“The Home Is Not The Asset, The Mortgage Payer Is The Asset!”

The people who like to provide us with doom and gloom have an interesting take on home ownership. They seem to feel that owning a home is not an asset and that the mortgage payee himself or herself  is the asset. This asset of course is to the bank that supplied the originally money to purchase the home and is the sole beneficiary of the owners toil to attempt to pay back the home loan. The homeowner also has the obligation to do the repairs on the home, pay property taxes for the home, and in general do the maintenance for the home during the mortgage period.

According to one article I read it stated that:

Smart investors know that homes are not assets; they’re liabilities. Assets generate income, homes deplete income. Ever notice how banks, upon foreclosure of a house, will quickly sell it? Banks don’t wait for homes to appreciate in value because of the expenses involved in maintenance. The home is not the asset, the mortgage payer is the asset! The revenue generated by mortgage interest is where the banks make their money. Banks and real estate agents have conned an entire generation into believing that their home is their number one investment. The more debt-slaves there are, the better off the leeches in the banking and real estate world will be. Really, have you ever wondered what “mortgage” means? It is a combination of two French words of “mort” (death) and “gage” (contract). So, you are essentially signing a death pledge or contract when taking a loan out for a house! It is total brainwashing.

WOW! I never looked at owning a home this way before. I have owned 5 homes in my life and I never even knew I was a bank slave! LOL But when one looks at the alternative, renting, I fail to see how owning a home is such a great disadvantage. Those rent receipts don’t offer anything except a windfall for the building owner. Mortgage and property tax payments are at least deductible to a certain point from your federal, and some state, income taxes. Up until recently values were increasing more rapidly than inflation and some folks were able to make a profit when they sold their homes.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Russians And Tennessee Family In Feud Involving Adopted Child

A Tennessee family recently returned an adopted child to its place of birth in Russia. A feud has now ensued between the family and the Russian government concerning the mental status of the child. According to the adopted parents in Tennessee, the child was mentally unstable and had been threatening the family that he would burn down the house with them inside. The Russians have countered that the adopted parents had violated the law by sending the youth back to Russia and that it was damaging to the child to do so.

One news article stated:

“It is a monstrous deed on the part of his adoptive parents, to take the kid and virtually throw him out with the airplane in the opposite direction and to say, ‘I’m sorry I could not cope with it, take everything back’ is not only immoral but also against the law,” [Dmitry] Medvedev said.

The cases have prompted outrage in Russia, where foreign adoption failures are reported prominently. Russian main TV networks ran extensive reports on the latest incident in their main evening news shows.

The Russian education ministry immediately suspended the license of the group involved in the adoption — the World Association for Children and Parents, a Renton, Washington-based agency — for the duration of an investigation. In Tennessee, authorities were investigating the adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, 33.

What is also disturbing about the case is that the child was returned to Russia by himself, unsupervised during the flight to his native country. On the flip side it is being alleged by the adoptive mother that the Russians knew the child was mentally disturbed. When I first read the story my first thoughts were that this was a giant can of worms, involving he said, she said argument with the child caught in between.

But what would you do if it were you in this situation? Would you return the child or keep him?

Comments are welcome.


MagicJack’s New Cell Phone Device – But Is It Legal?

Hold on to your hats because MagicJack may be taking us all down a long legal ride which could provide us all with free cell service. Yes, you heard me correctly boys and girls. But before you run out and shout to the world, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”, the teleco’s such as AT&T are going to fight this and it may not even get off the ground.

According to a recent article it states the following:

Already being called the “femtojack,” the $40 MagicJack version, unveiled and demonstrated outside this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, differs from the other femtocells we’ve seen because it isn’t sold by a wireless service provider. In fact, it’s a bit of a renegade. The Associated Press reports that the device piggybacks on the spectrum that wireless service providers have paid top dollar for – and that there’s little those companies can do about it.

The new magicJack uses, without permission, radio frequencies for which cellular carriers have paid billions of dollars for exclusive licenses. Isn’t that, um, illegal? Dan Borislow, CEO of MagicJack’s parent company YMax told the Associated Press that the new device is, in fact, legal because wireless spectrum licenses don’t extend into the home. Yikes

So how does the work:

The size of a deck of cards, it plugs into a PC, which needs a broadband Internet connection. The device then detects when a compatible cell phone comes within 8 feet, and places a call to it. The user enters a short code on the phone. The phone is then linked to the magicJack, and as long as it’s within range (YMax said it will cover a 3,000-square-foot home) magicJack routes the call itself, over the Internet, rather than going through the carrier’s cellular tower. No minutes are subtracted from the user’s account with the carrier. Any extra fees for international calls are subtracted from the user’s account with magicJack, not the carrier.

There is one issue that needs to be addressed. Only phones that are GSM capable work with the device. These are usually from AT&T, T-Mobile or older Cingular phones with a sim card. Verizon and Sprint phones will not work.

What is interesting is that the folks at MagicJack seem to have found a loop hole in the system. A loop hole that most likely will be plugged by our courts.

But what do you think will happen?

Comments welcome.


Walmart To Enter Home Installation Market

There was a time when the two leaders of the electronics market, Best Buy and Circuit City, controlled a major portion of the market.  But when Circuit City closed its doors, it left only Best Buy as the major retailer to deal with. But in stepped Walmart with a revamped electronics section and now it seems that the mega retailer will be going into the home installation business as well.

A recent article states:

An official launch date for Walmart’s install service has not been announced, but HotHardware reports that the install services will be in place in time for the holiday shopping season. With Black Friday only about a month away, that should mean very soon.

The Walmart service will be a partnership with N.E.W. Customer Service Companies and will offer install services for items that Walmart sells. The service will reportedly be purchased as a prepaid card with price ranging from $99 to $399. Buyers can get all sorts of services form WiFi setup to full home theater installs. The service will also include a tutorial for the buyer on how to work their device after the install.

I certainly hope that this report is accurate and that Walmart will join the home installation market. I am a firm believer in the more competition there is the better it is for us consumers. Having just Best Buy by itself leaves much to be desired when it comes to the pricing of services.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Joys Of Dedicated Data Partitions

Whether you use Windows or Linux, there is something fantastic about having a dedicated data partition rather than keeping all of your user data on the same partition as your OS. For Windows XP users, this means following this LifeHacker article for a better understanding on how to do this with XP and Vista.

For Ubuntu Linux users, setting a dedicated home partition could not be easier. Just do this with the first install of the OS, using advanced partitioning as one of the option. Create three partitions. One swap, one as /Home/ and the last one as the / directory.

The benefits of doing this are tremendous. Reinstalling a fresh copy of the OS may mean reinstalling the software, but once reinstalled, the data partition remembers all of your user settings. This is a massive time saver. But there is also one other thing to consider when taking this approach, considering using a separate hard drive. Bundling this approach with the separate partition, you have extra insurance in case of outright hardware failure.

Still at the end of the day, using a separate hard drive is not a replacement for solid off-site backup. Then again, doing both can make for a fairly decent way to keep your computing life as sane as possible.

[awsbullet:data partition]

Home Demolished By Mistake

Recently there was a news program which highlighted the facts that some banks were having new homes demolished after being foreclosed upon. But when I read this article about a home being demolished by mistake, it shows just how ludicrous this has become. The tale of woe begins by the owner of the home getting a phone call from a neighbor saying his home had been demolished.

The owner of the home in question then contacts the demolishing company who states that they have the paper work to demolish the home. The owner asks what address they were to complete the demo at, and he learned that the company used GPS coordinates to locate the home. Unfortunately it was the wrong home.

The owner is frustrated since the home contained memorable of his family. On a TV news site they state the following:

The house his father built, brick by brick, with his own hands has been mysteriously demolished.

“You can’t imagine. It’s just incredulous that something like this can happen and no one contact the owner,” said Byrd.Byrd grew up in the home with his nine brothers and sisters. It’s a three bedroom house on a little road bearing his family’s name.“We were taught that you could do anything that you wanted to do as long as you were willing to work hard and pay the price,” said Byrd.

Needless to say the homeowner is further frustrated since the company that demolished his home refuses to return his calls.

What would you do if this happened to you?

Let me know.

TV news

PeeWee Computers Just For Kids

How about a non-breakable computer for your little ones that also is spill resistant? Sound good? Well the folks over at PeeWee PC may have just the box for you. Whether it is a laptop or desktop, PeeWee PC have several models that may fit your child’s needs.

PeeWee PC has two laptop models. One with a pivot screen that starts at $599 and a power laptop at $499. Both laptops are spill resistant and also drop resistant and they even come with carrying handles. Nice touch. The pint sized laptops have a 10″ screen, Intel 1.6GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. Guess what the OS is? You guessed it. Windows XP home. Other software they describe only as age-specific software and games.

This is what the pivot model looks like.

PeeWee PC desktop models are described by the company as:

Just about every type of application you might need for your kid’s daily computer tasks are ready loaded onto the Starter Desktop. Simply turn it on and start working. Internet, email, and instant messaging are just a click away. There’s a suite of office applications for word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, databases, and drawing diagrams. Enjoy your MP3s and video with the media player. Plus, there’s even a photo organizer that let’s you touch up images.

The desktops are priced at $349 and $449 for what the company describes as the advanced model. OK. Am I being a prude if I say that aren’t computers for kids that are 2 to 3 years old going overboard? I mean the kids of today who have computers don’t play outside much any more. Couple this with the texting, cell calls, iPods, portable gaming devices, it is a wonder these kids can do anything that requires brain activity.

Tell me what you think.

Comments as always are welcome.

PeeWee PC Web Site Is Here.

T-Mobile To Use Google’s Android For Home Devices

T-Mobile, the countries 4th largest telco is planning on introducing new devices for the home, all of which will using Google’s Android as their operating system. The telco also states that these new devices will be able to handle Internet processes such as weather and managing data. The company also hopes to expand their home device offerings during 2009 and beyond. The company will be in direct competition with devices using operating systems from Microsoft, Apple and Nokia.

In a recent article it also states that:

Last August, T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier after AT&TVerizon and Sprint, was the first carrier to sell a cellphone, the G1, based on the Android software, an operating system that handles the basic functions for mobile devices.

Google maintains some control over Android, even though the software is open source, meaning other companies can alter it to suit their needs. But so far, only the T-Mobile phone, made by the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, uses the software.

Android competes with operating systems made by AppleMicrosoftNokia and others. The vision for the operating system, however, has stretched to cover a wide range of mobile devices, including computers.

T-Mobile’s use of Android to advance its ambitions also shows just how blurry the line has become between phones and computers. Its tablet-size phone device resembles a small laptop without a keyboard and has a seven-inch touch screen. It would handle basic computing jobs like checking the weather or managing data across a variety of devices in the home.

“All of the carriers are going to be supporting these mobile Internet devices that range from laptops to smartphones,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst with Opus Research, which monitors the mobile industry. 

By T-Mobile going with Google’s Android this could lower prices for we consumers. Currently the Apple iPhone which is joined at the hip with AT&T is expensive. Hopefully the new devices from T-Mobile will become popular and also lower costs.

Comments welcome.


How To Reset Your Password In Windows XP Home

Sometimes we forget that not everyone is a guru and that some folks need help with what some of us may consider a simple computer fix. So it was when I got a call a few days ago concerning a lost [forgotten] password on a Windows Home XP box. Passwords on a XP box can be reset by using a a password reset disk. But when a disk isn’t made, can not be found or for other reasons is not available, than you can use the procedure as outlined by Microsoft on their site.

How to log on as administrator

Start the computer in Safe Mode. After the Power On Self Test is finished, press and hold the F8 key until the Start menu appears. Use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode, and then press ENTER to confirm the selection. Now you can see the administrator account next to your user account on the Welcome screen.

  1. Log on as administrator. If this is the first time that you have logged by using the administrator account, there is no password assigned to the account. You can just clickAdministratorNote If you have logged on as Administrator in the past, you may have assigned a password to the account. If this is the case, type the password.
  2. After you log on, Windows notifies you that it is running in Safe Mode. Click Yes.

How to reset the password

You can now reset the password for your user account. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click User Accounts.
  2. Click your user account, and then click Change the password.
  3. Enter a new password, enter it again to confirm the password, and then set a password hint. 
  4. Click Change Password.
  5. Note You can also use this opportunity to set a password for the administrator account, if you have not already done this. If you do not assign a password to the administrator account, your computer can be accessed by anyone. To set a password for the administrator account, follow the same steps as for your own user account. You can also create a password reset disk. Your password has now been reset. Restart your computer, and then log on by using your new password.

There you have. If you are a visual type, than take a look at the source below. It will take you to Microsoft’s site with pretty pictures. LOL


There Will Be 6 Versions Of Windows 7

Microsoft has confirmed that there will be six different versions of Windows 7. They are:

  • Windows 7 Starter (limited to three apps concurrently)
  • Windows 7 Home Basic (for emerging markets)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (adds Aero, Touch, Media Center)
  • Windows 7 Professional (Remote Desktop host, Mobility Center, Presentation mode)
  • Windows 7 Enterprise (volume license only, boot from virtual drive, BitLocker)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (limited availability, includes everything)

Most consumers will only be concerned with Home Premium and Professional editions. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Comments welcome.


I’m Back Home From California!

For the past week I have been in California, mainly in the SF Bay Area, visitng family and friends. I have always felt that it is good for the heart and soul to return to your roots once in a while just to fresh those fond memories we all hopefully had while growing up. It is also an eye opener to see how much things have changed over time, some for the better and some for the worse.

San Francisco is normally cold, windy and wet during the month of December. So it was a pleasant surprise to find that my first 3 days we were blessed with clear skies, no fog and warn temperatures in the 60s. For those who haven’t been to San Francisco, temps in the 60s is normally called a scorcher! :-) A few trips down to the coastal areas were actually quite pleasant and there was not even a need for a jacket at times.

This all ended on day number 4 when a cold artic blast made its way down into the area, just before my trip up to Jamestown located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. I was heading up to the area to visit some friends when things started to get cooler. By the end of Saturday evening into Sunday morning the temperatures dropped down to about 27 degrees. Fortunately I missed the snow and the roads were clear without ice.

So after finishing my trip it was time to return home, only to have to spend an additional 3 hours sitting in the San Francisco airport while American Airlines did what most airlines now consider normal, pissing off customers with lame excuses for the delays. :-(

But I made it home to my family and back here to Lockergnome.

It is good to be back.

Finally, We Have A Buyer!

It may be a while before my next post. We finally have a buyer for our home in Chicago, so we are gearing up for moving to our new home in Tulsa, OK. We’ve been on the market for nearly a year and ended up taking an offer much lower than we would have liked, but we really didn’t have much alternative. If we waited any longer, we’d run the risk of having to release our new home in Tulsa. Trying to sell in this market, I feel like I’ve been put through a wood chipper that’s strapped to a roller coaster.

Needless to say, there are a million and one things to do. It looks like we may be moving over Thanksgiving week. Fun stuff.

I promise to come up for air once we get operational in Tulsa. I know I’ll have a lot to talk about with my new home’s Cat-6 Gigabit Ethernet wiring infrastructure and getting everything re-connected.

Wish us luck.

Vonage – Works Just Fine

I had previously mentioned in another post that I was considering giving Vonage a try and I received some great comments. So I ordered Vonage and thought I would share my experience with you. Thanks to Marc aka ‘the oracle’ for his advice. I did connect the Vonage modem to my wireless router and all worked just great. Also to Kevin who gave me the idea to connect Vonage to my home wiring. Two thunbs up! :-)

Vonage sent me the Motorola upgraded modem at no additional cost. The modem comes with a display screen so you can view who is calling and also keeps track of missed calls. I followed the directions exactly and in about ten minutes I had a dial tone. FWIW – I connected the modem directly to my wireless router and as Marc stated, it didn’t interfere with my wireless setup at all.

I ran this setup for a few days without any problems. So I decided to try what Kevin recommended. I disconnected my phone service at the junction box, and connected the Vonage modem directly to my home phone wiring. Perfect. The cordless phone in the kitchen we previously used on POTS worked immediately. Also the connection from my Dish Network also worked. This is a nice feature because when someone calls their number appears directly on our TV.

So there you have it. Vonage for me is working just fine.

Comments welcome.

Dell Closes Another Support Center

Dell is closing a support center in El Salvador that employs 900 people. In the article about the closing it stated that the call center provided assistance for those living in South America. Though the article didn’t state where support would be provided from, one could guess that India would be a good choice. After all, we want our Latin friends to suffer the pains of hell when calling India for support, just like we do here in the U.S. :-)

This did bring up another thought.You may recall previous articles in which I had mentioned about buying a business system from Dell, and not a home system. Business systems come with support still here in the U.S. and you avoid the language problem when having to call India.

In addition it is also said by some that you get better service for anything you wish to do at Dell, when you are a business customer instead of a home user.

Comments welcome.

Dell source

Are You The Type That Can Work At Home?

I recalled last year when speaking with my accountant in reference to being able to write a portion of my home as a home office. I was always reluctant to do this, since I believed this would wave a red flag at the IRS. But after speaking with my accountant, I felt a lot better when she said that over 40 million people worked from home these days. So with this in mind, I did the home office deduction. So last Friday night when a friend asked me how they could work at home I had to stop and think for a moment.

Working at home is more than just finding work. It is about you and your work ethic. I know a lot of people who work out of their home and they all have one thing in common. The ability to do their work without procrastinating. One of the hardest aspects of working at home is yourself and how well you can handle the lack of inter office chit chat. Some people need these personal contacts with fellow employees in order to work.

As an example. I have two daughters that are as different as night and day. One works for a high profile company and makes big bucks. She works out of her home and her home office is as professional as an office environment. She is able to do her job without interruption but she has something that every home worker needs. The ability to stay in the office, do her work and not stray to far from her work.

On the other side of the coin is our other daughter. She needs a structured environment with involvement with other employees. She would be lost with out an office to go to. Working out of her home would be disastrous.

So if and when you decide to give working out of your home a try, keep this in mind.

What do you think? Are you able to work out of your home?

Comments welcome.