Cost comparison of Realtrax vs Fastrack

Someone asked me recently for a cost comparison of MTH Realtrax vs. Lionel Fastrack. Both are similar O gauge track systems with plastic roadbed. MTH’s system has been on the market a few years longer, but Lionel’s is more popular, in spite of being more expensive.

Let’s figure out just how much more expensive it is.

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Estimating the value of a Marx train

One of the most frequent questions I see or receive directly about Marx trains is what a Marx train is worth, or the value of a Marx train. Of course without seeing the train, it’s nearly impossible to give a good estimate, but there are some general rules that you can follow, either to protect yourself as a buyer, or to keep your expectations realistic as a seller.

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Advantages and disadvantages of Windows 3.0

I hear the question from time to time what the advantages and disadvantages of Windows 3.0 were. Windows 3.0, released in May 1990, is generally considered the first usable version of Windows. The oft-repeated advice to always wait for Microsoft’s version 3 is a direct reference to Windows 3.0 that still gets repeated today, frequently.

Although Windows 3.0 is clumsy by today’s standards, in 1990 it had the right combination of everything to take the world by storm.

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Marx trains and the “fat wheel”

On many Marx trains, the driving gear extends to the full width of the drive wheel, making that wheel effectively wider than the other one. This causes interoperability issues with other manufacturers, especially on switches and crossings.

A very common question, therefore, is which Marx trains lack the dreaded fat wheel.

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What I learned about air travel by globetrotting back and forth to Baltimore and D.C.

In 2011-2012, I flew to Baltimore or Washington D.C. a lot–probably eight times, if not more. Internet pal Rob O’Hara wrote about his recent flight to Seattle this weekend; predictably, they lost his bags.

Here’s what I learned by getting to know the Baltimore area by plane.

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Happy 30th birthday, C-64

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64’s release, PC World–a magazine published by the same company that once published RUN, a magazine dedicated to the C-64 and other Commodore 8-bit computers–had someone try to use a 64 for a week.

Not surprisingly, they found the 30-year-old computer not up to 2012’s demands.
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Control your debt, stay in school, stay employed and out of prison

Some people are worried that student loans are the next debt time bomb that can potentially wreck the economy, and that fear of student-loan debt will make people less inclined to seek the education they need.

Two statistics should discourage that.
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SSD future isn’t bleak, just flash

Computerworld is predicting that the end of the line for SSDs will be the year 2024.

That’s based on the projected year MLC flash memory becomes impractical to continue producing. There’s one problem with that assumption: it assumes SSDs will still be based on flash memory in 2024.

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