Decisions, Decisions

Now that I’ve had Uverse disconnected, I’ve been faced with decisions. I won’t mention the ones I’ve discarded. At this point, it’s pointless.

I decided on the T-mobil approach. I picked up the little box and a few hours later, I had a network. With the knowledge I have now, it would take 20 minutes.

I now have a phone, 3 Kendles, desktop computer and Android pad running off of it. The most difficult part to adding devices is entering passwords by pseudo-button keyboards. I have big fingers that make it a little more challenging.

Response on all the devices is good though I currently use but one device at a time.

Now, instead of 226 for cable and internet, it’s 55 for internet. I have not yet tried to hook up my smart TV nor do I know if it’s possible. If not, I’m still a long way ahead.

I do have one hint for anyone else going this route. On the gateway is a label with many useful words. It would be a good idea to jot down the default info. You will need it later and it might not be as easy to read.

I placed my gateway on the front window sill and I am receiving a strong signal from T-mobile. I suppose if I put it higher, but it is somewhat academic. I might or might not get 5 bars instead of the steady 4.

As for my desktop, I get 5 bars instead of the 3 I had from the Uverse gateway. This is in spite of the now greater distance.

So far, every comparison comes out in favor of T-mobil. I wish I made the decision much sooner. Not only would have saved a bundle of money, but the performance would have been better too.

History of TV Reception

When TVs first came out, the TV antenna soon followed. After just a short time, a person could pan the rooftops and see the antennas sticking up from most of the houses.

Some had to settle for rabit ears. Some, me included had broken antennas and settled for wire clothes hangers. My clothes hanger worked very well. I wish I could say it was because of my great knowledge of electronics but, in my case, I had a good picture without having to alter the hanger at all.

On the other hand, some needed 40, 50, or even 70 foot masts to receive signals from a 100 or more miles away. To complicate matters, some received signals from 2 or 3 different directions. To do this, they had what they called rotors and they worked well. It was a tad on the pricey side though. Not only did one need the equipment, but it also had to be installed.

I don’t know who first thought of the idea of cable, but I noticed it being installed in rural areas in the late 50s and early 60s. It was good for the stations and sponsors as it increased those receiving their programming and ads. There is no need to say it was good for those receiving cable. That’s obvious.

Over the years, those selling cable found more customers and types of customers. People in apartments and folks who hated ugly antennas sticking up all over the neighborhood. Also, the reception quality improved.

Perhaps one of the main reasons the cable idea spread so rapidly was the increase in channels available. People in San Diego watched L.A. channels, for example. In addition, what I call pseudo-stations started popping up.

Then, to improve reception and increase features, they went to digital. I never liked that much in the past, even less now. What started out to be a way to receive a good picture for 15 or 20 a month has turned into a huge conglomerate (if I may misuse the word) of sations, most of which are mental wastelands that I spent 226 a month. That is a big bite from my social security.

I just had my cable disconnected and I am now aware of why I don’t like digital TV. If a person buys an expensive antenna, after spending hours adjusting it and fussing with it, it almost works, almost doesn’t. Mostly, gone are the days of using a hanger. Now we must use 39.95 antennas that I can’t even receive all the local channels I received just fine in the old analogs. Moreover, I keep losing the picture into wild pixelations.

I guess the FCC had us in mind as they made the decision to digitize broadcasts, or at least I hope so. Then again, maybe it would help if the 39.95 antenna worked better than a clothes hanger.

(Does anyone know where I can get a metal clothes hanger? )

Pulling the Plug on U-Verse

Reasons:

Biggest, cost. I was paying 150 for TV and internet. I am living totally on Social Security and that is a big bite of my income. With inflation, I simply need to make cuts somewhere.

Frustrating: The signal becoming less reliable. In addition, I have to restart what they call a receiver just about daily.

Final straw: They refused to look at my line when it went down Friday and I didn’t know my 4 digit number. They said it was for my security as if I’m going to tell U-Verse when a neighbor`s service. (How wound I know? )

So tomorrow I take it all down, get antenna and go to McDonald’s when i want to get on line. And, oh yes, save a bunch of money. I would say 150 but I hear inflation has hit them too. Rumor is they are raising their rates.

Perhaps it is all for the good, anyway. I suspect they are wanting to shut the service down in favor of using satellite.

Too bad. For quite a while, they were the best in cable.

Cutting Costs

Joe says it’s not his fault. He says that there’s nothing he can do about it. Yet since he occupied the Oval Office, things have been going up, fast…gas, milk, cars, rent, cable, dining out, etc, etc.

I’m retired now so I thought I was immune somewhat from the increase in gas costs. Wow! Was I wrong! I mean I only fill my 13 gallon tank every other week but it over costs twice as much to. Every time I go into the grocery store, it costs me $130 or more to get out…and we visit the local restaurants quite often.

The realization has hit me. It’s time to cut costs or our bank accounts will start shrinking. So I’ve started preparing a list of things we won’t need.

1st. Cable and internet. They are really nice but we don’t need them. Dropping them will say more $150 a month. I’ll have to rely on the old antenna for entertainment. Oddly, I’ll miss the DVR more than the stations. Other than a few news stations, I watch very little. Though I must admit I will miss watching Hannity, I can still listen to him 3 hours on the radio. Besides all this, they raise their costs every now and without my permission.

2nd. Cell phones. This one is painful for a number of reasons. Mostly I, it is a matter of emergencies. For instance, if I need to call a tow truck or I have an accident. The alternative to T-mobile is going with the cheapest company I can find.

3rd. We will need to eat at home more. I don’t mind cooking. I just don’t like the clean up. Besides, with just the two of us, we end up wasting a lot. I hate that. It rubs me the wrong way. Well, the going green folks would like it. It would cut back on my fuel usage. On the other hand, those at the local eateries wouldn’t like losing my business. On the other hand the cable company will not miss me. In Indeed, they sort of act like they want to get rid of me.

Beyond that, I guess I will have to go back to work. I’ve already considered that option. I’d already be punching time clock but my wife panics when she’s left alone. I guess if Joe keeps running things, I’ll have to figure out something.

Orange County Housewives?

I have seen the show advertised on TV a number of times. I really have no interest in the show or anything like it. However, it did draw my curiosity in one respect, which Orange County?

As a boy grew up in Garden Grove, CA, a city in Orange County. If you check the map, you will find it is just down the road from Disneyland. Then, I noticed a mechanics show on TV, which took place in Orange County. I assumed it was in CA. Surprise, surprise. It was in New York State. I had a hard time wrapping my head around that one. I didn’t know they grew oranges in NY…maybe they don’t I don’t know why the county got its name.

Then one day, quite by accident, I found out that there is an Orange County in FL. That does make sense. They do grow oranges in FL, though they are nowhere near as good as the ones from CA.

Then, about a week ago, I found out there is an Orange County TX. I have no idea if they grow oranges but I suppose the they might. I guess they have the climate for it provided it is not too far north. Oranges are very subject to freezes. One cold winter can kill off all the trees. It doesn’t do the crop any good either.

So now here I am, trying to figure out which Orange County the show is about. Oh by the way, I looked on the internet and there are apparently also Orange Counties in Virginia, Indiana, N.C. and VT. In addition, there is an Orangeburg in South Carolina. I don’t know for sure if I included them all here, but apparently there are nine altogether when Orangeburg is included. That is just almost one tenth of the states. It is over one tenth if you only count the contiguous 48 states.

At any rate, I watched the show for about 15 minutes. I did not find anything that truly told me which of the Orange County housewives they were referring to. There was neither a description in the program nor within the little bit I watched.

I did come up with two conclusions about it. First, it had to be pretty much south as the season was Christmas and no one was was wearing any coats. Second, if you didn’t watch the show, you haven’t missed anything, that is unless you are the type who enjoys watching grass grow.

Cruise Ships

From time to time, I’ve looked at a few of those cruise ship things where they tout how nice it would be to go on a cruise ship. I also looked at a few of the river cruise videos. I think I sort of like the river cruises a little better but I do have something of a problem with them all, especially the river cruises.

It seems that no matter what the cruise or where they go, there is wine involved, at least twice a day. I mean, why would I need to board a ship to drink wine. Besides, it would be much less expensive if I just sat at home and drank it.

Actually, I don’t drink wine, or any alcoholic beverage. Also, whenever I can, I discourage others to do so. Therefore, my question is purely hypothetical. (I guess that is the word for it) The thing is, even if I did drink wine, it does add a substantial cost to getting drunk. I mean most of those cruises are a grand for each passenger.

It seems to me as if the people that put these shows on TV can’t think of anything else to do on the cruises. They go here and they go through some ancient city followed by a glass or two of wine. Then they go over there, where they sample the local wine. Then of course, it is over to this wonderful place where everyone enjoys a toast with this wine.

I don’t get it. Isn’t the purpose of these cruises to see the sights and get to know the people.

Even if I did enjoy wine, I don’t think I would want to go on any of these cruises. I mean, it would be nice to see the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids of Egypt. However, the question I have is, “Do they have any regular food?” I mean I like hamburgers, french fries and Diet Coke. Maybe I would need to notify the cruise line that I’m not too keen on the fancy stuff. Every now and again, I like a baked potato with a medium well steak, usually sirloin. And oh yes, I like my fish actually cooked, without the eyes looking back at me.

I guess that is why I will never get rich. I would never survive in the environment. I’m not one who likes fancy stuff. If I ever became a billionaire and bought a 150 foot yacht, It would have no bar or Jacuzzi. Also, I think I would want to make sure the chef would know how to make hamburgers and hot dogs.

I would guess any guests that I would have along wouldn’t like it so much, but it is my boat, my imagination. If they want raw fish, they need to use their imagination to get their boat and their chef. Then again, why would a person need a chef to cook raw fish. On the other hand, I suppose they could freeload with the billionaire they know.

To be sure, if you are one of those go green types, you might not want to go on those cruises. Even the imagination ones burn diesel like you wouldn’t believe.

Cable TV

I discovered something interesting about my cable service (AT&T U-Verse) a couple of weeks ago.  There is a way I can hide undesired channels.  So, I started hiding channels.  Suddenly, my channel surfing has become much faster.

One of the first things I eliminated were those home shopping channels, or anything that was nothing but commercials.  I find it difficult to believe but I have been told that there are folks that watch these channels almost continually.  I guess if they want to, I have no problems with it, but I see no reason to give them any notice at all.  Paying for advertisements sort of irks me.

Then, the other day, the power converter for my DVR went out.  Well, actually, I guess it is AT&T’s.  They are just letting me use it for a fee.  I tried to get in contact with AT&T and the first thing they wanted was my password.

So…, I got on the net and checked with Amazon.  Guess what?  They had a converter just like it for about 7 and a half dollars.  Now, a few days later, I have my DVR back and I didn’t have to deal with AT&T’s no service; and I didn’t need a password.

Between the previous 2 events, I am beginning to have second thoughts about cable, any cable.  There are only 5 TV shows I watch on a regular basis and I can get them with an antenna.  I do like to watch FOX news, but I can get that over the Internet.  I do like watching the Hallmark channel from time to time.  The biggest advantage with that channel is that they are generally careful about the ads they put on.  It would appear that even that is eroding.  They kicked off one ad and you’d think they just started the beginning of the end of the world.

Really, the only reason I got the cable in the first place was for my wife.  Here lately, she hardly watches TV much at all.  I think she watches it about 4 or 5 hours a month.  I may just call them up and tell them to discontinue it, that is, if I can remember my password.

My suspicions are that, if I had it pulled, I wouldn’t miss it.  Not only that, I would save over $150 dollars a month.  I know some people consider cable a necessity, but I believe they are just selling us a bill of goods.  Out all those hundreds of channels there’s not a dozen that have any worth.