Generation Y Finds Free WiFi

Internet is free unless you want to pay for it.

I am truly convinced that somehow one day Internet service will be free to all with access to a computer. The thing is, it’s already kind of that way- at least in a city the size of Nashville. A monumental event happened last week when Starbucks officially began advertising free WiFi in their stores. For months I have been mocking them for being so behind the times, as they have been charging by the hour for Internet service when McDonald’s has been offering it for a while now. In fact, Starbucks was the last major (and still relevant) store to join the crowd.

It’s quite symbolic of the direction that Internet is heading. I haven’t paid for Internet the entire 4 ½ years I’ve lived in Nashville. My laptop automatically picks up the nearest open network wherever I am, or wherever I’m driving by and decide to drop in- hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, churches, book stores, even auto repair shops provide Internet for me while I wait on my car. And I have weekly taken advantage of all those places.

Last weekend I went in to Verizon to renew my contract (and more importantly, get a new free phone they always offer for staying with them). I found the phone I wanted- it was small, light, and shaped like a stone. Yet when the salesman came over to help me I learned that the only way I could get that phone would be to get Internet through them for about $30 extra dollars a month. I made the mistake of telling him that eventually Verizon will offer free Internet (so that people will buy more expensive phones that make better use of online capabilities).

The guy actually said this to me in an attempt to make a sell: “Having Internet on your phone makes life so much easier. You may look out the window and see a rain cloud and wonder what the weather is going to be like that day. If you have the Internet on your phone, you can look up the weather forecast and find out.”

Really?! Really. Seems like the word “rain” in the phrase “rain cloud” might have given me a clue…

He wanted to argue with/educate me about technology so I simply replied, “Where are the phones that don’t require me to purchase additional Internet service?” I ended up leaving the store, with my same two-year old phone. The few options that didn’t require Internet were no more advanced than the phone I have now so I’ve decided to hold off on trading in my old one for a new one. It would be ridiculous to pay for what I already can get for free (the Internet) or try use my “free new phone” pass on a phone identical to the one I already have. And since I don’t live with a constant need to Tweet, I will manage just fine.

Surely it says something about access to free Internet use when I have built and maintained this website mainly using the Internet of Borders (where I’m posting this from now) and other coffee shop types of venues. If anyone should have to pay for Internet, it should be me. But I never have.

It just requires diligence, patience, and creativity. I also have never paid for cable- I paid $60 a few years ago for “bunny ears” at Best Buy that give me access to ABC, NBC, and Fox (plus some obscure Canadian channels). That’s how I watch the shows that I do recaps of. As for TV shows I want to see that don’t come on the major networks, I can easily watch them on their network’s website. Of course I am willing to part with $9 a month for Netflix- I began subscribing the month they started offering free instant streaming.

There’s a very thin line between being cheap and being smart. I’m okay with either side of that line.

Is There Such a Thing as a Wrong Opinion?

A behind-the-scenes look at writing with authority.

I spend a lot of time reading articles online (movie reviews, political blogs, etc.) every day and I always make sure to read the comments that other people post below them. The majority of comments tend to agree with the writer. But a good third of them have the polar opposite view of the topic. To me it’s funny when they disagree, because ultimately what they are saying (especially when their comment is emotionally charged) is that the writer’s opinion is wrong.

In a way they are the treating the writer’s opinion as a fact, by questioning it like it is a fact. Because only a fact can be wrong. An opinion is completely subjective.

And what that points out is the importance of the natural assumption of credibility in a writer. A convincing writer is able to supplant this idea in the reader’s head: “If he’s saying it, it must be true.”

No writer is completely right-on and in-tune all of the time. Even if a writer was, they may just not simply be right-on and in-tune with the exact same perspective as the reader.

Writers must present their information in confidence, in a way that says, “This is unquestionable truth”. When executed correctly, the reader subconsciously puts their trust in the writer, assuming that if the writer says something that seems a little off, it must be the reader that is out of touch and off-sync, not the writer.

I know this is true for the writers that I follow. Even when I read an article from one of my favorites and I don’t thoroughly enjoy it, or it just doesn’t grab me, I still come back the next day or the next week for more. Because despite their shortcomings, they have instilled a sense of reverence in me through their talent. A sense of belonging, even.

That’s my opinion, at least.


Manspeak, Volume 8: Relaxation

One of the great things about this website is that readers can search keywords to find certain writings of mine, and even better, I can read what people type in that search box. Among my favorites: “sickle pickle”, “what does bromance mean to you?”, and “are men really attracted to women with big pupils and that smell like vanilla?”

While I’ve never written anything about men being attracted to women who smell like vanilla, I should. Because it’s true. Vanilla is often an ingredient for women’s perfume because men are indeed enticed by it. It has a relaxing effect. Subconsciously, many men find themselves quite attracted to a woman who can help him relax. There’s science behind it.

A woman’s mind is like a computer screen with 6 or 7 different programs all open and running at once, always active: women were designed to multitask. Even when a woman is taking it easy, appearing to be relaxed- she is still thinking about a few different things at once. It never really stops.

In contrast, a man’s mind is designed to focus on one task at a time, until that task is complete. Then he moves on to the next task, or he rests. Whereas a woman’s mind never really rests, a man’s actually does. It goes into Screensaver Mode. He is truly, literally thinking nothing.

In the way that kids are obsessed with getting candy, one of the things guys are always looking for is a way to rest. That is, unless they are already focused on a project, activity, etc. But rest can come in many different venues; it doesn’t simply men sitting on a recliner watching TV.

Being that it’s fresh on my mind since I went recently with my friend Tommy, canoeing is a good representation of this Restful Activity Franchise, as it represents the laid-back flow of a man’s Screensaver Mode. Others in the franchise include Corn Hole, fishing, and in an individual setting, even simply mowing the lawn.

Screensaver Mode. Restful Activity Franchise. Vanilla. There is definitely a connection.

So it makes sense that a man is going to be drawn to a woman who makes him feel like he can relax with her. Hence, the relaxing scent of vanilla in the woman’s perfume. Women look to men for action and strength, men look to women for nurture and rest. That is part of the groove design of the male/female relationship.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: