June 10, 2015

Cisco TAC in Richardson hosts competitions annually to raise money for March of Dimes. Each team(IPCC, CUCM, etc) hosts an event and holds an entry fee and participates.

One of my colleagues was very involved with scouting and had a Pinewood Derby track that he held for his troop and we decided it 0would be a great way for us to raise money for MoD and have some fun building cars at the same time.

I had never built a derby car before so I participated in the stock class and spent one Saturday morning at John's place working on my car, cutting and shaping it to look like an ethernet cable. After some sanding and a lackluster attempt at painting I had my entry.

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My car placed 2nd in the stock class and our team of 3 cars won 1st place in the team class with our members placing 1st, 2nd, and 4th.

Everyone had a great time and we raised a decent amount for charity. I look forward to putting on this event again next year and will be building outlaw car next year too!

 

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May 25, 2015

I purchased a car and am finally done with the process with time to think. I have thought about ways to improve this process and the lessons learned for buying my next car. I have a full write up of ~2,200 words but will share a few of my key take aways.

1. Have time. Be patient. There are two components to this, the actual date you need to drive away with the vehicle and the amount of time the negotiations take. If I had more time I would have walked out and waited for a better deal with a more honest salesman. Also make sure you have time to sit at the dealership. I came in after work but if I had to do this differently I would have come in on Saturday with the day free to sit (if necessary).

2. Expand the dealership search. I wish I had also looked into dealerships in Oklahoma and bordering cities. They may be a drive but if the deal is good enough it may be worth it.

3. Do your research. Understand if the vehicle is able to be configured in the manner you would like. Make sure you ask a few dealerships the same question instead of relying on one. I got burned wasted lots of time because of this.

4. Along with number 2 and 3, Ask multiple dealers the same question. If you ask your salesmen questions and a majority tell you one thing but one person tells you something different, there is something fishy going on. I should have taken that as a warning but didn’t and ended up without a built in navigation system.

5. Understand how much you're paying in interest over the life of the loan. Originally I had come in with a 1.79% from a credit union but with the 0.9% offered at the dealership. For me that meant approximately $350-400 saved over the life of the loan which I could afford to put into the warranty or other incentives dealers may provide to use their financing.

http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/calculators/calculate/howMuchWillMyLoanCost.php?calcCategory=debt

6. Due to the navigation system and the hybrid, I had a limit to what I would pay for the warranty. With the increased savings from the financing, I was able to increase that limit and still saved some additional money.

7. Lute Riley Honda lied to me and misled me multiple times. They also took more than 3 months to refund me and it seemed like their management didn't care too much past the sale. I will not shop at Lute Riley ever again.

If you have questions about the full process or detailed notes, I may provide those by request.

 

November 11, 2014

I wanted to hear more about Spurs since TV and radio in Dallas don't really cover North London's premier football club. In my search I found a few including The Fighting Cock and Echoes of Glory which was exactly what I was looking for. A little bit of Spurs history, trivia, some banter, and some guys just having fun.

After listening to these and tired of watching the garbage on TV I decided to look into some other podcasts outside of soccer. Upon doing so, I replaced most of my entertainment on television (excluding sports) with the following:

PRI's The World
NPR: Planet Money Podcast
Stuff You Should Know
The Fighting Cock Podcast (Tottenham Hotspur)
Echoes of Glory (Tottenham Hotspur)
Men In Blazers
NPR: Ted Radio Hour Podcast
TEDTalks (audio)
The Football Ramble
The Moth Podcast
The Daily Show Podcast Without Jon Stewart

After you get hooked on a few, it is easier to use an app to keep track of them all. I recommend Podcast Addict (Android). It does a pretty good job of managing my podcasts and haven't really had many issues. If there are some must listen to podcasts that I'm missing out on please let me know!

September 9, 2014

Neal Daftary challenged me to the ALS Bucket Challenge so I accepted and below is my acceptance and my challenge.

I believe that instead of donating to just any cause, you should donate to causes that are near and dear to you. For me those two causes are type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer's so I will be donating to both JDRF and ALZ.

 

Pavan Dave's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge