Apr 10, 2019

Apr - 10 2019 | By

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For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio. Paul called in. He was still on his road trip to Southern Calif. Today he was West of Los Vegas at a BLM conservation park called Red Rock Canyon.


Some of the wilderness areas at the higher elevations of the BLM park require permits to access. This is to mitigate what Paul pointed out as the tragedy of the commons: “anything that’s readily, commonly available for the enjoyment of people will tend to be spoiled by those same people…”.

Glenn invited listeners to call during the show at 530-265-9555 or send email to zen at kvmr dot org

Glenn heard on the news this morning that Yuba County and possibly Sutter County were going to test an alert system by sending messages to emails and cell phones. And indeed, he got an alert, as a txt, on his phone with the message directing him to bepreparedyuba.org to learn more.

Paul said there is another kind of an alert, a ‘system message’, that’s sent by the cell phone network. He was under the impression that this type of message can be received even if you don’t have txt service or maybe even if you’ve let your cell phone subscription lapse — similar to being able to make 911 calls without a cell plan. Paul’s concern about alerts sent as txt or emails is they can be spoofed.

Paul’s cell phone connection kept dropping out and eventually ended. So while he was calling back, Glenn told us that he’ll he hosting the Flea Market tomorrow at 1pm.

Apple is coming out with a new streaming service this year, Glenn noted. This will be competing with similar services from Nexflix and Amazon. The announcement came about two weeks ago at an Apple event that also introduced Apple TV Plus and a new Apple TV app.

Paul noted that subscription services, like that by Apple, are becoming more popular. AT&T with their Uverse product got in trouble with the justice department when their share value went down and they engaged in bait and switch schemes. But if you want to try these services, all you need is sufficient internet speed — about 2 megabits/sec. Then you can use a set top box like Apple TV and add the appropriate apps to bring in the new Apple streaming service or NBC or HBO etc. This lets you choose more precisely the content you like, unlike the cable companies.

The down side is that there is a learning curve to get used to how the different apps work. Fortunately, many units allow you to issue voice commands — just talk to it, Paul said. On the other hand, devices that take voice commands are listening all of the time, even if it’s just for the command to wake it up. Paul said he doesn’t trust them and he physically unplugs the Amazon Dot when he’s not using it. The devices can hear quite well even while they’re playing music or other content.

Paul mentioned that you don’t have to buy the Amazon Dot, because Amazon’s Alexa is available as an app for Android and iPhone. “As long as you are on the same wireless network, it behaves as if you had such a box. And if you make sure you kill the app when you’re done with it, it probably won’t be listening to you”, he said.
<An alternate app that uses Alexa is here.>

Paul helped some people ‘cut the cord’ recently, and Glenn asked about the difference it made to their subscription costs. Paul explained that one guy was paying over $200/mo for Xfinity for cable TV and internet. And when he decide to change services and called Xfinity to drop them, he was offered 50% discount on his current plan. He decided to stay with Xfinity because it was more convenient than a la carte services.

One of the options when cutting the cord is Youtube TV. It’s not the same as the regular Youtube. You have to get the app called Youtube TV and a subscription. The subscription is about $45 and there’s usually a free trial period. The advantage over something like Netflix is that you can get live politics, news and sports programming.

Glenn read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Glenn said he just got a notice from Netflix that the $10.99 fee he had been paying is going up to $13. This is for HD streaming for 2 simultaneous streams on different devices at the same time. They also have 4k content with 4 streams on 4 devices for $16/mo. And they still have their basic non-HD stream for $8 to $9/mo.

Paul remembered when Nexflix had combination package that included streaming and a DVD disk. He said it was a loss leader for them. Glenn said they still offer a mail subscription. But though he has the Nexflix streaming service, he can’t search for anything that is available on the DVD thru the mail. Paul said to do a Google search with words like Netflix dvd [the movie name]. The search result is sometimes a third party site, sometimes it’s Netflix itself.

Psul said Netflix adds and removes available content in what seems like an arbitrary way. If he has something on his watch list, he can stream it, but others, who don’t have it on their watch list, can’t get it. Apparently it’s a way to test how people respond to what’s being offered.

Paul mentioned inelastic demand. Normally, when the price goes up demand goes down and when the demand goes up the price goes up. The connection becomes inelastic when the Netflix service is something you feel you need and can’t do without. Netflix relies “on being part of your life so you don’t want to go away.

A fully unlocked iPhone 6S with CDMA & GSM with 64 gigs of memory is about $200 (down from about $600 in 2015). CDMA is used with Verizon and GSM with AT&T. Paul said it’s not easy to tell which model 6S has which or if it has both. He said Wikipedia is a good place to start, as it has much info about iPhones going back to the first one. He then said you have to use the serial number of the phone to do a search at appleserialnumber.com to find out what it has inside.

Paul said Facebook has a lot of groups that trade and sell all sort of items. He asked Glenn if he knew about it. Glenn said he didn’t and that, in fact, he is seriously considering closing his Facebook account.

But continuing, Paul said some of the Facebook groups are identified by area code, like 530 for Nevada City & surrounding area, which makes it easier for buyers & sellers to get in touch.

Paul also said that it’s important for a cell phone to be unlocked by the original carrier and not by some hack. Otherwise the “first upgrade that comes along or the first chance that company gets to relock it, they will” and “you’re basically screwed, to put it mildly”.

Glenn remembered when it was possible to jailbreak the iPhone, which then allowed you to get apps from places other than the Apple store. But it was easy to brick the iPhone, as he did with two of his phones. Paul said if you like the ability to hack your phone, go for an Android phone.

Glenn asked Paul if leaving Facebook means What’s App will stop working, since What’s App is owned by Facebook. Paul thought it would continue to work.

Paul said if you’d like to send him a friend request on Facebook, tell him how it is you know him.

People may be impersonating someone else when they make a friend request. Check their profile to see how long they’ve been on Facebook. That should indicate if they are genuine.

Last Updated 12:48 AM 4-11-2019

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