Moving In San Antonio; No Magic Needed

Moving into a new house is a stressful process. But with these tips and advice, you'll be able to smooth out the process and get into your new home faster.

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It’s no use lying, moving is difficult. More than difficult, it’s stressful. Changing addresses and physically moving from one location to another is one of the most stressful things that Americans can do. It’s the second one in fact. The first is losing a member within your immediate family and the third is losing your job. The good news is that unlike the first and third options, when you complete the process of buying a new house, it’s something to be happy about. You have succeeded! There’s a home and you have the key. This a place where you’ll find solace. A place to celebrate good times with your family and friends. And it’ll be attached to your name too. Getting into that house, however, is a challenging task.

A simple way would be to don a magical item and “will” your way into the house. Wave your fingers and create a mystical portal to take you from having no house into a house of your own. Sigh. That’d be nice. Even then, however, such trickery would be blocked by other forces. For example; Dr. Strange trying to move from one house to another, without getting killed by the bad guys. (Warning, there is a little language at the beginning of the clip) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-G5rpTKE9Q

House Hunting for Sorcerers

Dr. Strange, the 2016 sci-fi/action flick from Marvel, centers on Dr. Stephen Strange. He’s a gifted surgeon who loses the use of his hands. In his search to regain use of them, he gets involved in a rather confusing war between mystical forces. The good guys want to protect earth from entities that want to consume it. The bad guys want to offer up earth to these entities in hopes of gaining immortality. One of the main tools they use is the Sling Ring. To use this ring, the wearer needs to wave their hands and think of a destination. Abracadabra! There’s a portal taking you to your desired destination. This little ring becomes a plot point in the film, helping both Dr. Strange and his enemies to move freely in and out of structures. If one of these were to fall into the hands of a real estate agent, I can imagine the process of buying and selling real estate would be much, much, easier. Touring new homes would be much faster because you cut out traffic. And once the new home is selected, then abracadabra, you go to the office to sign papers. That’d be nice. But we’re not all sorcerers. Until such a thing is possible, the stress level of getting into a new house is reliant on how well you chose a real estate agent. And not just a singular real estate agent, but a team.

House Hunting for Real People

When you’re looking for a new home, it’s a wonderful time as you look at model homes and home pictures to determine what home is right for you.

Pre-Approval

To make those dreams a reality, the first step is often getting pre-approved for a home loan. If there’s no paperwork involved, then you’ll most likely do all of this online through your bank. You’ll most likely have to provide proof of employment with pay stubs. You’ll also have to declare any outstanding debts you have. This is stuff like your current mortgage (if you’re already living have a house), credit cards, your automobile loans, and any other significant purchases you’re still getting a bill for. After all, this is submitted, your bank, or the lending institution of your choice, will run a soft credit check. They’ll decide to approve you or not. Seasoned real estate agents caution, even after pre-approval, that you avoid large purchases. It might even help not to buy anything on credit. This is because once you’re pre-qualified for a loan, it’s based on your credit score on a particular date. It’s not set in stone. Throughout the purchasing process, more than one entity will be looking at your credit score. If it goes up or down too drastically, then this will hamper the closing process. This is not to say you can’t buy anything while you wait for your house to close. What you should do is avoid large purchases on credit. Speak with your real estate agent to get a better idea of how big “big” is.

HOAs

Another surprise to look out for is when it comes to selling your home.Moving If you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association (HOA), these can be especially problematic. First off, let me just say that HOA’s are helpful in many ways. But they can also incur strange and unseen costs. If the seller isn’t paying attention, then it’ll be a shock when the HOA demands a fee out of seemingly nowhere just as the house is about to close. A good real estate agent, backed by a good team, can help you avoid these types of problems. You’ll most likely deal with a lead real estate agent the entire time. But they’ll have others working behind them to make sure all the boxes are checked. A good real estate team could mean the difference between a smooth selling and buying experience or an incredibly stressful one.

Get a Home Security System

JJ Gorena, of The Trey Group based right here in San Antonio, TX, advises homeowners to get a home security system. There are a lot more home security options available these days. And some are very affordable. Furthermore, a home security system will help you save a lot more on homeowners’ insurance. ”It’s not as expensive as it used to be and as long as you don’t go overboard with the new technology, it almost washes itself with cost.” —JJ Gorena, CEO of The Trey Group

Be Honest

While there is no such thing as sorcery, buying a home has a way of revealing things you wouldn’t have expected. A real estate friend of mine relayed one such story; When it comes time to finalize the buying process, you get herded into an office with a stack of papers. There are pens galore. Real estate agents and other necessary specialists come in and they hand you paper after paper to sign. If you’ve got a good real estate agent, that person will explain each document to you, what it’s for, and most importantly, where to sign. Almost every one of those documents requires you to double check the information and ensure its correct. One such paper will have the names of the people buying the house. And not just the current names, but all previous aliases. In my case, it was my full name right underneath my wife’s full name, and her maiden name. My real estate agent told us about one such signing where the husband was handed this document first. He saw his name and signed on the appropriate space. Then he looked to the line below. There was his wife’s name. And then about three or four more aliases. When he asked wife why there were all those names, THAT is when the wife decided to tell her husband she’d been married before. And not just once, but about three times. My real estate agent recalled that the signing process stopped at that point and everyone had to leave the room while the “happy” couple had a discussion. The moral of the story- be honest!

Moving On

MovingIf you’re in the market for a new home, make sure you find a real estate agent who’s backed by a good team. If you’re in San Antonio, TX or the surrounding area, look into The Trey Group. They help both residential and business clients find a new home. You won’t be disappointed. For those who are just looking, or have just moved into a new home, make sure you get the best internet bundles and packages available. You’ll save some money to put towards that new home. And then you can kick back and relax while you watch Dr. Strange. It’s a good movie, trust me.


Compliment a Techie Today

Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. Today we give them their due celebration!

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Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. And technology is great unti It stpp wrk… Let’s try that again. Technology is great… until it stops working. That’s when we stop to notice it. And not in a good way. We’re usually looking for why it went wrong. We’re not gawking over the design, the sophistication of the engineering that went into the thing that is now part of our everyday lives. Nope. We just want it to do what it’s supposed to do. And that’s when we go looking for a techie.

Techies

It’d be easy to talk about techies as if this were a nature special. Fade into a Steve Irwin impersonator talking about the “majestic and reclusive techie…” And other biologist-related puns and in-jokes. We forget that these are real people doing real work. And we only care to notice them when something goes wrong. Most of the time, we forget, the technology is working the way that it’s supposed to. It’s designed to perform some task in a shorter amount of time than we can. Or, if we can’t do said task, then we get this technology to do it for us. The technology usually makes it easier and more cost-efficient than paying a person to do it. I like to think of my crockpot at moments like this. I cut and season the required ingredients, add them to the pot, and set the timer. You see!? Technology has made it easier for me to prepare a meal for my family without having to risk burning down my house. Well, the risk of fire is still there. That’s why I read the manual and move the crockpot away from any flammable items. I realize the crockpot isn’t going to strike awe into the mind of the reader here. It’s a simple kitchen appliance. The design and functionality of it are basic and there’s really not much to improve upon there. It’s antiquated technology. Now, when it comes to my home computer, well, that’s a different story. That thing is slow. Absurdly slow and I want nothing more than to put my fist through it as I have to wait for a file to open. Now, when I was younger, it could have been considered a “lightning fast” computer. “4 Gigabytes of random-access-memory” was not available in Macintosh’s Apple II. And despite my frustrations with it, the machine was designed well and is doing the job it’s supposed to do. With the technology available to it. The problem with this equation is the person who bought it- me. Sigh. I have only myself to blame here.

The Unsung Heroes

In the case of my god-awful home computer, it was still designed by a team of trained professionals. The details of it, even the slight bevel around the edges of the screen, was designed by a person who knew the exact angle that bevel should be set at. And thus, the pieces came together, and the computer was born. I don’t know the names of anyone who designed the thing, but I’m thankful they know what they’re doing. And as for my crockpot, it’s still a work of art. Despite the “outdated” technology, someone still had to design the look of it and to incorporate all the parts. The wiring within needs to be calibrated. A regulator of some type is installed to make sure the heating coils inside don’t burn too hot and too fast. Each turn of the knob needs to correspond with the right amount of temperature delivered over a set amount of time. And the fact that it does this so reliably makes my life easier. Not to mention adding a few inches to my waistline. But that’s another issue for another post. And while I named off “coils, regulator, and wiring,” I’m not entirely sure those are the accurate terms for such a thing. I’m just a writer and not much of a techie myself. To all the techies reading this, I apologize for my ignorance.

A little bit of Techie in all of Us

When it comes to video games, all of us are gamers to some degree. This is true when it comes to technology. Someone may call themselves “technologically challenged.” But in truth, they lack confidence in their technology skills. Most of the population are techies of the lowest order- they have a smartphone, cell phone, or just a crockpot at home. Knowing how to operate the basic functions of these gadgets makes them a techie. And then there are the techies who know a lot about a specific type of technology and not others. For example; my father-in-law is quite familiar with how to operate his home theater system. He set it up. He knows all the remotes and how to navigate to the proper input to watch his blu-rays. I’m familiar with my own home theater system. Therefore, when my father-in-law comes over, one of the first things he does is ask for me to turn on the Cowboys game. The differences in our two home theater systems aren’t terribly extreme. But the nuances between them is enough that one wrong button push will cause disaster. And by disaster, I mean missing the Cowboys game. Part of the reason I’m able to do this is I’ve been able to find the best internet deals and packages available in my area. Make sure you do the same so you can at least save a few bucks while you watch your favorite team play this Sunday. It’s up to me to turn on the tv and navigate to the right input so he can watch his precious Cowboys. After all, we all know how to run. But those who train and practice it become track stars. Does this mean we’re all inept at running? Absolutely not. Some are just more avid about their running than others. This is what separates basic tech skills from techies. It’s the techies who can pick up a broken smartphone and know how to fix it.

To Each Their Own Skill

techieThanks to techies, we get to watch our Sunday football, catch up on emails, and watch YouTube Clips on our phones. And while we have awards for athletes, authors, and soldiers, we don’t spend time celebrating the techies. It’s these techies who facilitate the connecting of information that allows us to watch football, read and listen to books by authors and keep vigil over our dedicated civil servants and armed forces personnel. Thank you, Techies. Today we stop to recognize you not because something is broken. We recognize you for all your hard work despite the technology not always working right!

The 3 Laws of Starting a Streaming Service

Apple, and Disney, have been teasing their streaming services for some time. Instead of launching, they're following 3 laws for starting a streaming service

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Apple, much like Disney, has been “working” on launching a streaming service for quite some time. Most recently, on August 23, they announced they’ve greenlit a series based on Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series. It’s expected to debut in March of 2019. This is all well and good, but they could have launched this already. They seem to be following a set of rules, or laws, to starting a streaming service. These laws are great for starting one, yet, laws on launching a streaming service seem to be missing. Instead, we’re just getting more and more updates on series while Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, continue to increase their content offerings, as well as solidify their subscriber bases. It’s somewhat frustrating. The good news is that Asimov’s “Foundation” series will get some series power behind it.

Who’s Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov was a prolific writer of science fiction. He saw the genre as a place where true intellectualism could reign. Ideas could be thought over, developed, and allowed to expand without anyone putting restrictions on them. Asimov was also a curious one and loved science fiction from a young age. He taught for some time at Boston University and wrote on the side. But when income from his writing surpassed his professor’s salary, he went to writing full time. If only we could all be so lucky.

The Three Laws of Robotics

Asimov created and developed The Three Laws of Robotics. It's also what he’s most well known for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z7a8MTYrDE
  1. A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. Robots must obey orders given to it by human beings except when such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Law.
These laws have become commonplace among the die-hard science fiction fan. Not only do they provide a basis for robotics to behave, they also provide constraints. Without constraints, there’s no conflict, and even robots need conflict. Asimov developed the laws for his Robots stories. A series of short stories and novels that revolved around the autonomous creations was also where the term “Robotics” was birthed. Asimov saw robots as another character in his stories. At the time this was a novel concept and one that remained solely within science-fiction for some time. These robots, man-made though they were, developed their own personalities. As a result, some were good, and some were bad. While he does have a long list of published works, he’s most well known for writing “I, Robot.” This was turned into a summer blockbuster in 2004, starring Will Smith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL6RRIOZyCM And then the FX Network put it into syndication until it was overplayed. I heard there might be a sequel, but nothing new has come of that rumor. “Foundations”, though not as popular as “I, Robot”, has its own cult following. And now it’s part of Apple’s promised lineup of original content for its streaming service. Which leads me to believe that there are three laws for starting a streaming service.

The Three Laws

While Asimov’s three laws were meant to govern robots’ behavior and interaction with humans. The laws were a safeguard as well as a means to keep the robots in check. As displayed in I, Robot, even these laws have their loopholes which can be exploited. Beyond that, robots were free to live as they wanted. It’s different when it comes to streaming services. Especially when launching one. It seems every company these days has already launched a streaming service or is working on it. Those that have already done so have paved the way. Streaming services, as exciting as they are, still require a means to enter the world. Growth, oddly enough, needs assistance. Hence, the three laws.

The First Law

Build up hype. Streaming services are not created in a vacuum. To get one started, there needs interest among the general public. It doesn’t matter if it’s an entertainment company, a software company, or a retail giant, anyone can launch their own streaming service…well, almost. There needs to be a lot of money first to get the production companies involved, scout out properties for original content, and set up the service itself. To justify such costs, the company in question will announce they’ll be making their own streaming service. And that’s it. They just have to announce it and put out there a vague deadline somewhere off in the future. Walmart has set a definite deadline for the rollout of its pumped-up Vudu service. Disney and Apple, however, have taken their time. The deadline for each is a blurry date somewhere off in the future. But at least they’ve got the hype going for them.

The Second Law

Find an intellectual property that’s not too popular, but just popular enough. Asimov, in the science fiction community, it a well-regarded name. To those outside that community, he may be known, he may not be. But his name is tied in with some big movies, so there’s that. Now, the streaming service must create the original content to populate its new lineup that’s set to debut…sometime in the future. To ride the hype they’ve created, they need anchor content to build on. But most of the major production companies, and other streaming services who haven’t been sitting on their butts, already hold the rights to popular stuff. Unless they’re willing to shell out a lot of cash, they’ll have to go find their anchor content somewhere else. This is why Apple went for “Foundation”, and Disney has promised a live-action Star Wars show. Since Disney owns Star Wars, this is a no-brainer. They’ve got the rights and the money to do a series like that the right way. For Apple, they need something that can compete with Star Wars, and other sci-fi shows, without looking like a rip-off. Luckily, they’ve got Asimov. His work is original and already has a loyal fanbase. It also helps that Asimov consulted on the Star Trek movies. That fact alone differentiates “Foundations” from Star Wars.

The Third Law

Pack Big Names behind Anchor Content. With the hype rolling and the intellectual properties secure, a few big names are needed. John Favreau is behind Disney’s Star Wars show. Foundations will be headed by David S. Goyer, the story writer for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, among other highly known properties. The purpose of these big names is not only to ensure these properties are done right but to also give fans the hope that they will. Favreau and Goyer are big names. They know how to create, write, and produce content that resonates and entertains. When it comes to adapting content that’s not their own, they’ve proven themselves already. This is good news, as there are a few series out there that have been soiled by big names. I’m not going to name names directly, but Star Trek got ruined by JJ Abrams, and Superman and Justice League were messed up by Zak Snyder. Just because A big name is attached to a project does not mean it is the RIGHT big name. Think I’m wrong? Just jump on Netflix, or Amazon Prime to watch these films yourself. Make sure you’ve got the best internet and cable deals first. This way you’ll save money. But you might get a headache, so consider yourself warned.

Applying the Three Laws

For Disney and Apple, they seem to be following these three laws pretty closely. And doing a good job of it. You will notice, however, that there is no law requiring a definite start date. Instead, that’s assumed. Somewhere, off in the future, we’ll get to see these streaming services. In the meantime, we’ll make do with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and the other services that have already gotten their act together.

An Irreverent Guide to Cutting the Cord and Saving Money

The goal of cutting the cord is to reduce costs by streaming a select few shows that comprise the majority of your television-watching experience.

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Any article that you read about cutting the cord on pay TV subscriptions will ultimately amount to a cheerleading session encouraging you to take the plunge. At the end of the day, there's no great mystery about cutting the cord. It's common sense: you cancel your cable subscription and substitute it with other television content, namely, streaming. Often times, people make things far more complex than they are just to avoid getting down to business, but that’s okay. Sometimes we all need a little push in the right direction. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of the phenomenon of cord cutting, but as with any tried-and-true habit, you just can’t convince yourself to leap into the unknown. That’s why I’m here – to encourage and guide you through the process, but mostly to encourage you. cutting the cord The process itself is really quite simple. No, you don’t physically cut your cable cord, but you do sever ties with your cable TV provider. Freedom is just a phone call away. If you’re anything like me and you hate getting the sales pitch from some customer retention manager whose sole job it is to salvage your account, then you can simply access the provider website and do it that way. Don't quote me on that one, though.  You'll probably still need to make a call.  It's okay; it's good to be social every now and then.

Why cut the cord?

However, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The first step to successfully cutting the cord is to determine if this is something that’s right for you.  To do that, you’ll need to ask yourself one simple question: do you want to save money? Yes? Okay, then; we’re in business! 83% of consumers who decide to say sayonara to pay TV subscriptions do so because it’s too expensive. That’s the only reason to do it, really.

The direction of the industry

We can speculate until the cows come home as to the future of the industry and the direction that cable companies will take to combat this undeniable freight train of a trend. These companies certainly aren’t going quietly into that good night. They are raging against the dying of the light, and they are doing so by creating their own direct-to-consumer streaming services. According to a study by The Diffusion Group, all major TV companies will have their own version of this type of service by the year 2022. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The result has been a proliferation of content services, and maybe that is what makes people indecisive about cutting the cord in the first place: they don’t know where to start. Cable packages are neat and tidy in the sense that they deliver a pre-determined set of goods (the channels). In an ideal world, cable companies would simply allow the consumer to customize their cable package channel by channel. But, do you really see that happening anytime soon, and for a reasonable cost? Me either.

Full disclaimer

Let me add a disclaimer here. I write this blog for a company called “Bundle Your Internet,” and yes, we do sell cable packages. Sometimes those packages get sold in bundles. Sometimes they are à la carte.  It all depends on what works best for the customer, and that’s really the bottom line here. Our agents are trained to be neutral in their service recommendations. The goal is to provide you with a menu of viable options from which to choose.  We do the research for you, but you have to decide what’s best for you.  Just do you, boo.

Reasons not to cut the cord

Laziness

Certainly, there are reasons not to cut the cord. Laziness is one reason. Hey, no judgment here; I have my fair share of lazy moments, too. But, let’s keep it one-hundred, okay? Cutting the cord doesn’t make TV watching any easier on the average consumer. You’ll end up saving money, sure, but one of the things that makes cable subscription services popular in the first place is the convenience of having a centralized service. Some people just don’t want to be bothered with the hardware adjustments and the app updates involved with the process, and that’s fine. It takes a little elbow grease – some research and definitive action to make for a smooth transition – to effectively cut the cord. More on those definitive action steps later.

Technical incompetence

Technical incompetence is another reason. Grandma might not have the basic technical knowledge to get through the process. I can’t imagine my grandmother having the wherewithal to set up a Roku player. She just doesn’t roll like that. Plus, she’s also dead (going on twenty years now), so yeah, that’s another problem.

More benefits of cutting the cord

For the rest of us – we, the living – who don’t mind putting in a little work to save money, it’s hard not see benefits of cutting the cord. And just in case you still weren’t convinced, ask yourself another question: how many channels in your cable subscription do you actually watch? According to Nielsen, households receive an average of 189 channels of which they only watch 17. You are quite literally paying for things you do not use. To hammer in the point a little more, the average monthly cable bill comes out to about $103. On top of that, monthly cable bills increase an average of 6% per year, so even if you’re not quite shelling out $100 per month for your cable service yet, you’ll get there someday. Go you! (Sarcasm). As a bundled package, Internet and cable together (sometimes referred to as a double play package) costs an average of $148 per month according to the market research firm, Mintel.

Getting into the numbers

Compare that with the costs associated with cutting the cord. Let’s do the math. Yeah, I know, I know. I detest numbers, too, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. First things first: you’re going to need to get Internet as a standalone service. The average cost of Internet-only service is $66.17 per month. When you factor in the service costs for streaming subscriptions (and there are plenty to choose from), you can add an additional $26.11 (refer to Grounded Reasons' informative article for a better grasp of the numbers) to that bill, bringing your grand total to $99.28. Quick recap: double play packages cost $148 per month. If you cut the cord on your cable subscription and keep your Internet service, you’ll be paying about $66.17 per month plus an additional $26.11 for streaming subscriptions. Again, on average. In the end, you end up saving $48.72 per month by cutting the cord. Over the course of a year, that comes to about $600. Sign me up, right?

Step 1: Gathering Hardware

HD antenna

Well, let’s get cracking! This is that definitive action part we talked about. The first step to cutting the cord is to compile your necessary hardware. Something you’ll want to consider is getting yourself an HD antenna. That’s right! Antennas are back in style. Remember those metal rabbit ears that sat on top of your TV set? Well, now they provide a simple, cheap solution for watching live TV without a cable connection. It’s relatively easy. You just hook up the device to your TV and position it near a window. Done. Now you have access to local broadcast stations – local news and sports included. More about sports later. Be aware that your channel selection depends to a large extent on where you live and whether you have a clear line-of-sight to the broadcast location. If you live in an urban area, your best bet is a non-amplified antenna, which has a pick-up range of about 20 miles. That’s plenty adequate for people who live near a broadcast tower. Rural customers should opt for an amplified antenna, which can pick up a signal as far away as 50 miles. All things considered, you’re looking at an investment of anywhere from $40 to $70, depending on which model you choose (amplified antennas cost more).

Streaming device

Another piece of hardware that you may or may not need is a streaming device. Roku. Chromecast Ultra. Amazon Fire TV. Apple TV. These are all good options for displaying streaming services – like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc. – on your set. Be sure to check out our reviews of streaming devices to determine which one is best for you. In addition to those things, there are also game consoles and other devices that you can use to set up your TV for streaming.

Alternatives

If your TV has smart capabilities, you may not even need such a device since smart TVs usually have the apps for these services already built in. Let’s also not forget the simple alternative of plugging your laptop (or desktop, if you still have one of those) into your TV via HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, or DVI cable. Boom! You just turned your dumb TV into a smart one. Go you! (Not sarcasm).

Step 2: Subscribing to Streaming Services

The next step is to get the streaming services that you want. There are tons out there, from Netflix and Hulu to horror-specific services like Shudder and arthouse/indie subscriptions like FilmStruck. It can be overwhelming with so many options to choose from. So here’s what you do: take an inventory of all the shows you watch. Make a list and then choose your subscriptions based on which ones will give you access to those shows. The thing about subscription services is that the monthly bills can ramp up fairly easy if you’re not careful. Rather than try to duplicate your cable service channel list when shopping for streaming services, go after access to particular shows of interest to you (excluding sports; again, we’ll get to sports in a bit). Use your list.

Cable-replacement services

The other thing you’ll want to consider is a cable-replacement service. While they may not help you save money, these comprehensive packages come the closest to duplicating the cable TV experience. The top cable-replacement services include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV. Be aware that it will cost you extra to get premium stations like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

Sports

Okay. Sports. Here we go. I am by no means an expert in this field (nor do I particularly care about it, to be honest). The last time I handled any balls was – you know what, forget it!  Suffice it to say I am no sports aficionado. But, I do understand that sports are a big deal for a lot of people.

Antenna

Local games are covered with that TV antenna we talked about. With an antenna, you can probably access your local CBS, FOX, and NBC station to get NFL games, for instance. Outside of that, there are plenty of streaming services for specific sports.

Sports organization-specific services

Every major sports organization has their own streaming service. MLB. NFL. NBA. Take your pick. Note that these services are more expensive than other types of streaming services – between $100 and $200 per year. Of course, you can always get a cable-replacement service. Just pay attention to which channels you get through the service and make sure you are getting the content you want. If you only follow a couple of teams in one or two different sports, cutting the cord is still a worthwhile option to consider. However, if you’re a sports nut who watches every game that is broadcast on God’s green earth, well, there’s just no hope for you. Stick to cable.

Final Thoughts

That about covers the basics of cutting the cord. Again, the goal is to reduce costs by homing in on a select few shows and content that comprise the majority of your television-watching experience. Look, there’s only so much content that a person can watch in a single day – and there’s a lot of content out there! You’ll never be at a loss for something to watch, and if by chance you do cut the cord and find yourself sitting around one day with absolutely no idea what to watch, then maybe it's high time to get off the couch and go outside.  You know, live life.
Let us help you find the best Internet deals in your area as well as DirecTV Now to get you started on your path to cutting the cord.

3 Reasons Walmart is NOT the Little Shop Around the Corner

Walmart is ramping up its arsenal against Amazon by launching an eBook store. Walmart, and its partners, are proving they're big contenders.

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Walmart is continuing to ramp up its arsenal against Amazon. The most recent advance in this ongoing contest is Walmart’s partnership with Kobo. By partnering with Rakuten, and it’s e-reader brand Kobo, Walmart has launched its own online bookstore. While Amazon is the reigning power in that space, Walmart isn’t exactly a small contender either.

The Little Shop Around the Corner

In 1998, just as the internet was exploding, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan stared in a cute remake of “Little Shop Around the Corner.” Titled “You’ve Got Mail” this took the basic premise of the 1940 film and reworked for a more contemporary setting. This time, instead of pen-pals, Hanks and Ryan were the instant messaging each other. Trust me, instant messaging was a big thing back in the day.Little And the alert was the pre-recorded “You’ve Got Mail.” Hence, the title of the movie. In the original “Little Shop Around the Corner,” the setting was a gift shop. For the 1998 version, Hanks is the corporate executive who’s in charge of development for a behemoth book chain store. Kind of like Amazon is today. Ryan is the owner of a small-time bookshop that’s a neighborhood institution. Ryan’s “Little Shop Around the Corner” can’t compete with Hanks “Fox Books.” And she knows it. When the newest location opens down the street from her store, the days of “Little Shop Around the Corner” are numbered. Though she attempts to fight it, Ryan’s little bookshop goes out of business. Let’s reimagine the story this way. Hanks, and by extension Fox Books, is Amazon. They’re established, they’ve run out the little stores, and things are going well. Fox Books, AKA Amazon, accounts for about 80% of all digital eBook readers and eReading apps. Ryan steps onto the scene. But not with a Little Shop Around the Corner. This time she’s Walmart. She may be entering a tough field, but she’s no newbie. And here’s why.

Walmart is a Retail Giant

Walmart has over 5,000 locations nationwide. These brick and mortar stores have been promising “always low prices” and discounts for decades. Walk into any Walmart and you’ll find clothes, food, automotive products, and much, much more. Where they’re lacking is the digital sphere. They do have online ordering, but it’s a far cry from Amazon’s presence. Amazon, however, got its start with books. And books are still a major part of Amazon’s annual revenue. They have eReader apps and the Kindle. They’ve built up a digital empire, and even their books and eReading platforms are an empire in and of themselves. It makes sense for Walmart to go after the book market. While Amazon does have a strong presence there, they haven’t been working to develop and adapt.

Large and Dedicated Client Base

LittleThe reason Walmart is a retail giant is thanks to its large and dedicated client base. On the book front, part of the reason Walmart may be losing customers is that they don’t have viable options for them. Now, by partnering with Rakuten and selling Kobo products in the store, they will. As easy as it is for someone to buy something off Amazon, buying it in a store has a much stronger appeal. Getting to hold and test out a product is an advantage. Those who test out a product are more likely to buy it. They get a chance to see themselves using it, thus, they can see themselves owning it. This is a similar phenomenon with books and telling stories, but we’ll get to that later. For Walmart to sell the Kobo Aura in its stores, it’ll be a huge plus for them. Not to mention Walmart is also rolling out an audiobook service. While Amazon already has Audible, Walmart is going to make theirs more affordable. And Walmart’s biggest draw has always been its prices. For a monthly Audible subscription, it’s $14.99. Walmart’s will be only $9.99 per month. Those shoppers who are always looking for a cheaper price, they’ll eagerly switch from Audible to Walmart eBooks.

A Physical Means to Buy Digital Products

With Kobo Aura’s on sale in the store, Walmart is making it easier for their customers to get their hands on it. Sure, you can order it online and have it sent to you. But you’re gambling that way. Reviews of a product can only provide so much insight. Walmart will also “sell” digital books in its stores as well.Little This is accomplished by provided cards. Like a gift card, customers can pick up a card that will allow them to buy the digital book they want. Maybe it’s Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”, or Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects”. The customer will take the card to the register and pay for it there. Then they’ll activate the book by inputting the code found on the card. Personally, I’d like that experience. I know it sounds weird, but something about picking up a book and thumbing through it is so appealing to me. Then again, I love reading. Thus, a card that acts as a placeholder for the book is intriguing to me. It won’t take the place of a book. It will, however, fell more involved than just clicking “buy now” online.

Would It Have Been Different?

Little“You’ve Got Mail” was one of a series of romantic comedies that starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The two had chemistry on screen and worked well together. They didn’t get together in real life, but that’s okay. Tom Hanks has Rita Wilson and they’re perfect for each other. Don’t know what’s going on with Meg Ryan though. Anyway, had Meg Ryan’s character gotten the help of Walmart to take on Fox Books, the movie would have had a completely different ending. For one, Ryan’s “Little Shop Around the Corner” wouldn’t have been shuttered. She would have had a large inventory to work from. Her little bookshop would have been put into a much bigger network and supply chain. Fox Books would have had a harder time forcing her out. For another, Fox Books was really more like Barnes and Noble. And while they had their heyday, shutting down the poor independent bookstores, they’re now dealing with the consequences of not establishing an online presence. They’re fighting Amazon as well. Lastly, had Ryan had the support of a Walmart, then the story wouldn’t have ended with Hanks and Ryan falling in love. They would have fought bitterly for dominance in their region. Marketing teams would have been called in. At one point in the movie, Ryan is advised to “go to the mattresses.” With an army of marketers behind her, she would have gone a much better job this time. The Little Shop Around the Corner would have gone toe-to-toe with Fox Books, and most likely won. It wouldn’t have been a very romantic movie. Oh well.

Find a Book

Romances, mysteries, action, now you can find a book you like through Walmart. To download the title onto your favorite eReader or eBook app, make sure you’ve got the best Spectrum internet deals. This way you’ll save more money. And with all that money you’ve saved, you can go out and buy more books. And really, that’s what’s most important here.