Showing posts from July, 2012

Back to Nature & the iPad

It may seem a dichotomy dealing so much with nature (Mother Earth reader since it first came out in the 70's, growing my own food, teaching about wild and medicinal herbs) and being a computer consultant for the past 25 years. Can the two be happily married?

Well as a Frugal Prosumer I see the two going hand in hand. An important part of being a Frugal Prosumer is having your own business and a computer is a real asset in this area. For the past few years I cut back on computer consulting to run an alternative school for young people. But now with the iPad coming out, I see it as an amazing Frugal Prosumer tool and especially for running your own business. So I am once again helping people use technology to run their small business.

For years I have been looking for an inexpensive Point of Sales program for micro to small business. I have finally found it. It utilizes the iPad and Square Card reader. Here is a Forbes article dealing with this very thing. Mobile: The Biggest Change…

Study This to See Whether Harvard Pays Off

Study This to See Whether Harvard Pays Off: is a very interesting article for those of us who like to work with numbers. Read this article and get your thinking cap going.

For the rest of you like my wife Mary who is brilliant but glazes over with these kinds of articles (she prefers my brief summary and then lets me know that her intuition told her that same thing a long time ago) I offer a brief summary of things that are deducted from those "great wages" you will be making after college:
Borrowing and paying interest on all that money.The years you are earning nothing while in school.When you finally work at that high paying job you are taxed at a higher rate so you get to keep less.

Using Google Docs to do Research

Google docs, or as it is now called Google Drive, is a tool every Frugal Prosumer who uses a computer should be aware of for the following reasons:
FreeEasy to useCan be accessed from any computer platform (windows, mac, iso5, etc.)Used by millions of people and businesses.Can replace costly word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software etc.You can do real time collaboration with people anywhere in the world.It is part of the Google world and integrates nicely with all their products (blogger, Google sites, android devices, and many many more. Now it has a very nice research tool tied to it.

One of the  problems with word processors is that they are mainly designed for writing. If you’re working on a report and need to look something up, you have to minimize the program and open a browser to look it up. This can be a hassle, especially if you switch windows a lot. Google has introduced a feature that allows users to conduct research right in the Google Doc they’re working …

Relationships the Best Financial Investment

“A true friend is the best possession.” – Benjamin Franklin

I write often on the benefits of being a Frugal Prosumer. One of the greatest rewards of being a Frugal Prosumer is that it enables us to have time and resources to focus more of our energies (and finances) on the things that are most important to us. These values will change from person to person, but for Mary and I, they have been typically defined as faith, family, and friends. Being Frugal Prosumers means we have had more time, money, and energy to pursue each of them.

One of the reasons that relationships makes our top list of values is because we have seen how much benefit they provide. The opportunities they provide to make life better far outweigh anything that can be found in material possessions. As a result, they ought to be pursued with far greater fervor than financial investments and material things.

Here are some ways friends make our lives better.
Encourage us. Friends believe in us and offer both the words and…

Farming in the big city

Here is a great video of what I call a true Frugal  Prosumer. Combining high tech and low cost gardening in the city.

The land in West Oakland where Eric Maundu is trying to farm is covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there's not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn't use soil. Instead he's using aquaponics to grow plants using fish and circulating water.

Maundu- who is trained in industrial robotics- has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens smart. Using sensors (to detect water level, pH and temperature), microprocessors (mostly the open-source Arduino microcontroller), relay cards, clouds and social media networks (Twitter and Facebook), Maundu has programmed his gardens to tweet when there's a problem (i.e. not enough water) or when there's news (i.e. an over-abundance of food to share).

Maundu himself ran from agriculture in his native Kenya- where he saw it as a struggle for land…

The Accidental Environmentalist

Mary and I never started out to be environmentalists. We just wanted to be wise with our finances as well as good stewards with resources whether they belonged to us or not.

We have a garden but not because we are into the fad of eating local. We eat local instead of food that had been shipped long distances because is was the cheapest, most nutritious, and best tasting way to get our food.

Long before going local was in, we did what most going local faddist don't do. Used local fuels  for heating and transportation- heating with local wood and fueling our bikes with "local" us.

Too many people think that if they are recycling aluminum cans they are good environmentalists. Any "environmentalist" worth their salt wouldn't even consider aluminum cans or buy plastic water bottles filled with nice pure spring water.

We drink our local well water, make our own healthy soda, and collect those bottles people are throwing away to store up our apple juice, kombucha,…

Be warry of purchasing a house that "consumes" lots of fuel to heat and communte to

In my book The Frugal Prosumer Philosophy, several years ago I cautioned about owning a house that took too much energy to heat and was too long a  commute from work. Well it is happening. Many of these houses have lost much of their value and some are even being torn down. Here is an article that addresses the issue. Housing Crisis Could End Suburbia As We Know

7 Secrets to Scoring Cheap Airline Tickets

Thinking of doing some air travel this summer? Here are some tips:

This is a summary of an article at: 7 Secrets to Scoring Cheap Airline Tickets

1. Buy at the right time. Avoid high volume booking times- best is Tuesdays and Wednesdays and six weeks before a trip.  When shopping for a group make each reservation separately since airline systems are set up to give everyone in your group the same, higher price even if a few cheaper seats could be had by a subset of your group.

2. Fly at the right time. Avoid vacation time—June 15 to September 6 and around major holidays for domestic flights. Generally the cheap travel days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6 a.m. or the red-eye as well as choosing connecting instead of direct flights.

3. Be flexible. Willing to fly out or land at an airport further away.

 4. Use the right tools.  Bing Price Predictor,, and alert you to deals as they arise; does all of that and, for certain airlines like JetBlue o…

Red Cross Launches New First Aid Mobile App

A major part of being a Frugal Prosumer is taking care of your own  health. Here is a great way to  always have medical first aid information right at hand.

The American Red Cross Preparedness and Health and Safety Services has launched the first in a new series of mobile apps for iPhones and Android phones. This free app provides the average and untrained user with knowledge of what to do when first aid is required in everyday situations. Using videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s a tool that anyone with a compatible phone should have.

This app is not targeted at the professional responder. It does not have a first aid or CPR certification component nor is it meant to take the place of full first aid training.

Simple, easy-to-understand advice on everyday first aid scenarios     Videos, step-by-step instructions and animations making learning first aid fun and easy.     Preparedness tips on how to prepare for some of the most common emergency si…

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