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October 20, 2014  7:01 PM

Sometimes an Astute Eye Can Find Unexpected Bargains

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Acer, Chromebook, Dell, laptop, toshiba

Dell
My wife and I have a daughter, Tina, who (with aid from her husband, Chucky) helped us out during some dark months after I had two heart attacks in one week and couldn’t work. Now it was our turn. My wife and I are doing okay financially (in large part because we’re extremely frugal) so when Tina needed a new computer my wife said, “No problem, we’ll get her a chromebook. They’re only $200.”
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October 6, 2014  9:40 AM

A Smartphone Shopping Story

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Amazon, Cellular, Ebay, iPhone, samsung

I’m looking at smartphones because I want something with a little more battery life and a better camera than my current, long-in-the-tooth Samsung Galaxy Victory. This phone is on a Virgin Mobile $35/month plan that includes (sort of) unlimited data and messaging and five hours of talk time. I’ve never come close to maxing out the talk time or my 4G usage, which means this is all the plan I need, and then some.

The only potential problem with buying a phone from Virgin is that they have a limited selection, and don’t always have the latest gear. This may bother some people, but not me. I am more interested in finding tried and true hardware for a good price than in buying the latest, greatest, and most expensive. So here I am, shopping Virgin for the best Android phone I can get for less than my arbitrary limit of $200.
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September 23, 2014  10:41 PM

Which IT Certifications are Worth Paying (and Studying) For?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
a, A+ exam, Degree, Employment, HR, IT, Linux, Uncategorized

employmentThere sure are a lot of IT certifications out there. There are at least five for Linux alone. Since all the certification providers charge fees — often hefty ones — to take their tests, which ones are the most valuable? For this information we turn to Foote Partners, who research this sort of thing all day, every day, year after year. And since a majority of Cheap Computing readers seem to be in the IT industry one way or another, I thought sharing some of the latest Foote Partners research on the value of industry certifications would be nice because even if you aren’t in the IT biz yourself, you almost certainly know people who are.
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September 18, 2014  10:28 PM

Save 100% With This Simple Shopping Trick!

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
buy, Save

34I was looking at an IT email “bargain-finder” newsletter last week and spotted a fun accessory I might like to have for my tablet. It was on sale for $35.99, which was $34 less than the regular price. There was no way I could afford to pass up that bargain! Or was there? Hmmm…
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September 11, 2014  6:40 PM

How I Find Online Bargains

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Alert, Email, Newsletter

saleSometimes I go shopping for things I need, and I’m a pretty fair Google-hand and general online searcher. But I also subscribe to several “bargain” email newsletters, and now and then I find a deal on one of them that’s good enough to shake me out of my stupor and make me want to sit up and buy something. Not every day, but just often enough to keep reading those emails.
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September 1, 2014  7:43 AM

You Should Not Spend Your Entire Life in Front of Your Computer

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
computer, Uncategorized

kbStep away from that monitor. Put that keyboard down. Now. I mean it. You spend entirely too much time messing with that computer and wandering the Internet. It’s time for us to put away computerish things and deal with Real Life — for a few minutes, anyway, seeing as this is the Labor Day season, generally regarded as the end of summer. And you know what? There are many inexpensive ways you can improve your life. Real life, that is.
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August 25, 2014  5:06 PM

What is the Best Linux Certification Value?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
College, Linux, Uncategorized, value

penguinA lot of people think getting certified in the use of a given piece of software is the key to an easier job hunt and higher earnings. Years ago, I knew a guy who went through a rigorous certification procedure for SAP ERP and almost immediately bumped his income from about $40,000/year into six-figure territory. Not too shabby! But today we’re talking about Linux certification, not proprietary software.
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August 18, 2014  10:54 PM

Good Sound and Poor Video is Better than the Other Way Around

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
filter, Video

220px-Bogart_Bacall_AFRSI’ve written about looking good in video chats (more than once), and about making good video in general — and doing it all with little or no cash outlay. Today I’m going to talk about sound for video, since most news video producers will tell you that good video is 80% sound. When you’re trying to get a point across, blurry pictures and clear sound beat clear pictures and muddy sound almost every time.
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August 8, 2014  7:53 PM

Is BYOD a Sneaky Way for Employers to Get You To Buy Your Own Computers?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
buy, BYOD, Computers

BYOD, AKA “Bring Your Own Device” is a big deal in the world of companies whose employees use computers and smartphones in their work. It originally came about because many workers wanted slick, new iPhones instead of the old-style Blackberries or other devices their companies’ IT departments issued. Computers weren’t affected by BYOD-itis as quickly as phones were, in large part because many employers had apps that would only run on one operating system, which limited employee choice. Still, there were workers who wanted to use a MacBook Air and run Windows on it with the help of Boot Camp. And why shouldn’t they do this? Security was one reason. But that seems to have been forgotten in this new world of Anything Goes in corporate IT.
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August 1, 2014  1:41 AM

Will Internet Neutrality Cost Us Money or Save Us Money?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller
FCC, Internet, Net Neutrality

I’m personally in favor of Net Neutrality — that is, having all Internet content providers pay the same rates to the broadband ISP oligopolists. And I say oligopolists because there are hardly ever more than one or two available to any given American, and often there is only one. So if you’re a content provider, like the company that runs this blog, you have no choice but to send your data to and through one of those ‘last mile’ providers. And if they want to soak you for that privilege, uh oh! There’s not a lot that can be done about it. Meanwhile, of course, the end users (me and you and maybe even a dog named Blue) are paying a monthly fee for Internet connectivity. Say what? Are the ISPs trying to get money at both ends of the pipe? Yes they are. Grrr….
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