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  • Archive for June, 2010

    Get Your Google Voice Phone Number Now

    Posted by Frugal on 22nd June 2010

    Today Google Voice has been made publicly available to anyone. I have just been using Google Voice for about one month with my landline, thanks to my IT friend’s invitation into the program. It has been terrific.

    Here are some of the highlights in my trials:
    1. It will ring ALL of your (mobile) phone numbers if you list them out. This means that you could use the Google Phone number as the main permanent contact phone number for family & friends, and you could change your mobile plans/phone numbers in whatever ways you want, and it won’t change even after you move out of the area. And Google Voice will further block any spam callings & mobile texting messages automatically.

    2. It will TRANSCRIBE any voicemail messages into text. That accuracy of the transcription is simply amazing. I tested it a little bit, and it’s 100% accurate so far. Creative usage of this would be that you could use it yourself for any typing needs for blogging, writings, etc.

    3. Obviously not many people write these days, but because the messages are transcribed, it becomes a searchable database, which Google excels in doing. If you receive many voicemails for your business, this will be an excellent way of handling your high volume of voicemail messages (although I’m not sure if business are allowed for using Google Voice).

    4. The best of all you get everything for free, AND a free US-registered phone number. I know many of those “free-for-ever” IP phone services (like Ooma), which still require you to pay $5 to $10 every year for a valid US phone number registration (to government I believe). Guess what! Insanely profitable Google pays that for you, and you get to pick your own phone number!

    5. Free conference calling capability which you don’t need to pay extra.

    6. Google intended the Google Voice for mobile phones (and by the way, it doesn’t work with prepaid T-mobile phones). However, you can use it for landline too. I have been using my Google Voice number to dial around from my landline phone for FREE US domestic calls, and very competitive international calls. Calling quality is most of the time BETTER than any IP phones that you can get (Yeah, I tried and quited on Ooma already). Here is the detailed dialing instructions which you need to follow exactly once you get your Google Voice phone number:

    • You MUST set up your voice mail password from your Google Voice account http://www.google.com/voice/ (after you log into your gmail obviously).
    • Dial your Google Voice number (from your landline) which hopefully is a free local call if you have chosen your number wisely.
    • Don’t let it ring any of your phones, and then you can press * (star) to enter into your voice mail. Punch in your voice mail password.
    • Voila! You can press 2 to dial out, possibly after listening to or skipping all of your recorded messages.

    Get your free & favorite phone number before they get taken now at www.google.com/voice!

    Posted in Frugal Ways | 2 Comments »

    Suicides at Foxconn – Cost Inflation Coming

    Posted by Frugal on 18th June 2010

    The 10 suicides at Foxconn have happened in this year, and are no longer news. However, they are so important in the big economic picture that special attentions are deserved.

    Just some background on this Taiwan-based company itself. This company is arguably the biggest and most efficient manufacturer of all sorts of goods in the world. After these suicides, the company raised the salary of ALL workers at the plan by some 30%, and have some 60% additional bonus reserved for good output. Various question can be asked, but I’m mainly concerned about the big picture causes and effects from such action at the edge of tidal wave.

    Through US-pegged renminbi, US monetary inflation is manifesting in Chinese economy. For all the deflationists out there, the proof of inflation is not domestic, but in China & India, and eventually will find its way back to US soil. The eventual re-evaluation of renminbi is inevitable to re-balance the living standards on the two sides of the pacific ocean.

    I don’t have time to elaborate more, but point you to two excellent articles on this topic:
    1. Chinese Workers Force the Issue by Peter Schiff
    2. The Asian Inflation Bug by Martin Hutchinson

    Posted in Investing | Comments Off

    Short Market Update

    Posted by Frugal on 17th June 2010

    Stock rally is stalling a little bit. This summer until September may be quite nasty. I suggest lightening up for possible reloading later, which still needs to be qualified by technical observations.

    Gold is approaching the high ceiling again, due to stabilization of euro. It’s still the strongest currency, stronger than both euro & US dollar. If there is a buying opportunity this summer, grab it.

    And sorry I haven’t paid any attention to oil & energy markets for quite awhile, since I’ve cleaned out my entire stake several months back. “Thanks” to BP, the entire sector has been sold down. And I’m not interested yet.

    By the way, US debt is now 13 trillions now, not counting any of the medicare/social security obligations. Mark my words. Deficit will be at 20 trillions in less than 10 years, and US dollar will break down, creating the next big wave of inflation (at least in the US territories).

    Posted in Market Pulses | 3 Comments »

    Stock Market Is In Trouble

    Posted by Frugal on 7th June 2010

    The longer stock markets don’t rally when they should, the more investors will throw in the towel. I believe there is a serious danger of breaking 1040 on the S&P 500, after which the markets will collapse at an even greater speed. I have already increased my existing cash holding by almost 50% in the last week, not waiting for the markets to give a final verdict. The counter rally is pathetically weak, and going further out into summer, the European debt complication will only get more serious.

    As I have been suspecting that MACD on S&P 500 may do a head fake. So far however this head fake signal only lasted 1 day. It’s exceedingly weak. The market has very little underlying support now. There are more sells than buys, and sellers are getting more panicky. Though short-term wise it’s very hard to tell whether it will be up or down. I would still advise to stay away temporarily for awhile.

    Yes, markets are quite oversold, but they can stay oversold much longer than you can bear.

    Posted in Market Pulses | 4 Comments »

    Bing Cashback Ending in July

    Posted by Frugal on 4th June 2010

    I just received this email from Bing cashback program:

    Dear valued cashback customer:

    We are writing to notify you that the Bing cashback program will be discontinued, and the last day to earn cash back on your Bing Shopping purchases will be July 30, 2010.

    Until July 30, 2010 9:00 pm PST, it’s business as usual so continue to take advantage of great offers from your favorite merchants. You can redeem all of your earned cashback savings consistent with the cashback terms and conditions and access the Bing cashback customer support system through July 30, 2011. We encourage you to redeem your cashback savings and to further support redemption, we are waiving the $5 minimum payout effective July 31, 2010….

    It’s a pity to see it goes. I guess good things just don’t last forever. I have definitely enjoyed the total savings of $29 cashback on already discounted online goodies that I was able to find.

    Make sure you redeem your remaining cashback in your own account before the end of July.

    Posted in Frugal Ways | 1 Comment »