Today, Wednesday, 10 May 2017, I happen to see Amazon’s ad for the new Echo Show.  It really looks like something from a science fiction movie…except it isn’t.  If you watch the video, you’ll see what I mean.

Note that this will actually become available on 28 Jun 2017 for $229.  It’s actually not bad considering the original echo was introduced at a price of $199–no video, just audio.

I was really tempted to buy one, but I thought…”Do I really need one?”  I suppose right now I don’t, but maybe this will go on sale come black Friday in November.

If you buy one, please share with a comment below.  Let us know what you think.

What's this? A Strawberry Spider?

Most people have a difficulty thinking out-of-the-box when trying to solve problems or just coming up with fresh ideas.  I, like most people, have difficulty doing this because of ideas, concepts, principles, and philosophies which have been ingrained in my way of thinking over my lifetime.  How can we get over this limitation?  The answer is quite simple.  Look to the young.

The young I refer to are those children who can communicate ideas verbally, but are still too young to be affected by prejudices and biases.  They can be anywhere from 2 to 4 years of age.  If you pay attention to them, you will see what I mean.

Here’s an example.  My grandson is 3 years old.  He is starting to doodle.  Most recently he drew what looked to be in the shape of a strawberry with lines coming out of it.  His mom asked what it was.  He said “strawberry spider”.  I’ve never heard of a strawberry spider, but it does look like one if I ever saw one–this from a kid who is still too young to have any bias in thinking.

One of the things he seems to do very well is to combine ideas or things that don’t seem to have any connection.  We as adults think there are no connections, but kids don’t know any better, and as such aren’t restricted in anyway to make any connections.

So the next time you are in need of some out-of-the box thinking or ideas, check with a kid who is too young to be affected by adult prejudices or biases.

No Cable TV!

Cutting the Cord: No more Cable TV

My family has been with no cable TV for over 2 years now.  We’ve saved almost $1000 over that time.  Well, we didn’t really save; we didn’t have to spend is more accurate.  I imagine some people have more expensive cable packages–in the $100/month range.  At this rate, someone could easily reduce their yearly spending by at least $1000 per year!  That is significant especially in this poor economy.

You might be wondering what we do for entertainment since the TV is generally the modern-day traditional entertainment center.  The secret is high-speed Internet and streaming video.

Within the last decade, high-speed Internet has been here and affordable.  It costs me around $30 per month to maintain DSL speed Internet service.  In 2007, Microsoft came out with built-in WiFi on their Xbox units.  A year later, Netflix became available on the Xbox.  With wireless access points for the home being available at a very affordable price, these two events set the stage for Internet TV.

Today, between YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and the occasional DVD purchase, we can pretty much watch anything on TV.  The only thing we cannot watch are those pay-per-view type events or other events that only makes sense to watch live.  But I think it is only a matter of time before the networks realize that the Internet is the way to go.

This is the basic setup I have:

  • Console:  Xbox 360 4GB Console – around $200 at Amazon.com; you can use the Wii or the PS3 also
  • Internet service:  Verizon’s DSL Service – around $30 per month; any high-speed Internet service will generally do
  • Wireless router:  NETGEAR RangeMax 150 Wireless Router  – around $70 at Amazon.com; this one has been pretty reliable for me
  • Streaming service:  Netflix – $7.99 per month

Have you cut the cord yet?  If so, how are you doing it?

An ad as seen on Apple.com

An ad as seen on Apple.com

A few days ago I received an email from Apple.com with their announcement of the availability of the white iPhone. Only Apple can create such a big hoopla around the availability of such an essential feature such as color.

I wouldn’t be surprised if die-hard Apple fans would line up to get a white iPhone.  Some of my friends are figuring out the Apple marketing scam.  They dupe their loyal and die-hard customers into buying a new iPhone through the incremental introduction of features.  Here are some of the most obvious examples:

  • The original iPhone didn’t have a camera facing the user.  The iPhone 4 added that feature.
  • The original iPhone was in silver/black color; now there is white!
  • The original iPhone had its buttons located in a certain position; the new iPhone made some slight design changes, causing the buttons to move by a  few millimeters–enough so that you can’t use your existing or current iPhone cases with the new iPhone 4 phones.

Here’s what I predict Apple will do to squeeze more moola from its loyal customer base.  In a future release of iPhone, Apple will include or offer:

  • A micro SD slot; NOT! Memory limitation or restriction is what keeps users coming back for more iPhones.
  • Flash player-capable iPhone
  • Standard USB interface
  • A 100% silver colored iPhone.

That’s all I can think of right now.  If you have other ideas to add, please post in the comments section.

This morning, as I did my morning run, I listened to my morning dose of “On the Record” hosted by Greta Van Susteren, I heard something interesting that I normally wouldn’t hear in this show.  She said that a music video titled “Friday” by a 13 year old named Rebecca Black has gone viral on youtube.com with over 100 million hits!  To put this count in perspective, in the United States, there are around 300 million people.

This video has over 2 million dislikes; and According to Greta, Rebecca Black made this video as a joke; but since she has made over 159,000 in music download sales on the recorded music version of this, Rebecca Black is the one laughing on her way to the bank.