Trigger Happy

Tag: tech

I Cut the Cable

by on May.25, 2010, under geek, IRL, tech

My memory is a bit foggy but we've been cable TV free for about a year now. There are a few things we miss but honestly, those few things are not worth ~$45 per month. I did some research, went to RadioShack, argued with a sales guy about UHF and VHF, bought a $70 UHF/VHF antenna, installed that sucker in the attic, and cancelled our cable. We get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, My New TV, CW, and PBS all over the air. Using the federal DTV transition program, we got two DTV converters for $40 total and eventually bought an HDTV. Our savings from ditching cable will pay for the TV in just over a year!

We also bought Playon around the holidays when they had a ridiculous sale going on. With Playon, we can stream all kinds of media from various sites (like Hulu) to our TV via our Xbox 360. It's a great deal even at the regular price. Since we enjoy movies so much, we also subscribe to the three dvd Netflix plan which includes instant view which also streams to our TV with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. For $17 per month, it's a fantastic deal if you watch a lot of movies.

If you haven't figured it out already, it was well worth it! If the price of cable packages drops dramatically, we may consider signing up again, but I find that pretty unlikely. We're pretty happy with our media options and we're saving quite a bit. If you've been thinking about cutting the cable but are holding back, let me know! Maybe I can help you pick out hardware, software, and alternate service plans. Just leave a comment!

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Google Voice Just Got Better

by on Oct.28, 2009, under tech

Google Voice recently added a feature that really appeals to me. There are times where I work in buildings where I have no service on my cell phone. Google Voice has helped this situation by allowing me to forward my Google Voice number to wherever I am. The problem is, not everyone has my Google Voice number, and even if they did, they'd still see my cell number whenever I call them. If someone calls my cell phone and leaves a message when its out of service, I don't get the message until I'm on the road, which is usually too late.

The new feature Google Voice has added is allowing me to using Google Voice for voicemail on my cellphone. It doesn't work with all cell providers but they hit the major ones including US Cellular (who I use) which usually is left by the wayside. Not only does it consolidate voicemail boxes, it also allows me to forward my cell calls to my Google Voice number which then dials any number I set up. So now I can even receive those calls that I would normally miss and I don't really need to hand out my Google Voice number.

If you're tired of me raving about Google Voice and just want to try it, I have three invites to hand out. Leave a comment or dm me on twitter with your email address and I'll hook you up! (If you leave a comment, I'll already have your email so you don't need to include it in your comment)

Also, sorry for the lack of posts lately. We've been very busy the past few months. I'll be posting some gaming stuff soon (hopefully).

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xkcd: Tech Support Cheat Sheet

by on Aug.24, 2009, under geek, tech

I can't resist. I have to post this...
tech_support_cheat_sheet
(click to make it big)

Tech Support Cheat Sheet - [xkcd]

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Time Warner Cable Tech Support

by on Aug.16, 2009, under IRL, tech

I recently bought a refurbished Linksys CM100 cable modem for $20 since the cable modem Time Warner Cable provided has been a pain in the ass (we had a Toshiba PCX2600). Being a huge fan of Linksys hardware, I couldn't resist such a great sale. The only problem was I knew activating it was going to include spending an hour or more between fighting an automated phone system, waiting on hold, convincing a level 1 support person that it IS possible to put a new device on the network, more holding, then getting a higher up tech person to get their act together. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting.

First step was to get to an actual human. Time Warner Cable must have updated their phone system recently because I've never dealt with a voice recognition system that actually works as well as Goog411. I wasn't able to get to a human the first try since it decided I was just having connection problems and told me to restart the modem and watch the flashing lights (impressive, but not what I wanted). I couldn't figure out how to get out of that process so I hung up and called again. As soon as I gave it my phone number again, it said "I've noticed you recently called for tech support. Is this call for the same problem?" Answering "Yes" connected me directly to a level 1 tech. Shocking! I'm definitely keeping that trick in mind.

The level 1 tech agreed to set me up, no questions asked (fully expected them to ask why I got my own since they don't charge rent). He asked for the MAC address which he looked up and found it wasn't on the system. He opened a ticket for me and forwarded me to a higher level tech. I sat on hold while he called the 2nd tech and was quickly connected. I verified the MAC again with the 2nd tech, he clicked away for a minute then asked me to restart my router and BAM! Internet was back up and faster than ever.

Maybe TWC is getting their act together... Maybe I just got lucky. Either way I applaud their new phone system since I'm sure it helps keep the lines open for more obscure requests like my own. I also applaud their techs because they weren't reading a script. They knew their shit. Well done TWC!

That said, they had better not try to re-introduce those tiered billing plans again. If they do, they might just wind up next to Apple on my Shit List

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Apple's new low: censoring a dictionary

by on Aug.05, 2009, under tech

All the Google Voice app nonsense in the past few weeks has really turned me off of Apple. I had started to warm up to them considering they have had some great products recently and their OS is built with Unix at its core. While I would never purchase an Apple product, I welcomed their competition to drive innovative products. I could rant on about the Google Voice fiasco but I feel like Mr. Arrington does a pretty good job of summing it up while explaining why he quit the iPhone.

Anyway, while the Google Voice thing pissed me off, I'm outraged that Apple is now censoring dictionaries. There are so many things wrong with that. So without further ado, I'd like to simultaneously introduce a new feature on my blog as well as...

Welcome Apple to my Shit List.

What's that, Apple? Is that word offensive or inappropriate? Feel free to censor the sh*# out of it.

I've been meaning to make a few other lists as well so stay tuned, there will be more (like my anticipated games, etc).

Apple's new low: censoring a dictionary - [Engadget]

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