The 100th Post – State of the Blog

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Hello and welcome to the 100th post.

 

This blog has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

 

Maybe I should say the lack of beginnings.

 

This blog was born out of my desire to talk about everything that my other blog didn’t cover.

 

Certainly politics was a major topic over the last year or so of this blog.  Anger exists of the stupid politicians and how they seem to want to hurt more than help the people who put them in office in the first place.

 

Love it or hate it, Time Warner Cable has been a constant evolving problem.  Things may get better or worse if the proposed takeover by Comcast takes place.  In fact, one person I know expressed his hatred to merger despite the fact that he not only doesn’t watch TV, he doesn’t have cable or as far as I know don’t even own a TV.  How can anyone be angry at a merger without knowing how bad things currently are?  I guess ignorance is bliss.

 

Ignorance also showed its ugly head with customer service as well.  When companies like Newsweek ignore their customer’s subscriptions like I was ignored, then going out of business would be a blessing.  Sad when a company offers no solution to help a customer.

 

As far as television is concerned, we mourned the death of shows like iCarly and Victorious while criticizing the rotating horrors of Saturday night on Nickelodeon.  The movies on the network fared no better overall.

 

On the Disney side, shows like “Liv & Maddie” are promising and “Teen Beach Movie” was a hit, but other newcomers may have some issues.  Unfortunately, “Shake It Up” and “Good Luck Charlie” are two of the better shows that are both history now.

 

Speaking of history, we kiss goodbye to “The X Factor”.  After 3 painful years, it is finally over.  However, the real question will be the survival of a revamped “American Idol”.  Only time will tell over that one, but at least the drama queens are gone.

 

Speaking of drama queens, there was no shortage of displays of nudity of former Disney queens Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus.  Can’t these girls keep their clothes on at all?  What are they trying to prove by doing all that nudity and what influences are they upon their younger fans?  I consider neither a role model anymore and I hope others feel the same way.

 

Finally, the topic of bullying sparked the biggest comments, mostly from those on Facebook, which ironically is the biggest source of the problem.  Facebook also has seen its ups and downs on the number of friends I have.  Some have tried to be friends while others have left with no explanation.  My thought is its their loss not mine.

So what am I looking forward to discussing in the future.  Here are some of the topics I have in mind for the future:

 

  • Why go blue?
  • What the TWC merger means to us?
  • Disney vs. Nick:  why are the wheels falling off both companies?
  • And finally, possibly coming next a multi-part post:  Why I never intend to attend my high school reunion ever?  I expect that this one will offend a lot of people who still are friends with me from high school.

 

Overall, this has been humbling road since the first post which just had one vote as to whether I should have left my original blog to Blogger.  Thankfully I extended to WordPress because the blog has increased significantly since.  Hopefully, this one will see similar growth when I reach post #200.

 

So until next time…happy reading.

 

 

 

 

The Other 2013 Obituaries

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Forget about those who died in 2013.

 

This blog posting is all about those other things that died in 2013.  Some you recognize, some you may never have heard of, but to me they all had some social attachment.

 

So here we go:

 

First up we lost Newsweek from the print universe at the first of the year.  As some of you who follow this blog know that I had a subscription to this magazine and had many problems to get a substitute magazine sent to me.  Unfortunately, I lost about 4 months of my subscription because of these idiots.  The digital version never worked for me on either of my computers.  Rumor is now that the company has been sold that the print version is returning back in the near future.  I really am not looking forward to this.

 

We also lost 2 computer magazines this year.  One was the popular PCWorld magazine.  It published its last issue back in August.  It is now just a digital only magazine.  I enjoyed this magazine much more since the departure of PCMagazine a few years ago, which also went digital.  PCWorld was the last U.S. based general purpose magazine dedicated to the general computer user.  Yes, I know that Maximum PC still exists, but it is more of an advanced magazine, not one catering to all user levels.  Maybe someday one of these 2 magazines will be resurrected in print someday.  Ironically, MACWorld, the company’s companion magazine still exists in a print format.  This is funny because Apple is so much into the iPad devices that still having a print publication seems backward for a company that believes in going so deep into being digital.

 

The other computer magazine we lost last year was Game Developer Magazine.  Many of you may never have heard of this magazine.  I started reading this magazine when it premiered way back in 1994.  I purchased it at the nearest Waldensoftware store which was located in the late Newington Mall in Newington New Hampshire.  In fact, I made monthly trips of 50 miles just to get this magazine on a regular basis.  At the time it really was that good.  It was one of a very few magazines that published source code to games like the old Compute!  Magazine did years earlier.  After Waldensoftware closed, I was unable to get the magazine for a couple of years until Borders started carrying it.  Eventually, they stopped carrying the magazine, but I was able to secure a subscription for the last couple of years directly from the company for free.  Sadly, the last couple of years the magazine had changed from publishing source code to being a magazine that just told about case studies of computer gaming companies and their software instead.  It certainly was a sad way to see this magazine end.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t live on in any format; however pdf versions of the magazines along with the source code are still readily available online.  I am not posting a link to it, however, because I don’t know about the legality of this archive on the website that I have seen it on.

 

Even though it officially went out of business of January 12 of this year, Blockbuster video store was really dead last year.  It has been months since the chain has had a store in Maine and I don’t remember seeing one in a very long time.  However, I once tried to get employment at the one that was once across the street from the local mall.  Unfortunately, they expected so much to be done for absolute minimum wage and getting a raise was certainly not guaranteed anytime in the foreseeable future.  So I declined the offer to work for them and never regretted it.  The company still has an active website and still apparently sells videos by mail and on demand, but no physical locations exist.  Unfortunately, many other video chains have bitten the dust as well last year as well.

 

The TV series “The Goldbergs” gave a fitting eulogy to the video store in a recent episode.  It certainly brought back memories of the 1980’s and the way things were then.  If you lived in the 1980’s, I highly recommend this show.

 

Finally, there is the Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus Massachusetts.  It served its last meal in October and most of the items were auctioned off in December.  Unfortunately, I never got to have my last meal there because the restaurant closed before the end of the month of October and we went down about 2 weeks before the end of the month only to find it had already closed.  Certainly was a sad ending with no real closure and I really was looking forward to that last meal there.

 

So there you have it:  my list of other obituaries of the year of 2013.  Hopefully, I won’t have a list for 2014, but you never know.

 

 

 

Another Newsweek Response–Just Keeps Getting Sillier

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Today I received yet another response from Newsweek. Here it is exactly as I received it:

Dear Louis Brown,

I do apolgozie for the inconveince. I have forwarded your comments for further review of the account. Thank you for your patients.

As you can see from the above, it has 2 spelling errors and 1 incorrect word. Can this company even be trusted to deliver news if they can’t even write a simple 2 sentence email. My answer is I doubt it. So this saga goes on…

Finally, Another Newsweek Response

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After nearly 3 weeks without a response from Newsweek, I finally received the following response today:

Dear Louis Brown,

I apologize for the previous response. A review of your account shows that your subscription was to expire with the March 08, 2013 issue. If you were to cancel your subscription a refund would not be issued. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

Thank you for subscribing to Newsweek.

It appears that the company PURPOSELY waited until my subscription was over to contact me about it that way they would not have to issue me any kind of refund. However, as mentioned previously, they had extended my subscription by 2 months, so it seems that I should still be entitled to something.

I have sent them one last final email telling them how angry I was and that I was reporting all of this to my blogs. My advice to anyone wanting to subscribe to Newsweek: DON’T BOTHER – It is just not worth it no matter what.

 

Why Gmail is NOT my friend

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Imagine living on a long street and being the first house on that street.  Now consider the idea that your local mailman decides that he would place all the mail of the street in your mailbox whether it belongs to you or not.  Every day you take that mail and bring it to the post office and tell them that this mail is not yours and needs to be delivered to the right address.  However, every day the same thing keeps happening and you keep getting the same mail that doesn’t belong to you over and over again.  After a very short time, you would get sick of this very quickly and possibly the lazy mailman would get fired for not doing his job appropriately.

Well, welcome to the wonderful (or not so wonderful) world of Gmail, the Google email system.  I signed up with Gmail as a very early user and everything went fine up to about a year ago.  Then everything went downhill.

I started receiving bills for cellphone services such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and others.  One by one I had to email these companies to tell them that they had the wrong email address.  Some were easily accommodating; others took several attempts before eliminating me off their bills.  Along the way I also had requests for Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, and even other Gmail accounts.  Each of these I had to either terminate or not accept at all.

However, the last straw came last week when one person who had been emailing bills for some weird items got way out of hand.  After contacting this person a couple of times that they had the wrong email address, they got angry at me and blocked me and made racial slurs against me even without ever meeting me or having anything to do with me whatsoever.  My thought was that at least this person was gone from life because of this, even though I was harassed in the process.

This brings me to my point:  Don’t use Gmail for your everyday usage as you could get emails that aren’t even yours.  Sadly, Google offers NO help with this problem and a generic email response I received from them a few months ago just got me madder.  (Sound familiar?  Think Newsweek.)  In fact the ability to receive help from Google is almost impossible as there is no easy way to a “Contact Us” link—it just doesn’t exist!

So what do I recommend?  Here is a list of some I have used and my feelings of them:

  • Yahoo MailIf you love spam, then this is the email system of choice.  I spend more time deleting emails from this service than any other.  The plus side is the groups, which is also their big minus as well.  Recommended only to the lonely and those who love to exercise the delete key.  If you do use this service, I would recommend going to the classic edition, which is non-Java based.  It provides faster deletion of emails.
  • Hotmail:  Soon to be merged into the newer Outlook.com site.  This is my preferred email service and tends to filer spam better than any other service.
  • Outlook:  A souped-up version of Hotmail.  I signed up as soon as this became available just to get the address I wanted.  Haven’t used it much, but looks promising.
  • Road Runner:  This is for Time Warner customers and associated services only.  Works well, but extremely dated look.  Filters spam pretty well, but not used much anymore because of its awkwardness.
  • NetZero/Juno:  These twin services I used when I first started online and haven’t used them much since.  Possibly worth having just to have a free email service.
  • Mail:  A lot of pop-ups make this a bother, but unlimited storage and putting everything in one place may be a plus to some.

Overall, I prefer the Hotmail account for being most efficient and one I use most often.  Gmail hits the bottom of the deck as if you really wanted to get everybody else’s mail.  Now if you excuse me I have more emails to get rid of from Gmail and many to delete from my Yahoo accounts.

 

Another Newsweek Subscription Update–It Just Keeps Getting Worse

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Yesterday, I received an email from the company that presumably holds my subscription.  The news just keeps getting worse.  They stated that, since I really never “paid” it, I am entitled to NOTHING!!  This means that neither company seems to care about REAL CUSTOMER SERVICE and both would rather lose a customer than satisfying a customer.  I have sent both companies one final email hoping one will cave with a solution otherwise I will be reporting this incident to the Better Business Bureau.  I believe that this has gone on for way too long and shows complete irresponsibility of both companies.  My recommendation is that if anybody out there has a Newsweek subscription, don’t renew it.  This company deserves to die once and for all.  If they gave up on the print media, then we should give up on them as well.

Response from Alternative Company of Newsweek Subscription

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Just minutes ago, approximately 3 business days later, I received a response from the company that holds my subscription.  Here is their canned response:

 

Hello,

Unfortunately, we provide you with technical support for this subscription. Furthermore, we are not authorized to offer any other subscription in place of this one. We can only cancel the subscription all together. Please contact Newsweek directly as they are the only ones who may be able to offer you an alternative option to this subscription.

 

I apologize for any inconvenience.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

It seems to me that I am being treated like a ping-pong ball between these two companies.  Nobody wants to take ANY responsibility for just how bad this product really is.  It is sad when a customer can’t get any satisfaction for what would seem like a very simple problem.  What gets to me the most is that nobody wants to be a big boy and just offer an alternative to the crappy digital format.  I really am not asking for a lot, just something in return of my remaining subscription.  Is that really so hard to do?  Apparently, for these companies it is.  Depending on the result of my response email, I will be filing a complaint with the BBB as this is just bull!  Stay tuned..

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