Breaking News: Spectrum Finally Lands…with a Thud!

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Breaking:  I interrupt this blog to bring the following post.

Spectrum has arrived as the new provider replacing Time Warner Cable (TWC).  

While their ads are touting it as something new and better, it is really crap.  I am hear to cut through the clutter and reveal the current truth of this provider.

On the surface, the only major changes seem to be just the rebranding of the name.  However, for those who previously had Charter as their provider may not be happy with what the TWC moniker brought to them.  Even worse, is what has been taken away from TWC users.

I found my first problem last week after the changeover when I could no longer get one of the channels I had previously been receiving on our DVRs.  So I decided to call and see what they could do for me since rebooting the box didn’t solve the problem.

And now let the nightmare begin.

After speaking to 8 (yes, 8) different people over the course of 1 hour and 40 minutes, I had no solution to my problem.  During the time I was on the telephone, I think I was left in limbo as the phone rang back a couple of times and someone else answered.  Each time I had to explain my problem again and again.

Some of the people were techs, customer service, and even one was just a general operator.  Some also identified themselves as employees of Spectrum while others identified themselves as employees of Time Warner Cable.  Apparently, this company is still severly fractured as the results that I received were embarrassing at best.  To make matters worse was that I asked the same question to every person I spoke with and got at least 3 different responses.  Nobody seemed to know a solution and were just guessing at a possible solution.

I finally ended the call with someone in billing and I really expected some sort of credit to my account for the frustration I recieved, but no such luck.

As far as customer service goes, they failed worse than TWC ever did.

However, the loss of one missing channel was just the beginning.

It seems that Spectrum has 3 levels of service: basic, silver, and gold.  To receive the most channels, you need the gold package.  But if you want the following channels among others:

  • Esquire
  • The Word Network
  • Jewish Life Network
  • Disney Channel West
  • Nick 2
  • New York News 1
  • CNN International

You are screwed as these channels are no longer available in any Spectrun package.  So someone is paying nearly as much as previously but with fewer channels.  In fact some channels that used to be part of TWC basic package requires the Spectrum gold package to receive them.  As far as I am concerned, Spectrum has taken a major step backward in cable service. I like to call this classic “bait and switch”.

They are also promoting their internet service now with starting speeds of 60Mbps.  In the past, I was paying extra for the TWC turbo speed.  With that service, I was averaging about 25Mbps.  After the switchover and rebooting my modem (my choice to reboot), I was getting at best a top download speed of about 38Mbps, nowhere near the 60Mbps that they are promising.  I decided not to make another phone call and waste more time with air incompetent employees.  I have been testing my speed daily and I seem to be averaging about 28Mbps, only a slight increase from the TWC service.  Maybe it might be better at say 2am, when I used to do some of my internet surfing, but I haven’t done that in months.

I cannot speak for how the phone service has gotten better or worse since I don’t have that feature.

By checking out the Spectrum Facebook page, it seems they are bombarded with complaints from around the country especially from former TWC customers.  Apparently, I am not the only dissatified with their service.

Given that the only other choices in my area is satellite and with no competition, Spectrum has to be my service.  I am hoping that the service improves and that the channels removed will be replaced and that the internet speed improves.

Currently, I have reservations of recommeding Spectrum service.  

It may be a new day according their television ad, but the dark storm clouds are prevalent.

My score:  2. (based upon current level of service)

Some Endings…(and some that SHOULD Be)

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Here we are well into 2017 and this is my first post to this blog of the new year.

I had decided to wait long enough for the political dust to settle, but I figured that everyone is so polarized that I could be waiting forever.

Certainly, 2016 was not a fun year as my health took a major step backwards and I had several longtime friends decide to no longer want to be friends, some who were friends over 30 years.  Apparently, they felt that I was too polarizing for them.

I also didn’t want to offend any friends if I could help it.  As an examle, one of my friend’s father had passed away.  I decided to make neither a comment or leave an emoticon as I felt that the last time I made any comment I was blasted by one of their family members as I felt that the picture was funny.  Unfortunately, I decided not to let my feelings known in this very sad occasion.

It was best that I kept a fairly low profile when my health started slipping.  At this point, I still am not out of the woods regarding my health and therefore haven’t been writing much.  It is for this reason that I will not be offering any future annual predictions.  However, I will give the results of last year’s predictions.

So here are last year’s predictions and the results:

  • The Dow will slip to a low of 9,000. (No, didn’t happen.)
  • JCPenney will file for bankruptcy and close all its stores. (No, didn’t happen however the future of the local one is questionable as I write this.)
  • Sears/Kmart will close at least half of their remaining locations before going out of business by year’s end. (Not yet)
  • OfficeDepot/OfficeMax will shut all their locations to allow Staples to buy the company and satisfy the government. (Nope)
  • 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. ( They have returned so I was only about 5 months off..so I am calling this partly yes.)
  • Nickelodeon will replace all its programming with imported teen shows similar to what happened to Teen Nick over the past few years. (No, but the future of the network is in jeopardy.)
  • Star Wars 8 will be delayed as a major accident on the set causes filming to cease. (No, but the death of Carrie Fisher may slow down the next one.)
  • The Muppets will not see a second season. (Who really thought this mess would not get cancelled?)
  • The Voice gets cancelled. (Despite no big name winners, this show still slugs along.)
  • A new format superseding Blu-ray will be introduced, but will fail as it will not be embraced. (If you call Ultra 4k a new format, then it has not been a huge seller yet, but then again 3D discs are becoming scarce.)
  • MTV, CMT and VH1 will merge into one station. (The future of these Viacom stations are questionable at this point.)
  • Windows 10 will experience a widespread update problem that causes updates to fail for weeks. (Although some problems have existed, updates have been not interrupted much.)
  • Kylie and Kendall Jenner will both get pregnant. (As far as I know, this didn’t happen yet unless a big bombshell happens.)

Out of 13 predictions, I am calling 6 halves and only 1 fully correct.  I may bring predictions back in the future if people request it, otherwise they are history.

Now onto other topics:

“Girl Meets World” has officially been cancelled by Disney Channel.  After 3 seasons, this show has been tossed to the curb.  While I haven’t finished the last 4 episodes, I have no idea how this series will end.

I have read that there is an effort to have this show be revived somewhere else.  One of them was Netflix.  I don’t think this would be a good choice as this show is more of a linear show and not one that could be watched in some random order.  Since I don’t have this service, I cannot think that this would be a great move.
Another option would be to put this on Freeform or as I like to call it the “Harry Potter” network since these movies are always on.  They have 3 series “Switched at Birth”,”The Fosters” and “Pretty Little Liars”, all of which are soon ending.  The problem with putting the show on this network is that there are only 2 comedies and neither are what I would call family-friendly.  Unless this network revamped its entire lineup, this show would never have a chance.

My choice would be to put this show on Friday nights on abc, preferably at 8:30pm – the slot currently occupied by “Dr. Ken”. The best thing about putting this show on Friday is that it’s predecessor was on that night for several years.  Hopefully, this could happen and save this good show.

However I cannot say the same for “Riverdale”.  If you grew up in the 1970’s, then you might remember the Archie cartoon series or if you are older you might know the comic book series.  Unfortunately, this show is not a thing like it’s pedigree should be.  This show is more like a fanboy sick fantasy than a really great show.  This show has it all: murder, interracial relationships, lesbian kissing, and sex, just to name a few.  This is where the show has many of its problems.  Like many shows of this type, it all starts with a murder and the show goes downhill from there.  The only difference is that this show uses the Archie comic characters as the basis of the story.  Like “The Muppets” from last season, this show deserves to die quickly and not be rebooted at all.  My score: 1

This show has absolutely no redeeming value and it’s sick lesbian kiss between Betty and Veronica was just too much to unsee.

Finally, I want to discuss the current state of the Time Warner/Spectrum merger.  Here in Maine, it has not happened yet.  We have been promised an updated program guide and still no changes.  Ads are still running with the TWC moniker and no indication of the Spectrum name can be found.  Rumor is that changes are supposed to happen by the end of this month.  The only changes to date is to the phone app, which is nothing more than rebranding the TWC app with the Spectrum name.  I really expected more than this especially after all these months since the merger.

To wrap up this post: 

  • My predictions have ended.
  • “Girl Meets World” has ended.
  • “Riverdale” should end.
  • Time Warner Cable should end it’s name locally and embrace its Spectrum name.

Finally, 2017 will be a year of anniversaries, 3 of them none that are overly happy.  Two will be discussed in my other blog, the third in this one.  The first will come next month.

My next blog post here will be the start of my Florida trip from last year.  It won’t be a boring travel log, but rather a look at interesting things along the way.

Until next time, comments are always welcome here or my Facebook page.

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.

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.

Worst Corporate Buy Ever?

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This week it was announced that Verizon was going to purchase AOL for about $4.4 billion.

 

Now the very idea of anybody buying AOL is reminiscent of times when AOL was actually a relevant company.

 

Nowadays AOL is mostly just a site like Yahoo that has email, news and a search engine.  However, reportedly, about 2 million people still use AOL as their dial-up service provider.

 

Yes I said dial-up.

 

Back in the good old days, millions of people used AOL as their dial-up service provider.  Back then, you hooked up your telephone line to your computer and have it dial a local (hopefully) service number.  If you were lucky, you could get through and enjoy AOL service in the slow lane.  If you were not so lucky, you would either get a busy signal or a “no service” voice message from the phone company.  Don’t even think about the time when another member of the family wanted to make a phone call and picked up another phone in the house and the connection was lost.

 

AOL service however was not the internet, but a portal to the services that the company offered.  Of course, there were the endless 3 ½ discs and later CDs that AOL sent out in virtually every computer magazine and many other magazines under the sun. I still have hundreds of these discs packed away somewhere.  Many of the 3 ½ discs could be reformatted and reused but in later years, they made them read only discs by having the write-protect tab removed.  All these discs promised anywhere from say 10 free hours all the way up to 1000 free hours on AOL service.  This would be great as long as you could get on the system.

 

There were alternatives such as Netscape, NetZero, Juno, and CompuServe.  However, nobody could really beat AOL for amount of services available with the possible exception of CompuServe.  The content from each of these portals were unique and usually not available on any other.

 

Then came the internet, where everything changed.  All of the above named portals soon became obsolete.

 

All the information that anybody needed was available to everyone not just those who had one particular service.  Because of this, faster modems were invented and broadband was born.

 

And so the cable companies wanted to hop on the broadband bandwagon as well.

 

Quickly companies like AOL began losing thousands of its users very quickly.  The company looked desperate.

 

Then along came Time, Inc. to the rescue.

 

They were able to purchase the struggling portal and make it part of the Time Warner Cable division.  I even signed up for one of their new preferred accounts for free that they were offering.  However, to use the service, you had to load a special portal program which altered access to the internet and everything was funneled through that portal.  I found the process difficult and stopped using it after a short time.  I still have an email account with them, but have not used it in years.

 

When Time, Inc. decided to break up its company, Time Warner Cable basically disposed of their AOL division.  They were now out on their own again, a lost soul with little future except for those who still relied on them for internet service.

 

Now we have Verizon, who want to purchase the company.

 

Is this really a good idea?  While all the comments that I have heard is that this merger would create a way to bring video and advertising to mobile devices.  As a Verizon user myself, I will say that more advertising is certainly not what I really want from the company.  In fact, I want less advertising all around including my mobile devices, not more.

 

Certainly, I can see this as an advantage to Verizon, but I believe that AOL should really be killed off once and for all.

 

But how will this play out to regulators?

 

I believe that the regulators may actually approve this merger, but may question the dollar amount as being too high for what they get for their money.  Overall, I see this a bad deal and should not happen.

 

Maybe Verizon will be purchasing AOL with thousands of free hour discs they accumulated over the years.  If they need more, just ask.

 

I got probably over 100 of those free discs I can give them as down payment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predictions of 2014 and 2015

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Well, it is that time of year again where I dig out my crystal ball and look back at the 2014 predictions and make new ones for 2015.  I reported that at least 3 would come true – let’s see how close I came.

 

Here are the predictions and the results in parenthesis:

 

  • Justin Bieber will go to jail.  (It happened at least once maybe more.)
  • Kim Kardashian will admit that “Baby North” really never existed and that her pregnancy was fake.  (No, it did not happen.)
  • Kim Kardashian will marry and divorce Kanye West all within the year.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • RadioShack will be out of business.  (No, it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • JCPenney will be out of business.  (No, it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • Kmart will be out of business.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • Amanda Bynes returns to TV in a new comedy show, but will also do an interview with Oprah describing the last few years.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • Time Warner Cable will be sold and broken up into pieces leaving smaller markets such as where I live without any providers at all.  This means that many small independent cable operators will start up after many years.  (No, in fact a possible merger with Comcast might happen instead.)
  • Lady Gaga will do a Playboy layout proving that he/she is dual gendered leaving many fans disgusted. (Thankfully, this didn’t happen.)
  • Nickelodeon will scrap “Sam & Cat” and Dan Schneider will leave the network and produce shows for rival Disney.  (The first half is true, the second is not.)
  • Hilary Duff will divorce and sister Haylie will marry.  (Not quite on both.)
  • ABCFamily cancels that horrible “The Vineyard” and “Twisted”.  (Fortunately, yes to both.)
  • Fox News fires Karl Rove after making offensive statements that the network hates.  (No, it didn’t happen.)

 

So last year I once again scored 2 ½ right out of a possible 13.  I barely missed my goal of 3 correct, but I was close.  Now let’s gaze into the crystal ball for 2015 predictions:

  • 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 possibility of a Staples/Office Max (Depot) merger is canned as neither side can agree on any merger details.
  • Given no merger, Office Max (Depot) shuts down at least half of their remaining locations.
  • As well, Staples shuts down an additional 300 stores as the hack attack of 2014 grows larger.
  • On the brink of bankruptcy, RadioShack is saved by a last minute investor who wants to merge it with another big box retailer.
  • Walmart suffers a major hack attack, which causes millions of credit and debit cards to be compromised.
  • The E! Network finally cancels everything Kardashian as the network struggles to survive.
  • Adam West, TV’s 1960’s Batman, will be the voice of an aged Bruce Wayne on an episode of the Fox series “Gotham”.
  • California will suffer a substantial earthquake in the area north of Los Angeles.
  • Keystone pipeline will be defeated in Congress.
  • MTV will cancel “Eye Candy”.
  • 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?).
  • I will either get a new job or a new girlfriend in 2015, but not both.

Out of my 13 predictions for this year, I predict only 2 of them will actually happen.  Maybe it is time for a new crystal ball.

Next time, I expect that my 2 blogs will each have their own unique content again.  At least that is my plan for now, but I can’t make any promises because I can’t predict what happens in the world especially given my seemingly defective crystal ball.

New Year, Old Problems?

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Well, here we are at 2015.

 

Did you notice any REAL differences from the year that past?

 

If you answered no, then you came to the right place.

 

If you answered yes, then you really came to the right place.

 

First off, let me say that this post is being placed into both of my blogs as I am only writing one year-end summary this year instead of two.

 

For those of you who read the annual report that I posted last week while I was off, let me say that I am more than disappointed by the results.

 

On the “Staples” and “Rants” blog, it seemed that more people were interested in my relationship with Tanya going south rather than most everything else.  It was sad that she decided to block me from all social media after her marriage.  Apparently, she never really cared about me whatsoever.  I am not the least bit surprised by that at all.

 

Both blogs also saw a lackluster number of comments to each.  Even though I limited the period for comments to 30 days after a post has been made, it still seems that I should have received more comments than I did.  Maybe it was because some people decided not to post rude comments as they knew they would be deleted anyway.

 

For all the bad things that my report stated, I am proud that the blogs continue to gain followers.  Granted the numbers are not huge yet, but I really would like to see the number close to 100 followers by this time next year.

 

Now onto the breakdown of each blog:

 

First we have the “Staples” blog.

 

The biggest topic of the year without a doubt was hacking.  I predicted the Staples hack about a year ago and by year’s end, Staples finally admitted that it was indeed hacked into.  However, their claim is that only about 115 stores were affected and a little over a million customers were affected.  I believe that Staples will eventually come clean with the real numbers as I believe that this was indeed a full company wide hack job.

 

I expect that hacking will continue to be a major topic in 2015 as companies will continue to do stupid things that will allow hackers to do their dirty duty.  With hacks such as the celebrity hacks and the Sony hack is only the beginning of something much bigger that will happen.  I really hate the idea of having to report this stuff as it just gets to be monotonous and just gets to be downright boring.

 

Besides the ongoing hacking scandals, I plan on discussing other topics as well.  My upcoming calendar includes (subject to change):

  • The continued decline of RadioShack.
  • The Night That Changed Everything.
  • org – Good Idea or Agenda driven.
  • Charity begins at home.

 

Along with these topics, I plan to continue my own story of my decline with the Staples Company.  After all, that was what this blog was originally set up as.  I don’t think I have actually strayed from my original goal, I just have taken many detours along the way and made several stops through this journey.  I am a long way from the end as if to say that there will actually be an end.

 

Now onto the “Rants” blog:

 

The major part of the blog this last year was dedicated to the continued decline of the Time Warner Cable service and how their so-called upgrades have caused more harm than good.

 

Certainly the political scene is scarred nationally and here in Maine by the onslaught of the republicans winning both the governorship again and taking control of the US Senate and the US House.

 

Probably the most popular topic of the year was my discussion of why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.  My belief is that some people can relate to what I am talking about and therefore I am continuing my story with a few more parts this year.

 

Television also was a topic of interest as well.  Some shows were complete failures while others have shined brightly.  Amongst my favorites are “Gotham”, the pre-Batman series and as I have mentioned before my absolute favorite show “Girl Meets World”.  This show blew me away with the Christmas episode reunion.  This is the way to do a reunion show and if you liked the older “Boy Meets World” series, the Christmas episode is a definite must-see.

 

I am less excited for the series “The Flash” as this show seems like it hasn’t completely broken away from the shadow of its birthmother of “Arrow”.  The crossover episodes were fun but the Flash may become a flash in the pan if the show doesn’t get more interesting.  They certainly have the villains from the comic books, but this show reminds me of the campy 1960’s Batman series.

 

Speaking of that series, it finally got its video release in 2014 in somewhat of grand style.  While this nearly $200 Blu-ray box set contains all 120 episodes and other special treats, it still is missing some episode content.  I still recommend this limited edition set despite its flaws.  A cheaper DVD box set also exists without all the extra products, but I still would ante for the better set while it is available.

 

So what is in store for 2015?  Here is a brief rundown of my possible topics:

 

  • The continuing story of why I didn’t attend my high school reunion.
  • TV Hits and Misses of the Season.
  • The biggest obituary of 2014 that was not reported.
  • Tag, Like, Share: A Dumb User’s Guide to Facebook failures.

 

Overall, 2014 saw its share of hatred against me.  From one person who wrote that I was a bad person and then stupidly liking that statement to the people who decided to unfriend me on Facebook and then not even having a logical reason why, this last year was a year of idiots showing their true colors.

 

I expect a better reception this year as things should get clearer in some aspects of my continuing drama and the drama of the rest of the world.

 

Speaking of getting clearer, next post will have my annual predictions as I once again bring out the crystal ball and look back on how I did last year and make new predictions for the year.  After that, the two blogs will hopefully separate into their own stories for most of the year.  I continue to plan on writing each blog on alternating weeks with the next post to be next week to both blogs.

 

Until next time, enjoy 2015.

 

 

 

 

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