Author Topic: Unethical ways to save money  (Read 44162 times)

BTDretire

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #150 on: May 07, 2019, 09:22:21 AM »
Let me light this place up,
 A financially independent person taking a healthcare subsidy from hardworking taxpayers.
Do you pay more in taxes than legally required?
Ah, just a slight ray in the name of justification.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #151 on: May 07, 2019, 09:57:50 AM »
Let me light this place up,
 A financially independent person taking a healthcare subsidy from hardworking taxpayers.

The federal government made the rules and the following sources of income for Obamacare includes: Social Security, pensions, IRA withdrawals, investment income (interest, dividends), wages from a job.

If income stays below a certain threshold then the person, couple or family meets requirements for subsidy. Regardless of how much savings the person or family has. Incoming income from all family members is what the subsidy is based on. If the family makes too much, no subsidy. They could have a million dollars in savings but that is not counted. Not my rules, federal government rules. No guilt for following the rules. Was on Obamacare for 3 + years, kept income low by drawing out savings which is not counted as income. Subsidy was over $1,000 a month for about 39 months. Glad I was eligible for subsidy! Now on Medicare which by the way is not free if you buy supplements and pay the copays.

I am also a hard working taxpayer! Nothing unethical here. My taxes were done by a CPA and any discrepancies would have been flagged. Nobody is 'taking' anything from anybody. Very happy I was able to qualify for subsidy!

Padonak

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #152 on: May 07, 2019, 10:05:44 AM »
Buying tradelines.
Selling tradeline.

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mathlete

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #153 on: May 07, 2019, 10:16:07 AM »
It used to be pretty common for phone carriers to sell phones that wouldn't work on other carrier networks without jailbreaking.  Is that not the case any more?

Oh yeah, I remember that with the original original iPhone. It was only on AT&T.

I'm a little mixed on this. AT&T probably subsidized bringing the iPhone to market in the first place, so if everyone jailbroke, they incurred the risk of bringing it to market while being cut off from the reward.

I err on the side of "ethical" though. I certainly wouldn't judge anyone for doing this.

dragoncar

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #154 on: May 07, 2019, 10:22:39 AM »
2) Free drinks - A friend of mine will ask the person in the drive through (after paying for food) if he can have a free softdrink.  I've been with him several times for this and he has never been turned down.
This is not unethical - if you and they give its ok, if he went in and said he ordered and paid for it but didn't get it, then that would be unethical.

 Ya, there is a problem here, the employee is giving away the owners stock.
With out giving too much detail, when I saw the shrimp boats come in, it was not unusual for the crew to sell some of the catch, before the owner was there to see it happen. Also, I watched deck hands unloading several thousands of pounds of fish from the boat to the dock, a few would slip over the edge into the water, and after everyone left the deckhand would take a dive and pull up a couple hundred dollars of fish that he dropped overboard.
 My boat was docked near the unloading dock. I saw a lot.

But eww, who would want fish that had fallen in the sea?  Gross

 Was the lack of any emoji, smiley face, /s/,  because what you said is what you meant?
How about this.
 Would you want a fish that was caught, spent a week on ice in the boat, picked up, weighed  and trucked to the
the warehouse, deiced and weighed again, a couple days later it is put on another truck, driven 2 days to New York, unloaded at another warehouse, deiced and weighed again, put on another truck and distributed to a store where is sets in the display for 2 more days before being bought.
  The fish has been on ice for two weeks before you even get it. You can only hope the low level employees have done a good job of keeping
it on ice.

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DadJokes

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #155 on: May 07, 2019, 10:31:01 AM »
Let me light this place up,
 A financially independent person taking a healthcare subsidy from hardworking taxpayers.

I think there are a lot of things mustachians do in the realm of tax avoidance and wealth-hiding that could be viewed as unethical.

Along with potentially getting health subsidies (who knows, that's 15+ years from now), I am also structuring my funds in a way that our expected family contribution for the FAFSA will be really low, which will allow our child to get a lot more financial aid for college.

We only pay about 1.5% of our gross income in income taxes, thanks to legal tax avoidance strategies and will likely never pay much more than that. I'm sure we get more than $1,200 in benefits from the federal government. Is it unethical to use every legal method available to not pay "our fair share" for taxes? Maybe, but not so unethical that I'm going to lose sleep.

ketchup

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #156 on: May 07, 2019, 10:45:19 AM »
It used to be pretty common for phone carriers to sell phones that wouldn't work on other carrier networks without jailbreaking.  Is that not the case any more?

Oh yeah, I remember that with the original original iPhone. It was only on AT&T.

I'm a little mixed on this. AT&T probably subsidized bringing the iPhone to market in the first place, so if everyone jailbroke, they incurred the risk of bringing it to market while being cut off from the reward.

I err on the side of "ethical" though. I certainly wouldn't judge anyone for doing this.
Many people in this thread are mixing up terminology.

"Jailbreaking" means running unauthorized code, typically in the context of iOS.  This is running applications written and compiled by someone that didn't get Apple's blessing to put them in the app store.  Apple does not like this.

"Rooting" a phone basically means the same thing, but on Android (gaining root access).  I don't know Google's specific stance on this.

Both can but don't necessarily involve pirating paid apps.  Apple, Google, and app developers don't like this.

"Unlocking" is removing the lock to particular carrier.  A locked phone can only be used on the carrier it was sold for (AT&T in the case of early iPhones).  Unlocking it allows it to be used elsewhere, assuming the underlying tech (GSM/CDMA) is compatible.  Carriers subsidizing phones don't like this.  Manufacturers don't like it either, since they like to keep carriers happy.

mathlete

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #157 on: May 07, 2019, 10:47:31 AM »
It used to be pretty common for phone carriers to sell phones that wouldn't work on other carrier networks without jailbreaking.  Is that not the case any more?

Oh yeah, I remember that with the original original iPhone. It was only on AT&T.

I'm a little mixed on this. AT&T probably subsidized bringing the iPhone to market in the first place, so if everyone jailbroke, they incurred the risk of bringing it to market while being cut off from the reward.

I err on the side of "ethical" though. I certainly wouldn't judge anyone for doing this.
Many people in this thread are mixing up terminology.

"Jailbreaking" means running unauthorized code, typically in the context of iOS.  This is running applications written and compiled by someone that didn't get Apple's blessing to put them in the app store.  Apple does not like this.

"Rooting" a phone basically means the same thing, but on Android (gaining root access).  I don't know Google's specific stance on this.

Both can but don't necessarily involve pirating paid apps.  Apple, Google, and app developers don't like this.

"Unlocking" is removing the lock to particular carrier.  A locked phone can only be used on the carrier it was sold for (AT&T in the case of early iPhones).  Unlocking it allows it to be used elsewhere, assuming the underlying tech (GSM/CDMA) is compatible.  Carriers subsidizing phones don't like this.  Manufacturers don't like it either, since they like to keep carriers happy.

Thanks for the clarification.

MilesTeg

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #158 on: May 07, 2019, 11:16:56 AM »
Quote from: ketchup
"Jailbreaking" means removing or defeating unethical software, firmware or hardware designed to prevent you from fully owning and controlling the device you purchased, typically in the context of iOS.  This allows you to run software Apple does not like or make any hardware modifications (including repairs) you might want to make.

Apple doesn't like this because it means users and developers aren't controlled and monetized to Apple's liking including extending the usable life of devices that Apple prefer you replace as frequently as possible.

Apple much prefers that Apple maintain ultimate control over the device you purchase because that's the best way to maximize profit.

FIFY

(Also, Apple is the worst, but not the only offender herr)

ChpBstrd

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #159 on: May 07, 2019, 11:52:52 AM »
I wonder how many of us think our obligations to follow the rules change when dealing with monopolies or duopolies that lobby politicians and essentially invent the rules so they can get more cash from us. E.g. if all food was produced by one corporation, would you pay their extortive prices or look for ways to rip off such a system?

70 year copyrights have been mentioned. Disney and Netflix would gladly bribe your congressional representatives to extend this rule or imprison poor people who want to watch a show they canít afford. They also want kids to get more screen time, which is scientifically proven to cause bad outcomes for them. Do you owe it to them not to rip a DVD you would have never bought anyway?

Apple and Google are a duopoly controlling the smartphone market, which is why consumers cannot switch to competitors offering better value, privacy, security, performance, etc. They also want to prevent you from installing the software of your own choice so that you will be forced to pay their closed ecosystem. Are you really obligated to their EULA, which you cannot get out of signing?

How many ISPs do you have? Chances are, this is a duopoly in your area too. Comcast and AT&T for example have a practice of maintaining multi-hour hold times so that most callers hang up. Who cares what the customers need? They have no choice! Let them eat cake.  Are you really worried about sharing WiFi with a neighbor, or a roommate?

The examples are endless: phone carriers, tractor manufacturers, web services, record companies, etc.

ketchup

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #160 on: May 07, 2019, 12:03:09 PM »
Quote from: ketchup
"Jailbreaking" means removing or defeating unethical software, firmware or hardware designed to prevent you from fully owning and controlling the device you purchased, typically in the context of iOS.  This allows you to run software Apple does not like or make any hardware modifications (including repairs) you might want to make.

Apple doesn't like this because it means users and developers aren't controlled and monetized to Apple's liking including extending the usable life of devices that Apple prefer you replace as frequently as possible.

Apple much prefers that Apple maintain ultimate control over the device you purchase because that's the best way to maximize profit.

FIFY

(Also, Apple is the worst, but not the only offender herr)
Semi-off topic but your line in there about repair made me think: Any idea if jailbreaking would allow me to replace my cracked non-functional home button my iPhone 7 for a non-exorbinant sum? (Apple wanted over $300, and apparently normally third-party shops and DIY are not an option due to the way the fingerprint reader is integrated into it)
I wonder how many of us think our obligations to follow the rules change when dealing with monopolies or duopolies that lobby politicians and essentially invent the rules so they can get more cash from us. E.g. if all food was produced by one corporation, would you pay their extortive prices or look for ways to rip off such a system?

70 year copyrights have been mentioned. Disney and Netflix would gladly bribe your congressional representatives to extend this rule or imprison poor people who want to watch a show they canít afford. They also want kids to get more screen time, which is scientifically proven to cause bad outcomes for them. Do you owe it to them not to rip a DVD you would have never bought anyway?

Apple and Google are a duopoly controlling the smartphone market, which is why consumers cannot switch to competitors offering better value, privacy, security, performance, etc. They also want to prevent you from installing the software of your own choice so that you will be forced to pay their closed ecosystem. Are you really obligated to their EULA, which you cannot get out of signing?

How many ISPs do you have? Chances are, this is a duopoly in your area too. Comcast and AT&T for example have a practice of maintaining multi-hour hold times so that most callers hang up. Who cares what the customers need? They have no choice! Let them eat cake.  Are you really worried about sharing WiFi with a neighbor, or a roommate?

The examples are endless: phone carriers, tractor manufacturers, web services, record companies, etc.

Hah, I wish I had a duopoly. I have shitty 6mbps AT&T DSL or I have nothing.

DadJokes

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #161 on: May 07, 2019, 12:04:22 PM »
How many ISPs do you have? Chances are, this is a duopoly in your area too. Comcast and AT&T for example have a practice of maintaining multi-hour hold times so that most callers hang up. Who cares what the customers need? They have no choice! Let them eat cake.  Are you really worried about sharing WiFi with a neighbor, or a roommate?

A monopoly is more like it. I've lived in a few different places in the suburbs over the last five years. In the first place I lived, only AT&T was available. In the place I lived next, only Comcast was available. I moved for work a year and a half later, and Comcast did not service the new area I moved to and refused to let me out of the contract without a hefty fee. It seems to me like the two companies have agreed to split up the area to ensure that there is no competition. If I could get internet without giving either company another dollar, I wouldn't see that as unethical at all.

So I agree with your premise that what we view as ethical depends on who we are ripping off.

K-ice

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #162 on: May 08, 2019, 01:41:42 AM »
I heard of a family, one of the wealthiest in a small town. When their son got married they hired a photographer. This was back in the day when smaller proofs were sent. A bunch of 4x6 I think. The family bragged about all the money they saved taking a picture of the proof & making copies. Similar today when people remove water marks or just flat our steel & share photos.

runbikerun

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #163 on: May 08, 2019, 06:40:11 AM »
I used to be stringently anti-piracy when it came to media, but I've become convinced that it's an essential brake on bullshit business practices. Right now I have subscriptions running to three separate streaming services, purely because I want to watch Game Of Thrones, Queer Eye, and the Giro d'Italia. I'm taking a long, hard look at a fourth, because Good Omens, Preacher and The Expanse are all serious draws. There is no good reason for programs to be exclusive to a single streaming service: if I want to watch Game Of Thrones legally, I have only one provider I can go to (and Netflix cancelling Marco Polo after two seasons and twenty million dollars tells you how realistic substitution is in these situations), which makes it a pretty near total monopoly except for piracy.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 08:06:01 AM by runbikerun »

BTDretire

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #164 on: May 08, 2019, 06:56:06 AM »
2) Free drinks - A friend of mine will ask the person in the drive through (after paying for food) if he can have a free softdrink.  I've been with him several times for this and he has never been turned down.
This is not unethical - if you and they give its ok, if he went in and said he ordered and paid for it but didn't get it, then that would be unethical.

 Ya, there is a problem here, the employee is giving away the owners stock.
With out giving too much detail, when I saw the shrimp boats come in, it was not unusual for the crew to sell some of the catch, before the owner was there to see it happen. Also, I watched deck hands unloading several thousands of pounds of fish from the boat to the dock, a few would slip over the edge into the water, and after everyone left the deckhand would take a dive and pull up a couple hundred dollars of fish that he dropped overboard.
 My boat was docked near the unloading dock. I saw a lot.

But eww, who would want fish that had fallen in the sea?  Gross

 Was the lack of any emoji, smiley face, /s/,  because what you said is what you meant?
How about this.
 Would you want a fish that was caught, spent a week on ice in the boat, picked up, weighed  and trucked to the
the warehouse, deiced and weighed again, a couple days later it is put on another truck, driven 2 days to New York, unloaded at another warehouse, deiced and weighed again, put on another truck and distributed to a store where is sets in the display for 2 more days before being bought.
  The fish has been on ice for two weeks before you even get it. You can only hope the low level employees have done a good job of keeping
it on ice.

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talltexan

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #165 on: May 08, 2019, 09:46:10 AM »
I work for a large public utility that is reporting its quarterly earnings soon. People come up to me all the time and tell me which way I ought to trade the meager amount of stock that is in my retirement accounts. I don't actually believe the market movements are predictable based on the information they have, as there are so many variables.

ketchup

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #166 on: May 08, 2019, 09:55:07 AM »
I heard of a family, one of the wealthiest in a small town. When their son got married they hired a photographer. This was back in the day when smaller proofs were sent. A bunch of 4x6 I think. The family bragged about all the money they saved taking a picture of the proof & making copies. Similar today when people remove water marks or just flat our steel & share photos.
As the partner of a photographer, this is indeed extremely shitty.  Wedding photographers are expensive, but the work is a real bitch and they deserve every penny.  My GF has sworn to never ever shoot a wedding again.
I used to be stringently anti-piracy when it came to media, but I've become convinced that it's an essential brake on bullshit business practices. Right now I have subscriptions running to three separate streaming services, purely because I want to watch Game Of Thrones, Queer Eye, and the Giro d'Italia. I'm taking a long, hard look at a fourth, because Good Omens, Preacher and The Expanse are all serious draws.
I'm the complete opposite here.  I think piracy was a symptom of a service problem (shoutout to Gabe Newell) that's mostly been solved by now, at least in the US.

Twelve years ago if I wanted to catch up on House or The Office my options were:
1. Plan my life around catching reruns on Fox/NBC in order like some kind of animal.  Commercials.
2. Record reruns on VHS.  Have to deal with planning out VCR programming, but could at least skip commercials when watching.
3. Pay $2/episode / $25/season to download the episodes on the iTunes store, using garbage iTunes software, non-HD, with DRM making it hard to get it onto a TV.
4. Pay $30-40/season to buy the boxed DVD sets of each season of each show.  Unskippable pre-menu ads but no commercials during episodes.  Need to change discs every few episodes.  Typically need to wait almost a year after airing for it to be available.  Not HD.
5. Click download on your favorite BitTorrent tracker and have the first episodes ready to watch within minutes, in HD, with no ads, and no DRM.  Typically available within minutes after airing.  Could watch on the computer, or on a TV easily with XBMC or similar.

Number 5 was the best option, even without considering cost.  And at the time I was a young tech-savvy 16 year old making $8/hr part time, so of course that's the option I went with.

Now, let's say I'm in 2019 and want to catch up on Game of Thrones, The Expanse, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, and Shameless (deliberately picking shows from all over the place provider wise as an example).

Options are:
1. Have cable/satellite TV service of some kind, paying a billion dollars a month for fancy cable and HBO/Showtime.  Catch reruns, maybe use a DVR.  This would get us 4/6 (GoT, The Good Place, BCS, and Shameless).  It'd be gross and expensive and incomplete.  And with ads outside of premium channels.
2. Plug in an antenna and catch reruns.  This might get you The Good Place on NBC if you figure out the schedule.  Only 1/6.  And gross.
3. Pirate everything.  It's easier than ever, and download speeds have only gone up in 12 years.  You'd have to wait until after release for new episodes though.  Reasonably easy to watch on a computer, smartphone, or TV.
4. Subscribe to the appropriate streaming services.  You get the entire back catalog of GoT, The Expanse, Stranger Things, Shameless, and fresh episodes immediately as they are released (on HBO Now, Prime, Netflix, and Showtime accordingly).  You get The Good Place, Shameless, and Better Call Saul back seasons (Netflix), plus the current season of The Good Place on Hulu.  The only hole here is the most recent season of BCS, which would set you back $20 on Amazon if you don't want to wait until it hits Netflix.  You'd get next-day-after-airing episodes of The Good Place (Hulu) and again you'd have to buy BCS to watch the new season as it airs (probably another $20 for a season pass).  All can be watched in a normal web browser on a computer with no garbageware like iTunes installed, or on a smartphone or TV with an easily usable app.

Suddenly options 3 and 4 are neck and neck, even including cost.  Main downside of piracy is not getting shows like GoT immediately upon airing, and watching stuff on a smartphone or TV being a little kludgy if you're not a nerd about it.  Main downside of streaming services would be that things are spread across different streaming sites/apps.  And cost.

But the cost does not have to be insane.  Let's tally it up.  HBO Now (Game of Thrones) is $15/mo, Amazon Prime (The Expanse) is $10/mo ($120/yr), Netflix is $13/mo (TGP, BCS, Shameless backseasons, Stranger Things), Hulu is $12/mo (The Good Place current episodes), and Showtime is $11/mo. Egads, that's $71/mo!  Fuck!

Except that it doesn't have to be.  There are no contracts or yearly commitments or any of that garbage with streaming services, and they make it super easy to cancel.  If there are only a handful or a single show on a service you want to watch, you only have to subscribe for a month or two at a time to watch the season.  Let's call it two months out of the year on HBO, one month on Prime, three months on Netflix, four months on Hulu, and two months of Showtime.  We'll throw in a $20 season pass for BCS as well.  This puts you at $169 for the year, an average of ~$14/mo for the year to legally and easily watch your six shows you care about that are all on different services/networks with no ads on nearly any modern computer, smartphone, or TV.  And since this puts you across five different streaming services during various points of the year, you have plenty of other variety to watch if you want along the way.

I'd call that a bargain.  This isn't quite exactly what we do at home, but it's the same idea.  We probably watch way too much TV, but it doesn't cost us very much.

I don't see much of a reason to pirate anymore unless you're getting media not available legally in your country or you're just a cheapass.
Quote
There is no good reason for programs to be exclusive to a single streaming service: if I want to watch Game Of Thrones legally, I have only one provider I can go to (and Netflix cancelling Marco Polo after two seasons and twenty million dollars tells you how realistic substitution is in these situations), which makes it a pretty near total monopoly except for piracy.
I don't really understand how this is a monopoly.  Of course there need to be exclusives, or there's no reason to subscribe to Service A over Service B.  Exclusives are not monopolies.  Do you expect to be able to buy any book from any publisher?  Is Kroger not selling Walmart brand peanut butter a monopoly?  If you really want a particular show, a particular book, or a particular brand of peanut butter you will go to the company that sells it, which is why they sell it in the first place.  This is not a Luxottica or Comcast situation.
Quote
The Expanse
You should watch The Expanse.  Everyone should watch The Expanse.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #167 on: May 08, 2019, 10:23:12 AM »
Pirated books?  I just use the library...

Unethical ways I've saved money:
Went through the chow hall line on base more than once in a single meal (only authorized to go through once each meal) and/or went to two different chow halls at one meal period (dinner at a chow hall near my barracks and dinner at a chow hall a couple miles away).

Sharing of accounts.  Never paid for netflix, hbogo, or hulu -> just had friends who shared their passwords with me.

Corner gas station near me has at least two employees that never charge me for fountain drinks, even if I don't waste money on any snacks.

GuitarStv

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #168 on: May 08, 2019, 11:01:41 AM »
I heard of a family, one of the wealthiest in a small town. When their son got married they hired a photographer. This was back in the day when smaller proofs were sent. A bunch of 4x6 I think. The family bragged about all the money they saved taking a picture of the proof & making copies. Similar today when people remove water marks or just flat our steel & share photos.
As the partner of a photographer, this is indeed extremely shitty.  Wedding photographers are expensive, but the work is a real bitch and they deserve every penny.  My GF has sworn to never ever shoot a wedding again.
I used to be stringently anti-piracy when it came to media, but I've become convinced that it's an essential brake on bullshit business practices. Right now I have subscriptions running to three separate streaming services, purely because I want to watch Game Of Thrones, Queer Eye, and the Giro d'Italia. I'm taking a long, hard look at a fourth, because Good Omens, Preacher and The Expanse are all serious draws.
I'm the complete opposite here.  I think piracy was a symptom of a service problem (shoutout to Gabe Newell) that's mostly been solved by now, at least in the US.

Twelve years ago if I wanted to catch up on House or The Office my options were:
1. Plan my life around catching reruns on Fox/NBC in order like some kind of animal.  Commercials.
2. Record reruns on VHS.  Have to deal with planning out VCR programming, but could at least skip commercials when watching.
3. Pay $2/episode / $25/season to download the episodes on the iTunes store, using garbage iTunes software, non-HD, with DRM making it hard to get it onto a TV.
4. Pay $30-40/season to buy the boxed DVD sets of each season of each show.  Unskippable pre-menu ads but no commercials during episodes.  Need to change discs every few episodes.  Typically need to wait almost a year after airing for it to be available.  Not HD.
5. Click download on your favorite BitTorrent tracker and have the first episodes ready to watch within minutes, in HD, with no ads, and no DRM.  Typically available within minutes after airing.  Could watch on the computer, or on a TV easily with XBMC or similar.

Number 5 was the best option, even without considering cost.  And at the time I was a young tech-savvy 16 year old making $8/hr part time, so of course that's the option I went with.

Now, let's say I'm in 2019 and want to catch up on Game of Thrones, The Expanse, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, and Shameless (deliberately picking shows from all over the place provider wise as an example).

Options are:
1. Have cable/satellite TV service of some kind, paying a billion dollars a month for fancy cable and HBO/Showtime.  Catch reruns, maybe use a DVR.  This would get us 4/6 (GoT, The Good Place, BCS, and Shameless).  It'd be gross and expensive and incomplete.  And with ads outside of premium channels.
2. Plug in an antenna and catch reruns.  This might get you The Good Place on NBC if you figure out the schedule.  Only 1/6.  And gross.
3. Pirate everything.  It's easier than ever, and download speeds have only gone up in 12 years.  You'd have to wait until after release for new episodes though.  Reasonably easy to watch on a computer, smartphone, or TV.
4. Subscribe to the appropriate streaming services.  You get the entire back catalog of GoT, The Expanse, Stranger Things, Shameless, and fresh episodes immediately as they are released (on HBO Now, Prime, Netflix, and Showtime accordingly).  You get The Good Place, Shameless, and Better Call Saul back seasons (Netflix), plus the current season of The Good Place on Hulu.  The only hole here is the most recent season of BCS, which would set you back $20 on Amazon if you don't want to wait until it hits Netflix.  You'd get next-day-after-airing episodes of The Good Place (Hulu) and again you'd have to buy BCS to watch the new season as it airs (probably another $20 for a season pass).  All can be watched in a normal web browser on a computer with no garbageware like iTunes installed, or on a smartphone or TV with an easily usable app.

Suddenly options 3 and 4 are neck and neck, even including cost.  Main downside of piracy is not getting shows like GoT immediately upon airing, and watching stuff on a smartphone or TV being a little kludgy if you're not a nerd about it.  Main downside of streaming services would be that things are spread across different streaming sites/apps.  And cost.

But the cost does not have to be insane.  Let's tally it up.  HBO Now (Game of Thrones) is $15/mo, Amazon Prime (The Expanse) is $10/mo ($120/yr), Netflix is $13/mo (TGP, BCS, Shameless backseasons, Stranger Things), Hulu is $12/mo (The Good Place current episodes), and Showtime is $11/mo. Egads, that's $71/mo!  Fuck!

Except that it doesn't have to be.  There are no contracts or yearly commitments or any of that garbage with streaming services, and they make it super easy to cancel.  If there are only a handful or a single show on a service you want to watch, you only have to subscribe for a month or two at a time to watch the season.  Let's call it two months out of the year on HBO, one month on Prime, three months on Netflix, four months on Hulu, and two months of Showtime.  We'll throw in a $20 season pass for BCS as well.  This puts you at $169 for the year, an average of ~$14/mo for the year to legally and easily watch your six shows you care about that are all on different services/networks with no ads on nearly any modern computer, smartphone, or TV.  And since this puts you across five different streaming services during various points of the year, you have plenty of other variety to watch if you want along the way.

I'd call that a bargain.  This isn't quite exactly what we do at home, but it's the same idea.  We probably watch way too much TV, but it doesn't cost us very much.

I don't see much of a reason to pirate anymore unless you're getting media not available legally in your country or you're just a cheapass.
Quote
There is no good reason for programs to be exclusive to a single streaming service: if I want to watch Game Of Thrones legally, I have only one provider I can go to (and Netflix cancelling Marco Polo after two seasons and twenty million dollars tells you how realistic substitution is in these situations), which makes it a pretty near total monopoly except for piracy.
I don't really understand how this is a monopoly.  Of course there need to be exclusives, or there's no reason to subscribe to Service A over Service B.  Exclusives are not monopolies.  Do you expect to be able to buy any book from any publisher?  Is Kroger not selling Walmart brand peanut butter a monopoly?  If you really want a particular show, a particular book, or a particular brand of peanut butter you will go to the company that sells it, which is why they sell it in the first place.  This is not a Luxottica or Comcast situation.
Quote
The Expanse
You should watch The Expanse.  Everyone should watch The Expanse.

I want to watch ITV's highlights coverage of the Tour de France each year.  As far as I'm concerned, they have the best English language commentating in the world.  I live in Canada.  Tell me a legal way to do this and I'll stop paying for a VPN.

dragoncar

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #169 on: May 08, 2019, 11:30:48 AM »
I would never ďstealĒ  a wedding photographerís work, but I depise the common model of underpricing labor and making up the difference in prints (itís similar to how inkjet printer business works).  For our wedding we paid our photographer a fair price and received the raw files on Several DVDs, plus jpegs of a certain number of touches-up photos that they used for a book.  We are authorized to share and duplicate any of these photos.  If a family member wants a print of a photo they are in, they can get it printed low cost from any of the competitive print services.  I know not everyone operates this way, but IMO itís far superior

Iím sure we could have paid less up front if we agreed to be screwed on the backend, but thatís not really my style
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 11:32:48 AM by dragoncar »

ketchup

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #170 on: May 08, 2019, 11:53:59 AM »
I heard of a family, one of the wealthiest in a small town. When their son got married they hired a photographer. This was back in the day when smaller proofs were sent. A bunch of 4x6 I think. The family bragged about all the money they saved taking a picture of the proof & making copies. Similar today when people remove water marks or just flat our steel & share photos.
As the partner of a photographer, this is indeed extremely shitty.  Wedding photographers are expensive, but the work is a real bitch and they deserve every penny.  My GF has sworn to never ever shoot a wedding again.
I used to be stringently anti-piracy when it came to media, but I've become convinced that it's an essential brake on bullshit business practices. Right now I have subscriptions running to three separate streaming services, purely because I want to watch Game Of Thrones, Queer Eye, and the Giro d'Italia. I'm taking a long, hard look at a fourth, because Good Omens, Preacher and The Expanse are all serious draws.
I'm the complete opposite here.  I think piracy was a symptom of a service problem (shoutout to Gabe Newell) that's mostly been solved by now, at least in the US.

Twelve years ago if I wanted to catch up on House or The Office my options were:
1. Plan my life around catching reruns on Fox/NBC in order like some kind of animal.  Commercials.
2. Record reruns on VHS.  Have to deal with planning out VCR programming, but could at least skip commercials when watching.
3. Pay $2/episode / $25/season to download the episodes on the iTunes store, using garbage iTunes software, non-HD, with DRM making it hard to get it onto a TV.
4. Pay $30-40/season to buy the boxed DVD sets of each season of each show.  Unskippable pre-menu ads but no commercials during episodes.  Need to change discs every few episodes.  Typically need to wait almost a year after airing for it to be available.  Not HD.
5. Click download on your favorite BitTorrent tracker and have the first episodes ready to watch within minutes, in HD, with no ads, and no DRM.  Typically available within minutes after airing.  Could watch on the computer, or on a TV easily with XBMC or similar.

Number 5 was the best option, even without considering cost.  And at the time I was a young tech-savvy 16 year old making $8/hr part time, so of course that's the option I went with.

Now, let's say I'm in 2019 and want to catch up on Game of Thrones, The Expanse, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, and Shameless (deliberately picking shows from all over the place provider wise as an example).

Options are:
1. Have cable/satellite TV service of some kind, paying a billion dollars a month for fancy cable and HBO/Showtime.  Catch reruns, maybe use a DVR.  This would get us 4/6 (GoT, The Good Place, BCS, and Shameless).  It'd be gross and expensive and incomplete.  And with ads outside of premium channels.
2. Plug in an antenna and catch reruns.  This might get you The Good Place on NBC if you figure out the schedule.  Only 1/6.  And gross.
3. Pirate everything.  It's easier than ever, and download speeds have only gone up in 12 years.  You'd have to wait until after release for new episodes though.  Reasonably easy to watch on a computer, smartphone, or TV.
4. Subscribe to the appropriate streaming services.  You get the entire back catalog of GoT, The Expanse, Stranger Things, Shameless, and fresh episodes immediately as they are released (on HBO Now, Prime, Netflix, and Showtime accordingly).  You get The Good Place, Shameless, and Better Call Saul back seasons (Netflix), plus the current season of The Good Place on Hulu.  The only hole here is the most recent season of BCS, which would set you back $20 on Amazon if you don't want to wait until it hits Netflix.  You'd get next-day-after-airing episodes of The Good Place (Hulu) and again you'd have to buy BCS to watch the new season as it airs (probably another $20 for a season pass).  All can be watched in a normal web browser on a computer with no garbageware like iTunes installed, or on a smartphone or TV with an easily usable app.

Suddenly options 3 and 4 are neck and neck, even including cost.  Main downside of piracy is not getting shows like GoT immediately upon airing, and watching stuff on a smartphone or TV being a little kludgy if you're not a nerd about it.  Main downside of streaming services would be that things are spread across different streaming sites/apps.  And cost.

But the cost does not have to be insane.  Let's tally it up.  HBO Now (Game of Thrones) is $15/mo, Amazon Prime (The Expanse) is $10/mo ($120/yr), Netflix is $13/mo (TGP, BCS, Shameless backseasons, Stranger Things), Hulu is $12/mo (The Good Place current episodes), and Showtime is $11/mo. Egads, that's $71/mo!  Fuck!

Except that it doesn't have to be.  There are no contracts or yearly commitments or any of that garbage with streaming services, and they make it super easy to cancel.  If there are only a handful or a single show on a service you want to watch, you only have to subscribe for a month or two at a time to watch the season.  Let's call it two months out of the year on HBO, one month on Prime, three months on Netflix, four months on Hulu, and two months of Showtime.  We'll throw in a $20 season pass for BCS as well.  This puts you at $169 for the year, an average of ~$14/mo for the year to legally and easily watch your six shows you care about that are all on different services/networks with no ads on nearly any modern computer, smartphone, or TV.  And since this puts you across five different streaming services during various points of the year, you have plenty of other variety to watch if you want along the way.

I'd call that a bargain.  This isn't quite exactly what we do at home, but it's the same idea.  We probably watch way too much TV, but it doesn't cost us very much.

I don't see much of a reason to pirate anymore unless you're getting media not available legally in your country or you're just a cheapass.
Quote
There is no good reason for programs to be exclusive to a single streaming service: if I want to watch Game Of Thrones legally, I have only one provider I can go to (and Netflix cancelling Marco Polo after two seasons and twenty million dollars tells you how realistic substitution is in these situations), which makes it a pretty near total monopoly except for piracy.
I don't really understand how this is a monopoly.  Of course there need to be exclusives, or there's no reason to subscribe to Service A over Service B.  Exclusives are not monopolies.  Do you expect to be able to buy any book from any publisher?  Is Kroger not selling Walmart brand peanut butter a monopoly?  If you really want a particular show, a particular book, or a particular brand of peanut butter you will go to the company that sells it, which is why they sell it in the first place.  This is not a Luxottica or Comcast situation.
Quote
The Expanse
You should watch The Expanse.  Everyone should watch The Expanse.

I want to watch ITV's highlights coverage of the Tour de France each year.  As far as I'm concerned, they have the best English language commentating in the world.  I live in Canada.  Tell me a legal way to do this and I'll stop paying for a VPN.
Oh, I have no fucking clue.  I said it was almost solved, and in the US.  I know sports in general are a clusterfuck in this department.  "Because sports" is one of the only shreds left to the case for cable TV over streaming.  I know an otherwise fiscally reasonable and tech savvy guy at work that shells out $150/mo for cable because he's into sports and that's how you get sports.  And then you get weird situations like the one you're talking about with international stuff.  I know lots of US based people preferred the CBC coverage of the Olympics and used VPNs to that end.

Closest thing to sports I've watched in the last year on TV was the Westminster dog show, and yes, that was on a sketchy live Fox Sports 1 streaming site.  Give us an option to pay for watching just that live, and we will, but we won't upgrade a satellite TV package for a year just to watch a few hours of one event in February.  Still think Burns should have won BIS, but I'm biased as shit.

So I guess your case fits into my exception of "media not available in your country" and mine fits into being a cheapass.  Į\_(ツ)_/Į

(Annoyingly, we do actually have a DirecTV subscription so that our shitty DSL won't have a bandwidth cap, and we don't use it much.  I dragged out the receiver box that day only to realize we didn't have that channel.)

I would never ďstealĒ  a wedding photographerís work, but I depise the common model of underpricing labor and making up the difference in prints (itís similar to how inkjet printer business works).  For our wedding we paid our photographer a fair price and received the raw files on Several DVDs, plus jpegs of a certain number of touches-up photos that they used for a book.  We are authorized to share and duplicate any of these photos.  If a family member wants a print of a photo they are in, they can get it printed low cost from any of the competitive print services.  I know not everyone operates this way, but IMO itís far superior

Iím sure we could have paid less up front if we agreed to be screwed on the backend, but thatís not really my style
I agree 100%.  That's the market though, most wedding photographers and really photographers in general do it that way.  Luckily, my GF's niche is pretty much entirely digital files only, which clients are free to do whatever with.  She sells some prints once in a while, but they're not a big moneymaker for her.  She hates it when people get their own prints made but due to the quality, not because she loses out on money.  I will say that she has access to far better quality print services than Walgreens or Staples or places like that, and at not much higher cost (lower in some cases).  I got some photos of my sister and I that she took printed at Walgreens because I wanted them quickly and she just about threw up when I showed them to her.

The majority of what she does sell are those fancy canvas prints, and those are so goddamn expensive straight out of the lab that she barely marks them up at all.  She might make more on a $25 8x10 than a $200 canvas print.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 12:10:12 PM by ketchup »

Seadog

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #171 on: May 09, 2019, 02:55:14 AM »
Many people in this thread are mixing up terminology.

"Jailbreaking" means running unauthorized code, typically in the context of iOS.  This is running applications written and compiled by someone that didn't get Apple's blessing to put them in the app store.  Apple does not like this.

"Rooting" a phone basically means the same thing, but on Android (gaining root access).  I don't know Google's specific stance on this.

Both can but don't necessarily involve pirating paid apps.  Apple, Google, and app developers don't like this.

"Unlocking" is removing the lock to particular carrier.  A locked phone can only be used on the carrier it was sold for (AT&T in the case of early iPhones).  Unlocking it allows it to be used elsewhere, assuming the underlying tech (GSM/CDMA) is compatible.  Carriers subsidizing phones don't like this.  Manufacturers don't like it either, since they like to keep carriers happy.

A few years ago I delved into the smart phone market, and after living in Asia for the several years prior, was amazing how controlled the market was in Canada, how it was almost impossible to buy a normal unlocked phone through traditional means, or to even get a plan where you weren't still paying for the phone regardless (ie $50 a month with a free phone, vs $48 with no free phone). This is on top of paying pretty much the highest service rates in any of the dozen or so countries I've had numbers in, including Australia which has a very similar low density, huge area issue. Why do sim cards (printed by the thousands for pennies each in China) cost $10 here, but are freely given away at hostels and hotels down there? There is a huge disconnect somewhere, fair doesn't come into it, and it's all about what you can get away with / implicit price collusion. It isn't so direct, but more with a wink and a nudge all carriers silently agree to continue charging through the nose. 

From their perspective, they had a pretty good deal. Is it ethical to separate a fool from their money? Is it ethical to lobby the gov't and protest laws that although are in the benefit of the consumer, fair competition, and freedom of choice, aren't beneficial to your bottom line? While the majority of phones were sold through carriers in that era, and were locked to them unless you wanted to pay something like $50, it was possible to buy factory unlocked ones from Amazon or the factories, so there were options.  Is it "fair" to pay the same retail price for a phone that is considerably less functional, and unable to be operated outside of your network unless they pay even more, while paying 2-3x for monthly service on top, compared to Asia? If you could get such a deal wouldn't you be all for it? I have a friend in France, and for half the price I pay for cell service, she gets a better package, which includes unlimited roaming in all of Canada and the EU. Why can that happen there but not here? Someone's acting unethically, but it's not the consumer. 

People are free be as ethical as they want, turn down which ever benefits you're legally entitled to but willing to forego because of fairness or whatever, but rest assured, if (and hopefully not) the shoe is ever on the other foot, I think you'll get a harsh lesson about what you feel is "fair" vs what gov'ts and big corps will actually deliver, likely in line with their absolute legal minimums.

I'm reminded of that poor guy who made the big song and dance after getting violently pulled off that united flight a couple years ago. If nothing else, it highlighted how utterly powerless you are in dealing with any big corporation. Not wholly unlike workers vs the robber barons of the 1800s. The agreement is something along the lines of "you pay us, no matter what, or else we sue you" and in exchange "we'll give you a flight, maybe, but if we don't, there is nothing you can do, but we'll give you a credit less administration fees". These contracts are laden with terms that no equally powerful entities would ever agree to given how one sided they are. They've used every legal trick in the book to reserve any and all rights while minimizing their responsibilities.

Seadog

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #172 on: May 09, 2019, 03:12:04 AM »
I want to watch ITV's highlights coverage of the Tour de France each year.  As far as I'm concerned, they have the best English language commentating in the world.  I live in Canada.  Tell me a legal way to do this and I'll stop paying for a VPN.

Piracy is a funny one for me. At least in Canada I don't believe there are any laws against downloading it, and it sort of falls into the same category as libraries.

At the same time I do want to support the artists, but simultaneously minimizing support for the exploitative labels and other middle men who will happily stick it to the artists as soon as they will the consumer.

Finally, talking about it with a small time band friend who plays the small gig for beer money, he said he wished more people would pirate his stuff. The amount of money he makes from each CD is pretty tiny, and at this point, he's far away from ever making a living at it. The biggest problem isn't losing out of a few dollars from record sales than may have never materialized in the first place, the biggest problem is getting his name out there and becoming well known at all.   

runbikerun

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #173 on: May 09, 2019, 03:34:19 AM »
"I don't really understand how this is a monopoly.  Of course there need to be exclusives, or there's no reason to subscribe to Service A over Service B."

Cinemas don't have exclusives, and yet the film industry does pretty well. Record shops rarely if ever did exclusives, and they did pretty well until internet piracy came along. Then music piracy was rendered almost totally irrelevant by Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Apple Music and Google Play Music, none of which traffic in exclusives in any serious way. And yet they compete. Spotify has a substantial network advantage, with people sharing playlists and the like, but I'm still with Google Play Music because its new music recommendations are frighteningly good.

Exclusivity is the quickest way of differentiating a streaming service, but it's not the only one.

And to the poster watching Tour highlights: Eurosport's international feed, if you're able to access it, is usually commentated upon by Rob Hatch, who is an absolutely phenomenal commentator.

Dabnasty

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #174 on: May 09, 2019, 08:36:05 AM »
"I don't really understand how this is a monopoly.  Of course there need to be exclusives, or there's no reason to subscribe to Service A over Service B."

Cinemas don't have exclusives, and yet the film industry does pretty well. Record shops rarely if ever did exclusives, and they did pretty well until internet piracy came along. Then music piracy was rendered almost totally irrelevant by Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Apple Music and Google Play Music, none of which traffic in exclusives in any serious way. And yet they compete. Spotify has a substantial network advantage, with people sharing playlists and the like, but I'm still with Google Play Music because its new music recommendations are frighteningly good.

Exclusivity is the quickest way of differentiating a streaming service, but it's not the only one.

And to the poster watching Tour highlights: Eurosport's international feed, if you're able to access it, is usually commentated upon by Rob Hatch, who is an absolutely phenomenal commentator.

None of this supports the notion that streaming services are a monopoly, at least not in the legal sense of the word. They may "monopolize" a specific product if we're using the literal definition, but a monopoly refers to a business controlling the entire market of a commodity (or more broadly any necessity or product people will continue to buy despite significant price increases). If one streaming service became large enough to outbid every other service for all or most of the content, then it would probably be fair to call them a monopoly. As it is, this is more like a publisher buying the rights to a book.

What it really comes down to is how possible it is for a customer to forego the product. If electricity prices tripled tomorrow, not many people would be cancelling their service. Netflix can expect to lose some customers when they raise their price by $1.

https://www.multichannel.com/news/netflix-could-lose-8-percent-of-subscribers

To your second point of whether it's necessary, maybe not, but your first two examples are very different than streaming services. They are pay per use businesses where as streaming services give unlimited use for a monthly fee. If I could watch everything I wanted to on one service, there's no chance I'd have more than one. Music streaming is more similar but they differentiate by format and while I'm not very familiar with anything other than free Pandora, I assume they make a larger portion of their revenue through advertising than charging a subscription. This allows users to subscribe to multiple services without any concern for the monthly fee and in a sense makes it a pay per use model since users are "paying" by listening to ads.

GuitarStv

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #175 on: May 09, 2019, 09:00:19 AM »
I want to watch ITV's highlights coverage of the Tour de France each year.  As far as I'm concerned, they have the best English language commentating in the world.  I live in Canada.  Tell me a legal way to do this and I'll stop paying for a VPN.

Piracy is a funny one for me. At least in Canada I don't believe there are any laws against downloading it, and it sort of falls into the same category as libraries.

At the same time I do want to support the artists, but simultaneously minimizing support for the exploitative labels and other middle men who will happily stick it to the artists as soon as they will the consumer.

Finally, talking about it with a small time band friend who plays the small gig for beer money, he said he wished more people would pirate his stuff. The amount of money he makes from each CD is pretty tiny, and at this point, he's far away from ever making a living at it. The biggest problem isn't losing out of a few dollars from record sales than may have never materialized in the first place, the biggest problem is getting his name out there and becoming well known at all.

In my case I don't really see it as piracy, although I guess you could make a case for copyright infringement.

I don't download the show, I just use my VPN to make my IP address seem like I'm in the UK . . . then I can stream ITV's excellent coverage as it's freely broadcast in the UK.  As far as I'm aware, there's no legal way to get this content in Canada.  Rights to broadcast the Tour are bought by Rogers who only show it it on Sportsnet and only full stages (which are like 5 hrs each . . . not the 1 hr highlights reel that I want for each stage).  They tend to do fun stuff like cut to commercial in the final sprint of a stage, causing you to miss most of the important action.

Rogers owns the rights to broadcast the Giro too, but decides not to do so because . . . fuck Canadians.  I have a serious problem with someone who buys rights to something in a country and then prevents anyone in the country from watching it legally.

Bucksandreds

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #176 on: May 10, 2019, 01:54:35 PM »
Hereís how I distinguish legal grey areas. If it costs a large business but itís not illegal then itís ethical. If it costs ďthe little guyĒ like poor tipping, lying about amount a client owes, stealing time from your small business boss, itís shady. We live in times of record business profits and wealth inequality.  Businesses are legally screwing us over due to lobbying to lower their taxes, creating monopolies to raise prices, etc, etc, etc. Share your WiFi, stream the newest movie, donít report the big businesses extremely rare error in your favor.  There is nothing you can say that will change my mind on this subject.

blackomen

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #177 on: May 13, 2019, 01:18:28 PM »
How about buying toothpaste with Novaminfrom overseas and having it shipped to the US which fills minor cavities, negating the need for some dental work?

ďThe curious history of NovaMin toothpasteĒ by Ten Bitcomb https://link.medium.com/toct5t3dFW

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stoaX

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #178 on: May 13, 2019, 01:39:50 PM »
By the way, what's the point of this question?  Is the OP looking for new ways to save money and has exhausted the ethical ways of doing so?  Or is the OP trying to be sure that their money saving ways are ethical? Or is this just a case of "inquiring minds want to know"?

ChpBstrd

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #179 on: May 13, 2019, 03:18:15 PM »
I bought a house with cable wired to every single room - I guess so that one need never be out of sight of a TV. I ordered Comcastís slowest internet package and speedtest.net indicated I was getting their minimum speed for that package.

Then I crawled under the house and removed the cobwebs of coax cable until I had just one uninterrupted cable from the junction box to my modem. My speed doubled because of the reduced resistance. Comcast never noticed.

No regrets or remorse.

jambongris

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #180 on: May 13, 2019, 04:23:07 PM »
I bought a house with cable wired to every single room - I guess so that one need never be out of sight of a TV. I ordered Comcastís slowest internet package and speedtest.net indicated I was getting their minimum speed for that package.

Then I crawled under the house and removed the cobwebs of coax cable until I had just one uninterrupted cable from the junction box to my modem. My speed doubled because of the reduced resistance. Comcast never noticed.

No regrets or remorse.

I feel like Iím missing something. Whatís unethical about this? Why wouldnít you be allowed to adjust the wiring inside your house and after their junction box?

LetItGrow

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #181 on: May 13, 2019, 07:57:00 PM »
By the way, what's the point of this question?  Is the OP looking for new ways to save money and has exhausted the ethical ways of doing so?  Or is the OP trying to be sure that their money saving ways are ethical? Or is this just a case of "inquiring minds want to know"?

OP probably FIRE'd by now with all the ideas. You did notice the date, right?

dragoncar

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #182 on: May 14, 2019, 12:35:52 AM »
I bought a house with cable wired to every single room - I guess so that one need never be out of sight of a TV. I ordered Comcastís slowest internet package and speedtest.net indicated I was getting their minimum speed for that package.

Then I crawled under the house and removed the cobwebs of coax cable until I had just one uninterrupted cable from the junction box to my modem. My speed doubled because of the reduced resistance. Comcast never noticed.

No regrets or remorse.

I feel like Iím missing something. Whatís unethical about this? Why wouldnít you be allowed to adjust the wiring inside your house and after their junction box?

Yeahhhh... no this isnít unethical in the slightest.  I used to pay only for internet and would remove the filter they add so I could also get free basic cable.  Now that was unethical, but I didnít feel bad about it because cable companies are generally the absolute worst and the alternative was just to not watch tv at all so they didnít miss out on any revenue.

Dicey

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #183 on: May 14, 2019, 03:38:28 AM »
I love me a good necropost. This may be the best one ever.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #184 on: May 14, 2019, 09:31:27 AM »
I bought a house with cable wired to every single room - I guess so that one need never be out of sight of a TV. I ordered Comcastís slowest internet package and speedtest.net indicated I was getting their minimum speed for that package.

Then I crawled under the house and removed the cobwebs of coax cable until I had just one uninterrupted cable from the junction box to my modem. My speed doubled because of the reduced resistance. Comcast never noticed.

No regrets or remorse.

I feel like Iím missing something. Whatís unethical about this? Why wouldnít you be allowed to adjust the wiring inside your house and after their junction box?

Your internet speed is a factor of the amount of resistance on your lines. Each connector creates resistance. The technician measures this resistance and sets the signal strength accordingly, to match the speed of the package you agreed to buy. If you remove the resistance after they are done, you have a stronger signal than what you are paying for. It doesnít directly cost Comcast anything, except that I might have otherwise become frustrated enough to pay for the second slowest tier of service.

Guess Iím relatively honest if this is the extent of my thievery.

dragoncar

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #185 on: May 14, 2019, 09:49:56 AM »
I bought a house with cable wired to every single room - I guess so that one need never be out of sight of a TV. I ordered Comcastís slowest internet package and speedtest.net indicated I was getting their minimum speed for that package.

Then I crawled under the house and removed the cobwebs of coax cable until I had just one uninterrupted cable from the junction box to my modem. My speed doubled because of the reduced resistance. Comcast never noticed.

No regrets or remorse.

I feel like Iím missing something. Whatís unethical about this? Why wouldnít you be allowed to adjust the wiring inside your house and after their junction box?

Your internet speed is a factor of the amount of resistance on your lines. Each connector creates resistance. The technician measures this resistance and sets the signal strength accordingly, to match the speed of the package you agreed to buy. If you remove the resistance after they are done, you have a stronger signal than what you are paying for. It doesnít directly cost Comcast anything, except that I might have otherwise become frustrated enough to pay for the second slowest tier of service.

Guess Iím relatively honest if this is the extent of my thievery.

Thatís not how cable modem throttling works, unless you have some kind of hack for a tech.  Comcast sets a speed parameter on the cable modem electronically.  While itís true a bad signal will slow you down, the tech should always aim for optimal signal strength and let the modem handle transfer rates

Note, this doesnít apply to other types of throttling like bandwidth cap or fast lane throttling.  Thatís handled on Comcastís end.  But they still donít accomplish it by lowering the signal strength
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 09:51:52 AM by dragoncar »

spartana

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #186 on: May 14, 2019, 10:02:33 AM »
I heard of a family, one of the wealthiest in a small town. When their son got married they hired a photographer. This was back in the day when smaller proofs were sent. A bunch of 4x6 I think. The family bragged about all the money they saved taking a picture of the proof & making copies. Similar today when people remove water marks or just flat our steel & share photos.
As the partner of a photographer, this is indeed extremely shitty.  Wedding photographers are expensive, but the work is a real bitch and they deserve every penny.  My GF has sworn to never ever shoot a wedding again.
I used to be stringently anti-piracy when it came to media, but I've become convinced that it's an essential brake on bullshit business practices. Right now I have subscriptions running to three separate streaming services, purely because I want to watch Game Of Thrones, Queer Eye, and the Giro d'Italia. I'm taking a long, hard look at a fourth, because Good Omens, Preacher and The Expanse are all serious draws.
I'm the complete opposite here.  I think piracy was a symptom of a service problem (shoutout to Gabe Newell) that's mostly been solved by now, at least in the US.

Twelve years ago if I wanted to catch up on House or The Office my options were:
1. Plan my life around catching reruns on Fox/NBC in order like some kind of animal.  Commercials.
2. Record reruns on VHS.  Have to deal with planning out VCR programming, but could at least skip commercials when watching.
3. Pay $2/episode / $25/season to download the episodes on the iTunes store, using garbage iTunes software, non-HD, with DRM making it hard to get it onto a TV.
4. Pay $30-40/season to buy the boxed DVD sets of each season of each show.  Unskippable pre-menu ads but no commercials during episodes.  Need to change discs every few episodes.  Typically need to wait almost a year after airing for it to be available.  Not HD.
5. Click download on your favorite BitTorrent tracker and have the first episodes ready to watch within minutes, in HD, with no ads, and no DRM.  Typically available within minutes after airing.  Could watch on the computer, or on a TV easily with XBMC or similar.

Number 5 was the best option, even without considering cost.  And at the time I was a young tech-savvy 16 year old making $8/hr part time, so of course that's the option I went with.

Now, let's say I'm in 2019 and want to catch up on Game of Thrones, The Expanse, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, and Shameless (deliberately picking shows from all over the place provider wise as an example).

Options are:
1. Have cable/satellite TV service of some kind, paying a billion dollars a month for fancy cable and HBO/Showtime.  Catch reruns, maybe use a DVR.  This would get us 4/6 (GoT, The Good Place, BCS, and Shameless).  It'd be gross and expensive and incomplete.  And with ads outside of premium channels.
2. Plug in an antenna and catch reruns.  This might get you The Good Place on NBC if you figure out the schedule.  Only 1/6.  And gross.
3. Pirate everything.  It's easier than ever, and download speeds have only gone up in 12 years.  You'd have to wait until after release for new episodes though.  Reasonably easy to watch on a computer, smartphone, or TV.
4. Subscribe to the appropriate streaming services.  You get the entire back catalog of GoT, The Expanse, Stranger Things, Shameless, and fresh episodes immediately as they are released (on HBO Now, Prime, Netflix, and Showtime accordingly).  You get The Good Place, Shameless, and Better Call Saul back seasons (Netflix), plus the current season of The Good Place on Hulu.  The only hole here is the most recent season of BCS, which would set you back $20 on Amazon if you don't want to wait until it hits Netflix.  You'd get next-day-after-airing episodes of The Good Place (Hulu) and again you'd have to buy BCS to watch the new season as it airs (probably another $20 for a season pass).  All can be watched in a normal web browser on a computer with no garbageware like iTunes installed, or on a smartphone or TV with an easily usable app.

Suddenly options 3 and 4 are neck and neck, even including cost.  Main downside of piracy is not getting shows like GoT immediately upon airing, and watching stuff on a smartphone or TV being a little kludgy if you're not a nerd about it.  Main downside of streaming services would be that things are spread across different streaming sites/apps.  And cost.

But the cost does not have to be insane.  Let's tally it up.  HBO Now (Game of Thrones) is $15/mo, Amazon Prime (The Expanse) is $10/mo ($120/yr), Netflix is $13/mo (TGP, BCS, Shameless backseasons, Stranger Things), Hulu is $12/mo (The Good Place current episodes), and Showtime is $11/mo. Egads, that's $71/mo!  Fuck!

Except that it doesn't have to be.  There are no contracts or yearly commitments or any of that garbage with streaming services, and they make it super easy to cancel.  If there are only a handful or a single show on a service you want to watch, you only have to subscribe for a month or two at a time to watch the season.  Let's call it two months out of the year on HBO, one month on Prime, three months on Netflix, four months on Hulu, and two months of Showtime.  We'll throw in a $20 season pass for BCS as well.  This puts you at $169 for the year, an average of ~$14/mo for the year to legally and easily watch your six shows you care about that are all on different services/networks with no ads on nearly any modern computer, smartphone, or TV.  And since this puts you across five different streaming services during various points of the year, you have plenty of other variety to watch if you want along the way.

I'd call that a bargain.  This isn't quite exactly what we do at home, but it's the same idea.  We probably watch way too much TV, but it doesn't cost us very much.

I don't see much of a reason to pirate anymore unless you're getting media not available legally in your country or you're just a cheapass.
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There is no good reason for programs to be exclusive to a single streaming service: if I want to watch Game Of Thrones legally, I have only one provider I can go to (and Netflix cancelling Marco Polo after two seasons and twenty million dollars tells you how realistic substitution is in these situations), which makes it a pretty near total monopoly except for piracy.
I don't really understand how this is a monopoly.  Of course there need to be exclusives, or there's no reason to subscribe to Service A over Service B.  Exclusives are not monopolies.  Do you expect to be able to buy any book from any publisher?  Is Kroger not selling Walmart brand peanut butter a monopoly?  If you really want a particular show, a particular book, or a particular brand of peanut butter you will go to the company that sells it, which is why they sell it in the first place.  This is not a Luxottica or Comcast situation.
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The Expanse
You should watch The Expanse.  Everyone should watch The Expanse.
YES! Everyone should watch The Expanse.  I have watched all of The Expanse (and G of T, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and many others) free from my local library. At the end of every season they always have that wholes season DVD package to borrow...for free. So what if I won't know who all died on G of T (which appears to be everyone) for a month or two as Ill get the opportunity to binge watch the full season soon...from home...on a Monday morning...in my PJs....cause I saved on stuff like that and FIREd. I don't have cable or even home internet so no subscriptions either. 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 10:51:50 AM by spartana »

Missy B

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #187 on: May 14, 2019, 08:25:22 PM »
I once posted on a message board about a deal I'd just gotten and was called unethical by many people. I didn't see it that way but here are the circumstances:product on sale at store for $10 with a $10 mail-in rebate making the item free. However, at check-out the price rang up at $18. Store policy(which I did not know until the manager offered it)was to give the product to me free. I then proceeded to mail in and collect the rebate. I didn't feel it was unethical because the rebate was offered by the manufacturer and the free product was granted because of store pricing error. The store had already "paid" for my item twice before I sent the rebate in, once to the manufacturer and once to me as a courtesy because of their mistake. I then collected from the manufacturer because they had nothing whatsoever to do with the transaction and had already collected money for the item from the store. I think my ethics instincts are pretty great and this didn't seem wrong to me. No-one could explain why it seemed wrong to them, just that it did. ???


Those are the same people who will tell you that getting something for 75% off because you used a coupon on a sale item is unethical and 'like stealing'.
I agree with you. The store had a policy -- like SCOPE, I assume -- that if the item rang in wrong, up to a certain amount it's free. Nothing to do with you, just them honoring their policy. The manufacturer got paid for their product by the store, the store ate the cost of their mistake, keeping their word to their customers on their policy, and you got your rebate. A rebate that the manufacturer freely offered to promote their product, knowing most never send in for it.
Had I done what you did, my conscience would be clear.

Cgbg

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #188 on: May 14, 2019, 09:17:40 PM »

Along with potentially getting health subsidies (who knows, that's 15+ years from now), I am also structuring my funds in a way that our expected family contribution for the FAFSA will be really low, which will allow our child to get a lot more financial aid for college.


I have zero problems with trying to maximize financial aid.

Just be aware that while your child may end up qualifying for a Pell Grant, that is currently only $6k/year. When filling out the FAFSA, even if you qualify for the simplified needs test, you might still be answering questions about assets because some state level grants require that information. Finally, most schools gap- and by that I mean there is a gap between the cost of attendance and what the school offers for aid, and youíre expected to cover that cost. Most schools donít have the ability to provide enough financial aid to make the cost zero; those that do tend to be super competitive.

Just be aware- thatís the whole point here. The $5500/ year in federal student loans plus maybe the $6000/year in Pell Grants doesnít usually cover the cost of attendance for even state universities.

Fishindude

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #189 on: May 15, 2019, 06:35:44 AM »
An acquaintance of mine that never goes to church told me that always claims the maximum religious contribution on his taxes.

GuitarStv

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #190 on: May 15, 2019, 06:48:43 AM »
A system that pays you money for religious donation is unethical.  The state should not be in the business of sponsoring private worship.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #191 on: May 15, 2019, 07:22:37 AM »
A system that pays you money for religious donation is unethical.  The state should not be in the business of sponsoring private worship.
+1.

simonsez

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #192 on: May 15, 2019, 08:09:22 AM »
I think there are a lot of things mustachians do in the realm of tax avoidance and wealth-hiding that could be viewed as unethical.

Along with potentially getting health subsidies (who knows, that's 15+ years from now), I am also structuring my funds in a way that our expected family contribution for the FAFSA will be really low, which will allow our child to get a lot more financial aid for college.

We only pay about 1.5% of our gross income in income taxes, thanks to legal tax avoidance strategies and will likely never pay much more than that. I'm sure we get more than $1,200 in benefits from the federal government. Is it unethical to use every legal method available to not pay "our fair share" for taxes? Maybe, but not so unethical that I'm going to lose sleep.
@DadJokes Can you explain how you plan on getting a low EFC on FAFSA while not retired and still keeping your federal taxes low (when your normal method for low federal taxes is due in large part to tax-sheltered retirement accounts)?

I know that retirement account assets aren't considered for FAFSA but the contributions from the prior year are considered untaxed income and count toward the EFC just like your taxed dollars do.  I am failing to see how you can keep your taxes low AND appear to have a low EFC on the FAFSA while holding income more or less constant.  Dropping your retirement account contributions down to zero or down to any employer matching levels would lower the untaxed income portion but I guess you would also have to find a way to lower your taxable income for that year as well?  Are you a business owner?  I'd like to learn more about this - if anything, to see how unethical you really have to go! haha

Cgbg

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #193 on: May 15, 2019, 08:19:50 AM »

I know that retirement account assets aren't considered for FAFSA but the contributions from the prior year are considered untaxed income and count toward the EFC just like your taxed dollars do.

Actually itís now prior-prior. So youíd need to plan for one more year back.

DadJokes

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #194 on: May 15, 2019, 08:23:25 AM »
I think there are a lot of things mustachians do in the realm of tax avoidance and wealth-hiding that could be viewed as unethical.

Along with potentially getting health subsidies (who knows, that's 15+ years from now), I am also structuring my funds in a way that our expected family contribution for the FAFSA will be really low, which will allow our child to get a lot more financial aid for college.

We only pay about 1.5% of our gross income in income taxes, thanks to legal tax avoidance strategies and will likely never pay much more than that. I'm sure we get more than $1,200 in benefits from the federal government. Is it unethical to use every legal method available to not pay "our fair share" for taxes? Maybe, but not so unethical that I'm going to lose sleep.
@DadJokes Can you explain how you plan on getting a low EFC on FAFSA while not retired and still keeping your federal taxes low (when your normal method for low federal taxes is due in large part to tax-sheltered retirement accounts)?

I know that retirement account assets aren't considered for FAFSA but the contributions from the prior year are considered untaxed income and count toward the EFC just like your taxed dollars do.  I am failing to see how you can keep your taxes low AND appear to have a low EFC on the FAFSA while holding income more or less constant.  Dropping your retirement account contributions down to zero or down to any employer matching levels would lower the untaxed income portion but I guess you would also have to find a way to lower your taxable income for that year as well?  Are you a business owner?  I'd like to learn more about this - if anything, to see how unethical you really have to go! haha

We plan to be retired by then. The first two years in TN are currently paid for by taxpayers, so he won't actually need to qualify for financial aid for about 19-20 years, and we are aiming to retire in 15 years.

beltim

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #195 on: May 15, 2019, 08:40:11 AM »
A system that pays you money for religious donation is unethical.  The state should not be in the business of sponsoring private worship.
+1.

Why?  Or, more accurately, why is it unethical for the state to not tax religious donations?  I would argue that that state should be able to not tax anything it wants.

slow hand slow plan

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #196 on: May 15, 2019, 08:57:18 AM »
Reporting a real estate loss of 1 billion dollars and deducting it even if the loss was on the bank and not you personally so you do not pay taxes for a decade .

Filing for bankruptcy 6 times .

In the fire community i would say it is all subsidies and freebies/cheapness ....maybe too much. Go read root of good

spartana

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #197 on: May 15, 2019, 09:02:26 AM »

Along with potentially getting health subsidies (who knows, that's 15+ years from now), I am also structuring my funds in a way that our expected family contribution for the FAFSA will be really low, which will allow our child to get a lot more financial aid for college.




Just be aware- thatís the whole point here. The $5500/ year in federal student loans plus maybe the $6000/year in Pell Grants doesnít usually cover the cost of attendance for even state universities.
Not always true. Just depends on where you go:

"The undergraduate 2019-2020 estimated tuition & fees at California State University-Long Beach is $6,867 for in-state. For Graduate School, in-state tuition and fees are $8,232 for academic year 2018-2019"

DadJokes

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #198 on: May 15, 2019, 09:07:31 AM »
Reporting a real estate loss of 1 billion dollars and deducting it even if the loss was on the bank and not you personally so you do not pay taxes for a decade .

Filing for bankruptcy 6 times .

In the fire community i would say it is all subsidies and freebies/cheapness ....maybe too much. Go read root of good

Let's save the political stuff for the off-topic subforum.

GuitarStv

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Re: Unethical ways to save money
« Reply #199 on: May 15, 2019, 09:41:21 AM »
A system that pays you money for religious donation is unethical.  The state should not be in the business of sponsoring private worship.
+1.

Why?  Or, more accurately, why is it unethical for the state to not tax religious donations?  I would argue that that state should be able to not tax anything it wants.

Religion is a group of like minded people who get together to form a private club.  Donations to a religion should therefore not be taxed differently than donations to any other private club . . . be they the NRA, PeTA, or to a local bar.  So, at first glance the treatment of religious based clubs is already unfair.

If we dig a bit deeper though, tax breaks are used to encourage behavior in society.  Perhaps the single uniting factor among the many religions is a rejection of reality for belief in something that cannot be proven (or occasionally belief in something that can be disproved).  To me, encouraging a rejection of reality is damaging to society as a whole.  Therefore, giving a tax break for religion is unethical.