It’s amazing the number of companies that want to provide services for a monthly fee. My father complains about this at times, and I used to brush it off. But increasingly, I too find myself a bit put off by this. Of course, I am partly to blame for subscribing to so many of them. My current subscriptions can be broken down into two categories:

Monthly

  • ($05) Backblaze
  • ($05) Evernote
  • ($08) Hulu Plus
  • ($04) iCloud Storage – 200GB
  • ($10) Rdio
  • ($10) Squarespace

Annually

  • ($25) iTunes Match
  • ($15) Domain registration
  • ($20) Email

Monthly Subscriptions

Backblaze

Backblaze is offsite backups, and offsite backups are important.

Evernote

Evernote has been increasingly irritating, but it had been the best way to keep a variety of information. With iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, though, Apple Notes is good enough to dump Evernote.

Hulu Plus

Another family member pays for Netflix; I pay for Hulu. Together, a good mix of entertainment to choose from. The ads are mildly annoying (duh). I’m currently watching Seinfeld from the beginning, which should take me a while. And according to BBC America:

Subscribers to Hulu Plus have access to by far the largest library of Doctor Who episodes.

iCloud Storage

Staying, because I use iCloud to backup my devices, and iCloud Photo Library.

Rdio

When I’m in the car, this app is invariably running. The price is not bad for its large catalog and offline abilities. Plus, I can stream over cellular without using my data allotment (thanks, T-Mobile)! The apps are the downside; they look very nice, but behave unreliably.

Squarespace

This site runs on Squarespace. I love the ease of use and good looks. I enjoy having my own website. But I don’t use it as frequently as I feel I should. I would save about $24 by switching to an annual subscription. This is still up in the air.

Annual Subscriptions

iTunes Match

At only $25/year, this service makes music not purchased on iTunes available on any device, and if the song matches with a song in the iTunes catalog, provides the 256kbps version. Unsubscribing may prove inconvenient, even after downloading all songs to my computer.

Domain registration

$15 per year to maintain the scojjac.com domain is a small price. But it currently only proves useful in conjunction with Squarespace and/or paid email.

Email

This is inexpensive, and having a custom email address has benefits. It appears more professional, never goes out of style, and paying for email means an advertiser isn’t combing through your emails to target you. (But so does using Apple Mail).

So Undecided

I want to reduce my expenses, and these recurring expenses seem like a sure-fire way to free me up. But many of them serve valuable functions.

I take some pride in the fact that I don’t need coffee to start my day. That does not mean I am a particularly happy person in the morning, just that I can begin without it and be productive.

When my dad decided to get rid of his Keurig and it’s overpriced K-cups, I took it. After trying a few different brands, I settled on the Krispy Kreme K-cups (not a good initialism). How much easier could making coffee be?

But there’s really not art to it. And so, after going to Estonia this summer and discovering the Chemex at a coffee shop, I set out on finding my ideal coffee setup. After some research, here’s what I’ve come up with.

STEP 1: Heat your water

<div
    class="
      image-block-outer-wrapper
      layout-caption-below
      design-layout-inline



    "
    data-test="image-block-inline-outer-wrapper"
>




    <figure
        class="
          sqs-block-image-figure
          intrinsic
        "
        style="max-width:300.0px;"
    >







      <div

            style="padding-bottom:70.33333587646484%;"

          class="
            image-block-wrapper



            has-aspect-ratio
          "
          data-animation-role="image"

data-animation-override

      >
        <noscript><img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443813359593-DKXCRNLJAWEWW2AAC581/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kHF3nYHpqHSOOSbnIeOtMuJZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVFmZU8RG9vi_asUD7lFot4I_jUoCcYWyasxpgrhp3P1aeqHIAcM36gBj2-dD03mA2M/image.jpg" alt="image.jpg" /></noscript><img class="thumb-image" data-src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443813359593-DKXCRNLJAWEWW2AAC581/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kHF3nYHpqHSOOSbnIeOtMuJZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVFmZU8RG9vi_asUD7lFot4I_jUoCcYWyasxpgrhp3P1aeqHIAcM36gBj2-dD03mA2M/image.jpg" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443813359593-DKXCRNLJAWEWW2AAC581/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kHF3nYHpqHSOOSbnIeOtMuJZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVFmZU8RG9vi_asUD7lFot4I_jUoCcYWyasxpgrhp3P1aeqHIAcM36gBj2-dD03mA2M/image.jpg" data-image-dimensions="300x211" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="image.jpg" data-load="false" data-image-id="560ed7efe4b0a400f2f47a84" data-type="image" />
      </div>






    </figure>


</div>

Diguo Classic Gooseneck Kettle – 49

Heating your water should be the first thing that happens. You shouldn’t grind your beans until you have to put them in the coffee maker. A gooseneck kettle allows you to control the pour better, which is great for letting your ground coffee “bloom”, that is, release CO2 before brewing.

STEP 2: Grind your beans

<div
    class="
      image-block-outer-wrapper
      layout-caption-below
      design-layout-inline



    "
    data-test="image-block-inline-outer-wrapper"
>




    <figure
        class="
          sqs-block-image-figure
          intrinsic
        "
        style="max-width:300.0px;"
    >







      <div

            style="padding-bottom:100.0%;"

          class="
            image-block-wrapper



            has-aspect-ratio
          "
          data-animation-role="image"

data-animation-override

      >
        <noscript><img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443816956496-7IJZXATEQK86YW4RH3IC/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" alt="image.jpg" /></noscript><img class="thumb-image" data-src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443816956496-7IJZXATEQK86YW4RH3IC/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443816956496-7IJZXATEQK86YW4RH3IC/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" data-image-dimensions="300x300" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="image.jpg" data-load="false" data-image-id="560ee5fce4b04061736663a1" data-type="image" />
      </div>






    </figure>


</div>

Onyx Ceramic Conical Burr Grinder – 19
Good if you’re need a way to grind coffee without electricity.

<div
    class="
      image-block-outer-wrapper
      layout-caption-below
      design-layout-inline



    "
    data-test="image-block-inline-outer-wrapper"
>




    <figure
        class="
          sqs-block-image-figure
          intrinsic
        "
        style="max-width:300.0px;"
    >







      <div

            style="padding-bottom:100.0%;"

          class="
            image-block-wrapper



            has-aspect-ratio
          "
          data-animation-role="image"

data-animation-override

      >
        <noscript><img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443829075076-N2NPIJQ1X95MO8H0Z6MH/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" alt="image.jpg" /></noscript><img class="thumb-image" data-src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443829075076-N2NPIJQ1X95MO8H0Z6MH/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443829075076-N2NPIJQ1X95MO8H0Z6MH/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" data-image-dimensions="300x300" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="image.jpg" data-load="false" data-image-id="560ef1ebe4b09c0240a3b8c4" data-type="image" />
      </div>






    </figure>


</div>

Bodum Bistro Conical Burr Grinder – 90
Best for the convenient life, and for grinding more than a serving’s worth of beans.

STEP 3: Brew Your Coffee

Single Cup

Aerobie AeroPress – 32
Seems like a nerdy way to make coffee—but all of this does to a novice, really. The AeroPress can make a variety of coffee and is a great single serve method that can be taken camping and is fairly easy when camping. People that have it generally love it.

With Friends

<div
    class="
      image-block-outer-wrapper
      layout-caption-below
      design-layout-inline



    "
    data-test="image-block-inline-outer-wrapper"
>




    <figure
        class="
          sqs-block-image-figure
          intrinsic
        "
        style="max-width:300.0px;"
    >







      <div

            style="padding-bottom:100.0%;"

          class="
            image-block-wrapper



            has-aspect-ratio
          "
          data-animation-role="image"

data-animation-override

      >
        <noscript><img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443829095169-GAHIP9TFTNSLRG4R5AKI/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" alt="image.jpg" /></noscript><img class="thumb-image" data-src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443829095169-GAHIP9TFTNSLRG4R5AKI/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" data-image="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/4ff1fb1224acd6c50a4d9e89/1443829095169-GAHIP9TFTNSLRG4R5AKI/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kP06O0_IHyRXSOOiqwgWaApZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWEtT5uBSRWt4vQZAgTJucoTqqXjS3CfNDSuuf31e0tVEHLRkg2cosQUGLeQ33UzXdgIxPDaVwE3LlEpL74qP4JVW4jCyXLPvvdR287iymYt8/image.jpg" data-image-dimensions="300x300" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" alt="image.jpg" data-load="false" data-image-id="560ef300e4b02fa4bc7f0cb6" data-type="image" />
      </div>






    </figure>


</div>

Chemex 8-cup Coffee Maker – 44
Discovered the Chemex at a coffee shop in Estonia. (They’re rebranding as Coffee People.) Funny enough, it was invented in the United States and is considered one of the best ways to make pour over coffee due to the conical opening.

Today, I discovered that Hulu offers a No Commercials plan. While their regular plan is $8/month with “minimal interruptions”, the No Commercials plan is $12/month for no interruptions (just like Netflix). There are a few exceptions, though:

A small number of shows are not included in our No Commercials plan due to streaming rights. But we’ve still made them available to you uninterrupted. They will just play with a short commercial before and after each episode. These shows are: Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grimm, New Girl, and How To Get Away With Murder.

If you sign up for a new, paid Hulu subscription using this link, you and I both receive 2 free weeks of Hulu.

Looks like Evernote is having to restrain itself financially. Hopefully, this means they will also focus on their core note-taking product. Like John Gruber said on Daring Fireball:

the interface has always seemed so convoluted, I could never get into it. It looks like the result of a company that is focused on adding features, not focused on creating something well-designed.

He’s right on. They’ve been splitting their attention among too many side projects – besides Evernote, there’s Skitch, Penultimate, and Scanner. Instead of optimizing the core functionality, they added Context and Work Chat. I was paying, but I’ve left. Maybe now they’ll get on track and make something really fantastic.

Mat Honan at Buzzfeed was invited to ride in an autonomous Google car. In his article, he says the following (emphasis mine):

There are a lot of questions we should be asking about self-driving cars (Will they be privately or publicly owned? Both? Will nonautonomous vehicles be banned? When? How will we secure them from hacking and viruses and malware and plain old-fashioned bugs? How can we preserve our location privacy? How will they operate in disaster and evacuation scenarios? How will they be insured? And purely in terms of Google, if it isn’t getting into the manufacturing business, and given that it doesn’t operate purely altruistically, how does it intend to turn a profit off of this highly expensive research project it has embarked on? What will it track? What will it monitor? What will it do inside those cute little cars?**)

With these questions, he explained to me why Apple would work on a self-driving car: security and privacy. Of course, they’ll intend to make profit as well, but not at the expense of these two things.