Tag Archives: comcast

Comcast 250GB Cap? Avoid Dropbox or Online Backup!

Recently, I “downgraded” my Comcast service from Business to Residential – largely because I got more speed for less money, and I wasn’t anticipating coming anywhere near the 250GB cap. I hate artificial ceilings, but that’s the price I pay for paying less of a price?

I know I don’t knowingly download 250GB worth of data every month – I’m not THAT hardcore.

However, that 250GB cap is for all transfers (upload AND download) – and it’s not just for email and Web browsing, but everything. EVERYTHING. I was reminded of this when I read the article by another local boy about how Comcast is totally screwing him. Completely.

Since I record a TON of videos for YouTube, and most of my production is remote, I rely on Dropbox to better facilitate content for the channel. I connect to Dropbox from more than one machine (and, yes, LAN sync is always on). Either way, I push a lot of bits down the pike (before editing) – and a lot of bits get pushed back to me (after editing).

Tonight, as I was recording more videos for the YouTube, someone suggested that Dropbox was causing me to push my limit:

I’m guessing that user is 100% correct. I immediately disconnected Dropbox from one of my computers and cleared out certain folders (without realizing ramifications, causing further consternation). Video is bandwidth intensive – and not just when you’re wanting to watch it. I know I have likely pushed and pulled extraneous gigabytes of video data in these two weeks on Comcast’s Residential Class service.

Thank goodness my offsite “online backup” option stopped working a while back, or I’d have been in twice as much trouble by now. Could you imagine? I mean, how frequently do you see online backup services advertised everywhere? I wouldn’t recommend an online backup service if you’re dealing with a data cap, that’s for sure. No way in hell.

So, to put a finer point on my alarmist headline: be forewarned about using ANY KIND OF data-intensive service (like Dropbox or any online backup option).

Comcast – ease up there, dude. You’re screwing some of us out of very useful services.

I realize I’m probably more of a business user at this point, but your new Business Class prices are nowhere within the realm of reasonable – that’s why I “downgraded” (and got better speed in the process). Y’all need to set up some kind of in-between “Producer” or “Prosumer” level. We don’t want your Exchange or email crap – we just want no data caps for us to push legitimate traffic around.

I’m obviously willing to spend money – we all are. But you have to match our needs better (especially if we have “no choice” but to go through you as a broadband provider for home).

Now, I should also take this time to tell you that Comcast really isn’t horrible – at least, not the people I’ve dealt with. They accidentally turned off my service for 24 hours this week. A technician saw me flagged as a former Business subscriber and he accidentally killed all of my services (TV, Internet) – until I tracked someone down later that day to get to the bottom of the problem. By the following afternoon, they realized it was their issue (since my business connection existed at the same place as my residence). Comcast is now going to offer me a refund for some outstanding charges. It was their mistake, but they cleaned it up – with a good degree of speed and candor.

Seems like they’ve got another mistake on their hands, here, by ignoring power producers who aren’t pirating anything. I doubt anybody at corporate is going to pay attention to my plight – and they’ve obviously done their best to ignore Andre’s. If you’d like to read more about what happened to another Seattle-area Comcast subscriber, he’s detailed the literal post mortem in a complete ‘Day After’ blog entry.

There is no competition with Comcast – they’re pretty much the only game in town in certain areas of Seattle, and that sucks (for consumers and power users, at least). I don’t even want to get into the headaches my neighbors have had with the problematic Netgear routers Comcast keeps passing off for them to use. That’s another battle for another day.

*knock knock* Anybody there?

Do You Have a Broadband Choice?

Usually when an ISP is discussed, it is directly related to how fast their speeds are or how good their customer service may be. I often see someone get angry with their provider and Tweet out that they are planning a switch to someone new. We take for granted the fact that there are many choices and options out there, but that isn’t always the case. What happens when there are no choices? How is it possible that in this day and age there are still fairly large cities with a monopoly in place?

Look at Indianapolis, for example. It’s not a small town… we’re talking a population of 829,718. This is the eleventh largest city in the United States according to the 2010 census, yet my assistant Kat has spent hours attempting to find alternatives to Bright House and AT&T. There is nothing there, unless they want to fork over $200.00 per month for a T1 line. She’d absolutely love to have one of those, but like most of you out there – it’s not in her budget. I find it incredulous that in today’s cutthroat ISP market there is nothing else there for her to choose from.

Indy isn’t alone, either. There are large cities all across this fair country of ours who have to deal with utility monopolies. Most of the time, this is in the form of electricity and natural gas providers. Living here in Seattle, I guess I simply didn’t realize that there are still places where you are stuck with one company for your high-speed Internet service, as well.

I know that Kat and others like her should be grateful to have access to a broadband connection at all, and I know that she is. There are still millions of people in this country alone who don’t even have that option, and that’s something that the FCC is trying to address. This rant is more aimed at the fact that we shouldn’t have to deal with such monopolies in 2011, no matter what form it takes.

Are you on a proverbial desert island when it comes to choices for your ISP or other utility services? Let us hear from you in the comments.

How to Upgrade Your Comcast DVR

I’m a relatively-happy Comcast customer. When the service works, it works well enough. It’s not amazing, and I certainly would define “comcastic” differently than they do.

I have a couple of their DVRs in my home, and I use them regularly enough. I would certainly use them more if the interface wasn’t so god-dammned awful, mind you – but at least I can get to Premium and HD content in a few clicks.

When I first heard that they had released an Xfinity remote control app for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), I was beside myself with elation. Finally, I could use an elegant UI to navigate and control my programming options! Kinda.

Away you go!

Turns out, I needed to upgrade my DVRs to experience this new level of comcasticness. While I would never expect them to offer replacement boxes up front, I (seriously) expected to log into my account via the app and be offered to upgrade from there.

Did that happen? HARDLY.

No, instead, I had to re-confirm that I didn’t have the right DVRs from their Web site. “MyTV DVR Manager is available in your area. However, we are unable to detect a compatible DVR in your household. Please refer to the FAQ or contact us at 1-800-COMCAST for assistance.” They didn’t offer to upgrade me there, either – and I wasn’t about to jump into a freakin’ phone call.

I jump around every page on their site looking for a way to upgrade my DVR – only, that page doesn’t exist. If it does, they don’t throw it in your face when, say, you’re confirming that you don’t have the DVR that you are obviously trying to use!

Finally (don’t ask me how), I found my way into an online chat session – after filling out the exact same information they already had on record from my logged-in account. This was starting to get overly tedious.

I was greeted with a rather comcastic Java chat app – who the *hell* still uses Java for this kind of thing? JavaScript, yo – check it out. Anyway, at least I could see that there were 7 people ahead of me in the queue. That was nice.

I jump to another page, then back to the chat page – only to find it completely wiped out (and an error message in the status bar). I had to start the chat session all over again, after filling out the redundant form (once more). Then, after waiting a few minutes and finally getting connected to a rep, I accidentally clicked over to a new tab and… wiped out the session again.

Third time’s the charm? Yeah, despite being on a pretty good computer, I forced myself from multitasking until the chat was finished. I was a bit miffed by then, but at least the representative was armed with knowledge and quite kind in his / her demeanor. Which brings me to my point(s):

The reason why these large companies have customer service issues isn’t necessarily because their CSRs are bad, but their software and customer experience IS. I should NEVER have interfaced with a rep to get this done; Comcast had several opportunities to provide a targeted upgrade opportunity, whether on the iOS devices or through the “DVR Manager” page.

Long story short: if you want to upgrade your Comcast DVR, you’re better off just connecting directly with someone in online chat (if it works for you). Don’t expect Comcast to deliver a new DVR to you unless you ask for it, specifically. It shouldn’t cost you anything to do, since you’re renting the DVR equipment from them in the first place. They actually should offer to either: (a) send the replacement to you, with a return kit for the old boxes; or (b) point you to a local office to facilitate the exchange in-person.

Goodbye iFrame Toolbar – Hello Sites Now Unbanned on Digg.

Things sure are shaking up around the Digg offices this week. On his first official day as CEO, Kevin Rose has laid out a few interesting changes which should vastly improve the popular social networking site. The DiggBar we have all come to hate is going to finally disappear in the upcoming version of the site. Additionally, all previously banned domains will have their restrictions removed – not including those sites with malicious intent.

With surprising candor, Rose admitted that the toolbar was a mistake from the beginning. “Framing content with an iFrame is bad for the Internet. It causes confusion when bookmarking, breaks w/iFrame busters, and has no ability to communicate with the lower frame. It’s an inconsistent/wonky user experience.”

Both of these are positive moves for the site in my humble opinion. I have read thousands of rants regarding the toolbar, and I have a feeling that no one is going to miss it. Do you Digg? Are you looking forward to the changes? If so, you can sign up to beta-test the new version now. If you do, let us know what you think!

Your computer will “Digg” the hottest new software and apps that we’ve placed on our software center.

Firefox Weave Sync Add-On Now Available

Mozilla announced yesterday that the much-antipiacted Weave Sync is finally ready for the general market. Using it will allow you to sync your Mozilla experience across all of your supported devices, including your desktop, your laptop and your mobile phone.

Any pages open within Firefox on your desktop will automagically open in the mobile version. At the end of your workday, you can walk away from your desk, and continue right where you left off from your phone. All of the information is encrypted and sent through the Cloud between your desktop and your phone. This could potentially increase productivity, allowing you to finish up last-minute details and projects while riding home on the bus or train – but not while driving!

This is excellent news for many Firefox fans, and I was very happy to read this news today. There have also been many excellent things posted in our community. I’ve gathered together some of the best, in the hopes you don’t miss out on anything!

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to check out the newest software deals we have for you!

How Did Friday Get Here Already?

I noticed a little while ago that my friend Mark Horvath mentioned that he somehow lost a day, and it’s now Thursday. Well, let’s correct that. Since it’s well after midnight now, it’s actually Friday already! How the heck did that happen? I swear the week just started. You’re telling me it’s over already?!

I know I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to get done this week. Did you? How does the time slip away so fast during this time of year? The holidays are creeping in closer and faster, and I’m not ready yet! I haven’t hung my stocking. I haven’t finished decorating my house. I haven’t baked cookies for Santa yet!!! How am I supposed to get any work done with all of these uber-important things hanging over me? Heck – let’s not even TALK about shopping for presents!

TGIF, everyone!

What’s Your Favorite Commercial?

With all the talk of the new Miscrosoft commercials in Europe and the Pre wanting to co-exist with the iPhone, I can’t help but thinking about commercials in general. What’s your favorite technology-related commercial on television? You do remember what TV is, right? Do you love that annoying (yet catchy) Comcast song? Or are you more inclined to watch the Dell laptop commercials over and over? Let’s hear your thoughts!

Are You Coming to Gnomedex?

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A recent green screen challenge that I put forth to the community was about Gnomedex attendance. The response was hugely, partly because the winning video was shown on Comcast’s local station here in Seattle. Yes – it appears on television! The winner also received a complimentary pass to Gnomedex itself.

After a slew of entries, a lot of laughing on my part, and much deliberation… here is your winner: ArtificialError. Excellent work on this and thanks for entering!

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Gnomedex Green Screen Challenge: Your Commercial Could be on TV!

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This week, I’m taking the Green Screen Challenge a step or two further than usual! Normally, I make a blog post, showcasing a few of my favorite entries. This time around, you can actually win a couple of very cool things!

The challenge: Create a Gnomedex commercial! My annual Gnomedex conference is only five weeks away, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet! To help spread the excitement, I want you to come up with your very own Gnomedex commercial. Be as creative and innovative as you can – but please keep Creative Commons licensing in mind. We don’t want any legal troubles.

So what will you potentially win? I’m so glad you asked! Next week, I will choose one winner from all of the entries submitted via video response. That person will win two very cool “prizes”…

  • Have your commercial featured on television! Yes, that’s right – on television. The winning entry will be featured on the Seattle-area Comcast network!! Your name will of course be prominent, giving credit (and maybe fame?!) where credit is due.
  • Win a full-access pass to the Gnomedex conference! If you are over 18 and can pay your own travel/hotel/expenses, you can find yourself right in the middle of things during Gnomedex. It’s an amazing conference, and attending can literally change your life by giving you new perspectives and ways of thinking outside the proverbial box. Of course, if you cannot attend, you can do as you wish with the ticket – sell it to someone else, or give it away to someone who might not otherwise be able to attend.

If you aren’t sure yet how to work with these videos, make sure you check out the tutorial I wrote awhile back.

I’m very excited to see what everyone is going to come up with. Based on past entries for our weekly challenge, I know that the level of creativity out there in our community is astounding. Have fun with this – and good luck to everyone!

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How Do You Find Volunteer Opportunities in Your Community?

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When was the last time you gave your time to your community – volunteering for something? The last time I did something was at ComcastCares Day. It was a tent set up by Comcast, staffed by local social media folks. We were spreading the message of the power of social media specifically to non-profit organizations. We taught them how to use outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to get their message across.

Maybe you want to volunteer your time and resources in your community – but you just don’t know where to start. Maybe you want to host your own Volun-Tweetup. Or maybe you want to do something a bit different. You can now check out All for Good. This site will help you connect with local volunteer opportunities. It’s non-partisan, nothing political is involved. It doesn’t matter what party you may belong to – what matters is that you want to help others.

All for Good is a simple-to-use web application that helps you find volunteer opportunities in your local community. You can get started by entering search terms (e.g. “seniors” or “education”) at the top of the All for Good home page. Once you enter these initial keywords you’ll be taken to a page of relevant results based on your keyword(s) and location.

Tap into your passions when looking for something to volunteer your time with. Your community needs you. If you’re doing nothing this weekend… why not look for a way you can help? You’ll not only be helping others, you’ll feel good about yourself… and maybe meet some new friends.

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