(Internet) Jail Pardon

Data caps. These are one of the most annoying things about the information age – it’s a pure restriction. Very few of the excuses of why data caps exist make sense, least of all the justification that only a limited few are ever impacted by them. I say bull.

Comcast’s data caps haven’t increased substantially in almost a decade. Until a week go. It had been at 250GB, then 300GB for a very long time. Until recently in trial markets, it was a soft cap. Unfortunately, I was a trial market (read: let’s see what we can get away with), so it was a hard cap. As someone who has ditched traditional forms of TV for the most part, I still hadn’t been hitting 300GB a month regularly. Until my kids found all these Let’s Play videos on YouTube. Then, I’d be in danger of going over every month. There were a lot of months that I did, and I’d have to pay extra. I trialed paying even more for unlimited for a couple months, but the cost advantage wasn’t there.

As of June 1, though, Comcast has upped their cap to a much more reasonable 1TB a month. Let’s get serious though, they didn’t do this out of the goodness of their heart. The competition is much more real these days, with AT&T GigaPower, and much more importantly, Google Fiber. I rarely have issues with Comcast’s service, but I think they are a pretty slimy organization. As long as the service stays on point, I don’t see changing at least for now. Partly because we also get local TV included in the price. The speed and reliability are fine.

The data cap relief is relevant because I recently started subscribing to Playstation Vue. I had Sling TV for a bit, but Vue offers a much better variety of channels. I cal get this on my Playstation devices, but I can also get it on the Fire TV Stick that is out in the shop. I’m hoping at E3 we’ll see an announcement it is available on Roku devices as well. Save some wear and tear on the PS3s I primarily use it on.

Current tech

I love gadgets, always have. I thought about doing a tech history, but that’s pretty long-winded. Instead, I just thought I’d share what I’m using now, and what might becoming up shortly.

Phone

For the past 17 months, I have been using a 2014 Moto X. This has been a great device, and it convinced me that I couldn’t go back to carrier-branded models or skinned Android ever again. I also wanted a little bigger phone. So, I picked up a used Nexus 6P in mint condition. I love it. The fingerprint scanner is long overdue, although I miss some of the Motorola software enhancements. The screen is extremely good, but I’ve yet to really test the camera.

Tablet

I’m currently using a Winbook TW801. It is an 8″ tablet running Windows 10. It’s not fantastic, largely thanks to the 1GB of RAM. However, it can log me into my work VPN in a pinch, which has it’s perks. I’d rather have a modern Android or iPad for casual use, but this works for now. I also still have my HP Touchpad running CM9 for occasional use. However, it does suffer from a severe lack of downtime if the battery runs out.

Computers

I’m using an HP ProBook 4540s that I purchased new in 2013. It still runs very well, upgraded to Windows 10. In the next year or two, it will have to be replaced as my main backup to my workstation. My desktop is one I built around 2012, a Core i5 2500K paired up with the usual accouterments. It’s mostly for work, so there’s no great graphics card, just enough to get me by. Dual monitors help me keep focused on the task at hand, and a water cooling system keeps temps down.

Misc

I have a few other diversions around. I picked up a Lumia 640 on Windows 10 as a workout phone, but the app selection is poor. It’s decent enough to mess around with though. I have a Zune HD on my desk so that I can listen to OTA radio

I do want to pick up a new Android tablet soon, and the Pixel C may be an option. My laptop will also be replaced, perhaps by a Surface Pro. I’ll be making gradual upgrades to my desktop, starting with a fresh infusion of memory and a better graphics card. The processor should be fine for quite some time.

Appreciating the finer things

As I get older I see my interests and vices change. Right now I’m pretty big on what I like to call ‘life upgrades.’ I’ve rearranged some storage and cleaned a few minor things up, because living in a clean house is a huge life upgrade. I spent quite awhile the other day learning the dark art of fitted sheet folding, and it was time well spent: our linen closet is as organized as it has ever been. I also just got finished organizing my son’s dresser, even though I know I’ll have to do it again in a few days. In the next day or so another closet will be tackled, and on it will go. One major project on the woodworking side is the master closet.

Life upgrades can also mean making yourself feel good. I’ve done this over the last few weeks by finally getting a couple new pair of shoes, and some new clothes. I never buy clothes, so it was a real treat. If I buy much more though, the closet remodel will have to be moved up.

Something I’ve gotten into recently again is the watch game. I used to wear watches all the time, but hadn’t recently. I decided that it was an accessory that I should devote more interest to and found some inexpensive options. Fossil recently opened an outlet store near me and I’ve spent a lot of time there. My first anniversary was celebrated by my wife buying me a Fossil, and I found myself really liking their recent styles. The ones from even a few years ago look fairly amateur to the new stuff. With 50% off pricing, I found myself buying quite a few. In fact, I have enough now where other options by them seem derivative of what I already have.

I don’t have a lot of room left for additional watches, so I have to be a bit more selective in what I buy. Now I’m looking for brands that would be considered a bit more upmarket, or at least a bit better respected. I have my eye on a couple of Seiko automatics that will just about bring my collection to a close. At that point I will have to start swapping models out, because I can’t wear them all. I even had to get a new watch case to hold them.

I’ll also be upgrading bedroom furniture, storage and lots of other things. I think it’s important to identify areas where you can make small improvements that have a positive impact on your life. A messy home or room will do nothing to improve your outlook after a rough day at work. A clean house can. A place for everything certainly can.

Now Playing – 05.21.14

Might try to do this once a week or twice a month, depending on how often things change.

Music: The Black Keys, Minus the Bear, The Crystal Method

Games: Mario Kart DS, Splinter Cell Blacklist

Books: Timebound (The Chronos Files, Book One), Casino Royale

Last movie: X2