Costco vs. Amazon.com vs. Walmart vs. Target Pricing List

LIST VIEW

Usually it’s assumed that Costco is ALWAYS cheapest. I’ve found that Amazon.com’s “Subscribe & Save” option with the 20% off is actually CHEAPER than Costco in some cases.

Just as a reference, the Costco pricing is mainly out of the Fullerton Costco located in Fullerton, California.

Here’s a referral link so you can try Amazon Prime for free for 30 days if you aren’t already on it. Not only do you get free 2 day shipping (which often for me is actually one day since one of their distribution centers are so close!), but you also get access to a ton of REALLY good TV shows and movies.

D-Link DIR-655 Wireless Router Dropping Connections Solution

I noticed my D-Link Wireless N+300 Mbps Extreme-N Gigabit Router (DIR-655) seemed to drop connections whenever someone was streaming a video.  Then I remembered a similar problem with the old router I replaced this with and went looking through the settings.

Under ADVANCED –> FIREWALL SETTINGS –> “Enable SPI:”, you’ll want it UNCHECKED.

This seemed to solve any sort of network slow down or dropped connections.  Also, you’ll want to disable QOS if you have it on.

Accounting, Human Resources, Payroll Overview for Start Up Businesses in California

This guide assumes you know 0% about all the numerous laws, best practices, etc., about running a business.  I obviously can’t cover everything, but I can at least bring to your attention some of the most important aspects to minimize your liability (AKA the risk of you getting sued).

 

Accounting

Payroll

Human Resources

– Break Even Analysis

    — Fixed Expenses

    — Variable Expenses

    — Income Sources (variable vs. fixed)

    — Break Even Point

FIRST OFF

Do you have:

    – Need an Federal EIN http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online

 

    – Need a State Employer ID

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/businesses/faq/701.shtml

ACCOUNTING

I’ll actually break accounting up into multiple parts:

 

– Accounts Payable

    – Credit Cards

    – Checks

 

– Accounts Receivable

    – Timeframe

    – Keep Track of Accounts and Review

 

– Bookkeeping

    – Quickbooks

    – Download Transactions Online

    – CATEGORIZE!!!

    – Look at Reports to adjust your “break even” analysis to be more accurate

PAYROLL

– In house, or Outsource (http://www.amesoft.com/)

    – Payroll Taxes

– Hourly / Salary

 

– Overtime:

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_overtime.htm

 

    – Meal periods:

        http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_mealperiods.htm

 

    – Paid Break

 

    – Rest Periods:

        http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_restperiods.htm

 

– Time management software for clock in and clock out times

    – May come with payroll company

    – TimeTrex (open source)

    – Numerous other options

 

– WHY do this?

 

– Unemployment:

http://jeffersonkim.com/2012/09/20/unemployment-from-a-business-owners-perspective-in-california/

 

http://www.edd.ca.gov/UIBDG/default.htm

 

http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de2088c.pdf

 

Write Ups and notifications.

 

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!!

HUMAN RESOURCES

 

– Protected Classes

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-employment-discrimination-31690.html

– Applicable to Hiring, Firing, EVERYTHING

 

– At Will Employment

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

 

– Employee Handbook not 100% necessary at this stage

 

– New Hire Packet

    W-4

    I-9

    Lunch & Break Notice

    MPN Notifications

    Healthcare Notifications (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf)

How to Program Mouse Buttons to Maximize, Minimize, & Move Windows on Multiple Monitors

I demonstrate how I use a Logitech G700 Wireless Gaming mouse and AutoHotKey to easily maximize, minimize, and move windows around on my 5 monitor setup.

 

Here’s the code to easily maximize and minimize using CTRL + ALT + = (Sorry, I don’t remember exactly where I got the code from, but probably off of the forums on the main AutoHotKey.com page.)

;Window Maximize or Minimize
^!=::
WinGet, active_id, ID, A
WinGet, checkmax, MinMax, A
If(checkmax == 1) {
WinGet, active_id, ID, A
WinRestore, ahk_id %active_id%
} else {
WinGetClass, class, ahk_id %active_id%
If class not in ahk_class WorkerW,Shell_TrayWnd, Button, SysListView32,Progman,#32768 ;Creates

exclusion for Windows
WinMaximize, ahk_id %active_id%
}

return

This code will let you move a window by simply holding and releasing the CAPS LOCK key:

; Note: You can optionally release Capslock or the middle mouse button after
; pressing down the mouse button rather than holding it down the whole time.
; This script requires v1.0.25+.

~MButton & LButton::
CapsLock & LButton::
CoordMode, Mouse ; Switch to screen/absolute coordinates.
MouseGetPos, EWD_MouseStartX, EWD_MouseStartY, EWD_MouseWin
WinGetPos, EWD_OriginalPosX, EWD_OriginalPosY,,, ahk_id %EWD_MouseWin%
WinGet, EWD_WinState, MinMax, ahk_id %EWD_MouseWin%
if EWD_WinState = 0 ; Only if the window isn't maximized
SetTimer, EWD_WatchMouse, 10 ; Track the mouse as the user drags it.
return

EWD_WatchMouse:
GetKeyState, EWD_LButtonState, LButton, P
if EWD_LButtonState = U ; Button has been released, so drag is complete.
{
SetTimer, EWD_WatchMouse, off
return
}
GetKeyState, EWD_EscapeState, Escape, P
if EWD_EscapeState = D ; Escape has been pressed, so drag is cancelled.
{
SetTimer, EWD_WatchMouse, off
WinMove, ahk_id %EWD_MouseWin%,, %EWD_OriginalPosX%, %EWD_OriginalPosY%
return
}
; Otherwise, reposition the window to match the change in mouse coordinates
; caused by the user having dragged the mouse:
CoordMode, Mouse
MouseGetPos, EWD_MouseX, EWD_MouseY
WinGetPos, EWD_WinX, EWD_WinY,,, ahk_id %EWD_MouseWin%
SetWinDelay, -1 ; Makes the below move faster/smoother.
WinMove, ahk_id %EWD_MouseWin%,, EWD_WinX + EWD_MouseX - EWD_MouseStartX, EWD_WinY + EWD_MouseY - EWD_MouseStartY
EWD_MouseStartX := EWD_MouseX ; Update for the next timer-call to this subroutine.
EWD_MouseStartY := EWD_MouseY
return

How to Setup 6 Monitors or Multi-Monitors in Windows 7

STEP 1 – Install the Graphics Card and Drivers
The cheapest graphics card that I could find with 6 outputs in ONE card was the VisionTek 7750 Eye 6 2GB DDR5 PCI Express Graphics Card. Otherwise, you’ll most likely need to have two graphics cards that are of the same drivers so you have enough outputs. There currently aren’t any affordable DisplayPort MST hubs.
 
STEP 2 – Hook up Your Monitors to the Graphics Card
You’ll be connecting the monitors to your graphics card using VGA, HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort. If you want to go above 2 displays on one graphics card, you MUST either connect directly to a monitor that has a DisplayPort input built in, or use an ACTIVE Mini DisplayPort adapter. The cheapest I found them were for $24.99 at Amazon.com.
 

STEP 3 – Configure the Monitors in Windows 7
Right click the desktop and left-click “Screen resolution.” You should be able to rearrange the monitors and change their resolutions as needed from this area. And you’re pretty much done!

Click here to see the more details on my 7 monitor work setup.

Tech Tree for Every Unit in Rome 2: Total War

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how you can find out how to build any unit in Rome 2: Total War through the “Custom Battle” screen and utilizing the Encyclopedia built into the game. No need to look it up online (and failing to find anything since this game just got released)!

This applies for all the factions.

 

Are Solar Panels Worth the Cost?

ABSOLUTELY NOT FROM A PURELY MONETARY PERSPECTIVE.

This is mainly because of the fact that the initial investment you placed in the solar panel installation could had been invested in the stock market.  This is what’s called “opportunity cost.”

You can’t simply look at the break even point of solar panels, but you have to look at the break even point versus investing in the stock market.  Unfortunately, they never meet.

The cost benefit analysis clearly shows that the gap between payback period is HUGE, even if you want to consider in minor other variables.

For example, an initial investment for $20,000.00 in solar panel with a 9 year break even point and 7% average return (post-tax) would result in cash value displayed below.  At the 9 year break even point for the solar panels, your stock investment would be valued at $36,769.18.  The spread between solar panels and your stock values only grows exponentially larger from there.

You can click this link to see the spreadsheet I used to make the calculations here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ar8ivt6iydY7dFYyWDM0QlNRb1d4Z2c1eHoyQXAwV2c#gid=1

Now if you want to argue all the extra “green” benefits items, I guess that’s your prerogative.  From a strictly monetary “return on your investment” perspective, the data greatly favors alternative investment options.

How to Select an Audio Source for Logitech C920 on Webcam Software “Quick Capture” Trick

I noticed that when you selected “Quick Capture” on the system with my Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 and tried to record a video, it kept defaulting to the actual C920 built in microphone. So with some fiddling, I figured out you have to disable all the other recording devices (except for the one you want, and another “dummy” recording source), and manipulate the settings to make it work. Hopefully this video helps you a little.

I’m running Windows 7 64-Bit.

Watch QWERTY vs DVORAK Keyboard Typing Test Back-to-Back

You’ll be able to see back-to-back, a 2 minute typing test between QWERTY first and DVORAK second and see how much less my fingers move overall. You can especially see the difference in my left hand which is where all the vowels are located underneath the middle row.

I can type 90 WPM comfortably in DVORAK with minimal strain, whereas, if I were to try it in QWERTY, my fingers will ache a whole lot more.

I have yet to meet another person in real life that also knows how to type DVORAK. I learned DVORAK on my own when I had a lot of extra time on my hands while in the Air Force. Thanks US TAX PAYERS!!!

Appealing An Unintentional Toll Road Violation in Orange County, Califorina

I never thought I would fall into one of these traps. A moment lapse of judgement along with a lack of knowledge to rectify my lapse just cost me $11. On June 11, 2011, around 4:00 PM, I was going South on I-5 trying to get off the exit for Sand Canyon Avenue in Irvine, California (Orange County). I don’t know if I was spacing out or not paying attention, but by the time I realized I had taken the wrong exit (CA-133), I had to keep going straight onto the toll road with no way out.

The entire way through, I’m just thinking to myself, “Crap, Crap, how could I had not noticed? I need to get off at the first exit possible. This is so dumb.” And as I kept driving, I see the first exit off.

I’m now completely irritated and stop my car completely in front of the fork after I noticed there’s no escape. “DO NOT STOP” is what the sign says, and because I’m way too flustered and confused, I failed to continue reading the other signs, “STOP PAY CASH” and the toll payment violation sign (which I actually do not remember at all). So I drive forward through DO NOT STOP.

I continue onto my destination, still confused and frustrated with the whole situation, but after going to the event I had intended to go to and dinner afterwards, the incident was soon forgotten. Then June 28, 2011 arrives and I get a nice notice in the mail. I had missed a toll of $1.00 and the penalty was $55.00. I then go online to research this issue. It turns out, had I been better informed, I could’ve gone to https://www.thetollroads.com/violation/missedAToll.do within a couple days of the incident and I may had received a courtesy removal.

The message states on the page, “*Reduction is a one-time courtesy. If you have prior or outstanding violations, you are not eligible.” So it’s possible they would only reduce the fine and not remove it completely. I was not eligible for the website, immediate forgiveness because I had waited too long, so I had to go through the standard dispute process at https://www.thetollroads.com/violation/.

So this is what I entered:

I was heading south on I-5 and I was intending to take the Sand Canyon Avenue exit. I got confused by the signs and accidentally took the 133 exit which is right before the Sand Canyon exit. Once I realized my mistake, I could not stop my vehicle or turn around until the first exit I saw which was off of Irvine Blvd. I took Irvine Blvd exit because I could not think of any other ways to get off the freeway I did not intend to get on. Once on Irvine Blvd, I went south bond on Sand Canyon Ave as I had originally intended.

I read more into the dispute process, and found this document that gave more explanation on the process and researched what the “Administrative Review” was because I didn’t think that my initial protest would bring the fee down to the $1 I was willing to pay on principal. I read that the next level of appeal would require a $250 deposit for a $1 missed toll fee! Plus I would need to drive all the way down to Irvine and prepare my case, and WORRY about it the whole time.

So I tried giving them a call at (949) 727-4800, waited about 15 minutes on hold. The agent on the end pulled up my online dispute and put me on hold while checking with the supervisor. She approved the final amount to $11. I ended up paying online because I was told that if I waited, the official response is not guaranteed to be the $11 and may be higher (or could be lower). I realized that if the amount they decided on was more than $11, then I’d either have to pay for it or go through the Administrative Review. I decided on the gamble and chose to pay the $11. Meh.

Unfortunately, researching this issue online has gotten me nowhere on people’s experience on appealing. Just generally unhelpful Yelp reviews. Perhaps you have an experience on how you appealed? Did it turn out favorable? Did you end up paying nothing? Has anyone gone so far as the Administrative Review process?