YOU GUESS: Which three countries in the world don't have Netflix?

Watch this video from Beme News and you'll find out that Syria, North Korea and China are the three countries where Netflix is not available.  But that's not the main point in this video from the news service where CNN partnered with Casey Neistat, a well-known YouTuber.

Lou, the affable narrator of this piece, outlines how many of the new businesses depending on tech in some way, shape or form are not making a profit yet.  Amazon grows and grows, but has yet to make a profit.  The same with others.

To corner a market, the report says these companies are playing "the long game."  They are looking to the future where they hope to dominate.

This contrasts with historical thinking where capitalism was all about the hope of making a profit now.  This is worth a view.


Have you had your iPhone battery replaced yet at the Apple store for $29?

Alexa just told me that it's 10 degrees above zero outside right now which could affect whether I go to the Apple store today to have the battery on my iPhone 6+ replaced for $29.

My wife and I both have one and we've noticed that the battery charges have been lasting less and less and that both phones have been getting slower.  

I'm curious to learn how long it takes to have the batteries swapped out.  Waiting at the Apple store Genius Bar can be an exercise in patience.  But store employees seem exemplary with service once your name is called.

My Amazon Echo Dot reads Kindle books to me


When we were in our usual couch spots this morning and catching up with the news on our devices, my wife Gladys pointed out to me that our Amazon Echo can read Kindle books to us.  

I have 50 or more Kindle books covering a wide-variety of genres and topics and I have a serious case of glaucoma which can make reading at certain points of the day very challenging.

A few minutes ago, I tried it and it works.  The only thing I haven't figured out is how to direct the Echo to rewind to the beginning or to a specific chapter.

This is great for grandkids too.  Now they can have a book read to them.  Amazon's Kindle books for kids are plentiful. 

Before the day is over today, I will experiment with this more.

Amazon's Alexa gives us the temperature and weather everyday

Do you have an Amazon Echo?  We have the smaller Dot version and we use it everyday, chief of which is the temperature outside and the weather forecast.

Click on this video for the forecast for today, Jan. 1.  It was colder last night after we got home from a three day trip. 

What do you use your Echo for?

Our front lawn is decorated with a Star Shower Laser Light that I saw advertised on television


I was attracted to the Star Shower Laser Light I saw in the television commercial.  But over the years I've learned that these ads over-promise what the product can do.  You usually order the product over the phone and pay a shipping charge too.

It still attracted me because I wanted to fill our front yard with Christmas lights, but I didn't want to string lights, get out a ladder or any of that stuff.  The Star Shower is a laser light that shines hundreds of colored light looking things at whatever it's aimed at.  On the tv ad, it really looks neat and easy.  

You just put the light on an included stake, put it in the ground, hook an outdoor power cord, turn it on and wait for night fall.  When it turned dark, I was impressed and so was my neighbor's grandchild who got excited about all the lights in our yard.  Bingo.  We did it.  We now have one of the cool decorated houses that people look at.  We even had the laser lights shine in the darkened rooms of our house.

Neighbor wanted to know how much we paid.  I found it on Amazon and paid $49 and no shipping with their Prime membership.


If you're a T-Mobile customer, you can call Canada and Mexico from the United States and vice versa without extra cost

I remember when my son made some cellphone calls to friends while traveling through Canada on the way back to school in the state of New York.  He quickly learned the practice of phone companies levying big roaming charges on calls made from Canada.  It was a learning experience.

Now, T-Mobile announces that they will not charge anything extra on any calls made within North America, including Canada and Mexico.  

I'm curious.  Are there any catches?  Does T-Mobile have good services in both countries?  This sounds like a good deal.  Agree?  I'd be anxious to hear experience with it.

Will your grandkids ever get their hands dirty from a freshly printed newspaper?




Are you old enough to remember the heyday of newspapers.  Trucks would deliver bundles of papers to your neighborhood where they would be picked up by "newsboys" who could either be boys or girls.

They would be delivered house to house in the neighborhood sometime in the afternoon.  And most moms would remind dads to not let the newsprint get on anything where the ink would wear off.  For the sports-minded kid who wanted to check box scores from baseball games, the paper would be the go-to place.  That meant dirty hands.

Now newspapers are going away.  As they move closer and closer to extinction, I wonder if my three grandchildren will ever hold a newspaper in their hands.  

It wasn't that long ago that newspapers were the eyes and ears for everyday citizens who wanted information about everything from the local city council  to Little League teams.  This is in addition to wire news about national and international happenings.

One of the real rushes when I worked for the Chicago Tribune was when a bundle of newspapers would be delivered to the newsroom.  It was a buzz to get a fresh newspaper that came off the press a few minutes before.  

When I went to the MSU School of Journalism, the old building it was housed in had a newspaper reading room with papers from throughout the country.  I could spend half a day going papers from big and small cities.

That time is gone.  It has been replaced by the web where news reporting has a faint resemblance to what is has been historically.  

I can't wait to take them through the Newseum in Washington, D.C. where they can get a close-up look at newspapers and journalism when it was a lifeline to our way of life.


What lesson can my grandkids learn from Lansing's Video To Go store?

This video store--Video To Go--has a deep history with our family.

My wife and I were just finishing lunch at Panera Bread in Lansing's Frandor Shopping Center when I looked out the window there and saw the Video To Go store.  When we rented a video tape for one of the first times more than 20 years ago, it was from this store.

With changes in the way movies and other videos are delivered with Netflix and other services, I have to wonder how much longer it will stay in business.

When I think about Video To Go and how much television watching has changed, I think of my three grandkids, one almost five, one who is two and one who is almost a year-old.  They will have never seen video tapes and the odds are that they will not see a whole lot more of DVDs.

Their lives will be much more affected by the pace of technological change than mine.  They are learning how to adapt to this rapid change.  They are also learning how to recognize truths that never change.  

How long will it be before one of them can call me on their later stage Apple Watch?  They have all had their dalliances with iPads and apps for kids.  They know about watching streamed movies over the web.  

Change is inevitable.  The pace of these changes seems to be running in high gear.

I just did my first vlog to my grandkids using my selfie pole and iPhone 5

While my wife and I were walking at Hawk Island Park here in Lansing, I did my first vlog to our three grandkids who live in different parts of the world.  With a selfie pole in hand with my iPhone 5, I took three minutes of video.  I'm anxious to do more vlogs. Take a look:


My wife and I during our walk and while talking to our grandkids.

How often do you share pictures of your grandchildren?


My three-month old grandson is a charmer. 

It's a ritual every morning when we swing over to get out of bed to check our individual mini iPads to check for overnight pictures of our grandkids who live in differents states and on different continents. Quite often you will hear one of us let out a loud "oh wow" and it's only because of new grandkids pictures on Instagram.

And there are those times when we are in the yard or at the supermarket and I check my Instagram on my cell and find more pictures.  Result is big smiles in the aisles while loading up on bananas, lettuce, apples and other stuff.

How do you share pictures of your kids to their grandparents?  Do you use your phone?  Do you send video clips?  How often?  

If you live in a city needing revitalization, be thankful that Tony Hsieh is staying with Downtown Project in Las Vegas


In the working and entertainment section of his apartment, we learned about the redevelopment of the old downtown in Las Vegas.

Last summer, my son Justin who lived in Las Vegas at the time arranged a tour of the Downtown Project developed by Tony Hsieh who sold Zappos for more than a billion bucks.  With his company headquartered in the old downtown of the city, he committed more than $300 to redevelop the area.

He had an amazing vision for a dying area of the city.  His efforts involved lots of risks and plenty of working outside the box.

The rumors had been growing that he was being forced to step down from his position at the helm of the effort.  Today at a Tech Cocktail event, he says the rumor is wrong.  He and his team are cutting new ground and now he assures us his work will continue.

Does Apple get you excited with its use of "awesome" and other hyperbole?

Did Apple overdo it during their recent developer's conference where every other word in their presentations of new products seemed to be "awesome" or similar hyperbole? Can these words be overused? Do they build excitement for anybody outside of high school? Watch this video. It's a clear example of how the language has changed.