Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oceanic Time Warner Cable - Complete Crap

If you live in Hawaii and want TV service you won't have a ton of choices and it likely will come down to Oceanic Time Warner Cable or DirecTV (and maybe Dish, but who's buying Dish anymore?).

I've had DirecTV in Arizona before and any time you would have storm clouds you lose reception. In Arizona it's not a huge issue since it is rarely cloudy. In Hawaii, well, I'm not so sure if it would be an issue and I didn't want to get stuck in a 2 year contract if it became a problem. Rather than dealing with DirecTV I chose cable, and I chose poorly. Time Warner is just absolutely horrible all around. The HD picture isn't all that great, and that's when it works!

Their DVR system is horrible and is many years behind what DirecTV (and even Dish) can do and, at least in my case, often doesn't work right. Sometimes it records a show, sometimes not for no reason at all. The GUI is low resolution and often cuts off the name of shows so you might see "Finding..." as a show name...finding what exactly?

Go to the priority manager where you can tell the DVR which shows are most important and nothing is numbered. Do I assume the shows on top are higher than the shows on the bottom when it comes to recording priority? If so, why is it when I add a new series to record it goes to the top (DirecTV would put it at the bottom where it belongs, then you move it where you want it). And then it often records parts of a show. I might get the last 18 minutes of Top Gear UK or the last 6 minutes of Ghost Hunters. Helpful!

Time Warner will offer whole home DVR service as well but it sucks and often doesn't work. I have to reboot both boxes weekly to keep the whole home service working or get a "network error" where one box can't talk to the other. And then there is the cost of whole home DVR...over $20 per month! Oh yea, and add in another $4 per month if you want to have many of the HD channels you get on your DVR mirrored onto your second receiver. That's right, no syfy HD, no cartoon network HD, no TBS HD, and several other that are missing unless I cough up another $4 per month. Was the $20 whole home fee not enough (DirecTV used to charge $4/month for whole home DVR for comparison).

So I decided to cancel Time Warner cable TV service today. I thought they'd talk me out of it but clearly even they know what a joke it is. Instead, they wanted to charge me $18 to cancel because they need to send a tech out to my house to disconnect the cable while keeping the Internet connection alive.

$18! I asked if they could waive the fee and Tanya told me "no" even though I explained how they should be trying to ensure I remain a customer on their Internet service rather than further upsetting me. Still got a no, they can't make exceptions. Three minutes later and all of a sudden Tanya tells me (as if it was her idea) that she can waive the $18 fee because they can make an exception for me. What? I asked why she couldn't 3 minutes ago. As you can imagine, I got some BS double talk.

In her defense, she went one step further which was quite nice! I was getting a bundle discount on my Internet service for having TV service so rather than my Internet now increasing $12 / month she kept it at the current rate for the next 12 months. That was a nice touch for sure. I was just about to shop around for Internet replacement (as Time Warner Internet is pretty bad as well) but now I'll stay on for a bit at least.

For those moving to Hawaii my advice is to avoid Time Warner altogether if possible. The service isn't good, the product is crap, and overall it's like travelling 10 years back in time as far as the technology is concerned. Try DirecTV, try Dish, try nothing at all and save a lot of money (we're going to use netflix and hulu for now). If you do use Time Warner just do it for Internet, not for TV. Cable truly is as bad as the DirecTV commercials make it out to be!

Dear Google Fiber, please come to Oahu soon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FAIL - Honolulu Magazine

Before moving to Hawaii I subscribed to several Hawaii related magazines and that included Honolulu Magazine. It's how people who want to live in Hawaii live until they find a way to get here. Like most magazines in the world I found that Honolulu Magazine was filled with a ton of advertising, even more than most magazines seem to have in most issues.

But I've noticed a trend in Honolulu Magazine and it's quite annoying. You'll get each issue and think you're in for some great content because it's a thick publication each month but once you dive in you'll see that the majority is just ads. Ads aren't bad and they serve a valid purpose, but content is king.

The growing trend I'm seeing is how they add in so many "special advertising" sections or "promotion" sections as they call them. These are just another word for ads but clearly they must identify these sections because many readers assume it's actual magazine content when it simply isn't.

In the February 2013 issue I counted 84 pages that were advertising (include the special advertising sections). That's 84 pages out of 144 pages total. That leaves only 60 pages of actual magazine content to read. And I'm being generous when I say 60 pages of content because those 60 pages include the contents (2 pages total) as well as a few pages where they'll show you some bikinis or jewelry along with pricing and where to buy them (sounds like an advertisement, doesn't it?). You'll then get a page from the editor which is usually nothing much, some reader letters (again, usually nothing much), and that doesn't leave room for much else. Probably 50 pages of actual content that you are paying for.

50 pages of content on a place like Honolulu? And it's not like the magazine is confined to just Honolulu as it's really about Hawaii overall. Can these editors not find more to write about in an entire month than 50 pages?

As if those "special advertising" sections aren't enough (and it seems like they manage to cram one in every issue now...more on that in a bit) they just LOVE to tie them into so called content. In the February 2013 issue they did an article on the "Best Dentists" which took up about 11 pages, most of which are just listing after listing of dentists that are the so called "best". I mean, how can you list 300 (ballpark) dentists and say that those 300 are the "best"...I didn't even know the island had 300 dentists! Wouldn't a best of list have a dozen or two at most?

What follows that "best of" list is 48 pages of "special advertising section" that are paid advertisements for dentists (those in the best of list). They even did this with lawyers in a previous issues and doctors in another. See, this is why you have 300 in a best of gives you more to advertise!

Think about that for a minute. If you run a magazine and need more ad revenue all you need to do is make some sort of "best of" list and then go to all of the "winners" you picked and tell them to pay up if they want a nice glossy ad in the magazine as well. It's genius marketing really, but a dirty trick for the readers. How can I trust a BS best of list like this if you then go to the winners and ask them to pay up? What if they said no, maybe you could just take them off the best of list and teach them a lesson for next year? It's just so shady.

Maybe if the editors weren't so busy calling the dentists to convince them to be in a paid special advertising section they could actually write about, oh I don't know, Honolulu and Hawaii in general? I am sure it's just one of the many reasons magazines like this just keep getting worse and worse with each issue.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

VOG: Farting in the wind

As it turns out, living in Hawaii isn't all beaches, coconuts, and hula girls...we have a less than perfect side here as well and it's name is vog. Basically, the Kilauea volcano on the big island is farting and those of us on the other islands are down wind this week.

Normally, the trade winds blow out of the north / northeast so the non-stop spewing that Kilauea does isn't normally an issue for us over here on Oahu. In fact, the weather here is almost always a perfect 83 degrees F for the daily high and low 70's at night. But it's only when the winds stop that you truly appreciate how nice they are.

Right now, not only have they stopped but they changed directions (I guess due to a cold front north of us from what I've read, who knows) so that the wind comes out of the south / southeast and blows that lovely vog over our island. It's lasted a few days now and I guess is pretty rare (couple of times a year, if that?). But when it happens we not only get the vog situation but also some hot (upper 80's) and humid weather. I mean, come on now...this isn't what I signed up for, I actually had to turn on the air conditioning yesterday :) Yea, okay....fair enough...I'll keep my complaining in perspective and get back to the beach, coconut drink, and hula girls now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why you live in Hawaii: Reason #589

Free coconuts (among other foods) for the taking on local trees. For those wondering, that uber sharp knife will NOT be used to open this thing as we plan to keep our fingers for a while.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh that Hawaii weather...

Weather...just one of the many reasons I live in Hawaii. Every now and then I like to check just to see what our forecast is for the next few days and every time it looks about the same. Mostly sunny, a high around 83 degrees Fahrenheit, and a low around 71 degrees (apparently it will be unseasonably warm on Sunday night with a low of a steamy 72 degrees...makes me think is just making stuff up).

Follow that up with a lovely breeze from the trade winds that carries in fresh air day and night and you're good to go!

Thursday, April 12, 2012