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Goodbye for Now – Des Moines Register

Posted by Mike on 22nd June 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.



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Ten Years Online

Posted by Mike on 15th July 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.

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Payday Freedom?

Posted by Mike on 14th June 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.

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Posted by Mike on 14th November 2008

This short film takes about 16 minutes to watch. It’s definitely worth it!

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GO GREEN or not?

Posted by Mike on 8th September 2008

I can’t help it, but I like to get paper statements for my bills and financial transactions. There is something about seeing it in black and white and knowing that the information on it is safe in my files. Now I realize that it is an expense for these companies to send me a paper statement. However, in most cases, they make enough money to send me my copy. Is that selfish? Maybe! Or, maybe not.

The “in” thing this year is to GO GREEN! It is so popular that nearly every envelope from a corporation big enough to have a Go Green Department is telling me to get my statements online and save some trees. Sorry! That is just a cost transfer from them to me. If my statements are online and I need a hard copy, I have to print them on my printer with my ink. Sure, that is good for HP, but costs me money. (Yes, I understand that I pay for my statements in the prices I pay. But, come to think of it, where is my Go Green discount!)

Another thing that I notice in these GO GREEN envelopes are several pages of inserted ads. Shouldn’t they GO GREEN now and eliminate these extra paper-wasting items? Oh, I forget. These ads generate REVENUE. Hmm… Does the revenue bring in more than GO GREEN will save? I’ll leave that up to the accounting department to figure out.

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Tips on Pumping Gas

Posted by Mike on 10th May 2008

I received this in a chain email. Normally, I don’t do much with chain emails, but this one had enough common sense in it to be useful. It doesn’t say who wrote it. If anyone knows, please let me know so I can give proper credit.


I don’t know what you guys are paying for gasoline…. but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon..Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in San Jose, CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening… your gallon i s not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.

A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some other liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank, so you’re getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up — most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom. Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.


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Dear mikesmind,

Posted by Mike on 1st May 2008

Oh, how I have neglected you! It’s not that I haven’t been busy the first four months of this year! I started two new websites. I kept busy trying to establish my e-commerce business and keep my eBay business growing. Not to mention my family, regular job, 80 mile commute, and new farm!

This is not the typical blogger’s confession. I promise to spend more time with you. Will you forgive me?

Your ever faithful author, Mike.

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Another Mikesmind

Posted by Mike on 26th December 2007

There are now two “Mikesmind”s blogging.  I monitor blog posts related to my name and the blogs I write.  I have a blog-search defined in Google Reader for mikesmind.  Click here to look at the other mikesmind blog.  He is from Singapore, while I am from Iowa, USA.

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Posted by Mike on 29th October 2007

A friend sent me a link to this quiz, Yankee or Dixie?

My score?  38% (Yankee). A definitive Yankee.

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A New One for Me!

Posted by Mike on 22nd June 2007

I answered an outside call on my work phone this morning.  Here is what the recorded voice said.

“I am sorry to have disturbed you.  This call was intended to reach an answering machine.”

 Now, I wonder what message they wanted to leave me.  I am certain it must have been important.

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