Time Warner’s Version of Windows ME

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Remember Windows ME?

 

Remember how it looked so pretty, but usually ended with the famous blue screen at least once a day?

 

Well, relive all that fun now with Time Warner Cable’s latest navigator update to version 7 (7.2.0.5 actually).

 

Last week over a 2 night period, this massive update happened.  On night one, the update took approximately 2 hours to fully install, the first part of version 7.  The next night, a second update installed the ODN extensions, which took about 15 minutes total.

 

First the good news (to some), DVR compensation is back and still just as cryptic as ever.  As I pointed out in the past, this is a horrible feature and seeing it return is stomach churning.

 

Another good news item for some is that the guide is now available in 16×9 format with 7 channels showing at once.  Bad news is that the block showing the current running program is distorted somewhat.  Even in standard mode, the guide has a new larger font with bigger spacing between lines, which is good for aging eyes like me.

 

Now for the bad news.  When the “B” button is pressed on the remote, gone is the old search page.  In its place is a menu of 3 or 4 items depending on recent activity.  They are from top to bottom: “What’s Hot”, “Search”, “Genre”, and “In-Progress” (optional if watching something on demand).

 

“What’s Hot” shows a sort of twitter-like trending list of top shows with graphics (sometimes). “Genre” shows a list of different types of programs and clicking on one of them expands to a long list of programs fitting that genre.  I find this the least effective and dumbest feature in this update.

 

The largest change comes with the “Search” option.  Here you can search by title, cast, channel, sports (why single this out?), or all of them at once.  The block to pick the letters and numbers has shrunk considerably and is extremely hard to read especially on a small TV.  However, when selecting say a cast member and typing in part of their name and then clicking on the desired name may bring up a long list of programs.  In this list, there might be some series programs as well.  Click on the program title and you may get a long list of episodes divided up by season number.  While I have felt that this feature is long needed, it is made excessively more difficult to find when a particular person appeared on a particular episode using this new search.  The search should be limited to the particular episode and not be an exhaustive list of airings of a series for that week.  This seems to be more of a bug than a feature.

 

Speaking of bugs, here is a list of other bugs I have noticed during my week of testing:

 

  • Resolving conflicts is no longer easy.  One must go into the guide and delete unwanted conflicts or click on the shows that they don’t want to tape, then hit cancel recording.  Either way, it is more key presses than in the past.
  • Graphics in the “What’s Hot” screen and the program screen may not appear.  It seems that this is a cloud based feature which is downloaded when a graphic is available or when the box can access its server.  I find many of these graphics annoying as they appear to be mostly scans of old DVD front art.
  • Shows that you delete for not wanting to record keep reappearing day after day.  Once you say that you don’t want to tape a show for a particular time it should be gone for good not keep coming back.
  • The star rating system from movies is gone.  This feature I found to be one of the most desirable as it gave me some idea of how good or bad a film was.  This feature needs to be returned.
  • Shows marked for removal of space for new recordings don’t work when new recordings are added and space is limited.  The new recording is either not recorded or truncated.

 

Overall, there are other minor bugs that creep in once in a while, but these are the major ones.  While this is certainly a first step in being a modern system, it like Windows ME has a lot of bugs that prevent full enjoyment.  Hopefully we get another update in the near future correcting some of the above mentioned problems.

 

I am not giving this product a score because this upgrade is incomplete as far as I am concerned, but if I was to give it a grade it would be a 6.

 

 

Please note:  There will be no posting next week in celebration of Thanksgiving.  I will be back in 2 weeks with a new posting at that time.

 

 

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Stunt Casting Reunion on “Sam & Cat”

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At some point, it had to happen: a Laverne and Shirley reunion with Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.

 

However, this was not the venue I was expecting.

 

It happened on the Nickelodeon show “Sam & Cat”.

 

For those who don’t know what “Laverne & Shirley” is, it was a one of many spinoffs from the show “Happy Days”.  It aired from the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s.  For the most part, it was an entertaining show.

 

This reunion was anything short of being entertaining.  While this episode titled “#SalmonCat” did pay kudos to the old series such as having Sam & Cat recreate in part the original opening, it was only the very beginning of that opening.  It would have been better to do a full opening rather than this lame partial opening.

 

As far as what “SalmonCat” was, it was half-cat, half-salmon puppet show hosted by Marshall and Williams.  Eventually they broke up and went their separate ways.  “SalmonCat” is also a wild reference to Williams’ Shirley character owning a stuffed cat named “Boo Boo Kitty”.

 

This is where Sam & Cat came in.  Sam went to visit Marshall’s character and Cat went to visit Williams’s character.  Sam & Cat then hatched a plan to reunite the two stars, but it quickly turns into an old lady slow motion smack down fight.

 

The two end up injuring each other, but somehow become friends again.

 

Overall, the one who got hurt the most from this reunion was the viewer as this was about as pathetic as they come.  Under the right conditions, this could have been really great, not Saturday Night Fights.

 

My Score:  5

 

Summary:  This show continues with highs and lows, but this episode hits a new low with an audience that probably doesn’t know who “Laverne & Shirley” was.  This episode is for only those over 35, others need not apply.  Someday, we will have a better reunion, I hope.

 

 

 

 

Maine Politics Winners and Losers (Sorry, Just Losers)

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The following special post is being presented in all my blogs this week.

 

This has been a very interesting week for the political climate here in Maine and mostly not in a good way.

 

Let’s start with the admission by U.S. House member Michael Michaud coming out to admit he was gay.  Michaud was trying to beat the gossipers to the news, which he probably never wanted to release publicly.  As someone who wants to become Maine’s next governor, he may have put himself out of the race with this revelation.  He claims that he is the ‘same old Mike as yesterday”, but I believe that people won’t adjust to the “New old Mike”.  I really have my doubts about his political future.

 

On the same day, current governor Paul LePage launches his reelection campaign.  He claims that he has lowered taxes, paid off our hospitals, and getting rid of welfare fraud.

 

Is he serious?

 

He has raised taxes by raising the sales tax to 5.5% and allowing taxing on items not previously taxed.  He has cut the homestead exemption therefore raising property taxes on many citizens of the state to new highs. Paying off the hospitals just added to the expenses that Maine taxpayers have had to suffer especially given the non-expansion of the MaineCare system (Medicaid).  Finally, welfare fraud came at the expense of not enrolling anybody who shouldn’t be on the rolls, which includes people like me who are uninsured and currently unemployed.  Certainly, not a smart move for those whore really need it.

 

Now onto the Election Day mess.

 

For those people living in Lewiston, congratulations.  You got more time with your loudmouth Robert Macdonald as mayor.  This is the guy who wanted to get rid of the Somalia people from the city as they were a drain on the city’s resources.  Expect him to compete well against LePage for more offensive comments during the coming year or so.

 

For people of Portland, congratulations on legalizing marijuana of 2.5 ounces within the city limits.  Bad news is that the people can’t get it from the medical dispensaries and there is no regulation of how this will be implemented.  However, considering that it’s still illegal at the state and federal level, expect that those who want their pot will get it somehow illegally.  Just don’t step over the city line or you will risk being arrested for possession.

 

For my fellow citizens of South Portland, congratulations are in order double.  First, you approved big oil to win in a close vote (under 200 vote difference) to allow tar sands to come into the waterfront region and allow big oil to build nice smokestacks in the city as well.  Apparently many of the citizens of SoPo were smoking their weed in Portland to realize the future pollution in South Portland.    Secondly, the stupid people of the city voted to build a $14 million public works garage, when something about half that price was once suggested.  Add this to the $50+ million approved for the high school a couple of years ago and you will realize that property taxes will go through the roof.  Don’t people realize that the city doesn’t have any money trees growing in the city?

 

And finally, congratulations to all the citizens of Maine for approving 5 bond issues totaling around $150 million.  Can we afford all this debt?  After all, we are already the worst state in the nation to do business.  Did we want to make more debt a priority in raising taxes even more when this is combined with the $450 million hospital bill?  Who will pay the $600 million back?  Certainly not getting any money from those money trees growing around the state.

 

Overall, the state is pretty much screwed up and the people are screwed paying for years for things that really are not needed or required.  Maybe next year, we can get something right for once and get back from the bottom of the deck of states and stop being the butt of all jokes.