Comcast Episode One: The Signal Menace

Yep, it’s another Comcast post. The saga continues. I had a tech out Wednesday to diagnose my Max Headroom Syndrome and random HD DVR reboots. Of course, he had to call for some help back at the office because the box reported my cable service had been disconnected. Funny…I recall having paid my bill in full well before the due date and by that point I had not yet received the next bill. Turns out something freaked out but it was a quick fix. Continue reading

Mozilla aims for Guinness World Record

Looks like Spread Firefox wants to go for a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours. To tackle this task, they have opted to record unique downloads on what they have dubbed “Download Day”. This date has not yet been set but if you head over to Spread Firefox | Download Day 2008 you can pledge to get your copy of Firefox 3 on that day (which will include signing you up to be emailed the date when it is set. You can also check out their map to see how many pledges have been made in each country so far.

I’ve been using Firefox 3 since Beta 3 (I’m on RC1 now) and other than a little WordPress Stats bug (can’t log in…so I use IE Tab as a workaround) I have seen nothing but great things out of it. I’ve pledged my support to download it on “Download Day”. Will you?

Right here on Hippie TV!

I normally reserve my eco/green posts (read “hippie ideas”) for The Energy Farm site. The only problem is that I have to put more of a journalist-like feel to the article. Now I don’t consider myself a journalist. I’m more of a hobby blogger because I like to share my ideas with anyone that will listen. Yes, sometimes I talk a lot. Anyway, the point is I ran across a neat little article about a new cable channel launching next month and I wanted to share some thoughts. I just didn’t feel I could really express myself well in the more sanitized environment of the other site.

Let’s get to it. Apparently Discovery is launching Planet Green next month. It will be focused on eco-friendly lifestyle programming. The resurgance of the “hippie movement” seems to be in full swing. I’m okay with that. I’ve always thought people were, in general, far too wasteful. In the 80’s it seemed like the “in” thing to get as much as you could and do as little with it as possible. Heck, I remember a truck customizing magazine I used to read that had a special on a souped up Chevrolet 4×4 that got….1 mile to the gallon. You read that right…it had a 1:1 ratio of gas to distance. This was the centerfold truck of that issue. For years now that memory has stood out in my mind as the true representation of our wastefulness. Continue reading

I Think We Should See Other Providers

It already appears that my new HD-DVR is a much more stable than Tom Cruise, unlike my last one. But I am still dealing with HD channels suffering from what I call “Max Headroom Syndrome”. This is where…oh if you don’t know who Max Headroom is, hit Google and Youtube for a little much needed education. Between that and the screen and sound just blanking out every minute or so during Poker After Dark, I’m less and less pleased with my new Comcast deal. Continue reading

This is Nunzio from Comcast…

So I got my call from “the local leadership” this afternoon. His name was Sid and we had a nice long talk about things. Apparently Melissa and Sid went over all of my emails and my previous Comcast blurb (Guido part 1) before he got in contact with me. They get points for being thorough. The wonderful thing about that is that he already knew what my issues were and had time to review my service and some options so we didn’t waste all that tedious time rehashing everything I’ve already talked about.

I didn’t know this right up front, of course. So I asked him to summarize what he knew about the situation already. He was surprisingly accurate. I mean accurate to the point that I was wondering if maybe I should check all of my systems for signs of tampering or monitoring. Okay, not really but I was highly impressed. He even took the initiative to take the stations I listed and compared them to the current packaging plans. Guess what…with all of the changes they’ve made in my area, I did not know that the stations I watched were all available in a lower priced plan now.

Of course that isn’t anything to be shocked over. They have eleventy billion customers and there’s no way they could make sure everyone single one of them was aware of how every plan shift affects their needs. I’m not really upset about that; I’m happy that he spotted it. So we talked about the ways we could change what I have to lower my bill but still let me have all the service I want. I didn’t get all my HD and DVR goodness for $30 a month, but we did manage to cut my overall bill for cable and internet by about $50. That’s nothing to sneeze at. So I agreed to keep my Comcast cable television service just a bit longer to see how that works out.

One thing I did enjoy was that he seemed very interested in my idea of a-la-carte packaging. We actually developed it a bit further into an idea that would have fewer hurdles to overcome than a 100% a-la-carte service. Try this idea: Have a small basic package (local channels and whatnot) with add-on options of semi-premium channels. This isn’t quite like the HBO or Cinemax add-on, though I suppose it could be done that way. But the idea is you get the basic package for say $10 a month. Then you add Sci-Fi for $1.45 a month and maybe even a group like HGTV, DIY, and Food Network for $2.30 a month. This way you don’t pay for the unholy legion of channels you never use and have no interest in, your bill is smaller, and the networks you dislike aren’t making money off your service. Win-Win-Win…oh…and Win because such a move would position Comcast at the forefront of the next iteration of cable service. They would be offering the iPod of cable television.

(Begin idea to rant transition…but before I do…I just want to say thanks again to Sid and Melissa ^_^ )

Of course if they aren’t careful, FIOS or U-verse may snatch up the idea and steal what could be a revolutionary move in the old industry. Time moves on and things have to evolve. Digital instead of analog isn’t really the leap forward I mean, either. That’s just a style of delivery. The entire service is due for an overhaul because the times have been changed enough by the internet and daring start-ups…so much so that people now expect to have granular choices. Look at iTunes. I no longer have to buy an entire crap CD for one song that is good. I can just get that song and leave the crap out of my library. I can get one disc of a TV series from Netflix if there is only one or two episodes I want to see. I don’t have to go out and buy the entire thing.

Everyone else seems to get it Mr. Cable Industry. When are you?

Welcome to Comcast, this is Guido. (Part 2)

So if you read the previous post, then you know that roughly four hours after I hit the “Publish” button…I got a response from someone at Comcast in the form of a comment on the post. The comment solicited and email on my part going further in depth on the sources of my frustration with cable television. I have decided since the experience was as nice as it was…I would share most of the email conversation I had with “Melissa M”. Continue reading

Welcome to Comcast, this is Guido.

I recently started reviewing my monthly expenses in order to slow the large black hole of doom that was eating my cash faster than I could make it. While looking over the bills, I stopped at the Comcast bill. I’m giving them about $150 a month…and that’s just way too much. I have expanded basic or whatever they call it, the HD tier, a DVR, and internet service. Now as far as watching TV, I only have a couple of shows that really hold my interest. So I set out to think about alternatives. Continue reading

Macbook Pro 15″ vs Dell XPS M1530

Things have been a bit busy lately which is why the laptop pricing comparison has taken so long. But I’m here with the results of building up two similar laptops. If you’ve been following my comparisons, you would probably think that I’m an Apple Fanboy (fanboi?). One would be wrong. Why? Well I still have my Dell Inspiron laptop and it’s still a better deal than a Macbook. Let’s look at the breakdown: Continue reading

Horseless Carriage 2 – Electric Boogaloo

With gas prices skyrocketing and the economy riding the rollercoaster to oblivion, it’s no surprise that auto makers are looking at their products and redesigning their offerings. The public by and large doesn’t want the large, noisy, gas-hogs that have been the pride and joy of Detroit for the last half century or so. Everyone it thinking green because it’s the latest fad and people are trying to stretch their dollars like bungee cords. The result of all this is that we as consumers are about to be inundated with a multitude of options that promise to give us more mileage for the buck. Continue reading

Big Little People

Thanks to a tweet from rstevens, I’ve been introduced so some amusing but disturbing images. Some of these are really well done which makes them all the more creepy. The site is called ManBabies and it seems the premise is a picture with a man and a baby is Photoshopped to swap their heads. I found myself looking on further and further into the site much like one would stare at a train wreck. Some things you see are profoundly disturbing but you just can’t bring yourself to look away.

Enjoy ^_^