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Matt C.

3 Level 3 Contributor
  • 11 Reviews
  • 59 Helpful Votes
  • 0 Thank Yous

Experience: Finance, Business, Entertainment

Member since January 2011

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11 Reviews by Matt


BrainHQ is a new online brain-exercise site run by Posit Science, Inc. The site is similar to Lumosity. It is a paid-membership site, so you have to pay an annual or monthly fee. Basically, you are paying for a site that continues to update with exercises designed to challenge your congitive skills. Like going for a run, brain fitness exercises increase the levels of neurotrophins in your body, which are proteins that help with neuronal development. The theory is that by introducing your brain to diverse stimuli, it keeps neuronal development going. Enthusiasts of brain-training sites like BrainHQ say it helps improve memory, attention, concentration, executive functions, decision-making, and mental flexibility. I have found the exercises fun, challenging, and the site definitely gets harder as I get better.


Some travelers (like me) prefer smaller groups (or one on one) tours or special experiences when we travel. Instead of a big tour bus offering an impersonal experience, Vayable Inc. offers smaller experiences with local companies. You can 'White Water Raft the Mighty Nile' with just a few other travelers, get a sailing lesson for 2 on San Francisco Bay, or explore the jungles of Fiji with a local guide. I have not used the service yet personally, but I find the website pretty navigable. When you find a tour/experience you are interested in, a link on that page allows you to contact the company using the Vayable website. If you run a tour in your part of the world, you can also list this information on Vayable. This website is a great addition to the traveler-friendly websites/companies that have been popping up in the past year or so.


Hard to believe that nobody has reviewed MRQE, the Movie Review Query Engine. It's been around for years, and keeps getting better. As I watch a lot of obscure foreign movies through Netflix, I like to check the reviews of professional movie reviewers at this site first. Type in the movie title in English or the original language. It will frequently give a selection of movies with that title or a similar one. Click on the movie you want to read reviews for, and it will take you to the reviews list. For popular big-screen movies, MRQE will give you sometimes 80 to 100 reviews from newspapers, magazines, and websites all over the world, including reviews of the movie in other languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian, etc.). When available, the list of reviews will also show what score the movie received from that reviewer (points, stars, numbers, etc.). So, find the reviewer whose opinion you are interested it, and click. MRQE will link you to that review. The website is easy to browse and very user friendly overall. Check it out the next time you're headed to the movie theater or watching a flick on TV.


BankSimple is not a bank. It's an online interface that 'soups up' your banking experience via the web and/or a smartphone. It only has limited availability now as they test it with initial customers, but is set for a full launch later in 2011. Apparently, you will be able to ask banking experts at BankSimple just about anything related to banking – via online chat, text messaging, phone, email, twitter, etc. All of your bank accounts will be available in one place. Bank Simple will also move funds between savings and credit to earn you more interest on your money. One of the really cool features that BankSimple is promoting is its "Safe-to-Spend" balance. If you are like me, and don't excel at planning/budgeting how much you have to spend, then your "Safe-to-Spend" balance will tell you about how much you can spend, taking into account upcoming payments, rent due, etc. This minimizes fees and headaches. The site will also make it easier to set and keep your financial goals – whether it's coming up with a down payment for a condo, buying a car, or planning a vacation to Timbuktu. Banking has become so impersonal. All the "too big to fail" banks seem to just be getting bigger, in my opinion. As this happens, customer service continues to go down the toilet. I am looking forward to the full launch of BankSimple so it can be about ME again. ME, the customer!? Makes sense right? Anyway, as for the website itself, it is still in its infancy, and needs work, but I really like the BankSimple concept.


HarryHasIt.com is a basic ticket sales website. I became aware of it when one of those groupon-like websites offered a daily deal for Harry Has It. The site offers tickets to sporting events, theater and Broadway shows, Cirque du Soleil, Vegas shows, etc. If you're looking for a 'beautiful' website, this isn't it. It's plain. It's simple. But I've purchased three different times and always found what I was looking for, so it's usable enough, and their inventory of tickets has seemed good to me. All three times I purchased sports tickets (2 different baseball games, 1 basketball game). The cool thing is that all three times I had promotion codes. My first purchase was with the groupon-equivalent thing, my second and third purchases were with separate codes HarryHasIt emailed to me for $40 off. Honestly, that's what I've liked best about this site so far. When you add on FedEx fees, 'processing' fees, etc, the money you shell out to these tik sites is often much more than you planned on, so the two code for $40 off each were very much appreciated. Also, email customer service has been good the two times I've contacted them -- response came within a half-hour or so.


Let's say you want to introduce a business partner in L. A. with your brother in Chicago. Use hashable.com to introduce them, but it is really designed to interface with Twitter, so they should both have Twitter accounts. Also, it is designed for keeping track of who YOU meet, either professionally or socially. Kind of like exchanging business cards, but for the 21st century. Use 'hashtags' like #intro #meeting #breakfast etc, so you can later go back and see who you had breakfast with, and the whole feed of how you met particular contacts. For hashable.com to keep track of these contacts, you have to use the hashable website or their iPhone app. The website is very fun and user-friendly, I'm just not sure if this will idea will take off. I like it a lot though!


So ever wish you could send a quick text message to a select group of friends? About a party, meeting, or happy hour? Groupme.com is your answer. Once you sign up for the free service thru the website, you get assigned an actual phone number to use for each of your 'groups'. Then, you send the text to that number and it forwards it to everyone in the group. They can reply to the text, and everyone in the group receives the reply. Kind of like "reply all". You can also call the number, and it will set up a conference call with all of the people in the group. To be fair, I have only used the text portion, not the teleconference service so I am not reviewing that part of it. It's helpful, but I am not sure this will take off. I don't have a smartphone, so maybe it would be easier with their iPhone or Droid app. The website itself is kind of basic, relatively easy to use. Let me know what other people think about it.


WilliamPaid.com is a company that makes it easier for several people renting an apartment or house together to pay rent efficiently. Instead of one person tracking everybody down, the website handles it all, and accepts payments by credit or debit card. They accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover. The company is aimed at college students, but can be used by anyone, including just an individual renter who wants the convenience of paying by credit card. The fee for using a credit/debit card is 2.45% of the rental payment. The wesbite also offers an optional credit-reporting service for your rental payment. If you are college student without much/any credit history, this could be helpful, but for the average person I don't think it is helpful. Anyway, I have used their service a number of times, and it works quite well. WilliamPaid simply sends a check to my apartment management company. Your landlord does not need to be part of their 'program'. Overall, the site is good, but not all that intuitive to use. Customer service via email has been very responsive and helpful. Recommended if you like the covenience of using a card to pay your rent.


Mystockfund.com is a site for people who want to try out investing, but don't want to come up with a chunk of cash to do it. This site is not for people who want a lot of research tools to look up stocks, bonds, or ETFs before a purchase. Go to a fancier, more expensive site for that! The strength of www.mystockfund.com is its low cost (basic plan is two investments per month for $5.98) and its 'fractional investing' plan. Every Thursday of the month, you have an opportunity to buy thru automatic investing. You can invest as little as $10 per buy, so in many cases this is less than a full stock. So for the basic plan is will cost you a minimum of $20 per month (securities purchases) plus $5.98 in fees (total $25.98 a month). The average person who is curious about online investing could likely afford this. You can switch the week any time you'd like (2nd Thursday of the month in February, 4th Thursday in April). You can also turn off your investments entirely for awhile. The stock/bonds/ETFs available for automatic investing are extensive, but not exhaustive. If you are interested in purchasing one not on the list, you can do that in 'real time', but these purchases are much more expensive ($12.99 per buy). Bottom line is, you'll have a hard time finding a site where you can do 'fractional investing' for less than with MyStockFund. The website is not a beautiful, but it is functional and easy to navigate. I'd highly recommend it for new (or limited income) investors.


Betterment.com is a new online investment site that is very different than other online brokerages. Designed to work like a savings account (but not FDIC insured, these are investments in stocks and bonds), Betterment is meant to generally offer a better return on your money than an online savings bank. As you 'deposit' money, Betterment.com invests your cash in a portfolio of stocks and bonds that have been meticulously researched to offer good returns and low cost. But you don't pay any trading costs for these stock/bond purchases. So you've saved enough for a down payment on a new car? Make a withdrawal from Betterment and pay nothing in 'sell' costs. Betterment draws its fee from a quarterly 0.9% 'advisory fee' assesed to your account. There is no minimum balance to open an account with Betterment. The company offers an automatic savings plan. When I have had need of customer service, both the phone and online people have been very helpful. Bottom line is, I have found Betterment to be a great service so far, and the fee is minimal for the amount I am investing. It is probably not for everyone, but if your intention is to get a better return for your money while saving it up for a large purchase, I think Betterment is a great option.


If you travel frequently for work or pleasure, you probably have a number of frequent traveler program accounts (if not dozens of them). These allow to get the occasional free flight or free hotel room because of your loyalty to a particular brand. Depending on how organized you are -- or how good your memory is -- you may or may not be able to efficiently access the point balances and information on these websites. This is where the website www.awardwallet.com comes in. This nifty -- and free -- website helps you keep all of this information in one place. It holds all of your frequent traveler account information, so that you can access it in seconds, instead of stumbling around to many different websites. Want to know if your latest trans-Atlantic trip has posted to your favorite airline's frequent flyer program site? Check Award Wallet! Have your points for that hotel stay in Chicago shown up yet? Check Award Wallet! Award Wallet also tracks info for non-travel programs like Upromise, bank reward programs, and lots of others. As a business traveler, keeping track of my points and miles is important, because travel is a big part of my professional life. Staying as comfortable as possible on the road allows me to be more productive wherever I happen to be. My biggest rave about Award Wallet is that it saves me time. No checking several websites in a row anymore. They also have an iPhone app. There is a pay portion of the site which offers more detailed account info for your frequent traveler accounts, but the free version is all most people would need, I think. Great website, good navigibilty, and free. Can't beat that!

Matt Has Earned 59 Votes

Matt C.'s review of BrainHQ earned 11 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of Hashable earned 5 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of GroupMe earned 2 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of MRQE.com, The Movie Review Query Engine earned 3 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of AwardWallet earned 3 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of Betterment earned 21 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of Vayable earned 2 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of MyStockFund earned 4 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of WilliamPaid earned 4 Very Helpful votes

Matt C.'s review of BankSimple earned a Very Helpful vote

Matt C.'s review of HarryHasIt earned 2 Very Helpful votes

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