Archive | March 20, 2013

David Nix Of Belmont, NH: Finally A Competent, Credible & Reliable Computer Person In The Lakes Region.

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by
Anura Guruge


To say that I am fussy about my PCs, especially my main ‘work’ PC, would be beyond an understatement. Lets face it, one way or another, in essentially three shifts, the last ending well past midnight, I spend at least 10 hours a day on my main PC, often more. When I have problems with my PC I am not a happy camper. It ruins my day. Yes, I have two backup computers, but they are not as brawny as my main PC.

PC hardware is not my thing. All the wires, connectors and setup is way too tight and delicate for my liking. So I always have somebody, somebody good, do my hardware. Once Windows is up I can do the rest, but I won’t touch the hardware (other than cleaning it out with compressed air once a month). Suffice to say I am always in the look out for competent, reliable hardware folks that are reliable and trustworthy. In my experience this has been a scarce commodity in the Lakes Region. A couple of folks I have used in the past have moved on. Over the last 3 years or so I have had real troubles finding anyone.

I have given up on those that now advertise on Craigslist. I don’t know why they bother. You contact them and they are basically not interested. They say they will call or that they will come, but you never hear from them. Maybe they are just waiting to get calls from ol’ ladies that they can rip off.

I had ended up using somebody I had met at BestBuy, who lives in Hillsborough, to do my hardware. But, it is a 90 drive for him and he works crazy hours.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was crazy busy with the sede vacante, I started getting funny noises coming from one or more of my fans in the PC case — and the case alone has 4 fans, not counting the ones on the i7 chip, the video card and the power supply. I really needed somebody to come and look at the fans.

Tim Croes, of ‘The Baysider’, had just interviewed me and he was coming around on election day. I e-mailed him and asked if he, as a local, knew any good PC folks.

He e-mailed me back with David’s name and phone number. I called. He was very pleasant. He said he could come over in 2 days. That was fair. We got talking. I asked him if he was related to Stephen Nix, the Real Estate/Property attorney in Gilford. He was. Steve was his brother. I had used Steve, maybe 11 years ago, when I had a mooring buoy issue when I lived waterfront in Gilford. Steve took care of it for me very efficiently and affordably. I was impressed. This was a good omen.

David came last Wednesday. He cleaned, reseated and checked out all my fans. My rear 140cm fan was not working. I needed a new one. I ordered one. David came again today and put it in.

I like David. He is good. He is in his early 50s. So he is not a ‘kid’ per se. He knows what he is doing. He is careful. He is thorough. He is also very reasonable.

He is a musician, has been a ski instructor at Gunstock for decades and is from a local family. All around good person.

I am impressed. I recommend him.

If you need any computer work contact David. You will be glad you did.

One of the 7 fans in my PC, this the CPU fan on Intel i7 chip.

‘Resident Power’ Handing Us Back To PSNH Cost Us Money. Not Happy.

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by
Anura Guruge


Prior ‘Resident Power’ Related Posts:
1/ ‘Resident Power’ Supplier ‘PNE’ Runs Out Of Money — Feb. 20, 2013.
2/ Resident Power: Possible Alternatives — Jan. 20, 2013.
3/ PSNH Electric Rates Going Up To 10 Cents Per KWH …
>>Dec. 19, 2012.

4/ PSNH To Increase Electric Rates Again? … — Oct. 3, 2012.
5/ We Now Get Electric From N.H. Resident Power — May 24, 2012.
6/ A Plug For N.H. Resident Power. Yes, We Signed Up
>>April 19, 2012.


So I finally got around to looking at my bill yesterday.

I am not amused.

Resident Power/PNE dropped us on February 18, 2013 — though we didn’t get notified about this till Feb. 20.

The 5 days in just that billing cycle that I got power from PSNH cost me a bundle.

Worse still, though I successfully switched to ENH that very same day, i.e. February 20, ENH will only become my supplier as of tomorrow.

I am not happy. I had a CONTRACT with ‘Resident Power’. They are in violation of that contract. Shame on them.

You can see how this all worked out on my bill.


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

PNEMar13

PNEMar12


Well from where I sit, as an ex-Resident Power customer, there are no ‘ifs and buts’. I got screwed by Resident Power.

If they had any honor they will pay for the additional PSNH charges I incurred — because I had a contract with them to supply power to me and they reneged on that. Shame on them.

Yes, I am now with ENH at 0.07284/kWh which is cheaper than what Resident Power was charging me. But, I think it is only a 6 month rate.

I hope ENH proves to be more reliable and credible than Resident Power.

Full Disclosure: Since this whole fiasco I had talked with, and even met, with Resident Power founder and Managing Director, Bartholomew Fromuth. Very nice guy. Very likeable. But, that doesn’t excuse the fact that his company let me down.

Yes, I am not happy.

IRS Provided ‘Free File Fillable Forms’: Huge Endorsement & A BIG ‘Thank You’.

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by
Anura Guruge


freefile


I have been gainfully using this free, fillable forms from the IRS for at least the last 4 years — maybe slightly longer.

I love them. Exactly want I want and what I need. Electronic versions of the paper forms with some automated calculations and automatic carry over of all important data between related forms.

This is a gem. I was delighted when I found it.

Despite our modest lifestyle our taxes tend to be complicated, since I am still self-employed and tend to be an active investor. So we can’t get away with doing a 1040A or a 1040 EZ. Instead I have to do the whole kit and caboodle with 4 schedules and multiple forms. But, free, fillable forms let me do my taxes with aplomb. Yes, I do know my way around the tax forms and most of the relevant regulations. So, I don’t need a program that tries to guide me. That is why I like this offering so much.

It is not intrusive, it doesn’t try to second guess you, it is totally ‘cloud’-based and it seems very secure.

I would not, even if you paid me, install and run a tax preparation program on my PC. Once you install that software on your PC you never know what can get compromised. With free, fillable forms noting is installed on your PC, no data is saved on your PC. It is totally browser-based. So in terms of privacy, security and safety it is as good as you can ask — since the only data it has is what you type in AND that being data that the IRS requires from you, whether you like it or not.

For nearly 20 years, when my consulting business was active, I used this amazing tax accountant in Dedham, MA. It was a hike to get there but he sure was worth the drive and much more. When I first went to him c. 1989 there were no commercial-strength, PC-based tax preparation software. He did everything by hand, in your presence. He interrogated you … quick fire … and you had to either give him the form he wanted (e.g., W-2, 1099) or have the numbers he wanted. Initially it was intimidating since he also berated you non-stop. That was his style. He was a great guy. We became good friends. After about 4 years I knew what was expected from me. Then I could watch him in action. I would study the return when I got home. Over the next 10 years I set out to learn from him. During the last 5 years, I did my return, by hand before I went to see him. Then I would pay him to do another. Then I compared mine against his. He knew I was doing it and would tease me. Eventually I could do it as well as he — and by now he was using a very fancy, very costly commercial PC program.

So this is why free, fillable forms hits a chord with me. I was used to doing the forms by hand, in pencil with a big eraser and an even bigger calculator. OK. Yes, I use Excel too. Many times I find it easier to use Excel to do calculations than a calculator. Yes, I use Excel with free, fillable forms to do my investment stuff. I don;t type much. I copy-and-paste data from Fidelity to Excel and then from Excel to FFF. Using Excel as the intermediate step allows me to put in intermediary checks to make sure that all the numbers add up.

So, this is just to give a heads up to anybody who was looking for a free option from the IRS.

P.S., It doesn’t do State taxes. But, I live in tax-free NH! All I have to do is to file the Interest & Dividend return and give them a check. NH has an electronic system too. I use that. That is pretty easy. Takes me less than 5 minutes to do that!

Today, March 20, 2013, Is The Spring (Vernal) Equinox At 7:02 AM (Eastern), 11:02 GMT.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Spring (Vernal) Equinox 2013 … Feb. 5, 2013.


We are there at least per our relationship with the Sun.
It is now downhill all the way to Summer.

You would never know that in New Hampshire. We had a ton of snow today.





A diagram I did for yet another unfinished book!

A diagram I did for yet another unfinished book!


Click to ENLARGE.


Click to ENLARGE. Take a minute to savor this classic by Botticelli. Primavera, the ‘Allegory of Spring’.


Past Google Doodles for the Spring Equinox.

Past Google Doodles for the Spring Equinox.


Spring in Italy, with its Mediterranean climate, would start in March. The spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, when the length of the day and that of night are closest to being equal occurs around March 20 or 21. The equinoxes, is also when the sun, in a given geography, will rise as close to due east as it ever gets.

We have two equinoxes a year, six months apart. So the other one is in September, around the 22nd or 23rd.

In the Northern Hemisphere, following the spring equinox, the point where the Sun rises each day will shift to the northeast, on a daily basis, reaching the furthest point northeast on the day of the summer solstice (the distance between the two points more pronounced as you move away from the equator). Then, each day, the sun rise point will start moving back towards the east reaching the east most point come the September equinox. Following that, up until the winter solstice in December, the sun rise direction starts drifting to the southeast. After this solstice, the sun rise direction again starts moving back, slowly, towards the east ….

Our early ancestors, even when they were dwelling in caves, carefully observed the daily motions of the sun and the moon. In time they recognized and learnt the unvarying, regular patterns of when and where the Sun would rise (and set), as the seasons changed as made apparent by the changes in temperature and the growth cycles of trees and plants.

They also used various ‘uprights,’ whether it be sticks, tree trunks or stone columns, as early sun dials, to track, measure and understand how the length and angle of shadows caused by the Sun changed during the day, as well as on a daily basis – the day-to-day changes occurring per a repeating pattern, punctuated by the equinoxes and solstices. It, however, took quite a few millennia (probably between four to six) before all the physics associated with equinoxes and solstices would be accurately sorted out – finally coming to terms, around the 17th century, that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rather than the other way around, being a crucial step.

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