One of the main recurring monthly expenses we have is our cable subscription, and frankly, most of the channels and programs go unwatched. This lifehack lesson will show you how to reduce you cable bill to zero and find the things you like to watch online for free. As a bonus, reducing your cable bill will also give you more time because it will case you to actively select which programs you really want to watch and reduce a lot of the aimless flicking around that occurs when we have far too many channel options.
This lesson is free for the first week. A subscription for Lifehack lessons costs $4.99 per month and provides access to all previous and future lessons. Here is an excerpt from this weeks lesson.
Figure out your monthly budget. It’s a good idea to take a look at your cable bill. Many times people just have their bills automatically deducted out of their checking account don’t really pay attention to how much they’re spending. Take a look at the monthly cost of the cable (or satellite) portion of your monthly bill. Take that amount and multiply by 12. Are you paying for a phone line you never use too? Figure that into the equation.
A quick look at some of the current promotions on some of the cable company sites show by eliminating the cable and phone portion of the bill and keeping the internet, you can save anywhere is from about $60 to $110 a month or more. Keep in mind you’ll need to take into consideration the cost of any kind of termination fees that might apply if you’re in contract.
Something else to take into consideration are the shows you watch pretty religiously. If you can still have access to these shows, making the change to no cable will be a lot easier.
Time Spent Watching
Take a look at how much time you actually spend watching TV every day or even every week. You’ll actually be surprised. While reflecting on what you watch and how often you watch it, look at the services you’re using. Are you using on demand services? Are you watching more TV shows than movies? What channels or networks do you watch the most? Are you using a specific package such as NHL® CENTER ICE® more than the other TV channels? *Do you have an HD TV and do you utilize the HD channels?
Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.
If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.
I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.
In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!