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Are You Ready to Subscribe to Your iPhone?


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A lot of people around here aren't fans of subscription models, but it looks like that might be coming soon to your iPhone.

 

Why? Because Apple would rather have a steady, recurring cash flow stream than one-off "hits." This would also boost their stock price. 

 

Would I do it? I don't know, it depends on the fine print. If the subscription meant you could quite at any time, Applecare was baked into the price, AND if it was affordable...maybe. 

 

I get this will be good for Apple's bottom line, but is it good or bad for consumers?

 

 

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ATT has already been pushing users to a "plan" rather than buying their phones. In fact, when I bought mine just over a year ago the only way to buy an iPhone outright was online and have it delivered. None of the local ATT's would sell me an iPhone. They all wanted me to sign up for an installment payment plan.

This post edited for speling.
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I believe Apple already has a plan that costs a monthly fee and you get the new version of the phone each cycle. This is a subscription I am happy to live without.  The low to mid tier theory serves me well. I’ve never leased a car either, though there’s a few I would have loved to drive. ;)

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I'll pass on the subscription option if it forces me to accept a phone with Faceid >>instead of<< fingerprint ID. When you are in a scenario where it would be considered rude to look at something on your phone, you can't peek at something on your phone if Faceid is required.

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Never.

I'm the guy who used Tracfone for many years because my total cost per year was about $110, including half of a $30 Android per year since I always got at least 2 years out of one. Mostly text and some phone calls. I don't need or want internet on my phone. If I got lost I could always turn it on until I got found. That never happened. 

 

Now I have a free phone thanks to a friend who can only get the killer deal by buying phones and service for 5 people and has a wife and 2 kids. He just handed me the phone and said "It's yours."

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I can see a subscription for services like the phone connection, internet connection, and so on, but not for physical items or software.

 

My business, gigging, is unpredictable. I don't get the same salary every week, there is no job security, so I want to be able to choose when I buy things.

 

For example, when COVID hit, I had 1.5 years of no gigs, I managed to make it through without hitting my savings. If I had a bunch of subscriptions or debts, I would have had to dig into the reserves. Then I'd have less stowed away for the next rainy day.

 

I know companies need to sell products to stay in business, but I am definitely not a fan of subscription services for products I can outright own.

 

Part of the problem with Apple is that it is a corporation. A corporation needs to have perpetual growth. If the stock doesn't go up and up and up and up and up, the stockholders will bail. The demand for new phones has waned as the market matured. So how is Apple going to continue perpetual growth? Perpetual growth is unsustainable.

 

On the other hand, a private company where there are no stockholders who do not physically participate in the company only NEEDS to make enough to pay the workers and the boss. Any profit above that is desirable, but perpetual growth is not the main object.

 

I can see this as a problem, but I certainly am not smart enough to know the solution. Karl Marx saw the same problem, but his solution turned out to be even worse.

 

 

To survive as a musician, I keep the values of a previous generation of people, before easy credit. Save money, buy when I can afford it, and buy on credit only when absolutely necessary. That's why I have zero debt right now, and that's why COVID unemployment didn't devastate me.

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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It depends on how much it costs and so forth, but my initial reaction is "I don't like it."

 

I avoid subscriptions in general. The only one I have going is Photoshop and Lightroom, which is $10/month. I've been using Pro Tools 10.3 since it was new, along with an ancient computer, so I'm the very person that companies don't like. I'll keep using something if it suits my needs until the wheels come off.

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18 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

I can see a subscription for services like the phone connection, internet connection, and so on, but not for physical items or software.

 

 

This - 100%. 

 

Outside of subscriptions for phone access, Internet access, and a few TV channels/services, the only subscription I have is for Pro Tools, and I have a perpetual license for Pro Tools Ultimate, so even if I let that subscription lapse, the only thing I'd lose would be software updates and access to their Avid Complete plugin bundle - and if I can find a way to buy that instead of subscribe, I'd do it. The annual subscription I have costs $400. The subscription for the Complete plugin bundle by itself is $49. I'm not sure if Avid's two or three software updates in a year are worth $351. 

 

I'd much rather pay for something once and be done with it. IMO, subscriptions are nearly always in the interests of the company, and not in the interests of the customer. 

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My subscriptions: Phone, Internet, Web Host (for my websites), and newspaper. Anything else I buy when I want, and if at all possible, not on credit.

 

And by not using credit, I save money as if the prices are lower, because that credit card interest adds a lot to the price.

 

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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4 hours ago, Philip OKeefe said:

I'd much rather pay for something once and be done with it. IMO, subscriptions are nearly always in the interests of the company, and not in the interests of the customer. 

 

Same here. Subscriptions are about having a steady income stream that's not subject to peaks and valleys.

 

I prefer companies that give you a choice. For example, with Studio One, you can buy it outright or sign up for their PreSonus Sphere subscription at $15/month. But, the two products are aimed at different demographics. Sphere includes access to all the PreSonus plug-ins, a bunch of sample libraries, cloud storage, etc. It's for people who are just getting started, and don't want to pay the full price for what everything would otherwise cost.

 

The outright purchase makes more sense for people who already have something like NI's Komplete, a Waves bundle, IK's Total Studio, Arturia V-Collection, etc. They don't need more instruments, sounds, etc.

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The other side of the coin.

 

When a corporation like Apple or a software company that has a mature market, with no more possibility of exponential growth, what can they do to keep their stock growing, so their stockholders don't jump ship?

 

We are discussing one choice, subscription services. It gives them steady cash flow, so any new sales are profit, and little by little they can increase the price of the subscription.

 

Another choice is that yearly upgrade that adds more and more useless features that 90% of the users will seldom, if ever, use. That's what the Apple and Windows OS used to be all about.

 

Yet another choice is extracting and selling personal information about you to advertisers. That appears to be what OSX and Win 10/Win 11 is including. Make the OS free or nearly free, then consider the rest voluntary spyware. Remember, if it's free, you aren't the customer, you are the product.

 

It's tough to keep cash flow when you make a product that doesn't wear out quickly. Car, and fashion clothing/accessory companies do it with planned obsolescence, and have done that since the fabric industry invented fashion, so they could sell more cloth.

 

I know a lot of people who buy the annual Band-in-a-Box upgrade from PG Music just to keep the company that makes their favorite software alive and healthy. That works in a niche market like BiaB, but I think few people are going to buy the annual iPhone upgrade just to keep Apple alive.

 

I suppose it's a tough decision for a company as to which or what combination of the above it chooses to keep the cash flow going.

 

For a short time, I worked as a Cable TV Field Engineer, while testing out what it is to be normal (which in my case is sooooo overrated). The company built the infrastructure for the CATV industry, amplifiers, cable, equalizers, head-end gear, etc., and sold this to local CATV systems. The company stated they would give a reward to any employee who came up with an idea for a Chiclets item.

 

A "Chiclets" item is one like the chewing gum it's names after, designed to be sold, chewed up, disposed of, and repurchased. If a company makes a Chiclets item, they have no need for subscription services, the yearly upgrade, or voluntary spyware. Unfortunately for most, there are a limited number of items that sell like that, and most are already strong in the market, food, coffee, soda pop, candy, cigarettes, cosmetics, Top40 songs, etc.

 

If you can come up with a Chiclets item that people want and can get your foot into the market, you can become successful.

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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The dealkiller is that the phone is tethered to a corporation.

Will the corporation be around forever?  What if something were to cause the stock to go down and Apple was in a downward spiral into bankruptcy?  What if a hostile entity took over and nulled the subscription contracts?  Tethered subscriptions can be killed at the drop of a hat, and boom your phone no longer works.  If Apple were to fold, boom your phone no longer works.

 

What if the corporation decided to play Big Brother by monitoring your text exchanges and surfing habits, and it bricks your phone because it didn't like something you posted?  Memo recordings already go through Apple channels today.

 

What if Apple decided that the future in stock growth was in marketing customer data?  They can track every where you go, every store you went to, exploit that data by marketing ads to you, and Apple gets a cut of the ad revenue.  That's how Facebook's stock has grown, and how Google has dominated the search engine market.  I no longer use Google because they are too aggressive, and I report EVERY ad that FB shoves in my newsfeed.  I HATE having my travel and shopping habits exploited.

 

Device subscriptions are a dealkiller for me.

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On 3/31/2022 at 5:10 PM, harmonizer said:

When you are in a scenario where it would be considered rude to look at something on your phone, you can't peek at something on your phone if Faceid is required.

Finally! I've been wondering why some say they don't want FaceID. I love the feature and have grown to prefer the interface changes that came with it, and I couldn't figure out why some were so dead set against it. Thanks.

 

That still doesn't explain the people I see in crowded rooms (audience at shows) who use their passcode instead of TouchID or FaceID depending on the model. I could easily read what they're typing, and then I see some of them put the phone in their bag. If I were a bad guy, it would be easy pickin's.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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4 hours ago, The Real MC said:

What if Apple decided that the future in stock growth was in marketing customer data?  They can track everywhere you go, every store you went to, exploit that data by marketing ads to you, and Apple gets a cut of the ad revenue.  That's how Facebook's stock has grown, and how Google has dominated the search engine market.  I no longer use Google because they are too aggressive, and I report EVERY ad that FB shoves in my newsfeed.  I HATE having my travel and shopping habits exploited.

 

Pardon my ignorance, but how much of that data is accessible by Apple and how much by the carrier, like AT&T? Or do they both get their mitts on all the data?

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5 hours ago, Anderton said:

 

Pardon my ignorance, but how much of that data is accessible by Apple and how much by the carrier, like AT&T? Or do they both get their mitts on all the data?

 

My day job requires a secret clearance.  We use iPhones, and company security has disabled the Memo recorder (and other apps) on our iPhones because they have confirmed that the data goes through Apple Central.  Not a good idea with classified information.

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19 hours ago, Joe Muscara said:

Finally! I've been wondering why some say they don't want FaceID. <...snip...>

I want to limit how many people have my face available for facial recognition and on their site for hackers who want to steal the identities of multiple people.

 

I know I can't be private on the Internet, but I can reduce who has my info.

 

It isn't a paranoid thing, it's rebellious more than anything else. Why should some company make trillions of dollars on my info, and now share it with me? Give me a 10% cut of the profit you make from me and we'll both make money.

 

I grew up when rock music was rebellious, and I guess I never outgrew it.

 

This started years ago when I bought some active hearing protection from Etymotic (an older version of https://www.etymotic.com/product/music-pro/) that is transparent when there is no music, and compresses the high peaks more the louder the music gets. It lets me hear the people in the audience between songs and protects me during the songs. Especially if someone a few tables back wants to say something, with passive ear plugs in, I can't hear him or her.

 

The device uses hearing aid batteries. Going to the store every few weeks to get batteries is inconvenient, and I figured if I buy larger quantities online I could get them for less, so I did a Google search. I found that I can get packs of 60 for a fraction of the price I'd pay for 10 packs of 6 I could by at the drug store IF they had that many.

 

I guess Google sold my name to geriatric companies because I started getting ads both online and in my e-mail for adult diapers, stool softeners, canes, walkers, hi-rise toilets, walk-in bathtub conversions and so on. This lasted for months.

 

I didn't mind the ads as much as mis-targeting me. What if I searched out of curiosity for something illegal? Like wondering what the newest designer drug I read about in the newspaper was all about.

 

I tried doing searches for guitars and saxophones, but I guess the music industry doesn't pay as much for ads, as I didn't get that many music ads. I thought about bikinis for my wife, but I thought that might get out of hand too.

 

So to minimize what they know about me:

  • I use StartPage instead of Google. They don't track me, return Google results, but Google thinks it's StartPage asking, not me
  • I have anti-tracking software on my browser
  • I use a VPN
  • I don't have Siri, Alexa or anything like that
  • I don't log into a Microsoft account, use One Drive or anything like that (I have my own website I can store things on)
  • I don't use Apple Pay or download the Starbucks or other store apps - if my phone gets hacked, they get almost nothing of value
  • and so on and so on

I don't mind ads, I just don't like targeting, and worse, mis-targeting me for something I'm just curious about. What if Apple knows my face, and I am curious about a terrorist group I read about in the newspaper???

 

OK, that's extreme, it's more I'm rebellious than paranoid, but it can happen.

 

I still wear my mask in public. Not only does it offer some protection from these COVID variations, but it makes it hard for those cameras that are popping up everywhere to recognize me. The grocery store doesn't know what I'm looking at on the shelves, the surveillance cameras outdoors don't know what stores I'm going into, or what window display caught my eye, and I can travel around in privacy with my mask, cap, and sunglasses. Take that greedy capitalists :D

 

OK, I'm weird. There, I said it!

 

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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To your list, I'd also add: Decline to have sites store your password. I enter it every time I need to visit a particular site. I've read so many instances of sites being hacked and people stealing user IDs and passwords that I figure if they don't store it, it can't be taken.

 

Both Apple and Google recently did updates regarding zero-day exploits that fall into the "update now or the world comes to an end" category, but neither will say what they're protecting you from. Hmmm...

 

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On 4/2/2022 at 5:54 PM, Anderton said:

Pardon my ignorance, but how much of that data is accessible by Apple and how much by the carrier, like AT&T? Or do they both get their mitts on all the data?

My experience with a Samsung phone taught me that it is both. The data is passing through ATT, but Samsung programs the phone so they also have access to everything.

This post edited for speling.
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20 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

I want to limit how many people have my face available for facial recognition and on their site for hackers who want to steal the identities of multiple people.

I guess no matter how many times Apple says that your face (or your fingerprint on TouchID models) is kept locked inside your device, never accessed by anything else nor accessible by anything else, doesn't go on the internet, people don't hear about it or simply don't believe it.

 

On 4/2/2022 at 10:27 PM, The Real MC said:

 We use iPhones, and company security has disabled the Memo recorder (and other apps) on our iPhones because they have confirmed that the data goes through Apple Central.

There are some Apple apps that are end-to-end encrypted (Messages for instance) while there are others that are not. I'd have to dig around to check. Hopefully your company just disabled the ones that aren't encrypted. What does your company do about email?

18 hours ago, Anderton said:

Both Apple and Google recently did updates regarding zero-day exploits that fall into the "update now or the world comes to an end" category, but neither will say what they're protecting you from. Hmmm...

There's a reason they don't publicize the details of those exploits. Lots of times they're found out by security researchers (white hats) but they don't want the bad guys (black hats) to find out and take advantage of the exploit on those who haven't updated.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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23 hours ago, Anderton said:

To your list, I'd also add: Decline to have sites store your password. I enter it every time I need to visit a particular site. I've read so many instances of sites being hacked and people stealing user IDs and passwords that I figure if they don't store it, it can't be taken.<...snip...>

 

Good point!

 

I don't let sites store my password or my credit card info. Sometimes it's a small PITA to remove the credit card after my order has been shipped, and there is only a small chance it'll get hacked, but if it does, the penalty is a humongous PITA.

 

I don't store passwords or usernames on my browser, either. The same reasoning goes there, it's only a small PITA to enter them when I need to.

 

A slightly bigger PITA to me is what I do to protect my customers. I don't save their credit card numbers, when the order is complete, I move their personal info minus the card number to a computer that is not connected to the Internet. If it isn't online, they can't hack it. Plus the HD is encrypted so if someone steals that computer, they don't get any info. I do that because it's what I would prefer if I was the customer.

 

I'm not paranoid, I just believe in the proverbial ounce of prevention.

 

Thieves usually go after either easy targets or targets with a huge profit incentive. Apple, Google, Amazon, etc., are huge profit potentials for a crook. Norton Music is a small target, so I make it as difficult as I can to protect my customers.

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Another tip...I have a debit card from a bank that's different from my main accounts, and it's used only for online transactions. I never keep more in it than I would be comfortable having stolen. If I need to make a bigger purchase, I do an electronic transfer into the account the day before I need to make the purchase.

 

I was fortunate (?!?) to have my identity stolen way back in the day, when transactions were done by fax (it was decades ago). The damage was minimal, because the internet's tentacles did not exist to reach into everything. But it taught me a lesson that has served me well in subsequent years...knock on wood, of course. 

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On 3/31/2022 at 6:10 PM, harmonizer said:

When you are in a scenario where it would be considered rude to look at something on your phone, you can't peek at something on your phone if Faceid is required.

 

Sure you can -- when the phone can't see/ID your face, it simply prompts you for the access code.

 

Now I see that iPhones are allowing you to create a Face ID "With a mask on"  -- um, no, no thanks; I don't want to make mask wearing permanent, thank you.

 

Old No7

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1 hour ago, Anderton said:

Another tip...I have a debit card from a bank that's different from my main accounts, and it's used only for online transactions. I never keep more in it than I would be comfortable having stolen. If I need to make a bigger purchase, I do an electronic transfer into the account the day before I need to make the purchase.

 

I was fortunate (?!?) to have my identity stolen way back in the day, when transactions were done by fax (it was decades ago). The damage was minimal, because the internet's tentacles did not exist to reach into everything. But it taught me a lesson that has served me well in subsequent years...knock on wood, of course. 

I never use a debit card.

 

If they hack a debit card, they get your money. If they hack a credit card, they get the bank's money. A debit fraud can take 90 days to get your money back. A credit fraud doesn't take money out of your account.

 

I have an airplane mileage credit card, that gives me frequent flyer points for every dollar I spend. I never-ever carry a balance and pay it off every month as if it was a debit card. The trick is to not carry a balance or you will buy that ticket with interest charges.

 

I flew to Alaska for $14 not too many years ago (airport tax). I flew to England for under $40 (I think either $35 or $39).

 

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Credit cards - in case of fraud, the cardholder is liable for the first $50 of fraud.

Debit cards - in case of fraud, the cardholder is liable for 100% of the fraud.

 

I use debit cards only for local purchases.  My credit card is used for online purchases, large purchases (IE appliances or contract work), and travel.

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Here's a tip to prevent fraud: get a PO Box and use that for billing address on your credit card.

 

Most online purchases require a billing address.  If a thief steals your card number, they can easily find your residential address online that everybody uses for billing address.  But they cannot find your PO Box online.  If the thief tries to use your residential address, it won't match the PO Box billing address on file and the purchase will be rejected.

If in the long shot your card number and PO Box are compromised (IE customer data is hacked), just change to a new PO Box.  Much easier than changing to a new residential address.

 

ALL of my important bills, statements, etc are addressed to the PO Box.  It is very secure, the USPS staff will only retrieve mail from the box if you show govt photo ID.  I have had mail stolen from my mailbox in front of the house (during the separation, I caught my then-STBX attempting to open a $13K credit card behind my back using an application addressed to me, stolen from my mail)

 

As far as I'm concerned, the mailbox in front of my house is only for junk mail.

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26 minutes ago, The Real MC said:

Here's a tip to prevent fraud: get a PO Box and use that for billing address on your credit card.

 

That's what I do. By the way my reason for using a debit card is because its trail ends in that account, and a couple hundred bucks. A credit that's tied in with a bank where you have an account can work its way to a wide variety of information, or at least, that's my understanding...

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I do have a PO Box.

 

Since I have my own domain, I also have 'secret' e-mail addresses for my credit cards and banks. I only use one address for each, they aren't easily guessable, and if something that seems to come from my bank or card comes to one of my normal addresses, I know immediately it's spam or phishing.

 

My credit cards have zero liability for fraud.

 

My son had his debit card hacked. They cleaned out his bank account, and it took the bank 90 days to restore his funds. I say, "No thank you" to debit cards.

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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7 hours ago, Old No7 said:

 

Sure you can -- when the phone can't see/ID your face, it simply prompts you for the access code......

 

My iphone passcode is required to have a mix of alphas and numerics and lower and upper case characters, and to be at least 8 characters long. (it has a corporate mandated security extension on it which requires a more complex password to access the iPhone). So I would need to type those characters under the table, including the key to switch to numeric mode, and the key to switch back to alpha mode, and the shift key. This is not gonna be completed successfully with me holding my iphone under the table, and I cannot afford to have my eyes staring at my iphone under the table for the length of time it would take to enter the password. I have been texted by a coworker at a business meeting where it was desired that it not be obvious this was taking place.

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4 hours ago, KenElevenShadows said:

I am paying a hardware subscription to a bank so I can live in my home. ;) :D 

I paid off my mortgage in 10 years. I took out a 15 year loan, made the payments early and added an extra $100 towards the principal on each payment.

 

It's nice not to have any debts hanging over my head.

 

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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