Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More DirecTv sloth: Received the following email, again doesn't exactly engender
confidence that anyone there cares.

Thank you for writing. I apologize for any frustration this may have caused. I have forwarded your comments to the Office of the President. They will be contacting you within the next seven to ten business days, during standard business hours. Thank you for your patience.

Thanks again for writing.


DIRECTV Customer Service

Monday, August 29, 2005

More Installer Games: Another Directech installer showed up. Two problems.
First - he tried to pretend he was a DirecTv employee
Second - He brought the same indoor antenna that was agreed unacceptable.
The indoor multidirectional antenna they claim is supplied by DirecTv, but
do they have a choice? In Houston where from my zip code HD is broadcast at
185 and 188 degrees, unidirectional is appropriate.

Followup: DirecTv has agreed to credit my account for $60, and I will buy a
unidirectional HDTV outdoor antenna to be installed by DirecTech with no
additional charge.

Let's see if they mess that up on Thursday.

2nd Followup : I now have a Radio Shack model VU-90 XR antenna sitting in
its box waiting for the Installer.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

DirecTv's amateur Installers: Two of the Three Stooges showed up for an HD/OTA install. They didn't have an HDTV OTA antenna, didn't have a separate stand-alone mast, and didn't know how to install the substandard antenna they were told to install, a generic no name brand. Further searching on the Internet revealed it to be what's called a "Two Bow Tie Indoor Antenna". When I called DirecTv to complain even the DirecTv supervisor couldn't get to anyone in authority on the phone at the Installer's out of state office. While I was waiting until DirecTv instructed me to return the receiver the installer had handed me, the installer falsely reported I had taken it off their truck. I wish DirecTv could have seen the way they tossed the HR10-250 back into the back of their pickup. The Installer's company apparently has a standard policy of not answering their phone, and if you do get through, they falsely promise a manager will call right back so as to get you off the phone. Internet reports of poor morale and mistreatment of contract "employees" at the Installer company were found.

DirecTv needs an alternate installer for Houston, TX, so it can have some leverage over these clowns. The install has now been rescheduled, but with conflicting reports as to which day it will be, and of course promised phone calls never happened.

FOLLOWUP: DirecTv snaps into inaction. Twenty hours after emailing a version of the above, the following boilerplate was received:

"Thank you for writing. I have forwarded your message on to a manager who will contact you within the next few business days. We appreciate your patience.


DIRECTV Customer Service"

Anyone care to bet that it won't be a "manager" who "contacts" me???

Friday, August 26, 2005

I know the Password See what happens when everyone in a school gets a laptop computer and Administrators go overboard trying to control everything.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Waiting for my Lightspeed: SBC is planning on building out it's fiber network to put all residential customers within 5,000 feet of a Fibre terminal, allowing for Internet connectivity at 15 mbps. Just 18 more months?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

HDTV via satellite DirecTv will soon be going "live" with the first 2 of its 4 new "designed for HD" satellites. These satellites will be using different orbital slots and newer technology (MPEG4) in large part, that existing receivers can't handle. They have been misleading customners by saying "We're seeing if we can do a software upgrade"; when they know full well existing receivers don't have the horsepower to do MPEG4 decoding in software. Golly, you don't launch billion dollar satellites and not have everything all figured out.

Their current HD DirecTv receiver with TiVo (the HR10-250) had been selling for $999.99 in the year since it came to market. Suddenly it's down to $600 and a $100 rebate at BestBuy, etc. Then I read on USENET that their retention department is offering them to good customers for $299.99. Why the price drop, unless these models are being cleared out for new models that WILL handle additional HD channels from new satellites? Meanwhile someone is selling the 800 # into DirecTv Retention for $5.95 on eBay so others can get the $299.99 deal.

As I've been with DirecTv for 8 years and never paid a bill later than 2 weeks earlier, I figure I'm a good customer. After complaining about phone support going to Phillipines, and Echostar currently having more HD stations available, and the HR10-250 not being able to handle the new satellite, they agreed to sell me one for $299.99, and credit my account for $200. So after the $100 rebate, it'll be free. At that price I don't mind if it's obsolete in 6 months; besides my 2 1/2 year old HDVR2 (a non HD DirecTv-TiVo) is now acting flakey, so a free replacement is good.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Not buying an Ipod I was all set to buy a Photo Ipod until I realized Apple has pulled a fast one and replaced the 60 Gig Photo ipod model M9586 with the M9830. The difference? It now doesn't come with a dock, or a firewire cable, or a case, or an AV Cable.

I used the same monies to replace my old Peugeot Orient Express bicycle (mine was red) with a Trek 7300 FX bicycle (mine is silver). Amazing how much better bicycles are these days.

Monday, August 15, 2005

OS X on any PC - More reports on running the Intel version of Macintosh OS X on any regular PC are here . In at least one case, Apple cajoled the Web Site owner to take down detailed how-to instructions, but Google has them cached, so they remained in cyberspace.