Tag Archives: banks

Commodore 64 vs 128

The Commodore 128 was introduced in 1985 as an upgrade path from the Commodore 64, the most popular model of computer of all time. The 128 was intended to address the biggest shortcomings of the 64 while remaining mostly compatible with its hardware and software. That makes the Commodore 64 vs 128 a natural comparison.

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Need a Commodore motherboard? Believe it or not you’re in luck

Individual Computers is working on, of all things, a replacement Amiga motherboard that will fit in an Amiga 500 or Amiga 1200 case.

The board will use the AGA chipset that the Amiga 1200 used, but the board will be built using a modern process, modern materials, and as many other modern components as possible.

Continue reading Need a Commodore motherboard? Believe it or not you’re in luck

Tips for buying computer memory

Many years ago, I wrote something titled Memory Buying Secrets. That post is lost to history, thanks to migrations in this site’s early years, but there are a number of things you need to know when you’re buying memory that can save you money and frustration, so I figured I would revisit that topic today. Here are my tips for buying computer memory, based on decades of experience. Continue reading Tips for buying computer memory

Don’t buy a house if you can’t afford it

I see the advice all the time not to buy a house if you can’t afford it, but rarely do I see a good explanation of what that means.

It’s really easy. Let me explain it, as someone who paid off a 30-year mortgage in five years and now co-manages rental property and has to determine if someone can afford to rent from us or will be over their head. And no, just because I’m a landlord doesn’t mean I think everyone should rent. There are definitely times when buying makes sense. Continue reading Don’t buy a house if you can’t afford it

Another breach, more credit-card advice

So Minnesota-based Supervalu, an operator of grocery stores, had a data breach in the midwest last week. If you’ve shopped at Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Shop ’n Save, Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, or former Supervalu chains Albertsons and Jewel-Osco between the dates of June 22 and July 17, and you paid with a credit or debit card, call your credit card company or bank.

If you need a new card, it’s much faster to let them know than for them to try to figure it out. And in the meantime, continue to use the card for everyday purchases to establish normal behavior. Don’t run up debt, but you want to establish where you are, so if someone buys the card info and tries to use it, it will stick out. And if their small transaction did happen to go through and they tried a larger one, it’s a little less likely to go through if you’ve run the balance up a little. These are little things you can do to make things harder for the criminals and easier for the banks, and potentially make it easier for the authorities to find the criminals.

I am not in jail.

The bank vice president apologized for calling the police on me.

That’s neither the beginning nor the end of the story, but it seems to me that police involvement of any kind is a sign that your real estate deal isn’t going as well as it could.

It all began with a Citibank loan officer named Aaron who promised me a smooth closing. In my view, being questioned by a uniformed police officer has no place in a smooth closing. And that wasn’t even the worst part of it, which troubles me.  Continue reading I am not in jail.

The bitcoin-train connection

Ever since Bitcoin came into prominence, there’s been a great deal of speculation about the shadowy creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Newsweek thinks they found him: A semi-retired engineer who dislikes banks and the government and the fees and difficulty associated with importing model train parts from England and Japan.

Well, if you’re going to invent a cryptocurrency, what better thing to spend it on than model train parts? Continue reading The bitcoin-train connection

The Marx connection to Hafner

Hafner was a Chicago-based maker of clockwork-powered O gauge trains during most of the first half of the 20th century. The trains were inexpensive but durable. William Hafner developed the clockwork motor as a hobby around the turn of the previous century and put the motor in toys. Eventually he decided to make a train–perhaps he thought his two sons would like one–and he did. He even sold a set or two, but didn’t have the facilities to mass produce them, or the money to buy such a facility. So he approached William Coleman, who had an interest in a struggling farm tool company, and after Hafner secured an order for $15,000 worth of trains, Coleman agreed to use the company’s excess capacity to produce the trains.

And so began American Flyer, the company that battled Lionel for the hearts and minds of train enthusiasts for about sixty years.

But for reasons that Coleman and Hafner took to their graves, the partnership dissolved in 1914. The sons didn’t know exactly what happened. John Hafner said Coleman had promised his father a larger share of the company if the trains proved successful, then broke his promise. John Hafner said the two families had animosity afterward. But Robert Hafner recalled receiving wedding gifts from the Colemans in 1917, and said the dissolution was purely for business reasons. Going it alone, William Hafner formed his own company, rented factory space for $50 a month, and started a product line that would last into the 1950s.

Unlike his erstwhile partner, Hafner didn’t have to deal much with Lionel. Hafner’s greater concern was with this upstart named Louis Marx. Continue reading The Marx connection to Hafner

Two simple ways to increase your credit score

I have a friend who makes more money than me, has no debt except for a small mortgage, and his credit score is 150 points lower than mine. By becoming more like me, you can increase your credit score.

The key difference between us is that he puts a couple thousand into a checking account at the first of every month and pays for everything with a debit card. I do the same thing, but use a credit card, and pay the credit card off at the end of the month.

Continue reading Two simple ways to increase your credit score