After reading this article, I decided last nite to try and install SuSE Linux on my "blow-up" box (an older Dell Dimension 4400). Install went great but TightVNC didn't work. Blah. Going to have to switch over to RedHat instead. No big deal.
I'll tell you this: Linux has come a long, long way as far as its user-friendliness is concerned. The install went smooth as silk, did a dual boot between WinXP Pro and SuSE perfectly and detected everything (wow). Unfortunately I need the VNC to work so I couldn't use it (that's the reason I'm switching over to RedHat, TightVNC has an RPM which will work "out of the box" with RedHat) - but I'll tell ya, if I didn't have to use it I'd put my primary box on a permanent dual-boot Linux/Win setup, it's that good. I unfortunately have to keep Windows because of certain apps I use (not to mention Counter-Strike), but the SuSE does about 99%, literally, of everything I need a computer to do.
I, like a lot of people out there, hate Windows. A lot. It's buggy, apps crash, and it's just plain awful. The reason I have a job in the first place is because Windows sucks. Windows costs money. Linux is free, see linuxiso.org and pick your flavor. I suggest SuSE or RedHat. If you have a separate computer you can try it on, try it. You'll probably really like it.
The whole reason anyone says "I hate the computer" is primarily because of Windows. It's not the computer that's bad. It's Windows that's bad.
So anyway, I will format the blow-up box tonight and give RedHat a go. Haven't used it in a few years, but if it's anything like the SuSE install was, it will probably be really easy to install and config.
That big check I sent off for the car payment hasn't show up as "cashed" yet on my eBanking account. I half-expected this to happen because whenever you send large checks, banks will wait several days for it to "clear". Hopefully it will clear soon and then I can get on with paying off the credit card, and then (insert dramatic music here) I will finally be back at "zero" again. Trust me, this is a good thing.
Everyone I know is in some sort of debt, be it a mortgage, credit card(s), car(s) or whatever it is. No one I know has small debts or is anywhere near "being at zero". Usually, the average debt I see for my age group (27 to 32-ish) is somewhere between $25000 and $45000 or more - not including any medical stuff which will add a few ten thousand more.
I got a few friends who have "consolidated" bills. Personally I think the consolidation thing is a stupid idea. Don't know what it is? This is what it is in a nutshell:
Take all your bills, and get a debt consolidation loan that 'pays' all those bills, then pay back the loan. The monthly payment for the loan is smaller than all the bills combined you were paying previously.
I said this was a bad idea. This is why:
- Consolidation doesn't mean you "paid off" anything at all. It just means you handed the bill to someone else and now you're paying them.
- In most instances, it will take you longer to pay off the consolidation loan than it did to just pay off your bills "the normal way" in the first place.
- Because it takes you longer to pay off a consolidation loan - you are literally pissing money away. Most people who have get these loans have no credit and get socked with a wicked high interest rate. They have to deal with it because of their sucky credit.
My advice to anyone who's got bills: Pay them off the traditional way, don't get caught in the "miracle cure" of a debt consolidation loan because it's not a miracle. It's just a way for other companies to take your money.
Last night I mailed off what is probably the biggest check I've ever written. And you guessed it - it's the one to pay off my car. **Scary**, very scary. Then again, it needed to be done. Yes I sent it early, I couldn't wait any longer and my courage was waning. (grin)
I should note that I didn't send the entire amount due. I will owe around $149 bucks after the check clears. I had a few reasons for doing this. First of all, my car loan goes up about $1.25 a day (for those who don't know - car loans vary in what is actually owed day by day, for real). So if I paid off the whole thing, I'm quite certain I would be left with a $2.50 balance because it takes a few days to get there and process.. and like hell if I'm going to write a check for $2.50.
In addition - I'm not sure if there is a penalty for paying it off early. That's the 2nd reason I didn't pay the whole thing off in one shot. I will be calling them as soon as I finish writing this (they have a 24-hr toll-free support number, neato).
I pray to God that no unnecessary crap happens with all this. Banks hate it when you pay stuff off early, because they lose money when you do it, hence the reason they don't like it.
And sure enough - a problem happened with the car today. The blinkers decided to stop working for about 5 minutes. Then they came back on, then went off again. I think I have about 1 or 2 months of warranty left of this thing, so that's another call I will be making tomorrow. I will just make it before the warranty expires. (grin)