Sunday, February 28, 2016

Aukey Lightning USB Sync & Charging Cable

Some months ago, like in February 2015, I ordered the Aukey Lightning USB Sync & Charging Cable from Amazon for $9.99 and free shipping with my Amazon Prime account. I saw it somewhere like CNET's Cheapskate or Slickdeals saying it was a good deal.

I think it was a very good deal for a lightning charging cable which normally starts around $19.99 and goes up.

What is there to say about this? I ordered one evening. It delivered in about three days (Thu to Sun). It does what it's supposed to do. For the price, it's a very good option for a back up/replacement lightning cord.

It's a much cheaper option than buying from Apple and that's ALWAYS a good thing!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Weird, I felt like I lost a close friend

This was originally started like a year ago but life happens...

I recently had to say goodbye to a friend I've known for 15+ years. They've changed over those years a few times but I've always supported them as best I could. Though I often felt a little taken advantage of. Even when times were tough for me, I put the effort out to maintain the relationship mainly because my kids were younger and enjoyed having them around. However, slowly over the years they became more of an acquaintance as the kids got older. I mulled my decision over a few weeks time and discussed deeply with the wife. It truly was a tough call but it had to be done. I give and gave but we had to move forward with what's best. Being more forgiving, my wife is still not sure about the move but is making do. Truthfully, I feel much better each day since I ended the relationship. I'll always have memories but.....


Initially, the adjustment was slow and difficult. Not being able to turn on the television and browse 100+ channels was weird at first. Eventually, we got used to it.

I did go buy an over-the-air HD antennae to get local channels because we didn't want to be completely without television channels. I found a highly-user-rated one at Walmart with a 50-mile range. I was intrigued at first because I've never seen the actual local channels via OTA since they were regulated to be aired as HD. Once I got everything hooked up and programmed the channels, NBC/Channel 5 showed the picture below.

I was like "Holy shit! That's a pretty damn clear picture." The wife was like, "Is that from the over-the-air antennae? That's an extremely clear picture!" I was like, "I know, right?!"

So, that's are journey into being disconnected from pay television. I needed to save money and we just realized that we were watching a lot of reruns of L&O, L&O:SVU, House and many others via USA Network or TNT. I've never paid for movie channels like HBO since the early 90s when I lived in my first apartment with a roommate to split the cost. I don't care to pay a premium to watch movies I've seen many times before and some decades ago (like E.T.). It's just throwing away money when one can pay-on-demand for recent movies via whatever medium is available.

Speaking of pay-on-demand, I must fully confess that we did have some access to certain 'cable' channels. My close friend came over one day and downloaded a few apps like HBOGo on my iPad. He logged in as himself and told me we could watch via his account anytime. It does require a re-log in after so many days/weeks and I'd just have him re-enter his information. We didn't watch many movies but more series like Game of Thrones and such.

Besides my buddy's login, I already had memberships with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. These two services help alleviate some of the transitioning pain but truly after a few months, we were so happy to get rid of the high-cost of pay television. I saved about $150/mo after rate, taxes and fees on my AT&T bill. I had to keep Internet and we still have a house phone which allowed me to bundle the two and save. Those monthly costs were like $95 after all charges are added and the deal was good for two years even though I had to only commit to one. So, not too bad.

One thing we did notice about over-the-air signal is that location of the antennae is important. We lived in the center two two-story condos all made out of brick and with firewalls in between. There were two-story brick condos very close behind us about twenty feet. The signal would flicker occasionally even when I had the antennae on the inside of the window pane facing the back condos at the highest point I could to the first-floor ceiling. I bought a fifty-foot coax cable to move the antennae to the second floor window near the highest point of the ceiling. I got a much better signal but would still occasionally lose signal especially when the weather was bad. I'm assuming it had a bit to do with the location but I could not get the antennae any higher unless I got a ladder and tacked to the top our condo somehow or had a pole/rod extend above the roof with the antennae attached from the side of the condo. Both options were not easily done so I stuck with what I had.

Just another thought, we noticed that WFAA/ABC 8 was the weakest signal of the 'big' four which also include KTVT/CBS 11, KXAS/NBC 5, and KDFW/FOX 4. Back when I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s, the weakest signals were typically channel 4, 11, 5 and 8 (ordered in weakest to strongest signal). That being said, I live within 15-20 miles of all the stations especially WFAA and it was always losing signal. In fact, there were days that we'd not have channel 8 come in and the weather would be clear skies and sunny. Anyway, we just thought that was weird since we should be in a very good location to receive the strongest signals.

Well, that's my story on cutting the cord. We'll see how long it continues.

Oh yeah, I also upgraded by Uverse Internet as part of the cheaper bundle. I was on like 6 MBPS upload speed but was bundled with 40 MBPS. That's all 'up to' speeds of course. I did a speed test just to be sure they weren't charging me for something that I wasn't actually getting. The speed test was almost exact when I ran it. See below.

Okay, now that's the end of this story for now...