Stop freaking out over the TV-B-Gone prank at CES

TV B GoneIt’s bewildering watching everyone freak out about the TV-B-Gone prank at CES this year. A bunch of TVs got turned off and apparently someone forgot to dig the remote out of the couch. Have we become so accustomed to TV & screens being on that we don’t recognize when their not?

People are livid all over the net. Up in arms! This is absolutely horrible for CES! Business is denied! The A/V guy might get fired! Motorola is fucked! Bloggers will PAY!! The porn stars might leave! It was mean and not cool! Puhl-leeze. Put down the pitchforks, hit the saloon and keep those dollar bills ready. No one is losing their job, the billions of dollars invested in consumer electronics will not disappear, Motorola will do just fine. That A/V guy has more than enough work that he could care for. You will still get your lap dance.

Understand that this is a simple prank. It’s a one-off that will easily be remedied by small pieces of electrical tape next year. Or maybe TV manufacturers will finally wake up to the threat of open, unencrypted television remotes everywhere. Seriously, what if Al Qaeda got the TV Remote Control Bomb and managed to turn off every single television, plasma screen and theater projection system in America AT THE SAME TIME?

I know, heavy. We are so fucked.

Comcast, why do you hate your customers?

Comcast Hates Its Customers

Comcast, when I ordered service from you, you were there for me. When the big faceless phone company said it would take 2 weeks to get DSL, you were there for me with broadband Internet cable access the very next morning. I was very impressed.

A couple months later and we have a fairly nasty storm here in Northern California. My cable service went out immediately and it has now been 3 days. I understand nature is unpredictable and service is subject to whims of things beyond your control. But it has been 3 days and I live in a densely urban area in San Francisco. I know I’m not the only one that wants to know two basic things that your customer service reps can’t seem to give me.

1. What is the nature of the problem exactly, how widespread is it?

2. When will service be restored?

Pretty much any solid company that deals with customers will tell you that a little information goes along way. Just knowing the extent of a service problem and what’s needed to get it resolved is usually enough to keep most people from the storming the gates of your business.

So Comcast, why can’t you give me this information? Each time I have contacted you, all I get from you is: There is an outage in your area. Our technicians are aware of the problem and are working on it. We don’t know when it will be fixed.

In other words, piss off, we’re busy, don’t bother us. That’s the message I’m getting from you.

If your technicians know what the problem is, why can’t they tell you so you can tell me? When my phone service goes out, ATT will tell me if there is downed telephone line and will give me a rough estimate of when service is restored. When my power goes out, PG&E will tell me if a transformer blew up and how long it will take to replace. Comcast, you have smart technicians, they know what’s going on. Why can’t you get your act together internally so customers like me have a little more information? All I’m asking for is a little transparency. Give me the illusion that you care about me and my $70 a month.

UPDATE: Comcast, please tell me this isn’t really you. Now I find out that not only you hate me, but you’ve been lying to me too! Are you sleeping with someone else? I just spoke to one of your customer rep supervisors who tells me that this outage is bay area wide (her words) and that EVERYONE is affected (her words). I just polled my friends on Twitter and found this to be completely untrue. Come on Comcast, I know you can do much much better.

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Marla Showed Us Another World is Possible

Marla RuzickaI never knew Marla Ruzicka. Reading about the incredible things she’s accomplished in her short 28 years on this planet has to move even the most jaded anti-warrior and war supporter alike. Marla committed her life to bringing some semblance of justice to those civilian causalities (“collateral damage”) caught in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Doing the job our government refuses to, she went to Iraq going door-to-door to count, take names and hear people’s stories of loss. Armed with this information, she went to Washington and lobbied for repatriations for those civilians. It’s with sad irony that Marla was killed yesterday by a suicide bomb on the road out of Baghdad. She’s a NorCal native and grew her social justice skills at Global Exchange here in San Francisco. From the things I’ve read, her selflessness is rivaled only by her compassion and commitment to making life a little better for others. The organization she birthed, Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), will no doubt continue Marla’s miracle mission of realizing another world is possible.


Flickr fuck yeah!

Falling Water

Originally uploaded by Urban Tiki.

It’s rare that I come across a site or tool that just sucks me in. Now is one of those rare times. Flickr has the right mix of visual voyeur curiosity and show-and-tell community that it’s got me clocking up the hours. I discovered flickr a year ago when it first launched, but it was a different animal then. You know you’ve come along way when Yahoo and Google buyout rumors spread like wildfire. I’d love to see Flickr buyout Yahoo. Yeah, I think they’re ready.

Oh, why is Flickr so cool you ask? It gives you the tools to upload, archive, organize, annotate and share your pictures with your friends and soon-to-be friends in a way no other site or tool has before. Awesome, easy to use viral features with a social networking core that encourages community and sharing. Also it’s really encouraged me to take my camera with me and snap pix of pretty much every god damn thing. Check out my Flickr and leave some comments!