Program a Comcast DVR Online

I recently received an invitation to start using Comcast’s new online DVR scheduler.  The myDVR manager from Comcast finally provides a service that AT&T U-verse and Tivo users have long held dear, and until now, the missing service had been another problem in the string of complaints about Comcast.  Thankfully, the service is here and next time you’re stuck in a meeting or bank robbery you can be confident that the overdone ESPN episode of an over-glorified NBA player’s free agent signing is available for viewing later.

Getting Started

  • First, you must be a Comcast High-Speed Internet User
  • Have your Comcast.net username and password
  • Have a Comcast DVR (service in your area may or may not be ready)
  • Any internet browser should work but Comcast only lists IE and Firefox

Go to www.fancast.com/mydvr and follow the links to activate your myDVR service.  You’ll be taken through a few pages to sign in and check availability in your area.  Finally, you’ll choose to activate your DVR which may take up to 24 hours.

Using myDVR Online from Comcast

Using the myDVR Manager online is very simple and easy to use, and Comcast will enjoy getting more visitors on their fancast site.  On the site you’ll find a TV guide similar to what you see on your TV.  You can look up shows by channel and time plus filter by popular groups like Movies, Sports, and HD.  Once you find a show you want to record, select it and then click “Record Episode” or “Record Series”.  Next you will find an interface similar to that on your DVR box where options on how often to record and what to keep are available.  The myDVR Manager button (below) is always available and lets you manage the priority of shows and see what upcoming recordings you have.

Mobile Access to myDVR

Best of all, the Comcast myDVR service is available via the Comcast Mobile app on the iPhone and iPad.  The app has a guide similar to the one online where you select the shows you want to record and then “Schedule a Recording”.  The mobile services are essential to making this service great and have been executed well.  I can’t believe I’m thanking Comcast for something, but this is a service I plan to use.  What about you?  Let other readers know in the comments below.

Find Comcast mobile App on AppStoreHQ.
iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ

ING Direct Unveils New iPhone App

ING Direct is my favorite online bank.  They offer decent rates with excellent services.  They have been lagging, though, in the mobile banking market until recently when they unveiled a great new iPhone app.  The app provides core services like checking your balance and transferring money, and it only lacks a few small options that would make it nearly perfect.

Getting Started with ING Mobile

The ING iPhone app is a significant improvement over their previous app offering which simply forwarded the user to their online website.  Now ING customers will find a familiar login screen that requires a username, picture verification, a few questions, and a PIN.  Similar to the online website, you can allow the app to save your username and skip to the PIN when you open the app on your iPhone.  This allows for a quick sign on, but may be a security concern on the mobile platform.

ING Direct iPhone App Features

After logging into the app, you’ll be happy to find a simple and clean interface.  Just swipe right or left at the menu on the top to access accounts balances, bill pay options, customer support, and a “Refer a Friend” link.  The bill pay option allows you to send checks to friends when you owe them money making it easy to pay back friends on the spot (similar to Venmo).  One feature I found lacking was the inability to add a friend to your bill pay list via the mobile app.  Only those people who you have added to your online address book are available which is a significant setback to making this iPhone app very useful.  Additionally, the app doesn’t integrate an ATM finder which exists as a standalone app.

Best Features

  • Account balances
  • Bill pay and friend pay
  • Refer a friend for a commission

Enjoyable Experience

All together this app is a great start for ING Direct as they enter the mobile market, and it is helpful to those concerned about their current balance while considering their next big impulse purchase.  Loyal users will enjoy the friendly comments like “Hang On” and “Sorry, we thought you left & signed ya out” that have made the web version an enjoyable experience.  Since ING users tend to like banking online this is a necessary step to maintaining their online reputation, but until options like adding friends to the bill pay address book are available via the phone this app is incomplete.

Are you an ING customer?  Have you tried the iPhone app from ING or other banks and what do you think/expect from mobile banking?  Let me know your thoughts below.

Find ING DIRECT Mobile on AppStoreHQ.
iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ

How Running Can Improve Your Life

I really enjoy running.  Well, sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it, but on average I really enjoy it.  Recently, my excitement for running led me to cross paths with the book Born to Run, and it has had a profound impact on my running and my life as well.

Born to Run

The book Born to Run is the combination of a fun story about a race in Mexico and a history of running for humans. The basic premise of the book is that humans are designed to run, and I’m not just talking a few miles, but very long distances. Furthermore, Born to Run suggests that shoes have been one of the worst things to happen to humans ever and that we need to find our way back to our barefoot roots to really regain the benefits of running.  The author even claims that America’s commercialization of running and running shoes has ruined the country’s ability to compete against countries whose people run for life and the love of running.

All together, the best takeaways from the book are

  • Humans can run further (although slower) than most other land animals due to our two leg design.
  • The best way to succeed in running is to truly love to run and not to run for fame or money.
  • Barefoot running helps by unlocking sensors in feet that help people run with better posture and form.

Barefoot Running

I decided to test out the barefoot running theory by buying a pair of Bikilas from Vibram Five Fingers.  These shoes, which are named after Abebe Bikila who won the 1960 Olympic marathon while barefoot, are specially designed for barefoot running and make you feel like you are running barefoot while protecting the foot from sharp objects like glass.  Since most people are not used to running barefoot, it is not something to jump straight in to, but after some careful training it can have a big difference.

For me, my barefoot running experiment has been a huge success for a few reasons.

  • Running barefoot forces a more mid-foot landing which increases work and eventually strengthens the calves and ankle region.
  • Running barefoot massages the feet and uses them for what seems like the first time ever – regular shoes now make me wonder if my feet have gone numb.
  • Running barefoot improves posture and alleviates pressure from the knees and thighs.
  • Running barefoot adds an exciting new element to running – granted, this won’t last forever.

Final Thoughts on Running

In the end, Born to Run has changed my perspective on running.  Instead of running being a task I have to do because I sit at a desk too much and I need to be healthy, running is something that we can all really enjoy if we approach it as we were designed to.  Don’t burn yourself out of running, but find a way to enjoy jogs through your town or local parks by focusing on the journey.  The Bikilas have added a nice touch to the enjoyment of running for me and seem to be making it a more productive activity.

If you’re not sure if running is for you, try out the book Born to Run.  You may find yourself buying some Vibram Five Finger Bikilas like me and relearning the joy of running we were born with.

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Do I Really Need to Read?

I recently met the well-known M.D. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, and his story is of great inspiration.

Why Read?

Ben Carson grew up in a poor area of Detroit, Michigan. His father left his family and the odds of him “becoming something” were low. As a young child he performed poorly in school and was bothered by classmates poking fun at him when grades were announced. Luckily, his mother with her third grade education was wise enough to realize that the answer to getting out of his aimless life was to start reading. Continue reading Do I Really Need to Read?

How to Maintain Your Own Lawn

I recently spent some time teaching myself on how to maintain my lawn well without paying big bucks for someone else to do it.  The situation arose after realizing that I love spending time in my yard and, because of that, would rather do it myself than pay someone else to do it.  This provides me with a hobby I enjoy along with some financial savings. Continue reading How to Maintain Your Own Lawn

The Best of Money Carnival #48: My Top 10

To all my readers new and old, it’s a pleasure to be hosting the Best of Money Carnival this week. This carnival is one of the most well known in the personal finance blogosphere and always features a great collection of personal finance articles. After perusing a long list of outstanding articles, I have picked my favorites. Thanks to all the entries and continue to enter for a chance to be featured.

My Top 10 and Thoughts

Starting with the best, here they are.

  1. The Winner! 11 Great 40 Dollar Investments – A great simple list of ways to spend 40 dollars well. A nice article without all the overwhelming information you see in other blogs.
  2. It’s Never Too Early to Teach Children Good Money Habits – Teaching your children about finance should be a top priority today (or when you have them).
  3. How To Get More Value Out of Your College Education – Too many people go to college because everyone else is going. Understanding why college is important and how to get the most out of it can set you far ahead of the crowd.
  4. What is a 529 College Savings Plan? – In line with the last two articles, be sure to save for your kids college one day. Here’s a good summary on how to get started and what to expect.
  5. Wipe Away Debt Problems With Debt Snowflakes – An interesting micro version on the popular “Snowball” theory Dave Ramsey followers know of.
  6. 5 Ways to Ask Your Boss for a Raise – Learning how to get the most money for your work make improve your balance sheet than any other savings advice.
  7. When Your Dual Income is Cut in Half – In a recession it’s important to know how to react when you lose a job. Here are some ideas to consider.
  8. Costs In Buying A Home Besides Your Mortgage – Buying a house comes with a lot of responsibility. Be prepared with this great checklist before committing.
  9. Living frugally for early retirement – We often overwhelm are lives with too much stuff. Here’s a fun perspective on a simple life in retirement.
  10. Avoiding Online Money Making Scams – A few good reminders on what to avoid when walking through the financial world online.

Be sure to check out all the posts. If you would like to take part in a similar carnival that’s just getting started take a look at the Find Time, Save Money, and Have Fun Carnival page.

Understanding Car Costs and When to Drive

Flickr PhotoDu.de

In America, driving is one of the most popular ways of getting around. After trying out my local public transportation system recently, I realized that my car provides a ton of value in convenience and comfort. Often times though, we forget the costs of a car and how different factors impact the cost. We pay for gas and maintenance separate from each trip so it can be difficult to associate the two. I’ll try to provide a simple overview of the costs of driving so that you can make better decisions on when to drive and when to fly or even skip a trip.

Continue reading Understanding Car Costs and When to Drive

Find Time. Save Money. Have Fun.

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