Unplug your computer. Hide your smartphone. Misplace your tablet, now. Reconnect all on Tuesday.
Cyber Monday, the online extension of Black Friday, entices you to spend for illusory savings. At least in brick and mortar stores you can see and touch the electronics, but online you must depend on doctored photos, glorified copywriting and less-than-honest reviews.
So exercise some self-control. Most of those bargains will pop up again between now and New Year’s.
Also, TVs go on sale again in late January after manufacturers introduce new models at the Consumer Electronics Show and in time for the Super Bowl. Take your time to evaluate what you really want and whether it’s truly a value.
What’s this? While perusing the new 2020 Toyota Camry I spied something in the dashboard that paleontologists considered extinct: a CD slot.
Toyota offers CD players on several different models, depending upon trim level.
Rip-ped off. Speaking of CDs, Murfie, the company in Madison, Wis., that I wrote about many years ago, unplugged its CD player, or should I say roomful of CD players.
This little company ripped your CDs to the cloud (in other words, a giant server) allowing you access to your music via computer, phone or tablet. They would store your CDs in their warehouse. You could not sell the CDs or that would violate copyright.
Murfie ceased operations. It did a terrific job of ripping about 12,000 CDs for my radio station a few years ago, except the audio from those CDs went onto our own servers, not the cloud. Murfie provided a useful and valuable service, but lack of demand failed to keep it going.
Cash and carriers ... A friend recently asked me if she should subscribe to Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile cellphone service and drop her existing carrier. The answer is a definite maybe.
Whenever you’re in range of a Comcast hotspot it routes your calls via WiFi. When you’re out of range it uses service from Verizon.
Comcast offers a great bargain, especially if you don’t do much traveling and don’t require a lot of data. It depends upon a phone capable of WiFi calling, which rules out many older smartphones.
If you travel overseas you will have to buy a SIM card local to that area. You must subscribe to Comcast’s internet service and if you bundle the mobile service with other Comcast services it costs as little at $12 extra a month for unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of data. Unlimited data ups that to $45 a month, still a fairly good deal.
Wading into streaming services. Speaking of Comcast, it recently suffered an outage for a few days in parts of Champaign.
In desperation, another friend discovered he could watch all of his favorite channels from the internet using an Amazon Fire Stick. He’s now considering keeping Comcast’s TV only for internet.
Depending on the channels you want and your viewing habits, a Fire Stick or Roku Stick might save you money over the traditional cable TV bundle.
A reader informed me he was having problems with the Fire Stick on one of his TVs and asked if a Roku would do better.
Roku enjoys a very good reputation and is “agnostic” when it comes to sources and platforms. The Fire Stick favors Amazon services. Just be sure you choose the 4K version of either if you have a 4K TV and that you have a very good, high speed WiFi router.About those lights.A reader inquired about flashing lights atop broadcast towers and what government agency regulates them.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets the parameters and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces them.
In most cases, any antenna structure over 150 feet (about 15 stories) requires some form of flashing light.
Formulas determine whether that light is a blinking red light or a flashing white strobe. If a tower light goes dark for more than 30 minutes, the FAA is supposed to be notified.