Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Making the Case for iPad E-Book Prices - NYTimes.com

Making the Case for iPad E-Book Prices - NYTimes.com

Article talking about how the costs relate to the prices for ebooks.


Not sure if I am ready to jump into the "paperless book" just yet. I read online, and can read from a screen, and have read ebooks before also. But, there is no $300 unit you have to buy, no additional costs for the material inside the covers, no batteries to worry about, no damage to worry about.

We'll see. Maybe I'll get a Kindle or iPad for Christmas and change my tune.

(hint, hint)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Twitter & Blackberry Bibles

Good to have.




Economic Reports

On my Investor Word of the Day, found this: 10 Major Economic Reports (http://www.investorwords.com/slides/economic_reports/intro.html).

Jobless rates are weekly.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) is monthly.
Payroll data (for 80% of US employees) is monthly.
Producer Price Index (PPI) is monthly.
Beige book is published 8 times a year. It is a report on conditions within each region of the Federal Reserve Board.
Consumer Confidence Index is monthly.
Durable goods orders is monthly.
Gross Domestic Product is quarterly.
Retail Sales Index is monthly.
Housing starts are generally monthly.

Cell Phones

Got a TechTarget email about the 12 types of annoying cell phone users. While I don't find them annoying in general, every once in a while I get a "Grrrrrr" moment.

That led to me the slide show of the Mobile Phone in pictures at http://www.cio.com/article/504135/The_Mobile_Phone_A_History_in_Pictures. Since it's a flash to the past to see all the old cell phones and try to remember "Did I ever have that one?", I'm putting up the link to it too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Debt Collector Harassment

Googled a random phone number and found a site where a poster had posted some good advice. The bulk of it appears to have been taken from the Federal Trade Commission website, but as long as it's correct, then a big thank you to the poster.

None of the links have been verified or scanned at all. Please, as always, investigate at your own risk.

File complaints with

Federal Trade Commission https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en

Your State Attorney General is in every state they have offices
Link to all State Attorney General Websites www.naag.org

If you or they are located in NY – use this SPECIAL Link www.NYDebtHelp.com

Also report your calls and contacts with debt collectors at http://www.budhibbs.com/index.html
If the company is listed under agencies – report there. If not on the list YET, click on Watchlist! and add to the list.
You can also post here http://www.collectorsexposed.com/forum2/index.php?board=2.0

Dealing with Debt Collectors http://www.budhibbs.com/start.html

Statute of Limitations by State – always double check YOUR OWN STATE Government Website http://www.budhibbs.com/statute_of_limitations.htm

Recording calls from Debt Collectors - always double check YOUR OWN STATE Government Websitehttp://www.budhibbs.com/record.htm

From Federal Trade Commission Website –
FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers
If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly make it appear that you are, a debt collector may be contacting you.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.
Here are some questions and answers about your rights under the Act.

What types of debts are covered?T
he Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, an auto loan, a medical bill, and your mortgage. The FDCPA doesn’t cover debts you incurred to run a business.

Can a debt collector contact me any time or any place?
No. A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night, unless you agree to it. And collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (orally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.

How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me?
If a collector contacts you about a debt, you may want to talk to them at least once to see if you can resolve the matter – even if you don’t think you owe the debt, can’t repay it immediately, or think that the collector is contacting you by mistake. If you decide after contacting the debt collector that you don’t want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector – in writing – to stop contacting you. Here’s how to do that:Make a copy of your letter. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. The creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.

Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt?
If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people – but only to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.

What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt?
Every collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.

Can a debt collector keep contacting me if I don’t think I owe any money?
If you send the debt collector a letter stating that you don’t owe any or all of the money, or asking for verification of the debt, that collector must stop contacting you. You have to send that letter within 30 days after you receive the validation notice. But a collector can begin contacting you again if it sends you written verification of the debt, like a copy of a bill for the amount you owe.

What practices are off limits for debt collectors?
Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact.
For example, they may not:
  • use threats of violence or harm;
  • publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies);
  • use obscene or profane language; or
  • repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.

False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt.

For example, they may not:

  • falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
  • falsely claim that you have committed a crime;
  • falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
  • misrepresent the amount you owe;
  • indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t; or
  • indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.

Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that:

  • you will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt;
  • they’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or
  • legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.

Debt collectors may not:

  • give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company;
  • send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t; or
  • use a false company name.

Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt.

For example, they may not:

  • try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt – or your state law – allows the charge;
  • deposit a post-dated check early;
  • take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally; or
  • contact you by postcard.

Can I control which debts my payments apply to?

Yes. If a debt collector is trying to collect more than one debt from you, the collector must apply any payment you make to the debt you select. Equally important, a debt collector may not apply a payment to a debt you don’t think you owe.

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account or my wages?

If you don’t pay a debt, a creditor or its debt collector generally can sue you to collect. If they win, the court will enter a judgment against you. The judgment states the amount of money you owe, and allows the creditor or collector to get a garnishment order against you, directing a third party, like your bank, to turn over funds from your account to pay the debt.

Wage garnishment happens when your employer withholds part of your compensation to pay your debts. Your wages usually can be garnished only as the result of a court order. Don’t ignore a lawsuit summons. If you do, you lose the opportunity to fight a wage garnishment.

Can federal benefits be garnished?

Many federal benefits are exempt from garnishment, including:

  • Social Security Benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
  • Veterans’ Benefits
  • Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits
  • Service Members’ Pay
  • Military Annuities and Survivors’ Benefits
  • Student Assistance
  • Railroad Retirement Benefits
  • Merchant Seamen Wages
  • Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Death and Disability Benefits
  • Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits
  • Compensation for Injury, Death, or Detention of Employees of U.S. Contractors Outside the U.S.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance

But federal benefits may be garnished under certain circumstances, including to pay delinquent taxes, alimony, child support, or student loans.

Do I have any recourse if I think a debt collector has violated the law?

You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated. If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages and medical bills. The judge can require the debt collector to pay you up to $1,000, even if you can’t prove that you suffered actual damages. You also can be reimbursed for your attorney’s fees and court costs. A group of people also may sue a debt collector as part of a class action lawsuit and recover money for damages up to $500,000, or one percent of the collector’s net worth, whichever amount is lower. Even if a debt collector violates the FDCPA in trying to collect a debt, the debt does not go away if you owe it.

What should I do if a debt collector sues me?

If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, respond to the lawsuit, either personally or through your lawyer, by the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights.

Where do I report a debt collector for an alleged violation?

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov). Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law.

For More InformationTo learn more about debt collection and other credit-related issues, visit www.ftc.gov/credit and MyMoney.gov, the U.S. government’s portal to financial education.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Parent? Count Me In!

Two Simple Ways to Be a Happier Parent

Good starter article by Nancy Shute on how to be a happier parent.


Reducing the stress caused by the stressful things you go through with your kids is one of them. Mornings being the toughest, it makes sense to get as much done the night before as possible.
-Have the kids lay out the clothes they want to wear. It reduces scrambling for them in the morning.
-Plan breakfast, whether at home or at school. Eggs take longer to make than cereal, so the parent has to plan for that, and give the kids time to eat.
-Have shoes, backpacks, homework, and signed goods in one spot ready to go. The kids can pick the spot. It just helps to have it all done the night before.

Of course, if the alarm doesn't go off, or people oversleep, then it will still be a stressful morning. But, having everything ready will make it less so.

And of course eating dinner together is better. If possible, let the kids help with the whole setup, preparation, and cleanup afterwards. They need to learn to cook, and to clean up after themselves. The hardest part about this is the short attention span kids have, the danger of hot cookware, and the frustration as kids get on your nerves while you’re trying to cook.
-Let them help where they can. Some things are not age appropriate. But, if it is, then let them do it. In this case what parents need is patience. Patience will lead to happiness.
-Let them do dishes while you cook. You share the kitchen and the experience, and have less to do later.
-Let them set the table. You can show the right way, then your way. :-)
-Some families do buffet style. Others have a central server who gets all of the plates ready. I prefer more of the “food-on-the-table” approach. This lets kids provide their own portions while being monitored, but still lets them do it themselves.
-Dinner together is a good way to teach manners. Not everyone will eat at the same speed. Kids can learn to be considerate of each other just by eating dinner and making it pleasant for everyone, just like they want their own experience to be pleasant.

If all else fails and they are running around underfoot while you're trying to make dinner, then have them play in their room, read a book, or watch TV.