In light of the revelation that they were, essentially, stealing our cable, Comcast has agreed to refund our April cable bill. So that’s good. They’ve now done right by me, as far as my particular situation is concerned, so I’m pleased about that. My broader concerns expressed in the previous post remain in force.
Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft. …
Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure. …
Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. …
Kinshasa’s police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters…, “When you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it’s become tiny or that they’ve become impotent. To that I tell them, ‘How do you know if you haven’t gone home and tried it’?”
(Hat tip: Becky.)
Well, the good news is, our high-speed Internet woes are — apparently — finally over. The fourth time was the charm, as Thursday’s visit from Comcast techs fixed the problem. We have a newly installed coaxial line running from the cable source to our apartment, and as a result, our downstream speed is now faster than ever, our upstream speed is back to normal, and we’ve had no more intermittent connectivity outages.
The bad news is, we finally know what was causing our issue in the first place — and the explanation is pretty outrageous.
As it turns out, our previous cable line, which is supposed to run from the “lockbox” (where we have our own individual cable outlet, labeled with our apartment number) directly into our apartment, was instead being run through two separate splitters in the attic above our building, with each splitter taking a portion of our cable signal — that we pay for — and feeding it into someone else’s apartment!! Thus, the signal that actually reached our apartment was severely diluted, and the resulting decreased signal strength (roughly an 8 dB dropoff) was apparently the culprit in all of our Internet woes.
Mind you, this wasn’t the result of our neighbors stealing our cable. They don’t have access to the locked attic. According to the Comcast techs who explained it to me, this was the result of Comcast splitting off our cable line to feed a signal into these other apartments!! The cable company was stealing our cable!!
More details after the jump.
In other news, I’m stopping at Borders after work and buying the new issue of FHM. :)
Thanks to the intervention of Comcast corporate in Philadelphia, it appears our long
national apartmental nightmare may soon be over. (Knock on wood!) A team of cable techs is scheduled to come over at around 3:00 PM today to replace the entire series of tubes wires that runs from the cable "tap," over to the "lockbox," up to the attic, and down into our apartment, nothin’ but net. (Er, scratch that last part. There’s been very little "net" to speak of in recent weeks!)
There are no guarantees, but the hope is that this re-wiring will fix our long-standing, worsening, intermittent connectivity problems (about which, details after the jump). And, crucially, they’re doing it free of charge — contrary to the company’s ridiculous standard policy of holding apartment dwellers financially responsible for necessary repairs to the wiring outside the four walls of their apartments. (More on that, too, after the jump.)
I mentioned the "corporate intervention" angle, and that’s probably the most interesting aspect of this saga. It all started with my offhanded expression of bloggy frustration on April 3, after the cable guy never showed up for an appointment that I’d left work early for. (The phone rep had written down my area code wrong, so the tech couldn’t reach me by phone to confirm that I was home, so he never came.) That post triggered an e-mail from Frank Eliason in Philly (Comcast’s corporate home base), who filed a "corporate complaint" on my behalf. (Frank also commented on a later blog post.) Frank’s complaint, in turn, spurred a full-court press by the local Knoxville office to get my problem fixed, which culminated in today’s appointment.
What’s interesting is, Frank’s intervention isn’t an isolated incident. It’s part of a broad Comcast initiative, of which Frank is the point man, to improve the company’s image by reaching out to bloggers, Twitterers, and others who use their online platforms to say nasty things about Comcast. The Philadelphia Inquirer had a front-page story about this effort in Saturday’s paper, which revealed:
Under siege for customer-service woes detailed on Comcastmustdie.com and other blogs, the Philadelphia cable giant has gone on the offensive, trawling the Internet for Comcast chatter. Eliason’s assignment is very specific: If someone has a Comcast problem and is talking about it online, he contacts that person and offers help.
If Eliason thinks it’s an emergency that could spiral into unpleasantness, like an expletive-loaded blog bomb, he gets on the phone and cuts through the corporate red tape. …
Eliason’s blog spotting is part public relations and part acknowledgment that the Internet is playing a broader role in defining company brands. Technology companies woke up to this fact after "Dell Hell" postings by blogger Jeff Jarvis in 2005.
Ha! The arm of
Sauron Jeff Jarvis is long!
Of course, it goes without saying that one shouldn’t have to pose a P.R. threat in order to get good help from a company that one pays upwards of $100/month to. Nevertheless, this is a smart thing Comcast is doing.
Moreover, I give credit where credit is due: in contrast to my dismal experiences* with Comcast’s customer service last spring, almost everyone I’ve dealt with this time around — not just the corporate people, but the techs and phone reps, too — has been professional, courteous, and competent (wrong-area-code lady being an obvious exception). That, too, is apparently symptomatic of a broader effort by Comcast to, well, stop sucking at life, basically.
More on that effort — and on my issue — after the jump.
*The linked post, incidentally, was Instalanched, but triggered no response whatsoever from Comcast corporate. That was last June. So they’re clearly getting better at the rapid-blog-response thing.
As I mentioned earlier, Hillary Clinton released a TV ad yesterday implying that Barack Obama isn’t "ready" to deal with such unpredictable events as a stock market crash, a world war, a cold war, a gas shortage crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall (wait, wasn’t that a good thing?), or a devastating hurricane, nor to contend with such unsavory characters as Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden.
It’s an interesting argument, but Senator Clinton is clearly leaving some things out. For instance, as I wrote this morning, the appearance of unexplained light formations over Florida and Arizona obviously leaves Obama vulnerable to the charge that he’s not ready to protect Americans from UFOs. (Alas, if only Kucinich were still in the race! This could be his moment!)
But that’s not all. Jimmy Kimmel, apparently taking a brief break from f***ing Ben Affleck, helpfully points out some other possible calamities that could befall America:
Is Barack Obama READY to protect Cleveland from Bigfoot???
The green flash.
Maybe dashboard GPS devices should come with a warning label that reads, "You still have to look at the road, dumbass":
The driver of the bus carrying the Garfield High School girls softball
team that hit a brick and concrete footbridge was using a GPS
navigation system that routed the tall bus under the 9-foot bridge, the
charter company’s president said Thursday.
Steve Abegg, president of Journey Lines in Lynnwood, said the
off-the-shelf navigation unit had settings for car, motorcycle, bus or
Although the unit was set for a bus, it chose a route through [Seattle’s] Washington Park Arboretum that did not provide enough clearance for the
nearly 12-foot-high vehicle, Abegg said. The driver told police he did
not see the flashing lights or yellow sign posting the bridge height.
"We haven’t really had serious problems with anything, but here it’s
presented a problem that we didn’t consider," Abegg said of the GPS
unit. "We just thought it would be a safe route because, why else would
they have a selection for a bus?"
"It" presented a problem? The GPS unit is the problem? Really?!
Well anyway, no one was seriously hurt, thank God. And, having said that: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Said Garmin spokesman Ted Gartner: "The bigger comment here is that drivers always need to obey all the rules of the road at all times. Stoplights aren’t in our databases, either, but you’re still expected to stop for stoplights." LOL!
The best part about this is, it wasn’t even close. Remember the truck that six inches too tall for the Lincoln Tunnel? Well, at least that was only six inches. This bus was three feet too tall to fit under the bridge! Here’s the photo evidence:
A local RV seller is quoted in the P-I story as saying, "If this guy was a professional driver, he should have known his bus
was 12 feet high and couldn’t fit into a 9-foot box." A professional driver?? If this guy was a trained monkey, he should have known that! It doesn’t exactly take a genius to realize, as you’re approaching a bridge, that the vehicle you’re driving is way, way too tall to clear the bridge.
The Seattle Times has more, including word that the bridge wasn’t structurally damaged. The Times also mentions that, on top of everything else, the softball team lost the game it was returning from, 10-0. Oh, and they give the driver’s name, Brad Adams. I actually kind of feel bad for the guy. He must be so freakin’ embarrassed. Not to mention prayerfully hoping that none of those softball players develop injuries that would make for a good claim of damages in a negligence lawsuit…
(Hat tip: David K.)
If only Scrabulous allowed lolspeak words:
That reminds me, apropos of my previous Scrabulous post… I just got a new external hard drive (actually an internal drive and an external enclosure), and, in keeping with my tradition of giving my hard drives silly names, it is now officially known as:
Heh. “Khaaan” joins, among others, “GENIUS HARD DRIVE OF DEATH” (the name that started the tradition, courtesy of Kristy), “One Hard Drive to Rule Them All,” and “Sectumsempra II.” (The original “Sectumsempra” had a technical issue and had to be returned.) So, with a Lord of the Rings-themed name and a Harry Potter-themed name, it seemed only fitting that I have a Star Trek-themed name.
Some readers might recall that I used to have an external hard drive named “Joementum,” but it too had technical difficulties — for which I blame Ned Lamont — and ultimately it had to be replaced. In fact, “Khaaan” is, in essence, its replacement. Alas, I totally forgot about my original plan to name its replacement “Joementum the White.” Oh well. (Hmm: replacing Lieberman with Shatner? Well, at least I’m staying within the Tribe.)
A bit of joyful bizarreness to brighten up your tax day, courtesy of Sesame Street circa 1982:
I dare you to not have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. :)
(Hat tip: Barb.)
Hillary Says Memphis National Champ Despite KU Having More Points: “Just because some team comes along in the last minute and scores more points than the other guy doesn’t mean they’re necessarily able to be National Champion on Day One.” (Hat tip: GT12.)
For God’s sake, Glenn, think of the Insta-Mom!! When they grab her with those metal claws, she won’t be able to break free, because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re made of metal, and robots are strong.
In the latest twist in my Comcast saga, I have another techie scheduled to come over tomorrow afternoon, due to the continuing intermittent speed and connectivity problems I’ve been having. The latest odd behavior has been a couple of instances where my connection has slowed to an inconsistent crawl, and when I’ve done a speed test, I’ve gotten a perfectly reasonable downstream speed but no upstream reading, like so:
Anyone have a clue what might cause that? I’m stumped. I just know that, when it happens, it seems to produce extremely erratic behavior: one minute, stuff is loading fine; the next, it’s not loading at all; the next, it’s crawling; then it’s suddenly fine again. Very frustrating.