AT&T: Competing with Comcast in All the Wrong Ways

I’ve been a Comcast customer for more than a decade.1 I had little in the way of other options until AT&T sent a flyer letting me know that their 1Gbps fiber service was available at my house. The next time I started having internet problems, I knew just what to do:

On September 19th I signed up for AT&T “Gigapower” service. I learned that I would have to wait almost a week for the installation. This seemed like an eternity. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Continue reading AT&T: Competing with Comcast in All the Wrong Ways

  1. Condolences will be accepted in the form of cash. 

Giving Up Push Email

When I made the move to smart phones god-knows how many years ago, it was amazing to me that emails would come straight to my phone. It was basically magic; I was fascinated and infatuated. I was living in the future. For years, I had no idea how anyone could live without having access to their email any moment they wanted it.

Moreover, I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to be notified the second they had a new message.

Not terribly long ago I met someone who, more than not needing to know every time she received an email, actively did not want that. I’m not sure there’s a logical or practical reason1,  it’s just a personal preference. It took me months to really wrap my head around it, which probably says something about how attached I am to technology.

Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed two things. First, I noticed that unless I was actively ignoring my phone (like at dinner or out with friends), getting a new email meant that I immediately wanted to see what it was, regardless of what else was going on. Second, I noticed that this was almost always a disappointment. Rarely are my emails even vaguely interesting. Something on the order of two or three dozen times a day I would hear the new mail beep, I would get excited over the possibilities contained in a new and unknown message, and then I’d be disappointed by the outcome. It would also serve as a distraction.

I decided to tell my phone that when I wanted to know if I had new messages, I’d ask for them. At first, this seemed almost prehistoric. Now, however, I find that I really don’t miss it. The email is all there waiting when I decide to check it. I don’t have trains of thought interrupted or random distractions.

If you’re a push-email addict (except, maybe, for work email), you should try it for a week or two. I think you’ll find you hate it far less than you think you do.

  1. Which is not to say that the desire is illogical or impractical, only that I don’t think those are the motivations 

The Cause of Low Self-Esteem: Mint

For the amount of student loan debt I currently have, I could have gotten a mortgage on a pretty nice house. One of the problems with having a house-worth of student loan debt is that the lenders seem keenly interested in you paying those loans back. This leads to weird things like “monthly payments” and “ramen”.

Or I guess I should say that those are what it should lead to. Unfortunately, I have a serious problem with the second half of that equation. I’m no Joe Mihalic. Still, I make some efforts. I’d really like to not still be paying off my law degree when I start drawing retirement.

One such effort is simply making myself more aware of my spending patters. Enter, Mint. Mint is an awesome personal finance tracking app. You give it account details and it gives you tons of pretty graphs. That’s what’s great about it. It is also terrible.

You see, Mint routinely tells me things like “quit spending so much money drinking!” and “quit going out to eat!” It tells me those things by showing me how much I spent on those different activities last month and it’s kind of embarrassing.

It never seems like I’m spending hundreds of dollars eating out or going out. It’s $10 here and $20 there. No big deal. Except that it sure does add up and then at the end of the month I look at one of Mint’s pretty graphs and realize that I did it again. I need to start cooking again. I need to spend less money at bars. I need to do lots of things like that if I want to pay off my loans before the end of the century.

…and I’m going to start doing those things really soon. Next month. I swear.