My Kindle Touch 3G

I finally got around to buying a Kindle.

I’ve been reading on PDAs and the iPhone for years now; I haven’t picked up a paper book since 2006. I liked that I could carry multiple books on a single device and that I could read anywhere with it.

But once I got the Kindle I realized it’s an even better experience.

It’s everything that’s good about a paper book, without the bad. I ponied up for the 3G model so I could connect anywhere. No monthly fee. Stores 3000 books, 1-2 months battery life (with wifi off). The touch screen is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. The display is great; it reads like paper.

I’ve bought quite a few new books after I bought this and I’ve finished reading several more over the past two weeks. I’m reading like I used to fifteen years ago: voraciously.

And I’m also excited to be publishing on it as well.

I couldn’t be happier with this reader.

Walking At Night: A Collection of Horror

I’m happy to announce that I recently published a collection of short horror stories.  It weighs in around 56,000 words (approximately the length of a short novel).  This is particularly rewarding since some of these stories and ideas are ten or fifteen years old and are finally now seeing the light of day.  I had a lot of fun writing and publishing this.  So if horror is your thing, you might want to check it out.  It’s available for the Kindle and the Nook eReaders.

I Finished My Book

I finally finished my novel Into the Badlands.  Here’s the blurb:

It’s been three years since a devastating pandemic transformed most of the world’s human population into vicious, wild animals.  Ed Brady and his two sons rely solely on each other in order to survive in a world completely devoid of stability and structure.  Their goal: reach the city by the river, where they may have some chance of finding salvation.

As they travel across the wasteland that was once the Midwestern United States, they encounter other survivors along the way.  As their paths inevitably intertwine, Ed must remain steadfast that his sworn mission to see that his boys know safety and happiness is not compromised.  Surrounded by the constant threat of attack by infected humans, can Ed and his sons make it to the city before their luck runs out?  And, if they can, what will be waiting for them there when they arrive?

Into The Badlands is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic thriller that will take readers on a desperate journey for salvation through the wasted remains of a land overrun with the stuff of nightmares.

Into the badlands is 83,000 words/239 pages and is available on the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony eReader, Smashwords, Kobo, and Apple iBooks.  Check it out here.

 

So Soon We Parted

I took this photo in my basement then ran it through a filter in Instagram.  Kinda impressed with the way it turned out.  That bottle disappeared later that night, and not consumed entirely by me.

Transaction Tags in Moneydance

After making the switch to Moneydance at the beginning of 2010 I discovered a useful feature of the software called “Transaction Tags” (or “Tags” for short).  What are Tags?  Well, the short answer is they provide an alternative way to group transactions beyond the standard categories Moneydance provides.

Why would you use this?  Well, let’s examine a few scenarios.  Let’s say I have a category called Parties.  Let’s go a bit further and say that I threw a backyard BBQ called “Project Velociraptor” in 2011 (which I did) and I placed all the expenses incurred for that party into the Parties category.  Now when I run a category report I see these expenses summed up in the Parties category just as I expect.

Suppose a couple years later I want to throw another party of a similar nature.  I want to see how much it cost me last time, so that I can budget properly.  I could run a category report for Parties for the year 2011 and get my total.  Easy enough.

But, what if I end up also throwing a Halloween party in 2011?  Now I have to try to figure out which transactions belong to the BBQ, and which transactions belong to the Halloween party.  That’s kind of a pain.

I can solve this problem with Tags.  First, I’d create a transaction tag by clicking Tools -> Edit Transaction Tags from the main menu.

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Equity Reporting in Moneydance

One thing Quicken introduced some years back was the ability to associate a liability account to an asset account.  So if you bought a house or a car, for instance, you could associate a corresponding loan account to the asset.  Then Quicken could easily do the math (asset value – liability amount) to determine your equity.

This is useful if you’re contemplating taking out a home equity loan, or maybe selling your house.  You might want to see if you’re upside-down on your car.

Moneydance doesn’t allow you to associate liability accounts with assets.  I liked this feature of Quicken, so I set out to recreate it within Moneydance.

I accomplished this by creating customized net worth reports and graphs.  The graph trends my equity over time, while the report shows me exactly how much equity I have at the time I run the report.

I started by building a standard net worth report.

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Multiple Escrow Payments in Moneydance

Moneydance can track your home’s value as an asset, and it can also track your mortgage as a liability.  When you set up your mortgage in Moneydance it’ll ask you which account you want your escrow payment to transfer into.

If you just want to track the total amount that goes into escrow as an expense, then this is fine.  Just create a category called something like “Mortgage Escrow” and set the loan account to transfer your monthly escrow payment into this category.

However, if you want to track the discreet breakout of each portion of your escrow payment, this poses a problem.  My escrow payment is a combination of my home insurance and my property taxes.  I want to track both of these expenses under Insurance and Taxes categories.

Quicken could do this right from the loan account.  Unfortunately Moneydance can’t.  There is way, however, to make this work in Moneydance.

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