Cut The Cord

WAVE-picsayWe did it! We cut the cord, so to speak. I ditched cable this last week and went internet only. I’ve been considering it for about a year or so. The idea of not being able to just absent-mindedly channel surf was of concern though.

I watch a fair amount of TV; however, it revolves around a very limited number of channels. And let’s face it, TV competes with my video games pretty often as well. Like many people, subsidizing a giant list of channels I never watch burns my ass to no-end. I watch 15-20 channels tops and that includes a couple of the multiplex movie channels. Cable and internet thru “Comcrack” was runing us roughly $170.00 a month. At $170.00 a month, the bloat clearly outweighs the benefit.

So after reading yet another news feed on how Comcast is constantly trying to break the internet while simultaneously screwing over it’s customers, I decided to ditch them all together. We signed up for Wave Broadband’s gigabit internet service. Some of you may remember I left Wave over a year ago after months of intermittent service and never ending home visits that amounted to squat. I was reticent to jump back into Wave but being the only provider so far to offer gigabit service to my address, I took a chance.

So far it has paid off. The service isn’t quite gigabit speeds and fluctuates quite a bit. It will go as low as 200 and as high as 800 Mbps.1  It hovers around 500 Mbps consistently. They need a tech to work on the pole on my street to increase it (allegedly). And while that might seem rough, think about it for a second. My lowest speed is double what I was paying for Comcast.  It’s $70.00 a month for the first year including the modem/router. I’m saving $100.00 a month right off the bat. The savings will decrease as we add other necessary services. We already had Hulu so I am not counting it toward the monthly savings.

Shawn only cares about the pings, which hovers between 4-20. Again a wide fluctuation but still at it’s worst it isn’t bad. So I’m willing to work thru it at this point. And since they waived the first month of service and the installation fees, I figure they are trying hard to earn back my business.

The biggest struggle, as expected, has been the withdrawal from channel surfing. It bothers me. It’s almost always garbage TV or shows/movies I’ve seen countless times but having the option go missing is oddly disconcerting. Having a Tivo usually allowed me to avoid live TV for the most part. I loathe f**king commercials. Sadly, I bought one of the versions of Tivo that doesn’t support OTA broadcasts. FML right? lol  I invested in a digital antenna that works pretty good. Honestly though, I doubt we’ll watch much live TV.

I am adapting, albeit slowly. We signed up briefly for Sling TV, which for some is probably a good deal. However, unlike Hulu, you cannot skip commercials, even on shows you DVR’d to their cloud.2  I got rid of it before the trial had even expired. I’d rather just buy the shows I like outright and watch them commercial free. And while that does add up in the short term, in the long run I still save more money. And frankly, I like spending money on things I value vs endless channels I never even tune-in once.

Buying a season of a given show runs between $15.00 and $25.00. At an average of $20.00 a season, even if I buy 10 different shows, that is only 2 months of previous cable service. I did add HBO and Starz thru my Google+ account so that knocked the savings down to $75.00 a month. Again, still a value to me. All of it averaged together I figure I’ll end up saving around $50.00 a month  For that I’m getting gigabit speed internet (for the most part) and the joy of never having to watch commercials. A much better value than I was getting before and the savings adds up to a whopping $600 bucks a year!

It isn’t all rosy though. Navigating which shows you can get where can be a royal pain in the ass. Some shows air the same season on Hulu as they do live. Some shows run a season behind. Some shows aren’t even available on Hulu at all. Premium movie channels like HBO are prevalent almost everywhere so they are relatively easy to find. Basically, you have to review all the shows you like or watch and chase them down. Once you get past that hurdle it’s pretty smooth sailing. And none of these services require a contract or commitment so you can add/remove anytime your favorite show airs.

If you don’t mind commercials, Sling TV and/or Vue are probably the two best for choice and flexibility. Hulu is decent but lacking in many areas;however, it allows you to watch almost everything commercial free.3  YouTube TV is pretty basic but if you watch the basics you’re covered. I don’t know if it forces you to watch commercials or not as I didn’t try it out. It was missing several of my favorite channels.

All things considered, I’m happy with the decision so far. I let Comcast overlap until I finalize whether Wave can deliver. The abrupt and jarring end to channel surfing is slowly wearing off. The are other ways to surf anyway and I’m happier with my options.




  1. megabits per second []
  2. Yes, I know Comcast owns a chunk of Hulu. I can’t avoid them completely it seems []
  3. A few of the most popular shows require you to watch a commercial before and after. []

United We Stand

So I’ve gotten more than a few questions about my opinion on the whole United debacle. I relented and commented on a few FB friend’s posts regarding it. I say relented because I pretty much avoid FB for anything other than fun chat and dog videos. It has become too toxic and successful discourse is rarely possible anymore. 

Anyway, how do you think I feel? I’m appalled. The idea that a passenger who paid full fare for a ticket can be physically yanked off a plane for overbooking is reprehensible. I don’t care if it was United Express (contracted by United). I don’t care that it was a security official not an actual United employee who did the beating/dragging. I don’t care that it’s in the fine print a paying customer can be booted off a flight for virtually any reason. Greed should not be more important that humans.1  I don’t care about all the reasons why he could have complied. This person paid full-fare to board a plane and fly home. It is not his fault the flight was overbooked out of the misplaced idea that profit is more important than good service. None of that matters. We should all be appalled at the very idea this can be allowed.  And lastly, I don’t care another flight might have been delayed or *gasp* other people might have been inconvenienced. You know what?  Sometimes we get inconvenienced. The world does not revolved around our personal bubble of existence. There were plenty of better ways to handle this. 

Don’t get it bent, I’m not dragging out the lynch mob torch for United just yet. Frankly, I think people are missing the forest for the trees here. This could just as easily have happened on any airline. United just ended up being the unlucky beneficiary. I know many United employees (from the both the old Continental and United) who are very dedicated to their jobs and I’m sure many of them are struggling to fend off drama from both sides right now. And being a long time Southwest customer, I can tell you first hand they routinely kick people off flights. All major airlines have the same or similar policy. The big picture here is how many people feel it was perfectly justified. It was NOT ok. And the fallout witch hunt to demean and degrade the victim aftewards was just as disgusting. When your moral code justifies physically dragging a paying customer of a plane to avoid inconveniencing someone else, perhaps you should re-examine your sense of morality. That is the real tragedy IMO. 

Our society is crumbling around us bit by bit. Greed, anti-intellectualism, and personal indifference are destroying our sense of right and wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it as long as I have breath to say it. The one good thing out of this debacle is the outrage was so bad I’m pretty sure no airline will ever try this again. Maybe we’ll see some good reforms put in place to ensure something we used to take for granted would never happen will actually never happen again. Either way, I’m sure everyone will have forgotten all about it next week when the next faux scandal comes along.  




  1. Notice I said ‘should not be’ vs ‘isn’t. This clearly demonstrates it’s past tense now. []

Cable

Well, my love affair with Wave (formerly Astound) cable is over. We had a great run. I got five good years before it blew out in a spectacular failure. Even sadder, I had no choice but to go back to Comcast (for now). *sigh*

It started this past October with small artifacts in a few channels and ballooned into daily outages of both cable/internet. We’re up to taking bets on the time of day and duration of the daily outages now. We had the great fortune of having it go out during Superbowl half time, only to come back up in very limited quality afterwards. After repeated calls to tech support and the tech supervisor, over 20+ visits inside/outside our unit, I’m throwing in the towel.

And the kicker? I don’t want to leave! I wanted to stay with Wave. They were cheaper and provided more content for the price. I’ve gotten more than a handful of referral discounts as well. I’ve been the poster child of a loyal customer. Now, I’m forced to switch back to Comcast. I’m angry and incredibly disappointed to say the least. Comcast of course tried to tie me into a contract right off the bat. I wasn’t having any of that. Their rates are only slightly cheaper for the first year then balloon back up to the ridiculous price I’ve come to expect.1

My choices are basically a ‘used to be’ a great company w/no expectation of repair and a bad company that will milk every dollar out of me. I’m now seriously pursuing cutting the cord completely. I’ll still need internet but I’m exploring how to get rid of cable. Hulu Plus finally offers a subscription without commercials so I’ll try that until Time Warner kills it off.2 I’m also getting a digital antenna to go back to over the air broadcasts. I’m eye-sight from the broadcast tower so don’t expect too much of a problem getting reception. I’m not sure how my Tivo handles OTA broadcasts but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

By the time TW kills Hulu, I’ll have weaned myself off enough to be ok. I’ll buy a la cart for HBO, Google+, & Amazon for the rest of the shows Iike to watch. I’m so over it I’m completely willing to do without in the long haul if I have to.




  1. A full $50 higher than my Wave rate []
  2. They are trying to buy a majority stake in Hulu and have made it clear they plan on gutting it. []

Free

Are you sitting down? Are you sure?!

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For the first time in over 15 years, yours truly is 100% debt free! Yes, you read it right, debt free!

I can’t even tell you have good it feels to be out from under my debt load. I came close once about 10 years ago but this time I made it all the way. I had to sell the land my dad left me to do it,1 but I finally did it. Back when I got close last time, I said I wouldn’t get into debt again. Well, easier said than done. I got way behind for a variety of very valid reasons. I say valid to clarify I wasn’t going on shopping sprees.

I mentioned a while back I got a consolidation loan from my credit union. That helped on the interest a lot, but I still wanted out of it. My brother reached out to me at just the right time to inquire if I’d be willing to sell my share of the land to his son. Fast forward, a few months and the paperwork is complete, money transferred, and my bills are all paid off.

But wait! There’s more! I also recently caught up on 6 years of back income taxes. And, I’m getting money back! I know, I know, your saying "Moby, how the hell did you get behind 6 years of IRS taxes?" Well, it is a long story and we can save that nut and crack it open on a rainy day. I also procrastinated the last couple years more than anything. I was afraid I’d get hammered and so kept putting it off. I didn’t want Shawn to be tied to anything like that in the future so I finally bit the bullet and booked an appointment to get the bad news. I went to a local H&R Block office prepared for the worst. I just knew I was gonna walk out owing thousands of dollars. It didn’t help that a series of errors had already delayed the appointment several times.2 I was beginning to worry even more as if the universe was sending me a signal.

Let me just tell you Jim from H&R Block really saved my bacon! He wasn’t judgy or rude. He was actually an absolute dream to deal with and put me at ease almost immediately. He said it happens a lot and I shouldn’t beat myself up over it. He then spent the next 3 1/2 hours helping me find deductions I didn’t realize I could deduct. They really do try to get you a refund. lol We had a lot of time to chit chat and I discovered he’d been doing taxes for H&R Block for just over 30 years. (Actually, all 3 of the tax preparers were all easily in their 60’s). He went thru each return methodically and never once made me feel like I was wasting his time.

Even after forking over a hefty payment, I’m getting a nice fat check back! (Six years, state and federal, 12 returns) I walked out emotionally exhausted. lol Needless to say, I’ll be booking with Jim for my 2015 taxes. The down side is I’ll get hit hard for cash I got from the land sale. Luckily, I work in a job where I can just crank out some overtime practically whenever I want. (We are always short staffed)

Annyyyyyway, I can’t express the absolute joy in being debt free. Now maybe I cant start putting money toward my future. (And hopefully a home)




  1. I sold it to my nephew []
  2. Including the original guy I booked with died! []

Moved

You didn’t even notice it but I switched my domain manager and web host recently. Actually, I switched last month. After my rant about my old host, I got several emails asking why I was still with them. I started asking myself the same question. They weren’t bad, we just weren’t a good fit. 

I guess after my 1 and 1 disaster, I had extremely low expectations. hehehe  After some searching, I settled on InMotion. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am with the switch. As happy as I was to be away from 1 and 1, I’m that much happier to have a host I feel is a really good fit. First, they deal a lot with WordPress, so can answer many related questions w/o delay. They also offered a discount on my first year of service so ended up cheaper than my previous host. After the first year, they’ll be pretty much the same price. They also offer 24/7 tech support by phone, web chat, an email. They transferred all my existing data, blog included, for free. I was a bit shocked when I read that part. They even transferred existing emails.1  I’ve never had a host do that! I had a tiny snafu with an internal domain configuration and they fixed it on the spot when I called.

Speaking of domains, I decided to have Google+ manage my actual domains. I transferred all but one from Tucows and the process was pretty easy. The Google+ domain management tool is pretty easy. They even offer email forwarding for domain only accounts. Email for a domain usually requires a host to physically store it. Google+ apparently allows you to create forwarders for no extra charge.

So, I’m all settled with the new host and so far extremely happy. 




  1. I always use IMAP instead of POP3 so had plenty of emails on the server. []

PSA: Retailers

​Here is a PSA to retailers. I get it that you want to maintain contact w/your new and existing clients who shop your websites. It is awesome that you wish to maintain a connection to your shoppers.

What is not awesome is when you bombard your perspective new clients with daily and weekly emails trying to sell your wares. Even worse, when I unsubscribe from your emails, you continue to send them with a message, “oh it might take days or weeks to unsubscribe.” You ain’t fooling no one.

And when you tell me, “we do not sell or give away your email”, you are a liar! I know because I routinely use fake email accounts with your business name @ my domain. Since I have a catch-all account for emails randomly sent to anything @ mydomain I can see how many times you sell my data.

/rant

Delish

image

I sometimes stop by Delish for lunch when I neglect to bring food or am too lazy to prepare some. The other day I opted to have my sandwich there. Being somewhat a creature of habit these days, I got the same thing I always get, the grilled pesto chicken pannini. I ran off and left my wallet sitting in my chair.1 and someone was kind of enough to turn it in.

I freak out about an hour later, call, they have it, I run back by. One of the employees had gone out of his way to find me and try to get it back to me. Sadly, I don’t keep any phone number references in my wallet. (Maybe I should?) Anyway, I was touched that in this day and age, there is still some honesty in the world. I had about $60 in cash in the wallet, and it was still there. Not a dollar was missing.2 

So, not only is the food good and the staff friendly, they’re honest! They’ve definitely earned a loyal customer and I am calling the owner so he knows of the good deed!

If you’re local, it’s on Van Ness right next to the somewhat new Phil’s coffee shop. Stop by sometime. Tell’em Moby sent ya!




  1. Don’t ask me how I accomplished that []
  2. Yes, I gave them a fat tip for being so honest. []

Ad

I have a dirty confession to make. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there but seeing so much of it these days, I just felt the need to fess up.

I’m not an ad-clicker. There I said it. I never click on in-app advertisements. I find them a waste of time, rarely if ever, related to my tastes. We hear constantly how ad placement is driven by user meta data and seems to be the ‘golden chalice’ of all the big players out there. I’ve never once clicked on an online ad to buy a product. 

Don’t get me wrong, I see the point but until it gets to a level where the ads are truly relevant to me then I’ll most likely never be an ad-clicker. Using my search results is rarely helpful. Google+ often gets the closest out of them all. I wouldn’t click on a Facebook ad if you paid me. The problem, for me anyway, is the few items I actually search out on the Web are lost in random queries I do all the time. While this might help target ads to me a tiny bit better, it’s like pouring a barrel of food on my plate and then me finding one item out of all of it that I will eat.

IMO companies are too greedy in trying to put ads in front of my eyes. The email lists, the hard sells, the device cookies, are all an attempt to get ads in front of your face. It is pointless to me because it’s just a brute force attack. The moment you click on an ad or go to a referral link, then the real bombardment begins. If you aren’t using a disposable email, you’re in for a real treat. hehehe

Some developers make their living off the ads they push into apps to keep them free. I get it. And for some apps, it’s the only way to go. But for more popular or heavily integrated apps, not having a paid, ad-free version is a deterrent, at least for me.

I don’t mind having sites or companies track my habits, likes, dislikes, etc. Tracking my habits w/o trying to tie it specifically to me as a person is the way to go if you want me to click. IMO this is why Google+ will continue to dominate the ad market. They are pushing heavy into this and less on specifically targeting you vs your online presence. If companies really want to find the ‘sweet spot’, they need to continue tweaking their ability to be very specific without constantly trying to bombard me with any and every ad possible. Then, and only then, will I ever consider clicking on ads.

Service

20130615_172954_Hancock StAnd before you hoes go getting all excited, it ain’t nothing dirty. lol I thought I’d take a moment to send a shout out to Reebok.

See I decided to treat myself a while back and order some custom color shoes. The picture you see is the end result, of which I am extremely happy with.

As is bound to happen, there was a hiccup along the way. Apparently, when you ship via FedEx, you can’t ship to a PO Box. Well, nothing on the website said as much, no errors were generated, etc so I proceeded as planned. I got a tracking number for my package and all was good.

Four weeks goes by and no package. Delivery was projected at ‘3-5 weeks’. I pull up my tracking number and was surprised my package had been delivered! Even more bizarre, it was delivered to an address in Massachusetts. I’m thinking they just gave me the wrong tracking number. I call up and it was my tracking number. Since they don’t ship to PO Boxes, it got sent to their main US distribution center, which in turn popped it into the regular mail.

You can imagine my frustration at this point. One, my packaged had to be remailed after I paid for FedEx shipping. Two, why didn’t they just have their site setup to prevent such snafus or at the very least warn you. The rep was very nice and apologized and explained my order had been reshipped and should be arriving soon. At this point, I’m disappointed and not really impressed with their company.

I hang up and about 5 minutes later the rep actually calls me back. This by itself was a huge surprise. When does a company ever call the customer anymore? The girl explained that since it was their fault with the shipping options and I was about to go over my 5 week window that she was going to refund my shipping charge. I was very gracious and thanked her profusely for the consideration and call back.

Having never had any direct interaction with Reebok as a company, this left me with a very positive view of them as a whole. I don’t know if this is they’re standing policy or if the rep just went above and beyond to make a customer happy. Either way, as a first time customer, I came away with a good impression and a willingness to become a repeat customer. You just don’t see this anymore. Reebok is a global brand and to see this type of attention to customer satisfaction was refreshing and totally unexpected. I guess years of shitty service from companies has conditioned med to expect the worst. It is nice to discover not all big companies totally bail on customer satisfaction. So here’s a shout out to Reebok for getting it right!

Dirty

And it’s nothing like what you’re thinking. Get out of my gutter already! hehehe

No, I’m referring to my dust-bowl of an apartment. It is no secret I hate doing household chores. Don’t get me wrong, the day to day stuff is no problem. Between the roomie and I, the bulk gets done. It’s the dusting, wiping, and randomly needed cleaning that I fail at so miserably. Some of the less-used surfaces routinely develop a nice coat of dust. Ugh!

I’m caught up enough financially I can start looking for maid service again. For some reason, I can’t reach my old crew and I sure wish I could find them. They were perfect.

Cleaning services aren’t that pricey compared to previous years. And while it will be a slight drain on my wallet, the well-being I get from knowing the apt is getting cleaned and dusted regularly will off-set that in a major way! Any locals reading this, if you know a good crew, I’m taking recommendations. Preferably a mom/pop style vs big company.