Friday, 23 November 2012

08:23 – Barbara is off to visit the craft fair with her friend Bonnie and Bonnie’s sister. Late this afternoon, she’s going to meet her sister and sister’s husband at her parents’ old house and haul some stuff back here. It’s a normal work day for me.

I canceled the disc part of our Netflix membership yesterday. After seven months, the only discs left in our queue are ones we really don’t care much about. Stuff that I’d stuck in there because it looked like it might be interesting. We’ve been doing the six-months-on/six-months-off thing with discs for a couple of years now. After six months without, they might have some discs we really want to watch. In the interim, we’ll just watch streaming.

Speaking of streaming, I noticed that the Roku box gives interesting hints about what might soon be coming up on Netflix streaming. For example, for a year or more Netflix streaming has had only the first 45 episodes of Heartland: all of series one and two and the first 14 of 18 episodes in series three. A week or so ago, the main titles screen on Roku changed to show Heartland as having 67 episodes available rather than 45. That’d be all 13 episodes of series one and all 18 episodes each of series two, three, and four. Same deal on Army Wives, which Barbara likes. The Roku main titles screen changed from showing 81 episodes available–all of series one through five–to 104 episodes, suggesting that all 23 episodes of series six are likely to be available soon. We knew that series six, part one (13 episodes) would release streaming on 18 December, but apparently Netflix has signed to carry the ten episodes of series six, part two as well.

Today I’m building the first small batch of one of the two new science kits. It’s the CK01B Chemistry Kit, a simplified, less expensive version of the current CK01A kit. I’m also getting ready to build a small initial batch of the second, the LK01 Life Science Kit. We’ll go into full production of both new kits on or around 1 December, once full shipments of all the necessary components arrive here.

09:48 – I just ran the numbers, and Netflix must be delighted that I dropped the DVD service. In seven months, Netflix sent us a total of 62 discs for a total cost to us of $55.93, not including tax. That’s $0.90 per disc, which is less than their cost of postage. When you consider that we also watch a lot of streaming video, we’re the Customers from Hell as far as Netflix is concerned.

Every time I contact Netflix customer support, I beg them to increase the monthly price for streaming. At least double it, to $16/month, and tripling or quadrupling it would be better. That’d give them the money to get more stuff streaming and get it sooner. They wouldn’t lose many customers, when you consider how much cable TV costs, and they could soon wind down their disc rental business. They could do direct deals with the companies that actually produce network TV shows and cut the networks out of the picture entirely. They could even eventually get into streaming sports and other live events, which’d kill cable TV.

10:53 – I just read an article about baby-boomers being the first generation to retire while in debt. The article included the following statement:

According to the report The Plastic Safety Net by public policy organization Demos, Millennial’s (those born after 1980) average credit card debt is $2,982. For those 65+, the average credit card debt is $9,283—and that amount could continue to rise as they age since they have fallen into the trap of financing their lives on credit cards.

But what does that really mean? Barbara and I have been married for 29 years, and every month we’ve had a balance due on our credit cards, which we’ve paid in full every month. So, does this statement refer to current account balances or to overdue balances? There’s a big difference. We have “fallen into the trap of financing [our] lives on credit cards” but we pay off that balance every month. Does that count?