I Wish There Was Something Better Than Meetup.Com

I’ve been a Meetup.com subscriber for years, but I hate using them. Their website isn’t very user-friendly, and I often times find their messages to be misleading and or confusing. For example during the transition of the NSHappyHour meetup, which had over 250 members, I tried to disable the account. Turns out that is not an option, or at least it wasn’t at the time. I learned that the account had been deleted when I went to re-enable the account a few days later. The only option was to start a new account. This meant we lost the 250+ members that has joined over the years, and we had no way of reaching out to those members to ask them to join the new meetup.

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Argh! Thanks A Lot Apple

I woke up at 2:45 am this morning to buy a new Apple Watch. I ordered the 42mm space gray with black sport band Apple Watch Sport, but I’m still annoyed. I got a delivery date of May 13 to May 27, and that annoys me because I was ready to order at 3 am.

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Hey Local Retail Stores, Update Your Website

I bought a new Burton snowboard the other day. I ordered it online from a mom and pop shop in the Oregon. I wanted to buy locally here in Stowe but the price I paid was 10% cheaper than the price listed on the websites of local shops. Combined with the fact that I didn’t have to pay sales tax and shipping was free, I felt I was getting a great deal. Still, I would have preferred to support a local shop here in Vermont, but at least I supported a local shop in Oregon.

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Dear Simple. It's You, Not Me.

For more than a year and a half I’ve been in love with Simple, my online bank. From the very beginning it was as if Simple were designed specifically for me. Safe-to-spend and Goals changed how I managed and saved money, and it worked. It worked really well. So well in fact that I have more cash on hand today than I’ve had in years, and it’s all thanks to Simple. But something went wrong.

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WTF Ruby Gems

I’m working with a client to update one of their iOS apps. The Xcode project uses CocoaPods for dependency management. I’m not a fan of CocoaPods, but I grin and bear it when working with existing client projects.

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Our Healthcare System Sucks

My wife and I have health insurance provided through her employer. The coverage is good, typical of what most large corporations offer. And yet even though we have health insurance we still had to pay $2634.20 in out of pocket medical expenses, and this number doesn’t even include the cost for medicines such as the $50 cream we had to buy for our little one. Oh, and did I mention that we opted to NOT pay Cobra $3000 for the 3 months of medical coverage NOT provided by the insurance company due to the fact that my wife was taking some unpaid time off to be with our new child?

During that 3 month period our out of pocket medical expenses were $322.03. The great state of Massachusetts requires all residents have health insurance, but honestly we could not afford it. Do the math, folks. To stay “legal” we were being asked to pay just over $3000 to cover $322.03 worth of medical expenses. That makes no freakin’ sense.

For those wondering, Cobra is pro-rated so we had up to 3 months to apply. The unpaid time off was only 3 months, so we decided to wait until the final day to decided whether to pay for Cobra coverage or not. If our total medical expenses during the 3 month period were more then $3000 we would apply, otherwise we would pay the expenses ourselves. Since our total medical expenses were during that time were far less we opted to not enroll into Cobra. But wait. There’s more.

As I said Massachusetts requires every resident to have health insurance. According to the official document from our insurance company that must be included with our state income tax return, we did not have health insurance for 3 months during 2008. This means we violated state law for 3 months. I’m just waiting to see what penalties we will have to pay to the state because I refused to pay $3000 to cover $322.03 worth of medical expenses.

Back to the math. So $322.03 of the $2634.20 was because of the Cobra slash unpaid time off issue. I’m okay with paying $322.02 to save $2677.97. This still leaves $2312.17 worth of medical expenses not covered by our health insurance provider during the time when we did have full coverage. What were these expenses, you ask? More than half of the expenses were related to my wife’s pregnancy and the delivery of our first child. We had to pay an additional $1577.55 out of our own pocket just to have a baby.

This leaves $734.62, which is the amount I paid to get 4 stitches near my eye from an accident. Had the accident happened a couple of hours earlier the amount would paid have been around $291.28 but the medical clinic near our house was closed at the time of the accident leaving me no choice but to go to the emergency room. And no, I couldn’t wait until the next day. I had a deep cut less than a quarter of an inch away from my eye with lots of blood coming out. Waiting was not an option.

Let’s recap the out of pocket expenses:

* $1577.55 to have a baby
* $734.62 to stitch a cut near my eye
* $322.03 pediatric visit during the unpaid time off

Grand total: $2634.20

There is a serious problem in the United States regarding healthcare. And while the government powers that be are focused on stimulus packages, corporate bail outs, and trying to improve the economy, it seems to me healthcare reform is something the U.S. government ignored for years. Don’t believe me? Watch Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko and see for yourself.

I know my situation is minor compare to the many, many others who have major medical issues. However the point I’m trying to make here is that even with health insurance a typical American family may still have to pay out of pocket medical expenses that can be a struggle to afford. Not only that, but in my own situation if the U.S. had a better healthcare system like the ones found in other countries such as Canada and France I would have been able to put the $2634.20 into the pockets of local retailers or maybe a contractor to do some work on the house thus doing my part to help stimulate the economy.

As a side note and since I did mention Canada, I have to say from personal experience that the Canadian healthcare system is awesome, really awesome. A few years back I fractured my leg on a snowboarding trip in Canada. The total cost to see the doctor, get x-rays, etc, $86 Canadian which at that time came out to about $60 U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., 4 stitches and an ER visit costed me $734.62. Something is seriously wrong with our healthcare system!

Update: My wife found 2 more invoices totaling $190 bringing our out of pocket medical expenses for 2008 to a total of $2824.20.

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Wrestling on SciFi Channel?

What is the SciFi Channel thinking by air ECW? ECW is some ridiculous wrestling show and has zero to do with sci-fi. Guess I will have to watch something else tonight to get my sci-fi fix. I hope this show is pulled soon.

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