Congratulations to the NEW Couple?

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Yesterday, Charter Communications completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its sibling Bright House.

 

While for TWC this change may be a slight upgrade in service, it seems that it might be a big downgrade for Bright House; at least that is what I see from how Consumer Reports have reported the 3 different services.  While I cannot report on Bright House or its customers, TWC seems that this might be a plus.

 

So while no changes will happen in the near future, I expect that very soon all those annoying TWC commercials will be replaced by talks of the Charter merger.  Along with that, I expect to start seeing changes in how we receive our service.

 

First changes I expect is saying goodbye to the words “Time Warner Cable” off the guide along with that weird blue swirl thing.  Just getting rid of these is a start to prove that TWC does not exist anymore as is.

 

Over the next couple of months, I expect that the entire guide will change (for the better, given how their other guides look).  This change will include the elimination of the dull looking guide along with a complete renumbering of the channel numbers.  While this may seem like an inconvenience, it may be in the long run a big plus.

 

I also expect to see a much faster internet service and hopefully more fulfilling experience.  Given what I have read the service that Charter offers for the same price as what I pay now means that my service would go from 15mps to 60mps (on average).  This is a much worthy upgrade if it really happens.

 

Overall, everything I have said here is speculation given what I have seen on Charter’s website in their areas already being serviced by them.

 

Given that the DVR service here has not really been upgraded since last November, any upgrade and bug extermination would be much appreciated.

 

As always I will keep you informed of changes to services (at least as I see them here in the Portland Maine area).  I am optimistic that big things and good things may happen in the very near future.

 

Fingers crossed for a better cable and internet.

Why I Didn’t Caucus in Maine

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Writer’s warning:  The following post may contain material that may be offensive to some people.  Reader is advised.

 

Spoiler alert:  This post contains information that it is a major part of my other blog about Staples.  If you don’t want to know things ahead of time just skip that segment when it comes up.  It will be indicated as such.

 

It was 32 years ago this year that while in college I took a course called “Introduction to Political Science”.  This 3 time a week, 50 minute course was probably one of the most interesting courses that I took during my time in college.

 

It was during this time that the primaries of the 1984 election were happening and much of the conversations in class were the discussion of that.  Since I sat in the front of the class, I always had to turn around to see who was talking and to listen intently to what they were saying.  Of course, it was also a good excuse to look at the pretty redheaded girl Rebecca, who sat right behind me and seemed attracted to me (that is a story for another post).

 

Since this was a core class, the room was filled of people with various majors and the love or hate in the political system.  We did have a textbook but it was rarely used except for the occasional test we took.  The professor was retiring after this semester and seemed to let the class run loose with their various comments of the current political environment.

 

While the conversations were always cordial, one thing was obvious:  the people were not deciding this or any other Presidential election.  It are the delegates who make all the decisions no matter what the will of the people is.

 

Sound familiar?

 

This is exactly the same sort of thing that we are seeing this Presidential election cycle.  We have states that have primaries, caucuses like Maine, and others like Colorado, where the residents don’t even get a vote.

 

Really, does all this seem fair?

 

Of course not, while people in Maine spent hours in line for a chance to caucus in their town or a nearby one, I figured that this time would be better spent elsewhere and not wasted on expressing my political choice.

 

Now the question is what political choice?

 

This year it seems that people are picking the person who they hate the least rather than those that they really support.  This is exactly the way that I feel this time around.

 

Sorry people, I am not really attached to any candidate this time around nor do I think that some should even be elected at all.  However, now that the field has whittled down to 5 major candidates, I think it is fairly safe to give my opinion of each of them.

 

First we have the three Republican candidates:

 

By far the furthest ahead for now is Donald Trump.  He is the most outspoken person on either side and enjoys putting people down and calling people liars or stealers.  Overall, he does have a good point as many states award their delegates at disproportional level.  You can have the most votes, but still lose in the delegate count.  I call it math gone wrong and Donald may have hit on something that has always been part of the establishment.

 

In second place, we have Teddy Cruz.  I call him Teddy because he likes to use the name Ted as part of the word “Trusted”.  To me, he cannot be trusted as he seems to have connection to SuperPACs and has his people send out false emails saying to vote for him as his competition were going to be dropping out.  While he seems to talk like someone who should be more of a preacher, his actions are less than religious.

 

Lastly we have John Kasich.  Ironically, this guy sits in fourth place in a three-man race.  Marco Rubio, who dropped out a few weeks ago, still has more delegates than Kasich does.  Unfortunately, Kasich seems like he is the most qualified and part of the establishment that everyone is avoiding in this election cycle.  Every interview that he is in, he seems to get angry that people have already cast him off as a no-chance candidate.  Do we really want an angry guy to be our next President?  Why do I keep thinking that this guy is going to change into some big green creature when he gets angry?  (To those who remember the old “Incredible Hulk” TV show of the 1970’s, you will understand the reference.)

 

 

Now the Democratic candidates:

 

The most well know Democratic candidate is Hilary Clinton.  Given her email scandal, she may be more qualified for the real life “Orange is the New Black” or maybe she is trying to be just like us by saying that she always tells the truth.  If you believe that, then you have not been reading my other blog as liars seem to be running rampant.  How many of us really want a 3rd Obama term?  Do we really want to continue to fail?

 

The other Democratic candidate is Bernie Sanders.  This socialist wants to change the country in ways that would destroy our economy.  He wants to ignore the ISIS problem.  He wants to break up big banks, but has no clue on how to do that.  He wants to have free college and healthcare for all, at the expense of big corporations and raising taxes even more on the general public.

 

I have a couple of Facebook friends, who seem to be very supportive of Sanders’ social destruction of our economy.  It is unfortunately that they don’t understand that such radical behavior would cause huge job losses and many companies to leave the United States.

 

 

****Spoiler Alert****

 

During my time at Staples, I wound up in the hospital because of a leg problem caused by them.  It cost thousands of dollars for the treatment that I needed during my weeklong stay in the hospital.  Because I had used my insurance, I received a letter threatening me that I would be terminated if I did not follow the procedures that Staples had in place regarding using vacation time to offset my time in the hospital.  While I did not follow that directive, I was constantly harassed on a weekly basis by the management because I required the use of a stool because my legs were still infected and I was still being treated by a doctor.  They kept asking when I would no longer need the stool because they felt that I was abusing the “privilege”, despite the fact that I had my leg constantly wrapped in bandages to help it heal.  Seven years later, I am no longer under a doctor, but walking is difficult and standing in one spot still hurts significantly.  Sadly, Staples was always in denial of the harassment and just considered me a “bad employee” after my termination.  This is why I have not been able to get a job since as their lies have continued to follow me all these years later.

 

Do we really want people like Sanders to have businesses dictate the healthcare of employees?  Given my own case, let me say that NO employee should have be subjected to the type of harassment by the management just because they needed to use their insurance.  Under a Sanders administration, employees would be fired for similar reasons as I did.

 

Sort of puts forth the following quandary:  Does Sanders support big business to destroy its employees?  My answer is yes.

 

***End of Spoiler Alert***

 

So overall, I expect that the delegates this year will pick someone to alienate most people in both parties.  There is no reason to think otherwise given that how fractured the parties are this year.

 

My personal choice this year right now is NONE of the ABOVE.  I could only imagine what that same “Introduction to Political Science” course would be like this year.  I know it would not be as civil nor would it have Rebecca and I together in it.

 

Sometimes if I could turn back that clock…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broken Windows — March 2016

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Writer’s note:  I had planned on writing a different blog post this week on why I didn’t go to the Maine caucus a couple of weeks ago, however I feel this blog post is more fitting for my current situation along with many other people as well.  I plan on writing the intended blog post in the very near future, when my computer is much more stable.

 

As a member of the Windows Insider club, I put myself and my main computer on the line for the fast ring of Windows 10 updates.  Up until the most recent update, everything has been fairly smooth as far as functionality is concerned.

 

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, let me briefly explain.  Fast ring updates are pushes by Microsoft to release beta (or in their own imprint at the bottom of the screen “Evaluation Copy”) of new versions of Windows 10.  Comparatively, slow rings are more stable versions of the operating system, but still may have some bugs.

 

Everything was fairly well and good with my computer until last week when I installed Build 14279 of Windows 10.  Since installation I have had nothing but trouble.  Honestly I felt I have not seen so many problems since Windows ME many years ago.  Back then, you prayed that the computer would not crash while using it, but usually happened at least once per day.

 

Well, I have experienced just one huge crash yesterday when I received the blue screen of death with a “Memory Management” error.  I had thought given that I saw a funky frowning face with a countdown timer that my computer had somehow been infected by one of those horrible viruses.  Microsoft really needs to change their blue screen of death to look less like a virus and more like the old dark blue screens from older Windows versions.

 

Besides the awesome crash that I have experienced, here are some of the other problems that I have noticed.  This is not an exhaustive list just what I have experienced firsthand:

 

  • Unable to sign into Xbox live. Makes playing games like solitaire impossible.
  • Live tiles not working. Most of these tiles when you hit the start key are not flipping or updating to anything at all, in fact one of them is missing.
  • Web pages not loading in Chrome. While Firefox really don’t have this problem, it is like Microsoft is showing its hate to Google by impairing its browser.  I don’t use either Internet Explorer or Edge because these are really not good and I have never recommended them.
  • The Weather Channel application does not work at all. Up until this build, this program seemed to work fairly well, but now just refuses to work.
  • Microsoft Store does not update programs correctly. Some updates in this program want to update over and over again.
  • Notification icon does not update when new mail is received.

 

If you don’t have this build, I don’t recommend it.  If you do, let’s pray that the next update fixes some of the above mentioned problems.

 

Ironically, Microsoft had sent a feedback survey shortly before I started writing this that asked if its users like me had experienced lockups or crashes with this build of Windows.  Sadly when I clicked on the link, it crashed before I got to answer the survey.  I guess they will never get my opinion unless of course someone reads this blog.

 

I can now congratulate myself that I got through this post without having Windows crashing today.  Will I be so lucky next time?

 

 

It’s All About Privacy

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This week it has been reported that Apple is not giving the federal government access to the iPhone information that one of the terrorists of the San Bernadino attack.  The company is standing firm that there is no back door to the phone’s encrypted information or any software to access it.

I really don’t believe that this is true because all software has ways to get to its data.  I believe that CEO Tim Cook just doesn’t want this door exposed as others may use it in ways not intended.   Of course, the government could just hand the phone over to Apple and have them decrypt the information and then give the government back the phone with unencrypted information.  They really don’t want to do that either as it would still violate the privacy of its customers.

So here we have the clash between national security and privacy.    This could spend a long time in the court system.

Then, there is me.

For those who are regular readers of this blog knows how much trouble I have had with my gmail account and how I have been receiving emails that have not belonged to me.

These emails include such things as names, addresses, telephone numbers, credit card numbers,  and other information that I would consider personal.

The problem with these emails is that all of them come from companies that I don’t do business with.  The worst thing about all this is the reluctance of these companies to delete my email address off many of these companies’ databases.

Unfortunately, for most of these companies they don’t realize the possible damage done to the intended customer by accidentally releasing personal information to me.  To make matters worse, is that some of these companies blame me for someone else using my email address.

Certainly these companies are clueless regarding how to protect customer information and show a complete disregard to protecting privacy.  In fact, I see no end to receiving emails that don’t belong to me. 

Overall, I feel that Apple should allow the government access to the information on the iPhone without question as in real life, privacy really doesn’t exist.

Just ask me about all the private information about other people that I have accumulated.

The Mysterious Case of the Former Friends

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Today is the 12th anniversary of Facebook.

 

This makes it the perfect day to discuss the disappearance of 2 people from my friends on Facebook.  Let me say that I knew both of these people in person and quite honestly I have no idea why either of them decided to unfriend me.

 

Unlike other posts, I will not disguise their names as I feel it is better to expose them for what they are rather than protect them.  People who leave without any explanation don’t deserve any protection as far as I am concerned.

 

First up is Norma Jean.  I have known her for over 30 years, actually since junior high school.  I was never overly friendly with Norma Jean as we had different circles of friends.  My friends were a cross section of jocks and smart people for the most part.  Her friends were more of the lower class bunch.  She hung around the bullies and troublemakers.

 

For the most part, I tried hard to stay away from these people as they were always getting into trouble and most had nothing to do with me.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of times where I ended up in classes with some of these lower lives along with Norma Jean herself.

 

After high school, I (thankfully) lost track of everyone from my graduation class.  When I came onto Facebook in mid-2006, Norma Jean became one of the early people who wished to friend me.  Reluctantly, I accepted her friend request as I thought that after so many years, people would have changed and matured, but with people like her, I was mistaken.

 

While I did have a couple of online comment sessions with her, I always felt that she really was not interested in anything I said.  So I believe out of boredom, she decided to unfriend me.  A few months later, I confronted her online in a mutual friend’s post as to why she unfriended me.  She seemed to blow it off and didn’t give me an answer.  Apparently, she has not changed in over 30 years. I have declined to friend a couple of people from high school as I felt that those people would unfriend me as well because they were part of the same bullying group.

 

However, the most bizarre unfriending happened over the past week, with my now apparent former friend Bridget.  She and I became friends while we both worked at Staples.

 

During her time at Staples, it was apparent that Bridget had social problems.  She never really seemed to get along with many of the associates, managers and most importantly the customers.  It was this type of attitude that made her be called into the manager’s office for one of their “little talks”.  These talks never really seemed to help and she seemed to always get a little meaner and ruder with each passing day.

 

I am not saying that she overall was a bad person; we always seemed to get along as we both had similar feelings toward people in general.  She always seemed like a rollercoaster of emotions, one minute happy the next angry and the following giggly.  Overall, she was rude to people as she did not seem to have the words “please” or “thank you” in her vocabulary.

 

I think this type of disrespect has more to do with her upbringing, sort of like how Norma Jean treated me.  Unfortunately this type of rudeness continued when she became one of the earliest people to friend me on Facebook.

 

Rarely did I ever make a comment to any of her postings, but when I did I was either ignored or never acknowledged for it.  For someone who was a friend of mine at work, I really thought that she would have a little more respect, but apparently I was very wrong.

 

Everything seemed to be fine, up until this last week when surprisingly decided to unfriend me.  I have absolutely no idea why she unfriended me as I have not had any conversations with her online in weeks.  So this was certainly a headscratcher at best.

 

I will probably never find out the true reason why either of these women unfriended me, but all indications point to the fact that both shared a common rudeness, which is not the type of indication of what a real friend is.

 

Overall, let me point out that I found out about these people unfriending me by using a plugin to the Chrome browser (also available for Firefox as well).  Without using a tool like this, both of these women could have remained anonymous in their unfriending of me.

 

But in the world of the internet, you can run but can never hide.

 

Maybe both of these rude people should go and hide forever if they have no respect for me anymore.

A Tale of 2 Cable Companies and 2 Email Accounts

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In the last couple of weeks, my gmail account has been once again receiving strange emails. 

Some of them have been easy to unsubscribe to, others have taken much more effort to handle.

Such is the case with my experience with Comcast.  I do not live in an area where they service, but I have been receiving email from them indicating that I was a customer of theirs and they started to send me bills by email.

Unfortunately, there was no unsubscribe link in their email so I had to reach them by Facebook by posting to their corporate page.  After a couple of days, they contacted me back and said my email was removed from their system.

Or at least that was what I thought. 

The next day I received yet another bill from them and contacted them again using the same thread expressing my anger over them not fixing the problem.

The response that I got back from them was a link to their “Privacy Policy”.  This is hardly the type of response that I wanted especially given that I was not even a customer of theirs. 

I wrote back a third time and they had me send them a copy of my email to their email customer service.  Since I have not heard back from them in about a week,  I can only assume that the problem has been completely resolved.

Under NO circumstances should anyone have to go through so much trouble to opt out of their email especially since I was not their customer.  I guess they are no better than Time Warner Cable.

At least that is what one might be led to believe.

Over the last week, Time Warner’s webmail service allegedly got hacked into.   According to reports, approximately 300,000 accounts were compromised and those customers were notified by email and postal mail.  However, I never received either so I have to assume that my account wasn’t part of the hacking.

I am not really surprised over this given how inferior their email system is compared to more modern email systems like gmail and outlook.  What makes the product inferior is that the interface is old and limits customers to 1gb of storage and the number of emails that can be blocked are limited and once you reach that limit, the spammers can send you all the email they want and you cannot block them.  Certainly not the way any system should ever operate.  To make matters worse, the email system does not have a mobile version. In this day and age, this is just about a requirement for any website.

Since I did not get a notification from the company, I decided not to change my password because it was strong enough already.  At least I think I am still fairly safe with this account for now. 

Overall, it appears that both cable companies have failed along with 2 email systems as well. 

If this type of crap continues, this is going to be a VERY long year.

Predictions of 2015 and 2016

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It is now 2016 and that time of year where the predictions are made.

 

First a quick look back at 2015.  To be honest, 2015 will be known as the year of being ignored, not just a little bit but by virtually everyone I knew and the public in general.  Am I really that invisible?  Last time I checked I still was somewhat visible.  Hopefully, 2016 will be a better year, but so far it has not been any better.

 

2016 also marks what would have been my 20th anniversary with Staples.  Unfortunately, I never even made it to the 13th year before I was terminated.  Looking back now I am sort of glad that I was terminated before the company collapsed.

 

Speaking of companies collapsing, I also had 2 other jobs back in 1996 as well.  I was terminated from Woolworth in March of that year and I worked at HQ for 7 weeks during the summer of that year.  Both companies were gone by mid-1997 and I escaped both before they fell.  Staples seem to follow suit as they are not doing very well today.  During the coming year, I will reflect on 20 years ago and give some insight into what really happened back then.

 

Now onto the predictions of 2015 where last year, I said that only 2 of my predictions would come true.  Let’s see how I did.  The results are in bold parenthesis.

 

  • The merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast will be placed on hold as both companies would have to discharge some of their market holdings. (The possibly of this merger was dissolved.)
  • The possibility of a Staples/Office Max (Depot) merger is canned as neither side can agree on any merger details. (This merger is still in government negotiation.)
  • Given no merger, Office Max (Depot) shuts down at least half of their remaining locations.  (This did not happen.)
  • As well, Staples shuts down an additional 300 stores as the hack attack of 2014 grows larger.  (This did not quite happen—they shut down stores but not nearly that number.)
  • On the brink of bankruptcy, RadioShack is saved by a last-minute investor who wants to merge it with another big box retailer. (This did now quite happen but there are still some independent stores remaining.)
  • Walmart suffers a major hack attack, which causes millions of credit and debit cards to be compromised.  (This did not happen.)
  • The E! Network finally cancels everything Kardashian as the network struggles to survive.  (This did not happen.)
  • Adam West, TV’s 1960’s Batman, will be the voice of an aged Bruce Wayne on an episode of the Fox series “Gotham”.  (As far as I know, this did not happen.)
  • California will suffer a substantial earthquake in the area north of Los Angeles.  (This did not happen.)
  • Keystone pipeline will be defeated in Congress.  (This did happen.)
  • MTV will cancel “Eye Candy”.  (This did happen.)
  • My ex Tanya will get a divorce and return back to Maine wanting to search me out and try and patch things up. Of course, I accept (what choice do I have?).  (This only happened in my dreams or nightmares.)
  • I will either get a new job or a new girlfriend in 2015, but not both.  (I got neither but the girlfriend was closer to getting.)

Overall, I got 2 right and 2 half right so this could be called 3 right – one more than I had predicted.

So what does this year’s crystal ball have to offer—let’s gaze into it.

  • The Dow will slip to a low of 9,000.
  • JCPenney will file for bankruptcy and close all its stores.
  • Sears/Kmart will close at least half of their remaining locations before going out of business by year’s end.
  • OfficeDepot/OfficeMax will shut all their locations to allow Staples to buy the company and satisfy the government.
  • Playboy will have centerfolds again by September after suffering a huge drop in readers and its main focus will be on getting celebrities to pose for the pictures.
  • Nickelodeon will replace all its programming with imported teen shows similar to what happened to Teen Nick over the past few years.
  • Star Wars 8 will be delayed as a major accident on the set causes filming to cease.
  • The Muppets will not see a second season.
  • The Voice gets cancelled.
  • A new format superseding Blu-ray will be introduced, but will fail as it will not be embraced.
  • MTV, CMT and VH1 will merge into one station.
  • Windows 10 will experience a widespread update problem that causes updates to fail for weeks.
  • Kylie and Kendall Jenner will both get pregnant.

So those are my 13 predictions for the new year.  I predict that 4 of them will happen this year.  I am hedging my bet that my above average will carry over to this year.  We will check back next year to find out the results.

 

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