Ever since I was a young kid, I have always been playing video games. It all started with the Super Nintendo, playing Super Mario World with my siblings. Occasionally, when my parents weren’t tired from work they would challenge me to a match of Kirby’s Avalanche. Those were my best memories during childhood because it was fun sitting together and sharing an experience.
As the years went on, I’ve owned and played on many different consoles, the Playstation 1, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, The Wii, and Playstation 4. There have been so many console iterations and I realized that a lot of money being spent on upgrading every few years. I’ve always wanted to build a gaming PC, but the parts are incredibly expensive. A decent computer can set you back $600 or one that can last several years can be over $1000.
This past summer, I bit the bullet and decided to start my first build. The overall cost was around $1300 with these parts:
MSI B350 Gaming Pro AMD Motherboard, PNY GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, 750W Power Supply Unit, A Case with Tempered Glass, Corsair Vengance LPX 3000MHz RAM, and the AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU.
I had my friend walk me through how to put everything together. He described it as “putting together expensive legos.” He was right it was pretty much figuring out where everything goes. One of my favorite games is Overwatch and I also have built an extensive library of games on Steam. It took a little getting used to with the mouse and keyboard, but I also have the option of using a controller too. My steam id is “SaintCitySteez” and blizzard id is “KhmaiGuy”
After joining the workforce, I had an older coworker close to retirement age talking to me about finances. She said that her generation will be the last to receive social security benefits. By the time I retire, there will be no program in place to help me financially. That had me thinking about putting money away, so that I could live a carefree retirement.
With that in mind, I made a plan for myself to build up my saving account to have a rainy day fund in case anything happens. I made it a priority to pay myself first before anything else. However, when I put money into my savings I noticed that the rate of interest was so low that I would be only making a few cents a year. I decided to look at alternative ways of building wealth.
That is when I looked into the realm of investing and other related areas. With my job, I utilize the 401k plan to get the full company match and decided to opt for the Employee Stock Plan. Using these options at work essentially gives me free money from the company because I am getting more than I put in. Also, I started to look into the idea of compound interest and opened another retirement account, a Roth IRA. Basically, the retirement account with work is pre-tax while the Roth IRA is post-tax.
The Roth IRA means that the money is yours and you will not have to pay taxes on it later. It can accumulate compound interest, which means instead of the money being paid out, the initial amount put in will continue to grow and gain more interest. For example, if I had $10,000 that gained 5% interest in a year then it would be $10,500. After another year and additional 5% interest it would be $11,025. That is a gain of $1025! Now imagine how much that would be after 40 years?
I encourage you to spend some time learning about finances and different ways of earning income. The new American Dream is being financially independent, which takes a vast amount of dedication and learning about different trades.
Look at the image above and identify the familiar sites that you frequently visit. Now see the price on the right of it? What if cable companies and internet providers charged you based on the websites you visit and the various functions you need?
Looking at television, you already see this with Comcast or DirectTV and their channel packages. To get the premium channels there is an upcharge. Want to watch Game of Thrones? Then that will be an extra $30 dollars added to the $100 you are already paying for cable. This scenario could be in the distant future for consumers if net neutrality is taken away.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must treat all data on the internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. Essentially, the internet should be a place that is not regulated by the government or media conglomerates.
I’ve read the book 1984 by George Orwell and sacrificing Net Neutrality would bring us as a society one step closer to a dystopian reality. A little bit of background about the novel, it was written in 1948 when there was fear of global war and Orwell describes a totalitarian dystopia that is characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Every method of communication would be monitored and controlled. Without Net Neutrality, internet providers can speed up, slow down, or block any applications or websites you want to use. I say fight for a free internet because that is the way it has always been!
Save The Internet: What You Need to Know
Vice is a print magazine and website based in Montreal, Canada that is focused on arts, culture, and news topics. I have followed Vice for a few years now because their media is entertaining and because they typically focus on under-reported topics. They have a reputation for being politically-incorrect and can be provocative with their headlines.
This article that I reviewed was titled, “Where the Fuck Is Trump’s Infrastructure Plan? He promised one within 100 days if taking office. It’s now day 322.” Immediately upon reading the title, you can already determine that this article will be extremely critical of the current President of the United States, Donald Trump.
From the time that I’ve spent following Vice, I have a feeling they are on the liberal side of the political spectrum. They have been bashing Trump even before taking office and the language in the article reflects their feeling towards him. “By now, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Trump would hype up plans that don’t exist or propose timelines he can’t keep.” There is no attempt to have a objective neutral position and the author wants the audience to know how they really feel.
To tell you the truth, I’d rather have publications say write there honest opinions about topics rather than focusing on always trying to please the public. But it should be rooted in truth with factual information to back up claims.
The NFL has been amid controversy over the past year or so because players have been taking a knee during the national anthem. The image above is one among many to spark debate over the fans of the NFL. Even the President of the United States had a few words about this, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” He was referring to Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.
Kaepernick’s first protest was done in a preseason game during the 2016 and wasn’t brought to attention until a few weeks later. He was questioned by the media and his response was, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” There were many people outrage by the behavior and threatened to boycott the NFL if the behavior did not cease.
It wasn’t until a year later in 2017 that the protests had gained more traction. Initially, other players around the league did not take action for fear of backlash. However, as time passed players were speaking up against the rising rates of police brutality around the United States. One of the most significant moments that sparked the protest happened in Minnesota. It was the death of Philando Castille by an officer in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Saint Paul.
Whether or not you agree with the protests, it’s important to understand why football players are trying to use their platform, here are two links:
Donald Trump Speech
Colin Kaepernick Timeline
I’m sure you may have heard about Bitcoin in recent news, especially in the world of investing. Bitcoin is known as a cryptocurrency, a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operation independently of a central bank. For those of you that aren’t tech savvy, it essentially means that currency will not be controlled a central authority such as federal banks or the government.
Imagine being able to transfer money or making payments without having to deal with transaction fees, with guaranteed anonymity for payments, and secure transfers. That is the goal of cryptocurrencies, to decentralize wealth and give individuals more control over their money. We have seen several market crashes in the past decade such as the Dot Com bubble in 2000 and the recession in 2008. There has been movements to bring attention to this like the “We are the 99%” Occupy Wall Street. People are tired of having the economy controlled by huge corporations and want alternatives.
That is where Blockchain technology come into play, which is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Transactions are recorded and added to ledger and allow market participant to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. This is primarily used to verify transactions within the global network and then verified by the network using nodes (computer connected to the network). The most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, however there are thousands of different cryptocurrencies developed in the past few years.
I encourage you to learn more about this because it will eventually be used for a variety of practical applications. Here is the website for Bitcoin: https://bitcoin.org/en/
Performing at the Xcel Energy Center tonight.