Skip to main content

Our Best Kept Money Saving Secrets!

WARNING: May contain excess amounts of cynicism.

I got an email from Costco today that was entitled "Our Best Kept Money-Saving Secrets!". I'll admit right now that I'm a Costco junkie. I shop there more than just about anywhere else and, judging from the amount of people I see there, a lot of people are like me. So when I see an ad for Costco's best kept money-saving secrets, I'm immediately intrigued. What does Costco recommend for saving money?

So I click on the link provided only to find a list of things to buy. Not just regular things to buy (you know stuff you use every day), but luxury items. Excuse me? OK, how is buying a "Natural Stone Pond and Waterfall Kit" for $799.99 (pictured left) a money-saving secret? How about " Sympathy Heart, Red Roses" for a mere $279.99? This is a money-saving secret? It seems to me that Costco has fallen into the frame of mind that most other retailers are trying to push onto consumers, namely "It's not how much you spend, but how much you save that's important." In other words, if you spend thousands of dollars but "save" hundreds, you're somehow ahead. Sure I might be up to my eyebrows in debt, but I saved so much on my custom made designer window covers!

This is a rare occurrence, but Costco has really disappointed me on this one. I'm sorry but a good price on a modular wine cellar is not a money-saving secret. A good money-saving secret is something like "Spend Less Than You Make." I know, it doesn't sound like a secret but how many Americans are out there that don't seem to know this at all? Well, I bet they're "saving" lots of money.


Popular posts from this blog

Insteon: Controller vs Responder

This entry is going to be more of a technical article.  If you're not planning on setting up scenes in an Insteon environment, this isn't for you.  If you are or like me, have been running into some confusion about what should be set up as a controller, what should be a responder, and what should be both.  Here's what I learned.

I've been using Insteon switches for a couple of years now and had set up a few scenes.  When adding a switch to a scene, you have the option of adding it as a controller, a responder, or both.  Not knowing the difference and wanting to cover my bases, I set all of my scenes to both.  Since my scenes were all timing type scenes (e.g. turn on night lights at sunset) it worked fine.  Then I added an 8 button keypad and started programming the buttons to control other lights.  The program for this, of course, is a scene.  Once again, I set every switch and button as both a controller and a responder.  Then I created a scene, specifically for my E…


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's a biographical novel of Michelangelo (you know, the famous sculptor/artist whose statue of David and the paintings in the Cistine Chapel are super famous) that gives a very interesting view of his life. It seems that while Michelangelo had a very productive life, it wasn't a very happy one.

One of the first things that I noticed about Stone's portrayel of Michelangelo is that he was obsessed with creating sculptures and a true perfectionist. For a large portion of his life (into his 60s it seems) his every action was calculated toward a goal of sculpting marble - either getting a commission or improving his talent (or both). Not only did he want to sculpt, he wanted his pieces to be as real as possible.

His obsession with carving perfect sculptures drove him to do endless studies of the human form. He even spent months sneaking into a morgue to dissect bodies so he could figure out how the body real…

Sonos Control with the Amazon Echo - How I did it

I've had my Amazon Echo for a year or so and one thing that I've wanted ever since I purchased it, is to be able to use voice commands to control my Sonos speakers.  I waited patiently (OK  not patiently) for Sonos skill to appear on the Echo but it still hasn't come.  I was encouraged when Sonos announced it was going to focus more on voice but still nothing.  Isn't there any way to control my Sonos with my Echo?

Yes - sort of.

WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart because the solution is not trivial.

So, I found a project on github that uses another project on github combined with a custom skill on
the Echo via a web service hosted by AWS Lambda.  OK, that was the easy part.  I knew that going in.  That's why, initially, I waited.  There must be an elegant solution out there.  I searched and waited and searched again and waited again.  Finally I decided to give it a try.  If it worked it would be really cool.  If it didn't, well I'm no worse o…