Some Resolution on my Resolutions

Now that the summer is almost over (summer for me begins with spring break and ends with the first snowfall at the end of the year) I feel an urge to start blogging here again.

I have been a bit more active over on Facebook, link blogging and posting sometimes as much as once a week. It’s all public. You don’t need to be my “friend” to read what’s there, although you do need a Facebook account.

Not Now is supposed to be my exercise book for longer form writing, about social issues that would bore many of Facebook friends. In particular I thought this was where I should explain why I’ve changed my mind about several of those concerns.

However before getting on to such serious matters as climate change, war, and the evolution of democracy, I have a follow up to a previous post, as a warm up. (I must confess I’ve forgotten how a Word Press blog works. Update: I’m impressed. It’s even easier than before. Except for the writing part, which is apparently still my responsibility.)

So, whatever happened with those New Year resolutions I made 10 months ago?

– get rid of my land line
– drop cable tv
– stop home delivery of the paper
– kill my email

Mission accomplished, mostly.

First I cancelled my home phone, and that took a couple of months, giving my creditors and friends sufficent notice to switch over to my cell. And it was a delightful success. The number of annoying calls has plumeted. I never answer unless I recognize the caller id. Bell Canada even transcribes my voice mail and sends it to me as a text message, so I rarely need to even listen to that.

Got rid of cable TV in July. Only thing I miss are the news programs. However they all have web sites or apps with video clips that are more than adequate, although it’s often old news when I get around to viewing them.

Still have access to tons of mindless entertainment via YouTube, Netflix, iTunes and old fashioned over the air. My rabbit ears attenna gives me just as good, maybe better, a high def picture as the heavily compressed cable signals ever did. Same with the programs I get from the internet, as I use an Apple TV to watch them on my wide screen in 1080p.

Right now I’m saving about $50 a month foregoing cable.  As I buy more shows on iTunes that amount will decrease. In the long run we cord cutters may end up spending even more than before, as this article by Mark Sullivan in TechHive predicts:

Pay TV as we know it will be dead by 2025, and this is how it will happen

….TV’s migration to the Internet is ultimately a matter of evolution, not revolution. There will be no explosions, no network chiefs diving out of windows onto Wilshire Boulevard. That’s because the TV content owners—networks like NBC and HBO, big studios like Sony TriStar, and cable network conglomerates like Viacom—hold the cards today, and they will still hold the cards when Internet TV becomes the norm.

They own the TV shows. Everything else is just distribution.

Content owners were terrified by the gutting of the music industry by Steve Jobs and the Internet during the 1990s and 2000s, and they will make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to video. Content owners will continue to nervously restrict the ways TV content can be distributed and consumed—until it makes financial sense not to.

Content owners and their exclusive distributors (cable, satellite, and telco TV) have carved out a big slice of our monthly paychecks for themselves—$86 a month on average, according to NPD Group, though NPD says the number could reach $200 per month by 2020 due to the rising cost of content (and that’s $200 just for video content, without broadband or phone service). Over the next decade, as TV distribution moves from traditional platforms to streaming platforms, content owners will make sure they get their usual share of that money.

In August I went down to the Windsor Star’s new offices to close out my paper subscription and sign up for their iPad app. Turns out I had do that last bit online, and when I got back home and tried I got caught in a logic loop, as their server kept insisting that another subscriber had my email address. Left a note saying no it really is me, that was only my paper account which just got cancelled.

There was no response, probably because the account had been marked inactive. Eventually they put the app in the iTunes store, and I was able to let Apple pay them on my behalf.

I bought a newstand Star a few weeks ago, and found that, despite my nostalgia, I don’t want to go back. Too bulky, and full of stuff I’m not interested in, not to mention the ink smearing on my hands and T shirt.

Couldn’t lose the email account. Too much of a hassle to notify everyone. I get a ton of email, but much of it is coming at my request.

What was bothering me wasn’t the spam or the marketing. It was my older friends and acquaintances who target my email with link blogging or chain mail. Now I don’t mind that stuff at all on Twitter, personal blogs or Facebook. But in my email stream it’s distracting. And they really don’t understand why. Let me try to explain one more time:

Imagine if several times a week, or even several times a day, a friend calls you up on the phone to tell you of an interesting story or joke they had recently heard. The first few times might be enjoyable, especially if you haven’t talked in a while. But day after day? Especially if at the same time you are also receiving and making dozens of other kinds of calls.

Of course it’s mail. You don’t have to respond right away. But you do think about it. Now imagine instead that your friend knows how to go directly to your voice mail and leaves those messages there instead.

The currency on the Internet is attention. Demand too much of it and you risk your credit rating.

When I go to your blog or other social media, I’m in your virtual space, and came there specifically to hear from you. When you are in my email stream I’m home alone, busy doing triage and not looking for idle conversation.

Most of my younger friends won’t even send me mail without asking permission or at least warning me. They, like me, don’t check their email every day. When I do there are hundreds of messages. That’s not counting the even greater number in the spam filters, which also have to be attended to, because the algorithms aren’t perfect and valid messages sometimes get misdirected.

Nevertheless I have made an accomodation. I scripted my main mail app to process the posts from my link bloggers and gossips, marking them as read but flagged as pending, and then putting them into their own folders. Now I don’t see or get notified about their mail until I go looking for it, just as if I went to their blog. I check them out a couple times a month, as I do most of the blogs I follow. And once I read a post there I remove the pending flag.

This seems to be working. I’m in a much better mood when I see their stuff, and am more willing to put some of their links into my Instapaper stream, along with those I get from the real bloggers and the newer social media feeds.

If one of those emailers also tends to send me actual personal correspondence I give them second url to use, only for that purpose. Those posts I see within a few days, just like snail mail.

Now if I could get only get a handle on my Facebook messages and phone texts. That’s where I am the annoying party.  I’m not up to speed on the protocols and acronyms. And what’s with those smiley faces? Are they about being happy, or ironic?

There ends my report. I promise to write something more substantive soon. Really.

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