One Step Closer to Cable Free NFL Games...

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. And it looks like sooner has officially arrived. The only shock wasn't that there was a big announcement today about cord cutting and sports: it's that there were two big announcements...

First, Amazon announced that Amazon Prime members — the $99/year program that's wildly popular — will now be able to watch ten Thursday night NFL games in 2017 as part of their Amazon Prime membership. No extra charges: it's just another incentive to sign up to be a Prime member. Games will stream live at the same time they play on network TV, so you won't need to wait until the game is over to watch: watch just like everyone else, but without needing to have a special cable bundle or NFL subscription.

Some of you sports junkies might take this news and think, "Well, that's very quaint, but it's not nearly enough!". Trust me: I get it. Most die-hard football junkies that I know wanna watch their Sunday NFL games every weekend. And their Monday Night Football games. And let's not forget the Saturdays games as well. And, by the way, they wanna watch those games on ANY device they damn well please: TV, smartphones, tablets or computers. Given that, today's announcement from Amazon might not achieve the level of awesome that a true sports junkie in your life will love.

However...

Today's second announcement just might give you goosebumps: YouTube has officially launched YouTubeTV. The new business will provide access to "ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports Networks, Comcast SportsNet and dozens more" channels for a set fee of $35/month. The service is available for up to six people, three of whom can be logged in AT THE SAME TIME and watch different shows. Notably, it also offers unlimited DVR capabilities, so if you wanted to record a bunch of shows to watch later, now you can: as many shows as you like. And, because you'll have access to network TV with your subscription, you can watch any sports event that you might normally find there, including, you guessed it: live sports! 

Those who have read my book know that I advocate cutting the cord (cancelling cable tv) to save a ton of money. We used to spend over $100/month for cable tv and internet. Today, that's changed. Let's say that you spend $40/month on high-speed internet access. Now, for an additional $35/month, you can also have legal access to (and record!) every popular network TV channel you need. Not bad, Junkies. Not bad at all. 

Within the next five years,, cable tv will be gone and EVERYTHING will be easily available to view on the internet. Some of it will be totally free. Other, vast amounts of programming is now and will continue to be available for a low, monthly fee. It's an exciting time. 

"But, hey," you ask: isn't there SOME way to get free and legal access to network TV without spending $100/month on a cableTV subscription. Actually, there is. But, for those kinds of deeper secrets, you'll just need to buy the book, Junkies. 

Trust me, it's the smartest money you'll ever spend.

Why You Need to Use a VPN Service Starting.... RIGHT NOW.

In my book, I strongly advocate for using something called a VPN (or a virtual private network). Using a VPN is sometimes necessary to gain access to certain US websites (Netflix, for example) when travelling outside of the US. However, and this is key: it's also required to help you maintain your online privacy. 

Let me give you an idea as to why that's important: last week, the Senate voted to allow your internet service providers (or ISPs) to sell your browsing data without your consent. That vote now requires the participation of The House of Representatives before it becomes law, but the writing is on the wall: your privacy is under attack.

In all honesty: your online privacy has been under attack for a long while now, something that folks like me in the tech sector already know. However, there's a simple, 100% legal and very affordable solution you can take -- right now -- to take back some of your privacy and stop making all of your public data so damn public: use a reputable VPN service. They cost about $5-7/month.

It works like this: using a VPN service allow you to connect to the internet through their servers, masking your IP address (think of that as a computer identification number) and the websites that you visit. It's like surfing the internet with a Harry Potter cloak over you. 

Some of you might believe that because you're not doing anything illegal online, that you have nothing to hide and, therefore, don't need a VPN. I understand that: I just think it's not the best way to think about this issue. Consider: if you don't travel anywhere illegal as you go about a normal day, you'd still be very uncomfortable if you knew that you were being followed wherever you went around the city. Twenty four hours a day. Day after day. 

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
        — Edward Snowden

I therefore recommend a VPN service that cares about your privacy and can demonstrate that to you as a potential customer. But how do you, as a consumer, learn how to choose a reputable VPN service? Here are a few guidelines that I'd propose, based on the research I did for my book and for the series on security I wrote last year for MacTech magazine. Choose a VPN provider that:

  1. doesn't keep logs on the websites that its customers visit
  2. isn't headquartered in the United States
  3. offers servers in 10+ countries
  4. is NOT a member of the 5, 9, or 14 eyes security agreement
  5. offers a connection with an encryption rating of at least "AES-256"
  6. offers a free trial and/or a money back guarantee after 15-30 days
  7. supports both Macs & PCs

There are a small group of providers that do a really good job of accomplishing these core principles. I'm a fan of the following VPN programs in this order:

Click on ANY of the company names I've listed above to visit their websites and learn more.

There are other companies I'm still examining and vetting but, for now, these four companies are all solid which you should confirm by doing a bit of homework.

One important note for the sake of transparency: I'm an affiliate for each of these amazing companies. That means if you purchase a plan, I receive a small percentage of that sale as a "thank you tip" for recommending them. It's not nearly enough to live on and isn't why I support these companies in the first place. They're just the best, but I wanted you to know so everything we discuss is above board!

We've launched!

What started as a simple eBook for friends has turned into a 114 page reference book that I know will delight you and help you learn. The final product (which is never finished) took three years, had three proofreaders, two copy editors and one graphic artist. Oh and this: a lifetime or research to bring you the very best book on technology I could write. 

Only this is no ordinary book. I wanted to do something different, so I created something comedic because I wanted to make you laugh. There's no sense in learning about something like technology if you can't laugh about it, kids. 

So, here we are. I'm nervous, excited and very happy to finally be able to help everyone I know save money, learn some super-cool tips & tricks of the trade and empower themselves to change their boring, old living room into a true home theatre. 

Are you ready? I hope so. 

Let's get started. Together.