EVERYBODY WANTS MORE SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS By Ken Sherwood

EVERYBODY WANTS MORE SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS By Ken Sherwood

 

Social media used to be all about friend requests and music playlists. These were the days when Myspace and Facebook were battling for social media positioning before anybody even knew social media existed. Saying times have changed since would be the understatement of the decade. Nowadays Facebook is King with outlets like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter all working hard to strengthen their respective market shares. One tool all four have been utilizing more than ever is video.

Facebook has had the ability for users to post videos along with photos for a long time. Yet the “live video” function is incredibly user-friendly and catchy. Last fall I shot my first live video when I got to walk onto the field of MetLife Stadium before the New York Jets’ home opener. What used to be looking for how many likes a post got then became how many views something got. All of the years we have been scrolling through our Facebook feed of mostly photos and links are quickly trending into all kinds of live and replayed video.

The most popular form of video, though, is streaming. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have owned the streaming outlet for years and have definitely caught the attention of Facebook and Twitter. The latter streamed some NFL Thursday night games over the last few years. Facebook tried to bid on NFL games this fall but was beat out by Amazon. Facebook did, however, get an exclusive deal with Major League Baseball to stream 25 games this season. Imagine going through your news feed and seeing a baseball game going on that very moment. No TV needed. You could even stream from the app on your cell phone. This seems new but is something that Verizon Wireless and Sprint did first, actually. The first time I went to a game at the new Yankee Stadium, my brother and I watched the New York Rangers’ playoff game from a super small smartphone on the 4 train on our way to the Bronx. This was in April of 2009. The days when data was new and for $5/month was unlimited. And one of the National Hockey League’s biggest sponsors was Verizon Wireless which streamed NBC games right to mobile phones live. Sprint was one of NASCAR’s biggest sponsors around the same time and subsequently streamed live races to their users’ cell phones.

The days of cheap unlimited data are long gone. It seems like cell phone companies have made it easy to go over on data from social media outlets having so many videos playing. Have you opened a news feed on Twitter or Facebook and videos automatically play as you reach them? Well, if you aren’t on WiFi, this will eat your data quicker than Pac-Man eats dots on level one. There is an option under settings for these videos to only play when connected to WiFi. You need to look for it and don’t expect your cell phone company to send any tutorials.

In spite of all the higher data charges and potential overages, users of Instagram and Snapchat have been all about these outlets’ video options. Instead of simply sending fun photos on Snapchat now one can send even more fun videos. Instagram was once all about their photo features but now has Stories and live video options as well.

Users and businesses that are on social media understand the importance of video. It is the new toy everybody wants to play with. We want some more.

WATERFRONT ACTIVITIES  By Ken Sherwood

WATERFRONT ACTIVITIES By Ken Sherwood

While we are still feeling the effects of the latest winter storm, waterfront activities are the kind of thing we crave. Fortunately, there are a number of destinations for this in the Larchmont area.

Manor Park in Larchmont boasts itself on its website as being: “one of the rare waterfront areas on Long Island Sound which is accessible to the public for the enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Sound and its shoreline.”

Another popular waterfront destination is Harbor Island Park located in Mamaroneck, NY. Popular activities here are walks along its path especially when taking in sunsets which one review stated: “always spectacular.”

If you are looking for a fun beach day close to home, look no further than Rye Beach.

The largest area for waterfront activities, though, is found in New Rochelle. Five waterfront parks and five lakes are found here. These have beaches, pavilions, trails and recreational facilities.

All in all, there are definitely a number of places to go when the weather breaks and you want to be by the water.

 BRONXVILLE BREAKFAST OPTIONS PLENTIFUL By Ken Sherwood

BRONXVILLE BREAKFAST OPTIONS PLENTIFUL By Ken Sherwood

There are three awesome breakfast places all located in Bronxville. They are The Pondfield Cafe, Lange’s Deli, and Park Place Bagels.

Located at 3 Pondfield Road West in Bronxville P.O., the Pondfield Cafe is very popular. Its popularity is shown by its long wait times yet reviews state it is well worth any wait.       

“Stopped by here today for breakfast and was blown away by how great the food was,” a reviewer on Yelp said. “The cafe is small but if there is a wait I'd recommend staying.”

Lange’s Deli is located at 94 Pondfield Road and has plenty of options on its breakfast menu. On their website is this message: “Lange's Deli of Bronxville is a homestyle delicatessen nestled in the quaint town of Bronxville, New York. For almost 3 decades, Lange's has proudly offered an authentic deli and catering experience, serving freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites that keep our customers coming back for more.”

Lange’s offers extensive catering options as well as curbside pickup. Talk about convenience. They are open at 5:30 am Monday through Saturday and 6 am on Sundays.

Park Place Bagels, located at 9 Park Place in Bronxville, specializes in something you may have guessed from its name: bagels. They also have several different choices for both breakfast burritos and omelettes which are all less than $7.

So the next time you want to get breakfast in Bronxville you might want to try one of these three establishments.

 LOCAL FITNESS HOTSPOTS ASPRINGING By Ken Sherwood

LOCAL FITNESS HOTSPOTS ASPRINGING By Ken Sherwood

Five local fitness destinations are taking off as the warmer weather has to be coming. Soon? Maybe? Please? Among these are Changes Fitness & Health and Phoenix Fitness in Tuckahoe. Bronxville is home to Soul Cycle, Pure Barre, and Bronxville Fitness Club.

Located at 104 Yonkers Ave., Changes Fitness & Health received very nice praise from one review on wellness.com.

“I am going to refer everyone I know here,” the reviewer said. “I absolutely love this place. They always go above and beyond to help with anything I need.”

Changes Fitness & Health offers more of a personal trainer atmosphere. Gerry Dicarlo offers amazing and client specific training for all ages.

Another popular fitness spot in Tuckahoe is Phoenix Fitness, located at 135 Marbledale Road in Tuckahoe. Its mission statement on their website says: “Phoenix Fitness is a full-service fitness center established in 2001. We offer personal training, sports, strength, and cardio conditioning as well as group fitness classes with some of the best instructors in Westchester County! Come on down to Phoenix Fitness and Make It Happen!”

Soul Cycle is a chain which calls its cycling “revolutionary.” The Bronxville location is located at 94 Kraft Avenue. Reviews on Yelp are very positive as visitors rave about the clean atmosphere and great instructors.

Pure Barre in Bronxville is located at 2 Cedar Street. They are currently offering new clients unlimited classes at $99/month. Purebarre.com is an extensive website which is user-friendly and has all kinds of information. This includes a welcome video and even a detailed blog about what to wear to class.

Bronxville Fitness Club is located at 72 Palmer Ave. On its website says: “A complete fitness center where trained professionals are committed to new possibilities for your body and your health. We've got all the best equipment, an exceptional staff, and spa-like locker rooms. We invite you to work out at Bronxville Fitness Club and see just how great a fitness center can be!”

Hot Yoga Popularity Picking UP Heat By Ken Sherwood

Hot Yoga Popularity Picking UP Heat By Ken Sherwood

 

A pair of fitness destinations is taking off in Rye Brook. They are Bikram Yoga, located at the Rye Ridge South Shopping Center, and the nearby SoulCycle.

Bikram Yoga offers its patrons an opportunity to learn about and execute Hot High-Intensity Interval Training.  

There are a variety of reasons people should do Hot High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Pilates. One of them is it is a compliment to any exercise. It helps with your core and posture to build long lean muscles and is low impact, according to Frannie Rochat. Rochat owns Bikram Yoga in Rye Brook and has 20 years’ experience practicing while teaching for 12.

Another reason people seem to like this exercise is they lose weight and get stronger, even after three 60 sessions you can see the difference.

Intimidation is one of the key factors that keep many from giving Hot HIIT Pilates a chance. The hardest thing for Bikram Yoga owners like Rochat is getting people in the door. Once they get in the door, though, they can expect a safe environment. This exercise is a direct shot of working your core.  It is great for your heart and lungs and can be a full body workout.

Hot HIIT Pilates is for everyone as long as you have discipline and the mental capacity needed.  

Its origins are three-years-old and began in the United States.

SoulCycle has self-proclaimed themselves as being revolutionary for indoor cycling and “has taken the fitness world by storm” according to its website. The location in Rye Brook has plenty of favorable reviews on Yelp.

“I absolutely love this place,” a review on Yelp began. “First of all the staff is very welcoming and friendly every single time I go in.”

 CHATBOTS GAINING PREVALENCE By Ken Sherwood

CHATBOTS GAINING PREVALENCE By Ken Sherwood

I’m probably going to be dating myself here. But raise your hand if you used to stalk your buddies’ away messages on AOL’s Instant Messenger. An away message seemed so basic at first as it would say: “I am away from my computer right now.” Before you could blink, though, away messages would contain a variety of information like a class schedule for the day or depressing song lyrics. Its job was still the same. It allowed you to respond to people when you were not around. These days, artificial intelligence has helped create chat robots also known as “Chatbots.”

Chatbots are becoming more and more prevalent in a world that is steamrolling automation down our throats. When Adam Davies was waiting for his office and administrative assistant he would screen calls as if he was his own secretary. Fast forward to today and a chatbot could screen said calls for him.

Chatbots are becoming so advanced that one chatbot will soon be able to communicate with another chatbot. This is real life, people. Yet this technology is not free and is not cheap. It will soon begin to gain ground in all customer service industries. Have you asked yourself how long it will take to get a person on the phone when calling your cell or cable provider? Imagine NOT having an option to talk to someone. Ever. Don’t worry about those days, though, as they are likely 50 or even 100 years away. It will get harder and harder to get a customer service representative on the line though.

Companies offering chatbot assistance are all over the internet. One is called “LivePerson” and has this listed on its homepage: “The major brands LivePerson works with are aggressively pursuing chatbots to reduce care costs and create new digital experiences for sales and strong relationships. LivePerson has a complete solution to create, launch, manage, and optimize these bots. We can build and deploy your chatbot in less than 45 days.”

Not to surprise anyone out there but another company that has flexed their muscles with chatbot sales is Amazon. Meet “Amazon Lex.” If the name sounds familiar to another one of its products just read this passage from the Amazon Lex homepage: “Speech recognition and natural language understanding are some of the most challenging problems to solve in computer science, requiring sophisticated deep learning algorithms to be trained on massive amounts of data and infrastructure. Amazon Lex democratizes these deep learning technologies by putting the power of Amazon Alexa within reach of all developers. Harnessing these technologies, Amazon Lex enables you to define entirely new categories of products made possible through conversational interfaces.”

Talk about stiff competition. Companies like LivePerson that have a strong mission statement and the abilities needed to make an effective chatbot algorithm may show potential. However, they will definitely have their hands full competing against Amazon. Look at how hard that has been for a company like Google.

Amazon is not the only big money player throwing its hat in the chatbot ring. Facebook is also very much in the chatbot field in a variety of ways. The most popular is through Facebook Messenger which recently hit 1.2 billion users. There are a ton of chatbot apps that can be installed that are compatible with Facebook Messenger.

Chatbotsmagazine.com recently ran an article that listed five of the most popular chatbot apps many are using through Facebook Messenger. The site listed Niki.ai, HealthTap, Poncho, CNN, and Memegenerator Bot.

WINTER DAYS FAR FROM OVER By Ken Sherwood

WINTER DAYS FAR FROM OVER By Ken Sherwood

This past Friday was Groundhog Day. If Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow then spring would be a mere four weeks away. Unfortunately for everyone, though, Phil did see his shadow which means winter is going to be here for at least another six weeks. And in case that makes you annoyed you might not want to look at Wednesday’s forecast as we may see double-digit inches of snowfall. It could be worse. Erie, Pennsylvania, got over 50 inches of snow during the early part of this winter. There is some good news though. 

April is less than two months away. The first day of spring is nine days before that. I know April does not mean nice spring weather right away. The New York Yankees’ home opener in April of 1996 had snow. Eleven years later I watched the coldest baseball game of my life and that was April 7th. Usually, however, April comes with rain and keeps the snow in the clouds for eight months. 

With spring six or more weeks away from us, the time is now to embrace the season and make the most of it. 

Winter months are an excellent opportunity to take part in a variety of outdoor sports. From skiing to snowboarding and snowmobiling, the options are plentiful for all ages. Snowshoeing, snow tubing, and cross country skiing are more options on snowy days. If the cold air is just not your thing there are a ton of indoor activities you can do to pass the time. This could be binge watching your new or old favorite television show or going to the gym. Weather permitting, day trips are another great option on boring winter days.

While Punxsutawney Phil predicted another six weeks of winter, eight other groundhogs said there would be just four. So I guess it depends on your groundhog preference on Groundhog Day. Bill Murray is not an option. The one known as Phil for short, though, has predicted six weeks of winter 103 times against just 17 for an early spring. He must love the winter. Its days, though, are counting down. March is less than 25 days away and the first day of spring is not far behind.  

STAGING HOMES PIVOTING SELLERS’ MARKET  By Ken Sherwood

STAGING HOMES PIVOTING SELLERS’ MARKET By Ken Sherwood

For people looking to sell their home one tool that has taken off is known as “staging.” It allows you to make your home look its absolute best to help earn you the best return of your investment. There are more than a dozen things to keep in mind when staging your home. Keeping an open mind and being flexible are both key when you begin to transform parts or all of your home. 

Clutter. I think it is safe to say that clutter is one thing we all have and are trying to limit. 

“Getting rid of clutter to make space seem bigger was key,” a buddy of mine said whose home sold quickly. “We took our agents’ advice and it paid off.” 

If there are times your home has felt like “standing room only” then you might want to take a good look at all of your furniture. Removing chairs or end tables and bringing large pieces like sofas off of the wall make rooms look bigger instantaneously. And moves like this cost nothing. Much like furniture, wall art also plays a big role when staging your home. Many walls look cluttered with too much on it such as paintings, mirrors, shelves, or a framed Stephon Marbury jersey. The latter never made it up when Eric moved in with Sloan in Entourage but I am just making a point here. Taking a sofa off a wall makes a room look bigger while taking items down makes a wall look more fresh and inviting. 

Transforming rooms is another part of staging that adds big dollar amounts to a home’s value. Some can be on the expensive side such as finishing a basement. Others can be on the cheap side. Take the room where you put all of your junk in. Find alternate storage areas for your junk and you may give yourself an office, small bedroom, or play room to name a few.

Another room everybody seems to love transforming is the kitchen. Replacing floors, cabinets, and appliances are among the ways to make your kitchen look more appealing. Yet consider the parts of your kitchen you can live without or don’t really help its appeal. This can be a lonely chair in a corner or even a television tucked under a cabinet. But being able to fully transform this room undoubtedly can add value and appeal to a home. IF it is done correctly, that is.  

If you have any projects that are unfinished you should probably find time to finish them before putting your home on the market. Old floors, ripped carpet, and sidewalk cracks will lower a buyer’s asking price. Fixing these yourself, though, will cost you a lot less. 

While open space makes rooms look bigger it can also make a home look empty or lifeless. My wife and I looked at a home and something that stood out to me was the landing area on the second floor near the stairwell. There was a nice space and one I was used to seeing naked or empty. But these sellers had a long bench and pillow under a window against the wall. It also had a small bookshelf and seemed to be a cute reading area. That house did not take long to sell. 

Rooms that have breathtaking views need to be featured with the best lighting and as little accents and furniture as possible. Imagine a room with large French sliding doors that have a body of water facing it. Keeping the water in sight is key when staging this part of your home. The same great view of water can also be of trees and mountains. Even a field that goes on for miles can be a nice view if staged properly. A view is like a picture that can say a thousand words. And it costs you nothing to display.  

There are literally thousands of articles online about home staging. Some have very effective “before” and “after” photos. One thing, though, that stood out was how simple many of the moves you can do really are. My boss loves telling me to “keep it simple” and the same mindset should be prevalent when staging your home. 

ALEXA CHANGING THE GAME By Ken Sherwood

ALEXA CHANGING THE GAME By Ken Sherwood

Through an aggressive marketing campaign originally launched with Alec Baldwin asking a little black box to do a variety of different things, Alexa has become the next big thing in a world full of gadgets. 

Anybody who grew up in the 1980’s has some of its commercials stuck in their head. One I can’t seem to shake features Dunkin’ Donuts. A second was a Folgers Christmas commercial. Yet perhaps the most iconic and apparently unforgettable one had this jingle: “Clap on, clap off…the Clapper!” It was a jingle Joey Gladstone and Jesse Katsopolis could have made better but its simplistic approach was so far ahead of its time. What if I told you that Alexa can turn your lights off without clapping? Is that something you’d be interested in? 

Not that long ago a high school buddy posted a video of his two toddlers asking Alexa to play their favorite songs. It was not Alexa’s finest moment as it does not speak toddler quite yet. Just the joy on two little ones’ faces talking to an Amazon Echo had me wondering how Alexa was becoming so powerful. 

All of this Alexa talk got me away from some technicalities. “Alexa” is the name of the computer one talks to on Amazon devices such as its Echo. By saying: “Alexa,” the Echo beeps and then you can ask it a variety of things or give commands. Some of the commands could be to play music or make calls. Instead of reaching for your cell phone or trying to find said cell phone to make a call, you can tell Alexa to make the same call for you. 

At first glance some would say Alexa is just Amazon trying to compete with Apple’s “Siri.” But what may have appeared to be a daunting task may soon become a tighter race. Am I the only person who was drooling when I saw somebody with the first iPhone? All I know is when I finally got one it was the iPhone 5 and I felt like cell phones would be dominated by Apple in the foreseeable future. Enter television giant Samsung and its Galaxy and Apple had a battle that continues today. But Siri was one of those original things that Apple had while its competitors struggled to find something similar. Except Amazon. 

At the closing bell on Jan. 8 Amazon was valued at 1246.87. Apple, meanwhile, closed at 174.35. I am not comparing Amazon to Apple. I am simply showing, though, how much more stock value Amazon has than Apple. This tells me the future of Alexa is looking a lot better than Siri. Amazon can afford to invest more money into Alexa while Apple has its own concerns to keep them busy. 

Marketing was once Apple’s calling card. Remember those seemingly basic commercials shot on white screens featuring Justin Long as the Apple guy and a guy that looked like Bill Gates as the Windows guy. The campaign was brilliant and gave Apple an opportunity to overtake Windows as the premier desktop and laptop computer source. It’s safe to say they succeeded and when they coupled its new computer success with its iPhones the sky was the limit for that little company Lt. Dan smartly invested in for his pal Forest. I’m still waiting for Apple to launch a new campaign showing Siri is still the queen of talking devices. 

Another player that is trying to give Alexa a run for its money is a lot closer to Amazon’s stock than Apple. Any guesses? Okay. It’s Google which was valued at 1114.21 at the closing bell Jan. 8. Google has an answer to Amazon and Alexa. Enter Google Home. It is similar to the Echo and offers many of the same features. However, when it searches something, it is powered by Google which makes it more appealing than the Echo. If you search for “Google Chrome” on Amazon its page of Echo’s and other devices linked to Alexa comes up. In fact, not even Google’s answer to the Amazon Firestick, the Chromecast can be purchased on Amazon. Ironically, the Apple version of the Firestick which is called the “Apple TV” can be purchased on Amazon. If this doesn’t tell you what company Amazon fears more nothing else will. 

The Echo 2nd generation is currently $99.99 on Amazon and if you have Prime it can be on your doorstep in two days. A Google Home unit is currently $129 on bestbuy.com. It also has a mini version that is currently $49. The Echo has a smaller version called a “Dot” and is $49.99. Amazon’s Alexa and Google seem to be in a match race with Apple and Siri seemingly getting left behind. 

RYE RANGER SQUADS CAPTURE SILVER STICKS DIVISION TITLES By Ken Sherwood

RYE RANGER SQUADS CAPTURE SILVER STICKS DIVISION TITLES By Ken Sherwood

For the first time in its Club’s history two different Rye Ranger squads captured their respective division titles in the Silver Sticks Tournament. The “Squirt A’s” and

“Pee Wee A-TB’s” were victorious and will both continue competing in the Silver Sticks tournament later this month. 

The win for the Squirt A’s was not an easy one. They won an overtime semifinal thriller before being victorious against the Connecticut Riverhawks in the finals. Next up for them will be the finals in Sarnia, Ontario. 

Meanwhile, the Pee Wee A-TB’s also survived an overtime semifinal before icing the Western Colonials by the score of 6-1 in the finals. They will be taking their talents to the Silver Sticks tournament at Port Huron, Michigan, Jan. 11-14. 

LIVE VIDEO TRENDING INTO 2018  By Ken Sherwood

LIVE VIDEO TRENDING INTO 2018 By Ken Sherwood

The evolution of social media platforms is an ever-changing climate that even the youngest and most tech-savvy folks are struggling to keep the pace. What has seemed to take over as 2017 comes to a close, though, is the emergence of live video as everybody’s new favorite thing. Its prevalence through multiple outlets such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook is starting to diminish what drew everyone to these things in the first place.

If you first got a cell phone at or around 2000 then you probably loved how easy and convenient it was to call friends and family. Nights and weekends were the best times to make or receive calls since they were unlimited. The rest of the time there was an allowance of minutes that seemed to run out way too fast. Not long after the turn of the century another way to communicate via cell phones made talking seem, well, old-fashioned. It was around this time that anybody 25-years old and under was obsessing over AOL Instant Messenger. Cell phone companies caught wind of this and introduced something that would be known as “texting.” The new fad spread like wildfire and unlimited nights and weekends was nothing compared to unlimited texts.

As cell phones and texting continued to evolve apps such as Skype and Facetime began to make some serious noise. The ability to make calls on cell phones and see the person you were talking to seemed to be the ultimate communicating feature. Fast-forward to now and the use of live video clips and stories has dominated everything else.

A few months back my beautiful wife started using Snapchat with her friends to send one another short videos with fun filters. At first I was thinking how I hadn’t used Snapchat in a few years. Yet after re-downloading the app myself and seeing its new features I was blown away. Each day it has new filters for selfies and even videos that can be sent to all of someone’s friends or a selected amount. If nothing else Snapchat has given its users a reason to open the app on a daily basis. Facebook noticed Snapchat’s filters and began offering a similar feature on its app not that long ago. Some of the filters on both apps involved sponsored content but its originality gets the most hits.

Several years ago I loved using the app known as Instagram. An app that essentially was for photos has now been taken over by video in a new item known as “stories.” Debuted in August 2016, Instagram Stories allows users to create videos for their feed which disappear 24 hours later. This is somewhat similar to Snapchat messages also known as “Snaps” that are only able to be viewed once and then disappear. Imagine old Facebook posts you might have regretted putting out there. Well, Snapchat Stories doesn’t give you more than a day to regret one of your video-friendly posts. Pretty cool, huh?

The ease of live videos on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are all so much easier than the old king of video, YouTube. The latter has now shifted its focus to YouTube TV, services that allow users another way to watch cable without everybody’s favorite: cable companies. YouTube has had to crack down on its users’ posts given the current political climate and “fake news” that is growing at alarming rates. Trying to capitalize on subscribers, YouTube TV offers $35/month that comes with 40+ channels, local sports, and get this: SIX accounts. Think about that for a second. How many cable boxes do you have in your home? How much do you wish you had in your home? I’m guessing your wish is not greater than six which is what you would get from YouTube TV. This can be watched on Smart TV’s, tablets, cell phones, game systems, and more.

Facebook’s live video feature is not just good for you or me posting something. It has also allowed news outlets to air press conferences right on Facebook as they are happening live. This has the feel of live TV and allows you to add comments on the feed as it is happening. The same posts are then automatically saved on the accounts’ news feeds and can be watched again whenever, similar to a DVR but you don’t have to hit a button or schedule it. Yeah, that’s right. It’s already done for you. One company that is looking to capitalize off Facebook's live feeds is World Wrestling Entertainment. Yes, the WWE will soon have some matches aired live through Facebook to help boost an already growing empire.

A friend of mine in the social media industry told me recently: “Facebook video is going to be bigger than YouTube someday.” It sure seems to be on the right track.  

NET NEUTRALITY COMES CRUSHING DOWN  By: Ken Sherwood

NET NEUTRALITY COMES CRUSHING DOWN By: Ken Sherwood

There is something escalating in the United States of America that nobody seems to be talking about but everybody needs to know about. I am not talking about President Trump, his new press secretary, or even North Korea. I am, however, talking about Net Neutrality and how it is about to have ever-lasting effects on anyone who uses the internet. So I am talking about everyone.

 

Imagine the days when you first got internet access. How new it was. How its conveniences seemed endless and have been growing by the second. I grew up waiting for my favorite song to come on K104 or WRRV and I just hoped I had enough space on whatever hundredth blank tape I had queued in my boom box. Now when I want to hear my favorite song I simply reach for my iPhone, iPad, or even tell my car to play it. My store recently had cassette players come out for a nostalgic gift idea. I remember listening to songs or the Yankees on my Walkman while sitting on the beaches of Wildwood Crest. Now I can listen to the same songs or watch the game on my aforementioned iPhone on the beach. Are you kidding me?

 

While Back to the Future Part II almost predicted the year the Cubs will win the World Series, the flying cars were a big miss. However the amount of features our cars have compared to those I rode in as a kid are few and far between. Back to the internet.

 

I recently saw a buddy of mine post something on Facebook asking if Dish Network was a better option than Time Warner Cable. Everybody seems to be anti-cable companies these days given the growing amount of fees and charges that seem to be growing by the month. If you look at a bill breakdown for cable you’ll notice most of the charges come from cable, premium channels, and even having a DVR box. Take these away and you get your $10-20/month landline phone and your $10-50/month internet fee. It averages around $150-175/month. Imagine just paying $50 for the best internet option and maybe $50 for basic cable. Eliminate the landline you never use and get a $100/month bill. An easy way to save $600-900/year. But the internet rates are about to change and it can get to the point where cable fees are the cheap options on your billing statement.

 

Net Neutrality was kept alive during the Obama administration and it ensured all services available from internet access will be treated equally and no additional charges given. Basically paying a cable or satellite company for internet access or even a cell phone company for data allows you to surf whatever part of the web you want without paying any additional fees. There are internet services like Netflix and Hulu that come with monthly fees. A few new ones are Apple Music and Pandora. A recent court settlement ended Net Neutrality yet the appeal process is slowing down its adverse effects. But baby they are coming.

The ability to stream off Netflix, Hulu, an Amazon Fire Stick, or any other provider is the most popular use of the free internet world we currently live in. Imagine a world where Netflix charges $19.99/month instead of $10.99/month. There’s another $108/year you won’t get back and that is just the beginning. Netflix is so convenient and so coveted that they can charge in the $40-50/month range and most of its users will not blink an eye. With a free internet world in the USA this would never happen. It can happen now. I am not saying it will but you have to expect the unexpected. Cable companies will also profit from this situation. I read an article a few years back where it was mentioned cable companies could begin charging a “streaming fee” given the growing rate of online binge watching. So the $10-50/month internet you currently get could go up by $10-50/month just to stream. That one would most definitely leave a mark in your wallet.

 

I have not even mentioned the charges that can come with social media outlets. If you have been on Facebook the last 10 years you have probably seen the “fake” petitions where people are going nuts that the site will not be free effective such and such date. It has remained “free” yet look at the amount of ads there are compared to when you would log on just eight years ago. A monthly $5 fee could be coming. The same amount could be charged by Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. These are all outlets that did not exist 15 years ago but have literally dominated the internet and society since.

 

In other countries fees already exist for social media outlets. They are itemized within a monthly cable bill and something their citizens have grown accustomed to. But in the land of the free and the home of the brave these fees will be unwelcomed and a rude awakening. Too many people don’t know enough about Net Neutrality to have any clue what may be coming. Once they do know, though, a collective response may just be: “Wait what?”