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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Category: News

Forget something? Want a jump on Black Friday?

Well, here is a list of some of the stores that are open today (Thanksgiving Day) and/or tomorrow (Black Friday)… Be sure to carefully check out the reality of the come-on specials offered by many of these stores to get you into the store so you can "impulse shop" and spend more money than you had intended. A word to the wise should be sufficient…

Stores Open on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday – Yahoo! Finance 


To lure more customers into their stores this holiday shopping season, several big-box retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day in addition to extending their Black Friday hours. U.S. News spoke with some shopping experts to find out how consumers can score the best deals this year and make the most of the longer store hours.

First, familiarize yourself with the stores’ policies and have the items you want to purchase in mind when you arrive, says Daniel de Grandpre, editor-in-chief of, which lists exclusive Black Friday specials. If there is only a small discount on the item you want, decide whether dealing with the winding lines and the in-store stampedes are worth the minor savings. He also says to find out whether stores have a restricted number of "doorbusters" and then decide whether you want to undergo the hassle to get those limited items. The early bird gets the special treatment this year, de Grandpre says, as some stores, like Best Buy, reward early risers with vouchers guaranteeing specific items customers want before the stores open. … [MORE]

These are some very good warnings to heed tomorrow…

Black Friday is probably a major trap, especially during this year of hard financial times. Hidden fees are the way that banks and businesses try to minimize their cost of doing business (at best) or a way of making more profit (at worst)… It behooves the all consumers to pay attention to this threat to our personal financial well-being…

worst-holiday-gotchas: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance 

black-friday-300x232 Avoid bank and retailer fees and other big money wasters this year.

Holiday time is tough enough on your budget. You don’t want to spend more than you planned because a retailer or credit-card company came up with some tricky way to squeeze more money out of you. Well, you can beat the system! You just need to know where to look for these sneaky shopping traps.

Trap No. 1

Hidden debit-card fees

Whipping out your debit card to pay for holiday goodies probably seems like a budget-friendly idea because the cash is immediately withdrawn from your account. No need to worry about paying interest on a credit card or fees for bounced checks. But using a debit card could end up costing you a lot more than you’d think. … [MORE]

My, how things change! But this is a good list…

Many of these books were not out when either I was little or even when my kids were little. Kids can’t have enough books around them. Books encourage reading — first by the parents and then by the child. What a bonding experience that is…

It is also great preparation for school… Take a look at this list…

The 28 Books Kids Must Read – Parenting on Shine 

Book_Are You My Mother When I was little, I read a lot, but some books meant more to me than others. I grew up in the wilds of North Dakota, so for the most part my three siblings and I borrowed books from the library or the bookmobile, although our family occasionally made it to the bookstore in Fargo. I reread my favorites so many times that they are indelibly stamped on my memory. I can even remember where I was sitting or what I was wearing when I read some of them. Now that I have two kids of my own, I’m collecting new editions for them as I rebuild my childhood library.

Read on to see if your favorites made the list! [MORE]

Black Friday is coming…

What is ‘Black Friday’ you ask? It is the day after Thanksgiving when most retailers look forward to sufficient sales for the holiday season to put them into the black (profit) for the year.

So, what is the problem? The Black Friday ads put out by many of the larger retailers will advertising great buys on things such as HDTVs, computers, etc. But what is the problem? The ads will often say, in fine print, that a limited number of items will be available — often as few as two to five — even though they may have more in the store.

So what should you do? Read the fine print before waiting in line from midnight on Thanksgiving night (or before)… Make sure that it will be worth it! A word to the wise…

dirty-secrets-of-black-friday-doorbusters: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance 

black.friday.holidaze.2008 Here are a few things bargain-hungry consumers need to know before they hit stores before dawn the day after Thanksgiving.

Here’s a Black Friday reality check: Of the hordes of pre-dawn shoppers who line up for hours outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving, most will not bag the best bargains that appear in merchants’ circulars.

Look at the fine print that appears next to an advertised "doorbuster deal" at the bottom of the page in this year’s circulars.

It will either say "While supplies last," "Minimum 2 per store," "No rainchecks" or "All items are available in limited quantities."

A quick scan through a few of this year’s Black Friday circulars show quantities as low as a "minimum of 5 per store" on some models of large plasma and HDTVs and popular brands of home appliances such as a washer-dryer pair.

… [MORE]

Warning to IE 6 & 7 Users…

Hacker code to take over your computer through Internet Explorer 6 or 7. Microsoft is not scheduled to release their security updates until December 8th. So, what is one to do? The foolish action would be to ignore the problem. Other, more logical actions, would be to either update to IE 8 and/or start using FireFox.

In any case, beware of going out to websites that ask you for personal information; you might want to avoid sites promising ‘free’ goodies (a great temptation at this time of the year) or many gaming sites. Also, beware of sites that start popping up additional windows for advertising…

A word to the wise should suffice… BEWARE…

New Attack Fells Internet Explorer by PC World: Yahoo! Tech 

IE-7 Logo A hacker has posted attack code that could be used to break into a PC running older versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

The code was posted Friday to the Bugtraq mailing list by an unidentified hacker. According to security vendor Symantec, the code does not always work properly, but it could be used to install unauthorized software on a victim’s computer.

"Symantec has conducted further tests and confirmed that it affects Internet Explorer versions 6 and 7," the company wrote on its Web site Saturday. "We expect that a fully-functional reliable exploit will be available in the near future."

… [MORE]

The morphing of Facebook…

Facebook started out as a social communication phenomenon among college students, especially women. It was basically like a electronic sorority which let them blow off steam and explore their other sides. It is changing now, with a significant influx of parents and elderly. The core function remains, but the audience is more varied.

This article focuses in on five types of parents who can drive their ‘friends’ batty. Read over this list and their descriptions. You should at least get a good laugh out of it and maybe identify some of your habits that can drive your ‘friends’ crazy. Enjoy the read and take some of the appropriate problems to heart…

Facebook’s Five Most Annoying Parents on Shine 

What was once the domain of rowdy college co-eds has now become a centralized hub for new parents. You can’t so much as check your status updates without seeing some adorable tyke smiling a toothless grin or a parent giving the latest update on what their little genius is up to today. With everyone from Dr. Sears to CafeMom hanging up their FB shingle, it seems this former bastion of social networking cool has been taken over entirely by parents — oftentimes with mixed results. Here are the five biggest offenders. … [MORE]

Thanksgiving around the World…

We in the U.S. are not the only ones who celebrate Thanksgiving Day. But several celebrations in Asia honor the ‘Moon Festival’ (which goes by many names) and some European countries use the celebration to honor their war dead from identified conflicts. Only in Canada is there a celebration similar to ours.

This article will give you a brief glimpse into the diversity of celebrations. Be sure to check my blog tomorrow for a more complete coverage of some of these celebrations. Enjoy it…

Giving Thanks Around the World – Parenting on Shine 

thanksgivingThe turning of leaves and crispness in the air signal that autumn is officially upon us.

With the advent of fall comes many holidays and opportunities to celebrate that for which we are thankful–our families, the food on our table, and our general well-being. Thanksgiving is a holiday as American as the apple pie sometimes served during it (for those who aren’t big fans of the pumpkin variety), but did you know that it’s not a holiday exclusive to the United States? We didn’t either. Well, ok, we had a suspicion; we did some research and are here to share with you how people give thanks around the world.

Our good neighbors to the north, Canada, celebrate the Thanksgiving most resembling our own, right down to the turkey and pumpkin pie. The main differences between the two holidays are that Canada didn’t officially start celebrating their day until 1957 and they hold their festivities on the second Monday of October. … [MORE]

Behind on your bills because you lost your job?

That might just keep you from getting that great job you just got an interview for! That’s right, you current financial (read that as: credit) situation may actually keep you from getting that job for which you are so well qualified and need to get you out of your dilemma.

That is because many companies request a ‘soft’ credit report (without the score) before the interview. Many of these companies don’t know how to interpret the report and/or they might equate being behind on bills due to layoff (or similar events) as being a bad risk.

So what is one to do? Know your credit report information and make sure that it is accurate. Then be ready to explain any negatives during an interview. A word to the wise…

Bad Credit and Not Getting Hired – TRCB 

Bad Credit and Not Getting Hired.

job_interview_1 That’s a catch 22! Your credit is bad because you either can’t get a job or you are under-employed. But you can’t get a job because your credit is bad. Hey I get it, been there, done that.

That’s a catch 22! Your credit is bad because you either can’t get a job or you are under-employed. But you can’t get a job because your credit is bad. Hey I get it, been there, done that.

But what really happens during the interview process? Well it is perfectly legal for an employer to check your credit but its not the same as when you are applying for a mortgage loan or getting a new credit card.

You see there are many different types of credit reports that you don’t see behind the scenes. In fact you can have a different score for auto loans than for mortgage loans. But the big difference with employment checks is that there is NO score involved. And the big difference to you is that when an employer checks your credit it does not have any affect on your score. In other words you don’t get a "hard" inquiry. So what your employer gets is just information including the following: [MORE]

Novel idea: Tax the ‘rich’ health care plans to pay for the health bill…

A recent poll by Stanford University has found support for taxing the rich and their ‘high end’ health care plans to pay for the new health care legislation. Lots of debate still awaits this notion, but there is some sense to that idea. I’m not sure that it is just a perception that the rich are getting off easy and that they should bear their share of our quest for the ‘public good’, as exemplified by the health care bill…

AP POLL: Tax the rich to pay for health bill – Yahoo! News 

When it comes to paying for a health care overhaul, Americans see just one way to go: Tax the rich.

That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll, conducted by Stanford University with the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress, including taxing insurers on high-value coverage packages derided by President Barack Obama and Democrats as "Cadillac plans." [MORE]

Need a practical gift for that Photographer-wannabe on your list?

B&H Photo has put together a nice video to show you what is out there and what each digital camera provides. This should be a ‘must see’ before going out shopping. Hope this helps you narrow down the field and select an appropriate camera for the holidays…

Great photos for not much green 

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great digital camera; the Frugal Connoisseur shows you what to look for. [MORE]