I’m not entirely sure why, but Joshua Sheats over at Radical Personal Finance decided to invite me back for another interview full of stammering and repetitious phrases latched onto to help fill dead air time while my brain tried to instruct my mouth in the art of stringing an assortment of grunts and clicks into intelligent conversation.
This time, we accidentally got further into the whole philosophical end of the guide, where we then wandered into the minefields of macroeconomics, politics and even a bit of religion. Very non communications saving in the greater scope, and it’s obvious that it wasn’t entirely the show either Joshua or myself were expecting to create… but there it is, and it was fun. Miraculously, we still count each other as friends despite the topics and differing viewpoints, so clearly we did something wrong because the modern social expectations for these divisions mandates that we should hate one another, yet we clearly don’t. Even despite the fact that I’m as articulate as a stuttering baboon when talking about subjects of depth and merit.
If you still wanted to hear a show about saving on communications, listen to the original from last July. If you want more current that that, the information can be updated thusly: Some prices have gotten cheaper, others have not, a couple providers are no longer in existence, and Republic’s still a raw deal. That was easy!
As for some notes that I’d perhaps like to include on this particular discussion, there’s not many, but I’d like to include them for the intellectually curious (also, why not toss in a couple referral links – hey, at least I’m not hiding the fact).
The two books mentioned early on in the interview were Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander, and The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life by Marie Winn. Both should hopefully be available for you down at your local library.
A great resource for physically repairing any busted smartphone is iFixit.
On the topic of electronic waste, Agbogbloshie, Ghana was brought up. This is one of the two biggest dumping grounds for toxic electronic waste in the world, the other being Guiyu, China. A great crash-course on the subject can be found with this Frontline documentary. Unfortunately, this is only half of the total issue at hand and why it’s important to try to extend the life of electronics as far as possible. Why? Because on the other side of the spectrum, far away from the toxic electronic waste, we have the mining of the rare earth minerals that go into creating them. Many of these minerals are conflict sourced from the Congo. When I called myself a hypocrite during the interview about the choice I made regarding my mother’s new Moto E, and when I criticize others for needlessly upgrading and purchasing new phones when they don’t need to (especially if they’re switching carriers or switching to a proprietary mobile provider like Republic to save maybe an extra $5 a month), it’s crap like this that keeps me up at night and drives that language.
The emergency phone referenced midway through the discussion is not $20-25, my sincerest apologies. There was clearly a misprint on my mind. What was being talked about was the SpareOne Plus Emergency Mobile Phone, and it is currently $60.
The IP67 ruggedized feature phone from Samsung I was talking about is the B2100 and is currently running $90, so a bit steeper than they used to be. There are plenty of basic, carrier unlocked feature phones that aren’t near as rugged available from an assortment of carriers for less than $35. That of course is assuming you haven’t bothered looking on Craigslist or Ebay for something used, first.
A great overview of the entire Network Neutrality argument and the idiocy that the FCC is considering (which is far more articulate than I could ever hope to be on the spot) is available over at the EFF. In hindsight, I feel terrible embarrassed at how little justice I gave the topic of how messed up the situation really is. I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked. Some of the more esoteric points referenced during this bit are anchored in the deregulation issues at hand. Bruce Kushnick’s New Networks Institute is a great resource to keep tabs on what happened and is still happening in the telecom industry, and this is a great recent overview of the problems facing American telecommunications today.
This is the Political Compass I was talking about. If you think incredibly two-dimensionally about politics (only left and right), dig through the site and take the test before you get back to debatin’ again. You’ll find that there’s a bit of a false division in American politics currently (as well as from the rest of the developed world), and if you actually think hard and answer honestly, you might surprise yourself in where you sit in relation to the powers that be that you most likely support.
I referenced Leo Tolstoy nearer the endpoint than the beginning. One of his most famous non-fiction writings is his 1894 book The Kingdom of God Is Within You, which is in public domain and available for free to read online. Although I do not entirely agree with everything stated (as no-one should simply agree mindlessly to any theological teachings), it is definitely food for thought for anyone within or even outside of the faith. It addresses a great many ideas that I myself have had to grapple with through my needed re-framing to my beliefs.
You can listen to the entire interview here: Radical Personal Finance #35: Saving Money on Communications Bills with the Tech Meshugana and Much, Much More!
That’s about it. I want to thank Joshua for such a great conversation Monday, and encourage him to not be afraid to get more philosophical with future podcasts, especially with guests… even if it’s with bumbling me.
Braun Reel to Reel photo by Andy Armstrong and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).