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From the Editor’s Desk: Holding our collective breath

We’ve got a big week ahead of us, and we need to remember to breathe.

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I have a feeling that in a hopefully better, not-too-distant future, the year 2020 will be one of those “third-rail” topics that no one wants to discuss in group settings. You know the topics I’m talking about, right? Typically they revolve around religion, politics, and money. I think for those of us who are fortunate enough to make it through 2020, we’ll not want to spend much time reminiscing about this year at the dinner tables, happy hours, or get-togethers of the future.

Ironically, 2020 kind of rolls all of those untouchable topics into one. Environmental and economic disasters, social and cultural unrest, and the worst public health crisis in a century. There was something else… what was it? Oh yeah, a hugely divisive presidential election here in the U.S.! Now, I don’t know about you, but all these stressors coming to a head on Tuesday have had me figuratively (and literally) holding my breath. But that’s not really a healthy or helpful thing to do, so what’s the alternative? How can we release this pent up stress and get through the next few days relatively unscathed? Information, education, and precaution.

COVID concerns

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This past week has seen another spike in COVID-19 cases across many parts of the U.S., which couldn’t come at a worse time. With the election only days away, and most early/absentee voting over or limited at this point, millions of Americans will be fulfilling their civic duty by going to the polls to cast their votes in person and risking their health and the health of others in the process.

If you’re among the many eligible voters who have yet to cast their ballot, I encourage you to do so still, so long as you are able. Of course, you should follow all precautions set forth at the polling station, including staying six feet apart from others, wearing a mask, limiting exposure to surfaces, using hand sanitizer and any finger-cots or supplies available, and washing your hands thoroughly as soon as you can. Common-sense measures can be powerful, indeed!

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(Mis)information missteps

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The other big stressor centers around concerns of misinformation and voter intimidation around Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election. Here on AC, we’ve had quite a bit of coverage over the past several months on what big tech companies are doing to support U.S. voters and stem the tide of misinformation on websites, blogs, and social media.

When you’re researching candidates and reading the news, remember your critical thinking skills and consider the sources. Yes, there are bad players out to trick you, but there are many reputable sources of information as well. Find those and try not to fall down any errant rabbit holes.

Smile behind the mask!

When you’re done voting, take pride in your civic accomplishment, and by all means, share that sticker with the world! Just remember to consider your state’s policies and/or laws on what photos you can take, and where!

As stressful as this year has been and these next few days will undoubtedly be, please remember to take care of yourself and those around you, and not just your friends and loved ones. We all have our parts to play when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19, and we all have our parts to play in our democracy. Thoughtfulness and compassion can go a long way towards improving our country and our planet as we close out this dumpster fire of a year. 🔥

Whatever happens on Tuesday night and throughout the rest of the week, please remember:

  • Everyone’s vote matters and should count, so PLEASE VOTE;
  • Everyone’s voice matters and should count; so BE RESPECTFUL;
  • Your health matters, so TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES.

— Jeramy

Latest

Tronsmart’s latest Q10 wireless headphones are currently on a huge discount

Tronsmart makes some great smartphone accessories and audio devices. The company has gained more and more users as a budget alternative to the big brands over the last few years. Tronsmart’s latest offering is the Q10 wireless headphones.While we have yet to fully review these new active noise-canceling headphones, Tronsmart wants to share with our readers that the Q10 is currently deeply discounted for its big launch. (but stay tuned for more on that review in the next few weeks) Retail partner AliExpress has the Q10 headphones a whopping 53% off if you act quickly.This $52.99 cutback is good for the next two days. From January 25 thru the 27th, you can snag these over-ear headphones for more than half the price. This is a pretty great deal for headphones that pack a pretty decent spec sheet.The Tronsmart Q10 will get you Bluetooth 5.0, touch controls, active noise-cancellation, and an estimated 100 hours of playtime. The headset also has Google Voice support and USB-C charging to round out the bullet points.So, what are you waiting for? Get over to AliExpress using this link: http://bit.ly/TSQ10JANae to enjoy this limited time offer from Tronsmart.

US Mobile Buyer’s Guide (January 2021)

Most consumers are familiar with the big-name wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T, but not nearly as many are as well-versed when it comes Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) like Consumer Cellular or FreedomPop.These MNVO brand operators license the towers and coverage from the tier-one providers and offer their own phones, rate plans, and customer service.Let’s take a look at one in particular: US MobileAboutUS Mobile is a small MVNO that utilizes T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network and Verizon’s 4G LTE network and is known for letting customers add talk, text and data on the fly, at any time.The carrier is not shy about its usage of T-Mobile, but it does appear to hide its Verizon component a bit. We’re not sure why.What are US Mobile rate plans like?US Mobile touts is affordable packages for subscribers who need wireless coverage but want some flexibility in the talk, text and time used each month.Customers can pick and choose plans, customizing as they see fit, or choose from a selection of “Unlimited” options. Don’t want or need data? That’s fine.The Unlimited Plans are as follows:$15/mo – Unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB data$30/mo – Unlimited talk, text, and 10GB dataThe custom plans come with hotspot capabilities and 250MB of 4G LTE international roaming.A recent change to the plans sees US Mobile offering a $40 option which includes unlimited talk, text, and data. To be clear, it’s 50GB of high speed data with heavier users potentially seeing reduced speeds after hitting the threshold. Data speeds are considered “Fast” which means up to 5Mbps for video streaming.For $5 more per month subscribers can get 10GB of mobile hotspot capabilities. For $10 more per month customers can increase data speeds to “Ludicrous” up to 250Mbps, plus the hotspot feature.Family PlansUS Mobile customers can create multi-line accounts, each of which is basically the $40 plan. Things get cheaper per line as you add them to the mix.US Mobile phone selectionUS Mobile has a small selection of phones to choose from, many of which are a few years old. Moreover, they appear to be fairly expensive, too. We definitely recommend using your existing T-Mobile or Verizon phone if possible.Where can I buy an unlocked phone?Bring your own deviceUS Mobile tends to work better for people who already have a phone that they’d like to use. Whether it’s a T-Mobile or Verizon handset, or something else, you’ll probably have luck using it with US Mobile. According to the carrier, 99% of devices will work with its service.What else should I know about US Mobile?US Mobile operates entirely online and does not have any physical retail locations in the US.For every friend you refer to US Mobile, the carrier will give you both up to $10. They save up to $10 on their first plan and you get up to $10 off your next bill.You can easily add talk, text, and/or data Top Ups to your current plan to always stay connected. They roll over to next month when you use AutoPay, automatic bill payment.A US Mobile starter SIM kit can be purchased for $3.99, letting subscribers keep their existing phone number.

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