Phone Unlock Screen

Unlocking Your Phone is Illegal?

After Saturday it will be…

Apparently the Librarian of Congress reviewed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, written in 1998, and determined that cell phone unlocking should only be allowed with carrier permission. Any third party unlocks without carrier permission will be illegal. An article by Kevin Purdy on itworld.com explains:

“The Librarian of Congress… changed course from previous decisions in 2006 and 2010 and determined that, in short, there exists enough unlocked phones, carrier unlocking options, and other options for consumers, such that unsanctioned unlocking of cellphones no longer needed to be a protected right.”

So, next week we’ll hear that building your own computer will be illegal, since there “exists enough” computers already. Is this really how our legal system works? And how exactly is it that a law written fifteen years ago is suddenly reinterpreted to mean third party unlocking should be illegal? This is all very strange…

Of course, the argument from the big carriers is that they lose money because they subsidize the cost of their devices, expecting to recoup those costs by the time the customer fulfills his two year contract. That model is used, in many cases, but not all. T-Mobile has been pushing a new model for the past year where the customer pays a lower monthly rate, and pays the full price of the device in installments. So, should all of those phones be exempt from the law, since the carrier isn’t at risk of losing money?

There is that other thing that everyone dreads too… Early Termination Fees. What was the purpose of those? Oh yeah, to recoup the costs of the subsidized phone. So where is the problem exactly?

This might not seem like a big deal to most people, but it’s another little right slowly fading into oblivion. I’m a bit more frustrated than most because I have a small side business unlocking phones. This “reinterpretation” just put me out of business.

In other news, a new law has been signed making it illegal to take your car to any mechanic other than the dealer you purchased it from…

Gavel

What’s Really Going on with Hobby Lobby and Obamacare?

There’s been a ton of buzz around Hobby Lobby’s refusal to include the morning after pill and week after pill in their healthcare plans, as required by Obamacare. One side argues that Hobby Lobby is treading on women’s rights, and the other side argues that the religious views of the owners should exempt them from the mandate. Or, to paraphrase, each side claims to be losing freedom. It’s a difficult issue to be sure, but I’d say there’s a logical way to approach this thing.

Disclaimer #1: I am one of those Bible believing Christian types, and that certainly impacts my presuppositions in a debate of this nature. Despite this, hear me out on a logical level and see if what I have to say makes sense.

Disclaimer #2: Some Christians have given the rest of the world the impression that to be a Christian means to hate anyone who sees things differently. Please believe, that is not me. I have no hate for anyone who disagrees with my statements here, has used “emergency contraceptives,” or who has had an abortion. God loves people, so who am I to hate them?

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s try to break this thing down…

It’s not about women’s rights.  Continue reading

The interstate.

Making the Roads a Safer Place

After travelling for the holidays, I have some thoughts on rescuing the terrifying places we call “Interstates.” First, take out your license and look at it. If you see anywhere on it “New York,” “New Jersey,” or “Connecticut” cut it up and throw it away. Even if you’re a great driver, your state has proven it cannot effectively winnow out the unskilled from the skilled motorists…

In order to have your driving privileges reinstated you must successfully pass the following test:

1. The left lane is to be used for:
A. Regular travel
B. Strategic Maneuvering
C. Passing
D. All of the above

2. When approaching a car that you intend to pass, change lanes:
A. When you can see the whites of your eyes in their rear view mirror
B. Never. Catch up to the other car and try to force it to change lanes
C. Several car lengths before reaching the other car
D. Passing is for pansies. Just drive over them

3. When following tractor-trailer trucks:
A. Big trucks are evil, so make sure they can’t see you by staying as close as possible to their rear bumper
B. Swerve from side to side and flash your lights. Everyone knows that the energy wave that pulsating lights creates removes the governor from trucks and makes them go faster.
C. Stay back far enough that you can see their mirrors.
D. Don’t follow them. Pass them as quickly as possible, then dart in front of them swiftly, like the ninja that you are, keeping your rear bumper a maximum of seven inches from their front bumper

4. Driving is:
A. An adventure
B. A game
C. A method of transportation
D. A battle

5. Other vehicles on the road are:
A. Obstacles
B. Enemies
C. Carrying other people with lives and families
D. Illusions

If you answered anything other than “C” to any of these questions, please promptly turn in your keys, sell your car and use the money to buy bus tickets.

Bank Account Balance $30.62

Thankful That I’m Broke

For real. Being broke is not typically something anyone looks forward to, and I’m not particularly fond of it, but there are certain benefits.

I’ve Had to Learn Humility
It doesn’t come easily. It’s very hard to ask for help, especially when you need it more than once. Not only that, but being at the mercy of others can be terrifying. Will I owe you back for the rest of my life? Am I now somehow less than you?

Here’s the catch, it doesn’t matter. Being indebted to someone, or worse (in the opinion of most), being less than another are only terrifying to my pride. If I somehow become less than you because you’ve helped me out, so be it. The fact of the matter is, I need the help.

I’m glad I’m learning now how important my pride really is.

Friends and Family Won’t Let Me StarveThe Fear of Losing Everything... Loses its Death Grip
This is by far the most powerful thing I’ve learned by being broke. Suddenly the fear of losing everything and the anxiety so tightly bound up with it loses it’s death grip. Not only that, but there are those who won’t let me fall even that far!

I could list examples all day, but I’ll keep it brief. My step-dad & a friend of his are going to be fixing my leaky roof and preventing the further destruction of my bathroom. He and my biological dad came out a couple years ago and replaced our drafty doors with energy star, classy looking, new doors. Others (way too many to list) have sent us money, gift cards, or goodie boxes!

Above and beyond that, there are so many people who have paid us to come visit! Both of our families have helped us out with gas money just because they want to see us. Most recently, my brother-in-law helped us get to Ohio for Thanksgiving.

So, I am, for real, thankful for being broke. Without it, I might never know how thankful I am for these people.

Ezra covered in carrots...

No Food Shall Pass

You know how you hate it when people spoon feed you things? Yeah… my son apparently does now too. What happened? A couple of weeks ago he ate like a champ, but now he refuses what seems like most of his food…

Of course if it’s a bottle or finger foods he’ll chow down. Seems like he wants to do it himself, but as you may have guessed from the picture, that gets even less food down. Who knew independence could be so catastrophic?

Anyway, my mom has suggested not mixing the food with cereals as much, but that seems to have been reducing the spit up. Babies… such a catch 22.

Any advice is hugely welcome :-) .

Family Fun in VT — Visit an Alpaca Farm

Sweet Maple Alpacas

An alpaca

Looking for something awesome to do in Vermont? I hear Okemo Mountain is opening soon, but for the 98% who aren’t quite ready to welcome winter and hit the slopes a visit to Sweet Maple Alpacas will make for a great family outing!

I had a chance to take my wife and 9 month old son to the Continue reading

More Comment Mayhem!

I’m switching commenting methods one last time, this time to something called Disqus. It will allow people to comment by signing into any number of services, not just Facebook… so it creates some more flexibility. This should be the last time… I hope.

Anyway, Disqus allows for importing of old comments, but it’s been giving me a hard time. I’m trying to work with it, but we’ll see what happens. Worst case scenario, I’ll go back to the old Facebook option.