Month: February 2016

I too used to be a Cable-holic, An ode to my fellow cable-holics

Every once in awhile when I scroll my Facebook timeline I see people complaining about their cable bill, weird fees and the hundreds of channels they don’t even watch. So I’m writing about my deliverance from cable in hopes of helping someone cut the cord and join the revolution (and save $$$).

Up until July of 2013, I was a cable-holic. Addicted to DVR-ing, OnDemand and access to many channels. I slowly began to realize that I had hundreds of channels (most of which I did not watch), decent speed internet and a land line phone I did not use. I needed help. I too was tricked into bundles, paying for services that I did not need. I used to be on the phone constantly with my cable company disputing this fee or that fee or some other weird fee. I was paying around $200.00 for 3 services, two of which (landline and 100s of channels) I could do with out.

My help arrived in the form of cable cutting

cut the cord.jpg

My cable addiction was over in July of 2013. After weeks of researching media technology like Roku,  HD antenna’s and Smart TVs, along with reviewing the benefits of cord cutting, I finally decided to rebuke cable (and the adjustable rate bundle) from my house and “cut the cord”. The transition from cable to essentially viewing media on demand was adjustment at first, but my family and I became used to it quickly. I have no regrets living without cable. I no longer have to plan my evenings (or life) around a certain night just to watch a certain show. I can watch TV at my own pace, when I want to, I can even binge watch TV shows (I highly recommend binge watching Breaking Bad by the way) Let me use technology to explain my cable freedom…

Roku (the cable box replacement)

A Roku is small black box that allows you to instantly stream your favorite TV shows. The prices for a Roku range from $49.99 to $129.99. Here are the different Roku models found here. To replace my cable box, I bought 3 Roku boxes and a Roku TV.  The Roku box versions that I have are two Roku 2’s and a Roku 3. At some point I will upgrade to a Roku 4. Your probably wondering what kind of stuff can I watch via the Roku box?

The good thing about Roku is that there are 1000’s of channels to watch. Most free, some paid and some that are subscription based. I have a mixture of free and subscription based channels like Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV. Netflix covers my movies, TV shows and original content. Hulu covers my TV shows along with more original content and then there is Sling TV. Sling TV is special. Sling TV solidified my reasoning for cutting the cable. Sling TV will actually make your transition from cable at lot easier. Sling TV is subscription based that costs 19.99 a month which grants access to channels like AMC (for my Walking Dead fans), ESPN 1&2, HGTV, TNT, TBS and a few other impressive line ups that all stream live as if I was….watching cable.

There are also a la carte options for Sling TV in case you want to add more channels for your kids or your own special interests. All of my media viewing is over the internet. So the only service I have from my the cable company is high speed internet, great segway into the next topic…

Cable modem

Did you know that your cable company is charging you a rental fee for your cable modem? An average, cable modems cost in the $50.00 to $70.00 range (this is a one time fee vs montly fee). If you are paying $8.00 a month for a cable modem lets just say for a year you have paid $96.00. So with this cost you could have easily bought your own cable modem and end up saving more $$$ in the end instead of renting the cable modem.

Antenna

For my local channels like ABC, CBS, CW, etc I use an indoor antenna. I bought two TERK antenna’s that display the local channels in high definition. Here are the models that I am currently using: TERK 1 and TERK 2.  The good thing about this option is that I get 20+ HD channels for free.

This is not intended to be a vendor biased article.There are other set top boxes available such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and other devices that you can use to stream your media. Between all of this technology / media streaming, my family and I are entertained daily. I am just giving insight into what I use and how I am able to function with out cable and paying out the extra money.

Will you cut the cord? Let me know if you decide to. Join the revolution…If you have further questions, need help or a deeper explanation, let me know,  I am willing to help out.

 

Secure your Selfies!!!

Instagram is in the process of rolling out its new security feature in its latest attempt to further protect you from hackers. With the latest update (to be rolled out in phases), Instagram will add two factor authentication to its app for better account protection.

Two-factor authentication or 2FA adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. Entering only your username and one password is considered a single-factor authentication. 2FA requires the a user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to log into an account.

Here are three types of 2FA:

  • Something you know, such as a personal identification number (PIN), pattern or a password.
  • Something you are, i.e.bio-metric like a fingerprint, voice, or eye (retinal scan)
  • Something you have, such as an ATM card, token, or phone.

If you decide to activate 2FA within Instagram, logging into the app will now begin to require your password AND an additional security code. The code will be sent to you via SMS ( Short Message Service a.k.a. Text). With 2FA activated, Instagram will send you an SMS security code every time you login as an extra layer of security. The new input screen that will appear after the regular login page will look like this:

INSTAGRAM-TWO-FACTOR-AUTHENTICAITON-PROMPT

I currently use 2FA for my online banking, Mint, Smarty Pig and Facebook. Again this security feature will be updated over time so if you do not see the 2FA option right now, it will arrive eventually. Continue to make sure your app is updated to the latest version as well. Once the update is rolled out it will be listed under “Posts you’ve liked” option in the settings page of your Instagram account.

INSTAGRAM-SECURITY-AUTHENTICATION-OPTION

Again 2FA is another added layer of security to protect your accounts and online identity from hackers. Though not 100% (like security features in general), it is a very effective security practice to deter malicious activity. Currently Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google and a host of others use 2FA as well. What other apps or accounts do you currently use 2FA for?