What NOT to do with Time Warner Cable

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Remember that game ELIZA from the early days in the computer world.

 

She/it was a great program therapist who almost had human intelligence and seemed like you were having a real conversation with a real person.  If you have never played with this program, there are several versions available online and also for download.

 

So why do I bring up this program from the far past?

 

Well, it seems that ELIZA lives on as employees of Time Warner Cable.  Not just one employee, but several of them.

 

So here is how the story begins:

 

Last week, I noticed that one of my favorite channels, Bloomberg TV started airing the high-definition signal on its standard definition setup.

 

So you are probably thinking…so what?

 

Well, the SD version of this channel has a scrolling listing of various stocks that I follow, while the HD version is cramped with only a vertical scrolling newsfeed.  Both versions of the channel used to have the scrolling stock list, but no longer.  I contacted the station about that change and I have not heard back from them in over a week.  Apparently they don’t care much about their viewers.

 

Enter TWC.

 

I decided to contact them about their change of which version of the channel is received.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I removed all the resolutions except for one of the 480 resolutions to get the SD channel.

 

My thought for this was to go through live chat instead of calling the company as this really is more of a complaint than a problem. Or at least that is what it started out as.

 

So I started my first chat from the main TWC page.  This was a short communication with the person as they sent a “signal” to the cable box and had me restart the cable box to “restore” the original channel.  Of course, this procedure didn’t work at all.  This was the first dumb person I dealt with.

 

The second time a few minutes later, I decided to enter the “my account” section of the TWC website and start a live chat there.  This person seemed very robotic in its conversation making suggestions such as the removing higher resolutions and by describing in detail on how to do it even though I said that I already knew how to do it.  The person also pointed me to alternative channel, which wasn’t even the same network as the one I was having trouble with.  This made me think that when I gave them my phone number they completely ignored the fact that this area had the new standardized lineup.  So much for an informed employee.

 

The next suggestion from this person was to swap the box for an SD box at my local TWC office.

 

Seriously, why would this fix the problem because they are airing a different signal on the SD feed?  Again from here it just went downhill.

 

In the midst of this conversation, my internet connection went out.  The lights on my modem started flashing and I was off the air in the midst of this conversation.

 

So officially this conversation which wasn’t going anywhere was over and to the phone to the idiots at TWC began.

 

After about 20 minutes talking to a person on the phone (5 minutes of that time I was on hold with the representative), I finally got my internet connection back.

 

Let me point out that I believe that I WAS purposely disconnected by TWC during this conversation.  It would seem odd that a live char would create such a disconnection, but apparently the person was frustrated by the conversation that went nowhere fast.  Up to that point, I had never lost my internet connection unless there was a power outage or the whole cable was out.

 

As far as I am concerned, this was an act of sabotage.  My recommendation:  DO NOT EVER use live chat with TWC for any reason whatsoever.

 

As for my problem is concerned, it still exists and I will never be happy until TWC keeps SD signals and HD signals separate and not bring the HD signals down to SD levels.

 

This is certainly a lesson to be learned something that even ELIZA would never have done.

 

At least that is what I hope.

 

 

Colbert and Kid’s Choice Awards

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If you have been living under a rock, then the news that Stephen Colbert taking over for David Letterman next year may be a shock.

 

Not that I meant that to be a purposeful rhyme, but I don’t believe that Colbert was the best choice for the next in line for the 11:30pm time slot on CBS.  I feel that the choice was put forth by pressure of what the general public had wanted and not a true audition.

 

It was easy for CBS to pick Colbert because his show runs on Comedy Central, which is owned by Viacom.  This is the same company that used to own CBS therefore it was probably an even easier decision as the two companies are probably still cozy with each other.

 

As I have never watched Colbert’s show, I can’t say how good he will be, but from the clips I have seen I have low expectations.  I will probably watch once and never go back.

 

Speaking of Viacom, a couple of weeks ago, one of its other channels, Nickelodeon aired its annual slop-fest of ‘Kid’s Choice Awards”.  Every year, it seems that this show gets worse and worse.

 

This year was no different.  Host Mark Wahlberg ran around the stage saying “I can’t be slimed” and in the end does get it.  Gee, what a surprise.  When will they think up something new?  The host always gets the green goo on them at the end of the show.  How about a year where it doesn’t happen?

 

The only high point (if you can call it that) was the lifetime achievement award given to producer Dan Schneider.  If you don’t know who he is, he created shows such as “iCarly”, “Victorious”, “Drake and Josh”, “Zoey 101” among others.  The stage became the biggest reunion of his shows ever assembled.  However, it seemed that the “Zoey 101” cast was missing from this reunion.

 

Most importantly missing from this whole thing was Jennette McCurdy from “Sam & Cat”.  While this show won fan favorite, Jennette was a no-show.  Is she angry with the network that her show is on hiatus or does it have to do with the leaked lingerie photos of her that occurred a couple of months ago?  While the pics were not nudes, they still showed her in a less than kid-friendly wardrobe.   Maybe she is embarrassed or maybe fed up with Nickelodeon entirely.  Either way, we will probably never know for a long time if ever.  Overall, the show was bad and maybe Jennette knew it beforehand.

 

Frankly, I would love to see Colbert host the Kid’s Choice Awards only to get slimed.  It may change his mind of hosting another late night talk show.  Maybe, Jennette can host the late night show instead.

 

Just a thought.

 

Why I Didn’t Attend My High School Reunion (Part 2)

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Writer’s note:  This is the second part in a series as to the reasons why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.  While the information is true, it still may offend some people.  Reader discretion is advised.

 

The high school yearbook.

 

This is the book that is supposed to bring back memories of what happened over the past year of one’s existence in school.  In fact, as I have mentioned in a previous post, my senior high school picture is my profile picture of all my connections on the internet.

 

Not that I am really happy about that picture, much less my existence during my senior year.  Except for the one picture in the book, I am really nowhere to be found.

 

At least that was the way it was for the first 2 years of high school.

 

This story begins during my sophomore of high school.  Actually, this is the first year that I was physically in the high school.

 

At that time, the grades of 7-9 were in junior high and 10-12 were in the high school.

 

When I got to the 10th grade, I started a significant number of computer classes.  Not only that but I was spending as much time as possible after school in the computer lab.  It was not uncommon for me to stay afterschool everyday whether I needed to or not.

 

All this time, I spent in the computer lab caught the attention of the business teacher head, Marshall Sawtelle.  If ever there was somebody who was a teacher’s pet, I was it.  I spent so much time with him that at one point, it seemed that I was a member of his family.  Actually, I met his family at one time and after his passing, his wife said that he always talked about me even years after I left school.

 

Anyway, he asked if I wanted to take control of the billing of yearbook advertising.  It seemed that I wasn’t really asked, but instead forced to do it.  At least, that is how I saw it.

 

For those of you who don’t know what yearbook advertising is, they are ads placed in the back of the yearbook to promote their businesses and to congratulate the current graduating class.  Most importantly, without these ads, the price of the yearbook would be significantly more.  Sometimes it took several times of sending out bills before the advertiser would pay their statement.  This actually was a very important job and I had to keep on top of it to make sure everything kept running smoothly.  So, actually, I was a member of the yearbook club.

 

Or so I thought.

 

When I went to attend my first meeting, I was greeted with hostility.  I tried to explain my job function, but those who were part of this group refused to listen and asked me to leave.  Apparently, under NO condition was I ever welcome to this group even though I was heading up the billing.

 

When I explained the situation to Mr. Sawtelle, he was exasperated that they would do such a thing.  I also explained the same thing to both an assistant principal and the actual principal with no result.  It was apparent that the administration cared nothing about the groups at the school or whoever attended them.

 

I never tried to return to another one of their meetings ever again because I just didn’t want to get embarrassed by the whole situation.

 

However, the group’s hatred toward me didn’t end there.

 

It was too late to get my name on the acknowledgement page during my first year.  However, apparently my name was supposed to be in the yearbook during my junior year, but was edited out by the yearbook group.

 

However, this did not sit well with Mr. Sawtelle.  Rarely did I ever see him not be his jolly self, but this time his buttons were pushed and he decided to do something about it.

 

So as my name was deleted in the senior year as it was in the junior year, Mr. Sawtelle got his revenge by putting my name back into the page at the bottom right before the final copy was sent off to the printer.  Of course, he and I were both happy with the acknowledgement and the yearbook group was not happy.

 

In fact, despite revenge being sweet, those people who were part of the yearbook group continued their hatred of me for what would be the remainder of the school year, which would also be graduation day.

 

I think many of these same people still hate me right up to this date for my name being featured on the yearbook acknowledgement page.

 

At least one person appreciated all the work I did and made sure I finally got the credit I deserved no matter what others thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Windows E-XP-losion

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Writer’s Note:  This week’s writing is being put into all my blogs as I feel it is important enough to be posted for all to read.  Hopefully, you all agree with that.

 

We all survived the Y2K problem or so we hoped.

 

However, next week on April 8th, a new threat is going to happen.

 

The threat is the end of support for Windows XP.

 

Now some of you are probably thinking that you haven’t used this operating system for years, but many of the things that we come in contact with everyday does.

 

If you go to your favorite store, chances are that their register system uses some form of it.

 

If you use an ATM, it probably has it as well.

 

If you go to a doctor, he/she probably uses it to keep track of your medical records or look up other information.

 

In other words, at some point, you will come in contact with a machine running WinXP.

 

So why is all this important?

 

The hackers are lining up to attack these systems because Microsoft is no longer releasing monthly security patches to this operating system.  Nobody is safe.

 

Let me repeat that:  NOBODY IS SAFE!

 

Of course, Microsoft offers solutions to the problem.  You can upgrade your system to either Windows 7 or 8.  That is if your system can handle it.

 

Case in point:  I have a Windows XP machine that I use all the time which is hooked up to my network.  However, my machine doesn’t anywhere near meet the system requirements of either Win 7 or 8.  Of course, I have no intention on dumping my perfectly good machine just because Microsoft is ending its love for it.

 

Another alternative I have read is to install a form of Linux on the machine.  If I don’t want any of my existing software to work again, this is a great suggestion.  I would do this as much as I would perform open heart surgery on myself.

 

Finally, one could go out and buy themselves a new computer.  This is almost as bad the previous suggestion as many older programs would not work under the new operating systems.  I know this for a fact as I try to use some of my older programs on Win7 machine.  No gratification for the amount of frustration, it is to port an older program to a newer OS.

 

So what about everyone else doing one of the things listed above to save themselves and others?

 

I don’t expect it to happen as any of these options would take years to implement.  Yes, I said “years” as upgrading is not an option in most cases.

 

The biggest threat in all this is the protection of personal information.  Any information that you give to anybody and they input into a computer is not safe whatsoever.

 

I know from firsthand experience that companies store your private information together.  In other words, if you write a check at your local store and give them a driver’s license for it, the information about your check and driver’s license are stored on the store’s computers together.  This is the perfect way of storage for a hacker to grab your identity.

 

As a victim of identity theft myself, I can attest to the fact that a company can and will let any information about you become freely available if they want.

 

And many of these companies will comply to hackers because they use outdated operating systems and unsecure connections.

 

So how can one save themselves from this nightmare?

 

Most importantly is to question why identification is needed for any reason like a return or a purchase.  I recommend refusing giving this information out because most of the time it is not needed.  If a person is determined for identification, ask them the following questions:

  • How long is my information stored?  Honestly, the answer should be “not at all”, but they would be lying if they said otherwise.
  • Is my information encrypted?  Again, they will lie and tell you it is, when most information is hardly ever encrypted.
  • What information do you take from me?  If they can’t detail what they take, just say no.

 

Overall, the end of Windows XP is less than a week away and nobody is safe.

 

Nobody at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could Time Warner Be Reading This?

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Last time I mentioned that Time Warner Cable had discontinued the alphabetical listing in the guide.

 

Well, surprise in the last day or so, it has returned.

 

Also, I failed to mention last week that the star rating system has also been restored as well.  While the system is not perfect, it is still more of a guideline than nothing at all.

 

So is TWC secretly reading this blog as a guideline as to problems that exist and then try to correct them based upon what is written here?

 

That is unknown as the high definition/standard definition problem still exists and I see no easy solution to switching between them.

 

However, it does seem odd that the fixes that do happen appear shortly after my blog post.  Since nobody from the company seems to respond on this blog, I can assume that somebody somewhere may be passing along the information to TWC.

 

Either way, if somebody from the company is reading this, then I would make the following product suggestion:

 

Make Whole House DVR free.

 

The reason I say this is that the satellite companies already offer this service for free already and certainly would not take much effort for TWC to make this available to everyone with multiple DVRs.  It is already listed in the diagnostic screen so it would not be any difficulty to make this a standard free option.

 

Secondly, when I picked up my multiple DVRs at the cable company, the person at the counter said that the company would soon be having whole house DVR service available for free.

 

Whether this was a misstatement or a possible service idea is unknown.  The fact that it was said so positively made me think that they really wanted this service free, but changed their mind at the last minute.

 

With charges for everything now from the boxes to remotes, it would be appreciated if this simple addition would happen at no charge.  After all, the units are already network enabled.

 

Do I expect them to do this anytime in the near future?

 

If they want to make customers happy, then I would say yes.

 

However, given their past record, I don’t expect this to happen anytime in the near future.

 

Yet, if somebody at TWC is reading this, then you will make whole house DVR free as it is with everybody else and stop nickel and diming everyone to death.

 

 

Epix Failure for Time Warner

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Last week, I got the postcard.

 

Minutes ago, I got the email.

 

They both said the same thing:  the channel Epix was coming March 18 on channel 1101 locally.

 

Well, two things were wrong with that information.  The first is that it didn’t start as promised on the 18th and it certainly wasn’t on channel 1101.  It actually appears in the range of channels 594-599.

 

Was the wrong information given purposely or was it just a huge oversight?  I believe the former to be more of the case than the latter.  While this channel has been long coming for many (not me however), I find that hiding it certainly is not what should really be done.

 

As far as I can tell, this new series of channels is about the same as the comparable other movie channels out there.  This series of channels offers no wow factor to the otherwise overwhelming number of movie channels already available.

 

While Time Warner says that there will be a 3 month free preview period, no mention has been given as to how much this channel will cost.  Given how much the bill will increase in the next month, this channel should be free forever.

 

I highly doubt that I will pay for another unwatched movie channel.

 

On another front, TWC sneaked in another downgrade to their system a couple of nights ago (version 7.2_0.11).

 

This new version has eliminated the alphabetical option to the guide, so searching a channel by its name is no longer possible.  This just adds insult to injury as it has been less than a month since most of the channels have been moved around.  Are they trying to tick everybody off?

 

Overall, between the Epix problem and the navigator update, TWC has once again proven their incompetence.

 

We can only hope that things will get better when the merger with Comcast happens.  It can’t get any worse.

 

Why I Didn’t Attend My High School Reunion (Part 1)

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Writer’s note:  This is the first part in a series as to the reasons why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.  While the information is true, it still may offend some people.  Reader discretion is advised.

Bullying.

This is the core of the problem of the reason why I never attended my high school reunion last summer.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I was bullied during my entire high school existence right through the present.  Everything that had happened over the years reflect on that one idea.

Certainly while there is more awareness of the problem, it will never go away because administrators care more about protecting their unions rather than helping the students.  Nothing has changed since I went to high school all those years ago.

Now let me start the story.

Let me begin by starting at the end.  Normally nobody would start a story at the end, but this one sounds better starting that way.

Shortly after the reunion took place last summer, there were quite a few pictures that were posted on the special Facebook group page that was established just for our graduating class.

The biggest problem with these pictures is that every one of them I could not identify who was in the picture.  Since there was no tagging of people in the pictures, I had absolutely no clue who any of the people were.  It was quite obvious that of the 75 or so people who attended the event that the pictures only had a small percentage of them in the pictures.  It seemed that only the popular people made the pictures, which was also the way that pictures in the yearbooks also were handled.

Why would I ever go to any reunion when I would probably get ignored and never get in any of the pictures?  To make matters worse, since this event occurred on an island, I had no intention of ever making that boat trip to it.

Now about that Facebook group page.  I wasn’t invited to it.  I was dragged into it kicking and screaming.  Ok, maybe not dragged into it, but I was still thrown into it.

The bad thing about this group is that the people who run it hate me.  Not just a little hatred but the kind that would make executions look enjoyable.  Everything I have written on the page has been deleted by the group because apparently they don’t like what I have to say.   Don’t they realize that they are violating my 1st amendment rights of free speech?  I guess that they just don’t care about me or what I have to say.

Of course, most of those in this group are friends with each other, but not with me.  This was the same sort of treatment that existed during my entire high school life.  Maybe this group feels a sense of completeness by having me part of it even though they don’t make me feel welcome.  I don’t know why I just don’t leave this group and just ignore them once and for all.  Of course, given that this is Facebook, hatred is widespread on the site.

And we all know that hatred is really just part of the bullying picture.  Therefore, the group is promoting hatred and bullying just like they did back all those years ago.

Some people never change.  In this case, it seems that most people never change.

Ever.

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