Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Goodbye, Netflix

When it came time for me to renew Netflix this month, I finally cancelled instead. Other than a few short stints, I have had Netflix since they were the mail-order DVD rental company which was trying to kill off Blockbuster. Ironically, I cancel right as something seems to be going on with Blocbuster, as their website and socials popped back to life a little while ago. Why did I finally cancel my account after all this time? Because Netflix has changed. They used to be pretty prograssive, with a "Sharing is Caring" type of attitude towards password sharing. When they started changing this and piloting bleeding their customers of every cent we'd pay, I started looking at other options. My wife and I were separated when Netflix started their trials, and we have Netflix mostly for the kids. Had we need wound up back all under one roof, and the kids were still splitting time between the two locations, we probably would have been nailed by an extra charge if I were too lazy to implement the most trivial solution. I already have a server running at home. I could have used a spare Raspberry Pi to build a VPN gateway from her network to mine, thus, as far as Netflix is concerned, all the activity from my account would have been coming from one location, thus avoiding the extra fee. But whether I could have used technology to avoid the fee or not, and despite me not having to resort to it, the fact of the matter is that Netflix has let corporate greed of short-term profits blind them to the long-term profits of customer loyalty. I cancelled my account as soon as they announced the extra fee was almost to the US. I want them to see that their attempt at sucking the last cent they can from me has backfired. As long as they continue this lunacy, I will remain an ex-customer. I really hope that Blockbuster is developing a direct competitor to Netflix. I'm in, if so ;) (Also, Netflix was doomed the moment compatition caused the streaming market to fragment. No one is going to pay more for all the streaming services than they were for cable, for less convenience, in the long term. Netflix will not be the first nor last casualty of the streaming wars.)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Future plans

I mentioned the other day that I'm being impacted by an upcoming RIF at work, with my last day being June 9. I will get severance pay and will be able to cash out both my 401k and ppension (with the option to roll them into new plans by the end of the tax year to avoid penalty), and will also be eligible for unemployent benefits after June 9 while I look for my next employment opportunity. Because of this temporary financial security despite future uncertainty, and because there are so many posibilities on the table, I don't plan to do much active job search until decisions are made on where, exactly, I plan on landing. One idea is to buy some cheap property somewhere as a permanent address and buy an RV and travel, while doing enough remote work to feed the family and maintain the RV. Another is to buy an old church and convert it to a home, and there are several that are close to my price range where I could drop cash on. I love old church architecture, from the tiny country chruches to the giant gothic-esque city structures. You typically get more square feet for your money, too, though frequently a lot less land, than buying a house. If I go either of these routes, I'll likely be relocating, so I don't want to actively seek a job that I may have to turn down because of this. Which is why I'm waiting. ;)

All this is to (also) say, that with at least some amount of free time coming, I hope to be writing here a little more than I have been in some time. I've already started, and am enjoying it immensely, so hopefully I can get on a roll and keep it going, regardless of where everything else lands :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Anti-snoring device

The Arduino blog has posted one of the dumbest things ever... a device which "teaches" on not to snore. I have sleep apnea. No device is going to "teach" me to overcome it. I am going to snore, because I am going to continue to stop breathing in my sleep. cpap is not an option because I also suffer aerophagia and I actually feel worse instead of better. There are a couple of different sugical implants available now, which I will investigate as soon as I have insurance which doesn't exclude prior conditions.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Reduction In Force

When I was first hired by my employer, it was as a contractor but I was eventually in-sourced and kept on the same project. Eventually, that project ended and I was moved to day shift and wrapped into the other project handled by the team. In the first year alone, I survived three or four reductions in force. I've survived several others since then. And then, a couple of weeks ago, the remaining, non-VP members of the US portion of the team were all notified of not making it through the latest round of RIFs. There is one non-VP member of the team in South America who survived, and a few contractors, but the only actual US-based employees on the team who survived are our direct line manager and our team lead. We still have ~ 4 weeks to find something internal or it's our end with the firm. Because RIFs are a regular occurance and I'll never be able to trust that another isn't right around the corner, I decided to not pursue anything internally. I'm also in no rush to find something external, because my plans for after are somewhat fluid. I'm setting myself to be able to live off of savings for at least the remainder of the year if I need to, and unemployment, should it come to that, will extend that another six months. I am actually looking forward to this RIF because I will be nearly debt-free when everything is said an done, and may even own some property. And I find myself happier than I've been since starting this job, which I guess says something ;)

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Hello Blogger, my old friend!

Yes, the site is back on Blogger. I may be moving in the near future, and if I do I am likely to lost the ability to reliably self-host. So, Blogger it is. Most of the data from the old version is imported, which was done by hand. Please report any problems.