Arts and Culture

The Way We Share Now: Digital Luxuries in the Year 2010

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Sharing is great, you guys!

One of the great advantages of living with friendly roommates and/or significant others is sharing the cost of things you might have otherwise had to go without if you were living alone and had to pay for them yourself. Like a living room, for example. Square footage and electric bills aren’t the only things you could be sharing, however, and since we’re currently living in a digital society that the news media tells me is pretty much socialist anyway, here’s my handy list of how to save some dough by sharing some digital luxury items.

Internet: When was the last time you plugged a network cable in to your laptop? Hopefully never, because wires are the devil’s work. (You didn’t see Moses plugging in those tablets to download the commandments, now did you?) The great thing about the wireless revolution is that you can easily share internet with anyone in like a 30-yard radius. Don’t want to pay $30 a month for Internet in your apartment? Just go knock on your neighbor’s door and offer to split the bill if he hooks you up with his WiFi password. Either that or move in to an apartment above a coffee shop.

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Movies: Sure, there are plenty of less-than-legal ways to snag a copy of a newly released DVD, but you don’t have to go in to that legal gray area in order to watch last Summer’s blockbusters. Instead, find a friend who trusts you with their Netflix login information. If you promise not to fuck up their queue and send them 19 copies of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, then you can use the info to access that Netflix Instant and stream like a bazillion different DVDs straight to your computer. The only downside is they’ll be able to see your viewing history after you go on a Gossip Girl bender. Or if you’re feeling generous, purchase a Netflix membership for an elderly relative who doesn’t have a computer, keep their DVD queue filled up with movies that are relevant to their interests and use the Instant Watch feature for yourself.

Music: We’ve been able to share mp3s since way back when Napster was king and ruined all of our music libraries with poorly formatted filenames, but until a couple years ago you couldn’t actually share music you bought online with your hard earned digital bucks and iTunes giftcards. A while back though, Apple led the charge and finally removed the copy protection from everything purchased in iTunes (well, the music anyway). Now it’s pretty standard that if you pay your buck for the digital download, you can do whatever the hell you want with it afterward. The tricky part is getting it to/from your friends. Enter Dropbox, which is basically my favorite free Internet thing in existence today.

Without getting overly nerdy or sounding too much like a commercial, Dropbox syncs a folder on your computer to your own magical space on the Internet where you can then send your friends public download links or even share folders which will sync to their computer and eliminate the need for that cumbersome “Right-click, save as…” altogether. Invite all your friends with decent music taste and share away!

Images via: oldpicture.com (obviously!), happy-hippo.info, obsessable.com

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Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew is an East Coast transplant from Virginia hamming it up in San Francisco without any intention of leaving. Having worked every typical job from Bike Shop Employee to Bartender to Ad Agency Hotshot, to Dotcom Layoff he now busts his ass covering the "weird things to do" beat for gracious local audiences at SFAppeal.com and rallies the Western Addy/Lower Haight/Panhandle neighborhoods into action at AggressivePanhandler.com. His work was published in a real, paper magazine one time. One day he might even figure out how to make money from it.