Friday, July 17, 2009

Verizon and FIOS

I'll try to keep this short.
I decided to call Verizon this morning to see if I could take care of a problem that has been annoying me. My neighborhood had FIOS installed about a year ago (perhaps longer). Almost once a week, I get a mailer (sometimes 2!) encouraging me to switch to FIOS. I can't believe the money they've wasted on these mailings to me, not to mention all the dead trees, ink, etc... I tried calling about a month ago to get them to remove my name from the mailing list. Oddly enough, the man told me he could do that, but then just after I gave him my name, I was disconnected. Irony?
I thought, well he had my name, and my phone number so he should have the right information to complete my request. No. A month later, and I'm STILL getting a mailer a week. So I decided to try again.
I spoke with a VERY nice and polite woman. I really tip my hat to her. (note: I think I got a nice person, because I called the "sales" line, and not the tech support). She agreed she could do that, and apologized for the mulitple mailings. Great!
It all went well, that I decided to take care of the next issue with her...
I signed up for Verizon DSL about 2-3 years ago. At the time, I got a price of about $29.99 if I agreed to a one year term. Fine. I didn't really pay attention to the data rate because it was the only one they had. Since that time, my friend and relative who signed up within the year, they had an option of a 1MB plan for $17.99 (which they now have raised to $19.99) OR a 3MB plan for $29.99.
Well, I've been checking my speeds and I'm only getting about 1.5MB, so I thought, I must be on an old plan.
I asked the woman all of the above, and she confirmed that she could switch me to the 3MB plan for $29.99 - GREAT! But....
Tonight I get home, and check my speeds... again, it's still at 1.5MB. I call up again to find out what happened.
Over an hour and a half on the phone, I talked to a customer service rep, who transfered me to tech support, who said there was nothing he could do, because my plan still said 3MB OR 1.5MB - and I had to take the issue back up with customer service. ugh.
I called back, and spent another 30 minutes on the phone (with another nice woman), and long story short, she says she was able to switch me to the 3MB/1.5MB plan.
Really verizon?! These are the plans you offer for $29.99?
1) a 3MB OR 1.5MB
2) a 3MB/1.5MB

Note the use of the plan names... it's not "up to" 3MB it's presented as an "either, or" - how can this be possible?

Verizon - you're at the top of my list now. You have made Comcast look good today. Ugh.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

small rant...

It amazes me now how the time gets away from me regarding this here blog...

So a small rant I wanted to get off my chest.
My new pet peeve is companies who CHANGE their product.
I am a creature of habit. I admit that. I don't like change. I understand all the points behind it though; learning to adapt, exploring the world, growing as a person, etc...
I've gotten used to (and enjoy) the same type or flavor of Lance Crackers every morning for breakfast (except weekends). They are a Swiss Cheese flavor - though they taste NOTHING like Swiss cheese. But I enjoy them. Well, about 3 months (perhaps longer) ago, Lance crackers phased out that particular flavor! I since learned that they were introducing new flavors that involve a new "whole wheat" cracker - and big surprise - they cost more. Now I must adapt to these new flavors, which I don't like as much.
Then to top that off... the local supermarket where I get them... has just stopped carrying them! They only have a "keebler" ones which to me are horrible because their cracker parts are too sweet. So now, I have to find a new grocery store that sells lance crackers. I did notice the other day that the local "club store" carries Austin brand wheat crackers so perhaps I'll give that a try next time I'm low.
I'll throw out another one though I hope it's not too personal...
Underwear! I am picky about the type of clothes I like mostly regarding fit and fabric (I don't care "as much" as what they look like, as long as they are comfortable). When I find a brand I like, I usually stick with it. So a couple weeks ago, I went out to pick up some replacement undies, so I went back to the store I got them at last time, and picked out the same ones. I bring them home, try them on next time, and they feel different. Here, I look at the label and they are 95% cotton, and 5% Spandex!?!?! Grr. So 90's! :) So now, what do I do, do I have to start the search for a whole new brand name now? What made them decide to change the fabric percentages?!
So companies out there... don't be so quick to change products. There are such things as loyal customers.
Ok, that feels better now.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Kindle - first impressions

Yep, I got myself a Kindle! Well, with help from some recent birthday gift certificates that is...
I've been eyeing these things for quite some time now. But I could never justify the price. While I very much enjoy reading, I tend to do my reading before bed each night which means I usually only get a few pages in per night before Mr. Sandman clunks me over the head. BUT I do love books. In fact, I admire others who have or make more time for reading. I am making an effort to increase my reading time as well.

So first let me say, there are some things that trouble me regarding a Kindle.
1) I've never had an issue where I couldn't read anything because I had a dead battery.
2) I've never dropped my entire bookcase to the point where if I did, I wouldn't be able to read those books anymore.
3) I'm very troubled by the tight grips that Amazon is building into their Kindle format.
4) I don't like the high costs of the Kindle editions (on some books - other books are FREE!)

But... I received mine yesterday morning, and upon opening it, and getting to know it as the day progressed, I felt like I was holding a magical device.
It seems to be VERY nicely designed which is important for a device like this. As I was unpacking it (which the packing is really nicely done as well), I couldn't help but notice a heavy "Apple" influence. (Learn from the best).
The device is a tad heavier than what I expected, but it's certainly a good weight.
I so far have "purchased" only one book - which was a wopping ¢99! It was Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" (I started to read this book some time ago, but never finished it). I've also "purchased" a handful of the FREE books. (I had to laugh as many of the "top sellers" are FREE books - I suspect that is because people who buy a Kindle can't afford to buy books anymore!)
There is defintely going to be a price war ahead (happening now!). People are NOT going to want to spend more than the $9.99 base price. They view an e-book as not being as expensive as a paper book (I do anyway). But I'm sure in due time the prices will even out.

As far as readbility and navigation etc...
The e-ink is very nice. The only complaint is that the background is a tad too dark in my opinion. IF Amazon were smart, they would not have made the unit a stark bright white. It only emphasizes that the "paper" is about 40% gray. They should have made the unit a dark gray (abt 80% which would have given the illusion of a brighter "paper". So far though, It is very readable though (I've heard some people complain of eyestrain on long periods).
The navigation is nice, but I think it could use a little work. I'm sure though, once I get the hang of what the buttons do, I'll adapt and it won't be an issue (for example, I tend to want to use the 5-way button to turn pages).

All in all, a really nice device, and I hope to get many hours of enjoyment from it.
One last comment... this is only the "second generation" Kindle... and it's only been out for a little over a year or so (meaning the first gen Kindle). I'm aware that soon my unit will be out of date, but such is the price to pay for adopting new technology.
I will enjoy it for a long time I'm sure.
(note, I'm STILL using my second gen. ipod and like it very much!)

Oh... one more thing... the images they have while the unit is in sleep mode are fantastic! The levels of gray are enough to do justice to a black and white image.