May 03, 2006

In Orbit

Is it May already? That was fast...

Wow... that time passed might fast. Have been distracted by my latest endeavor - a new television. Not just any television mind you, but the majesty and glory that is my new 71" Samsung DLP. Simply beautiful.

Getting programming was a little dicier. Have been a happy Dish Network subscriber for a long time, so I decided once I received my television to upgrade to some HDTV programming. So, I call Dish to place an order. Here's what I find:

1) It will be $300 to obtain the Dish HD DVR
2) My local channels are not yet available in HD
3) The lead time for the Dish HD DVR is at least 30 days
4) I have to sign an 18 month contract
5) If I don't plug the DVR into a phone line, I have to pay $5 a month

Guess which one of these was the deciding factor in my purchase?

Yep, number five. This is the kind of customer-bludgeoning policy that loses a company both business and reputation. Think about it - you have to string a phone line to plug in your television.

I decided to evaluate cable, which I'd not been impressed with previously. Comcast, my local carrier, had the following:

1) No charge for dual tuner HD DVR (wow, dual tuner, woohoo!)
2) No contract
3) Can install the whole thing in 3 days
4) Half price for 12 months
5) Phone line? We don't need no steenkin' phone line!

They came, I saw, and it kicks some ass. Alas, they only had the single tuner HD DVR, so I am living with that until tomorrow when a replacement is due out, but otherwise, I have been pleased. The single tuner DVR does somewhat suck - the Commodore 64 graphics engine in it would be marginally acceptable were it not for the fact that ADVERTISEMENTS for crap like BOWFLEX and MORTGAGES appear on a full third of the menu. I believe the dual tuner DVR upgardes to at least Apple IIGS graphics...

Of course, now that I have cable, I don't need satellite. I called Dish Network to cancel and was immediately transferred to a Sales Retention Nazi. He asked why I was cancelling, which is fine of course, since that can help them prevent others from cancelling in the future. I mentioned points one through five, and let him know how I was actually about ready to order HD Dish, despite all the other issues, until I heard about the ridiculous phone line policy. He in turn wanted to re-enact the Lincoln/Douglas debates.

I mentioned that the DVR wasn't available, he retorted that it was a very in-demand high value item that is understandably in short supply. I remarked that my local channels weren't available yet in HD, he responded that Dish was the leader in HD technology and that they were adding channels daily. I took note of the fact that I had to pay $300 versus $0 for the DVR, which to him simply reflected the fact that the Dish DVR was a very avant garde piece of valuable hardware. I plunged the dagger in by remarking to him that yes, he had valid business reasons why he couldn't meet my expectations and needs, but that did not in any way change the fact he couldn't meet my expectations and needs...

Sensing defeat, he politely cancelled my account. I am now a Comcast subscriber.

HD is wonderful - caught some playoff basketball on TNT, and it's simply phenomenal. Like being there. In fact, HD sports and huge televisions (like mine, giggle...) will be a disincentive to paying $200 per seat and fighting with lousy traffic and parking at a major arena.

As you can imagine, all this research came at a price... blogging. Researching every set, and reading a 9,500 post owner's thread at avsforum.com, meant a big time commitment to getting this huge purchase right. Will be a little more available now...

Oh, those interested in getting a DLP or large television in general should consider these Samsung DLP sets. My HL-R7178W set is outstanding. I posted a fairly comprehensive review here:

My Samsung HL-R7178 review at AVS Forum

Posted by MEC2 at 07:14 PM | Comments (3)

September 27, 2005

Rush Limbaugh - Ripoff Artist, Denture Wearer

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

Having been pummelled into submission by the breathless controversy-baiting of press coverage of various tropical weather systems (especially by CNN, what an embarassment of tendentious hyperbolic journalistic malfeasance), I didn't expect much traffic here at the site lately...

Imagine my surprise at a traffic spike... and why? Because apparently Rush Limbaugh has been playing a version of "Everyone Knows It's Cindy" - which of course I take full credit for. His actually isn't as good as mine - I have heard it, and while I like it, it doesn't really go for the exposed throat of Cindy "Look at Me!" Sheehan.

Ah well, since I'm already posting, a quick rundown of what is going on, and what you should think about it...

Hurricanes are to the 24-hour news cycle what warm gulf waters are to hurricanes - a source of fuel for alot of hot wind with a troublesome purpose. Much is emerging about how the press utterly failed during it's coverage of the Katrina aftermath to do basic factchecking or investigation, passing on any apocalyptic tale as fact, especially on the execrable coverage on CNN. If I sound as if I am picking on CNN - I am. The reporters insisted on being part of the story, which they were not, none of whom ever were aware of much of anything besides what was happening right in front of them - or relayed to them and presented in a rumor-as-fact fashion.

The Supreme Court... wow, were we right on this one. We argued that Rehnquist was too old to serve and should step down, but was only going to in a pine box. Well, one pine box later, he's gone. We loudly proclaimed the genius of the Roberts choice, and easy confirmation - which will occur. Get ready for the next female justice. A great move, because this helps head off the Democrat strategy of passing Peter to pillory Paul. A woman will be VERY hard for Democrats to defeat - fitting an anti-woman label on a woman is an awkward fit. So, I would be surprised if we didn't get a female nominee next.

Remember, only 20 more days left in the hurricane shopping season...

Posted by MEC2 at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2005

Now THAT Is A Building

What the WTC designers SHOULD have been thinking...

Breathtaking, yes? This is the new Fordham Spire skyscraper planned for the Chicage lakefront. And the kind of amazing, jawdropping building that should stand where the WTC did. Instead, the reconsutrction at the World Trade Center site is undergoing that most American of processes - Death By Committee.

But people still count. Families of the loved and lost are undergoing that older, nobler American process - intrepidity and perseverence in the face of adversity.

And while familes and citizens struggle to keep the WTC site free of self-loathing navel-gazing flagellates who think the 9/11 site is the best location to peddle their self-afflicting wares, outcry from families, New Yorkers, and most of America has resulted in yet another revision of the WTC Freedom Tower.

Better than it was:

Awful. What is that on the top? A chicken coop? King Kong's monkey bars? The tower now extends to the full height of the original, rather than abruptly turning into the worlds highest jungle gym...

Now, just add another tower just like it...

Posted by MEC2 at 09:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2005

Twofer

Nice after an absence to be able to come back having batted 1.000...

Blowing one's own horn is unseemly, but we'd like to take a minor chance to do so, especially when the news is good - so our predictions about the Iraqi elections turn out true, and it appears imminent that our thoughts on Dean as DNC head will as well.

We hope to be a little more on track with the blog - post election washout as well as beginning of the year business have been overwhelming in both regards. But we think the second wind has caught the sails... so expect a more regular blogging experience moving forward.

We took the Iraqi voters minus the points - and they proved us right. People should remember that while carbombs that kill dozens every few days is horrific, the regime of Saddam was ever moreso. It will take more than random violence to scare a people subjugated and brutalized by Saddam and his grotesque genetic baggage. There are reports of some voting irregularities, and this of course is gettiing plenty of media play - of course, there was far less media scrutiny of election fair play when Saddam scored a perfect 100% of the vote in 2002. Fancy that.

We told you Dean was a serious contender, and in a party that really lacks dynamic figures, he was going to be the favorite to win. Now his final opponent has dropped out, and it appears his selection as DNC chariman is a fait accompli. Many Republicans are ecstatic over his selection - I would again advise caution for any Republican that thinks the Democrats under Dean will be an easy target. Dean is not going to be what they hoped - a radical, marginalizing figure. What he will do is help shape the DNC as a sharp contrast to the GOP - something many Democrats have been seeking.

Both Republicans and Democrats should be careful what they wish for with Dean...

Posted by MEC2 at 04:03 PM

October 23, 2004

Buffaro Rings

Hooters opens in China...

Apparently, another rich cultural export of the United States has been shared with our friends around the globe, as we've apparently opened a Hooters restaurant in Shanghai.

First our nuclear secrets... now Hooters. Is nothing sacred or secure in this nation anymore! Our national heritage and treasure plundered and stolen overseas...

Another example of Bush exporting jobs overseas I suppose...

Posted by MEC2 at 09:01 AM

May 08, 2004

The Hindenberg

Another tragic bag of air crashes to Earth...

Air America wanted to be the voice of the American left in America, the voice of American liberalism. As it crashes to earth missing payrolls, losing stations, and hemhorraging executives and investors, the voice of the left seems ready for another rebuke from the marketplace.

But what is the true voice of the left these days?

Frankly, it is somewhat ill-suited to radio. The left is virulently anti-War, anti-business, and anti-establishment. This works at rallys on the Washington Mall for abortion rights, with signs that suggest Barbara Bush should have had an abortion, and it works at anti-war rallys where the left shows up in Che Guevara shirts and condemns the US and Israel while lionizing Castro and Arafat. But it doesn't have any crossover appeal. The left is defined by it's fringe. Air America isn't the radio show of Evan Bayh or Joe Lieberman, it's the station of Michael Moore and Al Gore. The screeching, shrill dissonance that wins applause at rallys isn't going to get you market share, even in media markets that usually vote Democrat.

Conservative talk radio has easier crossover appeal on issues and message. But most importantly, unlike Air America, conservative talk radio is unflinchingly pro-America.

America is the greatest nation on earth, America has unique responsibilities in the world, the American people are the most generous and resourceful people around, America is the beacon for freedom and liberty - this is what people want to believe about their country. They tune in.

America has inherent biases, the American economy is unfair to the disadvantaged, America is too smug and acts like a bully, Americans use more than their fair share of the worlds resources - this is not what people want to hear about their own country. They tune out.

This isn't confined to radio. Television is the same way. Precisely where did Phil Donahue's show go? When it comes to their country, most audience members would rather listen to someone talk from a prospective of what's right with it, than what's wrong.

America sells - you'd think a network called Air America would be aware of this.

Posted by MEC2 at 11:43 PM

April 17, 2004

Did Kwame Win?

Sometimes you can win for losing...

Did Kwame really win The Apprentice? The selected winner, Bill, has a great gig working for Trump in Chicago.

But Kwame has name recognition and the freedom of navigation. In warfare, manueverability is everything (well, alot of things in warfare are everything), and Kwame can go here, there, and everywhere. Rather than being Trump's apprentice, Kwame has enormous exposure and likely huge endorsement potential...

Don't be surprised if Kwame is The Apprentice that we all remember...

Posted by MEC2 at 11:37 AM

April 15, 2004

Err America

Affiliate stations abort liberal talk radio in first trimester...

The liberal talk radio network curiously named Air America is off the air in Chicago and Los Angeles after the radio affiliates aborted their broadcasts, reportedly due to bounced checks and failed financial commitments.

Air America issued a statement decrying the move, calling it "disgraceful" to "shut off a broadcast that listeners rely on" - rely on? This has been on for what, two weeks? Is the broadcast powering someone's dialysis machine?

This story is truly hard to believe. Surely those backing this couldn't have coasted into production on vapors, hoping for a miracle to bail them out and banking on the generousity of a radio station owner to just give peace a chance, at least until peace can come up with the dough. It appears a judge has issued a restraining order to have the station re-enabled on the two affiliates until the matter is worked out.

That should allow those undergoing dialysis to move back to relying on Air America from relying on UHF broadcasts of The Andy Griffith Show en espanol...

Posted by MEC2 at 07:08 PM

April 09, 2004

Miss Communication

Karen Hughes' recent press appearances a reminder of how much the White House misses her...

Former White House Counselor and Bush aide Karen Hughes has been making the rounds promoting her new book, and the appearances underscore how lacking recent White House communications have been.

The departure of Hughes, coupled with the departure of Ari Fleischer, has created a real effectivity vacuum in the White House. Hughes is extremely effective, erudite, and perspicacious, and furthermore able to use all three words properly in a sentence. The ability of Hughes to effectively shape information into a positive message is a skill not seen lately in the long columns on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Much of this is embodied in Scott McClellan, a well meaning but uninspiring figure who too often in confrontations with the press reminds one of an effete Oliver Twist pleading "Please sir, I'd like some more". Whereas Ari shared Hughes' effective precision of language as well as demeanor, I half expect McClellan to end many of his press statements like a beaten down commission salesman at a highway gift shop, asking a defeated "so, you gonna buy it or not"?

Hughes has made herself available to the White House for the re-election campaign, and Bush will undoubtedly make full use of her exceptional skill. As to McClellan, Bush might consider a previous Republican's dealing with a McClellan - failing to take the battle to the enemy led Lincoln to remove a McClellan once, perhaps history needs to repeat itself.

Posted by MEC2 at 06:02 PM

March 28, 2004

I Think He Doth Project Too Much...

Remember, you can't spell 'assassinate' without an 'ass' or two...

John Kerry defended Richard Clarke in prepared remarks, calling White House attempts to discredit him 'character assassination'. Now I'm not sure if anyone has listened to the standard stump grind that Kerry uses, but it's far harsher toward the President than any released White House remarks made about Richard Clarke.

I'm not sure what the White House was expected to do. Surely they weren't supposed to let Richard Clarke testify that they didn't take the threat of terror seriously, were they? While I've read some real lowbrow shivs (see the Race Card, below) regarding Clarke, stating that he is now saying something different than he did before - whatsmore with a clear political and financial interest - isn't character assassination, it's the naked truth...

Kerry should be more careful with the assassination talk...

Posted by MEC2 at 11:00 AM