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Does The US Postal Service Sell Your Address Details?

USPS Mail Spam

I’ll start with some back history about why I suspect the US Postal Service is selling our address details. About 4 years ago, while contracting as an Online Marketing Specialist before taking a position at my current employer, I was mistakenly sent a check under the name of Alternation Design, which was the brand I was using for my services, however, payment should have been made out to me personally.

Ever since that time, I have been receiving postal mail addressed to “Alternation Design”, not my name and Alternation Design, just the brand name. Everything from corporate credit card offers, to stamps and postal supplies to office furniture. I receive 3 – 5 pieces of postal mail for Alternation Design each month.

Fast forward about 2 1/2 years when I registered a domain name, AmericanEnglishRealty.com for my wife when she qualified as a realtor. About six weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from Domain SEO Service Registration Corp, who are well known for trawling the WHOIS database and spamming Email and postal addresses listed on the WHOIS database with fake SEO service renewal notices.

Three weeks later, I start receiving mail for American English Realty, which became more numerous over time, I now receive an additional 3 – 5 pieces of mail for this fictional company. At this point between the two non-existent companies, I get anywhere between 6 and 10 pieces of marketing mail sent to me monthly, often two by two, I’d receive the same marketing mail for both companies, today it was AMEX.

Given that I didn’t receive any postal mail for these fictional entities before the singular pieces of mail as described above. The only company that knew of these new entities at my address would be the US Postal Service as I had never publicized either of these brands anywhere with my address attached.

I found an article on The New York Times website, which clearly states that the USPS has been licensing a computerized list of all its change-of-address forms to marketing, insurance and credit companies. USPS claim to not be selling this information, however, USPS charge an initial licensing fee of $80,000 and a yearly charge of $52,000; given 25 years of inflation, that must be in the hundreds of thousands by now.

By licensing, albeit, for financial gain, they can skirt around the law. However, once a private company has your details, they can sell your information for profit, just go to Google and search USPS Address Lists and see for yourself. Anyone can buy these lists through third parties that have deals with the USPS.

Next time you move, don’t fill out a change of address form and don’t fill out the form that the USPS leave in your mailbox to inform them of the names of the people who live in the home. By completing these forms, you are giving them permission to sell, sorry license that information to third parties.

To be clear, the situation I expressed in the first few paragraphs of this article has no relation to the change of address issue. But it does sound somewhat fishy, a single letter to my home address with the brand name printed and then the floodgates open, too much of a coincidence I would suggest.


Cutting The Cord! Playstation VUE Streaming TV

Playstation VUE Streaming Live TV Service

Due to life changes and new financial restrictions, we’ve made a few changes to the way we consume live TV, firstly we canceled our $160+ cable TV package then tested out live streaming TV services, Sling TV and Playstation VUE, both services offered one week free trials. After a few days, the wife and I decided that the latter was the better option for us due to the better channel selection on the Playstation service.

Given how much we, as a family watch TV, paying $160+ makes no sense, we probably watch an average of 2.5 hours TV each day. $45/mo is much more reasonable and to be honest, with one exception, we don’t miss having cable TV. Playback can sometimes be a little choppy and does have very short periods of buffering, however, we can live with this for the $115+/mo savings, it’s not a deal breaker for us.

Despite its name, Playstation VUE works on more than just Playstations, it works on newer Roku, Chromecast, Android, iOS and Windows devices but sadly no Windows 10 app. The program guide works well if a little laggy and slow to populate, channel names run along the top with vertical time slots.

Stream quality is excellent, to my eye, it looks equal to that of cable TV, although sometimes it does look a little choppy, almost like it’s skipping frames, especially when displaying scrolling news tickers. Audio is stereo only, not Dolby Digital like a lot of cable TV channels, however, we can live without 5.1 sound.

Playstation VUE has a cloud DVR system, all you have to do to record your favorite programs is add them to “My Shows” and it will make those programs available “on demand” for up to 4 weeks, however, due to network and regional restrictions, some programs are not available after the live showing.

Not all channels are streamed live, however, these channels are offered “on demand” and have all the programs we personally watch. The channels that are on demand are ABC, FOX and NBC, this might be different in your local area, available on demand channels listed are for the Wichita / Hutchinson area.

We chose the Elite Slim package that offers all the channels except premium channels for $44.99/mo, however, prices start from $29.99/mo. For a full list of available channels and price points, click here.

The thing I do miss is the instant on of cable TV, there’s a lot more involved in getting Playstation VUE up and running, it’s not as simple as turning on the TV and flicking through the channels to find something to watch. That said, the $1,380 yearly savings make the extra hassle of getting PS VUE started worthwhile.

Our only concern with Playstation VUE or any streaming TV service is going over our ISP’s (and cable provider) data limit and getting charged, what can be considerate overages. That remains to be seen whether it will be a problem as I tended to stream Netflix, Hulu and Youtube 90% of the time anyway.


Is Transparency In Medical Billing Too Much To Ask?

Lack Of Medical Billing Transparency

This is another blog inspired by the struggles of my own life; this time it’s about the lack of transparency in medical billing. There has been a number of situations over the past 8 years where we have received large unexpected medical bills due to a lack of cost transparency (read: lies) on the date of service.

This issue concerns Via Christi Home Medical and their blatant lies about contacting our insurance carrier to confirm pricing. My wife received a CPAP machine from Via Christi, we were told on the date of service it would cost $200; 2 months later we receive a bill for $973, a 386% increase on the quoted price.

I paid that bill on a credit card knowing I had plans to consolidate our credit cards. Now we are being threatened with our balance being sent to collections for a second bill for CPAP supplies, this is for another $438, we were told that our medical insurance would cover 100% of the cost of these supplies. So, Via Christi is either incompetent or they’re consistently lying to patients, either way, it’s unacceptable.

At this time, due to having a single income, we’re unable to pay this balance. I have to keep a roof over our heads, food in our mouths, I don’t give a fuck about whether a rich medical organization doesn’t get their $438. Via Christi claims to be a Catholic organization with Christian beliefs claiming “Service of the Poor“. Yes, they will treat you, but will also send you a huge bill, then threaten you with collections and try to refer you to high-interest loan companies so they get their money, very Christian, right?

Ultimately, if Via Christi Home Medical wants to send our balance to collections, go for it, it won’t change the situation, WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY THIS BALANCE WITHOUT SACRIFICING ESSENTIALS OF LIFE. My family’s needs are far more important than the wants of any business.

Basically, from what I can see, these medical companies can make up prices that have no basis in reality or bring in the services of external resources without telling you. For example, during a hospital visit, an external specialist consults with you, however, you are unaware that a separate bill is coming your way until you receive a bill months later, this is another personal experience from Wesley Medical Center.

In this case, Via Christi gave a price, based on most medical insurance, however, this is not made clear, they give you the impression they have checked with your insurance and the price they quote is the price you pay. If these providers said, most people pay this amount, but you should check with your insurance company to confirm your actual costs, most people would check before accepting the service.

This is a systematic problem, not a specific problem with Via Christi or Wesley Medical. This is a symptom of our corrupt system of governance where companies are people and money talks. These medical companies spend millions of dollars each year to create laws and regulations that benefit them at the cost of the American people. And it will only get worse under the Twitter troll President, Donald Trump.

UPDATE [Mar, 2 2017, 17:54]: It seems that this blog has attracted the attention of Via Christi, we received a financial assistance form and a letter thanking us for our feedback, see below.

Via Christi Letter 2/27/2017


To Tip… Or Not To Tip

Poor Service Review

While browsing Facebook yesterday, I stumbled upon a story about a waitress that received a $0 tip on a $187 PF Changs restaurant bill in my feed and here are my views on the situation and tipping in general.

The waitress, Taylar Cordova took to Facebook to scold the customers that left the zero dollar tip, writing the following message on her Facebook page, later, her rant was removed from her page.

This. This is the reason I work so much. This is why I cry in the shower. I STRUGGLE to put clothes on my daughter’s back and food in our bellies because of THIS. You, are the lowest of the low. Whenever you feel like it’s probably fine to not tip your server, that’s one more bill stacking up because they’re short on money. This is food for the week that our families will go without because you didn’t think it was necessary, even after asking for everything under the sun and receiving it free of charge, mind you. This is one less basic necessity my daughter needs because even TWO more dollars is too much for you. Every decision has a consequence. Servers are paid a base pay of $2-5/hr depending on the employer, so next time you don’t want to tip, regardless of the situation prior to receiving your bill, think about how much you would have to work that week off $2-5/hr to feed your family, not just you. Could you pay your bills based on that pay alone? Could you feed your family AND yourself? Because that’s what happens when you choose to not tip. Please, please tip your servers. Even if it was the worst service you’ve ever received. A 10% tip is a big enough slap in the face, this completely tore me apart. Don’t even bother walking into a restaurant if you can’t afford to tip. There’s a McDonald’s down the street if you’re that cheap.

Let’s start with the obvious, why are restaurant owners allowed to pay slave wages as little as $2.13/hr in the first place? It should not be the customer’s responsibility to subsidize their business model. Everyone should be paid a living wage, not… I can’t even call it poverty wages, federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr is poverty wages. Ultimately, the system is the problem, tipping is common, but it’s not a requirement.

Personally, I do tip 15 – 20% when I do eat in a restaurant, however, if it’s “the worst service you’ve ever received”, why should I tip? A “10% tip is a big enough slap in the face”, are you kidding me? In this case, a 10% tip would have been $18.70, that’s equivalent to fast food workers pay for more than 2 hours. I’m a salaried white collar employee and I don’t make 18.70/hr when broken down into an hourly rate.

I simply do not think I should feel obligated to give a tip on service that was poor. Plenty of people work customer service jobs for federal minimum wage and they don’t complain. Food service workers know what they signed up for and I know there are good servers that make twice what I do working tables in restaurants. But, that never gets mentioned, it’s always poor little me, I got stiffed by a customer.

I believe that Miss Cordova has a shitty attitude, be grateful that you have a job at all, many people do not. If you don’t like your situation, take steps to change it instead of blaming customers because they make a choice to not tip. For all we know, the customers could have left a cash tip on the table, we are only hearing one side of the story and I often hear about these stories being faked for social media clicks.

Back to the system, what we need is a federal minimum wage for food service workers equivalent to other workers. Restaurants make money hand over fist, why should they be allowed to pay as little as $2.13/hr? The general public should not feel obligated to make up the shortfall in wages paid by the employer.

The system in the United States is stacked in favor of employers and in general screws over the employee. If a server works in a busy restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, they can make a huge amount of money in tips, however, there is no guarantee of that. There are positives and negatives of working in every job, and in food service, sometimes not receiving a tip from the diners is one of the negatives.

A few weeks back, I didn’t leave a tip due to exceptionally poor service, the waitress messed up our drinks order and then never came back to take our food order. Why should I pay a 10% tip for non-existent service? We had to grab some food in the movie theater as we didn’t get to have a nice sit-down meal.


I’m Not A Charity, I Do Not Work For Free!

I Will Not Work For Free

As a secondary income outside of my job in rental home marketing, I am a real estate photographer. A friend of my wife, who is a realtor asked me if I would take some photos of one of the homes she has for sale. She asked how much I charge, so I told her it would cost $70 + mileage at $0.25 per mile.

The realtor thought that it was kinda expensive, which is far from true, this job would take up 5+ hours of my time, plus a 90-mile round trip. It would take 55 minutes to get to the property, one hour to shoot the home, 55 minutes to drive back, then 2+ hours of post processing in Lightroom / Photoshop.

The total cost to the realtor would be $92.50, which breaks down to $18.50/hr. If she thinks that is excessive, then she is in for a shock, I provide a professional service, I have invested in expensive camera equipment, which still has to be paid for as I used a credit card to purchase these items to move forward.

The realtor then asked if she could pay me when she closed on the house. Again, I do not work for free. If the house is not sold, I don’t get paid, which means I make a loss as I have to absorb the cost of fuel plus the intangible cost of my time. Photography is not a service payable upon on the client getting paid.

If this realtor is not willing to invest in her work to make money, then clearly she does not value her client or the home she is trying to sell. I spent thousands of dollars on high-quality camera equipment to provide the best service possible to my clients. If I turned up with a $50 point and shoot camera and expected to be paid $70 plus mileage, I’d expect the client to tell me to take a long walk off a short pier.

Plus, once you start doing favors for people, they will never pay for your services, they will expect it for free or on an “I’ll pay you when I get paid” basis. In business, you have to play hardball, you cannot let yourself be taken advantage of, this is a job, not a hobby where I do it because I enjoy photography.


Another Year, Another Job Loss

Unemployment

Tax time is a good time of the year for most people, as they often get some money back from the taxman. However, for us, it has been a terrible time for the past three years, with my wife being laid off each tax season since 2015, followed by a period of several months without an essential second income.

This time, the manager that she had previously worked under had moved to another property, and the new manager immediately laid off my wife, stating she wanted her own person as her assistant manager. Although we had a feeling it was coming, due to a bullshit situation that had arisen two months earlier.

Again, our tax refund is our saving grace which will tie us over until my wife can find another job. However, our financial situation is worse than 12 months ago, we have about $1,000 of credit card and loan payments, which accounts for 1/2 my income, the other 1/2 is taken up by rent. This means that if my wife can not find employment in the next 3 months, my income will no longer cover our outgoings.

I am not putting any faith in my wife getting unemployment benefits due to the way the system works, it took 10 weeks for her to get unemployment this time last year, which would have broken us if it were not for our tax refund. Our tax refund was earmarked for debt reduction, that’s now gone up in smoke.

We have an additional problem, my wife has fibromyalgia and requires a number of tier 3 drugs that cost thousands of dollars without medical insurance, and Obamacare is useless as that insurance won’t cover any drugs outside of tier 1 until the substantial deductible is satisfied, plus the ACA is not really affordable anymore. The cost of these medications is one of the major reasons why we have so much debt.

This job loss also means that our kids no longer have medical insurance, they were both on my wife’s workplace insurance. There is no way I can add them to my insurance, it’s too cost prohibitive, $944 for myself and the kids and $1,411 for the wife, kids and I and that’s the cheapest premium. To cover my family at the highest premium, it would result in me taking home less than $100, obviously not an option.

The wife and I have decided that apartment management is not for her. In my view, looking at the Wichita apartment management community, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it’s a race issue, my wife being African American. The lack of diversity in the Wichita apartment management community is astonishing.

We’ll get through this, we have to, giving up is not an option, especially with two kids to support. But, why does life have to be so damn hard just to break even, in fact, we are not breaking even, our net worth is -$40,000+ due to debt, which is likely to increase, bills still keep coming in despite the lack of income.

On a personal opinion note; I hate the way that US employers are allowed to terminate your employment without any notice. You literally turn up for work and they tell you that your services are no longer required. Clearly, this particular situation was planned, and although I don’t know this for sure, I suspect my wife’s replacement was already hired and ready to start work. I can live with the manager wanting her own choice of assistant, but the way it was handled is bullshit, European law doesn’t allow for this kind of treatment. US citizens have very few employment rights, all the power lies with the employer.


Applebee’s: A Terrible Customer Service Experience

Applebee's 13th St & Greenwich, Wichita, KS

Today, my wife and I had an unexpected break as my mother-in-law offered to take the kids for an afternoon. We chose to use the time to dine out and see a movie, the movie, Hidden Figures was fantastic, however, our dining experience at Applebee’s on 13th & Greenwich, Wichita was disappointing.

We had allocated just under an hour to eat, which should have been enough time as the movie theater was just across the parking lot. My wife and I had arrived a little after 2:20pm, we were seated and our server collected our drinks order, which, incidentally she got wrong. My wife asked for an iced mango lemonade and a shot of Patron, what arrived at our table was an alcoholic margarita and a shot of Patron. My wife gracefully accepted the incorrect order before patiently waiting for our food order to be taken.

The wife and I are talking when I pull out my phone to check the time, it was now 2:49pm and our server had not returned to take our food order. At this point, we did not have time for food to be prepared and to eat it being just 20 minutes away from showtime. My wife walked up to the bar, where she went unacknowledged for a few minutes until after I joined her, we just wanted to pay and leave at that point.

Our server finally came out from the back to close out our check and made some excuse that she had to work the bar and wait tables. Which is a poor excuse given that there was one other couple in the restaurant, so they were not busy, no excuse for the tardiness of service? A 25-minute wait when its quiet is unacceptable. I don’t blame the server, there was no need for her to be tending bar and waiting tables, c’mon Applebee’s, staff your restaurants properly and give customers the service they deserve.

We asked to see the manager, who apologized but made zero effort to make it right. We explained the situation and that we had to leave for our movie, she just suggested we come back after our movie, no offer of a free meal or even a discount on the drinks my wife ordered and could not drink. We literally paid $17 for nothing as the drink was left on the table while we grabbed some food in the movie theater.

It’s a great shame that Applebee’s have such apathetic managers and staff at this location, normally service is good at this restaurant, albeit in the evenings, this was our first-afternoon visit. And sadly, it’s likely to be our last visit and will not recommend this specific restaurant to friends and family.

I tweeted out my displeasure and someone from their social media dept pointed me to their website to submit my complaints, which I did. We’ll see if they respond to me in 3 to 5 days like they claim. At least the movie was great, a real feel good story, taking away some of the sour taste left in my mouth.

UPDATE [Feb, 8 2017, 9:31]: This Wednesday morning, I did indeed receive a phone call from Applebee’s regional management office to follow up on my complaints. Their representative said that he would send us out a gift card to make up for the treatment we received during our visit. It’s good to see that Applebee’s as a corporation care about their image, I say image and not customers as in today’s connected world, customers can express their displeasure immediately, at their location. Anyway, I digress, this whole situation could have been avoided by better customer service at the location.

UPDATE [Feb, 10 2017, 16:34]: We received the gift cards, which totaled $20 and unfortunately, they are only valid in the offending location, so we probably won’t bother using them. Hopefully, the staff members that provided the poor service, who were talked to by regional management as claimed in the letter sent to me realize the error of their ways and provide better service to other patrons in future.


What Do We Have To Do To Get Our Son To Adjust His Behavior?

School Fail

Is steam coming out of my ears? I ask because my blood pressure has to be sky high due to stress caused by my son’s behavior in and out of school during the past two weeks. I am at my wit’s end; it’s taking all my energy to not strangle the boy (figure of speech, I’m not actually going to murder him… this time ;-) ).

I received a call from my son’s math teacher today telling me that he had been using the Chromebooks to play games instead of completing tasks assigned to him. When challenged, my son told him he doesn’t belong there and his former teacher was better. And when the Chromebook was taken away and worksheet handed to him instead, he just put his head on the desk refusing to complete any work.

When the same teacher looked at past scores on some online school tasks, there were zero attempts to answer questions, it was showing “0 of 0” which indicates that no questions were even attempted. If he had attempted to answer just one question, it of shown as “0 of 1”. My son tried to claim that there was a technical problem and that he had answered the questions, but no-one else had a problem that day.

I confronted my son while still sat in the school parking lot and he claimed that the teacher was lying. So, I called his bluff and went back to the school and spoke with the teacher in question. My son claimed that he wasn’t playing games, it was just a tab open from free-time, however, the teacher said the tab was active when he walked around the classroom, which, based on past behaviors, I believe this to be true.

My son has three assignments with zero scores in social studies, a subject where he has an F grade due to those zero scores. I suspect, again based upon past behaviors, that he simply is not doing the assignments. I’ve Emailed his social studies teacher asking if he has received them… and I’ve just received a reply from the teacher and as expected; my son has lied and not handed the assignments in.

The net result is that my son has lost his TV privileges, now he’s upset, he was fine before he found out that he has lost his TV. He is now claiming he has been feeling suicidal since starting middle school almost 18 months ago. We’ve heard this before, he has been assessed by the school psychiatrist and she believes it’s attention seeking and manipulative behavior. Which tallies up with my experiences at home, he also acts like this when he loses privileges, which he does often due to consistent behavior issues.

I gave him a huge incentive before the resumption of school, I told him I would buy him any games console he wanted for his birthday if he could go the remainder of the school year without another F. It took all of 7 school days for that offer to be void with the aforementioned social studies grade.

In regard to school, it doesn’t matter whether he is allowed to play video games, watch TV, listen to his mp3 player, his grades are poor because he does not want to put in the effort. And it does not bother him in the slightest, he does not get upset until the consequences enter his world, i.e. losing his privileges.

It truly baffles us as he knows the consequences, yet he won’t do what is required to keep those privileges. If he was struggling in school, we’d get him help, but that is not the case, he’s just disinterested. In fact, we have signed him up for after-school tutoring, we are waiting on confirmation.

All this is a continuation of last week’s behavioral issues, click here to read about it.

We have just received confirmation that our son has been accepted into the after school tutoring program and will attend Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from the end of school to 5:30 pm and can get additional help from the special education teachers during lunchtime on Wednesdays, lets see how it goes.

Update [Jan, 26 2017, 23:11]: After taking some time to calm down and collect my thoughts. I sat down with my son and explained why I am so angry and disappointed with his behavior and explained what I need him to do to regain his privileges. I expect him to achieve a minimum C grade in all subjects to get his TV back, then he needs to maintain that C grade until May to get his video game/internet privileges back for the summer break. This is to prove to my wife and I that he can maintain the grade and not work hard for a week or two to get his privileges back, then immediately fall back into the D & F group.

Update [Feb, 3 2017, 21:19]: Here we are; one week later and… my son has turned a single D and single F into two D’s and two F’s. He has been participating in extra study time after normal school hours, over 7.5 hours of extra time and he has done twice as bad as before. I will have to investigate what is happening in these extra study periods, to find out whether anyone is actually helping him or whether he is left to his own devices. If it is the latter, what’s the point of sending him to those extra study periods?

I know if my son is left alone, he’ll not do anything, despite the dangling carrot of being able to have his TV privileges back. I consistently reinforce that if he needs additional help at home, his mother and I can help, but he never asks for help. Ultimately, it is not possible to help some who does not want to help themselves. He has plenty of time at home to study and catch up as he has no TV, Internet or video game privileges due to his poor grades, but nope, he just sits there plugged into his mp3 player and sleeping.


Review: iHome iBT8080 Stereo Bluetooth Speakers

iHome iBT 8080

I have been in the market for some Bluetooth speakers for some time; however, I never took the plunge until now. I picked up a set of iHome iBT8080 Bluetooth speakers for $60 from Samsclub during our monthly grocery shopping trip and here are my thoughts on this soda can sized speaker set.

Starting with the appearance, they do look very nice with their sculpted cylindrical light shifting design which measures 5 1/2 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter. The speaker driver is a top firing design which I would estimate to be 2 1/2 inches in diameter. There are four buttons, volume up and down, color mode, which doubles up as battery check and call/answer button which doubles up as a Bluetooth pairing switch. Secondary functions can be accessed by pressing and holding the buttons for 2 seconds.

In the box were the speakers, charging cables (USB MicroB to USB A / 3.5mm jack for analog connections), carrying straps, product brochure and printed manual. Take note that a wall charger is not included in the package, you will need to charge them using a computer or cell phone charger. It would have been nice to have a dual USB wall charger included, but it’s forgivable at this price point.

Audio performance is solid for what they are. If you expect Hi-Fi sound you will be disappointed. However, if you want decent sound for your cell phone, tablet or mp3 player, the iBT8080 hits the mark at the $60 price point. The sound is relatively balanced with solid bass punch when the volume is cranked up;, however, the mix is very bright and a little harsh on the ears when near maximum volume.

I did notice some vibration of the unit when running at 100% volume on the device and my phone, especially when playing the blast beats from Metallica’s One. This vibration was clearly audible and was annoying enough for me to turn down the volume a notch or two. The 8080’s are loud enough to satisfy most people even in an outdoor environment, but not loud enough to piss off your neighbors.

Battery life is just OK, iHome claim 10 hours of listening at moderate volume, but my testing shows between 4 to 6 hours. I fully charged the 8080’s and watched Futurama on my Surface tablet for about 2 1/2 hours at 1/2 volume before going out for 3 hours leaving the speakers on. When I arrived back, the speaker batteries were dead, they died sometime in those three hours without any audio playing.

The operation of the 8080’s is very simple and intuitive, paring with my devices was simple, just press and hold the phone button for 2 seconds, search for “iHome iBT8080” on your phone, tablet or mp3 player and click on “pair”. The second speaker is recognized immediately when powered on and in range of the first speaker for stereo sound. Each speaker can be used independently of each other if you wish.

There are five different lighting modes accessible by the ” * ” button, slow color cycle, fast color cycle, solid color, sound reactive and off. These lighting effects are a gimmick and eventually will probably annoy you, but it’s sure pretty to look at and it can be turned off after the novelty does wear off. Turning the lighting effects off will more than likely help with battery life as well, how much, I have no idea.

I would still recommend the iBT8080’s despite its shortcomings. I like the design, sound quality and volume. Battery life does bring it down, you’d need a couple of portable battery banks if you wanted to use these speakers wirelessly for an extended period of time, for some that might be too much to carry.


Out Of The FA Cup; But Argyle Did Us Proud!

Lucas celebrates his goal against Plymouth, FA Cup, 2017

Plymouth Argyle has fallen victim to a rare Lucas goal and exited the FA Cup at the third round stage. Who would have thought the winning goal would be scored by Lucas and not Coutinho, Sturridge or Origi?

Despite the loss; to only lose by a single goal to a team of the caliber of Liverpool will go down as a great performance by the Greens. I, for one, am very, very proud of my hometown team to force a draw at Anfield to return to Home Park and only lose by a single goal and were denied an equalizer by the post.

I believe Plymouth were caught napping allowing Lucas to head into the net from Coutinho’s corner. However, you have to give massive respect to Argyle for the way they came out and pushed forward, they didn’t let their heads drop and half way through the second half, Jervis came so close to equalizing.

Liverpool had the chance to make it 0 – 2 from the penalty spot; Songo’o bringing down Moreno in the 18-yard box. Origi took the penalty kick and made a real hash of it, gifting Argyle keeper McCormick an easy save, keeping the Greens in the game; but, it just wasn’t going to go Argyle’s way today.

A moment that brought a tear to my eye was the banner being passed around the stands with a minute of applause for Daniel May who passed away during the first game while his father and Argyle fan, Kevin was in attendance at Anfield. The Plymouth fans did a similar thing in the first tie, leaving scarves and messages at the Hillsborough monument at Anfield. There are rivalries, but I love the football community and respect that transcends leagues and clubs, it somewhat restores my faith in human nature.

Daniel May You'll Never Walk Alone

Bottom line, I am proud of my hometown team for their fight and passion, but I am kinda happy Argyle have exited the cup, so they can concentrate on their league campaign and promotion to League 1.

At the same time, I kinda wanted the same for Liverpool; being a Reds fan too, obviously I’m Plymouth first, Liverpool second, but I’d like Liverpool to concentrate on the league without cup distractions.