internet

365 Challenge: Day 312 – Cable

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Cable: a service I use (or may no longer use) to watch television and surf the internet

cable

Last night, I received two communications from the building management company who maintains the co-op apartments where I live. In the first, they noted the monthly maintenance costs were to increase by ~10% to cover some unexpected shortfalls. It’s aggravating, but I will not go into that now. (I kinda wish Ryder could rant about that one… as you know he would!) In the second, they let us know that our cable provider was unwilling to negotiate on the monthly cable costs for our building, and there could be another increase. In full disclosure, I don’t mind saying how much I pay for cable as it’s probably not all that far off from anyone else. For internet and a single television cable DVR box with a few additional channels (not much) above basic, the monthly bill is $205. I don’t even have telephone service with it! In the past, we watched a lot more shows, so it wasn’t too big of a deal, but now it’s just getting absurd. So… I found myself a little project this week: alternative options to my current cable package.

Verizon Fios is also in my building, so I will call them to see what better deals I can get, then ask my cable provider to beat it if they want me to stay as a customer. However, I’m also investigating another alternative and thought I’d throw it out there to see if anyone had experience, opinions or suggestions… We already have Netflix and AppleTV, which is where we tend to watch most of our shows or movies. We watch basic cable stations for current season TV shows, including PBS, FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, TVLAND, Discovery, BUZZR, COZI, MeTV, FX, and POP. That’s all – we hardly ever watch anything else. Most of the stations have apps to watch through AppleTV or to watch on an iDevice, but you’d have to purchase each subscription to watch current season episodes. There is also purchasing an antenna to get most of these stations, but then you’d have to be home to watch the show when it airs, or buy the DVR to record for about $250.

The alternative, which seems to be a promising idea, is to get an antenna and skip the DVR for watching many of those stations. In lieu of a DVR, I could add a Hulu monthly subscription for about $10 per month and watch current episodes the day after they actually air (really not a big deal, we sometimes wait days to get to them if busy). After 2 years, the cost of Hulu would exceed buying the DVR, but you get a lot more things with Hulu. I’ll be doing my research this week with a goal of contacting all the companies next week to find the best plan and try to reduce the $205 monthly cost of basic TV and cable. I’m not even going to comment in detail on the rising costs, as I’d just be venting which I’ve already done here at home. Between operational costs, actor/actress salaries, insurance and lawsuits, it’s just going to keep increasing. I also know that paying this much is a lot less than going to the theatre or the movies all the time, so I totally get the picture.

My main concern is that I believe I’m paying twice as much as I probably need for the services and products I actually use. I don’t watch 150 channels… just 8 to 10 of them. I don’t spend hours a day watching TV either, maybe 1 or 2 hours each night. In the end, I think this is the right path. Anyone have thoughts on Hulu, the antenna solution to watch broadcast television or any other alternative options?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 123 – Learned

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Learned: connected or involved with the pursuit of knowledge; erudite, scholarly

learned

I’ve spent my last twenty-four hours pondering the various ways in which people learn new things, subjects or topics. As a child, it’s relatively easy to find methods for learning, particularly because in most cultures you are either being schooled at home or attending public or private school. Though it certainly varies from country to country, children and young adults generally attend grammar and secondary schools until they are 18; often, it’s followed by anywhere from 2 to 8 years of undergraduate colleges and graduate universities. Sometimes you take a break, re-enroll or return for additional degrees and certifications throughout your life. Ultimately, your education is generally formulated during those first 25 years of your life before you are more than likely forced to focus on a career and/or earning money to support yourself and/or a family.

In those first 25 years, a majority of the learning process or time is directed by a teacher or professor who has done the research, or been told by the school district, department chair or board of directors what methods to use and which books to read. My point, though it can be interpreted in many different ways, is that someone else “above/before” you is driving the education you are receiving. You might have selected the school, teacher, course, or some independent study components within the overall program, but you aren’t doing a majority of the planning and decision-making on how the entire learning experience will play out. Yes, you certainly pick a lot of the things you focus on within that course or degree, but you rarely can make up a majority of the requirements for your own education. While that seems like an obvious statement, I felt the need to establish it as a baseline understanding before I chat a little bit about what’s going on in my head these days…

It’s easy to rely on someone else to set the boundaries or parameters of your learning experience. And when you let them, you are able to focus on the actual reading, research and experimenting to gain the knowledge in preparation for your future. But what happens when you’re done with your formal education and you still want to learn. What are your options? A few ideas:

  • Read books, journals and magazines
  • Find a seminar or course
  • Research via the Internet
  • Talk to people in that field

All are good options, but they require you as the individual to drive that piece of your education. If you want to learn pottery, you have to find and take a course, choose what books you want to read, travel the world to look at different artistry elements… you are left with an endless supply of information, but not always certain on how to proceed with so much at your fingertips and so little in a comprehensive overview. No longer do you have a documented itinerary or list of requirements that directs you towards gaining the knowledge you need. And for many people, that can be overwhelming. As I look at the things I’d like to accomplish in my future, I find myself thinking about who will help guide me through all the vast and open paths. While I’m confident I can navigate a big piece of the puzzle, am I really qualified or prepared to figure this out on my own?

The answer, at least for me or in my opinion, is NO. Or at least it isn’t specifically right now. Let’s take the option I’m considering for self-publishing my novel. While I continue to draft and send queries to literary agents, we all know it’s a big piece of luck and chance that will bolster my success, no matter how talented I am. And so I am excited about looking at all the options out there for self-publishing as an alternative. As I began writing my project plan over the last week, I found myself having to research topics on the Internet, talk to other writers and bloggers, look for already written summaries, etc. And it dawned on me, while there may be a class or video blog out there to help, it’s still 100% up to me to figure this out. There’s no advisor, professor, parent, boss, chairperson… whatever the appropriate person is for the field I’m looking at… and in reality, I actually first need to figure out what my educational plan is going to be before I just randomly go research it.

So… to bring some perspective back here… this post isn’t me saying “anyone have thought on self-publishing?” as I have already begun to prepare my own comprehensive plan on how to go about doing this, given all the materials at my disposal. But this post is saying… how does the rest of the world handle this? And doesn’t it seem silly that we spend so much of our early years “planning and learning,” only to find ourselves truly needing to be in a place of constant learning and growing without the right tools? Isn’t that one of the major points of life in any religion, culture or calling? To educate one’s self so that you can be a productive member of society and enhance the world for our future. But how do we do that if we end our formal learning process by 20 to 25 and leave it up to everyone to individually find time in our busy schedules to keep the momentum growing without these processes and tools.

In a way, it’s almost like suggesting we should have a “Life Skills” course that is taught by people who focus on these things day in and day out. Now that’s a job I think I would be tremendously strong at! I spend so much of my time thinking about all aspects of life, how to be a better person, how to be open-minded and fair… it seems like that we all would benefit from a regular educational experience about how to grow as people, move the world forward and become more highly intelligent beings. Many of us do this already… often inconsistently… usually on our own. But what if there were learning facilities with people (almost like the concept of a life coach) focused on helping make this a prominent component of everyone’s life. Forget about whether it’s required or optional. Start with just having something that actually offers the ability to connect and talk with other people about these things in a regular forum.

It’s along the same path as teaching life skills courses during the early years to help people have a 360 view of what the world has to offer and what we should be doing as human beings. It’s something I try to push myself to think about every day when I write the 365 Daily Challenge post. It was suggested I turn these into a book at one point, and I’m seriously wondering whether this is something that needs to be more of a focus in my life. It shouldn’t be 3 minutes of someone’s thoughts whenever they have time. I feel like maybe this should be part of a Life Skills & Learning Platform that becomes part of our post-degree or post-school educational experiences. Inclusive across the board on gardening, cooking, problem solving, genealogy, overview of sports, religion, cultures, blogging, buying a house, having a child, volunteering, car maintenance, travel planning, meditating, accepting failure, etc.

All these things have books, seminars, blogs, videos… but it’s so decentralized. No one-stop shop or place to truly have a place to turn in life to keep on that continuous educational wheel. Am I crazy? Am I just ignorant of something existing already out there? Or are there other people like me who realize we’re not placing enough importance on these things in our own life at the right frequency, and we really need to make this change? I’d love to hear what others think of this topic and how you handle it in your own life. Let’s make this one a big share everyone…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Valerie @ Valerie’s Musings. Valerie and I have been chatting for about 3 months. We first bonded over our love of cozy mystery fiction, sharing different authors and book series with one another. And when we read the same ones, we have so much fun chatting about the characters, settings and plots. We moved on to other genres and will be doing a buddy read later this month of “The Bear and the Nightingale.” But once we started chatting about general life musings between my 365 Daily Challenge posts and her focus on making positive changes in her life, we bonded over lots of great ideas and thoughts for the future. She is a very smart, friendly and open-minded woman who deserves great things in life. I look forward to her feedback and comments each week. And for those reasons, Valerie should be on your watch list, too. Go check out her site from the link above and poke around the site. Make the most out of her musings!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 78 – Lazy

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Lazy: unwilling to work or use energy

It’s Monday 5/29 at 2:37pm EST and my daily 365 Challenge post is only just beginning right now. Let’s set the stage even further. It’s Memorial Day and I am officially not working today. It was a 3-day weekend. I’ve done nothing so far today except catch up on writing book reviews, interacting on social media with all of my e-friends and new e-friends. I’ve completed all but one outstanding tag/award/meme, which only just arrived in the last hour. But I still haven’t written the 365 Daily post. But it gets worse. I have not left my apartment. I’ve barely gotten off the couch. I haven’t gone to the gym. I haven’t even yet showered. Sure, you probably didn’t care to know that, but I’m just creating a little ambiance here…

At first, I thought to myself… you are worse than lazy. It’s Memorial Day and you’ve done nothing to support this important day. But… I did, as one of my posts earlier this week was thanking our veterans, active duty  armed forces (all branches) and anyone involved in this type of a role. So at least I don’t feel too guilty about being completely neglectful, as I’ve properly extended my humble appreciation via the blog; however, even if this were a regular normal day, it’s half-over and I’ve done nothing by normal standards. So…I am officially lazy today. Not everyday. It’s just today and I can accept it. I’ll be back on track with my schedule tomorrow. Actually, after I finish this post, I do plan on hitting the gym, then showering (thankfully), and I will pickup food to cook for dinner this evening.

But since we’re on the topic… is it OK to be lazy every once in a while? Do you feel wasteful when you sit on your a$$ and “play on the computer.” How often do you find yourself engaging in such a behavior? Up until about 3 years ago, I still had a flip phone. I did not have any social media accounts except for Facebook. I wasn’t big on searching the internet or reading any news or blog sites. I had other hobbies. But in the last few years, social media continues to take up more of my time. In some ways, it’s great, as I meet new people, learn new things and am connected across the world. In others, how do I measure this as true productivity of my discretionary time?

I’m not referring to it as a professional or business-oriented metric, but as a personal one. Many of us have families, children or parents to care for. Some of us work a lot more than the “standard” 40 hours, or have second and third jobs. Lots don’t have a personal computer and use their phone or at the library / work, when time permits, which is usually minimal. I’m sure there is a wide range of usage even across those of us who have blogs on WordPress (or other sites). It’s got me thinking more than usual today… about personal productivity versus laziness, when it comes to the art of just “surfing the internet.” How much is too much?

Many have asked this question before. Many have answered this question before. There are different answers as there are different kinds of bloggers. I would say I “work” about 40 to 50 hours per week on a normal schedule. I do not have children, which gives me more available free time. My parents are in good health, and although I visit with them each week, I’m not a caretaker at the moment. I exercise in my building’s gym, so no traveling around to work out or participate in sports. Basically, I’ve got a lot of “extra available” time for hobbies and pastimes, when compared to other people. It hasn’t always been this way, as I’ve had the 100 hour weeks and caring for others, so this is just a point in time contemplation over my own laziness. A few thoughts on my mind:

  • How much time on average do people spend doing this stuff?
    • A few hours a day, if I added it all up. Between the daily 365 post, reading other comments, an extra post or two depending on tags/memes/awards/summaries/updates, 5 past book reviews to catch up on for the next month or so, then syncing between all the different sites and social media accounts. That’s a lot of time. But I do enjoy it. I feel productive on some levels. I’m meeting fantastic people. {Aside: YEAH – YOU!!!}
  • How much time do I think we should spend doing this stuff?
    • I feel like 1 hour per day is sufficient, but using time wisely. Maybe a few checks thru-out the day during a quick free moment, but then back to the normal tasks at hand. I’d like to strive for accomplishing my blogging goals within a one-hour limit.
  • Is it important to consider “quality” versus “quantity?”
    • The more followers you have, the more people you follow, the more you want to engage. Today, I kept hopping from blog to blog, finding great new people and posts. And then I kept seeing “20 new posts in WP Reader” all the time. It was a bit of a rabbit hold, arguably a good one. Part of me thinks I could do this all day, but that might be unhealthy, unless it were my full-time job.
  • Are response times important on social media and blogging?
    • Even when I think about my work email, I am restless if something sits in my Inbox for more than two minutes without me reading it. And then I get nutty if I haven’t responded within 30 minutes to the sender. I’m now feeling that way about the blog! It’s definitely not a complaint — as I love blogging — but is there any “response time” that one would consider appropriate or inappropriate? It is probably subjective by person, as well as if you’ve setup expectations with someone in the past. Maybe that’s 30 minutes twice a day to keep up?

I could probably go on and on with thoughts and questions, but I think this is good enough for a daily post about feeling lazy versus productive on this specific day when speaking directly about blogging. How about you? Any thoughts on the questions above? I end with one last realization for today:

I’m not actually lazy. I have accomplished a lot since I awoke this morning. It was just all done while sitting on my couch, as part of a hobby where I’m not being paid, so… that’s why I felt lazy — because it was time where I focused on what I wanted instead of the things I thought I was supposed to do with an extra day on the weekend. So… where do I end up if not lazy… Superficial? Selfish? Silly? Oh no, another rabbit hole — and this one doesn’t sound as pleasant.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Meet and Greet: 5/26/17

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What a great concept — by a fantastic guy! Please take a look at this one… an opportunity to meet new online friends and see tons of great blogs and content. -j

Dream Big, Dream Often

dreambigwallpaper-pinkombre

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!! Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times! It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want. It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media. Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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