Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Recycling Smartphones

I have a Mission this week to do research on recycling smartphones. I currently have 3 old cell phones that I'm not using. The first one is a flip phone that I love dearly. It was my first ever cell phone, and to be honest, some days I wish I could still use it. I've really never been as happy with a cell phone compared to as I was with my first one. The second old phone I have is my first smart phone. The third phone is a Samsung Galaxy S4.

I have not decided yet if I want to recycle my first cell phone. It has sentimental value for me, and this goes against being a minimalist. My only justification for keeping it around is that it doesn't take up that much space. My first smart phone I want to recycle, and I need to make sure all of my pictures/important data is off of it. For the Galaxy, I am looking at options on how to turn it into a cheap secondary phone.

I did a google search on recycling smartphones and it led me to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. From there, I found another website that lets you search by zip code where you can recycle electronics. After inputting my zip code, one of the options was the county environmental services office. The county has a super long PDF file with information on disposing waste and items that can be recycled. The PDF said I can take old phones to a few different places. It mentioned the county recycling center, but it says there is a fee to recycle electronics. I assume the fee is for big electronics, and I would be surprised if they charged a fee for cell phones, but you never know. Other options are to take it back to Verizon for recycling, or take it to a Best Buy, Staples, or Office Depot.

The link for the EPA site to find information on recycling electronics -
http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling

I will most likely take my old smart phone back to Verizon and attempt to recycle it from there. First I will need to make sure I have all of my files/pictures off of it, and then do a factory reset.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Robinhood App Update v 1.2.2

Robinhood is now on version 1.2.2. The previous version was 1.1.3. The update listed 3 updates. The first update doesn't really affect me, since the update allows Android phones with Marshmallow and a phone with a fingerprint reader to log into the phone with a fingerprint. (Marshmallow is the newest operating system coming to Android phones). The second update added the ability to change the e-mail address associated with your Robinhood account. I don't know how this was changed prior to the update. The third update is listed as fixing bugs. I haven't noticed too many bugs with Robinhood, but I didn't notice last week some glitches with stocks showing the price of stocks.

I haven't been checking the Robinhood app as much since investing in dividend stocks. I am currently working on getting my portfolio posted on the investing page of my blog. Below are some pictures of the app after the update and a picture of the updates listed on the Google Play store.

Signed,

Mitch














Monday, September 28, 2015

mymoneyblog.com

One of my missions this week was to find an investing blog to follow that wasn't a dividend blog. I've looked at other dividend blogs that Jason Fieber has on his blogroll, and I don't like them as much as Dividend Mantra. Tonight I google searched "personal blogs about investing" and found www.mymoneyblog.com. Looking over the site, I think I'll enjoy reading it. According to Jonathan's "about me" page, the blog has been around for 9 years. That speaks to me that Jonathan is dedicated to the blog. Also, it isn't full of ads and clickbait links. Also, there isn't a huge " IN YOUR FACE" box at the top of the main screen to sign up for a newsletter. I'm not saying I'm going to read mymoneyblog forever, but I'm going to give it a chance to make me a dedicated reader.

Dividend Mantra is currently going through changes, and I'm not sure what it's going to bring to the site. Jason remained positive that the experience would stay the same, but I'm just going to wait and decide for myself. I hope I won't be searching for a new dividend blog to read in the future!

Are there are any investing blogs that you read? Also, I just wanted to note that today was the day NASA announced flowing water on Mars. This is huge news and I'm looking forward to what this means for the future.

Signed,

Mitch

**Edited after originally posted because I was typing "mr money blog" and not "my money blog". Also to add the note about Mars.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

MITCH Mission Update W.E. 9/26/15 and new Mission W.E. 10/3/15

I gave myself 5 missions this past Sunday to complete over the week. If the Mission is highlighted green, it was completed. If the Mission is highlighted red, it was not completed.

Minimalism - Count and document all of the shirts I have. This will be a more manageable Mission this week. This will be working towards counting and documenting everything I have.

  • I completed this goal and posted about it. I currently have 55 shirts.


Investing - Research and invest in 5 dividend paying companies. These companies should have sustainability programs or their products should promote sustainability.

  • I completed this goal and posted about it. I bought stock in 9 companies! 


Technology - Remove 1 non-essential app from my smartphone. This is the same as last week.

  • I removed 4 apps from my smartphone. 


Conservation - Find an alternative to using traditional deodorant sticks.

  • No real progress here. I did some skimming on alternatives, but I haven't found an alternative I want to go with.


Health - Weigh under 218 pounds.

  • Weighed in at 220.2. This was an increase of 0.8 lbs compared to last week.

New Missions for W.E. 10/3/2015

Minimalism - Count and document all of the pants that I have. Now that I have a structure for inventorying my shirts, I don't think counting my pants will be too tough.

Investing - Find a non-dividend focused investing blog/person to follow. 

Technology - Decide between using Google Keep and Wunderlist.

Conservation - I'm going to pick a new topic for the week, since I'm hitting on a wall on having the same Mission for the past 2 weeks. The Mission will be to research how old cell phones/smartphones are recycled. 

Health - Track all of my calories consumed with MyFitnessPal app. I have a wedding this weekend, and I don't want to be 10 pounds heavier after next weekend. I won't have to track all of my calories down to the "T", and can be approximations.


Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shirt Inventory

One of my missions this week was to do an inventory on all of my shirts. This is coming off a mission that had changed from the week earlier. I felt if I went another week with no updates, I would look bad. This blog is keeping me accountable!

I did my shirt inventory and it took probably around 20 minutes. I walked around my apartment with a pen and notebook and took notes on all of my shirts. I walked around my living room, laundry room, bathroom, and bedroom to get a count on everything. (I am trying to be a minimalist, I never said I was tidy). I then put my list of shirts into a Google Spreadsheet. Unfortunately, this count is not a complete count of all the shirts that I have. It is only a count of the shirts I have here in my apartment. I have more shirts back in my house that I haven't brought to my apartment yet.

I currently have 55 shirts in my apartment. Below are the results from my inventory!



I am not looking forward to adding to this inventory count once I get the rest of my shirts out of my house. I will be faced with the fact that I have way too many shirts, and that I need to downsize. I think having this data will be useful to figure out where I'm sitting for shirts. The next step after getting all of my shirts in inventory will be to figure out which ones I still wear. If I don't wear the shirt anymore, I will most likely get rid of it or donate it.

Do you think 55 shirts is too many? Do any of you have strategies for minimizing your wardrobe?

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dividend Paying Companies

One of my goals this week was to research and invest in 5 dividend paying companies. The companies I invest in should have sustainability programs or their products should promote sustainability. I ended up buying one share of nine different companies. These companies were -

  1. CL - Colgate Palmolive
  2. DE - John Deere
  3. GE - General Electric
  4. INTC - Intel Corporation
  5. JNJ - Johnson & Johnson
  6. MSFT - Microsoft Corporation
  7. T - AT&T Inc
  8. UL - Unilever
  9. VZ - Verizon Communications
I didn't do a ton of research on these companies. Previous knowledge of these companies, and a little bit of looking into ones I didn't know that well, I know they all pay dividends. Quite a few of these companies make products that I personally use, and they are products I've used for a long time. I don't think any of them are contributing to any major harm to the environment. I know I read something about Unilever not too long ago, and I think it had something to do with waste water, but don't quote me on that. Every major company nowadays is going to have to have a sustainability program of some kind. There is an expectation of it now, as more people are becoming aware of environmental issues. I will do more research and make sure these are companies that I want to stick with. 

Lastly, since I was using Robinhood to buy these stocks, I could buy individual shares. With my other brokerage account, and paying a $9.99 commission to buy stocks, I usually bought multiples of one stock. I bought multiples because with buying and selling at $9.99, that is $19.98 of gains that have to occur before any amount above that becomes a profit.

Signed, 

Mitchell

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Removing Apps Part 3

Immediately after I posted on Tuesday, I recalled I could disable apps. This still does not remove the app, but it removes it from the list of apps on your phone when looking through your app gallery. It also removes it from showing up on the list of apps to be updated.

There are still some apps that can't be disabled, like the Verizon voicemail app. I believe it can't be disabled because the app is probably considered a crucial app for the phone. I've disabled quite a few apps, and I need to go through my apps again to see if there are any remaining apps I can disable.

Now when updates come out, I should be able to press "update all" instead of updating apps individually. Before, I was applying updates individually to apps because I didn't want to update the bloatware apps. Disabling apps will work for now until I get my next phone. I'm still not decided on what phone I will get, but it will be a phone that does not come with bloatware.

Signed, Mitch

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Eating Fruit

I've never been good about eating fruits and vegetables, and my mom makes fun of me for this. With all of the whole foods, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan diets, I figured I should increase the number of fruits and vegetables I eat (In no way shape or form am I against eating meat though). I have gone long stretches of time with eating a small amount of fruit. I've purchased fruit many times previously just to throw it away because it started to rot. I've mentioned before about being intentional about eating food that can go bad. This is something I'm still working on. I can't say I've felt any different since eating more fruits, but I hope my body has noticed.

My go-to fruits are apples and bananas. I do buy oranges occasionally, but they can be a good amount of work to peel and they're decently messy. I did eat an orange tonight because I felt like I was developing a fever, and could probably use a surge of vitamin C. One fruit that I recently developed a taste for is strawberries. I used to hate eating strawberries, and this past spring I couldn't get enough of them. I believe blueberries are good, and there was a time period I would eat them with oatmeal. Blueberries can get decently expensive, so they're not always my go-to food. I know fruits have great health benefits, and I should perhaps learn what time of the year certain fruits are in-season, to purchase these fruits for good prices.

I may make it a health goal for next week to expand my fruit selection beyond apples, bananas, and oranges, and buy something new.

Signed, 

Mitch

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Removing Apps Part 2

I have a few reasons for removing non-essential apps on my phone. The first reason is that I don't need to be a smartphone zombie. I don't need to be constantly glued to my phone. Another reason is trying to maintain all of these apps on your phone, and keeping them updated. I looked at my apps on my phone and it said 25 apps needed to be updated. Some of these apps seem to be having updates every other day! (Looking at you Facebook and Twitter). Updates are great, but every other day is getting to be excessive. Some apps I never update, because I don't want to use them! (Looking at you Verizon - My post on Verizon Apps

I guess maybe I should be grateful that my phone is still getting updates, as my phone isn't new enough to get the latest Snapchat updates. I would like to know that my phone is up to date and I have the latest updates installed. I don't get that feeling currently, and I don't think I will unless i get an iPhone or a Nexus. 

By removing apps I don't need, it reduces the time I spend on updating apps, and will help me manage my phone. It will keep my memory from getting full and dealing with space issues later. I also want to reiterate it will reduce my chances of being a smartphone zombie. 

Signed,
Mitch

Monday, September 21, 2015

Removing Apps

One of my Missions this week is to remove 1 non-essential app from my smart phone. Tonight I removed 4 non-essential apps from my phone. I was thinking about removing some of these apps last week, but didn't accomplish doing so. The 4 apps I removed are StockTwits, Tinder, Yik Yak, and Zillow. I had actually uninstalled Yik Yak around two weeks ago, but ended up reinstalling it.

StockTwits - I'm not 100% sure how to explain it, but users could post about stocks and say if they were Bullish or Bearish on stocks. I think I was expecting to follow some trusting and intelligent stock guru and follow his advice. I used it for about 2 days and stopped using it.

Tinder - This is a hook-up/dating/fling app. I am in a college town, so there were a lot of women using this app, but I had little luck of finding a match. I was getting irritated I was getting any matches. Maybe with some more weight loss, I could improve my chances, but for now, I'm uninstalling the app. Plus, I still believe in the magic of meeting someone in person.

Yik Yak - This is an app where people can post anonymous 200 character posts. People who are geographically close to you can see those posts. These posts can be up-voted and down-voted. Again, with being in a college town, this was filled with a lot of garbage posts. "Netflix and Chill?" was a very popular statement. It was a good way to kill time, and to sort of see what was going on nearby, but not enough for me to keep it installed.

Zillow - This is a real estate app to view houses for sale. I do not plan on buying a house again for a long, long time. Knowing this, I will not need this app.

Removing these 4 apps on my phone cleared up some space on my phone. This will also clear up some "space" in my mind. I won't feel like I missed out on a funny "Yak" because I wasn't checking my phone. I won't be opening up Tinder to find that no one had swiped right on me. I have completed my technology goal for the week! (This was somewhat minimalism too, but I'm categorizing it as technology for now.)

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, September 20, 2015

MITCH Mission W.E. 9/26/15

I am going to post about my 5 Missions this week that pertain to minimalism, investing, technology, conservation, and health. Three of these Missions will be similar to or the same as the ones I did not complete last week.

Minimalism - Count and document all of the shirts I have. This will be a more manageable Mission this week. This will be working towards counting and documenting everything I have.

Investing - Research and invest in 5 dividend paying companies. These companies should have sustainability programs or their products should promote sustainability.

Technology - Remove 1 non-essential app from my smartphone. This is the same as last week.

Conservation - Find an alternative to using traditional deodorant sticks.

Health - Weigh under 218 pounds.

Those are my missions for the week. I will talk about some of them on my posts this week, and I will talk about my completion rate this Saturday on 9/26/15.

Signed,

Mitch

Saturday, September 19, 2015

MITCH Mission Update W.E. 9/19/15

I gave myself 5 Missions this past Sunday to complete over the week, and I will now give an update on them. If the Mission is highlighted green, it was completed. If the Mission is highlighted red, it was not completed.

Minimalism - Count and document/inventory all of the items in my bedroom. This will be helpful to see what I have and what I can get rid of. 

Investing - Average down on my Netflix (NFLX) stock and sell it. I need to do this so I can start investing in dividend stocks. 

Technology - Remove 1 non-essential app from my smartphone. 

Conservation - Find an alternative to using traditional deodorant sticks. 

Health - Weigh under 220 pounds. 

I will discuss the items I completed, and I will take the non-completed items and adjust them into a new Mission this next week. Like I discussed on yesterday's post, I was able to average down on my NFLX stock and sell it off. This completed my investing goal. For my health goal, I weighed in this morning at 219.4 pounds. I was very shocked at this number. I felt like I ate too much food yesterday, and I thought this would "weigh" me down this morning. This is also the first time I've been below 220 pounds since 2007. I am very happy with this, and unlike previous weight loss endeavors, I will not balloon back up to 255 pounds. 

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, September 18, 2015

Netflix Stock

This week I was able to sell off my Netflix stock. I had talked about this as one of my goals for my MITCH mission this week. I bought my first share of Netflix around it's 52 week high. I didn't do a ton of research on the price of Netflix before buying it, I just knew there was a lot of momentum behind it. The most recent market correction brought the price of Netflix (NFLX) stock down below $100/share. I ended up having to buy 2 more shares to cost-average down to sell all of the shares off for a couple dimes' worth of positive return.

I think Netflix is a great service, and I would be optimistic about owning this stock for the long term. But it is mostly due to the huge drop in price for Netflix that made me realize I don't want to invest in potential high growth stocks right now. I realize you don't actually lose any money until you sell a stock, but I would just rather invest in dividend stocks right now.

I was a little worried about completing this mission because I ultimately can't decide what price a stock trades at. I ultimately had little control of completing this mission, but I knew I needed to keep it on my radar and watch for a good time to sell. I set the sell point as a limit order, but wasn't expecting the order to go through, and was very surprised when I got the notification from Robinhood that the order did go through. I am looking forward to taking the money I had in NFLX stock and buying new dividend stocks next week.

Signed,

Mitch

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Messaging Apps

I have a folder on the main screen of my smartphone with a folder called Messaging. In the picture to the left, you can see which apps I have in this folder. In an attempt to reduce how many apps I use to send messages, I combined my regular texting with Google Hangouts. Each of these apps have great features within them, but having this many apps seems somewhat excessive. At the same time, I communicate with different people on all of them, so they're necessary to keep installed on my phone.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are both owned by Facebook (FB). These apps are pretty much becoming the same thing. I love Whatsapp. It is quick and lightweight. It is so easy to use and set up on your smartphone. After a year of use, you have to pay for the app, but it's not expensive. The only bad thing is that I don't have many friends that use Whatsapp. Everyone seems to be on Facebook Messenger. A the time of writing this, Facebook Messenger is the top free app on the Play Store. A lot of my friends only have Whatsapp because they studied abroad during college and wanted a free way to communicate back home.

Google Hangouts is great because I can talk to someone on my phone, and when I log into my Chromebook, I can continue the conversation. The same could be said for Facebook Messenger, you can continue conversations while logged into Facebook.

GroupMe is decent. I used it about it 4 years ago and I'm using it again. Back 4 years ago, I thought it was a pretty cool app, but I think it missed it's chance of becoming super popular. Part of it isn't GroupMe's fault, because Facebook Messenger got its users from having a huge social media site first. I could have the same group chats on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Google Hangouts.

Like I mentioned earlier, having this many apps seems excessive. I'm not sure right now I can get rid of any apps because there's specific people I communicate with on each one. I will be looking into consolidating how I communicate with friends and family on my phone. I will let you know when I have an update!

Signed,

Mitch

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Robinhood Dividend

Today I received my first dividend through Robinhood. The dividend was $0.85 from McDonalds (MCD). I had previously posted that I would give an update on when I actually received the dividend. I believe I received the dividend after the markets closed today. Robinhood said the dividend was scheduled for September 16th, and after the markets closed today, I had the $0.85 added to my Cash and Buying Power. I didn't see the dividend amount added in the morning, and I didn't check before the market closed, but I can only assume it processed after the market closed. You can see from the picture below that the MCD dividend changed from "Scheduled" to "Received".

Also, if you're looking at the two stocks from the picture, you may think that Coca-Cola (KO) and MCD are not "healthy" companies and don't align with the Health part of my blog. There are reason I bought those stocks, and I will discuss that at a later time. I am excited about receiving the dividend on the day it was scheduled, and am looking forward to having this part of the app filled with many scheduled and received dividends.

Signed,

Mitchell


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Robinhood App Update v 1.1.3

Robinhood is now on version 1.1.3. The previous version was 1.1.2. Part of the update is "Added after hours market data". I don't know how much I will use this feature once I start dividend investing, but I do see value in the update. I've been checking the Google Finance app before the markets open to somewhat gauge how the opening bell is going to go, although this isn't always a good indicator. It is also fun to see how the price of a stock can change after hours when earnings reports come out after hours.

There are pictures below that showcase the after hours data update. The picture on the left is v 1.1.2 and the picture on the right is v1.1.3.

I do hope to stay up to date on the versions of this app, because I've used it from the beginning since it was introduced on Android. Also because some apps seem to update all the time, and I can't always tell what is exactly changing with the new version.

Signed, Mitch





Monday, September 14, 2015

Challenges in Posting

A lot of my posts so far have been about minimalism, investing, and technology. This is only MIT of MITCH. Conservation and health haven't been talked about as much. I have slowly started back into a healthier lifestyle. I am trying to eat less meat and eat more fruits and vegetables. I am also trying to eat these fruits and vegetables before they go bad. This means being intentional about what I buy and making a plan to eat it before it starts to rot. I also need to make sure I am at least walking every single night. Building a routine is difficult, but it needs to be done.

As far as conservation goes, I knew this topic was going to be one of the more difficult ones. I need to first analyze my waste stream and see where I can reduce waste volume going to the landfill. As with being intentional about what foods I buy, I also need to be intentional about everything I buy. Food, clothes, technology, and toys all come with lots of packaging. I'll need to analyze how to buy these things while keeping my waste stream down. I can also learn more about how my city handles recycling. After I take care of my waste stream, I can work on educating my neighbors about minimizing trash going to the landfill.

Posts about conservation and health haven't been too common yet, but they will be. I've found some great bloggers that blog about both of these topics and I hope to be reading their posts and interacting with them soon!

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, September 13, 2015

MITCH Mission W.E. 9/19/15

I am going to give myself 5 missions this week that pertain to minimalism, investing, technology, conservation, and health. 

Minimalism - Count and document/inventory all of the items in my bedroom. This will be helpful to see what I have and what I can get rid of. 

Investing - Average down on my Netflix (NFLX) stock and sell it. I need to do this so I can start investing in dividend stocks. 

Technology - Remove 1 non-essential app from my smartphone. 

Conservation - Find an alternative to using traditional deodorant sticks. 

Health - Weigh under 220 pounds. 

Those are my missions for the week. I will talk about some of them on my posts this week, and I will talk about completion rate this Saturday on 9/19/15.

Signed, 

Mitch

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Leveling the Playing Field

I am not a huge fan of football, but I do enjoy watching from time to time. I do enjoy watching the in-state rivalry between Iowa State and Iowa. It's really the only ISU game I care about. Unfortunately, the Cyclones lost today. Unfortunately, football is a lot about money as well. What frustrates me the most is that I can't watch the games I want to watch. I don't want to watch every ISU game, but I wish I could have watched today's game. I should be able to go onto iTunes, the Play Store, YouTube, or even ESPN and watch/stream 1 single game. Since I probably wouldn't "own" the game, and be able to watch it later, the most I would pay for this is $5. I usually buy movies from the Play Store for around $10, but I also get to keep them forever, and watch them again when I want to. 

I believe live-streaming apps are going to change this. Today, I got on Periscope and found someone streaming the game. The quality was terrible, but I at least got to see live inside of Jack Trice Stadium. As cameras, batteries, and internet speeds get better, I hope there is more of this live streaming for sports events. I love that the power is slowing shifting back into the hands of consumers. As Periscope, and other live-streaming apps grow, I'm sure concerts and games will try and stop this live-streaming. If someone is live-streaming a game free for people to watch, how would the college or NFL team make money? I don't believe they'll be able to block cell phone signals or block single apps. Although, I wouldn't put it past the NFL or a big sports corporation to come up with a technology to block live-streaming apps. I hope these apps make the people in charge of college football and NFL think about expanding ways for audiences to view games. Cable is dying, and streaming will soon be king. Please give me the option to watch games when I want. I'm willing to pay, just not pay for a whole package of games/shows I'm not going to watch. 

Periscope App - Zoomed in on Iowa

Friday, September 11, 2015

Robinhood App Update

Robinhood is now on version 1.1.2. I'm not sure if version 1.1.0. updated at the same time with 1.1.2. Anyways, I did notice something new on the Robinhood App this morning, and that was seeing the upcoming dividend payments. I bought a share of McDonald's stock a few weeks ago (Ticker Symbol MCD), and this morning I saw the new area on the app where it shows when this dividend is scheduled to pay out. This will come in handy since I plan to start investing in Dividend stocks like I talked about it my previous post. 

The Payment Date for this dividend is 9/16/15. Information from the NASDAQ website says this date and Robinhood matches that. I will have to wait and see if the dividend goes into my cash on the account on 9/16/15, or if it'll take a day to process.

Signed, 

Mitch




Thursday, September 10, 2015

Robinhood Strategy

I was super excited when Robinhood became available on Android. Unfortunately, I installed it around the time of the latest market correction. I bought a tech stock that was near an all-time high, and now it's gone down nearly 20%. I haven't sold the stock yet, so I'm not out any money. There is an opportunity cost to this though. I'm sitting on this stock to go back up, instead of using the money to make money off of other stocks. This short week has taught me something. I am not going to try and trade the swings of the market.

My strategy is to invest in mostly dividend-paying stocks. This strategy comes from a blog I read. I've been following Jason Fieber over at www.dividendmantra.com for a while now. I love his blog and I love seeing the updates. It's a little skewed now because he is making a ton of money off of his website and writing about dividend investing, so his ability to buy thousands of dollars of stock every month isn't realistic for the average person. 

My plan is to buy dividend-paying stocks that are at least somewhat recognize sustainability. I will not invest in the big oil companies, even though there are a lot of good dividend-paying oil stocks. I also won't invest in any of the tobacco companies because of the health issues tobacco can cause. The other part of my plan is to try "dividend capture". This is a method of buying a dividend stock near the ex-dividend date to get the quarterly dividend from a company, and then selling the stock soon afterwards. I will only do this strategy until I make more money and invest more into my account.

That's my plan for now, and once I average out the expensive tech stock I bought, I will start investing in dividend stocks.

Signed,

Mitch


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Verizon Wireless

I was going to blog about the Apple Event today, but I haven't had a chance to watch the replay yet. I followed some live blogs and know the highlights of what happened. I will watch it soon and write a blog post about it. For the time being, I'm going to talk about Verizon Wireless.

I love Verizon Wireless. I have never had any problems with call/sound quality for 9 years now. I switched to Sprint for about 7 months in 2013, but I'm not going to talk about that. I don't foresee myself without a Verizon Wireless phone again. My perspective is that Verizon Wireless should provide me stable and decently fast cell-phone/4GLTE coverage. I will take a consistently stable and semi-fast network over a super-fast but only in some areas network. I understand why I have to pay more for being with VZW compared to the other cell phone providers, and I am more than willing to pay this premium for a quality network.


I just want service and coverage from VZW though. I do not want your Apps on my phone. I wish I could remove them, but unfortunately I can not. Out of the 8 apps above, I very rarely will check the My Verizon Mobile app. Otherwise, I never use the other 7. (I used the NFL Mobile one once during playoffs last year, but not for very long) I frankly see the rest of the apps as ways for VZW to make money or I see the apps as untrustworthy. I'm not going to back up my stuff onto the VZW cloud. I'm not going to pay for ringtones or for voicemail. Google has Drive, Google Maps, and Google Voice for all of those. Google's versions are all free and work great. I know Verizon has a deal with the NFL, but I really don't want the NFL Mobile app on my phone. At the end of the day, VZW is a business looking to make money. I understand. But I want to be able to control what apps are on my phone. If my next phone is an Android phone, it will most likely be a Nexus phone.

I think Verizon Wireless is great. I am probably going to invest in them soon. I just want to be able to uninstall VZW apps on my phone.

Signed,

Mitch

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

TV

I recently read an essay by one of the Minimalists about TV - http://www.theminimalists.com/tv/. I don't plan on frequently writing my opposing thoughts to posts, but sometimes it is OK to disagree. I'm not saying this stance on TV is wrong, I just have a different stance on it. I agree with a lot of the points made in the essay, but it isn't going to change my stance on owning a TV. 

I just don't think saying "I don't own a TV" has as much of an impact as it might have 10 years ago. I think it's OK to have a TV. It's good to watch your local news station and catch up local activities. It's nice to check the weather channel and have the local news stations for severe weather. I don't own a huge TV. In fact, I love my little TV. I've had it for over 4 years now and it's been great. It's easy to transport and doesn't take up a lot of space. My TV hasn't been a money sink and for the past year and a half I've barely paid more than the cost of electricity to run it. 

Side Note - Tonight was the first night of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I plan on watching this regularly as I regularly watched the Late Show with David Letterman.  



Signed, 

Mitchell

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Half Marathon

On Labor Day 2013 I "ran" 13.1 miles. I didn't quite run the whole distance, but I did jog most of it, and only until the last mile did I move at a pace faster than walking but not quite jogging. That day marked the farthest distance I had ever worked out. I had been jogging/semi-running that entire summer. Before this day, the furthest I had gone was 10 miles, and before that 8 miles. The jump from 8 to 10 miles wasn't terrible, so I decided I should try jumping from 10 miles to a half marathon distance. I did this half marathon specifically on an extra day off from work. This wasn't an organized race. This was me doing this on my own, with my running app to track my distance. 

There are a couple of parts that stick out in my mind when I think about this workout. I remember when I went through my town's trail system. I had never gone this way before and it very well designed for walkers, runners, bikers, and roller bladers. It was really nice, but I never ended up going back there. I had my routes that I liked running and at that point, I would quit jogging in around a month's time. The other part of that workout that sticks out in my mind is the end. I almost walked the end, but I made myself move faster than a walking pace. I don't even know if it was faster than a walking pace, but I kept the motion of jogging. 

About 2 years later, on Labor Day 2015, I didn't do anything that came close to this. By the numbers, I weigh less today than I did 2 years ago on the day I jogged this 13.1 miles. But 2 years ago I was in a lot better shape from running all summer and my health was great compared to now. It still seems weird that I was able to accomplish this distance because I was never an athlete and never played organized sports. 

Note - I specifically edited out my time since it took a long time. 

Signed,

Mitch

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Minimizing Computers

Last night I arrived at my house and found my house essentially left wide open. My house is on the market and realtors have been coming in and showing my house. I found my front door deadbolt had not be locked and also my back door was left completely unlocked. Also, after talking to my neighbors, they said the side door to my garage had been left unlocked too. Luckily, I live in a pretty good area of town, and I have a state trooper who lives down the street from me. Nothing looked out of place, and it didn't look like anyone had entered my house outside of house showings. But I was still really annoyed and ended up calling my realtor after 10 P.M. (which isn't really polite) to express my frustration.

I had taken most of the important items out of my house, but I still had one of my computers there. I started thinking of worst case scenarios and how easy it would have been for someone to walk into my house and take whatever they wanted. I started to think about how my technology should be able to come with me where I travel, and how I shouldn't have to worry about it when I'm not here. I also thought about how spread out I am across all my different computers and devices.

I need to start making a plan for minimizing for computers/devices, and also a plan for better security on them. I shouldn't have to worry about my personal space being completely unlocked in the future, but it is still something to think about. I've been more worried about my information being compromised from hackers for a long time now, and not worried about someone physically stealing or compromising my information. Once I get settled into my new place, I will fully review which computers/devices I don't need anymore. I will minimize my chances for my information to be compromised.

Signed,

Mitch


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Unpacking Peanuts

In the process of moving, I've been trying to downsize. There were many papers, pictures, and other items I had been holding on to. Some of those items I didn't even realize I still had, for example, the comic strip in the picture to the left. I remember starting to collect those when I was younger. I eventually stopped collecting them, put them in a bag, and forgot about them. Now in the process of moving, I've been trying to really go through my stuff and get rid of what I don't need. I still thought this comic was cool, and cool that I cut it out when I was younger. I do not need this comic anymore though, so I took a picture of it. Taking pictures of items was a tip I had read on either a minimalism or de-cluttering website/blog. The thought was that when you take a picture of something, you can still look at the object and remember it, but you physically don't have it anymore. I will not take this to the extreme though, and that is something I am not going to talk about on my blog. I will (hopefully) never recommend something to such an extreme of "TAKE A PICTURE OF ALL OF YOUR STUFF AND THEN GET RID OF IT!!!!". In this specific instance, it was fine, and there was really no reason I needed to hold on to this comic strip. I still have a lot of items to sort though, but I'm making a little progress.

Signed,

Mitch

Friday, September 4, 2015

Excessive Packaging - Deoderant

Conservation is a very important topic. This past week President Obama was up in Alaska, and he made a statement about the negative consequences of climate change. I agree that it is a very important subject, and I will do my best to adjust my lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. 
The first thing I want to do is look at alternatives for my deodorant. I've been using the same deodorant for along time now, and lately when I throw a used stick away, I think about how wasteful it is. The ratio of packaging to actual deodorant is pretty high. Besides what is seen in the picture below, there was also plastic that went around the 2-pack of sticks. I find this pretty wasteful, but am not going to protest it right now, because I'm not going to smell like body odor. I did look the stick over, and didn't find any recycle symbols on it. My goal for myself is to find an alternative to all of this wasteful packaging while still smelling good. 

Signed, 

Mitch

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Robinhood

I will preface this blog post by saying that I will have multiple posts about Robinhood. I was scrolling through my twitter feed on August 13th and saw a tweet from @RobinhoodApp that Robinhood was available for Android. I was super excited because I have been following Robinhood for maybe a year now? I don't remember quite how long, but I've been following them for awhile. As with a lot of Apps, it was released on iOS first, and I wasn't sure how long the Android version was going to take.

Everything so far has been super smooth with Robinhood. I really enjoy the app. The founders of Robinhood are 100% correct when they say that $10 commissions can eat profits/gains all up. I think some people might say, "If you can't afford a $10 commission to buy and sell ($20 total), then you don't have enough money to trade." I myself personally am interested in stocks and want to participate in trading, and yes, I rarely traded on my TDAmeritrade account because of the $10 commissions.

I have a lot more screenshots to share about my experience so far with Robinhood, and I also will be talking about my investing plan with Robinhood. I am looking forward to all of the money I will save by not paying commissions. I will end this post by saying I hope Robinhood doesn't ever take away the $0 commissions.

Signed,

Mitchell

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Printers and Paper

At my old job, I always had a printer near my office. At my new job, there is a nearby printer, but it's not as convenient to get to compared to my old job. This, along with not having to print out a bunch of documents yet, has really kept my office clean. I have a set of papers that is kind of my "training/priority guide" right now, and that's really the only loose, scribbled-on papers I have in my office.

Another change with this job is that I have 1 notebook dedicated to my job. I am writing in it page by page, in order of the days I work. Previously, I may have kept different notes in different places, but so far, I have kept all of my notes and thoughts all in 1 notebook. This is good for keeping things together, but I'm also keeping my eggs in 1 basket. If I were to lose that notebook, or spill something on it, I have the potential to lose a lot of my information I've written down for my job. I should work on digitizing it soon, before there are too many pages to digitize.

There is great value in printing, and I'm not advocating going 100% paperless. There are a lot of things I hate working on/reading on the computer, and I'd rather have a piece of paper. I was just thinking today how it was nice that my office was staying de-cluttered, and I trace that back to not being close to a printer and keeping all of my notes in one place.

Signed,

Mitchell

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Indoor Track

Tonight I went for a walk on an indoor track. I haven't consistently exercised for a long time now, but I'm hoping this blog will change that. In the summer and early fall of 2013, I used to jog almost every single night. The town I lived in had great sidewalks, trails, and school tracks. I am back living in an area where I should have access to good walking and running routes. Back around the end of October of 2013 is when I stopped jogging. It was getting darker out earlier, and winter was coming. I gained a lot of weight back that winter and I haven't actively ran since then.

My goal before fall hits is to find some nice trails to walk and run on, and enjoy those before winter comes. When winter does come, I will utilize the indoor track a lot to maintain my jogging.

I will need to get some new shoes soon, since the ones I have are about a year and a half old. Once I get some new shoes, I will slowly start working my way back to jogging. The key will be to consistently walk or jog every night.