del.icio.us bookmarks for the week ending January 14, 2006

Bookmarks added by del.icio.us user jmanning between January 8, 2006 and January 14, 2006

what's important in a home equity line of credit?

One of the things I’m trying to weigh now is the various options and considerations of a home equity line of credit.

Any advice?  If you happen to run across this and have a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, is there any advice you would give to others?

    new year, time to check your insurance coverage!

    There’s a set of things you should do at least (and sometimes, at most) once a year, and for me one of the things in that category includes checking your various insurance policies and making sure things (deductibles, clauses, benefits, beneficiaries, etc.) make sense given where you, your family, and your life are all at (it’s always about context, isn’t it?)

    With that in mind, go check out this article – it’s got some good advice and nice links to others: New Year is Perfect Time to Check Your Insurance Coverage

    As you make your plans for 2006, take a moment to think about all the things that could go wrong in the next 12 months. Fire. Theft. Untimely death. Once you’ve completed this gloomy exercise, review your insurance policies. There’s a good chance that you’re not adequately prepared for misfortune.

    A recent survey found that millions of Americans are underinsured in several critical areas. But the study also found that many of them are paying for coverage they don’t need. The survey was conducted by Trusted Choice, a group of insurance agencies and financial firms.

    the Main method is static

    If you’re new to C# programming (or .NET in general, perhaps) you may run across this kind of error making your first console application:

    21:02 [ mikdeazy] hey im using amib.threading to create a threadpool but it won’t let me use the “this” keyword in the main of the console app, how can i get around this ?
    21:04 [ mikdeazy] it says keyword this is not valid in a static property method or field etc,..
    21:10 [ Flav] the Main method is static (not associated with any instance of the class), so either change the thing you’re trying to access to also be static or create and invoke an instance instead

    if you implement C# version of "uptime" – pitfalls to avoid and why not all ticks are the same

    The fun of coding up a C# (or .NET in general) version of “uptime”

    1) you may notice that Environment.TickCount is the time since the system booted. What you may not notice is that it’s in milliseconds
    2) you also may not notice that since it’s signed 32-bit, you’re only going to get ~25 days of use from it before wrapping.

    The value of this property is derived from the system timer and is stored as a 32-bit signed integer. Consequently, if the system runs continuously, TickCount will increment from zero to Int32.MaxValue for approximately 24.9 days, then jump to Int32.MinValue, which is a negative number, then increment back to zero during the next 24.9 days.

    3) Upon wanting to convert this thing to a TimeSpan, if you missed the “is milliseconds” part, you may notice the static method TimeSpan.FromTicks and think “Hey, that’s perfect!” except you’ll also need to notice from the Environment.TickCount property:

    TickCount is different from the Ticks property, which is the number of 100-nanosecond intervals that have elapsed since 1/1/0001, 12:00am.

    So with that in mind, the version that works for < 25 days is

    Console.WriteLine(TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(Environment.TickCount));

    (change the formatting if you like)

    You can go the WMI route (start with the PerformanceCounter class, for instance) if you want a “real” one instead (I’d guess that’s why PSInfo does), or just use PSInfo from Sysinternals instead :)

    reminder: we have friend assemblies support now that 2.0 has shipped

    On one of the #C# channels I hang out on:

    [...]
    22:52 [ Flav] or make the other assemblies friends
    22:52 [ wo0twoo] Is there friends now?
    22:53 [ Flav] yes, you can use the InternalsVisibleTo attribute at the assembly level and then those other assemblies would see your internal setter
    22:53 [ wo0twoo] Flav, oh yeah… very nice
    22:53 [ wo0twoo] Flav, that’s what I’m looking for.
    22:53 [ wo0twoo] Flav, didn’t know it was available….
    22:54 [ Flav] wo0twoo: it’s new in 2.0, but i know you’re using 2.0 since you have your setter internal and getter public :)
    [...]

    If you happened to use friend assemblies in a .NET beta, make sure to go update your attributes as the PublicKeyToken is gone, and now you have to specify the full public key (which I personally think is a great change to make given the security implications)

    home equity loan vs. home equity line of credit – which is for you?

    More as a backstop than anything else, I’m about to get around to finally getting a home equity line of credit (aka HELOC).  Many people say to make a “rainy day fund” and put six months worth of cash in it.  I’m sorry, but I hate the thought of that much money sitting in an account and doing (relatively) nothing.  I’m closer to 30 years from retirement than 3, so I just don’t see how I can afford to leave that much money being lazy.

    Since we have enough equity in the house (LTV‘s under 40%), I’d rather just leverage the home equity as a backstop in case of financial emergency.  The way I figure it is this:  If I sack away the case into a rainy day fund, I’m guaranteed to lose money (consider it an opportunity cost), as that money won’t be in a higher-yield investment (even something as boring as an index fund).  If I instead go the route for a home equity line of credit (for instance), I only take a financial hit if I end up needing the money.  I have nothing against a home equity loan instead, but I don’t really see needing to take a wad of cash out for some long-term payback.

    Clark‘s response is always that you don’t want to put your primary residence at risk, and if I were less disciplined, I’d probably agree.  However, I don’t view the home equity line of credit as anything but an emergency source of cash.  For what it’s worth, a quick search shows that at least one learned source agrees with me :)  As the end of that article says, you don’t really want to be paycheck-to-paycheck, and I agree – I keep ~6 weeks in checking, which keeps me from having to worry too much about things like Christmas purchases causing us to be overdrawn :)

    By the way, for those of you that may already know that I live in North Carolina, the question of “Hey, North Carolina has a homestead law, right?  Wouldn’t that protect your primary residence?” may pop in your head.  If it does, good for you, but that law doesn’t protect you in the case of a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.  The article in the NC Constitution specifically excludes cases where you specifically used the home as collateral for a loan, and both of these are squarely in that category.

    del.icio.us bookmarks for the week ending January 7, 2006

    Bookmarks added by del.icio.us user jmanning between January 1, 2006 and January 7, 2006

    if you need free secondary DNS… EveryDNS.net is the way to go

    Long story, but I needed some free secondary DNS today, so I looked around. 

    The quick summary:
    - granitecanyon is bad because they haven’t reloaded their nameserver configs in over a year (it seems).  I had my domain there before (~5 years ago), but trying to update the zone (either as primary or secondary) failed miserably (it seemed to update fine, but then re-editing had lost the changes, and no, this wasn’t a browser cache issue), and attempts to query ns{1,2,3}.granitecanyon.{com,net} failed both before and after the zone updates I did.
    - zoneedit is bad because it’s “free unless you hit 200MB”, and it’s a little clunky of an interface.  I doubt I’d hit 200MB of DNS traffic (especially given how small those packets are), but I hate having such a thing as a potential gotcha.
    - twisted4life only gives you a single server (ns1.twisted4life.net) to do secondary.  I really wanted both secondary and tertiary.
    - xname – their email for confirmation code never made it, and I think I counted 2 dozen requests for a contribution on their front page.  90% of the links are “contribute to us! now!” variety, or at least it seemed that way.
    [Edit: the email finally showed up - after I had fully completed everything to get EveryDNS up and going, funny enough]

    And the winner is: EveryDNS
    - no need to wait on a confirmation email
    - not nearly as belligerent as XName in terms of asking for a contribution (I’ve donated to DynDNS in the past, and will probably donate to EveryDNS if the service keeps working well for a few months for me :)
    - error messages (like requiring that the primary nameserver zone had at least one of their nameservers listed) made sense (although they’re placed in the upper-right, away from the UI interaction that causes them, which I found a little odd)
    - required a longer password than the others (didn’t require a strong password, but at least a decent length check is good)
    - has a good FAQ and even IRC support, even though it’s free – very nice.
    - *4* servers (ns{1,2,3,4}.everydns.net) that all host your domain, so if you want you could even do the Unpublished Primary DNS approach where your primary isn’t in your whois record, so it’s the place you edit your zone file, but actual queries are all served by EveryDNS (I haven’t tried this, just pointing out that it should be doable for those that would actually worry about the DNS traffic)
    - the founder’s site has a cute ASCII art animated gif, that you have to love for the geek factor alone.
    - [Edit 2006-01-09] David Ulevitch himself posted a couple of comments on this blog post! :)

    del.icio.us bookmarks for the week ending January 5, 2006

    Bookmarks added by del.icio.us user jmanning between December 30, 2005 and January 5, 2006