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At The Library

Posted by Mike on September 8th, 2012

I’m at the library, working for a couple hours. It is striking to me that on a Saturday there are only two children here, and they are on the computer. Do many children read books anymore? I remember going to the library when I was young and bringing home a stack of books to read. My children used to go to the library and bring home a stack of books and share them with each other. Have books become old-fashioned?

Maybe that is not so bad, as many of the popular books are not good for young minds.  We don’t want them learning about vampires, werewolves, wizards, or other dark subjects. Yes there are good books out there, but it is up to parents to use caution and protect the young minds of their children.

I know! We just need some old-fashioned, wholesome books….

Posted in The World | No Comments »

Goodbye for Now – Des Moines Register

Posted by Mike on June 22nd, 2012

Recently, The Des Moines Register changed to a subscription model. They had a countdown for a certain number of free articles, and then you get this:

The digital subscription is $10 a month.  In my opinion, it’s not worth it.  I used to visit this site almost every day for news. Not any more.

 

 

Posted in finances, General | No Comments »

No More Facebook

Posted by Mike on February 12th, 2011

Deleting my Facebook account.I never did spend much time on Facebook.  I liked that I was able to connect with some old friends through Facebook. Why leave? In the end, Facebook is a virtual world that I don’t want to be a part of on a personal basis. Yes, I do want to be involved with my friends and family. but not through the public vehicle of Facebook. I will still keep my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Letters? Emails? Phone calls? Visits?  Yes, those I will like very much!

In case you want to leave Facebook too, here is a guide on how to delete your Facebook account.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Freedom, Life Lessons, Productivity | No Comments »

Credit Card Freedom

Posted by Mike on September 15th, 2010

Last month, I closed all my credit card accounts.  I sent the following email to a friend of mine.

I’M COMPLETELY FREE OF CREDIT CARDS!

I have not a one to my name or business.

It was fun calling them all and closing the accounts.  They all wanted to know why. My reasons, when I shared them, totally baffled them!

He replied with the following:

THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!   You are now in the 15% of households with no credit cards. Ironically, as recently as 1970 only 15% of households had a credit card.  What a run it has been for the banks but a disaster for most families.  Keep up the good work!!

I used to think that having credit cards and paying them off each month was OK.  My friend tried to convince me that having credit cards would increase my spending and limit my ability to control my spending.  At the time, I didn’t agree with him.  However, when I decided to leave my corporate job, I needed to cut my spending in half.  That was when it really hit me.

It always surprised me when my credit card bill arrived, how it was always bigger than I expected. I was always able to pay it off, but it was a disappointment to do so and have to miss some other goal I had set with my money. Now that my credit cards are gone and all the bills paid off, it is a wonderful feeling to not receive those bills every month.

I will admit that it has been an adjustment to not just put it on my credit card when I needed or wanted to buy something.  It takes more planning and discipline to manage the budget this way.  But, isn’t that what I am trying to do?  I will also say that I am getting pretty close to cutting my spending in half from what I used to spend.  Pretty amazing, huh? Maybe it is true what I have heard, that you will spend 40% more with credit cards than without.

Posted in finances, Freedom, Life Lessons | No Comments »

What is made in America today?

Posted by Mike on June 11th, 2010

My wife was doing laundry with our children and started writing down where the clothing was made. Not much was made in the U.S.A.

  • Czech Republic
  • Singapore
  • Honduras
  • Bahrain
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Taiwan
  • Jordan
  • Guatamala
  • Haiti
  • Brunei
  • Nicaragua
  • China
  • Dominican Republic
  • India
  • Darussalam
  • Canada
  • Costa Rica

Yes, there was an item Made in the U.S.A., but it was about 25 years old!

The people of the United States have lost the capability to produce their own clothing and many other necessities. What will we do if war comes to the world? I can answer this for you.  We will suffer.  Our nation used to be able to produce anything we needed from the natural resources within our borders.  Sadly, that knowledge and infrastructure has been lost.

I remember, back in the 80’s, when Wal-Mart tried to spur American manufacturing.  Sam Walton penned this letter to spur a change in the United State’s ever-widening trade deficit. The following quote is underlined for emphasis in the letter.

Our Wal-Mart Company is firmly committed to the philosophy of buying everything possible from suppliers who manufacture their products in the United States.

U.S. manufacturers could compete if there was a corporate will to do so. Sadly, the next quarter’s bottom line and the laws of our country almost mandate that our manufacturing capability be moved outside of the country.

I believe that hard times are on the horizon, perhaps even war.  Anyone have a good loom for sale?

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; — I Thessalonians 4:11 (KJV)

God bless, Mike

Posted in Freedom, Life Lessons | No Comments »

Ten Years Online

Posted by Mike on July 15th, 2009

Ten years ago I first got online when I signed up for a Yahoo email address. I’m not sure why I did it, other than I wanted to have my own email address.  I remember several years earlier having to justify getting an email address at work. (I needed to work on problems with IBM support!)  At the time, it cost $1.25 per email to send them through the mainframe.

Then in January of 2002 I setup the first version of mikesmind.com.  You can see the page in the Wayback Machine. (The images and background are missing now.) I think I was blogging before blogging was so popular! In 2004 I moved this site to XOOPS and in November of 2004 I moved this site to WordPress.

Over the years I have setup several websites, participated on others, joined forums, and enjoyed the internet. It just seems that I have been online for more than 10 years! During that time, I also made the switch from Windows to Linux.  So much has been made possible because of the access to information that the internet provides.  I would say that the best internet inventions have been Google, RSS feeds, and WordPress.

Posted in General | No Comments »

Payday Freedom?

Posted by Mike on June 14th, 2009

I received a flier with my bank statement.  In it was an article announcing “Payday Freedom, The Alternative to Payday Loans.” I have noticed these payday loan operations popping up all over during the last five years or so.  I have even seen them in fairly affluent neighborhoods.  What started as a somewhat-shady, at the very least opportunistic, business is now legitimized by a credit union. Here are the “benefits” this “service” provides for the credit union’s members:

  • No Credit Check
  • LOW Fee – Only $12 per $100 Borrowed
  • LOW Rate – Only 18% APR
  • 30 Day Payment Period

Have we not learned from the recent financial trouble our nation is going through? It is hard for me to imagine how this can be a good deal for anyone!

  • No Credit Check – The folks who need a payday loan are probably poor credit risks. Do you want that for you credit union?
  • LOW Fee – Only $12 per $100 Borrowed – That’s 144% annually when compounded monthly!
  • LOW Rate – Only 18% APR – Yes, this might be a low rate when compared to credit cards and payday loan outfits. I like 0% better when you don’t take out a loan.
  • 30 Day Payment Period – I wonder what happens after 30 days?

This doesn’t seem to be a good idea for banks to promote.  What about teaching people to be financially responsible?  I guess you can’t get that from this credit union!  I suggest Dave Ramsey.

Posted in General | No Comments »

No, Mr. President

Posted by Mike on May 19th, 2009

John Piper’s response to President Obama on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Posted in About God, Freedom | No Comments »

Are you conservative?

Posted by Mike on April 13th, 2009

Take this quiz to see how conservative you are.  Here’s my score:

progressive_quiz

Posted in Freedom | No Comments »

You Tube Problems Resolved on Ubuntu 8.10

Posted by Mike on March 21st, 2009

A few weeks ago, I upgraded to Ubuntu 8.10 – Intrepid Ibex.  One thing that I had problems with, and according to my searching many others did too, was playing flash videos like those on You Tube.  It took me some time to resolve it, but the following two guides did the trick.  Not only are they easy to follow, but they did solve my problems with both sound and flash video.

One thing I find when searching forums is that there is a lot of “try this” and “try that.”  That approach can lead to more problems.  It is real useful when the “try this” and “try that” threads get summarized into a tutorial that really works.

I was having two problems with You Tube on my PC.

  1. Sound: I wasn’t getting sound for a lot of different applications, including videos from You Tube. The  Simple guide to Sound Solutions for Hardy,Intrepid and Jaunty Jackalope Users on Ubuntu Geek worked for me.   This guide is truly step-by-step for fixing sound problems.
  2. Flash Video: My flash video in FireFox 3 would just sit there with the circle of dots going round and round in the center of the screen.  I found a guide called Flash not working with Firefox 3 on Ubuntu Intrepid using flashplugin-nonfree after upgrade from Hardy by Jamie Morrison.  It is not as user friendly as the Ubuntu Geek guide, but it worked.  Follow the steps under the Resolution heading.

Hopefully, these two steps will help you like they helped me!

Posted in Software & Computers, Tutorials | No Comments »