Height-Adjustable (Sit/Stand) Desks – 2014 Update.

Introduction

In November 2012 – two years ago – I wrote an article on height adjustable desks. It consisted of my research on the subject – what options were available, useful articles on the topic, etc. For the last two years I have used a standing desk – essentially a drafting table – for work. It is adjustable, but it requires loosening bolts and is fairly involved – so I rarely change its height. I’m still looking at height adjustable tables (of the crank or electric variety) and decided to update my original article.Image of adjustable height desk.

I know from personal experience and from reading various articles (cited in the bibliography at the end of this page) that standing all the time isn’t an option for most people (including myself). A standing desk may be better for my health, but it certainly doesn’t feel better for my knees.

If you are aware of additional adjustable height desks I have not included in this article, please let me know. I’m also always interested in reading any articles of real substance on the subject.

One site you’ll definitely want to visit during your purchasing process is Comfortable Computing. Be sure to check out their interactive tool “Workspace Planner” – it will help you decide what height you need your adjustable desk to be able to rise to. You might also want to visit JustStand which has a nifty calculator for determining how many calories per day you would burn from standing rather than sitting.

The Options

Multi Table

  • Features: hand crank, 27.5″ to 47″ height adjustment, 30 day return guarantee, 1 year warranty against defects, 5 years on steel.
  • ModTable  – $599 –  Available in various sizes, uses crank.
  • Mini Mod – $599 – A smaller version of the ModTable, but since pricing is the same, not sure why you would ever buy one…unless you had a very small workspace.
  • Mod-E –  $649 – An electric model instead of hand crank.
  • Also offers treadmill desks.

UpDesk

  • Features: electric lift mechanism, 26.5″ to 42.5″, 1.25″ high pressure laminate desktop, 300 lb. weight capacity, each leg has own motor, 20 min. setup, 5 yr. warranty.
    • PowerUp Small – 48″ x 30″ – $949
    • PowerUp Medium – 60″ x 30″ – $999
    • PowerUp Large – 72″ x 30″ – $1049
  • Features: manual lift mechanism, 26.5″ to 42.5″, 1.25″ high pressure laminate desktop, 225 lb. weight capacity, 5 turns per inch (precision), 20 min. setup, 5 yr. warranty.
    • CrankUp Small – 48″ x 30″ – $699
    • CrankUp Medium – 60″ x 30″ – $799
  • Also offers the SquaredUp line of desks (corner), UpWrite (surface can be written on with dry erase markers).
  • Offers a number of nice accessories as well.
  • S&H is $129 on electric, $99 on crank.

GeekDesk

  • Features: 335 lb. weight capacity, 4 programmable presets, each leg has own motor, 1.1″/sec. lift speed, 23″ to 48.75″, 2 yr (motor) / 5 yr (frame) warranty.
    • Max Large – 78.75″ x 31.5″ or 63″ x 31.5″ – $985
    • Max Small – 47.25″ x 31.5″ – $949
  • Features:28-35mm/sec. lift speed, 275 lb. weight capacity, 23″ to 48.75″, 2 yr (motor) / 5 yr (frame) warranty, each leg has own motor.
    • GeekDesk v3 Large – 78.75″ x 31.5″ or 63″ x 31.5″ – $799
    • GeekDesk v3 Small – 47.25″ x 31.5″ – $749

NextDesk

  • These guys are expensive. I think they are going for the “Apple” of height adjustable tables.
  • Features: 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee, 3 Year Warranty (depends on model, some come with 2 Year and the Fit with a limited lifetime).
  • Terra – 63″ x 31.5″ – $1497
  • Air – 63″ x 31.5″ – $2178
  • Solo – 30″ x 24″ – $897
  • Offers a number of other options including the Terra Pro, Air Pro, L Series (l-shaped desks), U Series (u shaped desks), solo (and plus), Up, Fit (w/treadmill), custom, and conference.
  • Suggests Bill Me Later, which allows for financing, brings costs down to around $50/mo. for the Terra.

LifeDesk

  • Features: 22″-48″,  275 lb. weight capacity, 1.1″/sec. lift speed.
  • Two-Leg Short Base – $1450.
  • One-Leg Electric Base – $988+.
  • Three-Leg Electric Frame – $2890.
  • A number of options, prices appear to have increased significantly since last time I updated this article, but so has the variety of options available.

VersaTables

  • Features: Lifetime warranty (on material defects), 30 day full refund return period, free shipping.
  • Deluxe Height Adjustable Computer Table – $359 – Height begins at 24″, a number of variations available. Appears to be a little difficult to adjust – not crank or electronic.
  • Edison Electric Table – $1199 – Electric height adjustment, up to 50″ tall, available in 36″, 48″, 60″, and 72″ widths.
  • Split Level Adjustable Computer Table – $499 – Available in various sizes, uses grommets for adjusting height.
  • Versa Center – $300 – Available in various sizes, doesn’t appear to use crank or electronic adjustment for height.
  • Adjustable Wall Mount Computer Station – $280 – This looks very interesting, but it concerns me that it appears to support only one monitor.
  • Deluxe Electric Life Wall Mount Computer – $700 – The name is a bit of a misnomer – it is a station, not the computer itself. Again, appears to only support one monitor.
  • Prices have increased significantly on a number of models (Edison from $899 to the present $1199). Not all prices have been updated (here); their hand adjustable crank model has been discontinued.

Safco

  • Offers a number of models, many are standing desks of fixed height. I like lots of leg room and these don’t have it, but some might like them – they have extra shelving.
  • Muv 28″ Adjustable Height Workstation – $448 – 29″ – 34″ height.
  • Muv 35″ Adjustable Height Workstation – $479 – 29″ – 34″ height.
  • Muv Stand-up Adjustable Height Workstation – $505 – 35″ – 49″ height.

ConSet

  • Starts around $1400 for a complete table, though you can also purchase just the bases for around $700. Has a decent variety of options including some wall-mount options. Site could use some improvement in navigability.

Workrite

  • This used to be listed under Idea at Work and linked to The Human Solution. I’ve updated to point directly to the Workrite site and have eliminated the previous entry due to Workrite discontinuing the Proliftix line.

Anthro Technology Furniture

  • Elevate II – 28″ – 47″, electric, $1300.
  • Elevate Adjusta – 27″ – 53″, electric, $2850.
  • Elevate Corner – 27″ – 53″, electric, $4930.
  • Elevate Wrap – 27″ – 53″, electric, $3100.
  • Elevate Single – 27″ – 53″, electric, $2380.
  • Fit Adjusta – Pricing starts at $829, only goes up to 31.25″.
  • Fit Console – Pricing starts at $1179, only goes up to 31.25″.
  • They’s also added a new line “Steve’s Station” with prices starting at $3249.

Evodesk

  • Features: has an expandable frame (can become wider as needed), can have a programmable controller (save height settings), electronic up/down.
  • Starts at $599 with a number of accessories available to customize the unit.

VariDesk

  • Offers units which fit on top of one’s existing desk. The Single (supports one monitor) starts at $275, at the higher end is the Pro Plus at $350 which supports dual monitors and has a keyboard lift.

Rebel Desk

  • Hand crank models for $599.

iMovR

  • ThermoDesk Elemental – $549 – hand crank.
  • ThermoDesk Ellure – $619 – hand crank.
  • ThermoDesk Electra – $829 – electronic.
  • Thermodesk Elite – $1099.

StandDesk

  • Features: 28″ to 45″ adjustable height; supports up to 225 lbs; top size is between 23.5″-40″ width and 49.5″-70″ length; choose between standard and deluxe memory control.
  • They have one base model, which costs $399 for the frame. Then one adds the top, laminate 30″x60″x1″ runs $110 while bamboo runs $180 for the same size, thus price for minimum configuration including top is $509.

Comparison Table

This is an apples-to-oranges comparison table, it demonstrates price ranges of the products and min/max heights, but doesn’t account for most other features.

(This is not an exhaustive comparison table)

Table Price Min/Max Height Method
Safco Height-Adjustable Split Level $448 26″-37.25″ Bolts
Stand Desk $509 28″-45″ Electric
iMovr ThermoDesk Elemental $549 27.5″-47″ Crank
MultiTable ModTable $549 27.5″-47″ Crank
Evodesk $599 49.5″
Rebel Desk $599 28″-48″ Crank
VertDesk $689 28″-46.5″ Electric
ergodepot Jarvis $695 25.5″-51″ Electric
Updesk CrankUp $699 26.5″-42.5″ Crank
Uplift 900 $699 26.5″-42.5″ Crank
ErgoTron $737 30.6-50.6″ Brake
GeekDesk v3 $749 23″-48.75″ Electric
PowerUp $1049 25.5″-50.5″ Electric
Edison Electric Table $1199 24″-50″ Electric
Elevate II $1300 28″-47″ Electric
Conset $1400  25″-47″ Electric
LifeDesk $1450 22″-48″ Electric
NextDesk Terra $1497  24″-50.5″ Electric

Others

  • AFC Industries Inc. – Offers what looks like professional office furniture that is height adjustable.
  • Alvin Professional Table – Looks to be a drafting table, available via Walmart, it ranges from 29″ – 45″. May be a bit of a pain to adjust, but the price starts at $199.
  • Biomorph – Sells several different models beginning at $995.
  • Cotytech – Sells several adjustable height desks, including a laptop desk that can go up to 41.9″ and costs $264.
  • Dania Furniture – Offers a desk for $1100, adjusts up to 52″.
  • ergodepot – $695 is the current sale price, offers free S&H.
  • ErgoTron – Offers desk mounts, full desks, and mobile carts. The full desks start at $737.
  • Focal Upright.
  • Gilbraltar – Sells bases for adjustable height desks. Pricing appears reasonable ($400+/-) but only go up to 39.5″. Can be purchased through Kitchensource.
  • Haworth – Available through Crate and Barrel for $299. Very inexpensive, but see reviews on Crate and Barrel site for downsides. Also sells an electric table for $1390 available from Sit4Less.
  • Humanscale – Starts at around $1800 for their “Float” desk.
  • idealworkspace – Based out of Singapore.
  • ISE Group – Sells several different height adjustable tables, both crank and electric, but one has to order through VARs, thus no pricing.
  • Jesper Office – Their “value” desk starts at $1450.
  • KareProducts.
  • Maverick – Sells through VARs.
  • Mayline – Starts at $3000 for most height adjustable desks. The Soho Adjustable Mobile Computer Table is available from Walmart for $350 and goes from 14″ – 48″.
  • Pressfit Furniture – These are fixed height, cost around $399.
  • Right Angle Products – A variety of options, not clear on pricing.
  • Relax the Back – Offers the Sit to Stand Desk starting at $1600+.
  • Reo-Smart – Makes several height adjustable workstations, unfortunately they only go up to 37.8″ but the prices start around $570.
  • RightAngle – Has height adjustable desks, but fairly expensive.
  • SiS – Sells several adjustable height desks, unfortunately they are pretty expensive ($1500+).
  • Soma Ergonomics – Start at $1000+ and go up from there.
  • Steelcase – Sells the Airtouch, which is priced around $1500.
  • UpLift – Available via The Human Solution. Numerous different models available, the Uplift 445 starting at $749.
  • Beyond the Office Door – Seels the VertDesk, base is $549, once a top is added the price jumps to $689.
  • Wood Craft of Michigan.

Modify Existing Desk

  • Desktop Elevator – Fits onto existing desk, starts at $829.
  • AdjustDesk – These fit on an existing desk, starting at $499. Known as the “Kangaroo.”
  • Health Postures – Offers units that are placed on top of existing desk.
  • iSkelter – Upgrades for existing desks to become standing desks.
  • StorkStand – Mounts onto chair, single monitor, $199.
  • Upstanding – Mounts on a normal desk, is height adjustable, costs $200 for standard (one monitor) or $250 for double-wide (two monitor).

Considerations

  • Is electric better than crank? In my opinion, it may be better to get a crank unit (which is cheaper) as mechanical parts tend to last longer than electronic components. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dead electronic table five years down the road, but I’d hope the manufacturing quality would allow a crank table to be usable twenty years later.
  • How high and how low does my desk need to go? Comfortable Computing has a great calculator that uses your height to determine how high your desk should be when sitting and when standing.

My Finalists

  • ModTable – There are cheaper options available, but this appears to be the lowest priced high-end height adjustable desk I could find. I’m interested in their $549 crank unit. Currently they have some tops on clearance (snow white) for which there isn’t an extra charge…I’d go with that if I buy one. The one downside I see to these units is their minimum height of 27.5″. According to Comfortable Computing when sitting I should be using a keyboard at 25.5″ – so in sitting, I won’t be ergonomically correct. I could fix this by affixing a keyboard try underneath the desk which would probably bring the level down 1-2″.
  • UpDesk – Another attractive option which offers a lower minimum height (26.5″, but still too high for me) and on the negative a lower maximum height (42.5″, which is enough for me). The unit is around $100 more expensive than the ModTable.
  • GeekDesk – I must admit a certain attraction to GeekDesk due to their popularity and their cool name…but the product is also solid. The cost is around $800, but the unit is electrically powered and it goes as low as 23 in. and as high as 49 in. – that seems about perfect to me for height minimum and maximum. On the downside, expect to pay $125 for S&H!
  • VersaTables – The VersaTables are attractive b/c of price ($599), but both their minimum height (27″) and maximum height (40.5″) is disappointing.
  • ergodepot – This is a new addition to the finalist list.

Conclusion

At this juncture I’m divided. I’d really like a hand-crank table (more reliability) but also think the min. and max. heights on the GeekDesk are the best. I’m leaning slightly towards ModTable b/c of the lower price and the hand-crank, but I’m still up in the air. What do you think? Are there other options I should be consulting? Other factors I should be considering?

Appendix A. Sore Feet/Legs

I’ve transitioned into the full-time pastorate and stand at my desk as often as possible (I have a no-name drafting table right now) and sometimes my feet hurt from doing so. Here are a few articles I found that address this issue that others may find helpful as well.

Appendix B. Random.

Bibliography

  1. A Week with a Sit-Stand Desk.” Pandawhale. 1/28/12.
  2. Build an Adjustable Desk with Pipe and Klee Klamp.” Simplified Building Concepts.
  3. GeekDesk Max Review.” Gear Live. 8/31/12.
  4. How Can I Build a Wall Mounted Adjustable Height Desk?” DIY.StackExchange.
  5. How Do I Make a Height Adjustable Desk?” DIY.StackExchange.
  6. How Do I Make My Own Height Adjustable Desk?” Lifehacker. 1/26/12.
  7. How to Build an Adjustable Height Computer Desk for Under $100.” Tutorial Save. 11/21/10.
  8. Refold Cardboard Standing Desk Changes the Way You Work.” designboom. 10/7/14.
  9. Standing Desk.” Lowes Creative Ideas for Home and Garden.
  10. Aaron Couch. “10 Accessories Every Standing Desk Owner Should Have.” MakeUseOf. 12/30/13.
  11. Adam Dachis. “Build a DIY Wide, Adjustable Height IKEA Standing Desk on the Cheap.” Lifehacker. 1/21/11.
  12. Adam Epstein. “IKEA Has Created a Desk That Converts From Sitting to Standing Via a Simple Button.” Quartz, 11/24/14.
  13. Adam Clark Estes. “IKEA Sit/Stand Desk Review: I Can’t Believe How Much I Like This.” Gizmodo. 10/30/14.
  14. Alan Henry. “Five Best Standing Desks.” Lifehacker. 2/23/14.
  15. Alex E. Weaver. “My Week with a Standing Desk.” BostInno. 9/26/14.
  16. Alice Robb. “Yet Another Reason Why We Should All Stand At Work.” New Republic. 6/30/14.
  17. Ashlee Vance. “Stand Stand: A Portable Standing Desk for the People.” Businessweek. 10/1/14.
  18. Ben Brooks. “Jarvis Standing Desk.” The Brooks Review. 2/27/14.
  19. Ben Schiller. “We Took Ikea’s New Automatic, Adjustable Standing Desk For A Spin.” Fast Company, Coexist. 11/3/14.
  20. Brett & Kate McKay. “Becoming a Stand-Up Guy: The History, Benefits, and Use of Standing Desks.” The Art of Manliness. 7/5/11.
  21. Chris Gardner. “How to Make a DIY Adjustable Drafting Table from Any Desktop.” Curbly. 1/18/11.
  22. Chris Murphy. “Standing Desks: What I’ve Learned.” InformationWeek. 6/20/14.
  23. Cia Bernales. “My Year at a Standing Desk and Why I’ll Never Go Back.” Fast Company.  4/11/14.
  24. Core Jr. “Standing Desk Shootout: Humanscale Float Table.” Core77. 8/24/11.
  25. Dan Kois. “Sitting Is Bad for You. So I Stopped. For a Whole Month.” New York Magazine. 6/9/14.
  26. Daniel Engber. “Who Made That Standing Desk?” New York Times. 3/20/14.
  27. Darrell Etherington. “Press Fit Standing Desk Review: An Affordable Option with U.S. Manufacturing and Materials.” TechCrunch. 9/1/14.
  28. Dominic Smith. “The Literature of the Standing Desk.” The Millions. 5/15/14.
  29. Drake Bennett. “Kill Your Desk Chair – and Start Standing.” BusinessWeek. 6/28/12.
  30. Elizabeth Narins. “6 Ridiculously Simple Standing Desk Hacks.” Cosmopolitan. 8/13/14.
  31. Emily Oster. “I Stand Corrected About the Best Kind of Desk.” FiveThirtyEight. 5/21/14.
  32. Gina Trapini. “Why and How I Switched to a Standing Desk.” Smarterware. 1/16/11.
  33. Gregory Ferenstein. “Work Like Churchill-Ditch Your Office Chair and Embrace the Standing Desk.” The Daily Beast. 6/2/14.
  34. Gwynn Guilford. “There’s a Huge Hidden Downside to Standing Desks That No One Told Me About.” Quartz. 9/29/14.
  35. Heather Moore. “How to Use a Standing Desk.” Philly. 4/22/14.
  36. Holly Korbey. “How Standing Desks Can Help Students Focus in the Classroom.” KQED (Mind/Shift). 10/21/14.
  37. Jared Alexrod. “7 Standing Desks That Won’t Break the Bank.” Paste Magazine. 10/17/14.
  38. Jennifer Gosse. “Why An Adjustable Height Desk is Our #1 Health-Related Workhack for 2014.” Tracky. 1/15/14.
  39. Jessica Stillman. “What’s Healthier Than a Standing Desk?” Inc. 9/16/14.
  40. Jim Carlton. “Standing Desks Are on the Rise.” WSJ. 8/31/11.
  41. John Biggs. “Gift Guide: The UpDesk Standing Desk Video Review.” TechCrunch. 11/13/12.
  42. Joseph Stromberg. “Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks.” Smithsonian Magazine. 3/26/14.
  43. Josh Smith. “Standing Desk Guide: Measurements, Examples, and Benefits.” Notebooks.com. 5/3/11.
  44. Julie Carlson. “5 Favorites: Longevity-Promoting Standing Desks.” Remodelista. 5/15/14.
  45. Karyne Levy. “I Tried Out a Standing Desk For All of the Benefits – Here’s Why I Quit.” 6/22/14.
  46. Kate Taylor. “Get Up, Stand Up, For Your Life: Can Standing Desks Fight Sitting Disease?” Forbes. 8/2/12.
  47. Kathleen Pierce. “Many Employees Abandon Sitting While Working.” Boston Globe. 3/26/12.
  48. Kerry Butters. “A Standing Desk Might Not (Necessarily) Save Your Life.” sitepoint. 10/20/14.
  49. Kerry Flynn. “How to Make a Standing Desk for Under $200: MIT Grads Go Digital.” Forbes. 7/31/14.
  50. Kevin Michaluk. “Standing Desks – Why I Use One; Why You Should Too.” Crackberry. 2/28/12.
  51. Kristin Hohenadel. “A Mobile Standing Desk for Laptop Users on a Budget.” Slate (The Eye). 10/2/14.
  52. Lecia Bushak. “Standing Desks, Friend or Foe? What Happened When I Stood At Work For the Last 4 Months.” Medical Daily. 9/18/14.
  53. Lloyd Alter. “Are Standing Desks Healthier Than Sitting?” Treehugger. 2/25/10.
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  55. Matt Linderman. “Bootstrapped, Profitable, & Proud: GeekDesk.” 37Signals. 6/15/11.
  56. Mark Lukach. “Besting Standing Desks.” The Wirecutter.  5/29/12. (The article from Wired found here is a copy of this article.)
  57. Matthias Wandel. “Height Adjustable Computer Desk (my wheely desk).”
  58. Mikael Cho. “Why I Killed My Standing Desk.” Crew.
  59. Michael Desmond. “Five Questions with GeekDesk Founder Donovan McNutt on Standing Desks.” About.com.
  60. North Krimsly. “The Latest Height Stand-Up Desks.” High Integrity Design. 12/2/13.
  61. Peter Koch. “Stand-Up Guy: 5 Best Standing Desks.” Gear Patrol. 7/11/14.
  62. Phaedra Riley. “Standing Desk Shootout: Haworth Planes Height-Adjustable Table.” Core77. 8/16/11.
  63. Rain Noe. “‘Living With’ Product Review: The GeekDesk Truly Transforms the Way You Work.” Core77. 6/21/11.
  64. Ray Hu. “Standing Desk Shootout: Steelcase Airtouch Height-Adjustable Table.” Core77. 8/30/11.
  65. Simona Ganea. “10 IKEA Standing Desk Hacks With Ergonomic Appeal.” homedit. 8/5/14.
  66. Stephanie M. Lee. “Companies Take a Stand Against Sitting.” SFGate. 8/8/12.
  67. Stephen Searer. “7 Height-Adjustable Desks That Won’t Murder You.” Office Snapshots. 8/24/12.
  68. Steven Salzberg. “Does a Standing Desk Lengthen Your Lifespan?” Field of Science (Genomics). 9/28/14.
  69. Thorin Klosowski. “How Sitting All Day is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It.” Lifehacker. 1/26/12.
  70. Todd Wasserman. “Are You Sitting Down? Why a Stand-Up Desk Might Save Your Life.” Mashable. 4/22/11.
  71. Vicky Hallett. “Standing Desks Sit Well With More Employees.” The Washington Post. 5/20/14.

Vouch – A Nifty Idea for Lending

Technology has enabled a number of innovative financial technologies that provide advantages to the consumer – Bitcoin with its anonymity and ability to transfer funds without exchange fees, mobile check deposits supported by most major banks, peer-to-peer lending such as Prosper and The Lending Club offer, and the list goes on.

The official Vouch logo.
The official Vouch logo.

Recently I received an email from Credit Sesame advertising Vouch – a lender that gives one loans based on one’s network. In the past if you wanted to secure a loan but didn’t have a good credit history (or a history at all) you needed to find someone to co-sign on the loan (or pay exorbitantly high interest rates).

The biblical book of Proverbs warns against giving oneself to unwise pledges (or co-signs):

“My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go–to the point of exhaustion–
and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”
(Proverbs 6:1-5, NIV; see also 11:15, 17:18, and 22:26)

The danger in co-signing is that one essentially places one’s own well-being in the hands of another. If that other person defaults on the loan for any reason – you become responsible to pay it.

In this life there are few things we are truly in control of – part of the wisdom of life is recognizing what we can and cannot control. Vouching unwisely is something we can choose not to do.

Now vouch is a similar concept to co-signing, it just distributes the risk. Whereas previously if someone borrowed $5000 and you co-signed you would be liable for the entire $5000, with vouch you choose a level of liability – $25, $100, $500, etc.

Assuming you vouch only what is within your means to easily repay, the risk becomes fairly low. Most people can afford $25 out-of-pocket as a one-time expense, if necessary.

The idea behind vouch is to offer lower rates by essentially having numerous co-signers on a loan. I know they like the term vouch – its less scary than co-sign, but imho, it is co-signing, just distributed.

This idea is pretty spiffy, if you ask me (ohh, you didn’t? well, I guess I’ll just tell you anyways!), because it could open loans to a demographic (those with poor/no credit history) at affordable rates where there has traditionally been reasonable option available.

P2P is great if you have a good credit score – but it isn’t worth a hoot if you recently went through bankruptcy, a recession, etc.

Let me give a few examples of scenarios where I see Vouch being a valuable option:

  1. John lost his job in 2008 in the recession, over the next several years he built up $25,000 in credit card debt and his credit score declined as he had to sometimes delay paying a credit card bill to ensure his electric wasn’t turned off. At the moment he is paying 20% interest on this debt. He has recently secured a new job which pays well, has good benefits, and historically John has always been a faithful, hard worker – but his credit history is still horrible. John gets a number of friends and relatives to vouch (co-sign) $25-$100 for him and is able to refinance a significant amount of his debt through Vouch at 10% interest.
  2. Mary is heading off to college but needs an additional $2,000 to pay for her first semester. She has already taken available of all the grants and scholarships available and also the reasonably priced student loans. She now has a choice between taking out a loan from a lender who will charge her high interest due to her lack of a credit history, or she could use Vouch to allow a number of family members (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) to co-sign with her. Since her family knows she is responsible, they don’t mind “promising” to pay up $100 each if Mary should fail to meet her obligations. They know that Mary will not fail excluding some extraordinary circumstances.

This also makes sense for the lender. The lender is spreading their risk out. With a traditional co-sign loan one can pursue those who have signed the loan (say two to four people) to get back one’s money, but if these individuals are unable to pay, the lender is out of luck. Whereas with a system like Vouch one can spread the risk across dozens or hundreds of people – and statistically it is less likely that all will be unable/unwilling to pay (especially since it is a smaller amount) which means there is less risk for the lender of losing their investment.

This is a screenshot of the dashboard one is presented with after registering on the site.
This is a screenshot of the dashboard one is presented with after registering on the site.

I have not used  Vouch, I just think it is a neat idea. I’ve setup an account, it was fairly easy, and am waiting for them to reply to me with info. about what I would qualify for…and whether Vouch ends up being a great business or not, the solution is fairly ingenious and I hope it will take off.

Toshiba, Kingston, and the Case of Useless RAM.

I’m an IT geek. IT flows through my veins – I couldn’t get rid of it if I wanted. I’m too old to be a digital native, but I’d like to think I’m pretty close.

I’m used to replacing my laptop every two years or so but I’ve been using the same laptop now since 2010. A Toshiba Tecra A11-S3540. It is a good machine boasting a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU, a dedicated 512 MB NVIDIA graphics adapter, 4 GB DDR3 RAM, gigabit ethernet, and 802.11n wireless. A while back I replaced the standard 7200 SATA hard drive with a 128 GB SSD – which made an incredible difference in system speed…but now, things are starting to drag again.

I’ve looked at purchasing a new system, but to get something just equivalent with what I currently have is fairly pricey, so I’m holding off as long as I can. There is really only one other upgrade I can make to stretch the life of this laptop – adding more RAM.

I’ve held off on buying the RAM for over a year – but finally decided that the decrease in productivity was costing me more than upgrading the RAM would cost.

I went on Toshiba’s site and looked up their memory recommendations. For this specific laptop model they recommended Kingston’s 4 GB DDR3 1333Mhz memory modules at $50 each.

Screenshot of Toshiba Direct Search Result Page

I shopped around a bit – seeing if I could find anyone else who was selling the memory for cheaper and double and triple checking whether it would work with this system. I supposed since it was the recommendation on Toshiba’s site it would, but I wanted to be sure.

I stumbled across a Kingston page which indicated what I was looking for was actually the KTT1066D3/4G but that it had been “replaced by” the KTT-S3B/4G.

Screenshot of Kingston Memory Page

To their credit, if I went through the System-Specific Memory portion of Kingston’s site and attempted to find my system, it wouldn’t appear as an option.

You can probably guess where this is going. I ordered the RAM from a seller off eBay. Damage was a little less than $110.

I (im)patiently waited for the memory to arrive and when it did I eagerly pulled the old 2 GB RAM chips and replaced them with the new 4 GB RAM chips. I powered it on, BIOS post went fine, but then Windows started to load. A message about a fatal error flashed on the screen and the system shut off…a few seconds later it powered itself back on and repeated the same steps…and so on.

I did some troubleshooting to make sure it wasn’t a bad RAM chip and eventually called Kingston, who informed me that the RAM wouldn’t work with my system. I’m not sure what “replaced by” means, but apparently it doesn’t mean “can be used instead of.”

The eBay seller offers a thirty day return policy, so I could return the chips, but over $10 was for S&H, I’d have to pay $10 for S&H, and then take a 15% hit for the restocking fee. In the end I’d get back around $75 out of the almost $110 I’d shelled out.

Moral of the story? I suppose there are two: (1) don’t rely too heavily on what Toshiba suggests are replacement parts for your system and (2) “replaced by” don’t mean what you think it mean, at least when it comes to Kingston…I’m not entirely sure what it does mean.