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. (Part 2)”

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 “Welcome to Comcast, this is Guido.”

Mac Pro vs Dell Precision

Continuing my previous post, I thought I needed to compare the higher end Apple systems with something from Dell or HP. The problem is…they each only have like one high end workstation with dual Xeon processors. It took a fair amount of digging around to finally get something similar to the Mac Pro from HP and Dell, but I manage. Guess what, the Mac Pro still comes out as the cheaper system…let’s take a look: Continue reading “Mac Pro vs Dell Precision”

iMac vs XPS

I’m the first to admit that Apple’s upgrade pricing is completely insane (though it has been toned down some since the iMac refresh). But I am so tired of hearing that Apple hardware is way overpriced for what you get. Quite to the contrary, Apple’s systems are right in line with similar systems from other manufacturers. Let’s compare the 20″ iMac with a Dell XPS all-in-one system and see what we get: Continue reading “iMac vs XPS”

Apples aren’t all roses

Don’t get me wrong, I love my new iMac. It’s sleek, fast, and easy to use. Every program I use regularly at home on my Vista laptop has an OS X counterpart. But I do have a bone to pick with Jobs’ company about one thing. While the overall prices of the base models are in line with the cost of PC’s with similar specs…prices on the upgrades are somewhere in the realm of stupid. Continue reading “Apples aren’t all roses”

Castigations and Plagues

Alright, it’s time to get back to roots. I haven’t done a Rant in a long, long time. Welcome to the Real “SoapBoxRants”.

As I have said before, I am a Pagan. Before we go any further, go look up the definition. It means I am not Christian. It does not mean I worship Satan or sacrifice virgins. As a matter of fact, go over my previous religious rants to understand how many different ways my religion is like your religion. Now…moving on to tonight’s topic.

Why do people have a predisposition to be told what to think? What is it about the Human Race that leads the majority to follow the most charismatic person almost without question? Have we evolved so little over the millennia that we have not yet shed the shackles of our primitive tribal origins? Are we so insecure about our own existence that we need to be told by someone else that it is okay for us to be? It would seem that is the case. Much like my often mentioned Mother Culture, the Human Race almost inevitably turns to charismatic spiritual leaders and immediately takes things too far.

Take for example an email I received the other day from a devoutly Christian friend of mine. It talked about how we of the United States should boycott the new one dollar coins because of the exclusion of the phrase “In God We Trust”. I find it curious that such a movement in a country that touts its tolerance and acceptance of freedom of religion would gain ground. It almost reeks of cult brainwashing and that thought disturbs me greatly. All I have ever hoped for is to find that there are other free thinkers out there and yet at every turn I am confronted with more bigotry and prejudice. To make matters worse, these actions are justified by these people as being righteous indignation at the affront to their spiritual beliefs. It is as if they do not understand the true concept of religious freedom.

In this world, there are a myriad of religions. I would hazard that each and every one of them claims to have an exclusive insight into the understanding of whichever divine being brought forth this world and our Race. I do not claim to have such intimate divine knowledge personally so I cannot say which, if any, are correct in this claim. I do, however, take issue with any religion or practitioner of a religion that refuses basic respect and courtesy to any that have a differing belief. Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong or evil. It just means that it is not exactly like yours. There is knowledge to be gained through diversity.

And what exactly do I think about other religions? That is a wonderful question. If you were to, for argument’s sake, witness an automobile accident along with about twenty other people and all of you were interviewed by the officers that responded…you would probably get twenty-one different descriptions of what happened. In general they would touch the same high points but the details themselves would vary from one person to the next. I think the religions of the world are the same way. In general, they are all alike. They touch the same high points (like love and forgiveness) but differ in the details (like eating pork or resting on Sunday). We are all looking at the same Divine, just from a different angle than the person next to us.

And that goes for fellow practitioners of the same faith. Just because you share a religious label with someone does not mean you will have the exact same views on the Divine. I have always said that true faith and one’s relationship with the Divine is a very personal journey. Nobody will ever experience my religious path other than me. Some may share certain feelings or moments, but none will duplicate what I have inside. Remember that the next time you feel like pushing your views onto someone else. It will not matter what you try, we will never have that exact same moment that you remember with such fondness. Feel free to share your view, just do not attempt to make it my view. I will do the same.

This is one of the reasons I have such a fondness for Paganism. Wiccans and other Pagans are far more passive in the spreading of their religion. Our view is that those who are interested will seek us out and inquire. Our job is to answer the questions put forth to us. We will not attempt to convince you this is the correct path. We will simply share our knowledge and let you decide what is right for you and we will encourage you regardless of your decision. This is because we, for the most part, understand how personal this journey should be.

This is not to say that Paganism is a better path than a Buddhist or Judeo-Christian path. It is merely different. And I have to admit that there are some Pagans that will be pushy about converting just as there are Christians who are passive. There are no absolutes where Religion is concerned because Faith is kept by Humanity and Humanity varies greatly. All Religions run the gamut of tolerance and openness. But from my experience, Pagans tend more toward passiveness. I think all Religions would do well to re-examine their doctrines and true purpose and get back to the core of their teachings.

Religion is a good idea run amok. Mother Culture has twisted it into a series of extremes that galvanize the world into opposing factions causing chaos and disorder and war and pain. We speak of tolerance while we treat others with intolerance. We preach of love while we practice hate and war. We speak of forgiveness while harboring grudges against those that have wronged us. This is not what any of us were taught by our Religious texts. We have gone astray. We have taken Mother Culture’s path of self destruction. Before it is too late, we need to stop and return to the path we delude ourselves into thinking we are on.