Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to school, save big?

I'm looking at the most recent Tramlaw savings newsletter and it had a back to school section aimed at college students. Yes, you new and returning college students can save money on college essentials like MP3 players, Oisiv flat panel LCD TVs and video games.

Huh? What is wrong with that picture.

First question, MP3 players? Get with the times. Most every smart phone and semi-intelligent phone, and flat out dumb phone can play your MP3 library. Why purchase another device; unless you have some Batman utility belt fetish?

Flat panel LCD? How about letting mom and dad have the LCD while you take their hand me down television. Who has the higher percentage of being burglarized and getting that nice, new LCD stolen; someone living on campus maybe?

Video games? Maybe for Christmas but not for new students. I'm also guessing that anyone already into video games has already been nurtured through childhood by five or six game consoles and probably does not need a new one. Serious gamers are going to want a gamer PC (see below) with quad-core, multi-video, SSD in RAID-0 goodness; which they also probably already have.

High ticket electronics for college students should start at laptops/netbooks. In this day and age they are almost a necessity.

In all fairness to Tramlaw, they do have an "off to college" department page that advertises their cheap-ass furniture and essentials like appliances, vacuum cleaners,  bedding, cheap storage and microwaves. That department also advertises the MP3 players, video games and mini-fridges that should be secondary to everything else a college student is going to need like outrageously priced books and lab materials, tuition, rent, fuel, utilities, food (Tramlaw covers that one, though), transportation and communications.

But hey, that is what student loans are for, right?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Importing .csv into Google contacts

Yesterday I started work on creating a comma separated values file to import into Google for my looming smart phone purchase.

I added a fake contact, Rod Vanhugendong, and all of Rod’s contact information including work, personal, birthday, etc. I exported that contact to a .csv file so I could get column headers and know where to put data.

I put a group of contacts in, saved the file and then imported the data.

My first attempt failed because all of the data got shoved into notes, not the individual fields. I searched Google help and found little from Google but numerous posts from individuals having similar issues. There were two solutions so I tried one and that appeared to work, eventually. The solution that worked put everything into sections with column headings like Section 1-Mobile.

More on this later; I had some time to kill during lunch.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Upgrade time, mini rant

This is a little mini-rant. I was looking to upgrade my home workstation from an AMD X2 to a Phenom II quad-core and noticed there are six-core processors out now. I checked the Newegg reviews and had a laugh.

One purchaser had one of them with with 3TB of RAID10 and dual video cards and 8 GB of memory and the system can miraculously handle anything thrown at it. I would hope so. That system has more processing power than all the African nations that qualified for the World Cup it damn well be able to handle everything thrown at it.

Next you have the overclockers that are looking to squeeze that extra decimal out of their Windows 7 Ultimate score by running the processor with the fastest clock speed and the most cores beyond the unit specifications. It is a concept I just don't understand in the post-Celeron era of the 1990's. After the upgraded cooling the cost is more than the next step up in processors with stock equipment.

I priced out some configurations and folks are dropping anywhere from $1,300 to $2,400 every 3 or 4 months when new technology comes out. Where are they getting the money?