Giving Up Facebook

Last month I wrote about how I gave up snacking at work.  I know my weaknesses and I finally accepted that occasional snacking leads to regular snacking.  So, I haven’t snacked since the beginning of the year.

Giving Up Facebook

I grew up Catholic, and one tradition that I’ve always had is to give up something for Lent.  The Lenten season runs between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, a period of 46 days.  People are encouraged to give something up that’s important or difficult.  The idea is to give ourselves a small reminder of what Jesus gave up during his 40 days in the desert.

In the past I’ve given up a variety of things, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice Cream
  • Candy
  • All Sweets
  • Alcohol.

This year, I decided to take on a different approach.  It was time to take on the idea of giving up Facebook.

Why Facebook?

There are many things to love about Facebook.  These include:

  • The ability to connect with friends.
  • Getting news and other information real time.
  • Keeping in touch with acquaintances, people you don’t necessarily want to interact with daily, but like keeping tabs on.
  • Having lots of things to laugh at.

So why would I want to give it up?  Well, there some things I don’t like.

  • I didn’t like how often I would be checking it.  I’d usually have a tab open at all times with Facebook when on a computer.  On a phone, each time I picked it up, one of the first things I did was thumb to the app.
  • The tone of Facebook has changed.  Ever since the election, Facebook just has not been fun for me.  I get that people aren’t happy, but for some, their posts suggest that they think about this 24×7.  Maybe they do?
  • It was a new challenge.  As you can see from the list of things I’ve given up in the past, most involved junk food.  Since I’m largely working on that anyway as an ongoing thing, I felt I needed a new habit.

How Did It Go?

Before giving it up, I was a little nervous.  Since I had it open all the time, I was afraid I would instantly miss it and end up going another direction.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

On the day before Lent, I went onto my laptop, phone and tablet, and signed out of Facebook.  I also removed the icon from my phone and from my browser shortcuts.

I found by not having it right there as an option to open, it helped right away.

Quite honestly, once I started going without Facebook, it was pretty easy.  I browsed to websites (you know, the old-fashioned way) for news.  I e-mailed people or even *gasp* called them.  I downloaded a couple of games to play.  Maybe not the best alternative, but at least I was keeping my brain busy, right?   Generally, I found that I was probably on my phone less times and for less minutes of the day.

I did miss a few things:

  • I missed seeing what my friends were up to.
  • I missed posting a bit while we were on our recent trip to Florida.
  • I missed posting the occasional post that I’d put up when something witty came to mind. Though let’s face it, I’m probably not as witty as I think I am.

Will I Stay Away?

For now, with Lent having ended, I’m not going to lie.  I’m back on Facebook.

However, I think this has shown me that I should and can cut back on Facebook.  Maybe I’ll try to avoid putting the shortcuts back where they are front and center.  I think that’d be a good start.

All in all, it was definitely a cleansing time in many ways.  Technology has advanced so much over the past couple of decades.  So many things have come into our lives as new things that we quickly adapt and make part of our lives.  Browsing the Internet.  E-mail.  Blogging.  Chat.  Videos.  Social media.

Giving up Facebook is a reminder that these things, and the things that come along, are tools.  Facebook and other social platforms have not just given us new ways to communicate, but in many ways they’ve taken over.  That’s not a good thing.

Maybe being a little more old school is a good thing, you know?

Readers, do you give up anything for Lent?  If so, what?  Also, what do you think about Facebook and other like items?  If asked to give them up, how long could you go?  Drop me your thoughts in the comments below.  And, thanks for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Getting Rid Of Yahoo Once And For All

I have had it with Yahoo.  A few years ago I wrote about how Yahoo had gotten smaller and smaller in terms of what I used them for.  That’s continued, and now I’m in the process of cutting the cord altogether.  I am getting rid of Yahoo!

When Yahoo Ruled My World

I remember Yahoo as the first bridge to the Internet that I had, and I used it for just about everything.  I used it for searches, e-mail, photo storage, investment tracking, sports information, and even online dating back in my single days.  It had everything!

Those were the glory days.

Who else remembers?

Yahoo Took Less And Less Fingers

Eventually I stopped using Yahoo.  They sold off or closed down various services.  Their photo service merged.  They closed up shop on their dating service (yes, I was still single).  Their searches were not as accurate, so I moved to the Big G.  The number of things I was using Yahoo for was shrinking.  I needed less fingers to count the services I was using them for.  And then it was down to two:

  • Yahoo Mail – For a long time Yahoo was my primary mail address.  Then, when I got Gmail, I started switching everything over as I liked the interface better and it seemed more secure.  The security aspect proved true when I got hacked twice even after changing passwords and security information.
  • Yahoo Sports – For a long time, the sports coverage by Yahoo was second to none, at least in my opinion.  It was better than ESPN or any other sports site.  I used the site regularly and even installed the app on my various smartphones.

Why I’m Getting Rid Of Yahoo

I heard a story last year where Yahoo admitted that a billion accounts had been breached.  A billion!  I could tell just by empirical evidence that they’d been breached a number of times, and that the breaches were big.  I was breached.  My wife had been breached.  And about once per month I still get e-mails from former Yahoo contacts that are obviously false.  They’d been breached.

Yahoo has let just about everyone get breached.  And, I finally had enough.

Yahoo Mail – The Few Last Items

It didn’t hurt that my Mail account was being used less and less.  There’s only about two or three things that I actually use it for.  One of those is kind of the catch-all e-mail for when you sign up for a coupon or some other deal.  I’m not losing anything there.  The couple of other actual newsletters or services I can switch over, and am in process of doing so.

I have some old archived e-mail that I would potentially like to save, but I’m pretty sure you can export this somehow.   I’m looking forward to completely deactivating my Yahoo mail account.

Image via MorgueFile courtesy muvaca

Yahoo Sports – A Shell Of Itself

The only other thing I was using them for was Sports.  As I said, their sports page used to be awesome. However,  they’ve gone through a few rounds of changes over the years.  Each time they seem to have less coverage of their own and more outsourced stuff.  Last year I was looking around and realizing that about 5-10% of what I was reading was from Yahoo. About half was links to outside sites.  The rest was click bait, articles not even associated with sports.  I was sticking with a site where 90% of the content sucked.  That did it!  I now use ESPN to catch my sports news. Their mobile page is pretty useful.  I just need an app that I can use to follow scores of my favorite teams.  I imagine those are a dime a dozen.

Goodbye, Yahoo

Everybody knows that Yahoo sucks now, right? Even Yahoo does, as they’re selling themselves to Verizon.  That is, if Verizon even wants to complete the deal.  After the huge data breach was revealed in terms of actual size, I think they started to have some doubts.

I held on to Yahoo for far too long. I think I stuck with them largely out of nostalgia. For a while, Yahoo was involved in probably 75% of everything I did on the Internet. Soon, they will be involved of absolutely nothing.  Of mine, anyway.

Readers, have you cut the cord on Yahoo or one of the other Internet dinosaurs that just couldn’t keep up?

 

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

If You’re Told To Evacuate, Then Evacuate

Hurricane Matthew hit the United States over a week ago now, but the cleanup and damage assessment still goes on.  One of the things that I saw in the days after Matthew was finding people that had died or that needed to be rescued.  While I felt bad for the people, I had a nagging feeling that many of the people that died could have lived. Many of the people that needed rescued could have avoided their harrowing situation had they done what many of their neighbors had done, which was to get out of dodge.  During disasters, why do some people fail to evacuate?

Technology Doesn’t Help

Matthew didn’t come out of nowhere.  It didn’t go wildly off course (and the times it did actually helped things from being worse as it stayed further offshore than anticipated during the strongest points).  So, if it wasn’t a big surprise, how come so many people still ended up in harms way?

Simple, because most of them didn’t listen.

Evacuation was suggested.  In some cases it was more than a suggestion.  It was basically a ‘get out now’ mandate.  The thing is that people can’t be forced to evacuate, so while many smart people got out, many decided to stay and tough it out.

I’m sure that some of these people made it through just fine, but others didn’t come through.  Instead, some people died.  Some people had to be rescued.  Some people lost pets.

Many Costs If You Don’t Evacuate

Lives and money could have been saved.  Every person that loses their life to a storm like this is a tragedy, but I can’t help but feel that some deaths could be avoided if more people left.

Similarly, every person that’s rescued is a great story, but rescues cost money and they put the people doing the mb-2016-10-stormrescuers in harms way as well.

I’m lucky in that I live in Michigan and we don’t get hurricanes.  The worst we typically get from  a hurricane is once it’s done and finishes its path and we’ll get a bunch of rain for a couple of days.  I get it.  We have it good.  But, I can’t understand why people don’t leave when they ought to and they’ve been told to.  This isn’t 1916 when I imagine hurricane warnings often consisted of someone looking out to shore and saying “Uh-oh, hurricane”).  In those times, devastation and loss of life was a lot more unavoidable.

But we can avoid it now.

And we should.

So the question is, when will we start avoiding it for good?  When will we have a storm that comes and wreaks havoc on buildings and roads and beaches, but doesn’t claim a human life?

It can happen.  But it doesn’t.

Maybe some day.

Readers, why do you think that people choose not to leave when forecasting and communication make it easier than ever?  Have you ever stuck around in a storm?  How did you feel about it later?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How Many Ways Can One Repair Shop Break an iPad?

Every once in a while, my sister-in-law stays over at our house.  We live fairly close to her work, and if she has something else going around our part of town, she’ll sometimes crash in the guest bedroom.  A few weeks ago, she was staying over and came out of her room, upset.  She had dropped something on her screen and now had a cracked iPad.

It was still usable but definitely not something you want to live with long term.

Repairing A Cracked iPad

She looked around but was finding most screen replacements to cost in the neighborhood of $125-150.  Money has been a bit tight so she was holding out for a better deal.

I came across a Groupon where it advertised that they would do replacements for “as little as $85.”  Trying to be helpful, I sent her the link.

I looked up the place and it was basically a side business off of a cell phone sales shop, where I’m guessing they sold phones from different carriers and plans.

She called and asked some questions and they directed her away from the Groupon and said that they actually had a deal where they replaced the screen on the iPad mini for $75.  So, she dropped it off.

mb-2016-05-crackShe said that to this point, everything seemed pretty straightforward, and that they said they would have the repairs done the next day.

Starting To Get The Runaround

The next day they called and said that they were running a day behind.  Hmmm….red flag?

So, the following day she drove down there to pick it up and was told that it still wasn’t ready.  She was a bit upset by this point because the shop is out of the way and added about an hour drive to her day.  Time that she would now have to repeat.  They promised that it would be a day or two longer (I think Sunday was somehow part of it and they may have been closed).

On Monday, she called and received even more bad news.  They admitted that while replacing the screen, they had somehow broken the power button.  So she now had a new screen but they needed to fix the button.

At this point they refunded the money and promised that it would be another day or two to replace and repair the button.

From Bad To Worse

Another day or two passed, and shockingly, things didn’t improve.

At this point, my sister-in-law turned the handling of the situation over to her boyfriend, who she figured would be a little bit more forceful to the situation.  (He’s a big guy and I definitely wouldn’t want to mess with him). At that time, she also mentioned potentially taking them to small claims court, at which point the relationship started to break down and the guy got mad and said that they would not award her anything if she didn’t give them time to fix it.

So, they waited a few more days.  By this point, I think the reality was setting in that they had really screwed up this device.  They still had the opportunity to make it right.

They didn’t take it.

10 Days In With No Signs Of Improvement

On about day 10 to this whole thing, the person from the store said that he couldn’t fix it but that he was going to make it right and that he had personally made an appointment to take it into the Apple store the next day and would have it repaired.

My sister-in-law’s boyfriend found out that you can call the Apple Store and verify, by the device serial number, if in fact there is an appointment scheduled.

I’m sure you can guess that there was no appointment scheduled.

He texted them asking them why this was, and tried also calling.  At this point, they stopped responding altogether.

My sister-in-law is good friends with a lawyer (they went to college together), and she called and asked for some legal advice.  He advised moving forward with small claims court, and also offered to write a letter on her behalf.  I don’t think the letter really said much, but the lawyer speak was largely designed to get them to respond.  Basically, at this point they just wanted to scare him.

It worked.

A Less Than Ideal Resolution But Still A Resolution

The guy called my sister-in-laws boyfriend and said that he was done, that he was not working on this anymore and that they could pick up the f-ing iPad. Exact quote!

My sister-in-law took to the web.  She went on Yelp and a couple of other sites and immediately posted one-star reviews and detailed the situation,of course advising people against ever working with this business.

The guy called and cussed some more at her and tried the ‘scare tactic’ threatening to sue her for slander.  She laughed and told him that it’s not slander if every word is true, which it was.

The day after that some reality called in.  He called again and offered to pay her near-replacement cost for a new iPad.  She just had to go down and pick up the money.  The following day she went (with others as backup) and picked up the money.

The funny part about it is that the owner’s father was in the store when she went to pick up the money, and he got mad and started cussing….at his son.  He knew that his son had messed up the situation so badly that he couldn’t even come to his defense in the slightest.

Unbelievable.

When A Repair Shop Makes It Worse

It turns out that they completely messed it up.  She has her iPad with a new screen but everything else doesn’t work.  Her boyfriend knows someone who looked at it and said that on top of everything else, the system board was damaged and that it is useless.  She’s wondering if they did it on purpose.

Looking back, several things pop to my head:

  • My sister-in-law really put up with a lot.
  • She admitted that she probably should have just paid more up front to a qualified facility.
  • If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • The Groupon purchase may have been more effective in reaching a conclusion once things had started to go wrong.  They will typically get involved and stand behind sales that had gone through their site.
  • It was really cool that my sister-in-law didn’t get mad at me at all for passing along the referral.  I’m sure she wishes (as do I) that I had simply scrolled past that Groupon.  In the end, it was just something that didn’t work out.

Readers, have you ever had a repair gone bad?  Tell me your experiences in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.