Archive for November, 2013

I called up AT&T Uverse on Monday and was put on hold for about 10 minutes.  When I finally got through I advised them I wanted to cancel my service.  The girl on the phone put me on hold for a minute then came back with some scripts to read me.    She started by stating that she was “sorry to hear you want to disconnect” then proceeded to start playing 20 questions like “how exactly do you use your service?”

Yes, I called to say “disconnect” and they started playing games trying to keep me as a customer.  It seems AT&T pulled this script from AOL if you recall this hilarious fiasco from 2006 here.

Fortunately, I learned from that incident and using Google voice began recording the call.  I politely told the AT&T rep that I was recording the call and I didn’t want to have to post it on YouTube.   She said, “You can’t be recording me” and I quickly responded, “well you’re recording me for ‘quality assurance’ so why can’t I record you?”

She put me on hold for a second then came back and told me she was processing my disconnect right away.

So if you want to disconnect AT&T right away follow these 3 steps.

1. Record the phone call

2. Announce you’re recording the call and won’t hesitate to publish their games to YouTube unless you get your account cancelled right away.

3. Sit back, relax and enjoy the disconnect.

I genuinely believed George W. Bush would go down in history as the worst president ever but now I think that title will go to Barak Obama.   Who knows perhaps the next president will be the worst one ever but for now Obama holds the title.

Although I have very good insurance through my employer I decided I would check out HealthCare.Gov and see what all the hub-bub was about regarding Obamacare.

After selecting my state from the main page, this is what I saw.

HealthcareGov

Can you make heads or tails out of anything on this page?   This is the best the United States Government could do with billions of dollars in resources?  Seriously?

As a society we seem to vacillate from dumb to dumber.  If it isn’t a war-mongering republican fool running the country it’s a “government can solve everything” bureaucrat running the country.

As I’ve stated many times on this blog, I’m not a supporter of either party, it took a couple of decades for me to understand my father’s skepticism about political parties and false promises but now I finally understand.

Obamacare will unleash untold chaos on the country and global economy next year given the current state of sign ups and the massive cancellations by insurance companies.   What a colossal embarrassment!

So the Comcast guy came by and installed my new 25mb line with HBO and HBO Go included for a low low price of $39.99.   So far I’m happy with the service and speed and I’ve checked out a couple of movies on HBO GO through my Apple TV and it worked flawlessly.

The only fine print I didn’t read was that the HBO service and Basic Cable TV came with a standard receiver instead of an HD receiver.   The comcast guy offered to upgrade me but that came with a price of course and I declined it because I watch most of my TV through Roku, Apple TV, Netflix and Amazon prime and it’s already piped through at 1080p on my devices.   Overall I think Comcast was being cheap and petty by not automatically offering an HD box with the price already included.

In contrast, I was paying about $54 for ATT Uverse internet only at 12mb (half the speed of Comcast).   The deal is only good for a year so I imagine I’ll be canceling it a year from now and switch to the best deal 12 months from now.

We’re one step close to a-la-carte programming and I’m just happy to not have to subsidize garbage like ESPN, 1000+ cartoon channels and all the other channels I don’t watch on TV.   There is so much content now being produced on a daily basis around the world that channels should cost pennies on the dollar or at least the content should and I see cheaper days ahead for TV viewing.

 

Do you remember the 80’s?   I was a kid back then but what I remember about it was the sudden proliferation of credit cards.  It was extremely difficult to get credit cards before 1980 or at least for most of the people I knew back then.    There is an interesting history of the credit cards here.  The reason I bring all of this up is because lately I’ve been spending quite a bit of time outside the United States in Europe and South America.

Much to my surprise, I find it increasingly difficult to use American style credit cards overseas because overseas they all use a “chip & pin” type credit card instead of just a magnetic swipe and signature.    If you don’t understand chip & pin, it’s fairly simple.  When you dine out at a restaurant, the waiter will bring out a little wireless machine and sticks the chipped credit card into it.    The machine is then handed to the consumer and he/she puts in a pin code to authenticate the transaction.   In theory, it is safer because the chip in the credit card is not easily cloneable and the pin authenticates the transaction so even if someone manages to glimpse at your code, the card will be safe.

While most restaurants or other merchants will eventually figure out a way to take the American style card, it is fairly frustrating to have to wait for someone to figure out how to take the American dinosaur card.     Worse yet however are the unmanned kiosks that require a chip and pin to buy tickets to trains or subways because there isn’t anyone there to take the alternative method of signature so you end up being stranded!

I phoned several banks and credit unions and asked if they offer any “chip & pin” credit cards and most did not even know what I was talking about!  What the hell kind of bubble do American banking people live in that they don’t understand what’s used all over the world?

With the world becoming more globalized and families more heterogeneous (it’s increasingly rare for me to encounter couples from the same nationality/ethnicity) it’s hard to understand why the banking system is dragging its feet.

In case you’re having the same issue, after much googling I came across this list of EMV cards however most are still “chip and signature” and not true chip & pin cards so be weary.

 

For over a month now, I have been searching for four iPhone 5s’ for the T-mobile network.   I’ve gone from T-mobile kiosk to T-mobile store to Apple stores and no one has them in stock.    I’ll usually get something like, “We had one of those this morning” but that’s about as close as I’ve gotten to an iPhone 5S.

Finally I decided I would just order them online from Apple directly paying FULL retail price but was shocked at what I found!  Take a look at the picture and read that red text:  A Maximum of 2 iPhone 5S can be purchased per customer.

Did you see that?   A MAXIMUM of TWO PHONES!

Wow.   Imagine a business model where Walmart will only sell you two bottles of dish soap, or only two quarts of oil or only two TVs.   Is this insane or what?

I clicked the “Chat now” button just to make sure this wasn’t a mistake but the chat person confirmed what I was reading.

He did make some suggestions:  Get a friend to order two for you.  Order two with one credit card and one address and the other two with another credit card and different addresses.

I didn’t know that you now need to own two or more homes to order iPhones.

Curious, I checked to see if I could order 4 iPhone 5c devices and sure enough, you can order as many of that junk/crap as you want so the limit is only with the 5S.

Sadly, Tim Cook is an idiot for not being ready for the demand.  This guy is a clown and should resign from Apple.   We need someone that knows what the customer wants and can provide it to him.   Oh damn you Steve Jobs for eating all that fruit and getting pancreatic cancer and dying.   I’m so sad right now I think I’m gonna cry.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m sure you will.   Comcast has 25mb internet + HBO GO + Basic Cable TV for $39.99.   There is also an $8/month modem fee which brings the total price up to about $47 and I’m sure there are taxes and fees too.

But the bottom line is that it’s a great deal.  I currently pay $50/month for 12mb of internet on Uverse with no HBO and no basic cable so it’s a no-brainer for me.

I will now get access to the great shows on HBO, faster internet, and some basic cable for less than I’m paying now and I can’t complain because this is EXACTLY what I’ve been asking for: a-la-carte programming.

Sure it’s not 100% a-la-carte programming yet but over the next few years it will be and I’m ready to show that I’m eager to provide the demand if the supply exists.

What remains to be seen is how well the service will run since I had problems with Comcast many, many, years ago that I dumped them in favor of AT&T but quite honestly, AT&T has done nothing for me lately.

Good by AT&T, maybe someday you’ll have the wits to offer a-la-carte programming and internet.