The snow’s not deep enough, the temperature’s not low enough to stop Roshawn Finn from thinking about her through-the-wall air conditioner.
Finn says the General Electric model she bought at P.C. Richard & Son last July never worked properly. Neither did the replacement that came two weeks later.
“Same issue,” says Finn. “No cold air.”
This week’s tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:
Play it again, SACD. The ill-fated high-resolution audio disc is back, or at least its technology, as music downloads requiring special playback equipment.
Technology. DSD, or Direct Stream Digital, was developed by Sony (with Philips) to archive the company’s music catalog, then introduced to the consumer in 1999 as the Super Audio CD format that promised higher resolution and greater storage capacity than the CD.
A CD stores audio information using Pulse Code Modulation encoding in 16-bit samples taken 44,100 times per second. DSD, meanwhile, takes a continuous 1-bit stream at 2.8 million samples per second — 64 times the CD’s rate.
Just as more pixels produce a higher-resolution HDTV picture, more audio samples produce a higher-resolution sound.
This weekend’s Bottom Line column:
“For some months, my mail has been delivered between 5 and 6 in the evening, a far cry from the ‘usual’ 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“I asked my carrier about it and she told me that . . . when a carrier quits or leaves, the person is not replaced, so the rest of them work double shifts.
“On Tuesday, I paid some bills and put the envelopes in my mailbox. That evening, it was snowing, and I checked at 5:30. Envelopes still there. Same at 6:30. Same yesterday morning. No pick-up or delivery in my neighborhood.
“I called the Glastonbury post office was told that it became too dangerous for the carriers to complete their routes. So much for “neither snow nor rain [nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds].
“Apparently it is the U.S. Postmaster General who has instituted this “no replacement” policy. With postage rates going up again, this is unacceptable.”
“Have you heard about this from anyone else?”
Nancy Eaton, Glastonbury
Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates increased ever so lightly in the past week, averaging 4.28 percent nationally after ending the previous week at 4.23 percent, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
The average 15-year rate remained unchanged at 3.33 percent.
Here are the numbers in New England:
30-year: 4.28 percent
15-year: 3.33 percent
30-year: 4.25 percent
15-year: 3.35 percent
A year ago:
30-year: 3.56 percent
15-year: 2.80 percent
OK guys, the pressure is on: What type of gift will it take to make your wife happy? Can you get away with a dozen roses or will dropping some serious cash at the local jewelry store?
A new survey by SmartAsset might show where you stand:
>> 80 percent of dating couples and close to 85 percent of married couples said their expectations for a Valentine’s Day gift have decreased during their relationship.
>> Thirty-five percent of men, a majority, say a hug was their ideal V-day gift. (Of course!)
>> More than 36 percent of women said they would prefer to receive jewelry this year.
>> Men and women, dating and married, say a Valentine’s Day gift should cost no more than $25.
Do you buy this?
Can you find live in a credit score? Almost half of married couples say their credit scores close to their spouse’s, according to survey from Credit.com.
Forty-nine percent say their scores matched, but only 26 percent of divorced couple their scores matched their spouse’s while married.
Some other results:
>> Only 37% of married couples are very satisfied with the way they are managing their finances, while 49 percent of divorced couples say the same.
>> 30% of divorced respondents say their scores are significantly better after their divorce
>> 31% say that their scores got worse
>> 16% say their scores are somewhat better
>> 23% say that they don’t know
For divorced individuals, credit and debt usage grew during marriage (comparing prior-to-marriage vs. post-divorce debt levels)
>> Those with credit card balances increases from 53% to 70%
>> Those with mortgages increases from 32% to 54%
>> Those with auto loans increases from 38% to 46%
>> Those with student loans increases from 24% to 31%
>> Those with medical debt increases from 20% to 27%
It can take a long time to separate finances after a divorce
>> 6% say it took more than 3 years
>> 14% say it took between 1-3 years
>> 15% say it took between 6-12 months
>> The remainder say it took less than 6 months
Many regret not talking about credit and finances before marriage
>> 28% of divorced regret not discussing credit and financial goals before getting married vs. 10% of currently married people
>> 66% say that money contributed to their divorce
>> 45% of married say that credit / debt issues cause stress in their marriage
Satisfaction in how they are managing their credit and finances can improve, as well
>> 49% of divorced are very satisfied with how they are managing their finances after their divorce vs. just 37% of married
Today’s Bottom Line column:
When a taxpayer makes a mistake on a federal tax return, the taxpayer pays for it. When the taxpayer pays and the IRS then makes a mistake, the taxpayer still pays.
That, says Jill Price of Newington, is her takeaway from her 2011 tax returns, a 1040 gone bad when her tax preparer entered an amount as $1,000 instead of $10,000.
A tech column (by me), courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:
So you’ve done the research, and now you’re walking into a local retail store to buy the best big-screen HDTV at the best price.
Yet you walk out with an HDTV and something you never imagined you’d buy with it — an extended warranty that adds more than 25 percent to the television’s purchase price. How did that happen?
Retailers don’t want consumers leaving the store without one. By some estimates, extended warranties account for more than half of Best Buy’s profits. Case study: A Panasonic Viera 50-inch plasma HDTV, model TC-P50ST60, is one of the year’s best television values. It was $999.99 recently at Best Buy’s website. A five-year extended warranty costs $249.99, pushing the television’s total expense to $1,249.98.