The Dell Memory Selector: You Can Get A Better Deal on Memory Upgrades

This should be common knowledge to anybody who’s even remotely familiar with computer memory but in case you’ve missed it – you can do better on ram prices when you buy ram elsewhere.

The Dell Memory Selector is really handy for finding out what memory upgrades you need for dell both new and old and over the years, there have been a lot of dell computers released and it’s always a good ideal to add ram to whatever model you choose but the ram prices from Dell seem to be high when you compare the prices on memory upgrades from other memory manufacturers:

Let’s use an example: The Dell Inspiron 15 is one of the most popular Dell laptops today and to buy memory for the Dell Inspiron 15 from Dell is pretty expensive when you compare the prices to other memory manufacturers and retailers.

Dell charges $38 for 4GB of RAM currently which really is a lot more realistic than the $400 Apple wants for the ram upgrades for their MacBook Pro lineup. Assuming you will need to buy two 4GB DDR3 1333Ghz laptop memory modules to maximize the memory on your Dell, you’re looking at just under $80.00 to max out the dell notebook ram if you buy direct from Dell.

Compare this to memory from Crucial Technology (or others in the pricing table for dell notebook memory below) where you can buy the exact same upgrade for a bit over $40.00 currently. (again, prices may change – see prices below for current dell notebook ram prices ).

That’s a half price discount, or close to – all by doing about 30 seconds of research and looking for alternative sources for Dell Memory Upgrades, other than buying ram from Dell Directly.

Now, if saving money on RAM is not your first and foremost concern, and you want Dell to install RAM in your new Dell notebook than the extra $40 or so you pay for RAM from dell compared to other cheaper sources may be worth it as now you don’t have to install the Dell memory upgrade yourself and can let a certified Dell Technician install the ram into your brand new Dell notebook.

Dell Notebook Memory Upgrade Prices:

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I Went To The Hospital and All I Got Was This Lousy Prescription

It always happened in the library. I could feel it coming sometimes and then other times it would hit me like a Mack Truck.  I’m epileptic and as a kid I would have big seizures that would take over my entire body but  I would also just have leg seizures too where my entire right leg would shake uncontrollably

And for some reason, I remember that library days were worse. You’d be in class with all your friends in your bad 1970s wear (dad, plaid pants - really?) and the shaking would start and continue. I’d lunge for the table to hang on while my leg shook and shook and shook and I couldn’t do a thing about it.

What I remember being the worst about this was the embarrassment - that I wasn’t normal, that I didn’t fit in. I had epilepsy. I was different. Luckily, with either my age or the meds or a bit of luck I outgrew the shakes and spent a good part of my life without any epileptic symtoms at all.

Then in my early 30s the cat came back and I decided it would be a good idea to have a seizure in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Twice.  For some reason, the checkout lanes and grocery stores don’ t mix. Luckily, there’s a drug for that and it’s called dilantin and for years and years and years I’ve been happily functioning with the right amount of dilantin in my bloodstream

All that changed about a week ago, I started to feel a bit woozy, for lack of a better term. No seizures, and not really dizzy per se, just weird. Just not right. Being a man, I did what anybody would do: I ignored it. Until last night when I got to experience my very first hospital visit in the USA.

Finally, B had enough of me being weird and out of sorts so off to the Emergency Room we go. In Canada, I had the pleasure of paying a whole lot of taxes and In return I would get free health care. In  the USA, if you don’t  have health care you are hosed. Admitting in emergency in the US is far different, as there’s an extra step in getting you admitted. I call it  the money room.

Now, I’m not up on the intricacies of health care in the United States, but in Canada you have to show proof of your ‘health card’ and that’s pretty much it.  In the US, they want to be certain of your ability to pay. There’s also differences in how they treat once you get in the door and pass the payment screening, but once you’re in they’ll order every test and plug you in to so many doo-hickeys your head will spin (In my case, it already was)

Upon admittance I felt ‘woozy’. There’s no technical term for ‘woozy’ and they didn’t know what to do with me but once admitted - the hospital performed every test they could think of, and I had:


cat scan

chest x-ray


I fear the hospital bill for all this if B had not included me on her insurance plan. One of the differences I found in my very first visit to a US hospital was at the end when the released me I was given a list of specific instructions and who to call, what to take and how to continue now that I’ve been released.

After all the tests, it was determined my dilantin levels to be too low, so they’ve upped the prescription and I’m to call  and make an appointment with an neurologist now that I’m back home to continue with the next step.

The moral of this story?

If you feel ill, get fixed. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me showing through but they have lots of doctors and technical stuff at hospitals and if  you have insurance - go. If you don’t have insurance, I would do my best to get health insurance at any cost in the USA.

Listen to your doctor. A few months ago, I got a call from my new Doctor in the USA after some bloodwork was done and they called and said my dilantin levels were low. I didn’t think too much about it  because I have been taking the exact same dose for years and years - what could change I thought?

Apparently I was wrong and my levels had changed and even though I didn’t have an epileptic seizure, I came close, and made others worry due to my stubborn/stupid self diagnosis. I’m not  a Doctor and I don’t play one on TV either

Lessons Learned:

Do what your wife says.

Do what your doctor says.

Do get help if you feel ill.

Don’t self prescribe.

Bring a book.

Hospitals here have Tim Hortons

2012 Vegetable Garden Surprises

**Update:** The big green thing below we thought was sign of a pea may be a weed afterall. I told you we were no gardeners. The good news is that there are what we think is a real row of peas coming up. > >

I can’t lie. I really did not have a lot of  hope for the veggie garden we created last weekend. Our green thumb skills are absolutely zero and the ground we used was far from superior: I lifted the cement tiles that were the floor of our dog kennel and below that was gravel and then below that is red clay - not exactly the most welcoming environment for a veggie garden, even with the help of $100 worth of store bought dirt.

But, wouldn’t you know that less than a week later, we have signs of life in our very first garden. Saturday morning, before breakfast I  went out  to see what I can see and I couldn’t believe it but we have signs of life in our garden.

We have Peas


and beets

and tomatoes all showing signs of life, and amazingly the dog doesn’t really seem to have much  interest in it yet, but the neighbour tells us we have bunnies so perhaps we’re celebrating a tad early. Not shown, but there’s some melons and carrots starting to poke up through the dirt too.

I’ve also hired these guys to keep an eye on the garden, but they seem to be more interested in the earthworms in our lawn:

So, it looks like we might have a veggie or two out of our garden yet..

The eBay Hour

When I moved in here I virtually took over B’s basement with my stuff that came with me in my big 17 foot u-haul (the only truck rental company that would allow a cross border move and return the truck in the USA ) and so very, very slowly I’ve been parting with a few of my items on eBay.

I won’t lie. This has been hard. I don’t know why but I have a bit of a thing for stuff and although I’m far from hoarder level  could definitely shed a few lbs of items kicking around the house. We have a rule here, and  I think it’s a good one  - for every new item in the house one item must go. I think that’s fair, except B hasn’t been following the rule when it comes to shoes, as these arrived earlier this week:



I have a horrible personality trait that if I can put it off until tomorrow - I will and although my stuff and I have moved in for months already, I’m finding I don’t use a fraction of the stuff. Probably the biggest waste of money is my DVD collection. Back in the early 2000’s when I had more money than brains I would buy DVD’s like they were going out of style. This stopped years ago as my income dwindled and I got older and wiser, but I still have hundreds of movies that I could sell on eBay one at a time.  As I showed you, it’s surprising how those dollars add up.

Forget The Sunk Costs

Selling on eBay can make me want to cry when I think about what I paid for the item vs what I can get. An example:  I bought a video card for $20, found I had no use for it and sold it for ten dollars on eBay. I could argue that I lost ten dollars (and I did ) but there’s no sense worrying about it. I now have ten dollars for something else (new water heater, here we come!) and there’s less crap in my closet. Another example is a HP notebook I had that I sold on eBay, and it arrived not working for the buyer.  So I took it back and refunded him the money and just tossed it  in the goodwill pile for the next drop off. But then I thought  - oh what  the heck, I’ll list it on eBay and start the auction at $1.00. It doesn’t matter that I spent over $500 for the thing as the money is long gone. That laptop ended up selling for over $100 for a broken notebook computer. Again, the new water heater fund grows:

The eBay $1000 Challenge 

With these examples in mind,  I’m going to touch every item I have and ask myself: do I need this?

I have found that once the stuff is gone you rarely miss it. The stuff I don’t need or use far outweighs the stuff I do use. I use my computer every day, but I don’t watch a DVD day every day because now I have a life. We have an entire library of books here and I’m very slowly getting through them at about a book a month. I have years of entertainment in the library alone. I don’t need DVD’s to entertain me. Besides, this is the age of Netflix

Also I find that cheaper hobbies are just as fun as the more expensive ones. Photography is an example: My 5 year old digital camera works just fine and although I think  I need a new one, I don’t - the one I have  has lenses and megapixels and all the stuff you need to make great photos. The camera on my phone is a piece of  junk, but that’s another story altogether.

When you have too much stuff the stuff  starts to own you instead and I’d like to change that and use the proceeds from the sales to pay for the things we really need.

eBay Selling Tips 

I am by no means an eBay expert but I find I have learned a few things:

You don’t have to sell it all right away.  I’m finding that the eBay selling can be a hobby in and of itself and that way  you’re not overwhelmed with having to package it all  right away. I’m selling on eBay for about an hour a day in the evenings. It’s way more profitable than watching TV and every day  I have less stuff and more money. It’s fun to watch your money grow.

I don’t sell internationally. It’s just not worth the extra time for answering questions and getting shipping estimates to find out you undercharged on shipping so you’ve lost money on the deal. There’s 350 million people in the USA - somebody will want my stuff and I’m finding the shipping estimates that eBay provides are dead on.

Take lots of  great photos of your item and for the higher priced items, pay for the eBay picture package that allows you to  enlarge your photos and really show the detail of your item. Of course, if you’re getting rid of  a $1 item it doesn’t make much sense to pay more in eBay fees than the item cost, but if you’ve got something worth some money spring for the extra couple bucks for the listing fee. I think it’s worthwhile to pay so the bidder can see exactly what they’re getting. They can’t touch it, but you can photograph it well and describe it to the best of your abilities.

Don’t  sweat the small stuff. This is a fun way to make some  money  with your household items. Didn’t get paid for your item? wait a few days for the buyer to respond and if he doesn’t, somebody else will want your stuff when you list it again.


A few items I sold recently on eBay:



Feel free to follow along and see all my current eBay items on auction


I was rinsing off the dishes last night, listening to Canada’s Only Jazz FM station when it dawned on me: I’m home

I think,silly as it is - the thing that dawned on me is that finally after 5 months or so of living here,** I know where everything is, and I mean everything. **I know where the strainer goes, where the extra batteries are, and how to wash the dog even (my least  favorite chore -   Wet and Dog and Jim should not be in the same sentence) and all this takes time. The garden we made was our garden, not just B’s garden. )

For a long time I’ve felt like a fish out of water when it comes to the everyday. I’m from another country and what’s norm for B is not for me and although the changes are small, they can be big. I got a bank card today in the mail and I had to ask B a question because it’s different than what I’m used to in Canada. Sure, the Tim Horton’s cup sizes grew in the USA but the little things really took time for me to adjust. When I moved here it felt like all I did was ask questions

But now that we’re creating a life together day by day it feels more like home. I have a barber, an accountant, a mechanic, a bank account.. a card that says I can work here and I realized that this will be the best summer ever as I was rinsing dishes and the birds were chirping. I know how to cut the lawn, what type of gas the car takes (regular) where the so-so grocery store is and  where the better grocery store too.

It took me a bit to get used to the foreign currency, but I figured out a system for that.

I know how to get around without the need of a GPS. I can make it to the drug store and back and not get lost anymore.

It all takes time I guess, but now I am home.

A Mailbox Story

See the mailbox above? see how it’s a nice  tan color (in need of a repaint - it’s on the list). Well, it wasn’t always that way. Until yestarday it featured a most horrific floral pattern known to mankind. Think of the worst  wallpaper border you could find then apply it to a mailbox.  B moved here 5 years ago and  I showed up 5 months ago and during all that time neither of us took any time to pay attention to a mailbox because, well, it’s just a mailbox.

But, we were both outside getting ready for our evening run and I realized that the mailbox pattern might be wallpaper or something and not painted on.  It turns out the floral pattern was held down with magnets, and a quick lift and our mailbox doesn’t look half as bad. I’m amazed actually that the mailbox magnet pattern survived all the Buffalo weather over the years, but I’m just happy that the floral pattern is gone.  I felt like a scene from the Golden Girls every time I checked my mail. This is much better.

Home Improvements, one day at a time.