What Exactly is Article 13?

Article 13 (renamed as Article 17) is within the Copyright Directive approved by the European Union. But, what exactly is it?

Also known as the “Meme Killer,” Article 13 covers how online content sharing services have to handle copyright-protected content. It is very controversial as it holds sharing services (such as YouTube and Google) accountable for all copyrighted content.

Content-sharing services must license copyright-protected content from those who hold the rights to the content itself. This means that they must do their best to keep the material from being published online or ensure that a license is properly obtained beforehand.

Article 13 can sort of be seen as a kind of online censorship, due to its restrictive nature. It leaves a large gray area where there is simply no telling of what is legal and what is not.

There are some exceptions to the Article, however, just to name a few:

  • cloud storage services
  • online marketplaces
  • communication services
  • open-source software development platforms
  • non-profit online encyclopedias

Contrary to popular belief, Article 13 is not the “meme killer” that is made out to be. Memes are still allowed thanks to other exceptions, but that doesn’t mean that Article 13 isn’t flawed.

YouTube has recently spoken out against Article 13, with #SaveYourInternet. You can learn more about that here. Ultimately, Article 13 will end up doing more harm than good, as it isn’t all that solid. There are a lot of gray areas that need to be worked out.

You can express your concerns by reaching out to the Members of the European Parliament. Article 13 is not something that should simply be ignored, it’s a very important issue that could affect our daily lives in a very negative way. Speak out and spread the word to help put an end to Article 13.

Apple Card – The Tea Has Spilled

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, then you’ve probably heard of Apple’s new Apple Card. It’s basically just a credit card that is offered by Apple- but unique, of course.

The Tea

Apple Card will begin accepting applications sometime in the summer of 2019 (this year). The credit card lives on your iPhone, in the wallet app, and is then immediately available for use via Apple Pay. For merchants that do not yet accept that method of payment, however; Apple has something special in store. An Apple-designed titanium card that can be used anywhere in the world.

Apple-designed titanium credit card

Apple Card offers 2% cash back on every purchase and 3% cash back on purchases made to Apple.

Daily Cash

Unlike most credit card companies which reward cash back on a monthly basis, Apple Card rewards its cash back daily. It goes straight to your Apple Cash Card – daily – which you can then spend exactly like cash. It’s that simple.

Spending

The Apple Card offers charts and uses location data to help you better understand your spending. This could be useful if you’re spending a lot but not realizing how much you’re actually spending overall. It’s useful if you’re trying to stick to a budget or see where your money is going without putting in much effort.

Interest

Apple claims to offer the first credit card that actually helps you pay less interest. The Apple Card enables you to see how much interest you’d be paying based off of what you put forward as your payment. The more you pay now, the less you’ll pay later. This is true everywhere, but Apple makes it clearer to see with minimal effort.

It Could Be Better

The Apple Card seems more like an attempt to keep you locked into Apple’s ecosystem than anything. You can only apply via an iPhone and the Apple Card itself lives inside of an Apple App. However, its adoption will likely promote payment systems like Apple Pay to be more widely accepted- which is a good thing.

The cash back that Apple is offering isn’t all that great either. Amazon offers 5% cash back along with a $50 sign-up bonus on their credit cards, while Apple is only offering 3% overall.

I’ll be interested in keeping up with Apple’s new Apple Card as time progresses. It’s an interesting move but there is definitely more work to be done.

AmazonBasics 3D Printer Filament: Is It Any Good?

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I have been 3D Printing for a while now. One day, while browsing Amazon for a new roll of filament, I came across the AmazonBasics 3D Printer Filament. I was skeptical- but decided to go ahead and try it out anyway.

I’ve been using AmazonBasics Filament for a few months now. To be honest, I have to give Amazon props for this one. I am very impressed with the results that I have been *constantly* getting. Up until now, I have stuck with Hatchbox PLA. It’s a very reputable brand that also yields very good results.

[ I will update this post and place pictures of my prints here ]

According to Amazon, the dimensional accuracy of their filament is around + / – .05 mm, which seems to be on par. I haven’t had any issues or jams when using the filament. Speaking of which, it is also claimed to be “engineered” to reduce jamming.

The AmazonBasics Filament itself comes in a resealable bag that helps protect the filament once you’re done using it. The spool also has a cool window/built-in gauge that helps you see the approximate length and percentage of filament you have left. It is also backed by an AmazonBasics’ 1-year limited warranty.

Is It Worth It?

Yes. Amazon’s 3D Printer Filament is definitely worth the cost. From my experience, it performs just as well as other well-known brands of filament. It is definitely worth a try and you should have no trouble using it alongside whatever it is that you are currently using. They offer a variety of colors and types of filament to choose from.

I have Amazon’s copper filament, glow filament, and yellow filament. They have all performed great, adhered to the bed without issue, and every print came out successful. My favorite would have to be their glow filament- it’s just so cool! The texture also feels smooth and premium.

If you were on the edge of whether or not to give Amazon’s 3D Printer Filament a try, I would for sure go ahead and do so. You won’t regret it.

My 3D Printer

In case you were wondering what 3D Printer I use, it is the MonoPrice Mini Select v2. You can view it on Amazon by clicking here. They have two colors- black or white. I’ve had it for quite a while as well and it is one of the best I’ve ever had. I had the Anet A8 before it. The MonoPrice, however, comes pre-assembled and ready to print out-of-box. It produces premium prints and the experience overall feels premium. It’s my main “go-to” machine and I have been using the AmazonBasics 3D Printer Filament in it with no trouble at all.

Walmart Discontinues Savings Catcher Program

After May 14, 2019, Walmart’s Savings Catcher will be discontinued.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I received an email from Walmart on March 15, 2019, around 3pm EST regarding the matter. Here it is:

Dear Customer, 

Here at Walmart, we’ve always been committed to providing you with low prices every day, so you and your family can save money and live better. Savings Catcher, which compares nationally advertised prices through submitted receipts, was designed to catch occasions when a competitor’s price on a particular item was found to be lower than what you paid for it at Walmart. 

What we’ve learned through Savings Catcher is that our efforts to lower prices upfront on thousands of items across our stores is working. Walmart’s prices win most often when you submit your receipts, which tells us that the program’s intent has been met. 

That’s why we have decided to discontinue the Savings Catcher receipt submission, effective May 14, 2019. After May 14, you will no longer be able to submit your Walmart Pay eReceipts to Savings Catcher. But don’t worry, the money you have on your Savings Catcher eGift Card will remain yours to spend until you’re ready to use it. 

We want to thank you for your loyalty and your participation in the program. We’ll continue to work hard to offer you features and services that deliver on our promise to save you time and money—whether you’re shopping in our stores or online at Walmart.com.

Questions? Learn more about this change here.

Sincerely, 
Your Walmart Savings Catcher Team

If you have been following updates regarding Savings Catcher within the past year or so, then you probably already knew that submitting your receipts through Walmart Pay was the exclusive, only way to do so. This pretty much “discontinued” Savings Catcher for many users submitting physical receipts a long time ago.

Now Walmart is back at it again, finally deciding to kill off the service once and for all. My speculation on the subject is that Walmart was trying to force users into their Walmart Pay system- but no one cared and it backfired.

I personally enjoyed using Savings Catcher. I earned quite a bit back on my Walmart purchases and it was always interesting to see what it had found. It’s always sad when features are removed instead of improved upon.

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Should I Cut Cable?

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Everyone around me seems to have made the decision to cut their cable (except for their high-speed, unlimited internet of course). As we continue to work our way into 2019, is there really any reason NOT to cut cable?

If you are a tech-savvy person then cutting the cord totally makes sense. You are aware of all the online alternatives including Hulu, Netflix, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, etc. You can even snag a 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime by clicking or tapping here. There are many different services out there that can replace and even outdo the content that you could barely squeeze out of your cable TV subscription. Even with a few online services, the cost is still usually cheaper than your hefty cable bill.

For local channels that you might miss out on when relying on online streaming services, you can buy a cheap HD TV antenna on Amazon ($27) or pick one up at a retail store near you.

When I decided to cut the cord and cut cable, I ordered an Amazon Fire TV Stick off of Amazon ($40). For the price, the Fire Stick is more than worth it for what it has to offer. It has a remote than can be controlled with your voice- which is amazing in itself, using Amazon’s Alexa technology. You can easily download the apps for Hulu, Netflix, etc. I have found that Amazon Prime is one of the best values for your money. You get access to Kindle eBooks, free 2-day shipping, Prime Video, and much more. It’s only $12.99 per month and even cheaper if you choose an annual subscription. Here’s the link again for the free 30-day trial I mentioned above.

Cutting cable is a wise move in my opinion. It forces the cable companies to rethink how they are running their business. When all of your users are dropping your service- you know that you need to make a change. Opting-in to online streaming services pushes you and everyone else into the future of entertainment.

Cable TV may seem like the easiest option but it’s definitely not worth it for the prices that are typically offered. Channels are crammed full of ads and you barely have any choice in what you get to watch. You have to conform to what the channel guide tells you.

Grab yourself a Fire TV Stick and a Digital Antenna. Cut out your cable TV subscription. It is well worth the switch as long as you are willing to make the change. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back with you. Thanks!

Food for Thought

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How To Bunny Proof Your Home

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Bunnies love to chew, chew, and chew some more! They adventure around until they find something that looks satisfying enough for them to chew on. All buns are different of course so you may have a chewer and you may not. But keep in mind, just because he isn’t chewing early on doesn’t mean he wont eventually. Bunny proofing your home is very important! Especially if your bun is free range. Some things may look a little bit silly, but the safety of your rabbit should be top priority.

Wires

I think a bunny’s favorite thing to chew on is probably your cords and wires. I don’t know what is so appealing to them, but they are. There are many different ways to fix this issue. Before I get into it I must say people always tell me about how they don’t want to do anything to their cords because it looks “silly” or “dumb.” Honestly though, you shouldn’t have exposed wires in the first place so adding something on to them won’t or shouldn’t be seen. The way I protect my wires is with wires covers. I use a plastic hose looking one I get from Amazon! You can also go to your local hardware store and get a plastic tube to put around your wires. There are so many different ways and people can get pretty creative with how they proof things. Click here and here to see what I use and if you don’t like that, you should definitely explore other options or come up with your own!

The covers can also go for certain furniture as long as you find ones that fit! Cardboard tubes work well!

Baseboards

Your baseboards are also at risk of being chewed up by bunnies. To fix this issue you can get plastic coverings, wooden panels, or you can even use fabric to hide them. Some people elect to not even have baseboards at all. A really good way is by using wire panels. They are the same things you can use for ex pens as I talked about in the “How To Care For a Bunny.” You should check that article out of you haven’t yet! 😉

Wire Panel Coverings: https://amzn.to/2EMQCdw

Blocking Off Areas

Do you have any places in your home you don’t want your bunny in? No problem! The easiest fix for this is baby gates or puppy pens. You must remember a few things though, bunnies can jump 2 feet or higher in the air if they want to. They can also squeeze into tight spaces. With that being said you should look for a gate that doesn’t have big gaps and is high enough for them not to jump over. Make sure the gate is made of metal for they will chew through in not time! If you can not find a gate with small gaps then wire panels are a grate fix for that. You can just tie them to the gate and TADA! I would advise you use flat carpet/rugs that are not loose. Buns love to dig and bite up carpet/rugs. Loose carpet can make them sick so beware of that. Keep your bunnies away from under your bed and chairs with springs too!

Gate That Works Great: https://amzn.to/2NUhCMv

Another Good Gate: https://amzn.to/2VSwei9

House Plants

Plants in your home are not a good idea with bunnies around. Many are very toxic and can make your bun sick and even cause death. Your pet will not always know what to eat and not to eat so if you would like a plant around do your research to keep your bunny safe! If you still really want a certain plant, choose to keep it in an area your bunny can not go.

Food for Thought

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

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Amazon has a special right now that you can take advantage of- $30 off of the all-new Kindle Paperwhite. That’s a price tag of only $99.99 instead of the usual $129.99. But, don’t wait too long, as this offer expires on March 15, 2019. So if you’re interested, be sure to make the purchase now rather than later. You can view the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon here.

No Glare, Even in Bright Sunlight – phones and tablets have reflective screens, the Kindle Paperwhite looks just as if you were reading off of paper itself

Can Last Forever on a Single Charge – the Kindle Paperwhite can last up to six weeks on a single charge (based on reading for 30 minutes per day with wireless off and the brightness at ten)

Won’t Tire Your Eyes in the Dark – the Kindle Paperwhite has a display that guides light towards the surface of the display rather than towards your eyes (like most phones and tablets do)

For more information on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, you can view its details on Amazon by clicking the link here. By doing so, you can get it for $30 off so be sure to visit using the links on this page. Remember, this special offer expires on March 15, 2019! You can also activate this special offer by clicking or tapping the banner below to make your purchase. Happy shopping!

Food for Thought

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Should I Get My Bunny a Friend?

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The answer is: YES!

Bunnies are social animals. They love the companionship of humans, but even more so another bunny. Keep in mind getting your bunny a friend is not as easy as it seems. Bunnies can be very territorial and dominating to one another which makes the bonding process difficult at times. Don’t let that discourage you though, bun buds can be very close and happy just being near each other. There really is a process to follow so read on so you don’t make too many mistakes!

Spay/Nueter

If you are considering getting another bunny it is a really good idea to spay/neuter your existing bun. Lets say you have a female bun and go to the pet store to buy a friend for her and they give you one that they swear is the same gender. Then a month later you have a litter on your hands which is a not a situation most want to be in. Not only is breeding an issue, but females bunnies tend to be VERY territorial and unforgiving when it comes to another bunny being in or near where they sleep and eat. Spaying calms the bunnies down enough to where you can at least get them in the same place without too many complications. Fixing them will also cut off all of those eating urges. You may see them mounting each other, but it is to show dominance. If they are mounting too much or too long then you should get them away from each other for a bit.

Bonding Process

I have found what works best to start off is keeping the bunnies in separate pins. Far enough not to bite, but close enough for them to be curious of the other. After a day or two of this get both bunnies in a small area together. (A bathtub, large closet, or ex-pen) They will probably not be very lovey at first. They may chase, bite, hump, or run around like crazy for a number of reasons. If they are not fighting then it’s safe to say the date is going well. What I do is sit and watch and if the playing gets too rough I will put an object in between them. After that I will pet both bunnies ensuring them that everything is okay before ending the date. You cannot end a bonding session on a bad note because they will remember and associate the other bun with bad vibes. Repeat this process until you are comfortable putting putting them together. If you are still worried they aren’t ready you can have your bunnies switch cages for a night or two or even many. They will learn and become comfortable with the other’s scent making it easier for them to accept one another. I have also found feeding them together helps a whole lot. Timothy Hay has worked best for me. You can get some right here for a good price!

So Why Should You Get Another Bunny?

  • Bunnies are social animals and crave that interaction
  • You will have two very happy and bonded buns 🙂
  • It is so so cute to see them cuddling to sleep, grooming, and playing together
  • Bunnies have intense feelings and loving another bunny will ensure a healthy happy life
  • Loneliness can cause depression which may even lead to death

Why Not Though?

  • Double the cuteness, but that also means double the money in most cases (vet, food, and accessories)
  • You may not be able to fix your bunnies which will lead to complications
  • Some people may not have the space or time for another bunny to join
  • There is no guarantee the pair of bunnies you want to bond, will

Anyways….

You just need to weigh your options and figure out if you have the time and money for another bunny to enter your home. If you do, it is a great option for the one you have. As long as you follow the steps of fixing your bunny and the bonding process you should be fine! If you feel you cannot get another bun then don’t worry, your bunny in most cases will be okay. I have had bunnies who were better off with a partner and some who really just preferred being alone. Bunny adoptions centers such as Indiana House Rabbit Society will gladly help you find the perfect friend for your bunny by setting up a meet and greet and talking you through all of your options. I strongly recommend getting in touch with the closest bunny shelter to you!!

Food for Thought

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Anet A8 vs. MonoPrice Select Mini v2

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

About two years ago, I became extremely interested in the world of 3D printing. I watched countless hours of YouTube videos and read up on many articles. I came to a conclusion: I was going with the Anet A8 (which I had to assemble myself).

My decision, though, was made more on the grounds of cost rather than what I knew about the printer. The Anet A8 sells on Amazon for $180 (view it here). Although it is not a bad machine, it is definitely not the best 3D printer out there for someone just beginning at 3D printing. If you’re brand-new to the scene, I would more than definitely recommend the MonoPrice Select Mini v2 3D Printer. It goes for $190 on Amazon (view it here). It is only $10 more and it is well worth it. More on that later.

Anet A8

You will love the Anet A8 3D printer if you want to learn how a 3D printer works and enjoy putting things together. Though it may become a bit of a pain trying to put together a machine that you have no clue what to do with at first. It comes with a numerous amount of parts that you will have to assemble. Personally, I used YouTube videos to help put it together correctly along with online guides.

The Anet A8 took well over a few hours for me to assemble and many modifications before it would even begin to print at all. This may be discouraging to some who have a low tolerance when it comes to stress and hassles. My first print was a pyramid that came pre-installed on an included SD card that I got with mine.

Pros:

  • Not too expensive
  • Allows you to learn how a 3D printer works
  • Easy to modify

Cons:

  • Assembly can be time-consuming and stressful
  • Requires a lot of trial and error
  • Not the best quality prints

MonoPrice Select Mini v2

This is my current 3D printer and also my favorite. It came pre-assembled and ready to print straight out of the box. This is perfect for beginners and those who want something simple that just works. All you have to do is load in your filament, select one of the pre-loaded 3D models on the included SD card, or save one of your own to it.

The design of the MonoPrice Select Mini v2 is just gorgeous in my opinion as well. It has a PEI sheet included on the heated bed and has a bowden extruder which is better to use (it helps the prints stick better). It has a beautiful screen and a knob-like-dial that makes navigation seamless and easy.

Another important thing to note is that I can print ABS filament on this printer but never could get anything to print in ABS on the Anet A8- but maybe that was just me not knowing how to properly configure and setup the machine itself. The prints on the MonoPrice Select Mini v2 were also significantly better over those I printed on the Anet A8.

Pros:

  • Ready to use, straight out of the box
  • High quality and intuitive design
  • High quality prints

Cons:

  • Hard to repair or modify the 3D printer itself

Conclusion

Winner: MonoPrice Select Mini v2 (view it here)

I would have to pick the MonoPrice Select Mini v2 as the best 3D printer. It is ready to print as soon as you get it which is very exciting to someone who is just entering the 3D printing world. It prints better, looks better, and in my opinion, is better in every way. I wish I would have bought this printer over the Anet A8 when I first started out. It would have saved a lot of time and stress. I was always having to mess around with the Anet A8 to get it to work.

However, if you are interested in learning about 3D printing and don’t mind putting it together, the Anet A8 is a fairly good machine in itself. I just did not have the patience to deal with modifying the machine to make it work so I settled for the easier of the two options.

Food for Thought

Click here to view MonoPrice Select Mini v2 on Amazon.com

Click here to view Anet A8 on Amazon.com

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The Increasing Use of Solar Energy

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I was driving down the Interstate when something caught my eye. I looked to my right and saw a field full of solar panels. I was amazed and went out of my way to come back around just to see them again.

It got me thinking about renewable energy and the increasing use of solar energy. I have always been fascinated by technology and science; which of course includes solar panels. There is so much that humanity has to learn about the way the universe works. Once we begin harnessing the benefits that it holds (in a healthy way) – we will flourish. It’s apparent that we are living at the forefront of this new era as it can be seen all around us.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that capture energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. This works by allowing particles of light to free electrons from atoms within the panel itself. It is this that generates an electrical current and voltage.

Not too long ago my fiancé purchased a solar panel for me as a gift. It was a Newpowa 10 watt 12 volt solar panel ($24 on Amazon). I loved it and went to try it out immediately. It was astonishing to me that a device with no moving parts could generate electricity with what seemed like barely any effort. I still use the solar panel today, mounted on the roof, to keep a spare lead-acid battery charged for when it’s needed.

I have put some links to their solar panels below. I would highly recommend a solar panel from Newpowa. They’re an amazing company with great prices for such high quality products. If you are looking to start a solar system you will also need to look into charge controllers, which I will go over in the next section.

Solar Panel System

Next to the solar panel itself, the charge controller you choose has to be one of the most important decisions you make. It takes the electricity from the panel(s) and optimizes it in the most efficient way to charge your battery storage system and/or directly supply a constantly safe DC voltage for you to use.

You can choose to store you energy or use it directly. Using a storage system with batteries will ensure you are saving some energy, for when the sun is not giving you as much as you need when you are demanding it. You can opt into building a lithium-ion system or linking together traditional lead-acid batteries.

If you require the energy you are producing from solar panels for AC usage, the kind that you’d get out of an outlet in your house, you will need to grab an inverter as well. It converts DC that the solar panels and batteries give off into AC.

Food for Thought

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Works Cited