Thursday, April 29, 2010

Buying a new car soon? Maybe this will help you find the lowest possible price:

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Wheeler Dealers
Find The Lowest Price Possible On Your Next New Car

Ensuring that you don’t get screwed on the price when you buy a new car has always been tricky, given that car salesmen are infamously loose with facts.

Here to level the playing field is TrueCar, an auto research site that provides comprehensive, up-to-date new car sale price reports based on local transactions, arming you for future negotiations.

To start, select a make and enter your zip code. The site shows you all the popular models of a given brand, then lists the average sticker price and fuel economy. 

Once you select a trim package and options you click “price report,” and this is where the site's calculations really start.

The first thing you’ll see is a bell curve that shows you the range of prices along with a range that tells you what qualifies as a great price, a good price and an exorbitant price.  

They calculate the True Cost (an estimate of what a dealer paid for the car, including all the discounts and holdbacks; this number is usually less than the factory invoice) and True Average (the average cost of a car in your zip code, your region and the country as a whole). 

There’s also a historical graph that shows you fluctuations in the average price over time.

But the best piece of data is the “Lowest Certified Price,” which gives you the lowest price available in your area, along with data on the dealers that sell the car at that price.

Then you print the page, take it to the dealer and they sell the car—at that price.  No haggling. No fibs.

Civility (and transparency) have finally reached the showroom floor.

  Visit TrueCar
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

One-man army decides that a great education on his favorite subjects should be free and streamed over the internet.

The Know-It-All
An Easy Way To Brush Up On Thermodynamics (And Other Basic Staples)

Even self-professed nerds can learn a thing or two. There’s so much knowledge out there in so many fields—economics, finance, biology—that it can overwhelm even a big brain.

Unless that brain belongs to thirty-three year old Salman Khan, creator and star of the Khan Academy, a not-for-profit video site that aims to provide high quality education for everybody.

Khan is an obscenely well-educated MIT engineering grad (and Harvard MBA) who offers more than 1,200 lucid tutorials on everything from linear algebra to collateralized debt obligations to the French Revolution.

Originally posted on YouTube, the videos allow a layperson to understand esoteric and long-forgotten concepts that rarely get explained outside of the classroom.

And, more importantly, they manage to make them accessible and interesting.

Find a subject you like and scroll through the long list of available lessons. Khan records individual videos for each topic—which means that users interested in biology, say, can study embryonic stem cells or the anatomy of a neuron at their own pace.

In each video, Khan draws extensive diagrams and writes important terms on a black Microsoft Paint chalkboard. He has a steady hand, so the writing (thankfully) is clear enough to read.

The voice in the background is Khan going through each concept in a mellifluous tone. He struck us as calm and inviting—exactly what you’d want in a professor.

For a little know-how from a generous know-it-all, look no further than Khan Academy.

  Visit Khan Academy
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