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Why do companies want you to use their mobile apps?


If you have read  my previous blogs you will note that I am, to put it bluntly, not a fan of apps on my iPhone/iPad. The reason for this is because I know that they simply want to spy on how I use my phone in order to turn me the consumer into a customer. It’s called geo-targeting through push notification.
With that said, I would like to share how I handled these geo-targeting that was aimed at me. When I upgraded my Verizon Network, they offered me a free echo-gen as a courtesy for being a long-standing customer. Honestly, although I consider myself to be knowledgeable about the latest technology. I didn't know what an echo -gen was. The item in the picture actually looks like a speaker. I have a very tiny Hp speaker, which I bought when I first bought my Hp Laptop. I actually bought it to use with my mac mini . SO i was excited that i was going to get a 'bigger speaker.'  However, upon its arrival after opening the box,  I realized that it was the Alexa Voice Service. In addition, on the day of Alexa’s arrival  I received an email from Amazon here is how it read:
“Download
the Alexa App
Once you receive your new Echo, visit: www.amazon.com/AlexaApp to download the latest version of the Alexa App. This will direct you through the setup process. Once you've connected to Wi-Fi and associated Echo with your Amazon account, you're ready to start using Echo. Your Echo may receive a software update after you've completed setup.”

I have highlighted in red "and associate Echo with your Amazon Account," because  first of all I don't know what Amazon would have to do to get me to sign up for their Prime Account. So it was a LOL moment for me at the time. To begin with Alexa was a technology, which I found absolutely "revolting." My first knowledge of it was when I saw it being talked about on one of the TV's talk shows. At the time I was appalled that anyone would engage with such a technology. The reason is that  I would be  giving my personal information (to whom I don't know) and having a robot performing basic tasks that I should be performing to keep my mind and physique exercised and healthy.  As of now  ‘Ms’ Alexa resides among the books in my bookshelf.

Furthermore, at the completion of the upgrade, Verizon text me a link to complete, (I know exactly why they chose to text me and i was really trying to keep them from filling up my mailbox with a lot of future promotions) so  I told the representative absolutely do not text me, but to email me the link instead.  So he emailed it to me. At the time he asked me if that’s my preferred way of communicating with them, and I said yes.

About a month later I got a text from them asking me to confirm my zip code. Now I have been with Verizon for years so I am not a new customer. So why would they want me to confirm my zip code? I’ll tell you why, once i respond by text it would give them access to my phone so they could start texting me promotions and telling me to download the app and all that nonsense. In fact they did send me an email telling me to download the app, which I ignored. 

Apparently ignoring them wasn’t enough. So for about six months straight, when I attempt to pay my bill, I would see a big red sign asking me to confirm my phone number.  I ignored them for six months until they got tired and stop asking me. So the most advertisement I get from them is at the time of my bill pay, and when the annoying promotions show up, I simply look for the no thanks  field to whatever they put in front of my face, and continue to my bill pay.

My other wireless phone is also with Verizon and they would love it if I would just pay them straight from my phone. However, again my preferred way of paying is on my computer. On my computer I have a wide view. On my phone it’s an eyestrain. Secondly, on my computer I have more of a paper trail.
Similarly, I own two Sony smart TVs. The TVs come with several apps: Prime Video; Hulu; VUDU; Pandora; YouTube; Netflix, Kids; Berliner Philharmoniker; and two apps that can organize pictures. About once a year Sony notifies me on screen that they need to update my firmware. However, always after the update they would ask me to choose enable which would allow them to access details on how I use the TV., meaning the apps on it etcetera. As usual I would pick disable.
After my recent firmware update, I happen to go into an email, which I sort of abandoned simply because of the amount of spam I used to receive. I had forgotten that I use to have an unofficial account with them when I bought my Sony Video Camera. In that email I saw several emails  from Sony, all promotions,  except one.  In this one Sony was asking me to take a customer satisfaction survey. They said it would take 10-15 minutes, so I expected to be there for some time. I was happy to take the survey,  because I longed to let them know how i feel about people collecting data about anything I do with the technological equipments I own.
 However, I was surprised at the way the survey turned out. The first question they gave contained a long list of companies that sell electronics and or music subscription, and movie subscriptions. Then they asked me which one of them I use or own. At first I was going to choose the option none of these, because I currently don’t subscribe to music or video. But since all of my electronics are Apple, I checked the Apple box.  To my surprise the next page was a 'thank you'  page, meaning the survey simply abruptly ended.  This leads me to conclude that either they lied to me by telling me that the survey would last 10-15 minutes; or the information I gave them was enough. Indeed, they cannot include Apple TV in their app arsenal, so why waste time by having me complete the rest of the  survey. I was so surprised I laughed out loud, because it didn’t make any sense that all of a sudden they had no more questions for me. Still, I understood perfectly well why the survey ended with my first Q and A. As mentioned above it’s the Apple thing. If anybody has a different take on it, please let me know. All I have to say is that hopefully I got rid of them, because I was sick and tired of them telling me that they have updated my firmware, and then asking for my permission to enable them to spy on me.

In contrast, I was recently at the bust stop where I noticed that the timetable for the buses’ arrival was replaced by a notice that said to download the My MTA app. I had already downloaded the app about a month before. But I wasn’t getting much from it. However, the notice explained how to use it. So far I have not seen one ad, and as I said I have had it on my phone for about a month. Now if they have the gall to start pushing ads I will delete the app. I think its a good app to have but by no means necessary.

Celery, Price Gouging and Celery


Why You Should Care




The cost of celery and other produce items have skyrocketed since Trumps Tariff war with China. Still, much of the increase in cost can be directly attributed to price gouging. Price gouging or over pricing of goods is something a majority of retailers typically do in times like these. The reason is they know that they can get away with it, by blaming it on tariffs. This is unfortunate, because by doing this they are actually stealing from the consumer, some of whom are struggling to pay for baby formula  as well as  keeping a roof over their heads.

Celery is a vegetable that is very good for your health. It contains, calcium, iron vitamins A and C,  and Folic Acid. It also contains a small amount of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, some sugar,  traces of vitamin E,  lots of vitamin K and  salt,  So when seasoning with Celery you can cut back on the amount of salt for your recipe.  Celery also has a very low glycemic load, so if you are a diabetic you don't have to worry about eating it. Indeed, health enthusiasts  often use Celery as a snack food. 

 Celery can me eaten raw or cooked, and it is one of the few foods that you can eat and benefit from a lot of nutrients without gaining weight. As a result, health and diet conscious people gobble it up in spades. I cannot find Celery at places like Trader Joe's.  They claim they get in a small amounts in the mornings and before the after noon its gone. As a result, I recently went there in the morning. I guess I should start camping out there LOL!  I have not been able to find Celery there it there in over a month.  
 
I recently paid $3.99 twice at the local grocery store for a medium bunch of celery.  I say medium because I have noticed that the bunch have become measly while the cost has been ever increasing. I was in that same store the other day and I picked up a bunch expecting it to be the same over priced $3.99. However, a very thoughtful store clerk asked me if I knew that the celery was $4.99, and I said I didn't know that, and that I  had bought a bunch last week (during the week of May 5, 2019) for $3.99. Needless to say I put 'that there'  celery back where I took it from. I can only tolerate so much. This was now the week of May 12, 2019  and the price had gone up by 25%.

It is my understanding that some of the Celery we consume is imported from places like Australia, South America and South Africa. However, most of it is grown here. Places like Alaska can produce it, and California is the leading producer of fresh fruits and vegetables. So I do not know how the tariffs affect the  Celery we grow here.

 Celery is not the only priced gouged  produce for which I am clocking the the rising  in prices.  The price gouging of celery is the one that annoys me the most, because I use it in all my recipes. In the mean time, I will continue to look for stores that are more accommodating on the price of Celery. I will say this though, when you find a supermarket that charges less,  you literally get about 4 to 5 stalks. LOL.  Still its not a laughing matter. it infuriates me. Where is the Consumer protection Board? Who is overseeing these atrocious price gouging  that could eventually lead to more people knocking  on the doors of the homeless shelters. 

Meanwhile the man who is responsible for wreaking havoc on peoples financial well being and spirituality, who has absolutely no business acumen, who has the vocabulary of a 5 year, speaks like a 5 year old, is restless like a 5 year old, is tastelessly nasty and  belligerent because he doesn't have the verbal skills to express himself, Still sits in the White  pounding his chest and screaming.. 'I am the president and I want to be an autocrat!  You can't make this stuff up!

Thanks for stopping bye✊

Dialing Down Technology



Why You Should Care




Is it just me or do others feel that their ability to interact swiftly with their phone is being impeded by skillfully designed ads intended to manipulate your spending? Am I the only one who resent the fact that every company wants to be its own app and is encouraging you to download their app for one reason or another? Can you imagine what your phone would look like if your only means of interaction was via an app. Have you noticed that your shopping experience is now via an app such as Amazon; a eBay; Yahoo, etc. Have you noticed that your entertainment experience is being tailored through app such as Hulu; ABC; NBC; CBS; iTunes, Spotify; Google Play; Amazon; Deezer and others. The fact is that we are being overwhelmed by apps.

I open up my browser one morning, and ventured into cyberspace. I see a news article I want to read more about it. I click on it returns a black space and the caption download the ‘CBS app appears. I click off. I am completely annoyed. I guess I don’t have to see that article because I refuse to download "the CBS app." The main reason is because I know that I am going to resent the barrage of ads for elements of which I have no interest in or the subscriptions that they are going to start asking me for. or the other things that they are going to try to introduce me to. There is only so much that the brain can process. As you can see I have a real problem with the invasion of my personal space.
Allow me to deviate a little. Remember pop ups of the late 1990's, early-2000's and how they used to drive you crazy, before browsers began allowing you to block them. It is as a result of the inability to block them that some tech nerd came up with this app thing. As you can see apps give them free reign to annoy you with ads.

Indeed, when you download an 'app.' metaphorically speaking, you own the annoyance that it comes with, unless you know how to uninstall it. However, most app won't allow you to completely uninstall it. What it does is return it to its so-called original state. So my suspicion is that it could still be performing some of its same functions while in its original state, if not why not allow it to be completely uninstalled. I simply see apps as containing a lot of aggressive annoying ads. An important point to note is that on the Android's platform, neither Facebook nor any of Google's apps can be uninstalled, and apps like the Google microphone can neither be disabled nor uninstalled. The same goes for iPhone's Health app. I thought that it would have been a great way to keep track of things relative to my health until saw how invasive it was. Then i decided that since I can't use why have it taking up space on my phone, and that is how I came to realize I couln't get rid of it.

I have long recognized that apps are designed for monetizing the pusher. The pusher will place a variety of adds into your, the unsuspecting consumer's pathway. His hope is to snooker you with at least one. Thus they will use buzzwords to brainwash you into thinking that this ‘thing’ which you could probably otherwise do without, is advantageous for you to have, as a result, you purchase it.
One of the things that annoy me about the use of apps is how they think they can use them to ask for permission to spy on you. Smart TV'S are known for trying to collect data on how you. They do this by asking you to accept an agreement wherein they would be allowed to collect data on how you use the device. Their reasoning is usually that they want to tailor the software to give you a better experience. This is usually not entirely true. Many times they simply want the data (regarding how you use the apps on the device) to use for developing other software to sell to you and the public.

Unfortunately, Smart TVS are not the only culprit. The fact is that any browser that you use to engage the web, collect and store data on your browsing habits. I'll give you an example I often use a certain pop culture/news website (which supply some of my emails) sometimes to browse data on the web. As a result, this website think it has earned the right to drop news links in my mail box from time to time. They call it "what you may have missed." How would they know that I read data on their sight if not by spying? The truth is that "what I may have missed" I wanted to stay missed. Therefore, I resent my space being invaded like that. Indeed there are ads embedded in this news that they are trying to get me to read. Needless to say trash is a good place for that link to reside.

So the public should be aware that asking for permission to spy is not as innocent as it seems, and importantly that data collection is not generic. Indeed, the apps that reside on your phone or those you download have larger underlying purposes than just being a useful software "toy" for you to open and close at your whim. Besides, I analyze the idea of a software company telling me that they collect data to improve my experience along the theory and the writings of “George Orwell’s 1984;” in which he states that there will come a time when big brother will be watching over you and telling you what to do. Unfortunately, I feel that no nobody should be tailoring my experience for me, unless I ask them to. I also feel my space is being infringed upon when app pushers manipulate me by placing ads about shopping and entertainment in my pathway to prevent me from arriving at my destination on a timely basis.Besides, I see this pushing of various advertisement through apps such as various games, the weather, Amazon and others a new neoliberalism frontier for making the rich richer. It is a shame that in doing so by way of mentally abusing the consumer.

Moreover, tech nerds fast and ever changing technology have in many ways contributed to elements of consumers addiction. Many consumers have become so avaricious for technology that they fail to see how much they are being manipulated. This can be seen in the context of them lining up around the block to get the newest iPhone or other gadget that is being passed off as "having new features" comes on the market. Likewise, as soon as some ridiculous app/hardware like Siri and Alexa come on the market they hastily buy it and begin to plug away at it, be in awe of it, and never once thinking of how freaking invasive it is. Many of these apps want access to your contacts, your camera your location for what?

Finally, you spend several hours of your weekend pushing the Netflix button, which now occupy space on your TV remote control, surfing Hulu, or other apps that have also been co-opted on your Smart TV. You are looking for something, anything that’s worth the subscription you paid for them. On the other end of the spectrum, the wealthy sit in their exclusive community somewhere in the exurb reveling in their profit margins, and their success in manipulating you into helping them achieve it.

Thanks for stopping by! 👀

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