tips and tricks site

Here goes one of my infrequent discussions on using legally free software. I’m not fond of the escalating price of software, especially considering how often new features are unnecessary for anything but to drive the ongoing need for more powerful hardware. And while I do know all the means of acquiring software illegally, I do use legal copies of software. Whenever possible, I download and instally legally free software, whether public domain, open source, freeware, ad-supported (although rarely) or any other means of legitimately free distribution. I do pay and use some applications, such as Nero and X to DVD, if I can’t find a free alternative that I like, but luckily, there are few needs for commercial software in my daily computing time outside of my games.

One of the applications my wife uses frequently is Microsoft Office. I don’t want the bloat from that on my system, but occasionally she works on my computer and needs access to some type of Office product. I’ve worked around this by installing (often referred to as OO.o) and Abiword for her to use. Unfortunately, I’m not very strong with OO.o, and sometimes Abiword doesn’t have all the features she needs. So, what to do? Why, I think I’ll buy a book and also read the author’s blog to learn how to better use OO.o. That should be a nice distraction from my other current reading – Beginning GIMP.

You can buy the book from the author for $30 via paypal, or head to Amazon and get it for $59.99. I have no idea why the price difference, but I’ve ordered my copy from the author.

So to reiterate – if you are tired of the cost of commercial software, consider many of the excellent free alternatives (and feel free to contact me for help finding tools for your tasks – I love tracking down stuff online). If you are in the market for office productivity software, consider, and read this hints and tips site to learn it (and consider buying the book).

[tags]Random free software commentary, Learn, tips and tricks[/tags]

Is this sleazy, or am I imagining that?

I know there is great profit to be made from exploiting those with the least financial resources. I understand that financial transactions with this class of consumers can be risky. I understand that high-risk endeavors can lead to high reward results. None of that helps me overcome my initial reaction that this is a sleazy financial tactic that abuses lower-income families and individuals.

Walmarts Tries To Become Your Bank With The “Walmart MoneyCard”

. . .

Check our Walmart’s awesomely evil deal: Cashing your check costs $3.00, but if you put the money on a Walmart MoneyCard, they’ll waive the $4.64 “loading” fee. Neat! After that it’s only $4.94 a month to keep your money on the card.

Want to know how much is left? That’ll be $0.70 to check your balance .This card, in essence, takes people who don’t have access to the banking system in this country and makes Walmart their “bank.” Except it’s a “bank” where it costs $1.95 to get money from an ATM, but getting “cash back” from Walmart’s POS is free! If you deposit more then $1,000, Walmart will generously waive the monthly maintenance fee on the card. Want to speak to a teller? That’ll be $3.50. Your paper statement? $2.00. What a deal!

My wife decided we were to boycott Wal-Mart several years ago. This just feels like another reason to pass on passing my money to the corporation. My understanding is that Sam Walton never would have abused the country like this, but I could be way off base.

[tags]Wal-Mart money card for robbing from the poor, Rob from the poor to give to the rich[/tags]