Something Random

snowhiker

Storage Freak Apprentice
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Yes, once the curve gets flattened and the uncertainly is minimized things will recover fairly quickly.
I also believe this is the case. Like the TP shortage now. Once people realize they overreacted and stripped the stores they will stop buying like crazy, supplies will return and things will stabilize.
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,865
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Michigan
I just got to replace a faulty light switch for the lights in my basement when the switch failed. Thankfully I had one on hand without requiring a trip to the store. I had an extra switch from when I pulled it and replaced it with an electronic timer for my bathroom exhaust fan. That switch was already a more robust better than builder's grade switch. Home improvement joys! ;)
 

Handruin

Administrator
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Jan 13, 2002
Messages
13,247
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USA
I've gone through and swapped out almost all wall switches and wall receptacles throughout my house. I still have a few more to do but it takes a bunch of time. I wanted to get rid of the nasty faded brown to make the house feel more updated.
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,865
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Michigan
Since I'm working from home for the foreseeable future I guess I have no excuse for not getting the house clean and working on some of my longstanding projects. I've been trying to get started and have on a few things, but it's hard to not be lazy.
 

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
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Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia

Handruin

Administrator
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That's a fun enhancement of Doom, I might have to check that out. I tried a bit of the Quake II RTX remake on Steam to see what it looks like with Ray Tracing enabled and it was neat. Performance was bad though.
 

snowhiker

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Jul 5, 2007
Messages
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Any news from DD or Lunar?

Last night I filed my 2019 taxes with TaxAct Online. Cost $117 for Fed & State forms and e-file. Fuck me. 10 years ago it was $25-30 for both. Of course I had to buy the "premier plus" tax prep version as I had two shares of stock vest and then were immediately sold. Schedule D and Form 8949 aren't included with free e-file. So even though I'm barely over the half way point of the $69,000 free cutoff I have to pay to file taxes. Sigh.

I got a SMS and email less than a minute after e-filing informing me the IRS has accepted my return. A bit over an hour later my state return was accepted.

A bit under $2200 total refund coming from fed+state.

How long did you guys have to wait to get your refunds?
 

Newtun

Storage is nice
Joined
Nov 21, 2002
Messages
364
Location
Virginia
Feds: filed and accepted 2/25 with TaxAct online, refund direct bank deposit received and processed 3/4, so 8 days Δ.

That was then; though the filing deadline was extended due to COVID-19, now the IRS may be dealing with the economic-relief aspects of COVID-19.

I haven't filed State yet. I will owe $, so I'm waiting to see if TaxAct will offer a deal, otherwise I'll use the State online system (which I've already started).

I don't believe the TaxAct State estimate for the State "bottom line", but maybe they have some "tricks" I don't know about.
 
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sedrosken

Allergic to Sunlight
Joined
Nov 20, 2013
Messages
1,074
Location
The Sticks
Due to some added extra time to my day (working from home now), I've played a bit of Brutal Doom... Certainly makes Doom fun...
You're about, oh, five years late? ;)

This was what got me into playing Doom mods and while the dev of this particular one is apparently a bit of a prick (as well as alleged plagiarist...?) it's definitely a classic. Personally I'm a much bigger fan of playing Doom II with Combined Arms, Colourful Hell and Maps of Chaos.

As for refunds, I believe I filed on the 3rd of Feb and received my refund via direct deposit on the 12th. As Newtun said, though, since they extended the deadline and their direct deposit records are apparently being used for delivery of the stimulus money, I'd imagine they're under much more stress right now than at the beginning of Feb.
 

Handruin

Administrator
Joined
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Messages
13,247
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USA
Any news from DD or Lunar?

Last night I filed my 2019 taxes with TaxAct Online. Cost $117 for Fed & State forms and e-file. Fuck me. 10 years ago it was $25-30 for both. Of course I had to buy the "premier plus" tax prep version as I had two shares of stock vest and then were immediately sold. Schedule D and Form 8949 aren't included with free e-file. So even though I'm barely over the half way point of the $69,000 free cutoff I have to pay to file taxes. Sigh.

I got a SMS and email less than a minute after e-filing informing me the IRS has accepted my return. A bit over an hour later my state return was accepted.

A bit under $2200 total refund coming from fed+state.

How long did you guys have to wait to get your refunds?
I filed my 2019 taxes back in early March and the refunds were deposited to my bank in maybe 3 days. I used FreeTaxUSA this year and it cost me very little to efile. The federal was free and my state $12.95 + tax. That's all I spent. The filing cost at freetaxusa has nothing to do with your income. I highly recommend checking them out for next year if you want to save some money filing. There are a bunch of people over at reddit /r/personalfinance that recommended them so I gave it a try.

My refund was fairly significant this year due to a 30% tax rebate because of my home solar panel project from last year. That plus I had a mortgage for a new house giving me more to itemize. That's why I filed earlier than usual this year.
 
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Handruin

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Feds: filed and accepted 2/25 with TaxAct online, refund direct bank deposit received and processed 3/4, so 8 days Δ.

That was then; though the filing deadline was extended due to COVID-19, now the IRS may be dealing with the economic-relief aspects of COVID-19.

I haven't filed State yet. I will owe $, so I'm waiting to see if TaxAct will offer a deal, otherwise I'll use the State online system (which I've already started).

I don't believe the TaxAct State estimate for the State "bottom line", but maybe they have some "tricks" I don't know about.
If you're concerned about TaxAct and their estimate when compared to your state's prep, also try freetaxusa and see what their estimate is. That should be free to go through the tax prep process and they will only charge money if you decide to efile. This will at least give you a comparison to see if there's some oddity between the two services when estimating your tax liability.
 

snowhiker

Storage Freak Apprentice
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Messages
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I've stayed with TaxAct mostly because of inertia. I already have an account, they do a decent enough job calculating taxes/refunds, efile both fed+state and staying with them means there is one less company with my SS#, address, and other vital info. I think the $69,000 cutoff for free tax prep and efile is because it's subsidized by the IRS. If the on-line tax prep companies weren't getting any money they wouldn't advertise their "free" service as much as they do.

I didn't do it this year, but in the past when I've looked into other "free" tax prep companies and I discovered that Form 1040 + Schedule D + Form 8949 = NO FREE tax-prep options, regardless of income level. So if I have to pay for "premier, premium, super-wham-o-dyne," tax prep I might as well stay with TaxAct. I did get an email from TaxAct for 20% off fed+state but I feel like they just jacked up the price high enough to account for their 20% off coupon. I don't anticipate any stock sales in 2020 so I should be able to prep + efile for free in 2021, at least with the IRS. State is always a bit trickier.

Then again I could have just downloaded the fillable-PDFs from the IRS site and mailed in my return for free. I'm paying $117 to get a quicker refund. Assurance that my forms were received by tax agencies. Near-zero chance of data entry errors and that the direct deposit refund will go smoothly.
 

Will Rickards

Storage Freak
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Jan 23, 2002
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Here
Website
willrickards.net
$117 dollars is crazy. Although I have an alert setup at slickdeals for the taxact stuff so when they offer the deal for like $15 or so, I jump on it. The most expensive part of taxact is the state. And in my state I can do that very easily online as I have to do local taxes separately anyway online.
 

snowhiker

Storage Freak Apprentice
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
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The cost to efile Fed+State has spiraled out of control with Taxact. Cost for Fed+State below:

2011 - $18
2012 - $20
2013 - $18
2014 - $20
2015 - $40
2016 - $60
2017 - $60
2018 - $69
2019 - $117

I'd like to see a site that can efile FEDERAL and State returns (for AZ) using 1040 + Schedule D + 8949 for a reasonable cost. One stock sale now = bend over. :(
 

Handruin

Administrator
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USA
This is a fun demo of path tracing in Minecraft. The actual examples of the RTX demo start around 3:12 if you want to skip to it. I love how well the lighting is done in the various scenes.

 

snowhiker

Storage Freak Apprentice
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Jul 5, 2007
Messages
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My bug-in-monitor problem is solved, but now I have a new problem. My luck is awesome.

My water heater just sprung a leak. Great! What's next?

At least it's summer in Phoenix, AZ, and a water heater is OPTIONAL for a warm shower. Still need to have a new one installed within the next 1-3 days. Any suggested makes/models? Rough guess on installed price? TIA.

- natural gas.
- 40-gal.
- 8-12+ year warranty.
 

Handruin

Administrator
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Does Phoenix have any kind of local incentive program for improving efficiency in your home? You may want to look at a hybrid heat pump water heater if your electrical rate isn't too high. Sometimes there are incentives/rebates for changing over to one of those style heaters.

Otherwise, can you consider a plastic-based or stainless steel hot water tank so that you can go a lot longer than 8-12 years? This can increase the life of the tank but you'll still be on the hook for post-warranty replacement of heater elements if they fail. Usually it's the tank that dies first though.

You can also go with a traditional 8-10 year warranty tank but do regular maintenance on it. That being, flush it once a year and replace the anode every few years. Most people don't do this (self included) but it can help lengthen the time the tank lasts.
 

snowhiker

Storage Freak Apprentice
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
1,641
Does Phoenix have any kind of local incentive program for improving efficiency in your home? You may want to look at a hybrid heat pump water heater if your electrical rate isn't too high. Sometimes there are incentives/rebates for changing over to one of those style heaters.

Otherwise, can you consider a plastic-based or stainless steel hot water tank so that you can go a lot longer than 8-12 years? This can increase the life of the tank but you'll still be on the hook for post-warranty replacement of heater elements if they fail. Usually it's the tank that dies first though.

You can also go with a traditional 8-10 year warranty tank but do regular maintenance on it. That being, flush it once a year and replace the anode every few years. Most people don't do this (self included) but it can help lengthen the time the tank lasts.
I haven't looked into any incentives but I'm sure any decent aftermarket water heater is going to beat a 17 yo "builder grade" water heater, especially since the "efficiency sticker" shows my model on the low-end of the scale. Energy use: 263, on a scale of 215-283 therms/yr.

Buy yeah, I plan on doing the maintenance on the new one I get.

Quick check of a few places and it's going to be $1100-1500 depending on base or base+extended warranty. 6y/3y (parts/labor) don't thing going to (10y/6y) for $400 is worth it.

energy use.JPG

Never did any maintenance on water heater. It looks like the pressure relief valve was installed on the top (instead of side port) where the anode would usually go so I don't even know if my tank has an anode.

side hole.JPG

relief valve top.jpg

tank-front-view (2).jpg
 

Handruin

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USA
You got 17 years out of your hot water tank? It must have had an anode inside; I can't imagine it would have survived that long without one. I bet the anode is gone at this point for sure.
 

snowhiker

Storage Freak Apprentice
Joined
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Messages
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You got 17 years out of your hot water tank? It must have had an anode inside; I can't imagine it would have survived that long without one. I bet the anode is gone at this point for sure.
From what I've been told, according to my posted pics, is that the pressure relief valve and drain was installed where the anode goes and the relief valve (see above post/pic) was just plugged. So maybe an anode was under the relief valve? Dunno. Maybe the tank was "overbuilt," or my water/conditions resulted in slow corrosion? Who knows.

I have a newly installed water heater. It's the A.O. Smith Signature Select G9-T4040NVR. I was stuck on this brand because AFAICT it is USA made and comes with a 9-year warranty. Total installed price was $1268. About 60% of that cost was the install.

no-anode.jpg
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
581
Location
Östersund, Sweden
It has, I guess they had another view on quality back then. We will see hoe long it lasts, most of our neighbours heaters have passed away.

Proof, it got signed off on march 30, 1965: :)IMG_20200510_190736257.jpg
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
581
Location
Östersund, Sweden
We have soft water. There hasn't been any maintenance in the last 47 years that I know of, but perhaps we should? I just read the red warning sign at the bottom of the picture, that the safety valve needs some care now and then to prevent the heater from blowing up. Perhaps I should read up a bit on heaters. :)
 

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
3,126
Location
Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia
In further gaming news, I've completed Doom 1 and Doom 2 with the Brutal Doom mod, and now have started playing RealRTCW mod (RealRTCW is a mod for RTCW - Return to Castle Wolfstein). Latest RealRTCW builds are based on iortcw (open source enhanced version of the RTCW engine), so lot so bugs fixed, game play updated, etc. (You still need to have a licensed copy of RTCW though, RTCW is available on steam or gog; I still have my original RTCW:GOTY CD pack)

https://www.moddb.com/mods/realrtcw-realism-mod

Arch Linux: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/realrtcw/
 
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