Infographic: How much do college textbooks cost and how much would open alternatives save students?

Hi again…

I remember spending a bundle of money every semester I was in school and then getting back very little at the end when trying to sell back those same books. An estimated $900 per semester in books alone is insane as the cost of higher education continues to rise year after year…

This infographic offers some numbers about alternative approaches and the amazing savings of open source college textbooks

Open Source Textbooks


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The Pain of Computer Upgrades

This is a little off topic, but I felt the need to write about it… I’m in the process of getting my proverbial “house” in order as far as computers go.

Image representing Dell as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

At the present time, we have three desktop PCs and two laptops, all from Dell. My desktop is the oldest of the bunch from 2007 or 2008 I believe and my laptop is probably older than that. My wife’s computer was just purchased in 2009 and her laptop was picked up late last year or early this year. And my eldest daughter’s computer was just picked up a month or two ago.

All three desktops are running Windows Vista, which I have come to hate as an operating system. The two laptops are running Windows 7. Back in late February/early March 2010, I had to replace the hard disk in my laptop and added more memory while I was at it so I could install Windows 7 on it. That laptop may be old, but it runs great with Win 7 and I have no complaints. It runs better now than it did when it was new.

So what am I doing now? Well, they shipped the latest computer with Vista, though I asked for Win 7 initially. And while updating my computer with the latest virus security suite, it nearly gave me a heart attack by quitting. That was enough to push me over the edge to get everybody on the same operating system.

Image representing Windows 7 as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Vista sucks. Win 7 runs the way that Vista should have.

However, that means backing up my hard drive… I have something like 250 gigs of data on this thing and it’s going to take a while to move it all to the nice 1 TB Western Digital USB 2.0 drive. Once that’s done, I will open the case and dust everything, plug everything back in and start the Windows 7 install.

Once the install is done, I’ll work on installing apps and get to the real reason I wanted to refresh my computer… Civilization V. That’s right, the world’s biggest time sink for yours truly.

That’s phase 1… Phase 2 will be to do my wife’s computer (and install 4 Gigs of memory to replace the 1 gig that’s there). And finally I’ll get to Phase 3 and update my daughter’s computer. That should be the easiest of the bunch, considering it’s the newest and has the least stuff on it.

So if you’ve been through this process, you understand the pain of a major upgrade. On the plus side, everybody should be happier with the result (including me).

Have a great weekend! I’ll be working diligently here to at least get my computer redone before Monday…

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A Sad Farewell to the Boo

Hi there…

I have some sad news to report, but first some folks may need a little context…

Those of you who know me know that I’m married to a veterinarian and she’s always had pets. I went through a long spell between the end of high school and living on my own where I didn’t have any – but as my relationship with Ev grew, I became attached to her collection of pets. And over the last 10 years, though we’ve lost some and gained some, one of the constants has been our cats – Montana Sunshine (aka “Boo”) and Tigger (aka Tiggy, Tiggy-butt, Fat thing, etc.).

Of all our animals since losing Lobo (a wolf hybrid) and Dakota (a Corgi-mutt) to cancer while living in Phoenix, I have come to love the Boo best. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to favor one “kid” over another – but it happens. Boo comes first in my mind as far as our animals go.

As my wife puts it, Boo is a “’93 model” making her about 17 years old. And for the last 4 or 5 years, we’ve been dealing with her diabetes. I make an ok vet tech in a pinch (which means that I follow directions well) and have been trained to give insulin shots twice a day, hold off while drawing blood, help while testing blood sugar, and even serve as a halfway decent IV stand now and then.

But when the Boo had a bad diabetes-related crash back in March, we were worried. She recovered after a few days in the animal emergency hospital, but never quite got back to where she was before. And every day we could see her slowly fade away. Sure she had good days and bad, but the bad days were getting more and more frequent.

Today we finally had to put her to sleep. Though it’s tough to let her go, her general quality of life was not good. She could barely walk after missing a few jumps from the table to the counter or even from a lower chair, slept most of the day, and she just wasn’t the same perky Siamese kitty we all knew and loved.

It’s a sad day. She’s been a family member, not a pet, for me for ten years. And she will be missed.

What will I miss? The 7am howling from the kitchen table announcing that she’d like her breakfast please. The attitude when boxing the dogs on the nose if they get too close. And most of all, her flopping on the living room floor so I could rub her belly and give her a good dose of lovin’.

Farewell Boo, we will miss you.


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