Exploit the Cord, Don't Cut It! ~ A 6.5 Decade Tech Journey!

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Disclaimer: Everything I share online, anywhere, is meant to educate and encourage, because I Love people and hope to be a positive force, even when it hurts. Plus, the honor is to serve: I monetize nothing online. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't (Twain)! Those who don't share what they know, it dies with them (Me)! One axiom I've honored since 1975: Never go where you're not wanted! In the digital world the same applies. Any hint that I'm not welcome and I'm gone. My goal is not guilt or disparagement, but fun & joy in genuine unity, whenever I am blessed to receive that. If I offend anyone anywhere anytime, it's not intentional.

For those relatively new to Earth, welcome aboard! Grey Geek Here! Celebrating 6.5 decades here thus far, I've been eyewitness to many things, with tech being a small but still important part of that enculturation. All my life I watched TV for free (still am), via an antenna. Even when cable TV first came out, few thought it logical to pay for what was already free; and early on, all of it was low-level crap. But with so many, living too far from broadcast antennas, CATV was born and boomed.

The cable companies had to adapt to slow metro-area sales, by creating content that was not broadcast already. But when 24-hour news (which birthed cult news), and then later, HBO and other original content networks came into being, they blossomed alongside cable related tech advances: Cable TV expanded and the next generation (or 2) of people, simply forgot about free terrestrial TV. Nevertheless, with the emergence of DTV the days of poor recording quality via analog to VCR tape vanished: Mahalo!

Still, some believe that what they watch is all there is to watch, but that's not true. People in (say) London watch a different program lineup than those in Kansas City; they'd feel deprived if they could not watch some show exclusive to them, and so it goes for every other Metro globally. We only know what is on, based upon the service funnel which feeds it to us.

The Web is a global network indeed, but one you'll miss out on entirely with just a phone. Most phone-only users never access more than a dozen (or so) of the quarter-billion websites on the global Web, as all phones nowadays are content mills, tabloid farms, or other link-bate sites. Content funnels!

With a little research (read content in links throughout this page) and with some playing around, anyone within a US DTV zone can get more media and services than most people use anyway, with just home Internet service alone. Now, if you cut-the-cord but then buy a bunch of other non-cable services to replace it (e.g. Netflix), you might as well just keep the cable on! Cord-cutting used to be literal, not just a euphemism for "no-cable-box" cable company services.

Many actually pay for such restrictions to global media content: Yep, via a cable bill and service. But all this is (in part) why cable companies invested heavily in Internet services to begin with. Notwithstanding; never agree to a long-term contract for any such service (cable, phone, any communications service), and since most of us are limited to local service providers, budget from among their no-contract internet service offers only. The low-price-now--high-price-later deals, are no deal (esp. among phone contracts). Here's what Americans hate most about Cable Companies! And: Promotion & Overcharging!

Exploit That Cord!
A 25-Mbps home service will do just fine for most, availed from either AT&T, Xfinity, Spectrum, Verizon, Cox (etc); this will provide a host of services, without cable TV, or a contract, meaning this will be your only bill for all home media and communications. This currently costs about $30+/- monthly for no-contract Xfinity WiFi. I stream consistently buffer-free on 15-Mbps with Comcast Internet Essentials (and there's also another low-income option, AT&T Access), each currently for $10 a month.

I use a Linux-based media NUC PC (here's why). This is safer and faster than MS products, so you will have better results. Even if you are not familiar with Linux OS, it is mostly the browser you will be interacting with anyway, and the recommended Chrome (or Firefox) browsers function the same on all OS platforms. If you learn how to milk the Internet – and what this page is all about – you can get virtually everything else you'd need in the computer-digital-communications world, for free online. You really do not even need a phone; landline or cell.

Terrestrial TV has been broadcast for free over the US airwaves for near a century now. Anyone who pays a satellite or cable TV company – who uses digital compression tech to shrink the size of what's being broadcast in 1080P for free by ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, CW – are paying for free services; they are either too far from the broadcast towers, or too far from wise. Let's change that: Here's a list of US over-the-air television networks.

Sure, there's other stuff on cable; there's even more not on cable! This is about saving monies, so if you can easily afford a cable bill then this is irrelevant to you. If you're still playing the horrifying game, keep-up-w/the-Joneses, all this will not matter to you, because, well, you've been culturally assimilated; you must comply! All this will take a bit of time, effort, and patience, but like all knowledge, once you know it you always will. To visually learn anything, just U-tube it! In 2014 I learned how to swap an HDD-to-SSD to repurpose a 2009 laptop, now with Peppermint 10. It's still in use in 2021, as a dedicated music player.

With an HD antenna on a Homeworx DVR, I can record, in 1080P as standard. An easier (and pricier but more awesome) DVR to use is the Channel Master: Neither of these DVRs require monthly fees, which typically cover on screen online TV guides. Just use No Cable TV Guide (change zip code to yours) in a pinned tab. With data caps closing in, it is wise not to get into the habit of streaming what is broadcast OTA for free. And the bundled service offers are the biggest rip-off offered by any of them. Go no-contract.

To find out what's broadcast on OTA TV anywhere, one can create a free TitanTV account, then just create new channel lineups using any US zip code, and select Broadcast (help). I've got eight different channel lineups (from different zip's) in the drop-down menu, including the OTT called Sling. Still, I prefer zero-cost options.

Everyone has a (.com) website with some free content: All Broadcasters, plus, BBC, TNT/TBS, USA, A&E, CW Seed, and there's many more. Hence, a little research on your part, because after all, everyone has differing media tastes (and, they come and go). Using video download helper you can save video content to a portable hard drive. Tip: Always pull your hard drive from all end-of-life PC's or laptops before recycling, and re-purpose them as external drives using a USB adapter cable.

Free (multi & stand-alone) streams abound: Pluto TV is a minor league cable-like all-free, commercially supported service, hosting major news channels, with any channel that can be direct-linked (e.g. Science-TV); plus there's an App for small devices. Comet TV streams live & OTA. Then there's tubi, imdb, peacock, CBS News Live, with new offers coming out regularly. There are several pay-as-you-go services; here's a list of Internet TV providers, and more from Android Authority: 10 best legal free movie apps & free TV show apps.

Get free VPN (TechRadar's list & Chrome Store VPN's & others here), and stream Geo-blocked sites; no US Cable company offers this option. E.g. I watch Canada's Space from the US. Put all e-devices on remote controlled plugs so you can turn things off (grouped by usage on plug bars) when not in use. Use wired CAT7 ethernet connections to maximize data transfer; more CAT7 ethernet, less coax cable, equals better speeds.

Having a full browser, such as you'd have on a PC or laptop, connects you to the Wild-Wild-Web, with more media streaming options than you'll find within any App-Trap: Media devices, though safer than smart TV's, will still restrict and funnel you; they're useful, but ultimately, they are too site-specific. Apps (on any device) are mostly bookmark shortcuts (URL's), but a full (Chrome or FF) browser can access over a billion sites globally. And for Linux Mint (20>) users, there is the awesome Hypnotix.

What you can watch for free via a browser is often far more than availed on an App. If you are patient, everything ever made is rebroadcast somewhere, for free, even without Netflix. I'll 3-episode binge-watch missed (new released) shows during MLB season and NFL season: For example, The CW broadcasts The 100 during live games, so I've watched all episodes this last season, 3 at a time, online; fewer commercials that way too! Why?

uBlock Origin Extension = No Ads Or Interruptions!
With a Chromebook (or Box), a Mint Box, or a NUC-PC, and using uBlock Origin on your browser, you can see it all; tether to any HDTV (my HDTV recommendation, sold here) with an HDMI Cable, plug-in a living-room keyboard w/touchpad, and enjoy without concern for viruses or adware on Chrome and Linux boxes. For rare Linux issues, just wipe the SSD and (from an ISO) reinstall Linux like new. Here's a new inexpensive laptop for a Linux Distro. And here's a how-to for Adblock Plus on Android

The Mac-Mini (w/ Chrome) is pricey but still another option for a home media PC. But Apple has always been more of a trendsetter than a pure tech company; they sell their brand, which is why they're way overpriced for what you get. But the sheeple masses are sold whatever they're told; keeping up appearances and impressing others with the most seemingly hip brand purchases is what drives the sales of most things. But some think that Apple's OS IS Malware! I use Linux & Android OS's and don't recommend any hardware from Apple or Microsoft.

Freed From Mobile Data {Drug} Dealers?
If you have home Internet service, you likely already have free secured WiFi away from home. A smartphone with your service providers App (see CableWiFi.com) will help you find and then auto-connect to their account-holder-only, WiFi connections nation-wide: No need for a cell-tower data plan. Besides, we need to be moving away from such tech, not going 5G: But we will anyway$. See: Free Phone Calls with Google Voice.

For us really poor folk; if you must have a SIM card, cheap options abound. Republic is $15 monthly, no contract & no data, but with unlimited talk & text (Project Fi is $20mo), and even more prepaid-plans are listed at Android Authority. If you're very low income there's free cell options (e.g TAG Mobile), and also there's Amazon Prime for $6 mo. Want free-service home phone? Obi Talk with Google Voice and a phone; no need to pay for it in a cable bundled "deal". Here's a how-to video for that.

The very opposite also may be coming soon: That is, the ability to use data-only, for all phone calls and texts (and so on), via Google Voice (likely renamed in the near future). Most people only want large data plans so they can stream content such as movies, and though that's a waste, know this; the companies selling you all that pricey data love it! But several things are happening in global tech; different things at various timing, but soon it will all merge globally. Here's a summary of one major change already in-play:

5G will change data stream speeds (data quantity & quality) to all devices considerably (smart-phones for now). Talk-text services have become less profitable, explaining why Data Services became a huge market for large US service providers. But it seems that talk-text services will eventually be replaced with data-only everything.

Soon, there will be data-only SIM cards galore (or another card-type entirely), and this is perhaps why Google is altering many of its products; namely, Google Voice (e.g. the squabble with Sprint integration). I got a free Google Voice Internet phone number back in 2011, and still use it to this day. I've watched it flounder, but now it's being resurrected, and I'm guessing why.

All the conflicts that Google has faced with competing companies is because Google is looking to get deeper into the phone arena, and not just as a competitor, but as a main player. Like Microsoft in the 90's & 00's who dominated the OS market, soon Apple grew, as did Linux popularity more recently; hence, Linux Apps on Chromebooks, and somewhat vice-versa. MS dominated by contractual agreements with multiple computer builders; i.e. our OS exclusively, and you get a major kick-back! It worked; the momentum of that will remain into 2022 for sure. But beyond? Only time will tell; all this is called disruptive innovation.

If 5G can beat current home Cable speeds, those countless miles of cables that major communications corporations spent 3+ decades and many bucks to build, could be rendered useless (even Google Fiber) if they cannot be re-purposed to spread the 5G network. All devices everywhere would be 5G-wireless. And with Android talk and/or text apps, such as Google Voice who issues phone numbers, plus G-Fi already well-established in the arena; and all this, apart from what messaging apps have brought to the arena thus far; well, the arena is changing! It's the beginning of the end of the traditional talk-text services that feed the US Big-Com entities, who are not (yet anyway) building their own phones or apps, but we all know who is! G!

Click Driven Media Funding Is Dependent Upon Click Bate!
Web browser ad blockers serve to combat, curtail, or at least expose, both fake and sensationalized news in the form of pop up ads that look real. Nevertheless, when readership (or viewership or listener-ship) are dependent upon numbers – be it monetized hits or circulation – any original information (data) goes from knowledge-wisdom, to a mere profit product. We have morphed into an economic culture that thrives monetarily on sensationalist posting and over-the-top drama.

Hence, ultimate truth and wisdom is far less important or relevant than whatever is transmitted, told or sold as truth, which will serve to increase those numbers, whatever they are (mostly hits nowadays). This is the dark side of math, when applied as the central barometer-compass-benchmark-core of the human condition {$}.

Obviously, it would be highly unlikely for (say) a math book publisher to embellish a math book with incorrect mathematical data, or to somehow sensationalize it, in order to sell more math books: Math is pretty much fact only! It is hardly possible to sell the idea that perhaps 2+2 is not really 4 after all; that we all may have been wrong all along! But when your goal in life is money, monetizing anything whatsoever is all that really matters. But everything in this life is a choice, and you are not obliged to play any of its monetary games.

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