Phoneways

When taking a video on your cellphone, hold it sidewaysNobody likes to watch videos with a vertical aspect ratio on a horizontal screen. And it looks ridiculous on the front page of the New York Times when somebody’s cell phone video has gigantic black bars on either side of it, making it completely tiny and unwatchable.

Sincerely,

Film Production M.F.A.

P.S. Do this for still images, too.

Comcast Gigabit Pro No-Go

I was intrigued to see if Comcast had Gigabit Pro fiber Internet service in my area, so I called to enquire about it. The CSR opened an inquiry ticket for me and someone called me back within two days and indicated that yes, they did have fiber in my area. The cost would be $300/month + $20/month equipment rental with a 2-year contract, a $500 install fee, and a $500 activation fee. For that I would get 2 Gbps symmetric Internet access! But they would need to do a “walk survey” to verify that my location was suitable for installation. I said go ahead. At this point I was getting excited and starting to plan for all of the great usage I would get out of this awesome bandwidth.

About a week later I got another call back from my rep and he said that the walk survey indicated I was good to go. He would set up a construction survey and within two to three weeks someone would get in touch with me to look at my residence and determine the best way to run fiber into my house! I decided to go ahead and order the network equipment I needed to be able to utilize 2 Gbps symmetrical Internet.

Two days later I got my final call back from Comcast and my rep said that when he submitted the construction ticket, the team got back to him and said there was “not a clear route to be able to provide services to your home.” The voicemail ended with him asking me to call them back in 6 months. 😦

This makes me sad. I realize that the service is kinda stupid expensive but would have been hella awesome nonetheless. I was talking it up to all of my coworkers, friends, and family, and would have been a bit of a word-of-mouth free marketing person (and Comcast desperately needs all the good PR it can get). Unfortunately it is not to be. I don’t believe I was told the whole truth on the telephone as to why Comcast doesn’t want to run fiber to my house. From my bedroom window I can see a marked Comcast fiber location less than 200 feet from my house! The feed into my residence is aerial (on a pole) so there wouldn’t even be a need to dig a trench. And to add insult to injury, I watched three of the four Comcast Metro-E area techs install the Gigabit Pro service at a nearby location on very the same day I got the rejection voicemail! It was apparently only their second install of the service in the area, and I was looking forward to working with them on my install.

It looks like my only alternative now is to get involved with my local government and support the build-out of our own municipal fiber service. In this last election the voters overwhelmingly approved the ability for my town to provide municipal broadband service, and from what I read, we have a feasibility study budgeted for next year. I will be pushing hard for this service to happen. When that happens, Comcast will be permanently losing a subscriber who could have been an early adopter of what could have been an awesome fiber Internet service.


UPDATE 2016-12-12:

I got some more information from inside Comcast via a colleague: the node that supports my house is a secondary node and not capable of supporting Gigabit Pro service, so it turns out the initial survey was in error. However, they will be upgrading it to a primary node sometime in 2017, so we will revisit next year….

Briefly How To Protect Your Civil E-Liberties

Some of you may be more worried now about your privacy and the protection of your civil liberties. I have been a long-time advocate for maintaining private, encrypted communications, and have stayed on top of the technology. Here are some things you should do, right now: Continue reading “Briefly How To Protect Your Civil E-Liberties”

Dream Car

I had a dream about the Model 3 this morning. Among its features were a thrust vector control rocket motor on the back, like the Batmobile meets an F-22 Raptor. This made it capable of landing vertically like the Falcon rocket. Also the rear view mirror was a frustratingly low-resolution LCD monitor that identified the year and model of each passing car, although the white text was sadly pixelated and difficult to read. The car came in a two-door coupe variant, which saved some money, but I ultimately decided we would get the sedan because they didn’t actually make the coupe version (dreamland logic).