Tag Archives: bills

A Right to Online Privacy

With the recent House bill that would allow Internet Service Providers (ISP) to sell anyone’s private browsing history, it is a good time to discuss people’s right to online privacy, as well as the serious breach of net neutrality. Originally, ISP had to obtain your permission to sell your online history to anyone, but soon they will be able to sell it to whoever they want to, whenever they want to. Which, frankly, is a massive invasion of privacy.

cyber criminals
“ISP will be able to track your every move online as soon as you make it. They can, essentially, stalk you online.” Photo from: https://www.fbi.gov/image-repository/cyber-crime.jpg/@@images/image/high

What you do online is private information, unless you choose to make it public. But until you make that choice, it is a private matter. However that boundary is about to be crossed and soon it’ll be open season for every internet user. The least of it is that individual targeted ad campaigns will become the norm. Companies will analyze the data and try their best to get you to buy their product, likely at a higher rate. While that is annoying, it is not the most serious issue. ISP will be able to track your every move online as soon as you make it. They can, essentially, stalk you online. With this kind of information and power at their fingertips, the internet will no longer be a neutral entity and instead become just another method of exploitation.

There is also the fact that ISP will be taking advantage of you and making money off you, and you won’t see a dime of it. Think about it – the product they will be selling is your internet browsing history, something they wouldn’t have if you did not go online. You make the product, and they sell it off to the highest bidder. All you get are more ads to inconvenience you. Even if we ignore the invasion of privacy that is occurring here, this still isn’t a fair deal. This bill allows ISP to sell your private information and make money off something you create. All the while, you get harassed by a large amount of ads, and they profit off of you.

Dorm Life vs. Apartment Life

The vast majority of people in college either live in a dorm or in an apartment. Few people actually come from the town or city that their university or college resides in, so we need alternate lodgings while we’re away. Most college students tend to live in the dorms because most universities require that you live in a dorm for at least one year of your college career. But plenty of people also live in apartments near the college campus, and many people often wonder which is better.

apartment listings
“Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly.” Photo from: http://suffolkjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/listings.jpg

One of the upsides to living in a dorm is there are no bills to pay. Once you’ve paid your tuition, you’re set; you can use as much heat, water, and electricity as you want without worry. The same cannot be said for those who live in an apartment. Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly. This leads into the issue of roommates as well. Practically everyone in a dorm has at least one roommate, and some even have three or four. The same can be said of most people who live in an apartment. While there is the option to live by yourself, most people cannot afford to do so and have to get at least one other person to live with them. However, the main difference between having a roommate in a dorm and a roommate in an apartment is that in an apartment, utility bills can be very high/expensive with multiple people. A single person can increase the bill significantly for the other roommate(s).

The flip side, however, is that in an apartment there is almost always more space and everyone has their own room. One of the worst parts about living in a dorm is the lack of space and the fact that you have to share a small room with another person. While you still have to share space inside of an apartment, you have your own room at least. This extra space can help ease a lot of the tension that one usually finds inside of a dorm room. There is also the benefit of having your own personal kitchen and not being subjected to a limited meal plan. With your own kitchen, you can make whatever meals you want whenever you want them and store whatever food you want without any real hassle or fear of it going bad. At the end of the day, it comes down to your own personal preference as to where you want to live and what you want to sacrifice.

iOS 9 feature could take a real hit to your wallet

Black couple paying bills

One of the new innovative settings on iOS 9 could be eating away at your data plan, making your data bills skyrocket. This addition of the default setting for your iPhone is called “Wi-Fi Assist”.

The feature will identify poor Wi-Fi connections and use cellular data in its place.

The setting has a reasonable and practical purpose, heightening smartphone speeds. If Wi-Fi Assist is left activated, your iPhone will automatically and silently shift to cellular data whenever it finds that your signal is weak. This results in faster network connections, but it will eat up the data of your cell phone plan. And no one, especially broke college students, want to deal with extra charges to their data plans.

iPhone users with restricted data plans should watch out for this feature, and should deactivate the setting as soon as possible. The feature could tally up a substantial amount of extra overage fees. If you decide to take the risk, be cautious, because you will not know when Wi-Fi Assist is in effect. Data overages can occur and rack up immensely. When your next phone bill arrives, you could be due extra fees.

However, iPhone users with unlimited data plans do not have to worry; internet connections can be boosted wherever Wi-Fi is weak, deciding when it’s necessary. This also is handy for those who always switch their Wi-Fi on and off to receive a better connection through cellular data. You no longer have to do all of that hard work to swipe up and turn off your Wi-Fi; your phone will now do that on it’s own.

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To avoid possible data overage charges developed from Wi-Fi assist, deactivate the setting.

  1. Tap the “Settings” app on your home screen.
  2. Tap on the “Cellular” tab.
  3. Scroll down to the very bottom.
  4. You’ll see a toggle for “Wi-Fi Assist”.
  5. You then can switch it on and off at your discretion.

Follow the list above to toggle Wi-Fi Assist, or search settings for “Wi-Fi Assist”.

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Whatever you decide to do, just make sure to keep a tab on your data usage and plans. Don’t get charged for extra data you didn’t know you used. Just be safe, careful, and conscious.

Life off campus: Pros and cons

Picture by Stephen Mustgrave

Many of the Students here at RU choose to rent an apartment or house off campus to live for the year. Radford University’s policy for moving off campus is that one must either live on campus for four semesters, live on campus for two semesters and take a class pertaining to living off campus or transfer in as a junior. Many RU students decide to live off campus after their sophomore year and some find a change in their lives. Some experiences are better than others, but in the end the pros and cons end up being about even. Five students were interviewed about their living situations, and most of them had similar good and bad things to say. This semester is the first semester living off campus for each student.

Some students move because their friends move. Junior Ben Belo stated that he would have been completely content living on campus if his friends had stayed as well. Other students tire of the rules associated with living on campus.

“I got tired of mandatory hall meetings and quiet hours and not being able to have pets,” sophomore Stephen Mustgrave said.

Some students prefer having their own space and freedom.

“I enjoy my privacy. I didn’t like living next door to people every day. There’s too much drama in the dorms. Here I get to pick and choose who I talk to every day,” junior Danielle Lare said.

With moving off campus comes big changes. Suddenly there are rent and utility bills to pay, groceries to buy, gas money to budget in and you don’t have anyone to pick up after you. There’s also a commute to factor in with possible parking issues as well. How much of an impact does all this have on students?

“Having to get up earlier to get to class on time is a huge change,” Mustgrave said.

Also, there aren’t the social ties off campus that exist when students live on campus; they aren’t necessarily around other students all the time.

“I don’t hang out with a lot of people I knew before, but I tend to get my work done more,” Lare said.

Living off campus can impact a student’s responsibilities, privacy and comfort and it could impact their academics in some way as well. RU expects its students to put academics first and everything else after. But how does living off campus impact one’s academics?

“I feel like I do more of my academics on campus now, like at the library because things off campus distract me. Campus has a lot more of an academic vibe,” Belo said.

And for some students the commuting factor of living off campus can be a positive where others would consider it a negative.

“It’s made me a better student,” Lare said. ” I have to actually get up and come to campus and wake up where as when I lived on campus I would just roll out of bed and go to class half asleep.”

Picture by Stephen Mustgrave

There are both good and bad sides to living in an off campus house or apartment. It could help prepare students for the real world or it could make them antisocial. Either way it’s the choice of the student. The university stresses to students that they need to be prepared for the changes that may occur with moving off campus. If a student is not ready to move off campus, whether it be financially or maturity wise, there could be consequences and repercussions that could follow them even after they leave Radford.