Jumping off the S.S Cable: Part 2

Who can cut the cord?

I last discussed the pros and cons of cutting off cable, and examined briefly the benefits and cons of doing so. For those of you not deterred by the possible cons of cutting cable, I welcome you in this challenge and experience. But before we get to the how to part, I’ll be talking about who should consider cutting the cord, and who shouldn’t. The methods I’ll be discussing about how to cut cable are fairly technical, and are not for those who would call themselves technologically challenged, and generally, older consumers (not to say all elderly people are incapable of doing this). These people, if they still desire to cut the cord, can pursue less technically inclined routes, such as installing an antenna onto their TV, or can rely on family or friends who are more technically inclined to set up their system and maintain it. The method I’ll be showcasing also requires the ability to invest some money up front, and if you want to make your new entertainment setup fairly advanced, the cost will rise. Long term, it should still be cheaper than cable, but the upfront costs will be significantly higher. Reiterating though, cutting the cable cord is only expensive if you decide to take that route, not to deter any budget conscious cord-cutters.

Who should cut the cord?

Those who should cut the cord are those who are fed up with large cable bills, paying for a 1000 channels when they at best watch 6–10 of them on a regular basis. Those who should cut the cord are those looking for a way to streamline and upgrade their home entertainment experience. Those who should cut the cord are those looking for a challenge, and to learn something new, and make something awesome for themselves along the way.

Jumping off the S.S Cable

Cable TV is a gargantuan industry, and one that has a throne in American, (and many other) households around the world. However, despite its size, and its popularity, it plagues consumers with large bills, inflated bundles that contain content consumers don’t care about, and isn’t really friendly to our digital world. This post is the first in a series where I will explore how to, why to, and who can cut cable.

Why cut the cord?

Pros

Cable does have a lot to offer, with a seemingly endless stream of content to choose, however, that benefit also stands as cable’s biggest weakness. We’re all guilty of channel surfing, vegging out in front of the couch flipping endlessly through channels, finding at channel 29044 there’s still ‘nothing on’. Cutting the cord forces this habit to die, as the solutions I’ll be covering take your channel count down to something around 10–20 channels, depending on where you are and what coverage you can get. The lack of channel surfing also has another benefit, it’ll force you to do something else with that time, whether it be more productive, or healthier. Now while the aforementioned selection of channels may seem scarce, you’ll still have plenty of content to choose from. Cutting the cord also cuts of course, the bill. Cable alternatives cost a fraction of most cable bundles, and can be done without any monthly payments in some cases.

Cons

Cutting cable does have its cons, most free TV solutions require an antenna, which has downfalls, the most prominent of which is reception issues, either due to placement, or due to inclement weather. Another con of cable is that you either will have to change internet providers, or still pay your cable company for broadband internet access, and depending on the area in which you live, that may not be a choice. Lastly, cutting cable does mean it is a little trickier to get TV to show up on every TV in your home. Have no fear though, as a cable cutter myself, I’ve not found any of these issues to be deal-breaking in my own experience.

Conclusion

Cutting cable is a big deal, but it’s easier now than it ever has been before, and I’ll explore how to get it done in future installments, but for now, think over the pros and cons for yourself, and decide if cutting cable is something you really want to do. While you’re contemplating, please feel free to share this post with anyone who’s on the fence as well. The next installment will be out in a few days for when you decide to take the leap.

What happened to tablets?

I remember back when the first iPad came out, I missed the actual announcement due to high school, but I managed to see the SNL skit about it later on that week. The skit, making fun of the device for sounding like a horrible digital abomination of a Maxi Pad, was hilarious. I thought the device was odd, seeing as it had limited functionality compared to a laptop, and it seemed like an oversized iPhone.

Then, my family got one. My brother is severely autistic, so we thought it’d be helpful for him to use it to communicate, and also be more mobile than a laptop. We all gathered around that 10.9″ screen that night, and downloaded free apps. We were fascinated by it, and I began to think that it had some potential. As a budding tech enthusiast at the time, I was excited to see what people would come up with for the iPad.

Years later, and you can still see iPads in a lot of places, store checkout lines, waiver form stations, contract signing stations, and other similar locations. The problem is, that is only one use of an iPad among many, and yet, it’s the dominant location for the devices. I see less and less people using them everyday, opting for larger and larger phones. I personally am guilty of this phenomenon, I had an iPad all the way through my time using Apple products, and after I saw to the Android side, I ditched the iPad and iPhone for 6″ phones. (I now currently am rocking a Nexus 6P).

So what happened? Are they just not good enough for personal use anymore? Sort of. My family still uses iPads primarily. My brother, being severely autistic, has no need for a cell phone and a data plan he could, (and would) run over every month. My parents find the larger screen handy, especially my mother, who still uses a pink iPhone 5C. My father has a iPhone 6S Plus from work, and uses his iPad less and less these days, primarily to listen to music or play poker, as he doesn’t want to do it on his company phone. But my own family is an exception to the rule. Many people have found that economically, it made no sense to keep iPads. Phones are getting big enough to easily see no matter what, but still be more portable than a tablet, and tablets aren’t getting the apps and optimization that phones are. Even more than that, as Android, especially with companies such as Samsung, LG, and Huawei, eats chunks of the market, no manufacturer has provided a true iPad competitor for Android.

The arguably best tablet on the market for Android today is Google’s Pixel C. The Pixel is a solid piece of hardware. The problem is not that it’s not well built, it’s as polished a device as we have come to expect from Google. The problem is the lack of developer support for tablets in the Android ecosystem. This problem also applies to iOS. As phones grew larger and larger, and tablets shrunk, developers faced a dilemma. To build for tablets, or not to build for tablets? Many developers answered “no” to that question, and found the smartphone’s dominance of the touchscreen market to be where their focus should be directed. Also to be noted is the fact that most people always are connected to their phone in some form or another, whereas they may not necessarily bring a tablet device along, especially if they already have smartphone.

It’s these reasons, the growing size of smartphones, the lack of good tablets, and the lack of developer support, that have relegated iPads and their Android peers to the realm of glorified cash register units and signature pads. There may be a time where tablets find a resurgence with the general public, but for now, smartphones rule the world.

The Scale

Many times the answers,

to life’s tough questions,

can be found obviously,

in places thought unlikely.

 

For the question grander than all,

The answer is quite meager,

“How should I live my life?”

Like the scale, you must balance.

 

Balance happiness with sadness,

occupation with freedom,

friends and family with work

beauty with disgust

stress with calm

action with rest.

 

Without one the other cannot be know

For each, its due time must be given.

If not, then by time itself it will be.

Starting a Blog

Starting a blog is something I’ve tried on a few occasions. I’d often have a very specific theme to the blog, and dreamt of publishing multiple posts a day, and becoming an “internet famous” blogger about whatever subject it was. While this dream was admirable, it was never realistic. In starting a blog once again, I hope to achieve something this time that I never made a goal previously, consistency. Instead of aiming to keep to a specific topic, I’ll embrace the diverse nature of my interests, and write about all kinds of things I enjoy. The point of a blog is self-expression, and if you only ever can talk about one subject, you’ve completely limited your ability to express yourself. So my dear reader, I do hope that you come back and occasionally visit this blog, I plan to post to it regularly, and I’ll do my best to keep it fresh.