Tynan http://tynan.com Life Outside the Box en-us Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:32:42 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Rialta: Apple laptop charger hack! http://tynan.com/community/473660 Hi guys,

Been a while! Hope everyone's well!

I discovered a little Rialta hack for my Apple laptop that I wanted to share.

I'm lazy and haven't re-wired the stock wiring to the 12V outlet, under the desk. Because of the lightweight stock wiring, I was always encountering a problem where, whenever my Apple laptop was both turned on and charging the battery (i.e. < 100% battery), it would cause the fuse on that circuit to pop. (Of note, I could charge the battery, but only if the laptop was off.)

This also created a nasty scenario where, if my laptop battery wasn't full, I couldn't use my laptop in the Rialta (since my laptop would immediately start to charge the battery if I plugged it in, and turned it on... gah).

So, I thought about it and hunted down this hack:

TL;DR - If you put a piece of tape over the middle pin of your Magsafe charger, it will prevent the charger from charging the battery, but the charger will still be used to power the laptop.

In my situation with the stock wiring, this allows me to use my laptop whenever it's not fully charged and let's me not drain my coach batteries, just to charge my laptop.

Hope that helps someone! Cheers!

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Sat, 16 Aug 2014 06:08:27 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/473660
Any there deals on wool clothing going on currently? http://tynan.com/community/157111 Summer's coming up and it will be time to travel again. After experiencing one day at the beach where I packed everything I needed into a waterproof container (so I could go into the water and out whenever I wanted) I was hooked.

I'm thinking of extending this travel philosophy into my packing. Are there any good deals on wool clothing currently? I've never had a piece of pure 'real' wool clothing before (rayon and the synthetics are probably the closest equivalents) but I've heard so many magical things about wool that I think it's worth looking into for this summer. I saw a bunch of wool deals pop up every so often here so if anyone keeping track could post when they find one would be much appreciated.

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:18:29 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/157111
Live below your means: Plan, Budget, and be Disciplined http://tynan.com/community/461686 I haven't always been the best at budgeting my money. I have had to learn the hard way when it came to getting into debt, and then taking many years to pay it off.

Many people gave me advice when I was young, but it was just simple sayings and off the cuff advice. I wasn't "trained" on how to control my finances. The clichés like "Don't spend more than you make" and "Don't buy something on credit unless it is a house/car" and "A fool and his money will soon part" were spread around. Those sayings were like "Don't go out on a cloudy day without an umbrella". We all have got caught in the rain on some days.

I saw this article in the news yesterday:

More than a third of US adults pursued by collection agencies

Our society is credit happy. We live for today and want immediate gratification. When you are getting into debt, you don't realize that the interest is piling up, and there will be all types of fees when you don't pay on time.

Here are my tips from what I have learned the hard way:

1. Learn as much as you can about budgeting and planning. The Dave Ramsey course is very good. One principle is to have an emergency fund. It isn't IF an emergency is going to happen, it is WHEN is it going to happen.

2. Be disciplined. Stick to your goals and stay on the course you plan. You won't be any happier after you buy the new flashy products. If you can wait just a while, somebody will probably give that product to you for free when they upgrade to the next new product.

3. Think long term. Whenever you have a thought about buying something, take 24-48 hours to decide. Think about if this purchase will really matter to you in the long run.

4. Birds of a Feather, Flock Together: If you hang out with big spenders, you are likely to fall into the trap of spending big. Choose you pals wisely.

The one thing I hated about being in debt was the constant phone calls from collection agencies. It was annoying.

I always respected my parents for being hard workers, and keeping their head above water. Although, they never had a "system" for handling their money. They made what amount they could, and spent it as it came in. They didn't buy on credit and didn't try to live big. It seemed that talking about money systems was voodoo.

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:08:40 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/461686
The Ultimate Travel Laptop http://tynan.com/community/ux21a

Two years ago I finally jumped off the Thinkpad wagon to buy a Sony Z12. I have my loyalties and preferences, but at the end of the day I know that the one feature that actually directly impacts my productivity is screen resolution. The higher the resolution, the more stuff that can fit on the screen at once. The more I can fit on the screen, the less swapping between windows I have to do, and thus the less I have to interrupt my workflow. At the same time, I travel a lot, so I need a small computer. My criteria will always be the smallest usable computer with the highest resolution.

For a long time, the Sony was that computer. New computers came out over the past two years, but none of them stacked up well against the Sony. Even the Z12's successor, the Z21, wasn't much to write home about.

Then one day I read an announcement saying that Asus was releasing two new ultrabooks (you know, the Windows laptops that look like Macbook Airs), an 11.6" and a 13", and both would have full 1920x1080 screens. They'd be about half the thickness of my existing laptop, and the smaller of the two would be half a pound lighter. I was sold.

I bought the 11.6" version, the Asus UX21A Zenbook Prime.

The screen on the UX21A, particularly on the Japanese version, which ships with a matte screen, is excellent. You know that 42" LCD TV you have in your living room? This little sucker has the exact same resolution. HD video looks unbelievably crisp. The gamut range is far better than normal laptops, but not quite as good as the Sony Z12. Brightness is as good as I've ever seen on a laptop.

The processor and SSD are fast, but finding a fast computer is easy, so I'm not going to get into all that. Suffice to say that the 1.9gHz i7 is fast enough for anything you'll throw its way.

They keyboard, especially the Japanese one with the extra keys, is very good. No complaints, but not as sublime as the Thinkpad keyboard is/used to be. The trackpad is huge and responsive, with the best two finger scrolling I've ever seen on a PC. Still, I hate trackpads and am still shocked that people like them. I've used a trackpad exclusively for two years and would still much prefer the eraser-like pointing stick found on Thinkpads. Besides far better control and not having to move your hands to move the mouse, you completely eliminate the very real problem of your palms mashing on the touchpad as you type. If I have any complaint about the UX21A, it's that it has a trackpad like every other laptop. I don't expect any different, though.

Despite being a small eleven inch laptop, the speakers on the UX21A are the best I've heard on a laptop. They still aren't great, per se, but they're loud and clear. The high range is excellent and it degrades down the spectrum to having no bass to speak of.

Besides the high resolution and reasonable 5hour+ battery life, what makes this laptop particularly great for travelers is that it doesn't have to be removed from your bag when you travel. I think that subconsciously that may be the driving force behind me choosing this laptop over its larger brother.

Oh, and the other major traveler-friendly feature: its USB ports charge at 2.1 amps, even when it's off! This is HUGE. It means that the laptop doubles as a very ast cell phone / kindle / camera charger. No other laptop does this (although a few charge at .5 amps).

To make the inevitable comparison between this and the MacBook Air, the Asus has a much much better screen and speakers and can charge your gadgets. The Macbook Air can be configured with a bigger hard drive and more ram, and has better battery life. I think it's a pretty easy choice, but if you're not hardcore about screens or have bad vision, the MacBook could be a better option.

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Wed, 08 Aug 2012 21:46:30 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/ux21a
Rialta remodel http://tynan.com/community/11323 I bought a 1996 Winnebago Rialta to live in starting when the lease on my house is done at the end of May. Obviously Tynan was an inspiration in the sense that I would never have considered an RV if not for him, but long before he and I reconnected I'd always taken the stance that I would live in the smallest living space possible as long as I had a great kitchen.

So, when I was looking around at apartments in Seattle's Capitol Hill recently and dreading moving into a lousy studio in some nice building's basement with an electric stove and a crummy refrigerator, I thought, wait a minute, Tynan's got a great kitchen in his RV. Time to put my money where my mouth is.

I've done a fair amount of work on it. The Community section of tynan.com is a perfect place to log this stuff. I'll post some status here in a minute.

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 03:33:55 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/11323
Language Learning http://tynan.com/community/460731 Hey all,

The language learning site iTalki is currently running a promotion, where if you sign up for an account you get 10 USD worth of free credits - enough for about one free lesson.

I teach for this website, but also plan to use it in the future for language learning. If you have an interest in improving a second or third language, or just in picking up another language, I highly recommend checking this site out. It's well-organized, easy to navigate, and offers VERY CHEAP private lessons in a plethora of languages.

Like I said - if you use this link: http://www.italki.com/?ref=1149807 - you will get 10 USD for free.

Happy language learning!

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:22:30 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/460731
New SETT Blogs http://tynan.com/community/42181 Hey guys, I'd like to stop by your site and connect with all the new SETT bloggers getting started since the launch.   Post your URLs!


>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Sat, 26 Jan 2013 15:30:09 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/42181
Free audiobooks galore http://tynan.com/community/455977 I wrote up a quick diddy about getting free audiobooks with the new Kindle Unlimited. Could be useful to fellow tynanians:


>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 16:25:13 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/455977
Rolexes: Why They're Awesome and How to Get Them Dirty Cheap http://tynan.com/community/buyrolex

SHORT VERSION: Here is a link to my saved search on eBay that shows cheap Rolexes that are probably worth buying. Read on to see why.

A month ago or so I wrote a post called, No One Cares if you Buy a Rolex. If you didn't read it and don't feel like doing any link-clicking, the gist of it was that when I was younger I bought a Rolex, assuming that people would be really impressed, but in the end no one noticed or cared. You can't buy your way into being interesting.

Ironically, in writing that post, I remembered how much I loved my Rolex, despite the fact that no one else cared about it. At the same time, I had stopped really using the advanced features of the Suunto GPS watch that I had, and was thinking about getting some different watch.

Maybe I ought to get a Rolex, I thought...

Getting something as a status symbol is really lame. Although Rolexes are seen as status symbols (again... that's mostly in theory because no one ever notices them), they're also really excellent watches. I don't think most people understand just how good a Rolex really is.

A Rolex (with the exception of a now discontinued line called the Oysterquartz) is a mechanical watch. That means that it doesn't have batteries and doesn't have a quartz crystal. It has a spring that is wound up either by twisting the crown, or by harnessing the energy generated through wrist movement using a rotor. The spring powers one hundred and fifty moving parts to deliver really accurate time (gaining or losing only a few seconds a day).

To be clear, a $9 quartz watch is probably more accurate than a Rolex. But then again, a photograph is more accurate than a Monet. There's something to the art of it-- the fact that these one hundred and fifty moving parts continue to work for years on end, powered only by flicks of the wrist, through conditions as varied as scuba diving hundreds of feet deep in the ocean to climbing mount Everest.

Rolex isn't the only mechanical watch to be able to do this (Omega and Tag Heuer are similar, and I'm sure there are others I don't know about), but they are real pioneers in the field and, in terms of balancing accuracy and reliability, there is no better.

The point of all this is that a Rolex isn't a jewelry watch like a Gucci watch would be. A gucci watch would most likely be a quartz watched stamped with a bunch of logos. If they do have a mechanical watch, it would have been developed by someone else, made in China, and then stamped with logos.

I personally love the idea of a manual watch. To me it's a triumph of humanity that these things exist. I love the idea that such a rugged and precise machine can be built, and that it can fit in my watch, hidden in a tiny case.

The next most interesting thing about a Rolex is that although the price tag is quite high, it could be argued that the cost of owning one is negative. That's because Rolexes tend to appreciate over time, mainly because the style hasn't changed drastically since inception, making a 40 year old watch look roughly new.

I bought my first Rolex in 2001 for $1400. Today it would sell for $1900 if I hadn't lost it. That's not an incredible return, but it's very low risk (insure the watch from theft/loss for $30/year if you want to really make it low risk), and you get to have a cool watch for many years.

Even more interesting is that right now there are insane deals to be had on Rolexes. I actually have three of them right now because I didn't realize how plentiful good deals are, and I kept jumping on deals I thought were 'once-in-a-lifetime' deals. Some examples:

1. I bought a 1991 Air-King for $1250. I thought I was going to keep it, but one week and two Rolexes later, it's going up on eBay. I estimate that it's worth around $1700-2000.

2. I bought a 1980 DateJust for $1700. I should be able to sell this one for $1900-2000, maybe more.

3. I bought and will keep a 1999 DateJust with a diamond dial for $2100. If I wanted to sell it today, I could get around $3000.

If you combine a really good deal with years of modest appreciation, you're looking at buying a really excellent watch and earning 5-10% per year average on the "investment". On the other hand, any cheap watch you buy will tend to lose value over time. I loved my Suunto and got some really good use out of it, but I sold it for about half what I paid for it after a couple years.

Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you to buy a Rolex. I'm just trying to explain what makes them worth having, and will share some tricks to getting them really cheap. My guide to buying a Rolex will focus on the DateJust, which is the classic dress watch (that can still be worn scuba-diving), but most of the tips will work for any model.

The key dates to know for a DateJust are as follows. In 1978 Rolex introduced a "quickset" feature, which makes it much faster to switch the date at the end of a 28-30 day month. My first Rolex was a 1974 and not having quickset wasn't that big of a deal, but it's a nice feature and 1978 is a good starting point.

In the late 80s, Rolex switched the crystal from acrylic to sapphire crystal. Opinion is divided on this, with most collectors and enthusiasts favoring the acrylic crystal. Acrylic definitely looks better and doesn't hold fingerprints as much, but it is easier to scratch. Buffing out scratches with a polishing cloth is pretty easy. Sapphire, on the other hand, is pretty much impossible to scratch. I prefer Sapphire because I tend to do things that risk scratching the watch, but it's a personal choice.

In the mid nineties, the case was switched to a holeless case. This is a very minor difference-- the pins that hold the bracelet onto the watch are hidden. Since then there have been no notable improvements. The quickset movement is called a 3035 and the next evolution, introduced in 199x is called the 3135. Both of them have their strong points and their supporters-- the point is that very little has changed over the years, so you can buy an old Rolex and it's essentially the same as a new Rolex. The 1980 DateJust and the 1999 DateJust I currently have are the exact same color schemes and both keep time with the same level of accuracy. Other than the different crystal, the holeless case of the newer one, and the less worn band of the newer one, they are indistinguishable.

Because you're working with around 20 years of available Rolexes (I've never seen great deals on the newest ones), you will have a LOT of watches to choose from. This means that you can take the approach of lowballing everybody until someone accepts your deal. Given the current economy, pretty much everyone takes your offer. I've really been amazed at how cheaply people are willing to let go of these watches.

The two major places to look are Craigslist and eBay. On Craigslist, just search for Rolex with an upper price of $2500. I wouldn't ever pay more than that. A late 70s watch should go for closer to $1600. Whenever you see a watch, offer a really low price that's $100 more than most people will offer. In other words, offer $2100 instead of $2000, $1600 instead of $1500. I almost got a watch for $1300 just because everyone else was offering $1200, but someone paid his full asking price at the last minute.

Don't get attached to any given watch. in this economy a lot of people are selling their Rolexes, so another one will come up. If you overpay, or fail to get a really good deal, you're largely negating the good-deal benefit of buying a Rolex.

On Craigslist the biggest advantage you can have over other sellers is to be really easy to deal with. Most people on Craigslist are not. My initial email might look something like this:

"Hey, I'm interested in the Rolex you're selling on Craigslist. I don't mean to insult you, but I think the watch is worth about $1600. I know you're asking for more, but if you're interested in that price, I can meet you at your convenience with cash in hand."

The last watch I bought was from a really nice guy who I sent a similar email to. When I bought the watch he thanked me for being so easy to work with and kept saying how glad he was to be done with selling it. Selling on Craigslist is annoying. We both know he could have gotten a bit more money if he held out, but he would have had to meet with a bunch of unreliable people who wouldn't show up with cash, or would try to renegotiate after agreeing on a price. Convenience is worth something.

If you're buying on eBay, you again want to email offers in. Most buy it now prices aren't that great, and auctioned Rolexes, by definiton, go for market price. The ideal watch to offer on is one that's been on eBay for a few days with no bids. At that point the seller might start to wonder if it's going to get bid up or just get sold for his opening price. The Air-King I bought had a starting price of $1000 and no bids. I offered $1250 and he took it. My guess is that if he left it on eBay it would have sold for $1700 or more.

Many sellers will also list buy it now prices that are unrealistic. Email them and offer them much less. I haven't actually bought one this way but I've gotten some really solid counter-offers back.

With eBay sellers you don't really need to worry about fakes. Just look for good feedback, and if it does turn out to be fake, eBay buyer protection will cover you. In person if you don't know what to look for, you might be better off meeting at a watch store, where they can verify that it's real. It's pretty easy if you know what to look for, so they probably won't charge you for the service. If they do, it would be $10-20.

There are two color schemes for the DateJust, stainless steel and 18k gold / stainless two-tone. They are the same price right now because the stainless steel is more in style. However, because the two tone one has a real gold crown and bezel, and also real gold center links in the bracelet, it probably has a higher intrinsic value. If you like that look, I bet it will appreciate more than the stainless one over time. I prefer the stainless look, though, so I've bought only stainless ones other than my first one many years ago.

There are also two ways to make the watch significantly cheaper after buying it. If you're lucky enough to get one that comes with the Rolex boxes, you can sell those for $100-200 on eBay. Resale value isn't really impacted by not having the box (DO keep the certificate if it comes with it, though), so you may as well sell them and take the cash. I got boxes with my 1999 watch, and they're on ebay right now.

You could also consider selling the bracelet of the watch and buying an aftermarket one. An aftermarket bracelet costs $25-75 and is probably better than the one that came with the watch, since the one with the watch will be stretched out a bit from use. The original bracelets go for $300 or so on eBay, which is sort of crazy. The resale value of your watch WILL decrease if it comes with an aftermarket one, but probably not by as much as you gain by selling it.

Using all these tricks, you can easily get a nice Rolex for $1000-1500 that will sell for almost twice as much. There are so many good deals out there that if I wasn't so busy, I would probably start a side business reselling them. Here's an ebay link with the search I use to find Rolexes.

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 23:03:06 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/buyrolex
What do Rialta's go for these days? http://tynan.com/community/444368 This seems kind of hard to nail down to get to a fair price for a used Rialta. Are these in the Bluebook? I tried finding comparable sales on RV websites or ebay completed/sold listings, but it's kind of hit or miss depending on milage, model, and year. I'm in the market and just wanted to make sure I'm not way overpaying. I've seen the 2000's and up models around 20k-35k with mostly the 2004 or 2005's fetching that upperward value...

Does anyone know what kind of price range would a 2002 FD (fullbed or even the twin bed model) go for with ~30k miles?

Any insight is appreciated...Thanks!

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 20:22:32 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/444368