depending on the "cloud" and unlimited bandwidth simply does not apply. Can't stream video or audio, can't move/store many large images, can't do online backups...I have almost 2T of data on my system and I could never back it up with my upgraded "Pro" satellite internet service that offers a whopping 20GB/month. Yes, this is still the US, not Timbuktu...no offense to Timbuktu, they probably have better connectivity.

Posted by:

Lloyd
01 Jan 2015

I'm doing pretty good as I quit watching TV in 2000. Straight razor and a shaving brush and mug keeps shaving cheap since the downturn. I run Linux so AV, office suites and such are no problem. I agree with Phil though, cell phone cameras are no match for a good DSLR with good lenses. Best quality prints come from best quality inks. That being said not all printing is of equal value, hence photo printer, production printer. Nothing lost as the speed game is at play here. Same with music, MP3's and streaming are horrid, I had better sound from my 65' Fairlane's tube radio and dash speaker. Of course the Fairlane won't fit in my pocket, neither will my home system, so there are trade-offs. Great article, even for those of us that are admittedly getting a little eccentric.

Posted by:

Gregory McGonigal
01 Jan 2015

Always love your articles Bob, they pretty well describe my life style in most cases. I notice from the comments that most people who dissagreed with you did not realy read your words. You said your sugestions were for the "average user" or "non professional user". Then the professional user said he had to have better. duh!
As for keeping the cost of the internet reasonalble, I live in an old building divided into 4 apartments and all of us use the same internet hub/connection. We are in the +50 age group so are not heavy hitters on the data, therefore we all get all the internet has to offer at a quarter of the normal cost. Sharing has it's advantages.

Posted by:

SharonH
01 Jan 2015

"Digital Cameras >> Probably for most this is a good recommendation but [IMHO] there is nothing like a DSLR with interchangeable lenses and flexibility for composing the proper photo. Plus the fact that I am the only person left in the US that still refuses to own a smartphone."-Randi O

And I thought I was the only one. I hate smartphones and am not a big fan of tablets either. One factor is their size-too small, uncomfortable and/or clunky to carry around.

Digital cameras-there is nothing like a good dedicated camera. How can any all purpose device seriously take pictures with remarkable zoom capabilities, settings that you can set or have it automatically done for you (while you learn how to work a REAL camera), different modes such as nighttime, sunset, and panoramic etc. I could go on but you get the idea. In your defense, I guess for the average person those devices are fine. I fail to see how one can frame a photo decently with them. But if you are the least bit serious about photography a stand alone camera is still the way to go. BTW, I have a 1.3 megapixel one that still works. You should see the pics taken in the micro mode.

Non-OEM ink cartridges - work on and off. One time our printer wouldn't even recognize them.

Streaming music - OK, I guess. I use the services but still nothing like a CD for sound quality. Heck, I even have some vinyls, scratches and all. Streamed music is very sanitized. Sure, the quirks have been smoothed out but it sounds may too "manufactured". This takes away from the raw and real sound that many bands and singers strive for.

But as always, you do a great job. Can't agree more about cable. If I could choose the channels I want, that would be great; but I can't. AMC has been running The Walking Dead marathon for 3 days, while TCM has Crawford, Davis and 4 movies showing Beatles, Stones and Hendrix. Guess which channel I'm stuck with.
:(

Posted by:

Lucie
01 Jan 2015

Bob, I love your articles. You always give such good information.

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