Hulu is increasing the cost of its monthly live TV subscription service. A service that started at $40/month in 2017 will end 2020 at $65/month (or $70/month if you have the no ads for on demand streaming). Live TV streaming services have been increasing their monthly subscription costs over the last few years, gnawing away at one of their main competitive advantages. When these services first became available they seemed like great alternatives to the big cable providers like Comcast. Cable TV is expensive and often comes with tons of channels that I don’t want. Streaming offered a simpler list of valuable channels at a much more compelling price. That’s not true anymore, though.
Recently my oldest daughter, Lucy, asked me if she could let a friend borrow a book she had. “Of course”, I said, ”why wouldn’t you be able to?” What I didn’t realize at first is that she was referring to a book we had recently bought on Amazon Kindle, which she had plowed through in record time. It was the latest book in a series that this particular friend of hers had first introduced to her. Her friend was waiting for her physical copy to arrive, and Lucy was anxious to start talking to her about the story. I had to explain to Lucy that it was almost certainly not possible. Lucy was disappointed, and perhaps I was even more so.
When I was younger I griped a lot about Christmas music and lighting the tree before Christmas Day. Christmas is a season on the church calendar and it doesn't start until the 25th. The next 12 days then, are where we can bust out the Christmas music and celebrate. That period before Christmas, which is usually most of December, is Advent and in the Christian tradition is a penitential season. During Advent we're prayerfully waiting in hopeful anticipation for the baby Jesus.
As I've gotten older I've realized that my zealousness didn't really serve my purpose, to point to Christ and Him crucified for you. The truth of the matter is much of the world, knowingly or otherwise, bends the knee to the Savior as they rejoice in His arrival, albeit a little early perhaps. If I'm being honest, it's hard for me to be upset at that, even in spite of my religious zealotry.
In recent years the tree goes up Thanksgiving weekend and it's lit as soon as the last ornament is hung. I've also taken to making a playlist of Christmas music that will play for most of December. Each year I start from the previous year's playlist and make adjustments. This year we sat around the living room as a family culling duplicate songs and adding new songs. This is a little thing we do as a family, but it's fun and brings us joy. I figure in 2020 wherever you can find joy, you should take advantage of it, even Christmas music in Advent! If you like Christmas music, maybe you'll enjoy our family's playlist. It's on Apple Music and available for your listening enjoyment. If there's a fantastic Christmas song that you don't see, get ahold of me and let me know, please!
In March, 2019 Apple released their “Apple Card”, a credit card with a truly Apple experience. Apple has been in the electronic payments business for a while now, first by letting you store credit cards securely on your devices in the Wallet app to use via Apple Pay and then with Apple Cash, a PayPal/Venmo type service for sending cash between people. The introduction of the Apple Card was a natural progression for Apple but, unlike other companies who have their own credit cards, this is not just an Apple-branded Master card, it’s an entire experience from start to finish.
The HomePod Mini is the culmination of a long hard road for Siri. For those of us loyal Mac-addicts and Apple fanboys it's the fruition of a long slog to the ubiquitous smart assistant that many of us have been hoping for. Finally we have a smart speaker that lives up to the dream and at a price that any Mac aficionado can deploy into their home.