Watching TV in Cuenca 2016

Last year at this time I wrote on article on this subject. So what has changed in a year? There are now 4 main legal streaming boxes:

  • Apple TV – Now in its 4th edition with voice control
  • Roku – Now in its 4th edition also with voice control
  • Amazon Fire TV – Now in its second edition with Alexa voice control
  • Android TV – The Google version with limited apps

There is a 5th alternative and its called KODI . First let me say that I don’t object to the non legal status of KODI since I often purchase bootleg DVD’s in Cuenca. Let me also state that I have limited knowledge of KODI. I do know in Cuenca there are KODI groups and some individuals that will handle the installation and support.  There are some safety concerns using KODI and this article does a good job of explaining it

The following are some paid subscriptions that are available to stream on the above boxes.

  • Netflix – Note the North American version is not longer available
  • Amazon Prime – No available on Apple TV
  • HBO Now
  • Showtime
  • HULU

There is also DirecTV. 5 years ago I tried the service for 6 months. My experience was that it was expensive $40 + per month was limited in the quality of English programming.

My costs:

  • Puntonet 50 mb fiber optic service $60 per month +
  • Amazon Prime – $8 per month *
  • HBO – $15 per month
  • Strong VPN  $7 per month*

Note: * denotes other uses besides watching TV





5 Years In Cuenca – Muchisimas Gracias Ecuador

It was a very exciting day 5 years ago at Portland International Airport starting our adventure of a lifetime. 8 pieces of luggage, a 16 year old cat in a carrier and a few butterflies in our collective stomachs about what lies ahead.

Fast forward 5 years and many things have changed. Feisty, our cat has gone on to better times. Butch and Curry, our two rescue cats now share our lives We have assimilated into the Cuenca community have made wonderful local as well as expat friends. Our Spanish has become functional and hopefully one day will be conversational. Most of all we have a relatively stress free healthy life style and look forward to more years in our adopted country.

Below are some observations from our 5 years in Ecuador

  • An official guess is that there are 6000 expats living in Cuenca – up from about 800 5 years ago
  • Because of the skewed population (over 65 ) more of my friends are dying
  • I see younger expats moving to Cuenca and I like it
  • It is still very affordable to live in Cuenca. Inflation is below 4% a year
  • We have reliable affordable fiber optic internet to the house
  • The new Tranvia (light rail) has been delayed and won’t be operating till 2017. A big disappointment and aggravation to both Cuencanos and Expats
  • A great choice of restaurants in Cuenca including a new Persian and Thai restaurant.
  • More Poker and Bridge Games  🙂
  • Affordable government and private health insurance
  • Lastly, a vibrant and supportive Expat community

Below are two of my favorite videos that I shot in Cuenca. The first is a vignette of some street vendors. The second is a a Sunday afternoon in Parque Calderon.




What Is The Most Useful Site In The History Of The Internet

I’m going to bet 10 cents that no one guesses this site: Here are some of the things this site can do that Google can not:

  • Know exactly what to expect when you go to the doctor

  • You can plug in various bits of information to find out risks of developing diseases.

  • Generate awesome demographic charts

  • How much a dollar from any point in history would be worth today

  • Convert, say, 1950 dollars to 1995 dollars

  • Compare all sorts of man-made structures

  • You can learn about what the internet sees when they look at your computer

  • You can also look at long-term energy price trends for all sorts of locations

Ok, so pay your 10 cents if you didn’t say the site was Wolfram Alpha.

LifeHacker just came up with 13 awesome tricks for the Average Wolfram Alpha User


New Year – Old Things Disappear

Last night, the batteries for my T.V. remote control died. I had no replacements in the house. I quickly realized that I could control my T.V., Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices with my Nexus 6 Smartphone.

I started thinking what other parts of my life would be disappearing.

Checks– I haven’t written a physical check in over a year. Everything is paid for by cash, debit card or online payment

CD, DVD USB Sticks– My Macbook does not even contain an optical drive and I rarely purchase a DVD since most of my media is consumed via a streaming service (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video)

Books (Physical)  Ok. this is a sad one since I enjoy browsing in Book Stores. But, the truth is that everything I read is on a Kindle or in one of the cloud services.

TechCrunch has a powerful article on what they think will be gone in 5 years. You can find the article here

What do you think will be gone?