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Netbook Revival

In September 2009 I bought this cute little Samsung N140 10" netbook to facilitate my academic endeavors. It featured Windows XP and a German keyboard. Last year, when Microsoft stopped supporting XP, I reluctantly put the poor little thing away, only using it once in a while, for fear of virus attacks.

Even though I now have a Surface Pro 2, and like that a lot, I still felt there was more life left in the netbook. So I bought a 2GB memory chip for $22, and a full version of Windows 7 Professional 32-bit edition for $73, on eBay. I spent the weekend refurbishing my old friend.

After 189 updates, installation of MS Office 2010, Visio 2010, AVG, Zonealarm, Superantispyware, Malwarebytes, Skype, VoipConnect, a VPN client, my favorite Skat game, three Auslogics utilities, the Live Movie Maker, Audacity, C-Cleaner, VLC Player, Firefox, Chrome.... and another round of 72 updates..... my little old netbook is good to go for at least six more years.


07:03 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)


Freeze! It's for your own good.

Anthem.jpgLast Wednesday it became known that all personal information of roughly 12% of the entire population of the USA had been stolen by some Chinese hackers, because one big, powerful, rich insurance company carelessly neglected to encrypt and protect their database. 

The insurance company said they will notify all affected customers, and offer them free credit repair and identity protection services - but it will take weeks, or months, before this happens; and then the "protection" will likely only be offered for one year. 

If you are one of the victims, or even if you got lucky this time, you are not completely helpless, though. There is one powerful tool available to you to protect your credit: place a security freeze on your consumer credit report. You have to do that with all three credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. It is free in many States, and costs $5 to $10 in some other States.

After that, you have the peace of mind that nobody can abuse your personal information to obtain credit without your knowledge. The freeze will slow you down a little bit, in case you want to get new credit in the future, because you would have to "thaw" your account temporarily, or for a specific lender, but for me that is well worth it! 


Private Sauna

One big part of my life in Munich was the weekly visit to a nearby public swimming pool where I would spend at least an hour in the sauna for two rounds of sweating, swimming a few laps in between.

sauna.jpg26% of Germans fourteen and older visit one of the 2,300 public saunas, or 5,400 hotel saunas, or 3,800 fitness center saunas, or 1.7 million saunas in private homes, once a week or more.  

While there are some public saunas in Fort Wayne, those really aren't enough to cover my wellness needs. The temperature is too low; they force you to wear textiles (or at least wrap yourself in a towel); space is very limited, and the wood is dirty from years of abuse in most cases.

People walk into those places fully clothed, some with gym shoes on; they sit on the benches wearing dripping wet bathing suits, without putting a towel underneath; they apply conditioner to their damp hair, rub lotion all over their body, or even change into their street clothes in the sauna. 

After years of talking about putting a sauna in our house, we finally got around to doing that.

Life is good!


Just improvise!

Saxofon.JPGMy New Year's Eve traditions include melting lead and telling the future by interpreting the strange objects that result from dropping the liquid metal into cold water.

According to this website the saxophone I got tells me to dare and simply improvise.

Given my sometimes overly perfectionist attitude, this is good advice!



The Price of Fuel

Gas201412.jpgThe price for a gallon of regular has fallen below $2.30 where I live.

That is about $1 less per gallon than this time last year, almost $2 less than the highest prices I remember seeing. The last time gas was this cheap was approximately five years ago.

I realize that this may be temporary relief, and stocks are falling because of it - but it means we save roughly $100 per month without changing anything, and I don't own stocks.

Life is good!