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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 40 most recent ones recorded in GreenReaper's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
3:14 pm
GreenReaper live on FurCast
I'm going to be interviewed on tonight's FurCast. The show starts at 8PM Eastern (in about four hours), though my interview's around 9PM. Wish me luck!

(If you have any burning questions that you want answered, you can ask them here.)

Edit: The show is over now, but my answers to the above questions are up, and you can catch the actual interview (with more details) at 73:16 into show FC-76.

Current Mood: pensive
Sunday, February 19th, 2012
2:47 pm
Deducting the cost of your slacker boyfriend
Got any [boy/girl]friends living with you, but not contributing their fare share? Take them as a dependent exemption. (Also works with grandma/grandpa, even if they're in a home.)

Current Mood: amused
Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
10:25 am
Interviewed by "Hugs"
My interview in Russian furry magazine Hugs is now available (p. 6).

Not sure how many people here can read it (angel51431, I'm looking at you), but there's a picture of me being interviewed by Pillgrim, drawn by Душевед.

Edit: Here's the English versionCollapse )
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
1:23 am
Amazon trying to reduce associates' income
Here's some recent changes in Amazon's associate agreement (for people who earn money off links pointing to Amazon's products).

Amazon's announcement of these changes focused on the benefit to associates who used a link to myhabitat.com, who have 30 days to earn rather than the usual 24 hours. They failed to highlight the change that stops you earning if a user who clicked your link follows any other link to Amazon, not just that of another associate. (Update (late June): This has now changed to "any Special Link", i.e. another referral.)

Is this reasonable? Arguable. I suspect they've run the numbers and found quite a few people look around before putting an item in their cart, and in that case you might well lose out on what would otherwise have been a valid sale.

They are also forcing all non-small-claims disputes to go through arbitration. Wonder which lawsuit that was inspired by.

Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
9:50 pm
Post to Google+ via email
Did you know you can hack together Google Voice and Gmail to post to Google+ via email? I tried it and it works.

Now, if only it worked for Pages! I already have an email trigger that fires when people submit to Flayrah - I could easily do one that had the post teaser in it as well. (Of course, if G+ supported RSS import, this wouldn't be an issue . . .)

Current Mood: geeky
Saturday, January 28th, 2012
5:11 pm
Pony-play of a textual variety
Last night I added four articles about newly-formed MUCKs/MUSHes to WikiFur's 'My Little Pony multiplayer worlds' category. It seems the world of text-based online roleplaying is as alive as ever!

Current Mood: amused
Friday, January 6th, 2012
10:29 am
Meet the new Yerf, same as the old Yerf
Oh, I forgot to mention here - I run the Yerf Historical Archive now that ArtSpots has closed. Didn't see that coming when I first dropped by a decade or so ago!

(There's still a number of images to add from backups, but most past Yerf artists are represented to some extent. Search planned for later.)

Current Mood: chipper
Saturday, November 26th, 2011
9:07 pm
Correspondants on the front line
The BBC is doing some pretty hairy reporting (additional video, audio) from Homs in Syria, with a two-man reporting crew smuggled in by gun-runners. Hope they make it out again.
Monday, November 14th, 2011
3:26 pm
Pre-publication pitfall for contextual advertising
The idea of contextual advertising used by Google AdSense/AdWords is great - match ads to the content, and readers are more likely to be interested.

Of course, you'll only get relevant ads if Google can see your content - and this goes beyond robots.txt. For example, many content-based sites have some kind of review process. The editors and submitter may be able to see the submitted piece, but anyone else trying to view the page it's on will get a 403 error - including the 'Mediapartners-Google' AdSense bot.

This doesn't work so well if that page is at the same URL as the one your readers access. The bot will try to crawl the piece when it's first submitted, fail, and won't try again until it's "old news", leaving your users with ads irrelevant to the page content. Whoops. The solution is not to show the ad block until the article is published - or provide a crawler login, but do you really want it basing ads off the first draft?

Current Mood: nerdy
Monday, October 24th, 2011
4:56 pm
How Discover tried to act smart, but just looked dumb
Some computer is out at whack over at Discover Personal Loans. They just sent me a promotional flyer comparing a loan of $16,000 at 7.99% APR against . . . wait for it . . . a loan of $16,000 at 7.99% APR. They then magically achieved thousands in savings by assuming that I'd pay off this loan in 48 months, rather than with minimum payments. (That's assuming you actually get 7.99% APR from them.)

Why this is stupid:Collapse )
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
1:09 pm
Cell phone service on ~$5/month? It can be done!
Whenever I need more service on my Tracfone, I drop by Turk Forums to see what promotions are on. I normally get about 40 extra minutes out of it, out this time there was a rare 60 bonus minute option available on 60 min/90 day cards. Great! I already have double minutes, so that triples it.

But when I go to purchase, I notice some "supersize" options . . .Collapse )

Current Mood: pleased
Saturday, October 15th, 2011
2:34 am
Vanguard for small-business 401k plans? Interesting.
This is interesting: Vanguard just announced the launch of their own 401k management service for small businesses. Unfortunately they aren't giving away enough details to tell how competitive their offering is - but if their index funds are anything to go by, it may tempt many small fry in - especially those who are tired of high fees from others, or who have experience with them for their personal accounts.

You don't often see Vanguard funds available in your 401k, because they don't do the whole "marketing fee" thing that makes money for financial intermediaries that provide such plans. Presumably they're hoping to make a little money off the small-business market, but a lot more on those which grow into larger businesses - a policy which seems to have served them well with individuals.

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
1:09 am
Why do all the good bunnies die young?
My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.

Current Mood: distressed
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
3:44 am
Has your furry spending changed in recent years?
Many people have had less disposable income in recent years. Have you stopped buying, or are you just more selective about what you spend on?

Do you buy fewer prints and trinkets vs. commissions, because they're less personal and can't waste the money; or more, because they're cheaper? Are you pickier about fursuit builders - paying only for quality - or will you take whatever you can get? Have you cut your fandom budget, or would you cut cable first?

Bonus question for artists/builders: Have you seen a change in what people are buying?

Inquiring minds wish to know!

Current Mood: curious
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
11:00 pm
I've got a Golden Ticket!
Today was one of my employer's mass meetings. They run one every year for store managers; this year they had one for the support staff. As with all good company events, attendance was mandatory. The presentations varied; some I liked were probably boring to others. Suffice it to say, I didn't feel it was a waste of my time – even without the swag. ;-)

And the swag was substantial - no poker sets, but there was a flyweight rucksack stuffed with:
* a Spyro figurine (sans rocky stand) which doubles as a game
* a code for four downloadable PC games (at least two of which I might actually play - yes, relee , that includes Tropico 3)
* a copy of Hello Kitty Online (which I probably won't play)
* NBA 2K12 for the XBox 360 (perhaps likewise, though maybe I should),
* a Pirates of the Caribbean minifig, and
* a case for something called a "DSi" with a camera zoom lens
(Plus a pen, notepad, trinkets and numerous t-shirts, one of which arrived at high velocity from the stage.)

Even better, we each got a golden-wrapped bar of chocolate with a flyer promoting a new initiative, which was to be our "golden ticket". Unwrapping the bar, I found I was one of twelve lucky winners! I haven't found out what the prize is, yet, though I'm not sure those giving it know either. (If that's not enough, they held a raffle with substantial prizes, though I had tapped out my luck by this point.)

The food wasn't bad, either - and you can't argue with free. I also got to stand up and ask the CFO if he thought the company was a buy; naturally, he said the stock was undervalued, as evidenced by their continued buyback (which has been public knowledge for a while). Overall, a good day!

Oh, and an amusing addendum to my dealership's mild car loan shenanigans - apparently SunTrust and CapitalOne (two of their three brokers) actually turned me down over lack of a prior vehicle loan, despite my score. Of course, that didn't stop the dealership trying to sell their loans to me before underwriting completed. Fortunately my credit union is now reporting my loan with them, so that shouldn't be an issue in the future.

Current Mood: bouncy
Saturday, September 24th, 2011
10:00 pm
Landing in the Lone Star State
I've been very busy setting myself up in Texas; my apologies to anyone I've neglected.

High points from the last couple of weeks:
* Finding a safe place to live in Dallas, four miles from the office, for just $595/month including utilities and an enclosed garage spot (when other options worked out at $900+)
* Discovering nothing was open on the Sunday of my relocation trip, and spending it at a local furmeet
* Thinking I was crazy for hiring a truck just to move myself, then filling it to its entire length (without a bed)
* Experiencing beautiful weather on the two-day drive down, only to be received in Dallas with a violent hailstorm that drove most other cars off the road
* GEICO saving me almost 20% on their own insurance quote, reducing my purchased rate to $357 for 6 months
* The disappointment on the F&I guy's face as I said "no" to his extended warranty plans, and pointed out that he had "mistakenly" left the dealership's own lender on the purchase order (which charged 2.6%, as opposed to the 2.24% from my credit union; admittedly for a longer period)

On that last point . . . I bought my first car - a shiny silver Fiesta SE (full specs). I hope it's worth it!

Current Mood: moved
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
7:40 pm
Stop-loss policy benefits curious norns
Turns out if you click "cancel my subscription" for The New Yorker (and presumably other C.N. magazines) you get offered three free issues. Bonus! And to think I only visited to change my address . . .

Current Mood: pleased
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
11:22 pm
Oh right, it's *that* weekend . . .
I really hope nobody screws up the aviation system. I'm flying out to Dallas on Friday for a house-hunting trip; if I can't get back on Monday, I will not be pleased.

Current Mood: hyper
Sunday, September 4th, 2011
11:22 pm
IndyFurCon 2011 photos
It took a while to find six hours for processing, but here's my IndyFurCon 2011 photos (slideshow).

IndyFurCon phtoos

Full-sized images available under CC-BY-SA (click "Actions/View all sizes", then original).

Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
8:27 pm
A 0.2% expense ratio is better than a corkscrew any day
One part of changing jobs (at least, the kind with benefits - no, not that kind, get your head out of the gutter) is figuring out where to put the various pots of money you end up with.

Often, you can leave them were they are, or roll them into your new job's plans, but these tend not to be the best options for a variety of reasons. For starters, do you really want to be paying for those glossy fund brochures and benefits presentations? Cashing them out is also a bad idea (unless you do it slowly). The best plan in most cases is to find someone cheaper.

The 401k is going to Vanguard as a Rollover IRA + contribution to my existing Roth IRA, but since they don't handle HSAs directly, I'm trying out HSA Bank; you can apparently use their TD Ameritrade option and flick a switch for zero-commission investments in certain funds, including some Vanguard ETFs.

In both cases, I'm looking to avoid the 1.3-1.5% expense ratio mutual funds that I'm currently invested in; while better than leaving the money in a bank account, there's little excuse to throw hundreds or thousands of dollars a year into what's essentially a glorified stock-picking process (usually advised or controlled entirely by a computer algorithm nowadays).

The forms are a little tedious, and often require follow-ups; but it's fun to get a taste of real customer service when calling the people hoping to get your money. Of course, words are cheap - but then that's why I'm talking to these guys, not the firms who send you executive corkscrew sets for Christmas.

Current Mood: calm
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