Showing posts from November, 2020


  Background I have been using Vonage for VOIP services for 15 years. The service started at $20-$25 and met my needs at the time. It has been great and after a few years, they introduced unlimited calling (mostly land lines), to 100+ counties calling for a slightly more, or about the same price. This was great to keep in touch with contacts in foreign countries at a reasonable cost, with the convenience of not having to use a calling card (remember those?). I was able to extract every bill in a few minutes from  Quicken  to plot the bills over the years. Fax In my mind, I continued to justify the service for having the ability for sending a fax. When last did anyone need to send a fax ? Current state After a recent review of bills, it appeared that I was now paying close to $50 a month for this service. I had not sent a fax in years and had not called a land line in a foreign country in months. Most of my contacts are now on WhatsApp. The call and video quality exceed the old VOIP ser

UPS Battery Backup

A   UPS   (Uninterruptible Power Supply) provides power from batteries during a power outage. Commonly used to ensure that devices can be safely and cleanly be powered off during an outage. Selection criteria Price - < $100 Reputable vendor Good reviews Device should provide battery backup for at least 1 hour USB interface – provide performance metrics Use case Supply battery power for a router, modem and home automation system for 1 hour. What size UPS do you need ? During the research it was surprising to discover how much power (watts) these devices actually used. The numbers below are based on personal observation, device specifications and benchmarks and have been rounded up, to include some buffer as they could fluctuate, based on usage. Device specifics Linksys WRTAC1900  router - ~12-13 watts Motorola Surfboard SB6183  modem- ~9 watts Raspberry PI4  - ~ 4 watts Initial observations The documentation was clear and the setup was basic. Configuring the device and  dashboard  co

Make a Difference on Black Friday

How do you plan to spend Black Friday Over the past years, we've chosen to spend the time leading up to Black Friday and Thanksgiving as a reminder to give back. It is close enough to the end of the year for tax planning, budgeting and reviewing the year that is almost past.  For us this a a time to reflect, be thankful and give back. In the years past, we spent much time researching the organizations, to find organizations that would effectively deploy funds for the intended purpose.  We required some due diligence to ensure that they are used for the intended purpose. We used Charity Navigator , to research, screen and filter. The site provides a rating to each organization and provides details on the mission, impact, financials, performance and compensation to management.  It is also our trusted source and link to the intended recipients website and contact details. How we choose to spend our time Instead of making that purchase for a material item that we really don't need,

EquityMultiple Review

What is Real Estate  Crowdfunding     The rise of crowdfunding in the real estate space has its root in the JOBS Act of 2012, which lowered the threshold & requirements and allowed active marketing to average investors. These ads are on Facebook and other media platforms and in general an investor has to pass a accreditation  test. Some platforms advertise no investor requirements and thresholds as low as $500 for funding an account.  This can be beneficial to all and in general can be a good thing, however while the intentions are good, there are always unintended consequences.  Investopedia  provides a definition and background and  The Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites of 2020 . The list has most likely not changed much since 2019, however there are many horror stories of investors loses on platforms that no longer exist today.  EquityMultiple  (EQ) is one of many crowdfunding platforms that we reviewed and shortlisted in 2019. Their marketing and website provided data of an a

Equifax and your Employer Data Feeds

Facebook and America’s largest companies quietly give worker data to Equifax - 11-08-17 Biggest companies turn over some of their workers’ most personal information to the troubled credit reporting agency Equifax 40485634/equifax-salary-data- and-the-work-number-database Every week, Facebook and other companies provides an electronic data feed of its employees’ hourly work and wage information to Equifax Workforce Solutions, formerly known as TALX, a St. Louis-based unit of Equifax, Inc. See if you employer is sharing data about you https://secure.theworknumber. Preauthenticated/FindEmployer. aspx business/manage-my-workforce/ employer/ Equifax Data Breach Update: Backsliding - NOV 12, 2019 2019/11/equifax-data-breach- update-backsliding Equifax forced to pay $4 per person in data breach - 07-22-19 90379766/equifax-forced-to-

Blogging Links and Resources Worth Mentioning

  Free resources and link We have all searched for options and alternatives to perform a simple task that may be beyond our level of skills and expertise. This post will be constantly updated with services that we recommend or have found useful. Most services lure us in with a teaser feature or function. We soon realize that the sales pitch only comes later to upsell features and functions that we don't really need and we are unable to perform perform the basic task that was promised.  This occurs in our daily offline lives all the time. How often do we choose to just walk away ? We have a vested interest and commitment and the inertia or resistance is too much to change direction.  How often do we do a search and land on a site only to realize (hopefully )  that its not really what we needed or were looking for.  Create a logo or text Flamingtext  - recommended for hobby or personal website Icon generator  - creates icons from image for use as Favicon & App Icon  Generator Soc

Don't Pay to Freeze your Credit Report

There are 3 major credit reporting agencies in the USA. They also have a presence in other countries.  After the  2017 the Equifax data breach , and the subsequent debacle, the entire industry faced a public relations nightmare and the flashlight was on them. In the years prior, locking/freezing your credit report came at a cost and was an add-on paid service.  In Sept 2018 the FTC announced  Free credit freezes are here .  The three big agencies complied, reluctantly, and in our opinion deliberately made it as confusing as possible, for the consumers to perform a simple freeze. An average consumer attempting to perform the task, would be constantly upsold to other services. There was, and probably still is, confusion around a credit freeze and a credit lock . In addition it appears that the law can differ by state. Should you freeze our credit report ? In general yes, however check your local country/state laws and be persistent. As consumers, this is our data and information. We shou

What is Walk 2k?

This site was created to inspire others, by sharing the lessons learnt during a journey to walking 2000 miles in a year.  Updated : 1/3/2021 Twitter Facebook In recent years I found myself sharing, discussing and debating topic of interest, one on one with friends and colleagues. Our views often differed and in the process we learnt something and saw a different view point. Social media  had great promise for family and friends connecting and staying in touch. In reality, it has become an echo chamber for reinforcing our likes and follows and has forced us into a bubble, where we only see a single viewpoint. The Rabbit Hole Clearly there are many and they go deep. When we researched a topic, its clear there are multiple viewpoints and opinions.  Why not share these ideas, so that we can collectively contribute and become more informed.  Some of the topics we intend to cover are smart homes and Internet of Things(IOT), A utomation , Finance, Real Estate and more.    

Google Takeout - its not a food delivery service

Can you afford to lose your email? Most consumers take for granted that email access in dependable and always available.  Most of these services live in the cloud and we need a reasonable internet/mobile connections to reach them.  Hypothetical scenarios Travelling abroad using a local SIM card - google doesn't recognize the number and for your security requires that you reauthenticate and validate your account.  If you happen to visit China and the great firewall blocks you. You need to lookup a hotel reservation on email.  What would you do if a scammer tried to hack your gmail or google account and you get locked out.   Do you have a plan B ? We should all look at having a backup of our data. Hopefully, we may never need it.  Start with Google Takeout Login with your google credentials, if not already logged in and then select the services you use and want to export. You might be surprised how many are listed. Click the Next button at the bottom. A n