Sunday, December 26, 2010

Document Management

So, with the new year here and various things going on in my personal life the need to be more organized has made itself quite obvious. To that end, I've finally implemented the document management system I've been meaning to get around to. Allow me to explain what a Document Management System (DMS) is and how I was able to set one up.

A DMS is a software suite that will allow you to store documents in a digital form and allow you to organize them, quickly find them, and do neat things like send them to your phone or access them from anywhere in the world (if you so desire). For more information on the definition of a DMS, see Wikipedia. Both a CMS (Content Managment System) and a KMS (Knowledge Management System) can serve the function of a DMS.

Perhaps the simplest way to get a DMS running is to use one provided online. Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live are both forms of a DMS in addition to being an Office suite. This is probably the best solution if you want to be able to access your documents via the internet.

Another option is to run your own DMS on your PC or your local network. Wikipedia has a list of CMS's. The system I chose was OpenKM. It was very easy to setup. All you need to do is download and extract the program, then run the "run" script for your system. I chose to set this up inside of a VirtualBox running Ubuntu Linux. Virtual Box and Linux are both free to use and what makes it even easier is that has prebuilt images for you to use. OpenKM supports mobile devices including android and iPhone, it allows you to scan documents directly from the browser, allows you to drag and drop from your desktop and much more. And best of all, it's free. One thing to keep in mind if you are going to be using virtual box is that you need to setup your local machine to port forward to the virtual box. You can read about how to do that here.

Here's a complete list of features for OpenKM. Good luck in your document management endeavors!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amazon Prime for Students

Good news if you are a student. Amazon is offering one year of Amazon Prime to all eligible students. See their page here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What is Price Elasticity?

I saw this term used on and couldn't remember the exact definition from when I took Econ way back when, so I thought I'd look it up and share it. There are at least two different types of elasticity. Price Elasticity of Demand and Price Elasticity of Supply. They are basically the same thing but for two different variables.

Price Elasticity is simply a measure of how much the Supply or Demand changes with a change in price.

Let's do an example with Price Elasticity of Demand. Say a candy bar is $1 and the demand for it is 100 units and the price is raised to $1.01 and this causes the demand to decrease to 90 units. We can come up with a number that represents how much this difference in price is affecting the demand.

The equation is (P/Q) * (∆Q/∆P) or ∆Q%/∆P%. For our example, let's use the first equation. P = Price = 1.01, Q = Quantity = 90, ∆Q = 90 - 100 = -10, ∆P = 1.01 - 1.00 = .01. Therefore, PED (Price Elasticity of Demand) = 1.01/90 * -10/.01 = -11.22

Note that since the value is negative, it indicates an inverse relationship. Basically, as price increases, the demand decreases. That's usually how it happens, but sometimes you could have weird cases where the fact that it's becoming more expensive makes it more in demand. Perhaps this could happen with an IPO of stock or a rare diamond.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcano Causes Financial Strain and Stranded Travelers

MyWay has an associated press article highlighting individuals around the globe that are being affected by the recent volcanic eruption in Europe. Here is another good example of why you need an emergency fund!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mortgage Payment Inflation

I had an interesting idea this morning when I was reading a Bogleheads post on paying extra on your mortgage. Basically, assuming you are doing a traditional fixed mortgage, your mortgage payments are going to remain pretty much the same throughout the term of your mortgage. However, inflation will take it's toll on the value of your dollar so the real cost of your payment each month will be decreasing. To compensate for that, why not increase your mortgage payment to keep pace with inflation?

For example, if your mortgage payment is $1000 in today's dollars, then 10 years from now you should be paying the equivalent of today's $1000, which at 3% a year is $1,343.92. All of your other expenses will be increasing at that rate, so why not force yourself to pay off your mortgage faster. If your relative level of income has remained the same, you won't notice the difference. Of course, if your situation has changed then the reduced relative cost of the mortgage payment is a great advantage and can help you get by.