Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines
I researched my new car purchase extensively. I normally do not buy brand new cars but with the driving habits I currently have (100 miles a day for work) buying a used car didn't actually pan out with my 30,000 miles a year figures. A new car with good gas mileage that could fit everyone in my new family (just had 2 kids in the last 3 years and the 2 door Honda didn't cut it anymore) was just what I needed.
I researched the sedan market and was drawn to the 2014 Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Chevy Cruize, and Toyota Camry. I needed to pull a small trailer with a motorcycle and 4 wheeler from time to time so the Hybrid models like the Prius were out. I went to the dealer and test drove each and every car and all the stickers boasted between 33 and 38 highway MPG (which is 90% of my driving). I'm a Honda fan at heart but the Accord just didn't feel very driver friendly and I really didn't like how it drove as much as previous models I had looked at. When I sat in the Ford Fusion I knew this car was special. It drove like a freaking dream, felt very comfortable, was super quiet, and just had loads of power for such a small plant (the 1.5L Ecoboost turbo). All the research I did showed this was a top quality car that felt like it cost a lot more than it did. Plus it is hands down the best looking sedan on the market at the moment. It looks killer.
Bought the car, great price, 0% financing... quite honestly it was a dream to purchase. I drove it home and was very happy with the 38MPG sticker on the window. I never expected 38... but 33 surely should be reasonable right? Wrong. My first tank I calculated at 24MPG. 24!!!!!!! I called into the dealer and was informed that the new boosted motors require a break in period of about 3,000 miles before they start to get better mileage. After 4,000 miles my best tank was 26MPG. At 6,000 miles I was getting almost 28 when I drove like an old lady. Today that's where my MPG sits.... 28. The car is amazing and I love getting into it every morning but the mileage I get completely screws my cost of ownership numbers. I've learned to live with the shit mileage (my last Honda 2 door got 35mpg) and the car still won't be a loss on my 10 year figures especially with the 0% financing I was able to snag. Just every time I fill the tank I feel like I've been screwed a little.
Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers
I'm always surprised by how people can be scared into using this service. I'm the NA for the largest private GP clinic in the state of Montana and I still have quite a few old customers call me from back when I ran my own tech service company. People who I would consider "smart" or "less-than-scamable" have fallen time after time from this exploit and handed over personal information and pretty chunky sums of money. No matter what you've done in the past to help educate or bring people up to speed on current scams it never is enough. The lack of deep understanding of technology seems to render even the most reasonable person inept.
I always get the statement "In the back of my mind I knew this seemed a little fishy, but the other day I was having trouble with X and then Microsoft called. I figured they knew!". Part of me wants to blame the current news reports of the NSA and how they are passing around the watercooler your email about how your last batch of zucchini made the best pickles... your everyday man thinks that Microsoft or these huge companies like Google are literally standing over your shoulder examining your every move. Hell, of course Microsoft knows about your problem with that Outlook plug in that keeps crashing on startup... they've been watching you for the last 2 weeks daily!
All it's doing is funding my side business and bringing me a stream of easy to fix computers at $80/hr. Maybe I should send these guys a cut of the cash.
Is Montana the Next Big Data Hub?
As the Network Administrator for the largest independent Primary Care facility in Montana I'm getting a kick out of these replies.
Montana is awesome. Like, REALLY awesome if you enjoy the outdoors. I love to fish, snowmobile, hike, dirt bike, cruise the lakes and rivers, kayak, snowboard, camp.... this place is heaven on earth. However, be prepared to take a significant pay cut to live here. My current position pays me almost less than half of what my job would pull in major metropolitan areas. This fact alone is why a lot of people would never consider living here. Property taxes aren't cheap for homeowners and first time home buyers are in for a shock that the cheapest decent homes on the market in my area are selling for around $250,000 - $280,000. I moved here from Atlanta about 20 years ago and some of my friends are scoring 3,000 - 4,000 sqft homes under $200,000 that are REALLY nice. Combine the high cost of first time home ownership with low wages and you can see why it isn't very attractive to live here on paper.
But, if I have to be honest, I LOVE it this way. It keeps the big open spaces open (for now), population centers aren't overcrowded, and our populace is generally very happy and content. Usually I enjoy telling people this place sucks so they don't even think of moving here.
My plans for summer ...
I love my job. I mean, I really love my job. Working in IT in the Healthcare industry is exactly where I wanted to be when I graduated from High School 14 years ago and my long arduous journey has finally landed me in the position that should take me all the way to retirement. With that being said, the stress from my position can sometimes be nearly overwhelming and my release from this aged-beast-with-many-heads can be found in motorized backcountry exploration. Most people think I'm strange since during the day I am fully in my nerd outfit, but on the weekends the greasy jeans and shop gloves come out as I break apart motorcycle engine cases and tear into clutches and lightweight dirt bike frames. Crossing creeks, climbing rock gnarled hills, breaking fingers and bruising hips... it's absolute heaven for me. And when the snow appears in the winter (I live in NW Montana), I tear off the wheels and put a ski and snowmobile track on my dirt bike and play for another six months. So every weekend I get out, with the blessing of my wife and child of course, and blow off steam in order to be fully charged for the week that lay ahead.
IT staff and support that doesn't have a hobby are the worst people to work with come Monday morning. I come into the office reinvigorated, they come into the office ready for Friday already. And yes, I've felt reinvigorated in a cast before and probably will again sometime soon.