On Cutting the Cord

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You requested it – I listened – so here it is – a post about replacing your cable or satellite television system.

This past July, we made the decision to shed our television provider for a local antenna. We simply were tired of dealing with price increases and playing the promotion game in order to get a reasonable rate we were willing to pay.

Your biology class may have used a dichotomous key as a tool to identify organisms as trees, flowers, fish, and others. These keys begin with a question followed by options (typically 2) that force the user to make a choice. The decision may include information followed by a “Go-to” statement, which directs the user to their next question (by number). To me, this tool is similar to a flow chart displaying a decision tree.

I constructed the dichotomous key below as a tool to help interested parties make a decision about cutting the cord. Answer the question, then follow the appropriate “Go-to” statement. Bullets are notes that go with that answer.

A Decision Tree

1) Do you want local channels?

1A) Yes – Go to 2

  • Depending on your distance from the stations, you may need an amplifier
  • The higher the antenna location, the better the reception
  • In general, outdoor-type antennas are better than indoor antennas, and multidirectional/omnidirectional antennas are better than directional
  • Condos owners – consider an attic because high inside is better than low outside
  • Consider an using an installer
  • You will receive more stations than you anticipate because some local stations offer substations. Click here to find your local channels by zip code.

1B) No – Go to 3

2) Do you want to record shows from local channels?

2A) Yes – then purchase a DVR – Go to 3

  • Beware of monthly fees
  • DVR will only record shows on stations from the antenna, not from streaming
  • We purchased a TiVo Roamio OTA, no monthly fees (from Amazon)

2B) No – Go to 3

3) Do you want “cable” stations?

3A) Yes – Go to 4

3B) No – Go to 7

4) Do you know your options for receiving cable stations?

4A) Yes – Go to 5

4B) No – You will need to do the following, then Go to 5

  1. Identify the most important stations for your household
  2. Research available streaming options as Sling, DirectTV Now, Hulu TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Watch TV
  3. Prioritize the services by comparing their offerings to your most-important stations list

5) Do you want to record “cable” shows?

5A) Yes – Go to 6

  • Remember, DVR equipment (as TiVo) does not record streaming services
  • Some (but not all) streaming services offer DVR cloud service, so select the service with this option

5B) No – Go to 7

6) Does your preferred streaming option offer DVR cloud service?

6A) Yes – Go to 7

6B) No – re-prioritize your streaming options or change your desire for DVR cloud service – Go to 7

7) Do you have or want streaming services as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime, or others?

7A) Yes – No problems – Go to 8

  • Previous choices should not affect these services
  • These services run on dedicated apps
  • Streaming service are more efficient through wire than through wireless

7B) No – Go to 8

8) Did this exercise help?

8A) Yes – Congratulations because you may know more about the topic than you did

8B) No – Seek professional help

Our Decision

Although we did not do this to cut expenses, our decision saved $75 per month. However, we spent about $800 for the antenna, its installation, and the DVR – but our savings should take care of the expenses in 11 months.

Based on what our viewing preferences, we selected Sling Blue – but at the expense of me losing the ESPN family (and Discovery Channel). (We gained BBC America.) However, I may expand to Sling Orange for several months to have access to ESPN college football – then cancel the Orange tier at season’s end.

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On Blog Break May 2018

It’s time for my seasonal blog break. I’m anticipating 3-6 weeks. During that time, I expect a blend of absence and occasional appearances. Before I go, a few random thoughts in the Opinions in the Shorts style.

During my absence, I encourage readers to visit a blog you may not know. You have my right sidebar here for starters and the Blogroll page on the tabs. Tell them I sent you.

ArtWorks announced that Fiona, Cincinnati’s darling hippo, is going to have her own mural. They are also letting the public vote on the design. See the choices here – and yes – you can vote!

For those interested in odd records, this link is about 20 Guinness World Records tied to Cincinnati.

Cheers to the Costco Optical Department for continuing to provide great value for those needing corrective eyewear.

I’m enjoying the hype for the upcoming royal wedding – especially the reports from England about the people and the places. I wonder how much training the bride has done about royal protocol.

Faith Saile did this great report on CBS News comparing American English and British English. It’s worth the 2+ minutes.

Given the hubbub about the Iran nuclear deal, I enjoyed this article to brings issues to light.

Regarding the possibility of the US-North Korea summit, instead of meeting in Singapore, I favor a game of cornhole at the DMZ border. A target on each side of the border is perfect!

Yes – there is a possibility of Donald Trump winning re-election in 2020. I’m raising the possibility from 15% to 35%.

Washington Post’s conservative columnist George Will has never been a President Trump fan – I would say he is more of an antagonist. In this recent column about Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Will’s closing paragraph was priceless.

There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.

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Here are a few leftover peels from The Onion I have lying around.
Fitbit releases new tracking collar that gets tighter every second you are inactive
Napkinless man with grease-covered fingers realizes he’s trapped in a prison of his own creation
Grandma getting to point she looks like every other grandma
Alcoholic parent easy to shop for
Scientists create artificial placenta that tastes just as delicious as real one
Breakfast in bed served to mom who just eaten out

Interesting Reads
The early days of Israel
The adaptive jaguar
Can Artificial Intelligence doom humans?
Sacred spaces and the 21st century
The dominant lens company
(Pictures) The neon blue tide

To send you into my blog break, enjoy this short song from the electric sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Remember to visit other blogs on my list! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Blog-Break Time

Odds and Ends
Thanks for birthday greetings. Receiving birthday greetings from around the world makes the day extra special! A Saturday birthday was a good time to celebrate the entire weekend. Besides, my variation of on-this-day-in-history was different for me.

We in the US just celebrated a holiday. Which is correct: Presidents Day, President’s Day, or Presidents’ Day? The answer is simple: 1) It depends on who you ask because style manuals differ – and 2) it depends on how the law is written in each state. That’s crazy! In this case I favor Presidents Day.

A salute to high school students becoming activists regarding gun violence.

I missed my prediction about the US hockey team. Fortunately they played Slovakia twice – but that team beat the Russians.

Time for a blog break. I’ve been going strong since September, so I’m ready for some time off. I’m guessing 2-4 weeks of no posting. Nothing urgent at this end, but I know the time is right. Besides, blog breaks are good!

That doesn’t mean I won’t be preparing future posts, but I will reduce my online presence – but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop by. In other words, time will tell. I imagine returning sometime in March – preferably in the first half of the month – but one never knows.

In the spirit of Opinions in the Shorts, I conclude with some Onion Headlines, Interesting Reads, and a song.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Teddy Bear feels terrible for sparking “What are We? Conversation
Area ladder never thought it would end up as bookcase
Pet turtle going hog-wild on terrarium’s new stick
Man hates it when trailer gives away entire premise of movie
Archeologists unearth ivory trumpet dating back to prehistoric jazz age
Cute new dog helping single man pick up tons of hot shit
Raytheon unveils military robot capable of composing poignant poems about horrors of war

Interesting Reads
Birth of the Academy Awards
An international comparison of health care systems
Is tech dividing America?
A changing Saudi Arabia
(Blogger) Toilets for the half-assed … (a must see)
(Video) Now this is a tough commute
(Photos) 2018 World Press Photo Contest nominees

Until we meet again and as Garrison Keillor says, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Time Before Me

Click the video for background music for this post.

The day before I was born, baseball great Ted Williams safely landed his damaged jet – for which he earned an Air Medal

One month before I was born, Tito became the first president of Yugoslavia – a position he held for 27 years

One year before I was born, a nor’easter blanketed New England

4 years before I was born, Chaim Weitzman elected first president of Israel

6 years before I was born, Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union

10 years before I was born, Sergei Rachmaninoff performed his last concert

15 years before I was born, first public experimental demonstration of Baird color TV occurred in London

20 years before I was born, the US Senate passes the Blaine Act to end Prohibition and first issue of Newsweek magazine appeared on newsstands

30 years before I was born, British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun (King Tut)

40 years before I was born, New York Armory Show introduced Picasso to American public

42 years before I was born, General Motors installed the first electric starter for a car into a Cadillac

49 years before I was born, opera Madame Butterfly debuted in Milan

52 years before I was born composer Gustav Mahler conducted the premiere of his Second Symphony

70 years before I was born, A. Ashwell patented the free-toilet in London

75 years before I was born, first telephone exchange in San Francisco opened with 18 phones

77 years before I was born sardines were first canned in Eastport, Maine

86 years before I was born, chocolate manufacturer William Cadbury was born and the first ship passed through Suez Canal

88 years before I was born, Union forces regained Fort Sumter (US Civil War)

117 years before I was born, the HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin left Tasmania

277 years before I was born, Kings Charles II (England) and Louis XIV (France) signed a secret treaty

355 years before I was born, Boris Godunov chosen tsar of Russia

1,589 years before I was born, Roman Emperor Jovian died

The day I was born was 17 February 1953

65 years after I was born, I celebrate another birthday with a historical look at February 17th – so the number salute to 65 will be soon.

Happy 65th Birthday from Mini-Me

 

On a Good Reason

I’ve often stated, “Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging.”

This is one of those times. Besides working around personal plans, we have a high-priority family situation requiring time and effort: helping an elderly aunt with some important facets of her life. The tough part is being separated by 3+ hours of driving. Timing is not good from our end – but hey – one must do what one has to do.

Time away from here should be 4-8 weeks. I want the bloggers here to know about my absence from posting, so this is my way of saying thanks for caring and all is well with us.

To send you into an unexpected break, here’s a new one from The Piano Guys … and its title is fitting for this post. See you upon my return. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Footprints Challenge

It’s challenge time!

Long-time visitors to my little corner of the world know that writing fiction isn’t my thing. With over 1,900 posts, I’ve written one fiction post. Actually two because the original post did turn into a short story challenge that involved me changing my original story.

Not that I’m changing my format in on these pages, but what the heck – let’s try it again!

1. Write a short story based on the image below in the genre of your choice.


2. The story must be 150 words or less.

3. Publish your story after I post mine (Monday, July 10th @ 12:15 am Eastern US) AND link back to the post with my story (not this post).

4. Display the image above your story

5. The story title must be Footprints in the Sand

6. Display the following image after the story.

Pre-Blog Break Shorts & Snorts

The Cincinnati Zoo reported (Tuesday) that Fiona weighs 130 pounds. This is what she does when she’s dreaming.

Monday was Opening Day in Cincinnati. Based on the morning weather reports, we decided to stay dry by not attending downtown festivities … and it didn’t rain a drop! … Damn Obama!

Congratulations of the North Carolina Tar Heels for representing ABK with distinction in the men’s basketball tournament. For those who don’t know, that’s Anybody But Kentucky.

Although their winning streak was surprisingly snapped, a tip of the cap to the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. Wow – winning 111 games in a row is unbelievable … so I imagine a new streak will start sometime in November.

I enjoy celebrating milestones with a numbers tribute – as the last post was for our 40th wedding anniversary. Our schedule dictated that we go out for a nice dinner the evening before, and it was wonderful. Thanks again for the anniversary wishes.

Count me in on the outcry that penalties should not be based on communication from spectators. The PGA and the LPGA need to put an end to the nonsense!

I can’t recall ever seeing ads on television supporting a Supreme Court nominee. I remain standing firm on my stance of Last Judge Standing, and will continue that position until I feel it is no longer necessary – but I wonder if that will happen in my lifetime.

I continue to avoid watching Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rachel Maddow. I very seldom read columns by EJ Dionne, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Eugene Robinson. Why? … I can think for myself and do not need partisans to verify my position. After all, I have it even better because I have all the partisans to prove my point.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell (JA/R-KY) is threatening to impose the rule change known as the Nuclear Option. I say go right ahead because we citizens need more dysfunction based on partisanship. After all, Former Majority Leader Reid (JA/D-NV) did his share to lead the way by setting an example. Follow the lead, jackasses!

Cheers to Stephen Colbert who makes me laugh at the political chaos. I know he’s a partisan, but he still makes me laugh.

April has a way of being hectic. Better weather gets us outside. Golf league for both of us will ramp up. Working hours will increase at the golf course. Taxes to be filed. The handbell choir prepares for Easter Sunday. Dances are to be done. The Masters golf tournament is a must-watch event. Baseball season has started. A room painting project in the near future. Vacations to plan, and more.

This blog has been very steady for almost 6 months, so it’s time for a blog break. Not sure how I will spend it, so don’t be surprised if I go visiting. For the record, more Beach Walks are to come.

To send you into my blog break, this song goes out to the dreaming Fiona. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.