Saturday, May 24, 2008

NPR - What I hate

Ok, we all love to hate something. I try not to hate someone, but there's always the reality that there are people you encounter or get to know in your life who you really hate. Not hate somethings about them but hate them for who they are, what they did or what they stand for. You hate almost everything about them. But that's not the focus of this entry, It's about hating other things. Like?

Comcast. Ok, everyone loves to hate the cable or satellite TV companies. There really is little difference between them in terms of prices and channels, and each have their problems. Either you're plagued with satellite communications problems from weather, satellites or communications or you're plagued with cable network or equipment problems.

And my story. I live in an area that routinely loses anywhere from half a dozen to two dozen channels, many the HD channels Comcast touts, including their "On Demand" service which frequently isn't available. But what I really hate is their service. Twice I've had service calls about the bandwidth where channels go down and it's been verified by the technician's visit, but I can't convince them it's not my fault or the cable box.

Why? When you call it's always, "Did you recycle the power on the cable box?" Why do they always assume you're an idiot and the problem is the cable box? Then it's, "We'll recycle the box from here." Pause of 2-3 minutes, "Is it better?", to which the answer always is, "No." and they respond, "We'll schedule a technician to check out the box." The technician always replaces the box and then announces, "It's the router, line or bandwidth."

Gee, like I can't figure that out? So they go out and reset the router and things work, for a day or two, and then go back to normal. I've talked with communications specialists, and they all say it's simply too much signal serving too many people. They're putting telephone and Internet communications on top of television and audio signals, and despite what they say, it's just doesn't work.

Anyway, when they have a monoply, you're stuck. If I swich to satellite service I'm still stuck with their problems for the same price. And with satellite you're not dealing with two companies but also the independent service companies, as the satellite companies don't service their customers.

Landlords. This is another of those love to hate catagories. But I don't hate them entirely, just the newest owners, a company which bought the property and complex to run a real profit. And they outsource everything, even the management of the complex. My gripe? This year they moved the communal charges for water, sewer and trash (both dumpsters and recycle center) to the tenants, except they don't bill us directly, which is my anger.

The complex is billed monthly for water and trash. Water is metered at the building, not each apartment. We're on septic systems, so there is no sewer costs, only the annual septic service. It started when they decided to move those costs to the tenants to save $10-12,000 per month because our rent on leases includes paying for these services.

The water fee is the average for each apartment based on the number of signees on the lease. The trash is the average for both services for the whole complex. Except it's a neighborhood recycle center and sometimes neighbor use one of each apartment building's dumpster for their excess trash, especially at Christmas.

What I don't understand is the landlord gets the bill and enters the information into the contractor's on-line database. The costs are entered for the complex or each building. The landlord pays their costs for the common building, lighting, etc. and leaves the rest to the tenants. The contractor then compiles and computes the individual costs which they enter into another company's on-line data who pays the bills and then bills us to repay them.

So why can't the landlord do this themselves as part of their management of the complex? Beats me. The software exists and they're here where they can inform tenants who don't pay. They have legal clout to enforce payment with the lease. So why do they contract to a management company who then contracts to a collection company? I don't know but it sure sucks.

Software companies. I hate it when you buy a software package and the company charges for updates. I'm not talking upgrades, which almost all charge for, but simple frequent, routine updates where the version number only changes by a tenth decimal, eg. 3.1 to 3.2, or worse a hundredth decimal, eg. 3.1.1 to 3.1.2.

And what I don't understand is that on top of that companies only charge a small amoount, like $15-25 for the pacakge but then $15+ for updates. What's the point? Why not charge $40-50 for the package and give updates for free and $20-25 for upgrades? I won't rant against companies that simply charge full price for every new version without regard if it's an update or an upgrade.

And I won't touch the subject of hardware companies who didn't develop a new version for Mac's Leopard without having to unistall the Tiger version. After updating to Leopard, all but two packages still worked and if the company had an update for Leopard, it's simply installed over the Tiger version.

But two companies didn't do that. Their Leopard version had a 2+ page instruction which required acting like a Mac is a PC with upgrading Microsoft XP to Vista. One company didn't even produce a Leopard version for 6 monhts after the public release of Leopard, and then they did the same thing, uninstall everything, reboot, and then install the new verson.

Newspapers. This is an unfair one in light of the on-line version of newspapers. But I like paper versions. I love getting a bunch of them and sitting down with lunch and read each one a page at a time, except the classifieds. It's a good way to see the world through the eyes of the print media. Except some of the national newspapers don't print locally. They offer subscriptions delivered to your home. But the papers aren't available at a local newsstand.

If the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today can print and distribute their daily papers locally, why can't other national newspapers, like the Washington Post? I don't subscribe to any papers for several reasons, but mostly I like going to the newstand getting my papers and coffee and engage people in conversation. And I don't have to deal with delivery people when I don't want the paper or will be gone.

Pro-Life advocates. Ok, a politically touchy issue. Except it's not about life, they want control over women for reasons that don't make sense. If women exercised the same degree of control over men and women who are anti-abortion advocates, they would rebel and sue for their rights. Their position is simply absurd.

What don't they understand it's about the right of women to control their own reproductive choices and rights. And abortion is a choice, a decision between the woman and her doctor. No one else! Not even the father, who has a say but not control over the women. And no matter what the anti-abortion folks say or do, abortion has and will always be avaiable, and I would rather have it done under professional medical care than the ways history has shown it's done.

It's about caring for the woman, not the total disregard the anti-abortion advocates profess. They make the conception of birth more important than women. If men could be pregnant do you think the anti-abortion advocates would still preach and profess against abortion. No, they would demand the right to control their own body. So, stop being hypocrites.

If you want to profess values for life, work for adoptions of the many unwanted or abandoned children, those already born than the idea of the unborn.

ok, I wandered to hating aspects or facets of people or groups of people. And yes I know sometimes it's a decision made by a group of people. But it's the thought.

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