Tag Archives: Money

Understanding Netflix’s New Price Plans

Netflix is changing their plans and prices...
Netflix is changing their plans and prices...

So today Netflix announced that they are starting new price plans. The plans become effective immediately for new customers and begin on Sept. 1st, 2011 for existing customers.

So what’s the deal?
— Price plans are broken up into 2 groups:
1. “Unlimited” DVD-Only — Starting at $7.99 (for one-out-at-a-time and NO streaming)
2. “Unlimited” Streaming-Only — Starting at $7.99 (no DVD’s)

Why is this a big deal?
— For new customers, it probably isn’t an issue due to the “You don’t know what you’re missing” effect… But for existing customers, this is quite a drastic change!

For existing customers who have/had both Streaming and DVD (one-out-at-a-time), the price was $9.99, but under the new plan it will be $15.98 (DVD @ $7.99 + Streaming @ $7.99 = $15.98).

How…Why…Huh?!
— Yeah, that’s what I said, so I read their blog –> here and found out for myself… To save you time, I’ll summarize:

Netflix is changing their plans because they didn’t expect both the streaming and DVD delivery to be so popular. People were taking advantage of both and it was cutting into their profits. As a result Netflix is changing things so they can make more money and continue to grow — and I’m sure provide everyone better service or something…

Their Justification?
— Apparently the original plan was to introduce Streaming and change the DVD shipments to a $2 add-on. My guess is they figured DVD rental was on its way out the door and everyone would migrate to streaming-only over time, but of course that proved to be wrong and DVD rentals are still a big thing.

So now they want to cater to 2 different markets — Streaming only and DVD only.
And if you are in one of those categories, you’re golden! (DVD-only customers are essentially going to save $2/month now vs. what they would have paid)

I think they should have done the plan like this:
— Streaming only for $7.99 w/DVD add-on for $2 more
— DVD only for $7.99 w/Streaming add-on for $2 more

This way everyone is happy and it wouldn’t be a drastic change that pisses off your customers… Just saying…

**UPDATE**
What does this mean to you (besides the Money issues)?
Pros
If you are a fan of the streaming, this probably means they will put more emphasis into getting better quality and newly released movies available for streaming (they better or this will be a major flop).

If you are a fan of the DVD rentals, this is good news because it means they are committed to a long-term DVD rental approach, so you wont have to worry about switching to streaming any time soon.

Cons
If you’re a customer who takes advantage of both DVD rental and Streaming, this means you’re going to pay an extra $6 each month for this “luxury”.

**UPDATE-2**
In Defense of Netflix (more or less)
Here is a nice quote from my friend Brian:

I think a lot of the problem is the companies producing the movies hate Netflix with a passion, because the service is seriously eating into their DVD & Blu-Ray sales. I saw on CNN today that a lot of movies disappeared from the streaming service thanks to a licensing issue with Sony Entertainment. Some of the movie publishers have stopped making their movies available to Netflix even for DVD rental until a month after they’re available for purchase in an attempt to get people to buy the movies instead of rent them. I think this plan change is just Netflix’s way of attempting to deal with the way they’ve been treated by the movie industry while trying to remain profitable.

Smallville: The Complete Series (on DVD)

Smallville: The Complete Series
Smallville: The Complete Series

If you don’t know what Smallville is by now, then you don’t know what you’ve been missing the past 10 years! One of the best TV series ever (yes, that’s my opinion, so don’t get too worked up if you disagree) and it’s coming to an end! Tonight is the last episode before the Series Finale — which will be a full 2 hours by the way!

Note: If you seriously don’t know anything about Smallville, I’m going to talk about it more at the bottom of this post. I will include a link to a page where you can watch a few episodes online for free!

The good news is that you can now purchase (or pre-order that is) Smallville: The Complete Series — that’s right the whole series in one package! Check out this awesome promo video!

At the time of this posting the complete set is on sale for $224.99 (regular retail price is $339.88). If you break it down by season, that comes out to just $22.50 per season for the sale price or $33.99 for the retail price. The retail price alone is a great deal if you compare it to purchasing each season individually as they run $35-50 each!

Not only is this a better price, but you also get everything — all 218 episodes on 62 disks with 2 disks of bonus features — but you get everything in one convenient package! Anyone who’s purchased the Smallville DVD sets each season (myself included) will tell you the quality of the packaging of the earlier seasons leaves much to be desired!

If I didn’t already own seasons 1-9 on DVD already, I might be tempted to buy this. Ha! Who am I kidding I’m tempted to buy it anyway! If only I had the money…

About Smallville

For those of you who are not sure about Smallville, here is a quick overview:

Smallville is the story of the teenage years of Superman’s life. It is the story of how Clark Kent became Superman! The series begins with Clark starting High School and covers all the struggles he has coping with normal teenage stuff and compounded by the fact that he is gaining new powers and needs to learn not only how to control them, but also how to conceal them so he doesn’t end up somebody’s science experiment!

As the series progresses you get to follow Clark’s journey… relationships (the highs and the lows)… competitive sports (how can you “play fair” when you’re super-human?)… encounters with “meteor freaks” who are other teenage kids who have superpowers bestowed on them due to excessive/unusual exposure to Kryptonite — the one thing that can kill Clark!

During this part of the series you really get a good sense of how Superman grows up to have all those strong moral values and why he didn’t end up a criminal or worse some kind of evil world dictator. You get to see how being raised by John and Martha Kent really made the biggest impact on Clark’s life.

You will also get to experience a side of Clark/Superman that you don’t normally get to see in the Movies… Clark’s struggle to feel like he belongs on Earth…his struggle with his humanity and his super-humanity… (note: you get to see this side of him in the comics sometimes, but you’d have to be a regular reader to really get the same sense you get from the Smallville TV series).

About mid-way through the series things take a darker turn and you get to experience some of the lowest points of Clark’s life. He’s just like any other teenager, only his self-discovery years are further complicated by his powers as well as influences from his Biological/Kryptonian father Jor-El…

Did I mention the series also includes a friendship between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor that goes sour? I’d talk about that, but that is one of the most amazing parts of the whole series and I’d hate to ruin it for you!

Another great part of the series is the special guests/characters! You get to see how Clark meets the Legion of Superheroes from the future, how he meets Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Cyborg, Impulse, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and the early beginnings of the Justice League! Later on he meets the Justice Society (Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Star Girl) — which by the way is an awesome 2hr episode!

Oh and then there’s the villains… various meteor freaks, Lex, Zor-El, Bizarro, Zod & company, Checkmate & the Suicide Squad, and so much more!

Man, writing about all of this is making me want to watch the whole thing all over again from beginning to end! (well I’ll have to wait for season 10 to come out on DVD to get to the end, but maybe by the time it’s out I’ll have watched everything up to that point).


Here’s a link to watch some free episodes (from season 10) online: Click Here

What are you doing still reading this? Shouldn’t you be ordering this already! πŸ˜‰

Jailbreaking iPhone 3G – Getting More Action!

Jailbreak iPhone 3G
Jailbreak iPhone 3G

If you are like me and have an iPhone 3G (or perhaps an older iPhone or iPod Touch 2nd Gen or older) you noticed that Apple will no longer be supporting your device. iOS version 4.3 came and went with no love for us folks with older devices. It is reasonable that Apple stop supporting older devices at some point. They are not the only company to do so and they will not be the last… but that still leaves us with limited options now:

  1. We can fork over some cash and upgrade now (or perhaps switch to a Droid phone or something)
  2. We continue using our old devices and be happy with whatever we can get that’s compatible with 4.2.1 and wait it out until we can afford an upgrade or are forced to buy an upgrade
  3. We can jailbreak our devices and get more options!

I don’t have the money for option #1 and I’m not content with option #2, so I opted for option #3!

To Jailbreak or Not to Jailbreak…

Now maybe you’ve heard of “jailbreaking” before, but weren’t really sure what it is or if it’s safe or whatever… I’ll try to put it as simple as possible: Jailbreaking means freeing your iOS device from the restrictions put on it by Apple. By default, you can only install apps from the App Store provided by Apple. They approve apps for distribution based on their own criteria and they make a percentage of the profits (I believe they make 30%, but I could be wrong and I don’t care to look it up right now). When you jailbreak your iOS device you are setting it free! Jailbreaking opens the door to many opportunities… I’ll list a few neat examples of what you can do with a jailbroken iPhone 3G or 2nd Gen iPod Touch that you couldn’t do before:

  • enable multitasking
  • record video
  • have wallpaper on your springboard (the thingy your app icons appear on)
  • use custom themes on your device
  • hide that annoying Spotlight
  • play NES and SNES games
  • and much much much more!

Still not convinced? Well there is also a way to increase your virtual memory and even overclock your processor so that your device will behave more like a 3rd Gen device… an iPhone 3G working more like a 3GS?! yeah, that would be sweet! (note: I haven’t gotten there yet, but when I do, I’ll tell you about it!).

Is it safe? Yeah, I know that is a question in a lot of people’s minds… But really, is anything safe? Sure there is some added security with the default setup because Apple has total control over what is allowed onto your phone and what isn’t, but there are still other vulnerabilities and risks… if someone really wants to get access to your stuff, they will find a way… As far as the safety of a jailbroken device goes, it really boils down to common sense… If you use some, it will go along ways… Change your root and user passwords, only install apps from trusted repositories, and etc…

Is it Legal? According to the US Court System and DMCA Law: Yes! According to Apple: No. Read here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_jailbreaking#United_States_legal_issues

On with the show!

At first I tried following this nice guide provided by Lifehacker: The Always Up-To-Date Guide To Jailbreaking Your iOS Device, which recommended using GreenPois0n to jailbreak your 4.2.1 iOS Device, but I tried it 4 or 5 times (on Mac and Windows) and it never worked for me. Apparently I could not get my phone into DFU mode… at least not the way that GreenPois0n wanted… So I decided to go with RedSn0w and it worked like a charm! I found a nice guide here (Mac) and here (Windows).

It was very exciting, but didn’t otherwise seem any different at first… the only noticeable difference at first was the “Cydia” app that was now present… but once I started browsing the repositories, it became very clear just how right of a decision this was!

I will be posting a few things this week about my experience now with my newly jailbroken iPhone. Here are a few things I plan to write about so you can follow along if you are interested:

  • What apps to install first
  • Multitasking
  • How to fix MobileTerminal (I found a way to get it to work!)
  • How to fix Cycorder (Haven’t found a solution yet, but it wont be long)
  • Increasing your Virtual Memory (Sorry, it seems this is no longer possible)
  • Overclocking the CPU (Sorry, it seems this is no longer possible either)

Do you have an iOS device? Have you jailbroken it yet? Why or why not? If you care to share, please comment below. Thanks.

95% of People Won’t Re-Post / Like This…

95-OF-PEOPLE-WONT-REPOST-THIS-OMG-I-DONT-WANNA-BE-ONE-OF-THOSE-IDIOTS
Re-post this -- because I said so...

It is getting to the point where I can’t stand being on Facebook any more. It seems I can’t be on there for more than 10 minutes without something like this popping up on my news-feed! I am beginning to wonder if I am the only sane/rational person in this world… Or am I the one who’s lost it?

You know exactly what I’m talking about (well you should if you’ve spent 5 minutes on the internet). I really shouldn’t have to go into great detail about this topic, so I’ll keep it simple — if nothing else, but for my own sanity — and get this rant over with.

“Dude, what are you ranting about?!”

The current trend is simple. Someone posts something (generally on facebook, but it happens on other sites too) and somewhere near the end of the statement it will say “Re-Post this if you agree” or “Like this if you agree” or some flavor of “re-post” and/or “like” in the form of a command… And without fail people cannot help themselves! People, millions of them, re-post and/or like these things, many of them re-posting the same (or very similar) things over and over in the span of days (or even on the same day)!

This is getting ridiculous!

This stuff comes in different shapes and forms. Here’s a quick list (shortened to topic/idea, because I have no patience for this):

  • You’re not my friend unless you re-post/like this
  • You’re not a Christian — I.E. you’re ashamed of Jesus — if you don’t re-post/like this
  • *Some random percentage in the 80’s to 90’s range* % of people will not re-post this (andΒ  you don’t want to be one of THEM)
  • Facebook/Myspace/Etc. is going to start charging you money so re-post to share with everyone
  • Some other serious, but most likely not true, “fact(s)” that you must re-post or you’re heartless and part of the “system”
  • Some catchy phrase or funny joke — but re-post it because I told you too (not because you liked it)
  • Parody re-reposts (basically like above only mocking/making fun of the above)
  • And etc. etc. etc….

I’ve seen this with text-messages too… I’m sure this still happens in emails too, but I think that may be dieing out. I know I’m not the only one who remembers the Urban Legend Chain-Emails form the 90’s right? Wow those were annoying! Oh yeah, and Bill Gates wants to give you money just for forwarding this email on to everyone of your contacts… my friend is a lawyer and verified this is true and legal (pft yeah right)…

I once tried to come up with a reasonable/logical conclusion as to why people constantly take part in this… But then I gave up because it was a pointless quest.

I have loved ones and friends who do this so I have been quite about it for a very long time, but I can’t take it any more! I am calling for a moratorium on this nonsense! Of course, no one is going to care about that or what I have to say… So instead here’s a quick poll for you, perhaps your answers can help me make sense of it all… oh yeah, and after you do the poll… since I know you can’t help yourselves… RE-POST THIS ON FACEBOOK / MYSPACE | and ETC! πŸ˜‰

[poll id=”4″]