Today Is The Day of Action to Help Save Net Neutrality


Today is the day MANY websites across the internet including Geek Alabama will participate in the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.  Yes, there have been protests before, but this one is the most serious protest yet as the FCC will vote on removing Net Neutrality rules in only a few days!

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you’re reading a blog post on Geek Alabama, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you’re viewing.

Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don’t agree with.  Net Neutrality means an Internet where businesses, products, and ideas thrive or fail based on their own merit — not on whether they have a preferred deal in place with a broadband service provider.

Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong Net Neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports Net Neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party.  Want to learn why Net Neutrality is that important, watch these two videos below from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where he explains in great and funny details why Net Neutrality is that important!

Net Neutrality says we get the *entire* web without interference – no gatekeepers, no tollbooths, no slowlanes.  You don’t like sitting behind a slow poke on the highway who won’t move over.  Without Net Neutrality, you can expect to sit behind the digital slowpoke on the internet highway.  This is why it is considered the First Amendment of the Internet.  It protects our free speech in the digital age.  Without strong protections, Cable and phone companies like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Cable One would be able to:

  • Slow video streaming sites, causing your videos start and stop unexpectedly.
  • Add you new fees to your Internet bill. Imagine paying extra for YouTube!
  • Censor videos or content they don’t agree with, like political blogs.
  • Throttle any new sites or apps they don’t own or invest in.
  • Make your connection painfully slow, and charge you more to make it work again.
  • Force streaming sites like Spotify into a slow lane, causing them to buffer constantly.
  • Slow online gaming. Call of Duty would lag and glitch without paying more to your ISP.
  • Charge big sites special “prioritization fees” and slow down everyone else.
  • Take you out of the driver’s seat, and control what you see and hear online.
  • Make the Internet look a lot more like cable TV.
  • And, worst of all, become the first gatekeepers of the Internet in US history.

Net Neutrality is not a partisan issue.  Regardless of your political views are or who you voted for, everyone who knows what Net Neutrality is supports it.  And poll after poll confirms this across party lines.  Without Net Neutrality, the government will give cable and phone companies free rein to shake down Internet users and websites for more money. And the ripple effects will be felt for years.  An entire generation of innovators have built their careers on the open web. With Net Neutrality in place, you just need a good idea and a decent connection to reach millions.

Without Net Neutrality, the Internet would look a lot more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your cable provider is paid to put in front of you.  We all know how much we hate dealing with the cable company over cable TV, now imagine hating your cable or telecom company over horrible internet speeds.  This could become an reality if the Net Neutrality rules go away.

Cable and telecom companies are lobbying the FCC and Congress to end Net Neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.”  This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy.  Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose Net Neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

To help fight these greedy idiots who wants to control the internet and make it worse forever, today (July 12) is an Internet-wide day of action in support of Net Neutrality.  Many websites from Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, Etsy, Kickstarter, Automattic, Vimeo, Thinkgeek, and many more sites are participating in this Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.  If you share our love of the free and open Internet and want to join the fight to preserve it, please join in!  And it’s very simple to add your voice in support of Net Neutrality!

Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/#bftn-action-form and fill out a simple form that will send an letter to the FCC and your local Congressman.  You can even customize your letter and say whatever you want!

You can also submit your own letter to the FCC website which will be public record.  Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((17-108)) and click on new filing on top to submit your letter on supporting Net Neutrality!

The FCC will decide the fate of Net Neutrality in only a few days!  We the internet can have a say on helping to stop the stupid removal of these rules.  Even if the FCC decides to strip Net Neutrality, there will be a LONG court fight ahead to keep these vital rules.

Here is the letter I have submitted to the FCC:

I am writing to the FCC to express my concerns about Net Neutrality. Let’s get straight to the point, allowing the internet providers with ways to charge websites to allow a so called “fast lane” will be very bad for consumers, businesses, and everyday people. You know what is going to happen if Net Neutrality is taken away? Our internet will become like cable, and we will have to pay money to access news sites. Pay more money to access our social media sites. Pay even more money to access our video sites, and so on.

The internet providers are only looking for ways to make even more money and become greedier, like what they have done with cable. Just like in cable TV, an internet provider could get into a contract dispute with a website like Facebook or Twitter, and if a deal is not reached, the internet provider can block the site. And in many communities, you only have one choice for an internet provider, so if Facebook or Twitter is blocked, you are out of luck!

I run a popular website in the south called Geek Alabama, which is run off of WordPress. If Net Neutrality is taken away, I do not have the money to pay the internet providers to get on a “fast lane.” And many blogs, websites, and small businesses don’t have the funds either. I am asking you keep and continue to re-classify the internet providers as a “public utility” and keep the internet open, free, and fast for everybody, no matter how much money each person has. America needs to get back to their helping others, small business roots, and quit catering to very large companies who only cares about making a buck. Thank you for reading!

-Nathan Young
GeekAlabama.com

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Aspie Vlogs 10: Called Cops, Signal Struggles, Kiwanis


It’s been over a year, but I finally put together another Aspie Vlogs!  In this episode, I explain what happened that involved me calling the police, I show off some broken infrastructure including burnt out and missing ped signals and traffic light sensors that have never been replaced since the road was repaved.  I also recorded a friend talking about me at a latest Kiwanis club meeting, enjoy!

An Update To The Five Things To Begin 2016


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Well, sorry for the lack of posts folks.  From the computer breaking down, phone breaking down, not sleeping because of major apartment issues, and more.  January 2016 has not been a good one for me.  Here’s hoping for a much better February!  So, I thought I should provide an update on what I wrote at the beginning of 2016.  So, let’s get going!

Move, Move, Move (Probably)

So, this is the biggest elephant in the room.  Or in other terms, the elephant in the room is the one above me.  Since about early November, a new tenant has been causing me apartment hell.  Or in other terms, paying $475 a month to live in an apartment prison.  Things have gotten so bad, that my health, especially my sleeping patterns, have taken a dark and evil turn for the worse.  I mean, just take a look at my eyes below.

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I mean, when people above you don’t go to bed until around 1 am, and get up around 6 am, you don’t get much sleep.  Instead you stare at a wall and hope they leave so you can get the sleep you need.  This means not getting up until around 12 noon, and not getting to the library until early afternoon.  It means no posts here on Geek Alabama because I don’t have the time to write them up.  From the stomping, loud talk, yelling, loud laughs, running the washing machine and vacuum at 1 am in the morning, and more, I just try to avoid the apartment.  It’s also like paying $475 per month to not live in it.  And let’s not also talk about the loud yelling next door, that resulted in some police interaction.

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With these problems it also means I can’t do any videos.  I have about six to eight videos that I need to make featuring the things above.  But without quiet, you can’t do anything!  This is making those who wants me to do things on Geek Alabama not so happy.  So to sum things up, I have been venting my anger on social media.  And instead of staying warm in my apartment.  I instead stay outside in the cold at the laundromat or church next door, which both have public wi-fi spots, to work on my computer.  Why bother getting internet at my apartment when you can’t stay inside!

So, what has been the solution to all of this you ask?  I have contacted the landlord several times about this.  And they have gone to talk to these rude neighbors.  Their response “we don’t think we are rude and loud.”  The next step, the landlord wants me to call them when these people are loud.  But most of the time, I am not home or it happens too late, like 1 am in the morning.  Calling and waking someone at 1 am in the morning is not a good move!  And since these people are loud all the time, I would be calling the landlord every day.  I also found out from other tenants that the apartment above me had its carpet replaced with floor tile, a brilliant move!

Other tenants have told me to call the police.  But I don’t anything will be done there.  So, the only other solution is for me to move.  At least that is what everyone ranging from social media followers, other tenants, trolley riders, librarians, and even my brother has told me to do.  Even medical people I have talked too have told me to move for my health.  Not getting good sleep is one of the worst things you can do for your health!  So yep, I have spent January looking at new places to move too.  I have come close a few times, but it always fell through.  So I will be spending February continuing to look for a new place to live.  The only issue is most of the places I am looking at are NOT along the Anniston trolley route system.

I don’t have an car, and since being on disability does not give you much funding, a car would be an big expense.  There are places in Jacksonville, Gadsden, Heflin, and other places that are affordable.  Like $300-$350 a month which comes with water and garbage.  But they are no where close to the public transportation system in Anniston.  There are apartment complexes in Weaver and Saks for rent, but not along the ACTS system.  And forget public housing in Anniston, unless you want to wait two years for a place!  So, chances are I might have no choice but to go get a cheap car.  I mean, for sure I will need a car this Summer for my 10 year high school reunion down in Alexander City.  There is no public transport down there!

So this week I continue to look at potential new places to live.  It sucks it has to come down to this.  But, it’s either move, or more calls to the police and more trips to the hotel so I can sleep.  Each hotel visit is around $50, and adding about $400 extra an month is something you should not have to do.  To sum things up, you should not have to pay $475 per month to live in hell.  And with me only getting about $750 per month, you should also not have to pay about 70% of your income on rent alone, but that is for another story.

Upgrade Geek Alabama

So, without a good working computer, anything involving moving and upgrading the Geek Alabama site has been put on hold.  But it does not mean I have been looking at hosting options and themes.  Most likely, I will probably choose SiteGround for my hosting needs.  I have steered other people to them, and they all have had good service.  It will be about an $100 a year cost, about what I pay now to host here on WordPress.com.  And since I have computer issues, I don’t trust moving around 5,500 posts by myself.  The folks from SiteGround will do it for me for no extra cost!

As for the theme, I want a theme with a custom header, and a front page where you see a brief glimpse of the blog post, instead of the entire post like you see now.  I would also like to have options to place things on the bottom of the page as well, the footer.  The theme must also have options for ad space.  I have some who wants to host ads on this site.  But under WordPress.com, you can’t host your own ads.  I hope by the end of February I can show off a new look and a move to self-hosting!

Along with the move to self-hosting and new theme, I have also been doing some behind the scenes work.  For example, I have enabled anyone to purchase a road drawing re-print on my DeviantArt account.  I am also setting up a SpreadShirt shop which will have Geek Alabama merchandise including shirts, coffee mugs, and other goodies.  I am also updating my Patreon account.  And I have also been freshening up my social media sites like my Pinterest and YouTube accounts.  I was very close to being done, until the old computer crashed.  So, after getting a new computer and installing everything.  I hope to wrap up the freshening up!

New Computer And Camera

Well, the old computer I have had has failed, and for good now.  There are no options left to re-install everything, and with the equipment and hardware close to 10 years old now, it was time to retire the computer.  Heck, the old computer has a broken hatch to hold the screen up, and the computer won’t even boot now!  So, I have resorted to a backup laptop that I got at a pawn shop about six months ago.  The computer is over 7 years old.  The problem, there is hardly any RAM, and with little to no RAM, you have a very hard time being on the internet.

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So, I hope by the end of this week, I have a new laptop.  It will probably cost around $300-$500.  But, for what I do here on Geek Alabama, a good working computer is a must!  As for the camera to ramp up my video work, it will probably be around a $150-$400 cost.  I have been looking for cameras, but until I can deal with the apartment problems and most likely move, the new camera is put on hold.

Eventually, I will also get a desktop computer which will enable me to do gaming stuff and make better videos and content.  Because there are plenty of you out there, including companies who want me to do this!  Yep, the desktop will be used for the processing of things while the laptop will be used for general blog writing and web surfing.  But, until the apartment problems are dealt with or I move, that is on hold as well.

Get Moving / Healthy

Until I deal with the apartment problems, and most likely move, this category is also put on hold.  When I can get a good night sleep without being disturbed, I will go out and get a FitBit, like many others I know already has!  There are options to join gyms like the local YMCA at a reduced rate because I am on disability.  But once again, until the apartment problems are dealt with, nothing will happen.  When mostly everyone around me, including my brother, is going to the gym and getting into shape, I need to join them!  I kind of need to hold up my bargain to the Shape Up! thing, since I am more financially stable now.

And because of being better financially.  I can finally get some dental work done.  I contacted a local dentist called Aspen Dental and I have my first appointment this week.  The first visit is free, and we will see what work will need to be done.  I am guessing about $500 of work.  Yes, I know how some have been scammed or taken advantage of by Aspen Dental.  If they want to overcharge and do more work than needed, there are other dentists in town I can go too.  I mean, I have not had a dental cleaning in about 10 years.  And the other dental visits were with a low-cost place for a tooth pull and cavity filling.  This is long overdue!

More Pictures And Videos

My first $30 smartphone pretty much died, and quick too!  The problems were the phone kept on freezing just for simple things like opening an app or calling someone.  I guess that is what you expect when you get a cheap and under $30 smartphone.  I went a week without a phone to determine which new phone to get under the Straight Talk plan.  I am glad I waited, because Wal-Mart reduced the prices on many of their smartphones.  So, I got this ZTE Allstar phone for $89.  The original price was $149 so I saved $60!  The new phone is on the right below.  The cheap phone is on the left.

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That means plenty of more pictures and videos on social media.  It took a few days to set up the phone, but the video and photo quality has been great so far!  My DSLR is still good for picture taking.  And along with the old and cheap pawn shop computer, I also got a point and shoot camera with 720p video quality at a pawn shop.  The last few videos have been done with this camera, and I have liked the quality.  This camera will be used for event and vlog footage.  The other camera and equipment for in home videos are on hold until the apartment problems are sorted out.  I will need an microphone for the camera and one of those microphones used in radio for the podcasts and interviews.

So, that is it for now.  I should tell you this, don’t expect much posts for now until I can either deal or move away from these crazy apartment problems.  I mean, not getting up until around 12 noon, and only having a few hours at a library does not leave you much time for posts.  Oh, I am writing this post at a nearby McDonald’s at 11 pm at night.  Because it’s a whole lot quieter here that at my apartment.

What I Got For Christmas 2015 / Five Things To Begin 2016


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So this post is going to talk about what I got for Christmas 2015, and talk about my five things I plan on to begin 2016.  I also talked about this on a video if you want to watch below!

So, for Christmas I got a used speed limit sign, coffee brewer for those K-pods, blender, gift card, and a bomb squad chef jacket from another YouTuber.  It was a good Christmas, here are some photos below!

So, with Christmas and New Year’s out of the way.  I am planning on starting 2016 right!  There are five things I am going to do in 2016.  But before I do the other four things, this first step is very important!

Move, Move, Move (Probably)

Before I get into the apartment problems.  The biggest issue is the cost.  I mean when you only get around $750 per month, and the rent is $475, and you have to pay a power bill, it is going to be unsustainable!

Yea, the apartment where I live at is going downhill and in a hurry!  In the past 60 days, I have had some big issues!  First off, the neighbors next door have been on a screaming fest.  It got so bad one night with the screaming that I left and went up to the laundromat.  About 2 am a person from that apartment came up to see me.  And after a chat, nothing happened.  It go so bad the police was called by someone else and I had to talk to them.

But that is not the worse!  After Halloween, some new neighbors moved above me.  And so far they have been the worse neighbors ever!  From stomps left and right, children running around, dropping everything, loud talking, loud TV’s and more, it’s gotten so bad I have had to leave to get away from it, even spending a night at a hotel.  I have talked to the landlord, and they have talked to the neighbors, but nothing has happened.  It has gotten so bad that I drew this below!

Yes I feel like that red eyed person on the right. Living at the apartment is not fun.

A post shared by Nathan Young (Geek Alabama) (@nvyoung44) on

The apartment complex where I live at does not have other one bedroom apartments.  And I could move to an 2 bedroom apartment, but that would cost $575 per month.  So, most likely I will be moving.  And for some peace and quiet!  I mean, I recorded my Christmas video at a shopping center.  And the video above was recorded at 3:30 am in the morning.  I have things and videos to make, and I can’t make them where I live now!

Upgrade Geek Alabama

Soon, I will be re-designing the Geek Alabama site with a new look!  And also moving this site to self-hosting, because I have some people who want to work with me putting in ads and product reviews.  So I look forward to that!

New Computer And Camera

I am looking for an new computer that will allow me to edit and process videos faster and play and record games for YouTube!  Along with that, I am looking to get a new camera with equipment to make better videos!

Get Moving

I am also looking to get myself a FitBit, because I still have that thing where I need to be accountable in getting healthier.  I might also join a gym, but not before I deal with this apartment mess.

More Pictures And Videos

Yep, I will be making a bunch of new videos and debuting some new video segments.  I will be using my current DSLR to take more pictures!  I think 2016 will be a much better year for event coverage and reviews!

So for now, the Geek Alabama site will be on light mode.  I hope to come back to full power with a new look by February.  Before I do anything else, the apartment problems needs to be dealt with.

Listen To Me Calling Into The Hey Techies Show About New Computer Advice


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On this post, you can listen to me calling into the Hey Techies Show about advice about getting a new computer.  The computer I use to write on this site is almost dead, and it is time to get a new computer.  So, why not ask some tech people about what I should do!  The computer I am looking for will be a desktop, with the capability to allow me to play games, so I can review them for Geek Alabama.  Plus the computer needs the power to process and edit videos quickly, and maintain this site, when I move it to self-hosting.  Yes, I called before I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, enjoy!

The Hey Techies Show is live from Jacksonville, Alabama every Thursday night from 7-9 pm Central on WLJS-FM 91.9 FM.  You can either listen on 91.9 FM in East Alabama or you can listen to WLJS-FM live online at: http://tunein.com/radio/WLJS-919-s5786/

You can subscribe to the show and get the full show download podcasts viaiTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite RSS podcasting app.

You can also subscribe to the Hey Techies Show YouTube channel.  There they will be uploading best of clips from each show!

Keep up with Hey Techies at: http://heytechiesshow.com/  Follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/heytechiesshow and on Twitter@HeyTechiesShow.