Bad Kids

My Grandpa Murphy was a little different from my Grandpa DiNigro. They were both great men. My grandpa Murphy was full of stories. He had such a great sense of humor. He lived in Aliquippa, PA. He would come up to visit 4-5 times a year. He always stayed at my house when he came up. He would make my mom, dad and I waffles every morning.

He always found something fun to do with us. He would take us to the park, the movies, the mall, the dollar store, the herkimer diamond mine and many other places. He was definitely way more talkative than my grandpa DiNigro. The one rule of all of my cousins and I was not to get Grandpa Murphy upset. If you were misbehaving he wouldn’t be afraid to discipline you! You did not want to feel his wrath.

Me and my cousin Brittani are pretty close because were a year apart and have pretty similar interests. Brittani and I used to go everywhere with Grandpa Murphy. We would even spend the night at each others houses. One particular night she slept over my house and we got up and went with grandpa in the afternoon after he watched The Price is Right. We had a wonderful day. We went to the movies and the the dollar store. On the way home we had apparently decided that we didn’t have quite enough fun yet. Ate the ripe ages of 10 and 11 we were feeling mischievous. To this day I don’t remember whose idea it was, but we both decided to do something pretty bold. One of us said to the other “Let’s fake being sick.” My grandpa was driving us home that night and we had been very quiet the whole time just whispering to each other and talking about what  we got at the dollar store, just examining it all very carefully. Out of no where one of us said “Grandpa, I don’t feel so good” and the other said “Me, neither.” My grandpa panicked. He says “Oh shoot, do you think you’re going to throw up?” We had each told him that we felt like we were going to throw up. He turned around really quick and parked in a parking lot.

Brittani and I had no idea what to do. We hadn’t thought that far into what would happen. We just thought it would be funny to fake being sick. Grandpa was running into the grocery store to get us Pepto Bismol, when our guilt set in. I guess we didn’t think he would take it too seriously and we felt bad that he was in a panic trying to get us not to throw up. One of us said to him before he left the car ,”We were just kidding, we aren’t really sick. Sorry grandpa.” After we said that, he was pretty furious. He yelled at us and told us never to do that again. We were pretty scared. We didn’t speak a word the whole way home. Not one of the three of us. I have never been on a more quite car ride than the one that night. I will never forget that day.

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Here is is a picture of my Grandpa M. He has his arms around(from left to right) my brother, my cousin Holly, my cousin Brittani, and me) =)

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Love in Garlic

Growing up, I was always proud of my Italian heritage, even though, by the time it got to me, I was only 25%. My mom is one of 8 children, so I have a large family. We are very tight knit. We get together on holidays and birthdays and tell stories, celebrate life, and eat fine Italian food. I was always very proud of how close we are.

Being Italian, garlic is a huge part of the meals. Garlic makes a mean pasta sauce, a sauce that is mastered by my mother and grandmother. This is a sauce I have yet to learn how to make. I am looking at recipes online measuring everything out, while they know the recipes by heart. They have done it a thousand times, with love and care. They have made this sauce for family members, on special occasions, and during celebrations. The sauce is made purely out of garlic and love. Okay, it’s made out of tomatoes, olive oil, basil, etc as well !

Let’s talk about garlic again. I forgot to mention that my grandfather, as a retired carpenter, planted and cared for 16 or more rows of garlic the length of a football field. He sold it on the corner of a street that met with Rt. 20. His garlic stand was called “Joe’s Garlic Corner.” He planted it every year until he was physically unable and forced to give it up. There was a point in time where he had to be talked out of it almost daily. I will always have fond memories of my grandfather and garlic. This man could not sit still. He was one who always needed to be outside working. He was restless. A true hard worker. He always needed to feel useful.

For a few years when I was younger, I helped him with the garlic over the summer. He would plant it every fall and harvest it every summer. I usually helped only with the harvesting, but sometimes I would plant it as well. This earned me a little spending money when I was younger so I could by CD’s from the latest pop musicians. During the years I learned so much about garlic, and my grandfather. I could tell you the many different kinds of garlic that we planted: German Red, German White, Italian Purple, Music(pronounced Mew-sick). Sometimes two or three garlic plants would be planted too close together and grow into one plant. He called these twins and triplets. We always had to tell each other when we found a twin or a triplet. It was fun. He taught me how to pull the garlic out of the ground and clean off the roots and how to clean it up and make it look really nice and ready to be sold.

I learned that while my grandfather was pretty serious, and one of few words, he had the best sense of humor. He would whistle silly songs, make silly, harmless jokes that poked fun at my grandmother. Sometimes he would make silly faces behind her back. I would start laughing and my grandma would say something like “Is he making faces at me,” and joke back with him laughing and saying that he was going to get it!  He made me laugh on a daily basis working with him. In a way the garlic represented who he was. The garlic made it through some very harsh weather over the years and remained strong. He faced his share of obstacles and was still a rock that we could all lean on for support. He was a tough man, but loved his family and would do anything for any one of us in a heart beat. I always picture him in a field of garlic. That is where he belongs. grandpa

A Picture of my Grandfather and my little cousin Mathew with garlic =)

Assignment 5-Cable and Satellite vs. Video Streaming

With the average cable bill amounting to close to a hundred dollars, I would think that people are starting to weigh out their options. I for one would rather wait to watch a TV show for a few more months, and watch it on Netflix, to save money. According to a study done by NPD, the average monthly TV bill increases by about six percent each year, and is said to be hitting two hundred dollars by 2020.

By the end of March 2012 the number of Netflix subscribers reached 26.1 million.The number of Hulu subscriptions hit 2 million. Each service charges eight dollars a month. I’m not surprised that there is such a huge interest in these video streaming sites. Eight dollars a month means ninety six dollars a year. The average monthly cable or satellite bill is about a hundred. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many people out there thinking, “Would I rather pay 96 dollars a year or 96 dollars a month?,”  and then deciding to cut their ties with cable and satellite companies. I assume that more people are headed towards Netflix, since Hulu is ad supported. I feel that for the same price, without the adds, people would be silly not to choose Netflix. You can see that people have already been thinking that way, since Netflix has 26.1 subscribers and Hulu has only 2 million, a thirteenth of the subscribers that Netflix has. The only advantage that Hulu has, is that they air new seasons of TV shows sooner. I am willing to wait a little longer to watch my shows uninterrupted, but I know that some people are more about seeing their show as soon as possible. I feel as though I might as well be watching cable, if I’m watching a show with tons of advertisements. Netflix is also planning on expanding globally, once the world economy starts to look promising enough for them to make a decent profit.

ImageAs you can see, Netflix has a lot more content also. Amazon Prime is cheaper, and is including other services like free eBook rentals and free unlimited shipping of any of its products. If these are things that are used often, it would be worth it to get Amazon prime, but if you are more worried about content, then Netflix is the way to go.

Google and YouTube are getting together to create an online original content TV network. They already have 96 shows listed for the start of their new network. They are working directly with celebrities and Hollywood producers, so their content is bound to be as good as cable television. Brian Bedol, who created Classic Sports Network and College Sports Television will be working with You tube to air sports content also.Yahoo and AOL are trying to compete.You tube has a 15 million dollar deal with Disney also to try and attract a bigger audience to Disney.com. I feel as though You tube will come out on top, since they are backed by Google with a 100 million dollar contract. They have a greater amount of money and resources, Their programming will be a little better quality and people will be more inclined to support You tube over AOL and Yahoo. Apple is another company who could make a ton of money off of this concept. They already have their products sold in 123 countries around the world. If new features were added to get just a mere one percent of their customers to pay a dollar a month more on their iPad or iPhone, they could make enough to afford actors and producers. Apple can easily be another form of competition.

TV shows still air a little sooner on cable and satellite TV, than on Netflix and Hulu, so I think that cable and satellite will be able to hang on for a little longer. If it’s true that the monthly cable and satellite bills will be reaching 200 dollars by 2020, as Venturebeat.com says, then cable and satellite will not survive. Given all the competition that they have, it is so incredibly foolish to raise the bill at all, especially such an insane amount. They are thinking in the present and not in the future. Sure, people still have cable and satellite subscriptions, so these companies will make a ton of money raising the bill for now, but people will reach their limit and cut ties with cable and satellite companies. These companies are thinking more money now, while forgetting that this will probably mean broke and bankrupt in the future once people start realizing that the benefits of online video streaming out weigh those of cable and satellite TV. Given the current state of the economy, people are already trying to save money wherever they can, so I think it’s only a matter of time before video streaming becomes the main way that we watch TV. The greed of Cable and satellite TV companies will cost them.

There never seems to be a shortage of competition.  Cable and satellite companies will need to keep that in mind when they start to think about raising prices again. People will still watch just as much TV as they do now, but they way that they watch it will change. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other online streaming services are just the start of this wave of change.

Information was found from these sources:

http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/17/hulu-plus-subscriptions/

http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/10/average-monthly-pay-tv-bill-to-hit-100-by-2013-year-of-the-cord-cutter/

http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/14/the-future-of-tv-dead-man-walking-or-bigger-than-ever/

http://gigaom.com/video/netflix-international-expansion-plans/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/netflix-q1-2012_n_1447123.html

Assignment 6 -Tv Viewing Habbits

Netflix is the platform with which I use ninety percent of the time to watch TV.  It is hard to consider it television when it isn’t broadcast, but streamed online, but it is still the same show no matter how you look at it.  After realizing that I didn’t want to have to try and have the TV on at the right time every week to watch a show, I began to use surfthechannel.com. This website was a little slow, and from time to time had things missing, but  was generally good. I looked at the site not too long ago, and noticed that it is pretty much just a spam website now.  The frustration that I had with the time control of television, the unpredictability of surf the channel, and the unlikeliness of finding new episodes of a show that I like on hulu, lead me to Netflix. It’s only eight dollars a month, and while I’m disappointed that they don’t have “It’s always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The Big Bang Theory” along with some other popular movies and Tv shows, they really have the majority of things that I’m looking for.

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I probably spend about ten hours a week watching Netflix, and maybe one or two surfing my TV for some re-runs and movies on TBS.  TBS is where I watch “Friends,” “Family Guy,” and “The Big Bang Theory.”  Of the ten hours a week that I watch Netflix, nine and a half are spent watching on my laptop. The other half hour is the occasional use of my boy friends iPhone, usually when we are waiting for something and aren’t home to view it on a larger screen. So during the week I’ll watch a half hour of Netflix on an iPhone, nine and a half hours of Netflix on my laptop, and one or two hours of TBS on my television.

 

Image Here’s a screen cast of me watching scrubs.

I like to watch “Scrubs,” “The Office,” and “Grey’s Anatomy” on netflix, along with the occasional movie and any standup comedy by Jim Gaffigan. If you haven’t seen any of his standup, I suggest that you look into it. He is insanely funny.  

ImageI’m planning on watching Mr. Universe very soon. It is new to Netflix.

All in all, I like the accessibility of Netflix. I like being able to watch whatever show I want(for the most part), whenever I want to watch it. I like the control. I never got into shows before Netflix. I never really liked having to change my schedule around to watch TV. I have better things to do, just as I’m sure most people do. This is why everyone is a little less inclined to watch TV these days. Convenience.

E-Book Pricing- Assignment 3

We all know why everyone loves E-readers. It’s their convenience, compactness.and environmentally friendly nature.The text of an E-book can even be searched for specific words or quotes, which could be good for homework or for when someone wants to go back and look at something, but doesn’t know what page it’s on. In a digital age like today, I feel as though reading on a Kindle or Nook might encourage someone who doesn’t read very often to read a little more, since it may be a little more fun to use.

I also understand why not everyone is completely thrilled with E-readers. The page sizes are small, so the pages have to be turned more often. With an E-book, one misses out on that new book smell. Another thing that bothers some people is the fact that on earlier E-reader devices, the cover art isn’t visible, or is in black and white. Image

This picture gives you a sense of what you may be missing out on if you are reading from a black and white E-reader. Vibrant colors.

Some E-reader have a low battery life. These may be the only negative aspects that we consider when reading on an E-reader.

It is said that Apple is being accused of price-fixing on digital books.The company has apparently been fighting antitrust accusations for some time now. Apple, along with five major publishing companies came together to fix the prices of eBooks, in attempts to combat Amazon’s success.The low eBook prices from Amazon is causing Apple to lose more eBook sales, therefore Apple sees Amazon as a threat. Like Apple is hurting for money. That’s nonsense.  Apple, in this suit, is saying that the U.S. government is against competition. According to Pcmag.com’s author, John C. Dvorak, “Three partners in the scheme—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster—make Apple’s position weaker because they have agreed with government and settled. Macmillan and Pearson are still trying to figure out what to do.”  The Wall Street journal claims that Apple, along with its accomplices, raised the prices on many eBooks and the five major publishers tried to push the idea on Amazon. People spent tens of millions of dollars more on E-books after this price increase. According to Wall Street Journal, “The government’s suit describes the shift from traditional wholesale pricing—where retailers set the price of both digital and physical books—to a so-called agency model that has publishers setting e-book prices and retailers paid by commission. ” These publishers thought that they could get away with forcing these prices on Amazon, but if Amazon were not to go for the idea, they could be dropped from Amazon and miss out on sales. It was also pretty obvious to the government that these companies had done wrong, just by the way they put so much effort into covering their tracks.

Popular Authors, like Jodi Picoult, say that eBooks can cut an Author’s income down by thirty percent. This could be a  result of price fixing on eBooks. Companies selling eBooks are promising us low prices at the cost of the Authors’ salary. It’s sad because eBooks are so popular now that if an Author wasn’t selling a digital version of their book, they would be even worse off. This is very similar to what Wall-mart is doing. Companies are forced to sell their products at a much lower cost, because Wall-mart is such a major seller, that they would actually lose money if they didn’t use Wall-mart as a platform to sell their products..Authors end up making less money when an eBook is downloaded than when a paperback copy is bought. Jodi is one of many Authors who are trying to get people back into the printed book, so that authors can actually make a decent living again.

None of these things occurred to me when I got my kindle. I thought that people would be spending more money on books with the popularity of e-readers, making Authors more money. It turns out to be the opposite of what I originally thought. I want to be an author some day, so the idea of this scares me. Maybe the fact that eBooks aren’t using up paper or ink makes them cheaper to make. I feel as though only the amount saved in the eBook publishing process should reflect in the prices. Major eBook sellers are however selling these books at such a cheap price that Authors are losing out on money. It doesn’t make any sense to me. These books are worth the same amount in digital or printed form ! The author put just as much time and effort into each book, no matter how it is distributed.

I love my kindle, but reading up on the subject makes me feel as though I’m stealing from the authors. I wish it weren’t that way. This really gives me something to think about.

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We are getting books quicker and cheaper, but at the Author’s expense.

 

Information on this subject was gathered from these sites:

Wall Street Journal Online

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404884,00.asp

http://sellyourstoryuk.com/2012/02/05/are-ebooks-losing-authors-money/

Kindle-Assignment 5

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and I’ve actually found that I read a lot more now. This has a lot to do with convenience. I don’t have to drive somewhere to buy a book, or order one and wait for it to come in the mail. The buying process is so quick and instant. Kindle allows me to download classic books for free also, like “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Dracula,” “Tom Sawyer,” etc. I read my Kindle everywhere. It’s nice to have on breaks at work, in between classes, waiting rooms, etc. Any other book I ever took with me would get wrecked in my bag or purse, so it’s nice to not have to worry about that. I have close to 70 books downloaded to my kindle, and have read Five since January. I usually read  five books within a year, not six months. I like that I can have all of these books, and it doesn’t even take up the space of one book. The books are slightly cheaper too. When I got the kindle I bought the hunger games books for it. I got sucked in like everyone else ! Image

I really like this picture, so I had to share it.

There are a few things I miss about paperback and hardcover books. I miss the smell of new, and even old paper in a book. I miss the cover art as well. I have an older kindle that is Black and White and doesn’t show cover art.

I do still buy some real books on occasion. Everything that I buy from national geographic, including the magazine, I would much rather buy the actual copies. The photographs are too beautiful to miss out on. An E-book couldn’t do national geographic justice. The last books I read before getting the Kindle, were any Ayn Rand books I could find. Her books are classic, philosophical books and completely amazing.

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Here are my three favorite Ayn Rand books.

I’m not really sure if one can collect comic books on an E-reader. It doesn’t really seem like the same thing.I had to look it up on Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia “The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector.” On an E-reader, one wouldn’t have to really locate or acquire comics, since the comic could be found in seconds without leaving the house, and downloaded(acquired) at the click of a button. The comics couldn’t truly be displayed to many people on such a small screen, while only being able to view one comic at a time. I’ve come to the conclusion that one can not collect comics on an E-reader, based on this Wikipedia definition. Image

I’ve never really been a big comic book reader, but if I were I would have to get the Kindle Fire to read it in vibrant color. My black and white kindle simply wouldn’t do. The picture above seems to display the colors in a good light.

So, all in all I read mostly on my Kindle, but I can’t resist a real book on occasion.

My experiences with Social Networking

I use Facebook to keep in touch with family members and old friends. Image

This photograph is of our private family group on Facebook. It’s sole purpose is to reminisce about old memories and to share stories about my grandfather after he passed away. I also use Facebook to share pictures of good times I’ve had with friends.

Sometimes a thought will pop into my mind and I will post a status to see what everyone else thinks. I will occasionally use Facebook chat.

One of the big things I use Facebook for is self promotion. I like to share my poetry through notes. Image

 

I also like to try to get my name out there as far as photography goes, so I made myself a photography page displaying most of my work. Image

The only other account I have is Pinterest. I’ve only had it for about a month and I’m begging to feel as though is it less of a social networking site and more of a sharing site. I haven’t ever talked to anyone on Pinterest. It is more about photography than communication. I use Pinterest as more of a bookmark for things that I would like to look at again. I don’t have a smart phone so I access all of these sites with my laptop. I do feel as though I waste too much time on these sites and not enough time doing “real” things with my “own” life as Sherry says in the Ted video. I feel like while being “social”  through these sites leads to a disconnect socially in real life.