Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Optimism - A Poem by Jane Hirshfield

Our friend forwarded this poem to us as we are tested by this tough economy. I'd like to share it with others facing uncertainties and hard times. Hang in there... This is the tough time but we will get through.


More and more I have come to admire resilience.

Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam returns over and

over to the same shape, but the sinuous tenacity of a tree: finding the

light newly blocked on one side,

it turns in another,

A blind intelligence, true.

But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers, mitochondria, figs -

all this resinous, unretractable earth

"Optimism" by Jane Hirshfield, from Given Sugar, Given Salt. © Harper Collins, 2002.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Approach of Reducing Monthly Expenses with Technology

Let's start with the land line. As much as I would love to get rid of my land line altogether, we are in a dead zone. Our office is in our basement so that is a double whammy for us. VoIP (Voice over IP) is the next best thing. After looking around, I ended up with the veteran, Vonage, for a $24.99/month with unlimiated local and long distance. There are other plans out there (Packet8 for instance) but at least Vonage has been around for awhile so most of the kinks are already worked out. With any VoIP service out there, you should be able to get your voicemail delivered to your Inbox if you are using smart phones - a bonus that you don't get with your lovely local phone company... $24.99 in comparison with $50'sh or more for land line service plus voicemail, caller ID, and other fun stuff: 50% saving.

Satellite radio: DEAD... Long live: Streaming radio. Sirius plan: $12.95/month. Pandora: free. So I have to get broadband access but I need it for VoIP and our works anyway so the broadband access cost is amortized over these services.

My wife loves DVR since she can watch her shows whenever she wants. Now with Hulu plus major networks putting their shows online, we have unlimited DVR capability. We love Psych on USA Network and now we can watch these episodes whenever we like. Equip an HDTV with Dell's Studio Hybrid, you can have a nice little set up and yes, you can get a remote control for it. The Studio Hybrid runs about $500'sh but you save money on cable or dish bill, which is about $50/month or more. You should get your money back in about 10 months or so.

With the PC, I can access my Netflix for movie on demand. For $8.99/month, you have access to all movie on demand. Dish is charging anywhere from $3.99 - $5.99 per movie. That means you get your money back after two movies (plus a DVD in the mail). I know that NetFlix does not have a lot of movies right now but they continue to add more titles as we speak.

On the napkin calculation, traditional approach to phone, Internet, and home entertainment for 12 months is about $1980. Leveraging the technologies (plus the PC) for 12 months is about $1390. That's $590 in saving per year. I am sure we can use $590 in elsewhere, especially in the current economic environment. If you can use your old PC for streaming, you save yourself an additional $500. That's over $1000 in saving. Not bad!

I am sure that some of you might not agree to my approach but at least, I am getting you to read the post... The fun part for me writing this post is to figure out how to bring all cool technologies together, don't you think!