Cord-cutter
#373 Henry, Monday, 09 July 2018 2:25 PM (Category: General)
(Tags: cable tv cordcutting)

I took the hardware back to my cable provider today and got the service cancelled. I made sure I got a receipt for the hardware that I handed back.

She asked why. I said that they jacked up the price another $8 a month, and it made me consider what TV I watch, and I decided I would rather read a book. She asked me if I tried to get the price reduced. I said I didn't care.

And that was that. No more cable TV.

Now, I expect that the cost of Internet will start getting jacked up on me.

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Battery difference with Moves
#372 Henry, Saturday, 07 July 2018 10:47 PM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: moves battery)

I deleted Moves from my iPhone. Wow, what a difference in battery life that made. I used to charge my iPhone about twice a day. Now I can go two whole days before needing to charge. That's a big difference. I didn't realise Moves was such a battery hog.

I haven't found a replacement yet.

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Penultimate cable-cutting step
#371 Henry, Saturday, 07 July 2018 9:44 PM (Category: General)
(Tags: cable tv cordcutting)

My Cable TV bill has been $104 a month for a year. I think it's too much. I don't get the benefit from this, it's there for Anne. Pretty much everything I want to see is on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or the free Roku channel. We have a Roku device and it's very nice. We used to have a Roku stick, but earlier this year I upgraded to a Roku Ultra, and it's really nice. So nice that the aquarium screensaver gets a lot of play. It's really beautiful.

I have been pushing to cut cable TV. I started signing up for services to test things out. I signed up for Acorn TV, for $5 a month and it gives us more British TV than we can cope with. I started watching a little more TV, like The Great British Bake-Off.

Then I signed up for Sling TV Blue. That's $25 a month. Then I added the DVR capability for an extra $5 a month. Then I added a line-up of news stations, including BBC World News, for an extra $5 a month. We've had this lineup for a few months, while Anne got familiar with it. She knows how to get around things more than me now. She knows where her shows are, how to get to them, how to record the ones that are live-to-air and how to binge-watch the streaming ones. She watched eight seasons of Vera in two weeks. I cannot stand Vera.

Then I bought an antenna for $23. I plugged this into the TV for two months so we could see what local channels we got. We got four PBS channels and the local WAVY-TV for local disasters.

I've been nagging from the sidelines that it's time to cut cable. Anne wanted to wait till the latest series of The Expanse finished, and then we could cut cable. In the meantime, my cable provider jacked up the cost of cable TV an extra $8 a month. That was the final spur. Time to cut the cord.

Today, I removed the cable set-top box, and then pulled the cable card out of my Tivo. I connected the antenna to the Tivo and configured the Tivo for the local channels. That worked nicely. Right now, we are not connected to the cable. On Monday, I'll take the gear back and cancel service. That leaves one day and two nights for Anne to be comfortable with it.

So cable TV will be gone, and I won't be spending $113 a month on it. Instead, I'm paying for some streaming services.

I had to make some hardware purchases to get this far. $100 for a Roku Ultra, and $23 for an antenna. They are one-off costs.

I already had Netflix ($11 a month) and Amazon Prime ($10 a month). To replace cable TV, I added Acorn TV ($5 a month) and Sling TV Blue with DVR and News ($35 a month). So I won't be paying $113 a month for cable, but I will be paying $40 a month for Acorn and Sling. I'll be saving $73 a month, or $876 a year. I'm okay with that. If there are special streaming events, we can sign up for them and still be saving money.

When Game Of Thrones returns to HBO next year or the year after, we will turn on HBO Now for the two months, and then turn it off again when done. While it's turned on, we will pig out on a few other series we want to see.

It's working out well. I am actually watching a little more TV than I used to. That will drop off once the newness factor wears off. But the big thing will be saving money. Especially when the cable company jacks the price up on an annual basis.

I expect that the cost of Internet will start getting jacked up now. But that's okay, I can start shopping for Internet on price if I need to.

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Termius out, Shelly in
#370 Henry, Wednesday, 04 July 2018 3:10 PM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: app ssh shelly)

Termius still hasn't been fixed. And now I don't trust the app. It's doing too much. I want the shell to handle autocomplete, not the app. So I've deleted it. Shelly does a good competent job without overstepping boundaries, so that's what I'm using now.

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Moves data
#369 Henry, Tuesday, 03 July 2018 10:28 AM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: moves app)

The Moves app now comes with a note that it is going to be shut down at the end of the month, together with a link to the website where they suggest you can download your data.

I was annoyed that the app is going to be turned off, but suddenly a number of things hit me. The app is owned by Facebook. All my data has been transferred up to the Moves servers all these years, where presumably it is accessible by Facebook. Now that I think back, I vaguely remember that I knew it had been acquired by Facebook back in 2014, and I vaguely remember that I downloaded my data from the Moves website back in 2015, but the consequences of these two things combined had escaped me. I am not happy about the tracking data being sent back to the remote servers that Facebook has control of. I can understand why Facebook bought the company now. So now, I am no longer annoyed that the app is going to be turned off. It's a good reminder to me that things change, often insidiously behind the scenes.

So now I am looking for an alternative to Moves, but one that doesn't transfer my data off my phone. I don't want to share my data. And I will do an audit of the deep owners of all the apps I use, and any apps owned by Facebook will be deleted, and the other apps will be checked to see where the data goes, and I think I will reduce my app footprint a lot.

I feel strongly about this, and it will give me something to do in retirement. I will attempt to write my own iPhone apps that do the things I want to do on my phone, but safely and privately. I doubt if I will earn anything from apps, but if they give me an alternative where I control my data, then I will be happy. Only old curmudgeons like me care about this stuff, and I only started caring about it in the last few years, and clearly I have let a lot slip through my fingers. That's on me, but I will be far more cautious from now on.

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