If you've been paying attention these days, you know that it's
harder and harder to find a DVR that will record Over-The-Air (OTA) TV
without subscription fees to some online service. This is
in addition to the $170 to $400 cost of the DVR. Being the cheapskate
that I am, I wanted to see how cheaply I could do this. So, at
the beginning of August, I spent a couple of weeks cutting the cable
using a Raspberry Pi 3. That's not exactly true. I don't
pay for cable. What I actually did was attempt to use a Raspberry
Pi 3 coupled with a Hauppauge 950Q model 72001 TV tuner to watch and
record TV and watch Netflix and other things online.
The results were mixed...
As it ages, the internet has begun to develop some significant health
problems. The problems I'm referring to are well known--more
government control and censorship through regulation,
less freedom of speech, more centralization into the
hands of giant companies, more restrictions on individual initiative,
less privacy, more cost to individuals. Unlike our bodies,
which will eventually get old and die, the internet can be healed.
But, whether it will be healed depends entirely on us...
About two years ago, I saw a Hauwei Union Y538 Android
smart phone on sale at Best
Buy for $20 (regular price $30), so I bought it...
There are legitimate reasons
to want to avoid being tracked and spied-on
while you're online. But aside from that, doesn't it feel creepy
knowing you're probably being watched every moment that you're
online and that information about where you go and what you do could
potentially be sold to
anyone at any time--to advertisers, your health insurance company,
a future employer, the government, a snoopy neighbor, even?
Wouldn't you feel better not having to worry about that on top
of everything else you have to worry about every day? ...
Amazing amounts of free things exist out on the internet.
Here are the ones I appreciate the most...
Given that you can get Gmail for free with a huge amount of
storage space for life and two-factor authentication, why
would you want to pay for email? Well, if you're a cheapskate
like me, you wouldn't. But there are reasons that you might
choose to shell out the money...
These days banks want their customers using electronic banking,
because it's cheaper for the banks than teller transactions or
telephone transactions when an actual human is involved. The problem
is that it probably isn't in your best interest to do your banking
on-line. Here's why...
Giant companies spend millions of dollars a year on computer
security staff to keep their computer systems "secure". And,
as we've been hearing for years, data is still stolen out of
their computers all the time. The bottom line is this: no matter
what anyone tells you, there's no such thing as a secure computer.
It's inherently impossible. There are only more secure computers
and less secure computers. And computer security
is really, really hard. So how does the average person who
isn't a computer security professional go about having a more secure
computer without spending millions of dollars? ... Read More
In the early days, before the mid-eighties, we called the cloud by
another name: "mainframes". That was back in the days when
computer computation time and storage were extremely expensive, before
"microcomputers" became useful as a tool in industry. We're
talking a hundred thousand dollars in inflation-adjusted
dollars to rent a computer for a month and a million dollars to buy a
megabyte of storage... Read More
These days, everyone should be using Linux! I know that isn't
going to happen any time soon, but I just have to say it again.
Everyone should be using Linux! Being a cheapskate,
I can't help being in love with the Linux operating system--even
though at times, it's a painful kind of love. Here's why...
These days consumers can find themselves in the position of paying
exorbitant prices for bundled communications services, including
internet. This article tells you how you may be able to
reduce your cost for monthly internet service...
The first steps in successfully obtaining an inexpensive computer
that you will be happy with are: 1)
knowing what you need,
2) knowing what you're buying,
and 3) knowing quality when you see it.
This article takes the process from there to show you where to shop
or how to otherwise legally acquire a cheap laptop...
You hear a lot of trepidation out on the internet when the question
of buying a used computer comes up. It seems that most articles
don't recommend it. The fact is that you can easily
make a mistake. But as you make yourself more
your risk goes down. The risk never goes away completely, but
you can learn what to look for and what to avoid. But why risk
it? The reason is simple, the right used computer can be a
really great buy...
If you can live without the newest computer, you can almost
always find the best value by buying at the knee of the cost
versus time curve. Time is the time since the technology first
appeared on the market, and cost is the cost to you to buy that
technology today. The reason you may want to buy there is that
this is where you can get a great deal while still getting a
computer that is eminently useful... Read More
Being able to identify a quality computer is an important skill
to develop over a lifetime of computer buying.
Unfortunately, it is also a difficult skill to develop. Fortunately,
there are some key features of quality computers. Most of these are
more important to look for in laptops, because desktop computers tend
to stay put and have more replaceable components: ... Read More
The better you understand any computer you're considering buying,
the more money you'll save and the more satisfied you will be with
your purchase. Most consumers of computers know little about what
they're buying. The common result is that they experience significant
buyer's remorse when they get their new computer home and discover
that it is low quality, frustrating to use, and/or doesn't do
everything they want. The way to not fall into this trap is to do
your homework before you buy...
Knowing what you need before you buy a new computer may save
you a substantial amount of money and will greatly improve
your chances of getting the computer you really want.
Now, you may be thinking,
"Of course I know what kind of a computer I need!", but do you
really? Is the computer you're thinking of buying really the one
you need? Or is it just the one you want? ...
Many people like their laptops like they like their women:
thin and beautiful. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But, as with many women, there are disadvantages to laptops that
are thin and beautiful...
There are so many really, really, awful, horrible laptops
(and desktops) around. The question is why? And what
should you do as a result? ...
It seems that very few consumers of computers understand this
one simple rule: the more you know about computers, the
less you pay for them...
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Cheapskate's Guide to Computers and the Internet. All rights reserved.