Streaming your choice of video channels is what the future holds. I spend a good chunk of my day job looking at the prices of Internet services across the county.
I studied cable, DSL, and fiber services in dozens of counties and communities last year. That along with my personal experience with prices and as an early streamer starting several years ago has helped our family to continue to save money after switching from cable and its expensive packages to fiber and streaming services.
However, it is easy to go overboard with streaming. The grandchildren show up and their favorite shows are on Disney+, so you subscribe. An older child comes home and wants some Apple TV channels. It only takes three or four spur of moment decisions added to your regular streaming services and you will be paying more than you would be for a cable package.
The way we handle our streaming services is to keep them on a budget. We budget $40 monthly for streaming services. We are Amazon Prime members so I am not sure we would allocate the full $8.99 (stand-alone cost) for Prime video but as you will see, even when we do that, we are still well under budget.
Our four current services for a fee are Prime Video at $8.99 monthly, Paramount+ $5.99 monthly, Britbox $6.99 monthly, and PBS Masterpiece $5.99 monthly for a total of $32.96 for all our streaming services. We also subscribe to the free version of Peacock. I recently canceled Netflix and Acorn while adding Masterpiece and Britbox.
We stream so much that it is easy to run out of new, watchable programs in two to three months. I manage all but one of our channels on Amazon prime so it is easy to see them and the costs all in one place. You also have the advantage of being able to snare some Amazon specials like HBO Maxx or Starx for $1.99 a month for two months. You just have to remember to cancel them. The picture at the top of the post is what you see in Amazon’s Video channels management console.
My studies across the country along the current Hulu and YouTube pricing I see tell me that about $70 a month will get you full range of video services. So if you are paying $70 or more for your streaming services, you are not saving money and it is time to go on a streaming budget.
Towns are magnets and they suck people from the countryside, especially the young and talented. We noticed this happening when we returned to New Brunswick in 2012.We farmed there in the seventies and early eighties. Since our trip, what remained of the three churches in our old town disappeared. The community store closed. Yet the provincial capital, Fredericton, is thriving as the small towns wither. It is a story repeated time and again in Canada and the United States.
I still worry that some of those wild places like the North Carolina coast will become too populated. I sometimes think that what we call the Northern Outer Banks from Corolla to Cape Hatteras will sink into the seas just from the weight of all those beach castles. I offer up my profound thanks for those who created the National Seashores. Beyond nourishing our souls places like coastal Carteret County and hilly Davie County where we now live grow a lot of food that North Carolina cities need.
Technology that empowers you is more than just the technology. To be really successful technolog has to be packaged in an affordable way and be easy to use to accomplish tasks that are important.
I was working for Apple Canada and living in Halifax, Nova Scotia in January 1985 when Apple introduced the LaserWriter, the first laser printer to be widely used. Ignoring the first home computers, this was also the first time I was involved with the rollout of technology that had the power to fundamentally change the way we did things.
The list price was $6,995 and more important to those of us lugging it around for demonstrations, it weighed 77 pounds.
I was happy that my previous career was running a cattle farm where I spent much of the winter hauling around 100 lb+ bags of feed.
It is a measure of how technology change accelerates that the third week in December 2011, just about twenty-six years later, I bought a Brother HL-2270DW laser printer for $99.98. It only weighed 15.4 pounds.
The original Apple LaserWriter printed eight pages per minute of 300 DPI text and graphics using a 12 Mhz Motorola 68000 chip.
The Brother printer that I bought in 2011 printed at 27 pages per minute at up to 2400 X 600 DPI. It had a 200 Mhz processor. The Brother printer comes with Ethernet and wireless connectivity. The Apple LaserWriter only had LocalTalk, a very slow but revolutionary network for 1985.
The original LaserWriter were heavy and expensive. Few of them made it into home offices in the early days. The most recent Brother Laser that I purchased was only $85. (Read More)
I have used a lot of different printers over the years. Printing needs change over time and old printers eventually stop working or no longer work so well with new computers. Eighteen months ago, I donated my fourteen-year-old HP inkjet AIO printer to a local charity. It was still working but a challenge to use with my newer computers. I bought a new and smaller Canon inkjet AIO printer. In mid-June it dawned on me that if I purchased the ink cartridges that I was going to need for the summer that my ink expenditure would be greater than what I paid for the printer. I decided to get off the inkjet-cartridge-wagon train. Read about the printer that I chose at this link. There is nothing like the potential of saving money to push us to change our habits.
Electronic communications were not always as easy as tapping an app on your Smartphone. For years most electronic communications were stove-piped with almost all communication limited to internal emails to people who worked for the same company. Even once the Internet made it possible to communicate between companies and organizations, getting hooked up and communicating was an evolving challenge. Read more at this link.
I recently wrote a post, Success from Working at Home. As I have seen people struggling with their first efforts at working from home, it occurred to me that people might need more suggestions, particularly with the things that I take for granted and the habits that I have developed over my thirty-five plus years of mostly working from home. Many of these things do not seem special to me. They are just the way that I have learned to accomplish tasks for decades.
Once you take the step of working from home, the back end system that provides services to your office will become very important.
VPNs allow us to access file servers on the corporate network. If you do not have a VPN that gives you file access, you will need some cloud services.
In order to get to those files on the servers or in the cloud, you need a good, fast, reliable Internet connection. DSL usually just does not work well enough to be useful. The fastest cable connections are okay but if you are uploading large files, you are probably going to wish you had a fiber connection.
A good phone that provides clear sound is essential and if you are getting your phone from your Internet service provider and have a flakey Internet, remember to not count on your phone.
If you do a lot of conference calls, a good microphone will help.
A good collaboration tool which let you talk, text, and share files is essential.
Of course you also need the right software, the knowledge to use it, and the discipline to use the cloud tools or VPN so that people can collaborate with you.
Read more detailed information on how to be successful working from home at the following link. [Read More Here].
I have had decades of experience working from home. It has worked well for me and I have never considered it an impediment to my career or to working with clients. To read what has worked for me, click this link.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving 2018, the View from the Mountain blog will have its fourteenth anniversary. It was not my first adventure on the web but it certainly has been my most persistent presence. There are close to fifteen hundred posts at View from the Mountain. Read more