Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Rants

Ok, it's not news, or much about the news, but I'd thought I would just voice opinion about the news, like the other posts aren't opinions? Hell, they're all my perspective, ok maybe a little opinion, about and on the news. But a few things really rankles my news bone.

First, Comcast. We all love to blast the cable and satellite TV companies. They deserve it for being monopolies. And if you think the cable and satellite companies are different, they're not. They offer over 90% of the same service for about the same price. It's all a game they play with ads to show they're cheaper, but when you really compare same channel service, they're within 5% of each other.

So it's really the issue of if you want Cable's On-Demand service versus' Satellite's premium services. And both have flaws. Satellite is a delivery service with the in-home done by local companies. So if you lose signal, you have to decide who's at fault, if it's not the weather or other interference with the satellite before you call someone. And cable has two big flaws that's been plagueing them for two-plus years now.

One is simply bandwidth. They're pushing too many channels and too much service through the cables into your cable box. I lose about a dozen channel constantly and occasionally another half dozen, all HD channels. Gee, I pay for HD channels and get fewer channels due to pixelating channels or black screens.

And if you call for technician, which you have to call the 800 number and go through a song and dance that's it's your fault, the cable box, or something else. After that fails to impress them you're right, they say, "We'll get a technician out to replace the box. Would you like a morning or afternoon?" Yes, you have to provide a 4 hour window if they even show up on time.

And then when the technician, after replacing the box and seeing the same problem, says, "Gee, I'll have to report it to maintenance to check the line or other equipment." And they leave with no promise of fixing it or reporting back. And to get them back you have to call the 800 number. Get the picture?

In short they suck royal. And the second flaw?

The user interface. It was designed by, you guessed it, Microsoft, so you can understand why it sucks. Do you know the Dolby 5.1 audio signal they send with the video signal doesn't work out of the cable box? It did with the old software and same hardware, and some people have shown their technicians and engineers where the problem, in the software, but after blaming Motorola who showed it was their software, they say it's not a "critical" item and they'll have to negotiate with MS to fix it.

Yeah right. While Comcast keeps adding services, recently Internet and Internet phone service, and adding more On-Demand pay per view shows and now I read in the Wall Street Journal they're negotiating to add games, they're pushing even more signal through the same landlines and equipment. And more channels fall off more often. Until they reset the main equipment and it works for one to two days then fails again.

If Comcast wants to improve service, instead of trying to get more money from the customers, how about fixing what you provide first? I'm still waiting for the Dolby 5.1 fix and the ala carte channels the FCC mandated awhile ago. I still haven't seen it in the package offers. And I'm waiting for the FCC to lift the ban on competiton. I want other cable companies to come into the area and offer competitive services. I'll listen or watch.

And don't get me started on the NFL Network and MLB channels.

Next rant in the news. To the Hillary Clinton supporters who won't write checks to the Obama campaign, stop whining and get out your checkbook. Or face a McCain presidency where you only have yourself to blame for being obstinate and bitter. You lost the primary, so either be a Democrat or get out of the way for other Democrats, and prepare for the fallout if Obama is President and you want political favors, and they say, "Who? Gee, I don't see you on our list."

And the next rant. Secretary of State Rice. Reading about her talks with Iran. Doesn't she get it that she has little, if any, respect anymore. She's a talking vacuum. The mouth opens and nothing of substances comes out. Just wind disguised as words. And everyone she meets with in an official capacity knows it. They'll be polite, listen, say thank you, and show her the door.

They know they have the one thing she doesn't have, time. They have 6 months to play nice and she's gone. So what doesn't she understand it's wasting everyone's time and she comes off a soundbite, like chinese food, good for 5 minutes and you wonder what she said.

Just the rants of somebody living in paradise wondering why the most of the rest of the world, especially the leaders, are all screwed up and demanding we think they're great, when they're totally idiots. Ok, overblown and overstated, but hey, there's a modicum of truth there, somewhere.

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