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January 14, 2010


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I like DVDs and CDs. I only buy movies once they go on sale for $3-10 and I don't buy that many, so it ends up being about the same price as Netflix. Plus I enjoy watching the same movies every few years. Plus, my car only takes CDs, so I like to listen to them in the car.

For engineering and law courses, the books are generally necessary, especially when they were written by the professor.

My fiance gets the WSJ and it's a big waste of money because she doesn't read it but once a week or so. At least you can get pretty good student deals.

My Droid works great with our company email which is Outlook on an Exchange server.

Last year I canceled my landline and newspaper subscription. Now I'm blissfully free from junk phone calls and also "newspapers" light on news and filled only with advertising.

I do buy DVDs---I don't watch enough nor do I have enough time to watch a movie during a week so I can't justify a Netflix subscription. I have 2 kids and they enjoy the movies too--much cheaper than going to the theater--and they also enjoy watching movies a 2nd time. I also like lending DVDs to my friends.

I still buy the odd classical or jazz CDs (better sound quality and longevity than digital music), but for rock and pop I only get the digital versions.

I still have my college textbooks, which I used for years after I graduated from college as I was building my skills and career. Why would you pay such a huge amount of money to take a class in a subject but then try to save relative nickle and dimes by not bothering to do any background reading and afterwards never think about that subject again? If you want to save money that badly, just skip college altogether.

I love my compact digital camera--it takes great pictures and is wonderfully small and easy to cart around. I'm not buying another one because it still works fine. I'd never buy a digital SLR--I still have my 35 mM film SLR that I never used because it was so awkward to carry around.

External hard drives--you can't beat them for long-term file storage and routine backup. I guess I don't trust the online storage systems to always be cheap and accessible. Besides I have several maxtor drives already and it will take years for me to fill them up.

I never owned a gas-guzzling car. I grew up during the gas rationing of the 1970's oil crisis and high MPG has always been a criteria for me.

I live in the Midwest. Our Siberian weather means that everyone's house is already insulated to the nth degree and has double-pane glass in all the windows etc etc. The only way I could use less energy would be to move somewhere with better weather.

Most people who buy energy inefficient homes don't know it until they get the bills. The other folks are like the ones who buy gas guzzling wehicles; the price was exceptionally low, they needed that size home or they fell in love with it.

I really want an external hard drive! I don't understand why that is on the list either!!! Although what I would really like is something like Windows Home Server...

You need a gmail account, but you can use any email you want. Online storage is secure if you encrypt your data (very easy).

Landlords buy energy-inefficient homes and appliances all they time. Energy efficiency in a rented dwelling is a [misogynistic vulgarity omitted].

That list sucks. I'm a [smartphone-owning] geek, [external hard disk-using] serious amateur photographer, video newbie, and musician. I occasionally buy hard-to-find recordings of classical and 20th century compositions [on used CDs at].

I drive a gas-guzzling SUV, but not very much, so trading it in on a Prius would be very much a financial net loss. I graduated not long ago, and those textbooks that were worthless have already been sold on (where I also bought them). I don't own a house, so major upgrades are right out.

Maybe this works for the mythical "average person." It doesn't work for me.

You can setup any email account that uses POP3.

I disagree with the external hard drive recommendation because I have tried to use online backup. Online backup is slow when you are trying to back up over 145 GB of digital photos. I bought 2 1.5 terabyte hard drives and backed everything up to both of them. After 48 hours straight of attempting to have all the photos backed up it was only 33% completed.

I'm not sure about the college textbook bit. I'm in my last semester studying engineering and - to contrast with FMF - every single book has been used extensively for the class.

I think the key is to just not buy the books new from the bookstore. This semester I was able to get my books new from for maybe 5% more than the price of used (Amazon used price, which was probably half of the bookstore used price), and for that small of a markup, I think it is worth it since the used books can be something of a gamble on quality.

At first I thought you were saying not to by a DVD player. I was just thinking about getting a bluray because I finally bought a new HDTV. Thankfully I read further and you were just talking about DVDs!

Love my gas guzzling SUV. Wouldn't spend extra money for a new or second hand card ever!

Standalone GPS receivers need to be on the list. They're seriously looking to be on the way out with...

1. smartphones
2. cars with built-in navigation/entertainment consoles
3. iPod Touch

...having GPS capabilities.

1: I buy DVDs all the time as I'm a bit of a movie buff but only those I'll want to watch repeatedly along with favorite documentaries and tv shows (not sure I could tell you how many times I've seen every Monty Python episode)
2: I live in a rural area: No power means no phone if you rely on a cellphone because the towers lose power too. I keep a landline mostly to be able to use the phone during power outages which aren't infrequent here.
3: Pure nonsense. Online backup services cost way more than an external HD. I just bought 1 terrabyte of storage for $90, roughly what you would pay for a year for most services with a fraction of the storage space. Plus what happens if the company goes under? You're files are gone.
4: Don't know, don't care.
5: I just bought a great 12MP bridge camera for product photos, half the price (and size) of a DSLR with most of the same features. Guess what? SLRs existed in the film era too, and most people didn't have them. They are a tool for professional photographers and serious hobbyists not the average person taking birthday photos. Compact cameras are the way to go for most people.
6: Absolutely the case. I haven't had a newspaper subscription in years.
7: CDs will stick around for audiophiles for a good long time, MP3 just doesn't touch the quality. If you are the type to spend a lot on a stereo system why would you play poor quality audio with it?. People are still buying vinyl! They'll be around for a good long time yet for but not for casual music listeners.
8: Used is the way to go if you can get them. New editions come out frequently for this reason so you have to buy the latest for your course. Gladly not a concern for me anymore.
9 + 10: Duh! Those are ridiculously obvious.

5. Actually there is the EVIL or IL-LSC or whatever people are going to call them. Interchangable lens large sensor cameras, or electronic viewfinder interchangable lens.

The micro four thirds line, the new Samsung NX10, and I'm sure other people will be on board soon too. It's a pretty exciting time for digital photography.

As a computer profession with 20 years of experience, I wouldn't trust online storage with a single byte of my data. With all of the security breaches going on in the world, I would recommend an external HD in a heartbeat. First, if you do regular backups and have a fire in your home, you only need to grab your HD and get out of the house (if you have that in your evac plan). External HDs are getting cheaper these days and have a one time cost. Online storage is like a cell phone service. You pay monthly FOREVER. I also recommend writing all of your critical data (like digital photos) to a DVD and putting them in your Safe Deposit Box. If something happens to your house, you still have at least some of your memories saved.

Droid? Why would anybody want the Moto Droid? :D Sorry, just trolling. Nexus One will be interesting to see how much of a splash it makes against the iPhone juggernaut. But if industry analysts are to be believed, this current wave, won't be much more than a little splash....

As for the recommendation against external hard drives, what was the rationale for advising against it? Because, the recommendation should depend on its purpose.

If it's security, there's nothing out there that's entirely safe. That said, sure, local storage with adequate physical security will always be safer than online storage, albeit with less accessibility. Security is a balancing act between features, security, and accessibility.

On the other hand, if the recommendation is because of the emerging solid state drive market, then perhaps they're quite right. Nowadays, flash drives are so cheap, I've seen them for $5 to $7 at the grocery store. Larger SSDs that can replace regular hard drives aren't too bad now either, if you're into the speed and energy efficiency more than storage capacity.

It also depends on the usage. For example, someone who constantly deals and swaps with several hard drives will have different needs than someone who just wants to archive something once in a while, versus someone who wants to have their drives available more as a server, and perhaps even have it available over the internet. There's a solution for every one of those scenarios, but it depends on what your needs are.

Regarding gas guzzling cars - if you bought a new Prius vs a used gas guzzler (in good condition), the gaz guzzler would be cheaper to buy and own.

Another reason to hang onto your land line is E-911 service. Cell phones are NOT. They say they are, but it had been proven. Google Hank Phellipi Ryan (sp?) a news reporter in Boston who attempter a 911 call outside their center, and inside the camera showed that they had her 8 blocks away on their computer screen.

1. DVDs - Why not? We don't buy many (like less than 3 a year) since we have Netflix, but we purchase our favorite movies online for $3-$5 to watch multiple times...why wouldn't we?

2. Home telephone service - Gave it up when we moved into our home...our cell phones work just fine and it saves us $20 a month. :-)

3. External hard drives - My husband loves using the one my mother bought me...I'm not techie, but it seems to help him a lot.

4. Smartphone also-rans - Not techie, so I don't care. But I know a bunch of people who love their high-tech phones.

5. Compact digital cameras - I love my 10 MP Sanyo digital camera! It fits in my purse and has an anti-shake mode that is divine! I've taken awesome photos with even takes great pictures from a moving car (I took a bunch of photos of Christmas lights while my friends were driving through big neighborhoods). I love my compact regular camera too. Small cameras kick butt.

6. Newspaper subscriptions - I get the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday paper for $1.50 a week since it cheaper than getting a Sunday-only subscription for $2 a week...I like the Sunday coupons. I hate searching the web for coupons since there is so much junk to sift through.

7. CDs - I have an 80gb Ipod my mother gave me that I still haven't used except for photo storage and I haven't bought a CD in 8-10 years, but I would if I really heard a group I like. I listen to my Queen CDs once in a while, but I don't listen to a bunch of music in general. My car doesn't even have a CD player, so I listen to a lot of NPR and oldies.

8. New college textbooks - When I was in college, I bought as many used textbooks as I could...sometimes you can't. A few times my professors would require us to buy the newest edition.

9. Gas-guzzling cars - Sometimes a person needs a truck or an SUV. We only ended up getting a used Prius because it was cheaper than the Hyundai Santa Fe my husband wanted and had the storage room he needed to haul school stuff and sports stuff. The gas mileage is awesome, but we would have gotten an SUV if it hadn't had the storage capacity he needed. Now that we have one though, I am thinking that my next car will be a used's hard to say no to a car that only needs to be filled up every 500 miles and has enough room for my friends...

10. Energy-inefficient homes and appliances - I'm imagining a scenario where a couple is out searching SPECIFICALLY for an energy inefficient home...sounds like a bad movie that would make me laugh. Of course people want to own energy efficient things, but surprises happen or energy efficiency has too high of a short-term cost. Our house seems to be great in the arena, but we just got lucky. I didn't have the electricity usage measured before we moved in or anything.

People are so paranoid with using an online backup service, all I know is that I backed up to an external drive and that drive went bad so I lost everything.

With offsite storage, yes you pay a fee but its relatively cheap for the piece of mind knowing that even in a fire you have your data backed up.

I learned my lesson so now I backup online. The odds of some security breach are very small for this reassurance.

Online backup is just too slow if you have hundreds of gb to backup. I have an external HD for a complete backup and a small flash drive for just critical documents.

I still get the newspaper, nothing beats reading the newspaper in the morning over breakfast with a nice view outside. The total cost is much reduced because we use lots of coupons from the paper.

I wouldn't mind dropping my landline but several issues keep it going - we only have 450 monthly minutes split between 4 cellphones, my Internet cost would go up by $10 if I dropped my landline so I would only be saving $12, and my security system uses my landline.

I always bought used textbooks if possible when I went to college - there were used extensively by me during the semester.

We bought a bunch of DVD's before Christmas for $4-$5 at Target. That's about our price limit. They're great for long trips with the kids (library rentals typically have to be returned within a week).

John B., I would almost agree with your comment about stand-alone GPS, but the GPS-type of capability in a smart phone doesn't work the same way as a stand-alone GPS. I'm no techie, but my guess is that the phone works off cell technology, not satellite technology like the GPS does. So when you have no cell signal, you have no GPS. I've discovered this in places in Arizona, South Dakota, and Michigan.

@ Rich A. - We get the Target DVDs too. However, Walgreens has a dollar bin on DVDs. It's mostly old westerns and 70s but it's clean stuff for the kiddos. Great for those long drives.

FMF - Do you have the link to Smart Money's list?

I agree with everything on the list except for the external hard drive. I'm assuming that they are saying to not buy DVDs or CDs because everything can be downloaded digitally. But if everything is downloaded, we need hard drive space to store it! Same thing goes if you are shooting photos with a SLR.

JBalloonist (and others) --

Sorry -- I forgot to include it. I've added it now as the top link.

@Texashaze, thanks for the tip re: Walgreens. You just jogged my memory now about another cool DVD thing I first discovered at a Walgreens: Redbox. There have been times when we didn't bring enough DVDs, or enough variety, so we stopped and rented a DVD for $1 at the Redbox, then returned it thousands of miles later. I'm loving that!

The Droid works with my company email, both incoming and outgoing. Gmail is the default mail client on there but you can add others, as well as your office Exchange calendar. I notice the Smart Money article didn't even mention the Droid. Everyone I know who has one loves it, and more apps every day.

No external drive? The SM article says online storage can run $50+ per year. TeraByte drives are around $100, and they are right there for you. With more ISPs implementing bandwidth caps, 250GB is the high limit I'm seeing (this is Comcast's cap). It would take months to back up that much data, and in the case of a HD fail, over 4 months to get it back?

On line backup may be good for limited important 'can't lose' data, but not the TeraByte sized drives.

I don't understand why people buy DVDs. How many times do you watch a movie more than once. I don't have time for that.

I do own my favorite 3 movies, but that is it.

How can you not understand why people buy dvds? People do watch movies more than once, I've seen gladiator 10 times or so. really you're posting crap.

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