Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ryan Holiday on Voice and Video Texts (And He's Right)

Ryan's thoughts: If You Do This, You're A Monster

Ryan is right. When voice and video text features started rolling out on my phone, I immediately thought "What use could I possibly have for this?" I still haven't figured it out. But Ryan has. It's to annoy people far worse than not capitalizing words, shortening words, and using poor grammar:
Let me get this straight. You think you’re so important than instead of spending 5 minutes assembling your thoughts into coherent and clear sentences, you thought it’d be better to send an unedited 3 minute stream of consciousness audio file that we, as the recipient have to download and listen to? Instead of actually calling and interacting with someone like a human being, you thought it’d be better to just record it and lob it over.
I often wonder that about people who have to shorten words. Do they think they sound cool? Are are they two lazy to pronounce the extra two syllables in "conversation" and have to shorten it to "convo". Yeah, two syllables is that much more work. It must be exhausting.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Can't A Man Just Order Electric Without An Upsell?

I'm moving next week. I need to arrange for utilities at the new place. So I called the power company. That experience wasn't too bad at first. It was at the end when things got ugly. First, the rep asked me if I wanted to hear about "green energy". I said "No, thank you." The rep kept going, something about "we have a lot of green energy initiatives..."

I said "No, thank you. Anyway, will it cost me more?"

"Well, for most people it's about $20 more."

"Then, no, thank you."

When "green energy" can compete in the market on its own two feet, great. I'm not paying more for it though.

Then I get asked if I'd like to be transferred to another call center that can help me set up services and find me savings. On the surface, that sounded like a great idea, although I was thinking they'd help me figure out who to call to arrange for water. I was naive.

I end up in a phone call marathon with a guy who is trying to upgrade my Comcast service. I figured we'd arrange to transfer that ourselves. He keeps telling me about all these channels he's going to hook me up with.

I keep saying I don't give a crap about channels. I mostly watch Netflix and Hulu on my Roku. And I don't think in terms of channels anyway; I think in terms of a few shows I enjoy watching. I don't care about HBO and Showtime and the sports channels are as useless to me as the Ophrah Winfrey Network. I just want a fast Internet pipe so Netflix doesn't stall.

Then he says they need to run a credit check. I said "I'm moving in a week. I can't have any inquiries on my credit report right now."

"OK, we can do it without a credit check for $100."

"I'm moving in a week. I don't have an extra $100 right now."

I ended up getting off the phone. I asked if I could call back later.

But seriously, all I wanted to do is make sure the lights and air conditioner work when I move next Wednesday. That's it. I didn't want a "green energy" pitch or to pay Comcast any extra money.

It's getting to where you can't conduct business with ANYBODY without them trying to upsell you or sell you products from one of their partners. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

American Politics In A Nutshell

From a newsletter I subscribe to:

“From education to the environment, business to banking, housing to health care,” James Corbett says in one thought-provoking Corbett Report video, Divide and Conquer, “it seems that there is no issue in the world that the industrialized western democracies cannot reduce to a simplistic paradigm of “liberal” vs “conservative.” 
“In fact, this point has been so hardwired into the modern political system that it has been distilled into a childlike shorthand: political positions are “left” or “right,” “blue” or “red.”
“These convenient, color-coded political choices infantilize the political process, making the public little more than spectators at a sporting event, rooting for one team or another without even having to understand the issues being debated. 
“This inane lowest-common-denominator reduction of all political thought has taken its toll on the public. Many are now unable to conceive of what a political movement that is not attached to one or the other ends of this so-called “spectrum” would look like.

I also subscribe to the Corbett Report podcast, but I haven't gotten to that episode yet.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Isn't The Whole Company "Comcast Cares"?

Like many others, I'm still stuck on Comcast. I pay them about $100 a month for basic cable, Internet and HD programming. I do not "feel" I'm getting $100 worth of value from this deal. My cable package contains tons of channels I never have and never will watch (BET), and few that I will.

On top of it, they keep adding some "Blast Plus" package with HBO, unauthorized, for an extra $25.

I mostly watch Netflix and Hulu on my Roku. My wife occasionally watches the cable channels, but mostly uses On Demand.

On nights like tonight, when I come home from a long day at work and a long drive home, I just want to watch Netflix or Hulu. And Comcast won't work. I ran an Internet Speed Test, and came out with a download speed of .03. My connection was so slow, I couldn't even load Comcast's page to pay my bill.

So I started ranting about it on Twitter.

Normally, when you have a bad experience with Comcast (is there a such thing as a good one?), an organization called "Comcast Cares" may contact you. They monitor social media. Sometimes they can help. In 2008, when I had this experience, Comcast Cares left a comment on my blog. I called them, and they sent a COMPETENT tech out to fix my problem, whereas the people at 1-800-COMCAST had no clue and the tech they sent was no better.

But that's what I want to know: why does Comcast need a separate business unit to "care"? Why isn't this part of the corporate culture and training? Comcast obviously knows they suck, but seems content to continue sucking, while throwing the occasional bone to disaffected customers through social media.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On "There Should Be A Law"

These guys hit the nail on the head:

That's a conclusion I came to a long time ago. I rarely, if ever, make the comment "There should be a law (against this thing I don't like)". As the guys in the video say, what you mean is "The government should enforce my will at the point of a gun."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Most Likely To...Get The Death Penalty?

Interesting post a friend of mine came across. I guy I knew from 7th grade into high school apparently killed his 17 month old daughter in a drug-addled rage. It's the second case mentioned: Lance.

A friend of mine got suspended in high school for kicking his ass. Maybe he didn't go far enough.

Some of us from those days have come a long way. Others, not so much. I couldn't find anything detailing the disposition of the case. All I know is, I'm glad I lost touch with him along the way.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Aaron Cleary: Why Leftists Don't Start Businesses

Cleary responds to a request from his Asshole Consulting to do a video on why leftists don't start businesses. The question is one I probably asked many years ago. My paraphrase: "If leftists don't like 'Big Oil' and complain about the profits, why don't they just start Democrat Oil Inc, have no profits, and pass that along to the consumer in the form of lower prices?"

Cleary says two reasons:
1) They're too stupid
2) They're too lazy

I'd also like to point out that you can't believe anything a politician says. You have to look at their records. Democrats are just as much in bed with Wall Street and "Big Business" as Republicans are. Sure, during campaigns and newsbites, they rant about them. That's called Grandstanding. It's what politicians do. I'm pretty sure if you look at their voting records (and campaign contributions), you'll see they don't believe a damn thing they actually say.

Here's Cleary's short video:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Terminal Lance: The Issued Wife

Max nails it.

I heard that all the time in the Navy. "If the Navy wanted you to have a wife, they'd have issued you one." Of course, there were also the guys who treated their families as if they came with the seabag.

One time, my ship pulled into port a night early. My chief stayed on the ship. His wife was pissed when she found out. I didn't understand at the time, but after my marriage to my ex-wife, I do now. I had times in those 12 years when I wished I had a ship to stay on.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Student Loans Are the New STDs

I've contracted this too. There truly is no cure and no hope, especially since our ever-loving government exempted them from bankruptcy. Repeat after me: our government loves us and wants us to be happy. Everything it does is for our own good, not for the good of the politicians on the lobbyists' teats.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Entry Level Home May Be A Thing of the Past

As I slowly start and stop in traffic through northern Virginia, I often wonder if the economy's biggest problem is a lack of McMansions. Everywhere I turn, I see "New Luxury Homes- from the $450's". I've wondered why we don't see smaller, less expensive homes anymore.

I've come to the conclusion I wouldn't want a McMansion even if I could afford the payments. All I really need is a workable kitchen, 3-4 bedrooms, and an office or library (search for my commentary on the idiotic "man cave"). I don't see a need for a living room, media room, game room, etc. Plus, do you know how much work it takes to keep a house that sized cleaned and maintained? If I'm ever wealthy enough, I'd rather have a real mansion with a staff to clean it and cut the grass. has an article about the demise of the single family home. Apparently, land costs too much and most homebuyers wait until longer in life to buy a home.

I guess when I'm ready to buy another house, I'm going used.

Personally, I think Virginia needs more roads. Not more McMansion owners to clog the ones we already have.