Archive for the 'American Consumer' category

Social Security for Congress

Jan 27 2012 Published by under American Consumer, Dumb Americans

 

Here is a quote from president Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Speech…

“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules,”

Lets concentrate on the “everyone plays by the same set of rules” part of the quote.

If we are all playing by the same rules, lets get the Federal Government (Congress and the President) on the same Social Security plan as the rest of the United states citizens are on. Congress should be requires to be on the Same Social Security Plan, so that any decision/law they make, regarding Social Security, effects them too.

Comments are off for this post

Wrong Sales Tactic

Oct 05 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Future things

 

Nissan is using the wrong slogan in their marketing plan when selling the Nissan Leaf.  They are currently pushing the “Zero Emission” of the 100% electric Leaf. This is evident with there latest TV commercial  “Gas Powered Everything” and even the previous “Polar Bear” commercial.  I think the Zero Emission crowd is too small of a market segment for a successful re-introduction of the EV .

The market segment Nissan needs to be going after is the “Energy Independence” crowd.  I think this is a much larger segment of the population. These are the people who are not  core environmentalist. This group has a real concern about the  United States dependency  on foreign oil and the wildly fluctuating cost of gasoline. This is the group that Nissan should be appealing too.

What is the significance of energy independence? It is the ability to drive a car with out the use of  foreign oil.  Even if it means that the source of Domestic energy is not environmentally friendly.  The source of the energy that produces the electricity could be from coal, Natural gas, hydro, nuclear, solar or wind.  As long as the energy is domestic.

So Nissan needs to look at a market larger than the ‘Zero Emissions”  group and go after the much larger “Energy Independence” group.

 

 

Comments are off for this post

Netflix Un-truths

Sep 20 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Corporate America


Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix posted a video on YouTube on 9/18 to apologize and clarify the changes he is makeing to Netflix.  The big change he announced, in the video, is the splitting of Netflix into two companies. One for streaming called Netflix and a new company for the DVD by mail business to be called Qwikster.

Reed apologized over and over for not communicating  this change, in business strategy, effectively to the current subscriber base. Reed only makes a small mention that splitting of the company will cause a cost increase.

The cost increases  announment was made over two month ago. So if you think about it Reed must have been thinking about the changes for  2 or 3 month before that. I would think a company of this size would do some planning before making shuch a bold change as splitting the company.

So when  you look at the new Qwikster website (9/20/11 screen shot above) and only see a one page website announcing the new site is comming soon? You start to wonder how much planning has gone in to the YouTube video and the decision to split Netflix. After four months of time you think there would be a real site for the Qwikster business. Why would Reed make this huge change and not have the web site ready.

Makes you think he is backpedaling in the video to recover from a bad decesion to raise subscription rates so soon again. The price hike  has caused a loss of over a million subscribers.

Not only are subscribers unhappy, look at Wall Street,  the stock price is down to $143 from an all time high of $286 just (last month Aug 2011). That is a 50% loss in value in a month.

Reed better do a lot better then he did in his apology video or that subscriber base and stock price will continue to erode!

Or was the split done to position Netflix for Amazon to purchase Netflix?

 

Comments are off for this post

Generic Top Level Domain Names gTLD

Jun 23 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Corporate America, Geek stuff

 

ICANN has recently approved the new Generic Top Level Domain Names or gTLD. So how will this change the internet.

1. First thing that came to mind was better security for banks. A bank or finical institution can buy the gTLD and every thing that do can be tied to that gTLD. The user would not need to worry about phishing. there would be on confusion one what domain the e-mail or query is coming from. The only question are the Banks and financial institution willing to fork out $185k fork the security feature.

2. It will make things easier to find and shorter URLs. For example if Google were to buy the top level domain Google. You could access the different Google products by using URLs like. search.Google or Gmail.Google or Maps.Google.

3. The generic Top Level Domain will really help cites and geographic regions group there content or even create a revenue stream by selling domain name.  Example MannsTheater.Hollywood.

4. Other groups could also benefits like Plastic surgeons you could domai name like drBrown.PlasticSurgery or Dr.headman.PlasticSurgery.

These are just a few way that the new gTLD name might change the what we use the internet

Comments are off for this post

CASH Healthcare

Apr 14 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, unbelievable

Recently I need to get a cholesterol check. I was faced with going to our regular doctor and paying the yearly deductible and the co-pay of for the initial office visit, the lab test, then a follow-up Dr. visit to discuss the results,  get the new prescription, then getting the prescription filled.

Now the insurance i have is not the best but it is better then most and pays pretty good. Still I would be out of pocket several hundred dollars just to get my cholesterol medication refilled.

Instead there is the dark secret world of cash health care. Thats right cash, no insurance co-pays, not insurance forms, and no deductible. just cash. Over the years I have tried several  prescription  medications for cholesterol management. I ended up on Loped and Niacin. Well Niacin is over the counter and even the time release Niacin id OTC.  The loped is on marginal in reducing cholesterol.

So how do I manage this on my own with out spending tons of money on Dr. visits and prescriptions ever year.  First this to get a cholesterol test. The blood test to determine where my LDL and HDL values are. I already have copies form previous test that were ordered by my doctor, several years of test.

So we start calling around to get a cholesterol test, most places assume/require insurance and a Dr. prescription. Some lab want $200, $250 for a cholesterol panel.  But if you dig enough there are labs that do not require a prescription and will do the cholesterol panel for a little as $42 dollars. That is way less then going the insurance way.

But when they set up your lab test draw, they warn you to only show the lab the work order that was e-mail to you.  Using any other paper work may result in additional fees to be added to your bill. strange but true so to get your $42 dollar test follow the instructions.

Once I have a base line I will continue to take the time release Niacin and supplement  with plant sterols. Plant sterols are supposed to be natures way of dealing with lowering cholesterol. This way I’m not dealing with the side effect of using a statin.

So in the end I will be paying cash, saving money and lowering my cholesterol naturally.

So the bigger question is how big is the CASH healthcare movement ?  and why is the CASH plan so much less expensive?

6 responses so far

Chevy Volt Test drive

Mar 17 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Cars, Changing scene

My wife made a visit to the local Chevy dealer to check out the Chevy Volt.  Thought they may have one on the show room floor. To my surprise that had several on the lot. so we started look at a few that were on the lot. A salesman approchased and invited us into the show room to look at and drive  the Volt.

So here are my first 10  impressions.

  1. I like the concept car/ show car styling a lot better, the production version is dumbed down a lot
  2. No leg room in the back seat when the drivers seat is move back all the way. I mean non, not any, zero, so forget about using the back seat if the drive it Tall like me 6’4″
  3. Do not like the painted center stack of buttons. Overwhelming at first maybe it grows on you.
  4. Loved the multiple display screens and the total glass dash
  5. The electric motor provide tons of  low end torque.
  6. Front grill in not a grill so do not make it look like one, get daring and create something different
  7. It is EXPENSIVE compared to the Nissan Leaf, but cheaper then the Tesla model S.
  8. Dual power plants revealed the wifes “Range anxiety”
  9. Drives like any other car
  10. Very quite aka no tailpipe.

So bottom line, Would I buy this half electric, half Gas powered car? Not for me but my Wife loved it. So I guess we will be buying one in the next 12 months or so.  How is that for a positive answer. But I would still like to see the Nissan Leaf.

Comments are off for this post

Using 163 Light Bulbs?

Jan 20 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff

Do you have 163 60 watt light bulbs on for several hours a day.  Will if you are running a single speed 2 horse power pool pump, that is how many 60 watt light bulbs you have on each and every hour the pump is on.

 

The average 2HP single speed pool pump uses 2000 watts per hour. Most people run there pump atlease 3 hours a day, most likely 6 to 8 in the summer.  So for the average summer month you are spending $50 to $60 a month, based on Southern California rates. It could be costing you more as you move up to a higher rate tier when you consume more electricity in the summer.

How does this happen. Back in the 70′s and 80′s pool pump horse power was king. The pool salesman would upgrade you to a better, higher, horse power for the same cost and you though you were getting a better deal. More power, ya!

So,  do you really need all that horse power to jam the water through a pool pump and filer. NO, you do not. So the pool industry came out with a two speed pump to save you money on electricity.  One speed to clean your pool and get that pool sweep running. With a slower speed to circulate the water and get your turn rate. Did it save money?  You bet!  But now there is even something better.

The Pool industry has a variable speed pump. The pump can be programed to run at almost any speed you want. And here is the dirty little secrete! As you decrease the pump speed, by reducing the revolutions per minute (RPMs),  the pump gets more efficient and uses LESS ELECTRICITY. Are you with me?

The normal pool pump runs at or above 3200 RPM, that will use 2000 watts or more of electricity per hour. A variable speed pump can be run at 1100 RPMs and only use 156 watts or less per hour. Sometime 145 watts.  BUT BUT what about my water turn rate, will it turn over in 6 hours? NO, so you run the pump longer. BUT that use more electricity, right? NO, not  at the lower RPMs.

If you run your single speed pump for 6 hours, that 12,000 watts of electricity.  If you triple your run time to 18 hours with the variable speed pump you will only use 2,772 watts of electricity. That is less then what one and one half hours of the single speed pumps electricity usage.

So what about the pool sweep it will not run at that low flow rate. So you program the variable speed pump to ramp up to maybe 2000RPM and use anothe 1000 watts of electricity to keep the pool clean. Onky for an hour or so. Your still way under 12,000 watts of power.

So save some money and get a variable speed pump. Do they cost more? Ya a lot more.  But you just missed a Southern California Edison rebate program that paid you $300 to install a variable speed pump. I’m sure there will be more incentives. Just keep your eye open. Once you get a variable speed pump you will only be using 2.5 60 watt bulbs per hour not 163. And that save you money and is good for the environment.

One response so far

Solar – the Electronics

Nov 15 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Sloar, Solar Install

The collection box: This device is used to collect all the power from the various photovoltaic arrays. The panels are wired up, in series, to create several groups  or arrays. each array puts out about 600 volts DC.  The connection box feeds the wires through attic to the inverters.

 

 

This system has two inverters due the number of PV panels and the desired expansions options.  The inverter take the DC power created by the  photovoltaic panels and covert it in to 240v AC power. These inverters are a little more sophisticated then the inverters you use in you car to get 110 power. These are full sign-wave inverters. A fail-safe system is built into the inverters to shut down if the street service is interrupted.   The interruption is to protect any power Company employee that is working to restoring the main grid.

Two inverter introduces a problem as both inverter takes up two slots in the electrical panel.  I was lucky and had the space in the panel. We had upgraded to a 200amp panel two years earlier in preparation and anticipation of adding solar.

There are also some advantages to having to inverters. If one inverter fails you do not loose all your power production abilities.  Half of you system will still be producing usable power. The other advantage is the cost less to replace if one fails.

Next the photovoltaic panels.

Comments are off for this post

Google TV let down

Oct 07 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff, Google

Wednesday October sixth was a real let down!

Logitech and Google started releasing a bunch of information about Google TV recently. Google luanched a more informative website http://www.google.com/tv/ early in the week.  That was the first sign of the letdown. DVR functional would only be available to Satellite customers. BUMMER!!!

Then on Wednesday (10/6) we get the first detail look at the Logitec Revue. The first thing I noticed was the connections on the back were limited to HDMI In and Out. So how was this going to work with OTA (over the air) broadcasting? well it is not, BUMMER!!

I was hoping  that the Logitech Revue device was going to be able to get ANY internet content.  Thats mean stuff like HULU! But several reporters reported no HULU at launch. Plus it was missing from all the screenshots. Another BUMMER!!

And the cost of the Logitech Revue is $300 dollars. Thats is a $200 dollar premium over most to the rest of the market. Like Apple TV and Roku which are both selling at the $99 dollar price point. So the cost is a real big BUMMER!!

On thing that is interesting about the Logitech Revue is it ability to control other devices like a digital cable , Satellite box, or a A/V receiver.  The Revue has an IR blaster and two connections on the back for IR out. I guess IR control is a no brainer for a company like Logitech that makes all the Harmony remotes. Plus you can use your smart phone (iPhone or Android)  to control the Revue over WiFi with a Logitech App. That is cool.

But the BUMMERS out number the cool factors, so I canceled my pre-order. I will sit on the side line a little longer to see who comes out with the set top box that hits the sweet spot. I thought it was going to be Google , but they missed by a long shot. My one hope is that this is just the initial release of Google TV…. Maybe better features are still coming

Comments are off for this post

Dumping Cable TV

Sep 03 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff

We have dumped the Cable TV feed. Just got tired of all the games the cable provider was playing and the cost. We still get internet through cable but no Cable TV.

At first it was a tough. You know Cable TV withdraws.  Not being able to watch all the shows you get hooked on. Plus with the Tivo you were always able to keep a nice stock of shows to watch at your convenience.

Well after some digging on the internet and services like Netflix Watch Now we were able to make it through the first few months. Watching the LOST series filled up a lot of TV viewing time.  The six seasons of  LOST added up to  over 100 episodes.  Most of LOST was streamed over the Netflix service.

We are stilll streaming a lot of content form Netflix. There a lot of great show to watch Like Dr Who,  MI-5,  Dexter and more. We have also been exploring several of the cable networks wed sites , like USA network, SyFy and History. These networks release full episodes any where form 1 to 7 days after it airs on Cable. The problem here is they only keep the 4 most recent episodes and you can not easily record then for time shift viewing.

Another great web site for content is Hulu. There is a lot of content, some of it old, mostly episodes of previosu seasons or just the most recent 4  episodes.  But if you look around you will find some gems. Just the other night I found a DIY sires called Cool Tools. There are not an current episodes but there are three full seasons of shows.

Hulu is also starting up a paid service for $9.99 per month called Hulu Plus. I would be happy to pay the money if they gave me better access to current cable shows. After looking through the info on the Plus service it did not seem to offer much for the money. But is it early and the service is not in full release yet.

So we have survived the first 90 days of NO Cable TV.  Give it a try it is easer then you thing, plus you save a boat load of CASH.

Comments are off for this post

Older posts »