I’ve been an Amazon Kindle user ever since V2 was released in 2009. That version had a keyboard and built-in cellular modem that allowed you to transfer data and download books anywhere, anytime.
The Kindle e-reader does one thing and, in my opinion, does it very well. It provides a distraction-free reading experience. OK, two things, you can carry a huge number of books with you at any time. This is handy when you want to read a couple of books at the same time, depending on mood and energy. It makes no noise, it has no pop-up messages, and it’s already ready to pick up where you left off in your last reading session.
I eventually upgraded to a newer version and then another. The low $100-125 price and ever-increasing screen resolutions and lighting options made the upgrades worth it. We lost the cellular modem years ago, but with WiFi being so accessible, it’s something you really don’t miss. I typically like to read in the evenings where it helps me unwind. On occasion, I can use my phone to finish a chapter or launch the Audible version of a book where it syncs with the text copy for easy switching between the two.
My last Paperwhite was starting to get a little sluggish, and I realized after 5-years of ownership I was no longer getting updates with some of the newer software features. After doing a little research, I found that I could trade my old unit in for a new one and get a 20% discount as well as a few dollars for the unit I was turning in.
The 2021 Kindle Paperwhite (as reviewed by Wired) is the best Kindle e-reader to date. The screen is larger, and the screen resolution looks like you’re reading a paper book. Backlight options include a warmth mode that tints the screen to ease eye fatigue at night. It’s all automatic based on the sunrise/sunset in your area. You don’t really notice the screen color until you turn it off.
Now that it’s getting cold out, and dark early, I’m spending a lot more time reading in the evening, and I’m really enjoying this upgrade.
I wrote about the Grammarly app in Week 42, and I’m happy to say after the 90-day initial trial, I renewed for another year. It’s been beneficial in my personal and professional life. You might have noticed some improvements in the blog posts too. I was missing some necessary punctuation in my writing. Some obvious (bad editing) and some not so obvious. They just released a new Desktop app for the Mac that allows it to work in ANY application. It was previously limited to its own app outside MS Office apps. Now it works right inside my email program and makes editing on the fly much smoother. At $150 a year, it’s not cheap but, if written communication is an important part of your life, it’s worth checking out to see if it can be helpful to you.
And finally… The limited series show “True Story” on Netflix was a surprise hit. Kevin Hart was excellent in his role, and the story moved very quickly through the seven episodes. Each episode is only 30-minutes, so it’s a pretty quick watch & easy to binge on a rainy day.
That’s it for thie week. Christmas is less than 2-weeks away! I should probably start shopping or something…
The Big 10 Football Championship was in Indianapolis this week, and we had a flood of visitors from Michigan and Iowa on Saturday. It wasn’t much of a game as Michigan smashed Iowa 42-3 but it’s always nice when the city can host such a big event.
I checked out the Guggman Haus brewery on the near west side Saturday afternoon. I was really impressed with the size and layout of the place. I thought it was just a house but they have a huge multi-room beer hall with a lot of TV’s for watching sports. Their Pilsner was quite tasty and they have a nice variety of German-inspired brews. I’m looking forward to returning to try out the food…
Red Notice on Netflix, staring Dwane Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot was a surprise hit. It’s a great action/adventure movie and worth the watch!
We made it up to Condado Tacos at Hamilton Town Center earlier this week, and it exceeded expectations. They have a huge variety of tacos, and the prices are very reasonable. It’s had lines outside the door since it opened, but we got lucky the night we decided to check it out. I drive by the downtown Indy location all the time but now that I know what it’s all about it might be time to add it to my lunch rotation.
And finally, “Jurassic Park but with a Cat” is the latest Youtube creation by Owl Kitty who’s creators use video editing magic to insert their black cat into famous movie scenes. The Behind the Scenes videos show you how they do it and how much work it takes.
I saw this on Reddit the other day and all I can say is WOW. It’s pretty amazing how far robotic technology has come and I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in another 10-years. This video reminded me of the “Metalhead” episode of Black Mirror and it’s almost as scary!
I officially “Cut the Cord” on Cable TV last November and haven’t looked back. With subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, I get to watch pretty much anything I want when I want (and save a lot of money in the process). I’m finding a lot of shows that have been around for several seasons and it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve watched and when new episodes are made available.
This is where TVShow Time (TVST) comes in. This is a free service on the web that also has apps for Apple and Android. TVST helps you mark what you’ve watched and has a worldwide fanbase who have running commentaries about the shows you’re watching. It’s a big community of people who are doing exactly what you’re doing!
Community members make and upload GIF’s of important scenes in each episode to post in the comments and they’re usually very entertaining. Be warned though there are spoilers in the comments so it’s best not to view until after you’ve watched a particular episode.
One of my favorite features is a calendar of upcoming shows that goes out about a year in advance. Wondering when the new season of Walking Dead is going to return? As of today it’s 48 days away!
To get started you just search for your favorite show and click the “+” sign to add it to your list. After that you can view show details, season info, episodes, and community comments.
In the settings you can setup push alerts to let you know when new shows are available. If you’re a Hulu user you can even delay the notifications by 24 hours so they’ll actually be available for you when you get notified.
The basic app is free & they just added in-app purchases that will allow calendar access and some additional customizations (I haven’t tried these yet). TVST has been a really great resource to help me keep track of my TV viewing and it’s worth checking out!
So we’re ending week 2 of the Cord Cutting Experiment and I’ll have to say it’s been mostly OK so far. I’m still missing the DVR a little because all my favorite shows were available in one place and ready to watch when I was.
Having said that by using a DVR I was not taking advantage of all the online programming that’s available out there. You can still “Time Shift” but you have to find the content in various applications and services vs. it being grouped together. You also have some limitations with shows only being available for a limited time (kind of like the storage space limitation on a DVR).
I tried a few iOS apps that help track shows and remind you when the are on. That’s nice to be able to do but you have to remember the shows are available the day after online in most cases.
I’ve also had some reception related issues with one of the local stations (ABC). The signal bounces all over the place from 35-90%. I repositioned the OTA Antenna this weekend and that made a big difference.
I’ve found some good online resources and talked to friends and co-workers about this experiment and have found a lot of people are cheating a little by using someone else’s (usually parents or relatives) cable tv account login to access online content. This gets you over some of the content limitations of going strictly non-cable. In fact, a lot of the AppleTV apps require a cable TV subscription login before they will even work!
I upgraded my Hulu Subscription the other night to the higher tier that all but eliminates commercials. I tried living with them for a week and it was driving me crazy. It’s worth another $4 in my opinion.
So in the end I went from $120 a month to less than $20. The $100 savings is worth it so far and I’m going to give this some more time before making a final decision on the overall experience. So far it’s still very positive!
I’ve gotten some great feedback on this subject and I look forward to more! Feel free to leave your questions and comments in the space below.
I came home the other day and my DVR was acting odd. Only a few shows remained & they were all marked for deletion. A quick check of available space confirmed my suspicions… The hard drive was dying and taking all of my saved content with it.
I work with a bunch of “Millennials” and none of them subscribe to cable TV. The number one reason seems to be cost. I’ve toyed around with the idea of becoming a “cord cutter” but hadn’t made the move yet. This was a perfect time to give it a shot. A quick call to the cable company saved me $120 a month in cable subscription fees and started me on this journey.
The Apple TV allows me to access Netflix ($7.99 a month) and Hulu (also $7.99 a month) so for $16 I’m getting more content than I could ever consume. My Internet cost is reimbursed by my employer so this is working out to be a good deal.
The $60 OTA antenna I purchased from Amazon works amazingly well and pulls in all the local channels along with a bunch of sub-channels that I’ll never turn on. This setup will cover the major sporting events I want to watch as well as some Prime Time shows I watch on occasion.
The only thing I’m missing so far are the DVR capabilities and NFL RedZone. I’m learning that most network shows are available for streaming on Hulu the day after they air so if I miss it live I can usually find it online.
I’m still in the first week but so far so good. I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going and if I’m still happy with the decision to ditch Cable TV.
Have you cut the cord? Are you thinking about? Let me know in the comments section below.