Sunday, October 31, 2010

Maxed Out

Maxed Out is a documentary about the abusive practices of the credit card industry. It was created by James Scurlock.

Dave Ramsey was interviewed for the documentary. I first heard of him through Financial Peace University, his bible-based training in practical finance. Several people I know have taken this course and have nothing but great things to say about it.

Since this documentary was created in 2006, there have been many opportunities for reform. Indeed, there was great victory last year when the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 was passed. There are numerous protections in there that will benefit every one of us. I am glad that we live in a country that is not (completely) corrupt :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Goodbye GOOG-411, Hello BING-411

Google recently announced that its toll-free directory assistance, GOOG-411, would be discontinued on November 12, 2010. This is unfortunate, because I use this service from time to time.

Thankfully though, there are other companies that offer toll-free directory assistance. These include
I will be using BING-411 because it does not make me listen to ads while the other two do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

AT&T's Great Customer Serivce

When I moved to my new apartment this summer, I ordered DSL internet service from AT&T. $15/month gets you 3.0 Mb/s (for a year), which is an amazingly good deal. I ordered this service through their website and signed up to have my bill automatically changed to my credit card.

When I received my most recent bill, it said that I was past due on a payment and changed $0.24 interest. When I called AT&T's customer service, a guy answered and said,
"Hello. My name is ****. My job is to make you a satisfied customer. What can I help you with?"
Wow! I knew at this moment that this was going to go well. I explained to him the situation. He said that their online system does not always initiate the automatic credit card payment system. Then, without me having to ask for anything, he said that he would credit my account $1 and get the automatic credit card payments set up.

What wonderful customer service! I have called AT&T before with a technical problem, but the problem was not resolved so promptly. (The beginning of the conversation went something like this.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Google's Priority Inbox

I use Gmail. It is, by far, the best email service. You literally can't pay (any affordable amount) for better email service.

I would guess that most, maybe 75 - 85%, of my email is worthless. These emails are not spam or junk, they are from real people here at UWM. However, many of these emails are not for me. I am on these lists that send general FYI-type of emails, but there is always the possibility that I need or want to know about something contained in these emails.

The real problem is that these emails get in my way of reading the more important emails that show up less often. My previous solution was to create a special label, which I called "Normal", and set up filters to send these normal emails there, skipping my inbox. This worked pretty well, but it requires effort on my part to set up the filters.

Yesterday, I started using the new beta version of Priority Inbox in Gmail. I have high expectations for its effectiveness, so I hope that I will not be disappointed. I will post again in the future to let you know how well it works.