Tag Archives: stimulus check

Update On New PC And New Video Editing Software (Courtesy Of My Stimulus Check)

A while back, I talked about what I planned to do with my next (and probably last) stimulus check. I recounted how my previous stimulus checks went primarily to paying down some credit card debt and completing some overdue repairs on my car. This time, I wanted to use my stimulus money on something bigger and bolder.

That’s why I decided to put it towards a new PC. I’d been using the same computer for over five years and it was starting to show its age. It was very slow booting up and started crashing constantly in frustrating ways. The time was right for an upgrade.

Well, I can now confirm that this plan I laid out is complete. This piece that you’re reading right now was written on my new PC and, without getting too deep into the specs or cost, I can already confirm that this was a great use of that stimulus money. It might end up being the best way I could’ve sent it.

That’s because, traditionally, when I buy a new PC, I don’t get the most expensive model. I tend to get something that’s relatively modest or mid-tier. I don’t think I’ve spent more than $1,000 on a PC or laptop in my life.

That changed with this PC. I won’t give an exact price, but I won’t say I bought the most expensive model either. I’ll just say I spent more than $1,000 on this machine and that old adage of you get what you pay for has never been more true.

The speed and efficiency of this new computer astounds me. I was genuinely surprised at how quickly it booted itself up and updated itself. Even though it still took a while to transfer all my files and programs to it, the speed difference is night and day compared to my old PC.

Some of that is just because of better hardware, but I suspect most of it is due to this computer having a solid-state hard drive instead of a traditional disk drive. For those not savvy on computer hardware, solid-state drives are the same drives you have in most tablets and smartphones. They have no moving parts and are much faster, but tend to have less space.

It’s a bit of a trade-off, but one I make gladly. In addition to being fast, this machine is almost eerily quiet. With my old machine, I could hear it humming from across the room. This one is so quiet that I’m not sure it’s even on when it’s in sleep mode. It’s that quiet. Based on what I’ve see so far, I don’t think I can ever go back to a traditional hard disk.

However, I didn’t just stop at getting a new PC. While I spent most of my stimulus check on the main unit, I used what was left to purchase something that I hope will be equally valuable. It involves new video editing software.

If you’ve been following my YouTube channel, Jack’s World, you’re probably aware that the quality is a bit limited. That’s mostly a byproduct of me being very new to video creation and having limited equipment. The video editing software I’ve used thus far has been a version of Microsoft Movie Maker that’s no longer being updated. If I want the quality of my videos to improve, I needed better software.

So, after consulting with some people much smarter than me in this field, I went out and purchased a copy of Adobe Premier Elements 2021. This is the software that most successful YouTubers use in some form or another. It’s very new to me. I’ve only started learning about its functionality and interface, but I’ve every intention of using it to make better videos.

For now, expect the next crop of videos to use the old software. When I finally get around to using Premier, I hope the difference will be clear. Along with the new hardware I have on this PC, I hope it leads to a major uptick in the quality of my videos. If it does, then that stimulus money will prove even more valuable.

I’m not expecting more stimulus money at this point. However, I’m already quite pleased with the purchases I’ve made. I hope others are able to make equally fruitful purchases. If you have any other stories about what you did with your stimulus money, please share them in the comments. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some awesome videos to with newer, better tools.

2 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, Jack's World, technology

What I Plan To Do With My Stimulus Check (And Suggestions For Others)

For anyone on social security or disability, getting regular money from the government is not a novel concept. It’s part of the social contract in many western style democracies. You work for much of your life. You contribute to society and the economy. Then, at a certain age, we make an effort to return the favor.

It’s noble and reasonable system, despite what some libertarians would have you believe. I have close family members who use it. I’m happy to pay into that system to help them.

However, the global pandemic that unfolded last year did a lot to shake up the system. I’ve covered some of those shake-ups before, but I’d like to highlight one byproduct in particular. As it just so happens, it’s one of the less dour results of this horrible crisis.

It has to do with money, specifically the money many people got in the form of stimulus checks last year. For many who aren’t retired or over 65, it was a big deal. The economic impact of the pandemic was nothing short of catastrophic. Even after nearly a year, many people still haven’t recovered. A few parts of the economy probably never will.

These stimulus checks weren’t meant to be a perfect solution. They were a band aid and some would argue they weren’t a good one. Personally, I disagree. I think it has opened people up to the idea that a government should take care of all its citizens, especially during a global crisis.

What a concept, right?

It is capable of sending everyone money. It’s just a matter of political will, which is always messy to say the least.

That will was enough to earn most of us two stimulus checks thus far. To date, I’ve received $1,800, with $1,200 coming from the first and $600 coming from the next. After the recent bill that made it through Congress, I received another $1,400.

Again, it’s a band aid. I doubt this will do much to fix the serious problems that many others are still dealing with, but it’s better than nothing. I certainly welcome this money. I even have an idea on how to spend it.

That’s noteworthy because, unlike the previous stimulus checks, I can actually spend this money on something non-essential. My first stimulus check went largely to paying down debts and a few overdue home repairs that I didn’t want to put off. The second went to some car repairs that I wanted to take care of before winter rolled in.

In hindsight, those were smart investments. The stimulus didn’t pay for all of it, but it did help ease the strain on my wallet.

This latest $1,400 promises to do more than just pay down my usual living expenses. As of now, assuming no unexpected costs come my way, I want to put this money towards something I know I’ll get plenty of use from.

To that end, I hope to put this money towards a new computer.

At the moment, I’m working on a computer that I bought back in 2015. Now, this computer has served me very well. I’ve made many videos and written many sexy short stories on it. However, for the past two years, it has shown its age.

It’s starting to slow down considerably. Just rebooting it takes way too long. It’s also struggling to handle the video editing software that I’ve come to rely on for my YouTube channel. If I want to keep making that kind of content, I need a better system that can handle better software.

It also doesn’t help that my previous PC wasn’t exactly top-of-the-line. It wasn’t cheap, either. I usually buy computer hardware that’s somewhere in the middle. This time, however, I want to buy something that’s a bit beyond that.

That doesn’t mean I’ll buy the most expensive system I can find. This stimulus money simply means I can buy more than usual. Hopefully, it’ll get me a system that’ll last a good long while. In addition, I hope it can handle some better video editing software, which I hope will show in future videos.

That’s my plan, for now. It’s always subject to change, a hard lesson we all had to learn in 2020. If you’re getting a stimulus check too, I hope you get to use it on something like this, as well. Maybe a new computer is a worthy investment. Maybe it’s something else.

Whatever it is, especially if you’re not retired, I hope it’s something useful. If you have other ideas on how to use this money, please share it in the comments. We’re almost through this mess. Some of us aren’t going to get a check like this from the government for years. I say let’s make the most of it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, politics, real stories

From Stimulus To UBI: Has The Pandemic Made Basic Income A Relevant Issue?

Sometimes, it takes a big, jarring, and outright awful incident to spark meaningful change. It’s an unfortunate necessity, given the stubborn proclivities of human nature. People naturally resist change. Change is hard, risky, and potentially dangerous. Even when the current state of affairs is awful, we won’t pursue meaningful change without kicking, screaming, and whining every step of the way.

The murder of George Floyd was one such incident. As bad as previous acts of police brutality had been, this one was just too awful to stomach. It triggered a wide range of vocal protests that, while limited in their impact, has made the need for change more palatable. It’s frustrating that it takes this kind of horror to get us to change an objectively flawed system, but that’s just the cards we’ve been dealt.

While efforts at justice reform and tempering police brutality are important endeavors, there’s another major change that has been brewing in recent months. Again, it’s becoming relevant due to something utterly horrific. In this case, it’s the COVID-19 global pandemic that has upended our lives, our economy, and our politics.

Now, let me make one thing clear. This pandemic is fucking awful. It’s killing people. It is, by any measure, doing a massive amount of harm to people all over the world. There is no silver lining that’s worth all the lives that have been lost and all the suffering this disease has caused. From killing thousands to canceling major events, this pandemic is as bad as it gets.

That being said, this might be the big, horrific event that makes Universal Basic Income a relevant issue and a feasible recourse for the future.

I wrote about Universal Basic Income, also known as UBI, a few years back. At the time, I considered it a fringe issue that wasn’t going to gain traction in the United States, or any other country, for at least a couple decades. It shouldn’t be that radical, giving people money directly instead of having them jump through so many bureaucratic hoops. Unfortunately, it was still seen as an extreme by ever political party.

That started to change with the surprisingly successful Presidential campaign of Andrew Yang, who made UBI the central pillar of his bid. That campaign helped expose more people to the idea while making it a legitimate political policy.

Then, as has been the common mantra of 2020, the pandemic hit and everything changed.

Now, with millions out of work and unemployment benefits being incredibly limited, the idea of UBI doesn’t seem so extreme anymore. If anything, it’s starting to feel necessary. That could ultimately accelerate this issue’s ascension to the mainstream much sooner than any could’ve expected.

In America, millions have already gotten a taste of it in the form of a one-time $1,200 stimulus check. It wasn’t much, in the grand scheme of things. It certainly wasn’t going to fix the many problems that were unfolding as millions of people lost their jobs, due to the pandemic. It was still real money that people desperately needed.

I can personally attest to how useful this money was. Like many, I received a stimulus check around mid-April. While I wasn’t in the same dire straits as millions of other working class families, that check still helped a lot.

At the time, I had some back-taxes that I was still trying to pay off from having purchased my current home. I wasn’t in a position to pay it back all at once. I would likely need a payment plan, which would’ve accrued interest over time. Then, the stimulus check came and I was able to pay it all off at once with no interest. I even had enough left over to do some overdue car repairs.

My situation was not typical. Millions of people spent their stimulus checks on a variety of goods and services, but therein lies the key. It still got spent. In economic terms, that’s critical for a functioning economy. While the state may take a short-term hit in its finances, a sizable chunk of that hit will be countered by people buying things and subsequently paying taxes on them.

While economics is an insanely complicated endeavor, most people understand the importance of having money to spend to keep businesses going and communities intact. Other countries are conducting even bolder experiments in this pandemic. The results vary, but the basic trends are the same. When you give poor, desperate people money, they spend it. They have to in order to survive.

If you’re rich, or even upper middle-class, you have the luxury of saving. An extra $1,200 isn’t going to do much. For some, it’s not even a single mortgage payment. However, since most people aren’t that rich, it’s guaranteed that money is going to get spent and push the economy along. It helps poor people and it generates business for the not-so-poor.

It certainly isn’t without cost, but the benefits thus far have been more than worth it. As more people who experience those benefit, the idea of UBI is only going to grow in terms of appeal. It’ll even become more feasible because these recent stimulus checks have proven that the government has the infrastructure to make this work. It just needs the scale.

Even after this pandemic ends, there will be huge upheavals for rich and poor alike. The economy is never going to be the same. Society will never be the same. The continued impact of automation and artificial intelligence is sure to accelerate that change. UBI might not have seemed feasible or necessary before, but 2020 has changed that. Expect more changes before all is said and done.

This pandemic has caused a lot of pain and irreparable losses. If, however, it can be the catalyst to make UBI a viable policy, then we might be able to draw some meaningful good from it. Only time will tell.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, politics, technology