Time Warner’s Version of Windows ME

Leave a comment

 

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Holy Crap, Don’t Look Ethel! — Swindle and the VMAS and Batman too

Leave a comment

To say that last weekend was boring would be the furthest from the truth.  In fact, it could be said that it got downright ugly.  At least to some, it would be.

First up, I have good news and bad news for Jennette McCurdy.

The good news is that her Nickelodeon show “Sam & Cat” has finally hit its stride after 8 episodes and finally looks somewhat promising.  The episode “#MommaGoomer” finally has characters from Victorious as guest stars, most notably Sikowicz. This show may not die a quick death after all.

However, the same cannot be said for the latest Nickelodeon movie “Swindle” that premiered last weekend.  This movie promised an “all-star cast” with actors from “Big Time Rush”, “Sam & Cat”, “Supah Ninjas” and the now-cancelled “How to Rock”.  The lead actress of this show was Jennette McCurdy, who played an over-the-top young actress and Noah Munck, who still seems that he was still playing the same character from the previous movie of “Nicky Deuce”.

The premise of the story was when a very old baseball card was found in a wall by a couple of teenagers and they decided to take it to a local collector shop to try to sell it.  He offered them a couple hundred dollars for it, when he knowingly knew it was worth well over a million dollars.

Unfortunately, this is where the real story ends.  What happens from this point forward is a mish-mash of scenes that have absolutely no connections at all with each other as they go chasing to get their card back from the swindler.

Sadly, this movie lasts for 2 hours and is probably the worst 2 hours I have seen in a long time.  Ironically, the script ended 20 minutes into this train wreck.

Oh wait, other worse Nickelodeon movies “Fred: the Movie” and “Best Player”, which also star Jennette McCurdy, could be considered a triple feature of bad movies that were just bad career moves, one right after another.  Somebody please get this girl a new agent before we find her like Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan.

At the end of this movie, the viewer is given a very short preview of the next Nickelodeon movie called “Jinxed” airing this fall.  This movie stars Ciara Bravo from “Big Time Rush”, also in this movie as well.  Judging from this preview, this movie looks like another loser.  I will have a review after it airs later this year.

My recommendation:  Don’t be swindled by “Swindle”.  This is overhyped garbage with a lack of storyline.

My score:  2

 

 

Now onto another event of the past weekend: the MTV Video Music Awards.

I did not watch this show completely, only parts of it.  However, I saw enough to realize one thing:  it had its share of its annual shock value.

Most notably was the whole Miley Cyrus performance with Robin Thicke.  As this performance, it had enough gyrating as any stripper show would probably have and then some.

While many complained about someone so young doing this sort of thing, nobody held a gun to their head to watch this.  It is quite apparent that Miley is no longer Disney material anymore.  She has finally grown up whether we wanted her to or not.  I certainly have reluctantly accepted her post-Hannah Montana image.

Ironically, where were all these complainers when the movie “Spring Breakers” came out earlier this year?  This was a nudity filled R-rated movie that featured Disney darlings Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens along with ABCFamily (also owned by Disney) star Ashley Benson.  I think that this would be much more of a reputation killer than Miley’s VMA performance.

One thing I found interesting was that this show was scheduled for 2 ½ hours, yet this show clocked in at about 2 hours 25 minutes.  While it was nice to finally get a short show, it makes me wonder if they ran out of acts or whether people just got bored.  It was not uncommon in years past to see this show running close to 3 hours or longer.  Maybe the VMAs are finally running out of steam or maybe just running out of shocking things to feed us every year.

Since I did not see this entire show, I won’t give this show a score as it would not be fair, but from what I did see I would say watch if not easily offended.

Lastly, I must comment on Ben Affleck as the new Batman.  This is the worse choice ever!!  Did they pick the first name out of their alphabetic rolodex?  What’s next in their casting: Kirk Douglas as Robin and Lady Gaga as the Joker?  Seriously, I am not looking forward to this at all.  My expectations of the Superman/Batman movie have all but been ruined now.

Overall, it appeared that last weekend was full of bad performances and the anticipation of future bad performances.

Where We Are Now..It is 2013 Right?

Leave a comment

When I started this blog 7 months ago, I had no idea what it was going to be or what I would discuss.  Ironically 2 topics came up to me more often than not.  They were the lousy service provided by Time Warner Cable and the mass shooting violence that has happened around the country.

Unfortunately, there is no solution to either problem.  In fact, both problems seem to have escalated since the first of the year.  More murders have happened around the country and TWC has eliminated the Ovation Channel without lowering their cost by even one penny.

Here is what I would like to see for 2013:

Gun Violence:

  • Congress needs to toughen gun laws.  Forget the mental illness crap, one recent murder in Maine involved a guy drunk and killing 2 people who were his renters.
  • NRA needs to stop making foolish comments like they did after the Newtown incident.  Only banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons are the solution, no matter what the NRA says.
  • Stop blaming video games, movies, and music for the violence.  They are minimal parts of the big problem.
  • And finally, tighten gun registration and background checks.  This is a strong deterrent and must be enforced.

TWC:

  • Scrap the current navigator interface.  It looks bad and locks up all the time.
  • Fire the programmers.  These people are idiots and don’t get how to fix the errors in their navigator system.
  • Update the guide to show correct programming at all times.  Sadly, I many times have recorded shows that don’t exist because the programming guide was very wrong.  Unfortunately, TWC doesn’t get the idea that the guide needs to be current to work properly with the DVRs.
  • Lower the price of product or increase features.  Yes, you get more bang for the buck with satellite, but TWC could implement the same features if they really applied themselves and not even charge more.  Maybe they just don’t understand that concept.

I don’t expect either of these issues to be resolved in the near future as there are nobody who is interested in fixing the problems no matter how many people die or how many angry TWC customers there are.  I will continue to update on these topics when necessary.

Hopefully, next week I can discuss a more enjoyable topic like television or the next political nightmare.  But until then…stay tuned.

Gun Control and Mental Illness

2 Comments

Certainly there are no words that can express my feelings for what happened in Newtown, Connecticut this month.  What I can express words on is that this could have been avoided if only we had tighter gun control laws.

The bad thing is that it seems that everybody wants to blame “Mental Illness” as the cause of the events.  Seriously, is this the excuse to be used on every violent incident now?

It has now even gotten worse as other things have been blamed for all the recent violence.  Amongst them include:

  • Movies – Let’s stop blaming movies for all the violence.  After all, I don’t know of many cars that fly through the air and have weapons in their front grill.  The blamers want to convince us that movies are the problem.  This has been blamed for too many years and foolishly.
  • Video games – I have heard this one ever since the 1990’s when games like Doom came out back them.  Do killing monsters really make people want to kill people?  I have didn’t buy it then and certainly don’t buy it now.
  • Music – Poor Ke$ha.  She is being blamed for her song of “Die Young” for being the inspiration for the recent violent acts.  I have heard this song many times and I don’t think the blamers get it.  Yes, this song gets me pumped only because I like it, but I certainly don’t feel violent because of it.  Of course, I still get pumped up over Britney Spears “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”, but then again that’s just me.

What we should REALLY be blaming are the things that really count and amongst them are:

  • NRA – One of the largest political action groups buys the people who make the decisions in Congress.  They wave their second amendment rights around like they were the American flag.  We need to get people in Congress who are not puppets of the NRA.
  • Gun Resellers/Retailers – Many states don’t do background checks before they sell a weapon and sometimes they ignore the laws anyway.  The laws vary from state to state which makes matter worse.  I remember when I was working at Woolworth, the rules were that the gun application would have to be faxed to Augusta and then wait about 3 days to get a response.  However, one time there was no response after 3 days so the salesclerk went ahead and sold the weapon anyway.  It turned out that one NEVER should have been sold after the report came back as being a risky person.  Nobody ever heard the end of that one.  Resellers have to act more responsible and keep the laws in mind and abide by them.
  • People like Norman Hamann – This nutcase needs to be in jail or a mental facility.  He believes his own fears allow him to walk around with a gun in his belt.  Sadly, I believe everyone else is scared of when he might crack and start using it.  What bothers me even more is that he thinks that it is ok to film his encounters with the police.  If anybody is mentally ill, Norman is the top of the class.

Sad to say there will be more gun violence if the real issues are not addressed.  It does not matter what the President does or Vice President thinks he can do will matter.  Mental illness is just a rubber stamp that I believe that everybody has if pushed far enough.  Even I was once called mentally ill.  I will have more to say about that in a future post.

The biggest question that has been asked lately is “Are we really safe anymore?”.  My answer is “I don’t believe so and never will, just don’t scare the children with that information.”

For now the only things we should worry about is the fiscal cliff or even worse the Mayan’s prediction of the end of the world.

 

Notice to all:

I will not be posting to this blog until after the first of the year as I feel that both the reader and myself need a holiday vacation from everything that has been going on in the world lately.  I plan on being back right after the first of the year with possibly a look back at the previous year and my look ahead to the next one.  So until then Happy Christmas and Merry New Year or something like that.

 

Fun Size Rating Maybe Not So Fun Size

Leave a comment

Well, as predicted the Victoria Justice movie that opens in about 10 days has received the more fierce PG-13 rating.

Apparently, as the rating states of partying, suggestive language and such, that this is REALLY not a kid’s movie and thus parents should be aware of that.  I sometimes question why the MPAA rates movies the way they do as sometimes the ratings seem far off from where they really should be.

However, this time I believe that in part potty-mouth Chelsea Handler could be to blame for this.  Maybe if someone else was in the role of the mother maybe it might have gotten the more kid-friendly PG rating instead.

Certainly this rating will reduce the audience significantly as parents keep the kids away from this movie.  Only time with tell how little this movie takes in at the box office/