California’s failed renewable energy programs

If you live in California, you’re likely all too familiar with all of California’s green and renewable energy initiatives. Many of these eco-friendly programs are funded by taxpayer’s dollars. However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that California doesn’t want you to know. Many of the renewable energy programs in California are dysfunctional at best.

Last week, I decided to take a trip to Death Valley National Park. In the 500 miles of driving I did, I passed by two wind farms. The first wind farm I passed was small, only containing about a dozen wind turbines. Because the turbines were built on top of a hill, it was easy for me to drive and keep an eye on the turbines for a couple minutes. None of them were turning. That’s right, not a single wind turbine was turning, and that means no electricity was being generated at all.

Later, I passed a much larger wind energy farm, containing at least a few hundred wind turbines. I kept a close eye on them, and I’d guess that only about 10 percent of them were turning. It appeared that many weren’t even pointed in the right direction to capture any wind. Maybe it wasn’t a very windy day, but it looked like an absolute economic disaster.

The fact of the matter is that the technology needed to make reliable, clean, renewable energy just isn’t here yet. Sure, there are reliable sources like hydroelectric dams, but California’s wind energy programs are a complete failure. There is absolutely no excuse to have a wind farm where barely any of the wind turbines were spinning at all. On my way back a few days later, perhaps 25 percent of the turbines were functional. Still, I shudder to think of how many tax payer’s dollars are wasted on trendy yet dysfunctional systems. The state of California is nearly broke, and the taxes have been increased very recently. Yet the state still manages to lose an incredible amount of money to projects that barely work.

Posted under Politics, Saving Electricity, Technology

This post was written by admin on March 10, 2009

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An AAA membership is worth the money

Sometimes, you need to spend some money in order to save money at a later time. Such is the case with an AAA membership. The current rate for the American Automobile Association, or AAA, is $75 for the first year, and $50 for each year after that. It’s best to think of AAA as a form of insurance. For the membership price, you get a magazine about once every two months, along with special discounts at hotels, car maintenance, and more. Just with hotels alone, I was able to save more than a hundred dollars simply by being an AAA member, which is great. A lot of businesses claim that their product pays for itself, and often times that simply isn’t true. However, I have found that an AAA membership truly does pay for itself.

Not only do you get discounts, but AAA also gives massive discounts and free emergency roadside assistance. Just last week, I took a vacation to Death Valley national park. I was driving on a desert road with gravel shoulders. I tried to zoom out on my GPS unit while I was driving. Unfortunately, I went off the road and onto the shoulder, slammed on my brakes, and spun out off the road. There I was, stranded off the road, in the middle of the desert. Fortunately my cell phone worked. I took out my AAA card, dialed the number, and within an hour and a half, a tow truck pulled my back onto the road, and I was back to my vacation! How much did I pay for this service? I paid absolutely nothing. If your car is less than 30 feet away from the road, AAA pays for 100% of the service! You don’t have to get your credit card out or anything; it’s all a complimentary service. I did end up tipping the tow truck guy 20 bucks because he kept complaining about how little AAA pays him, but that was my choice. Had I not had AAA, it probably would’ve taken much longer and cost much more in order to get my car back onto the road. Please keep in mind that there are limits to the free service. If you’re car is fifty feet away from the road, for example, it could cost you.

In short, if you drive a lot, or spend a couple nights in a hotel each year, AAA might very well be worth the membership fee. I’ve found that having an AAA membership truly does pay for itself if you know how to take advantage of all its benefits.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on March 9, 2009

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How to burn salt water as fuel

In the ultimate quest to save money, people often look at how to save or reduce their gasoline consumption. There has been a lot of buzz about promising technologies like HHO, or burning salt water as a fuel instead of gas. First, let me be very clear; HHO technology is nothing more than a scam. Many HHO venders use pseudo-scientific explanations and videos of electric cars (which don’t use HHO) as a well to sell their fake gas-saving product on the unsuspecting masses. But this article isn’t about HHO; it’s about burning sea-water as fuel.

About 70% of the planet’s surface is covered with salt water. This means that if there were a way to burn the sea-water and use it as a fuel, it would completely solve all of the world’s energy problems. There has been a lot of buzz about an invention by John Kanzius. His invention uses radio waves to actually burn saltwater. The chemistry is a bit complicated, but for now, it’s confirmed that 14 MHz signals do indeed ignite saltwater.

This is great, isn’t it? Well, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately, the amount of power needed to generate the radio waves exceeds the amount of power produced by burning the saltwater. Unless an even newer technology is developed, this means that it is impossible to generate any power from seawater. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it is what it is. So the next time to you a Youtube video about the saltwater torch, just remember that an enormous amount of electricity is used to generate the flames, and that electricity has to come from somewhere! While it was an interesting discovery, it is extremely unlikely that this technology will ever be able to power cars, power plants, or anything else. Save your money and don’t buy any fuel savings devices that claim to work by burning saltwater.

Posted under Avoiding Scams, Saving Gas, Technology

This post was written by admin on March 1, 2009

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The Cheapest Housing Options

Housing costs account for the majority of most people’s spending. During hard economic times, reducing your housing costs can have a tremendous positive effect on your total income. There are a variety of cheap housing options available, which can help you obtain a more stable financial future.

Being homeless

Of course, the cheapest housing option is no home at all, followed shortly by a cardboard box. Before choosing this option, it’s usually best to try something a little higher end.

Renting a room

If you’re single or just living on your own, renting a room is probably the cheapest alternative. I’m not talking about renting a hotel room, or even an apartment. I’m talking about renting a room from a homeowner’s house. Homeowners that are stretched for cash often rent out rooms for anywhere from 100 to 1000 dollars per month. Even in the most expensive places in America to live in, like California, you can easily rent a room from somebody for $500 a month. The first place you want to check is Craigslist, which is a free website allowing people to advertise rooms for rent (or anything else) for free.

Finding a roommate

Renting a single room in a house when an entire family is living in it can be pretty frustrating. You can always choose to get a two, three, or four bedroom apartment and share it equally with roommates. This option is usually a little more expensive then renting a room directly from a homeowner, but you’re sure to get equal privileges to the living room and kitchen, which can be important. The only real danger is being stuck with a bad roommate! There are many websites to match up potential roommates, including Craigslist.

Living aboard a boat

I have to be honest; living aboard a boat is not for everyone. You will have an extremely limited amount of space. But the good thing is that it would only cost maybe $500 a month for slip fees and maintenance. Unlike renting a room and living with a roommate, if you live aboard a boat you will at least have privacy, which can certainly be a plus.

Living at your workplace

Some people choose to live in their workplace….and many of those people are fired when they are caught! Still, if you have an office and are feeling lucky, maybe you should gamble a little! Actually, on second thought, if you have an office, you’re probably making enough money to afford one of the options above.

Posted under Saving Money

This post was written by admin on February 28, 2009

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Mozy is a waste of money

You’ve probably seen commercials for Mozy.com, and wondered if it’s worth it. Mozy.com is an online business that allows you to back up your data online for free. The idea is very straightforward, and protects you in case your hard drive fails, or your computer is stolen, or catches on fire, etc. But the real question is, is Mozy.com worth it?

The simple answer is no. It is simply not worth your money to use Mozy in order to back up your data, and here’s why.

  1. Free online backup exists from many different companies. For example, you can open a free Gmail account and store all of your documents online for free that way. Because Google owns and operates Gmail, you can bet that the data is backed up. Microsoft backs up all their source code in an old military bunker to protect their assets in case of nuclear war. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google took similar measures.
  2. Mozy will cost you $4.95 a month. This is a whopping $59.4 a year! Much cheaper alternatives exist, and will be discussed shortly.
  3. Mozy uses fear tactics in order to take your money away from you. It’s not worth doing business with any such company.

Cheap or free alternatives to Mozy

  1. If you only have a bunch of small word documents to back up, just upload them to Gmail. Simple, quick, free, and safe.
  2. If you have a few gigabytes of data that needs to be backed up, get a 4GB USB key for $20 dollars. If you go this approach, be sure to store the USB key somewhere safe, preferably in a different building from your computer in case of fire, earthquake, etc.
  3. If you have many gigabytes of data that needs to be backed up, chances are they will take forever and a half to upload online. It might be worth it to get a cheap, $50 external USB hard drive and use that to back up your data. Remember, that will cost less than Mozy does in one year. Some hard drives even come with software for automatic backup. I have an external Seagate hard drive where I can simply push a button on the hard drive to initiate backup. This is appropriate if you want to update and backup files frequently.
  4. Mozy can actually help you find your laptop in case someone steals it. Well, there are free alternatives for this as well. http://adeona.cs.washington.edu/ The idea is that if someone steals your laptop and is stupid enough to connect if to the internet, you can get their IP address and ask the police to retrieve your laptop at said address.

What not to do

However you choose to back up your data, do not burn CDs, DVDs, or blu-ray discs. These methods are not reliable as all of these recordable mediums degrade over time. I’m not kidding. If you’d like, burn a CD or DVD, leave the disc in the sun for a couple days, and then try to use the disc in your computer. USB keys are the absolute most reliable solution. I’ve never seen, or even heard about USB keys that stopped working. Hard drives are also very reliable. And again, using Gmail to store a handful of documents online is also extremely reliable.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping, Technology

This post was written by admin on February 21, 2009

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Download Jeff Paul’s Websites on Rapidshare

You’ve likely seen Jeff Paul’s infomercial about how you can make internet millions with his money making system. You’ve seen the testimonials and the two incredibly hot girls in bikinis hosting his infomercial. But what if you want to try Jeff Paul’s money making system for free, without paying any money at all? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to save you more time and money than you can imagine. First, I’m sorry to say that it’s not possible to download Jeff Paul’s money making websites on Rapidshare, Megaupload, or any other file sharing service. The reason for this is that Jeff Paul’s money making websites don’t exist. That’s right, you heard me. Jeff Paul’s shortcuts to internet millions is a scam, plain and simple. But wait, in the infomercial, Jeff Paul says for a little money you can get 10 free websites, right? Well, wrong. Like I said before, Jeff Paul’s shortcuts is a complete scam, and the commercial is full of flat out lies. I’m going to save you some serious time and money by telling you to just walk away, it isn’t worth it. For $50 or so, you get a package with some vague information about how to make money on the internet, but you don’t get any websites as promised. Then, for thousands of dollars, they try to upsell you their internet website packages. These websites need to run on their servers, and they charge you absurd amounts of money for it. Remember in the infomercial when Jeff Paul said you’ll get new money making websites every month for free? Well, that simply isn’t true. You’ll be charged hundreds of dollars. Once Jeff Paul has your credit card number, he will never, ever stop charging you every month. It is not possible to cancel Jeff Paul’s program. The only way to have the payments stop is to cancel your credit card. Sure there are plenty of people who make money on the internet, but not with kits like Jeff Paul. Keep searching, and eventually you’ll find a genuine opportunity.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Making Money, Saving Money, Technology

This post was written by admin on February 7, 2009

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How to lower your Comcast bill

If you use Comcast for your cable television, chances are that you’re paying way too much money. Don’t worry, this article should teach you how to easily, and quickly reduce your Comcast bill. If you’ve been paying the standard Comcast rates for television for several months, you’re account is probably eligible to receive a discount for the next six month. This discount is not automatic; you have to explicitly ask for it. Asking for your Comcast monthly bill to be reduced is very easy. Go to Comcast.com, login with your account, and choose live chat support. Simply ask if you’re eligible to receive a lower price for cable. If you are, Comcast will reduce your bill for cable television by half for six months, starting after your current billing period. If you pay 60 dollars a month for cable TV like I did, you will probably start paying 30 dollars a month for six months. This is a total savings of $180. The process of asking Comcast to reduce your bill takes less than 15 minutes if you use their online live-chat support. Sure, you will receive a note on your account saying that you requested your bill to be reduced. Because you never know what notes they attach to your account, it’s always best to be as polite as humanly possible. And that’s really all there is to it! Take 15 minutes of your time and save close to two hundred dollars! Saving money is really that simple!

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Saving Money, Shopping, Technology

This post was written by admin on February 5, 2009

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The questions no HHO seller can answer

Some people claim that a miraculous new technology called HHO can dramatically reduce the amount of gas used in your car. The idea is to use electricity from the car’s alternator to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water. This gas, called Brown’s gas, or HHO, is then fed back into the fuel mixture which is then fed into the internal combustion engine. Supposedly, HHO make the burning of gas more efficient, and thus lowers the gas mileage of the car. This all sounds reasonable; there are some big questions that remain to be answered.

Why isn’t HHO made by any major car manufacturer?

Ford, GM, Toyota, Chrysler, you name it. No major automobile manufacturer has ever acknowledged HHO as a legitimate and proven technology. People who sell HHO related products have many excuses. Some say that the car companies are involved in some conspiracy theory with the gas companies. Unfortunately there is no evidence for this. Instead, what we see is that cars with higher gas mileage sell better, thus creating incentive for car makers to create low gas mileage vehicles. Other HHO sellers say that HHO is so new that it hasn’t been incorporated into vehicles yet. This argument is laughable, especially since scammers have been selling HHO products for years.

How can such a small amount of HHO gas improve gas mileage by so much?

This is another fun little question that HHO sellers have a lot of trouble answering. Electrolysis doesn’t make very much HHO. In fact, you would need a huge HHO system in order to produce barely enough gas to power a lawnmower on idle. Now think about this for a second; how can such a miniscule amount of HHO gas be enough to make any noticeable difference in a car engine? The answer is that it can’t.

Related Articles

Advertising tactics of HHO sellers and scammers

Why HHO devices aren’t made by major car manufacturers

HHO scammers bend the facts

Fake videos promoting the HHO scam explained

Posted under Avoiding Scams, Saving Money, Technology

This post was written by admin on January 4, 2009

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The difference between Prego and Ragu

Usually, it costs less money to make your own pasta sauce, but it’s oh so much easier to open a bottle! The two leading types of Pasta sauce are Prego and Ragu, and like most choices in life, there is a price difference. Generally, Ragu is anywhere from 20 to 40 percent cheaper than Prego, But there’s a catch. While we all want to save money, sometimes we get what we pay for. As a college student a few years ago, I ate a lot of pasta mainly because it was easy to make. What I’ve found is that Ragu is extremely watered down when compared to Prego. It may cost less, but it contains much more water and much less flavor than Prego. The flavoring for Ragu is little more than a joke. For example, you can buy a bottle of Ragu flavored with meat, but you will be disappointed to find that there is hardly any meat at all in the sauce! Seriously, you can eat an entire portion of meat flavored Ragu and never even come across one little morsel of meat. In short, saving your money is one thing, but there’s no hard decision to make between Ragu and Prego. Prego pasta sauce is simply superior in taste and texture. So the next time you’re shopping at your local grocery store, remember that sometimes it’s better to pay a little more for a vastly superior product.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on January 2, 2009

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Where to buy cheap yachts

In times of economic hardships, there are great deals to be had. Many people own yachts and other boats, and hardly ever use them. This is great news for you! Because of economic downturns, people no longer want to pay to have their boat tied to a dock every month, especially if they hardly ever use the boat.

If you really want to buy a boat at a reduced price, take a look at craigslist.com. There are many boats worth more than a hundred thousand dollars being sold for a mere twenty thousand dollars or less! Best of all, it seems like many of the boats for sale on craiglist.com also have a slip which comes with the boat. Of course, you will have to start paying slip fees every month, but you won’t have to worry about hunting and searching for a marina with a slip available. Best of all, it appears that many of the boats being sold on Craigslist come with liveaboard approved slips, which is great news if you are looking to live aboard your boat.

In short, if you buy a slightly used boat on Craigslist, you’re bound to save many tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re looking to buy a boat, this should be the first place you look.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on December 28, 2008

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