|Earliest: March 17, 2003||Latest: February 16, 2020||Total: 160|
Cost of Movies in Theaters
Recently I went to the AMC theater in Framingham to see the newest Stars Wars - about 6 weeks after it was released. I was a bit surprised by how much it cost for two to go to the movies.
This just shows you why fewer people are going to the movie theaters:
However buying or renting movies can be a cheaper option:
Obviously you don?t get to see the movie on a large screen, However, it?s a cheap way for a family to see a movie that they don?t have to see in theaters.
Today?s home theaters are much better than those from the 80s and 90s. Movie Graphics and sound are pretty good - still no match for the large theater - but certainly a good reason why people avoid seeing some shows on the big screen.
How to Come Up With Great Ideas for Blog Posts Constantly
This is an issue that almost every blogger struggles with. After a while of writing blog posts, you start to exhaust your topics and cannot come up with something new and creative to keep the spark alive. Coming up with new and trending content is very important if you want to create a successful blog. It is something that will keep your audience engaged at all times, and at the same time, attract new people to visit your website.
Fortunately, there are different ways you can make sure you come up with great ideas for blog posts, and we will cover some of them in this article.
Create an idea file
Creativity cannot be controlled, and you don't know when a new and interesting idea is going to strike. That is why you need to be prepared to write it down. Since the idea might come and go, it is very important that you write it down and keep it safe for future submission. You can create a document or spreadsheet, where you will write down all of the ideas that pop into your head. However, that file must be accessible at all times (like an app on your phone), since you don't know when the ideas are going to strike.
Ask your audience
In order to receive an honest answer about what kind of topic to write about, you should ask your audience. Creating a positive relationship with your audience is crucial for success, and it will become helpful as they will give you valuable data to optimize your blog.
It is no shame to ask the readers what kind of content they prefer to read and optimize your blog to suit their needs. It is a win-win situation, as you will make your audience happy, and at the same time, they will provide topics for you to write about. Even though it is a simple method, only a few people are actually doing it.
The hunt for the next big trend never stops when you are running a blog. This means that you are on a constant search for the topic that most people are interested in at the moment. However, identifying the next trend is a bit complicated since you need to establish thorough research. Fortunately, there are few tools that can help you with that.
- Google Trends - Is the most commonly used tool for searching trending topics over a specific timeframe.
- AnswerThePublic - is a website where you can enter any term and get a massive list of synonyms and related terms that people search for.
- BuzzSumo - You can find out ranks for topics and what are people are writing about by entering a keyword.
Watch Your competitors
Obviously, sometimes you need to focus on your competitors in order to get the right idea for writing engaging content. It is not stealing if you are simply looking at what topics they cover and how they perform with the audience. If you decide to steal an idea for a topic, try to infuse it with your own brand flavor and transform it to suit your blog.
Expand your existing content
Sometimes if your existing content works, you just need to dig deeper into the subject. You should search for the best performing content on your blog and write an in-depth analysis of that subject covering other areas.
By covering some of the existing content, the process might lead you to new ideas for a topic that you've never published on your blog.
These are some of the ways you can keep your content fresh at all times. Remember, since this is a creative process, you cannot expect that the ideas will come to you as fast as a running quarterback on the SuperBowl. There is a saying that states: "Foolish bloggers go out in search of ideas, efficient bloggers allow ideas to come to them." So, keep finding new methods to inspire yourself, and you'll be laughing.
Playstation Vue Alternative
Starting February 1st, Playstation has discontinued using the Playstion Vue Live TV service. In a recent blog post, John Kodera, Deputy President, SIE said the following:
Today we are announcing that we will shut down the PlayStation Vue service on January 30, 2020. Unfortunately, the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected. Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business.
This is the first Live TV Streaming Service to be canceled. Which leads to viewers that have cut the cord to scramble to find an alternative solution to replace the service.
Comparitech Has a Solution
In November 2019, Mark Gill, wrote an article that provides practical alternative solutions to PlayStation Vue. It's well written and has an unbiased look at all of the available solutions.
Five Key Take-a-Ways
- The article goes over 12-alternatives - yes really there's that many viable alternatives available!
- There is no "go-to" solution. As none of the alternatives offer the exact same channel line up as Playstation Vue. You'll have to figure out what stations are important to your needs.
- You get screen shots of each service.
- THe article talks about VPN solutions to get around geographic restrictions. There's different VPN solutions for each alternative solution.
- The article doesn't end with the solution to buy. It's up to you, the reader, to find the one that works best for you.
Many people know that I love popcorn. Good popcorn is hard to find.
This weekend I had the opportunity to try popcorn at 2-venues: AMC Theater in Framingham and Roller Kingdom in Hudson, Massachusetts.
AMC Theater in Framingham
We went to the dine-in section and saw the 8 pm showing of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." It was a sold-out showing - which was a surprise for a movie that has been out for a month.
I ordered the large bucket of popcorn moments before the movie started. By chance, the people next to me ordered 2 large buckets. This means that they would probably have to make a fresh batch of popcorn. (Given the late hour and demand.)
The popcorn was good. It was nice and warm too, which is a nice surprise. It wasn't warm like it was under a heat lamp, no it was warm because it was freshly cooked. I liked the popcorn - and it was hard not to eat it all as I wanted to save some for my daughter.
The popcorn didn't come with any butter/flavoring which might have made it better.
Total cost: $9.50 - a lot of money for popcorn.
Ok, I get it. Not everybody goes to a roller-skating rink to eat popcorn. They are there to have fun on the rink and do whatever it takes to not fall down.
The popcorn is really good here. They cook it just long enough so that it's nice and crispy. In addition, they add the right amount of salt. You get a nice popcorn crunch in every bite.
Total Cost $2 for a box or $4 for a bowl (The bowl is worth it!) The bowl is about 1/2 the amount of popcorn in an AMC Popcorn tub.
I would recommend going to the Roller Kingdom than going to AMC - if you want good popcorn.
Your Google Search is Your Blog Topic ideas
For Bloggers, it can be tricky to come up with quality content. What should you write about today? What information would appeal to the largest possible audience.
There are plenty of websites that can give you ideas on what to post. 189 Blog Topic Ideas is one of many.
Google Can Help
One source of content is to look at your personal Google Searches. Look for various queries around a topic.
I have found that it takes a couple of Google searches to really find the solution to my question. Well, what if you wrote a blog post around the main topic with references to your other queries. This way your Blog post would show up when other people are searching for similar topics.
Getting Your Google Search Queries
Your Google Search History is kept in your personal "Google My Activity" section of your account.
- Go to Google My Activity
- Search for a topic that you search for in the past, for example, Golf Shot
- Then scroll down to see the various search terms that you used.
- You can filter by Product: Search. To only find the items that you were searching for.
Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Package Tape
Here's the Scotch Tape follow up from my October post.
My task was to see how the Scotch prices were ten days before Christmas - usually when the busy personal package shipping starts. The theory is that it would be more expensive than most times of the year.
I checked Amazon for the same Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Package Tape that I posted back in October and the price is now $9.42. Which means the price is now $.72 more than in October.
Camel Camel Camel
According to Camel Camel Camel, a popular Amazon price tracking site, the lowest price that the "Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Package Tape" ever got was in September when it got to $8.30.
The most expensive time to buy the tape is the last week of August - when some people are heading off to college. At that time the price skyrockets to $16.62.
Not Cheaper on eBay
I checked eBay and it looks to be a lot more expensive. You'll be paying $10.98 to $13.40 for the same pack of Shipping Package Tape.
Phantom Phone Calls
Do you have a 800 number?
Chances are you gotten some strange phone calls. Such as running water or someone in a crowd. Here are a couple of samples of calls that were left in my voicemail.
These may sound like someone "butt-dialed" your number, but in fact, there's a bit of history behind these calls. If you listen carefully they are actually looped 30-seconds clips.
The folks over Reply-All did some investigation into these calls and discovered some very interesting information about these calls and why someone is making them.
Check out this /reply-all/ podcast: #140 The Case of the Phantom Calls. They do a great job in covering these phantom calls
Outlet Safety Caps
It's that time of the year, when people are putting up Christmas lights outside. It's time to make your house the shining star of the neighborhood.
Local stores garden area are now filled with all sorts of outdoor holiday options.
It's time to put up the lights.
Don't let the rain go in the open plugs.
Protect your Outlets
One of the worst things that can happen to outdoor lights is when rainwater gets in the plugs.
We protect our plugs with Outlet Plug Covers.
These are designed to protect exposed outlets from children, but they also work well for keeping the open outlets from rain and snow.
They last very well in the icy cold conditions. They are cheap - You can get a 32-pack on Amazon.
Where to Find them
You won't find them in the holiday lights section. They are usually located in the electric section or in the Child safety isle.
Definitely worth the investment to protect the exposed plug from mother nature.
Hulu Price Increase
This week Hulu announced a price increase for all customers. This is a big deal since a previous increase only impacted new customers.
What this Means
Hulu will increase the price of its Hulu with Live TV service by 20 percent on December 18th, setting the new subscription rate at $54.99 a month, up from $44.99.
Both new and existing customers will be affected by the increase. New subscribers as of December 18th will be served the $55-a-month price tag while existing subscribers will see the changes in their following bill cycle.
Why a Hulu is Still a Good Always Investment
- Still Cheaper than Cable - Ya, Comcast is still way more expensive. If your cutting cable, you won't miss most of your live shows!
- DVR Capabilities is great - Thanks to Hulu, I am catching up to watching classic Adam-12 shows. Simply search for the shows you like and add them to your favorite. Hulu will record the shows and let you watch them on your own time.
- Lots of Good Live Options. - You can see a lot more Live TV than using a stand-alone antenna. (Sorry NESN is still not on the network - yet!) Plus with DVR you won't miss local news shows if your not at home - very convenient for those times when I want to know more about a local story and working late.
Still Going Strong for US!
We have been using Hulu since February 2018. We have been very satisfied with using Hulu. We have the "Enhanced Cloud DVR" which gives us 200 hours of DVR time and Stream recordings to unlimited devices.
Stream recordings work great when working out. I can set the shows that I want to see and don't have to worry about the limited selection at the gym. (Most Gyms offer Free WiFi)
Thought to live by
I found this piece of advice in my Evernote notebook. I am not exactly sure where I found it - I couldn't find another site online that had this.
The title of this story is "Thought to live by "
Dr. Howard Conley an Honored professor for Northern Arizona University, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."
"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. "Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!"
And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
- Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
- Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
- Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
- Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
- If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague
- If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
- It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
- Never buy a car you can't push.
- Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
- Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
- The second mouse gets the cheese.
- When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
- Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
- You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
- Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
- We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.