TV costs you at least $10,000/year

Came across an article about how TV costs you more than you may currently realize. In all honesty I never thought about it in terms of my worth, but I made the move to drop the expense of TV over two years ago. I ended up becoming a big fan of Blockbuster Online because at the time I had a store just a couple miles down the road from me. When they switched their business model to allow for the in store movie exchange I became hooked. Forget about Netflix where I might be able to see three movies a week, with Blockbuster I'm able to catch up on six a week (three from my online queue and three from the store). Lately I've been so busy with work that I don't even bother with trading the movies in at the store.

Although I haven't gone in the direction of making use of this extra free time from lack of TV, I do value the time away to not let my brain just rot. I've also noticed a funny thing about society in my lack of TV viewing: people form a lot of conversation around what's on TV. There's been several times when coworkers have asked me if I saw a TV show or even a commercial that was on the night before. That's when I remind them of my TV viewing habits and the conversation falls into silence. Some point me to Youtube to catch the commercial, but that I've tried to avoid as well. User generated content is all well and good, but the quality of that content leaves a lot to be desired and how much of it is actually education or beneficial in some way? I'd have to say almost none, but I'd be happy if somebody could prove me wrong.


Login experiences for the standard end user

So I was making my way through my long self made RSS feed of webpages to read through and several of the pages were ones that require me to create an account on the site. Now in true Web 2.0 experience some of them allow you to browse around the site, even start adding personalized content without creating an account first. This in and of itself is a very cool trick I wish more content driven websites would embrace. But this isn't the point that I'm trying to make. The point is when it actually came time to create that account. Many people pick out a username for an online account and then stick with it at every other website they create an account at. This would be all well and good except there's no standards on what are valid characters in usernames and even passwords. I can't use symbols in my username or my password? Or numbers? Okay then, I'll just stick with something like 'password' to log into my account since you're asking to have my information stolen easily. Seriously, it's not that hard to accommodate those characters. And especially in the password since the site should be using some sort of cryptography anyways so that anybody going into the database can't see the password in plain text or be able to reverse the password.

For the username I can't see a purpose for explicitly denying symbols and in some cases numbers either. Unless the site is making use of symbols behind the scenes to state that a username has special attributes to it, there's no reason to deny the symbols. And if the site is doing this, they really need to reevaluate what they're trying to achieve because this kind of programming trickery just leads to headaches down the road.

So one solution that I've come across that works much better than remembering odd combinations of nonstandard usernames is to use a common email address as the username. Since I've come to focus all my email through one solution (namely Gmail), it's easier to remember what email address to use. Plus with a number of sites that send out the occasional reminders or notifications to the email address I can go to the site and be able to remember right away what the username and (generally) password are for it. What gets annoying is when sites explicitly make use of the email as the username, but don't label the text box as such. One of those tips that most developers keep overlooking: if it is hard to use, it will hardly be used.