Category: Opinion

More Charter Joy

8:30 AM: Just got off the phone with another tech, who asked if we were having problems. No, I just enjoy calling you guys up and not getting anywhere. 

So this tech asks what the problem is – I explain it, again. “So the cable card isn’t the problem?” No, everyone on Charter’s side has said the cable card is most likely the problem. “So I should probably go get a cable card?” Yeah, probably a good idea. Tech says he didn’t even read the report. Suggested he grab a tuning adapter while he’s there too.

11:30 AM: The technician just left, after having spent 2 hours here. I’m not sure he’s the same one I talked to on the phone. However, in short, the problem could have been solved with the person on the phone the first time if they had just updated the Host ID like I suggested. Supposedly the escalation team is going to be contacting me. I am unbelievably unhappy with them at this point. Oh, and our on-demand was turned off at some point, and to turn it back on would force us to move to the new pricing tiers. 

3:00 PM: Spoke with the escalation team. She took notes, offered a credit, which I accepted. Turns out the person who didn’t update the host ID is the same one who turned off On Demand for us. And they can’t turn it back on without putting us on the new pricing… but the new pricing is more channels for less money. Still not particularly happy we went through all this when it could have been resolved in about 10 minutes. Thinking I might need to write a letter to the Department of Telecommunications and Cable. We’ll let that stew for a bit though. 

Dammit Charter (again)

Previously on “Dammit, Charter“.

So this weekend was tax-free in Massachusetts. We’ve never been super happy with the TV in the living room, so we took advantage and upgraded the TV… which meant upgrading the TiVo too in order to get the full 1080P experience. 

Of course, this means I’ll need to make sacrifices to the demons of the cable cards. If you haven’t had the pleasure, the cable card is a painfully sensitive device which allows a receiver (such as a TiVo) to decode cable channels. They are super finicky and as far as I can tell, no one at Charter Communications understands them or can set them up. We’ve had problems in the past, and while a number of Charter reps have hinted that the cable card was liked the cause, they were able to fix it via the network and so, never replaced the card. Paired with the cable card is a tuning adapter, which basically provides a channel list to the TiVo and tells Charter what channel I want to watch. It seems to be just as delicate as the card. The requirement to have both is, I assume, something drawn up by a resident of one of Dante’s circles. 

Anyways. I’m moving the cable card from the old TiVo to the new, which means the host ID is going to change, which means a call to Charter. Historically, this has been a conversation with a very nice person which is completely incapable of supporting the technology Charter is using. I explain to the rep that I just bought a TiVo, moved the cable card, and am missing channels and get a screen that says to call them with the host ID and card ID. She sends a few initialization hits, which do nothing. We reboot. I suggest that perhaps she should verify the host ID because the one in their system won’t match the one on my screen. She can’t do that, so she calls in a supervisor. About 5 minutes on hold go by, she comes back and they send some more initialization hits and another reboot. Still nothing, so I get to schedule a visit for 1-3 the next day as it’s likely to be replacement time for the card or the adapter (or both).

I’m going to avoid the obvious jokes about cable companies and their concept of appointment windows. Suffice it to say, the stereotype exists for a reason and I saw no evidence to change it. 

The tech introduces himself, calls the dispatch. More hits, more reboots. Apparently having the tech call it in is different than what they did last night. He finally decides that it’s probably the card or the adapter. However… he doesn’t have one. I’m not sure why that would be, since that’s what the tech the night before said it probably was. 

So now I have another appointment on Wednesday morning. I fully expect this tech will bring the adapter and card but forget some other vital piece of equipment like pliers or something. 

Dammit, Charter.

I was all kinds of excited to see that HBO Go was being pushed out to Apple TV. Finally, no more monkeying around with Airplay Mirroring from my iPhone. Download the update, open the channel, get the code, figure out the password for authenticating to HBO Go through Charter. Doesn’t work.

Reread the articles. Charter isn’t allowing their customers to use HBO Go on the Apple TV. (And no matter what they say, that’s what it comes down to – someone at Charter chose not to do it.) I’ve had my problems with Charter. Their cable card support is craptacular at best, they barely have any techs who know how to support it and they eliminated their Twitter support which was the only consistent way to get anything done. They teased us with the rollout of TiVo and then cancelled it saying they were working on something better – which as tar as I can tell is a total lie as they don’t talk about it at all anymore. And now they aren’t letting us get HBO Go on Apple TV because they “didn’t get the rights”? 


How did every other cable company that offers HBO Go manage to figure it out except you guys? I’d say I’m shocked but honestly, this is the level of incompetence I’ve come to expect from these idiots. 

The media and this week

It’s been an interesting week. Lots of ways I could go with the events in my favorite city, but one thing stuck out crystal clear.

I was flipping through twitter Monday afternoon when one of my friends posted from mile 24 (crowd, not running) asking if anyone knew where the explosions came from. Sinking feeling in my stomach. I turned to my browser. Didn’t go to the news sites, went to Metafilter first. Tweeted back the summary that made up that post. 

Over the next few hours, I looked at the big media sites – the four Boston stations and Boston.com. None of them were keeping up with the combo of Twitter and Metafilter. CNN was all over the place – the downside of having 24 hours to fill with news is that you need 24 hours of news, so damn near anything gets broadcast, it seems. I understand how CNN got there, but all it makes me think is next time I want coverage on a live story, CNN is last on the list. The Boston stations, while better, still weren’t giving a whole lot of what was going on – I found they averaged about 15 minutes behind.

Say what you like about the role social media played in this week’s events (and places like Reddit could be a whole separate chapter, really), but I think I know where I’m going for breaking big stories from now on. Big Media showed some pretty big cracks in the facade this week. 

Google Voice Transcriptions

Usually Google Voice does an acceptable job transcribing messages. I wouldn’t say it’s great but it gets close enough that I can understand the gist of the message.

This one? Not so much:

Hi, This message is for Neil, this is key. Julia calling just to remind you that. It’s time here in action on the diamond Nicholas, Thank you Bye. If you wanna bring your paperwork will cleaning up the everything for you. We look at that the foam is gone. Mom opera. We hope to see you. Have a good day. Bye