Archives For technology

There are companies out there that care about their customers. That value the goodwill of their customers. Who understand that choosing them over their competition is more than a business transaction.

It’s a relationship.

DirecTV is not one of those companies. How do I know? Let me count show the ways.

My wife and I are DirecTV customers. Have been for over a year-and-a-half. We have paid them a godly sum in that time to enjoy their programming. Last Monday evening, we noticed some playback errors during one of our favorite shows, Castle. At the time, we didn’t think much of it, writing it off as a broadcast glitch. Between then, and Sunday evening (the fifth of October), we didn’t notice any other errors. But that night when I settled in to watch the season finale of The Strain, the Genie Minis were indicating that a “server could not be found.” Strange, I thought.  
Going downstairs to check on it, I turned the T.V., and was greeted with:

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(Disclosure: I took this picture the following morning; on Sunday night, there were 16 errors).

Being in the tech industry, I knew that the errors referred to were disk errors. Which meant that the drive in the DVR was on its way out. I let DirecTV know. They’re sending replacement.  Well and good.

What’s not so good is that it’s 2014, and they’re not doing a thing to help me save the existing recorded content. Despite the fact that there are indeed ways to do it.

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This is stuff that I’ve paid for the privilege of watching. And now, according to DirecTV, I won’t be able to.

What’s particularly galling to me is that we have a brief window of opportunity to move content off of their failing equipment (it’s leased), and they won’t even send me a Genie Go to at least preserve that stuff for a month:

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Way to stand behind your equipment, DirecTV! Kudos for your customer service. I can see that you value having My family and I as customers…

Not so much.

This is where things stand now. It’s what, in an earlier day, would have been termed a “Mexican standoff.” I won’t budge, they won’t budge. I guess they don’t know (or appreciate) the power of social media. Remember Comcast,  folks? And that support call from the nether regions?

Let’s make this go viral, too.

Here’s a hashtag: #DIrecTVdotherightthing

Can you help men out? Share this post on:

Twitter

Facebook

Google+

Let’s let DirecTV that shoddy customer service is unacceptable in 2014.

Thanks!

A screwdriver is a tool. It’s used to screw things in, or out. It’s not a hammer–though on occasion, when I’ve not had a hammer handy, I’ve used a screwdriver handle to pound nails. It might, or might not, work.

It’s not the best tool for that job.

Just like hammers, and screwdrivers, the Internet is a tool. One wouldn’t use a Phillips head screwdriver to look up restaurant reviews on Yelp. No, for that one uses the Internet. Specifically, one uses either a smartphone app, or a web browser, to access that information.

This may seem a tad silly, but bear with me. I have a point to make:

Just as there is such a thing as the right tool for the right job, so also is there such a thing as a tool misapplied. I mentioned above how I’ve on occasion used a screwdriver for purposes other than which it was designed. Chances are one can get hurt wrongly using a tool. For instance, a meat cleaver cleaves meat–but it can be used to kill. Is the cleaver at fault? No. As an inanimate object it is entirely amoral.

It’s a just a tool.

The culpability resides with the person who has misused that tool. Likewise, guns are tools. Only when handled can they become deadly.

The Internet can be likened to a loaded gun insofar as it is a tool–one which can used for good (looking up useful information), or ill (exploring the darkest corners of human experience). Just because a tool has the potential to be misused does not make that item a bad tool. Because there is such thing.

It’s a tool which has been put to inappropriate use. Something used for nefarious means. (I’m not here addressing items specifically manufacturered to cause harm. Yet even those things are entirely amoral–for it is in their application that they cause said harm).

And the culpability lies with the human who, in so doing, has made of themself the tool.

A tool of sin.

There are tools, and there are tools.

Which one will you be?

My wife and I are currently under contract with Sprint–whose coverage has been rather less than stellar. Unless, under their “Network Vision” upgrade push, things get drastically better, we’ll likely jump ship in the middle of the year. (At this point, I need to disclose that it’s my fault my family and I are with Sprint. It was a big cost savings. But, as the saying goes, “ya gets what ya pays for”).

Could you:

Tell me who you’ve got

How your service has been

About your coverage,  please?

As we’re looking to make an informed decision, your input truly helps.

Thanks much!

For the uninitiated, the practice of “hackintoshing” involves installing Apple’s Mac OS X onto unsupported hardware (i.e. non-Apple branded equipment, otherwise known as “PCs”).

I’ve heard the deeper you delve into hackintoshing, the more it dawns on you that it’s very much akin to writing.

What do I mean?

1) It’s not for the faint of heart. Seriously–this is no regular install. It is a process fraught with trial and error, and altogether too easily bungled. Just when you think you have all your ducks in a row, things take an unexpected turn.

2) When those unexpected turns happen, it’s back to the drawing board. Which in the case of hackintoshing means starting over; similarly for writing, it means junking months–or perhaps years–of work, when the story isn’t working. Or when it goes to an unforeseen place (because it needs to) that’s better than what we planned.

3) Despite the best laid plans, things will go awry. Despite having all the tools in place, sometimes we just need to walk away–move onto something new. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

4) Other times, persistence pays. Just when we’re about ready to pull the plug, that A-ha! moment arrives. And things fall into place. This is just as true of writing as it is of hackintoshing.

5) When inspiration is lacking, we are often driven to the furthest corners of the Internet in search of that one right thing that makes the difference. Just as there are thousands of different makes and models of PCs, there are all manner of guides for the hackintosher. Likewise with writing, what inspires you may not inspire me. But you’ll know it when you see it. And it will make all the difference.

I know the title indicates five similarities, but I would be derelict without adding another:

6) As with writing, hackintoshing isn’t done in a vacuum. Oh, certainly on the surface both appear to be be solo activities, but nothing is further from the truth: we stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before us, gleaning their wisdom, inspired by their example. We press on because our forebears pressed on. We know we can because they could, and did.

Just as those who come after us will be inspired by our example.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14, ESV).

Talk about your writing failures, and success, in the comments, please. How have you had to restart? What did it feel like when that breakthrough came?

A note on this post: This is not a technology blog, and as such it’s not my purpose to encourage hackintoshing. My purpose was simply to take two difficult, though seemingly disparate, things, and show the similarities. The general principles here apply across the broad spectrum we call “life.” We can do hard things, but we’re never really doing them alone.