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Verizon CSRs Needs Work On Emergency Service

A man passes by a Verizon Wireless store June ...
Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Verizon seems to have some issues with training their CSRs to respond correctly. Having worked in telecommunications for over a decade, I can say that there are procedures that are enacted in emergency situations that DO NOT require an overdue bill to be paid even though in this situation, unfortunately, it had happened.

In fact, there is specifics to what telecommunications personnel have to abide by when it comes to emergency protocol. Whether or not it’s a CSR training issue or perhaps something that was screwed up in the communications between the emergency personnel and call center, I don’t know. But I found this article to be thrown out there without understanding how the process works.

Unfortunately, my ties with Verizon Wireless from a vendor side has been a long time and they might have changed how it works internally. But it still goes to show that someone out there needs the right training because the procedures are there that overrule any “unpaid bills”.

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Dangerous Riding With Tailgating Motorists

Motorcycle Ride 002
Image by Dabe Murphy via Flickr

Sometimes, you just have some plain idiots on the road.

I was behind a motorcyclist this morning and gave him plenty of space since motorcycles have better brakes (I do have my motorcycle endorsement). They also can’t take on a half-ton carbon-fiber body either in a collision.

But of course, as I give them plenty of room, some dolt decided that it was plenty of space for them to edge in and be about a two feet away from the motorcyclist. This type of tailgating might be “okay”, and I say that with a lot of reservation, to do with another automobile but the risk of an accident with a motorcycle it’s absolutely dangerous. Any person that rides would know how much more you have to pay attention than driving when you’re on a two-wheeled vehicle because it’s noisier and commandeering such a vehicle takes a lot more concentration than driving a car.

We won’t even go into the fact that some people that tailgate also do not like to use their turn-signals in switching lanes. As a motorcyclist, it’s scary enough to see a vehicle right behind your rear wheel, but one that suddenly gets there that you were not expecting? Talk about increasing risk of an accident. As a driver, I would say that it’s not something I want on my conscience when it comes to hitting another vehicle. But as a motorcyclist? I don’t want to be hit since the chance of death is surmounting from someone that tailgates.

Scary stuff. And as the summer approaches, please pay attention to how you drive.

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Movie Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Having never seen the original, I have to say that I can’t make the comparison between the original and this version. So it’s actually lost on me when critics say that the original was better.

But I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The plot basically is about how the human race is destroying Earth and aliens come to save Earth because it’s on the brink of destruction. But only on the brink of destruction can we save ourselves and evolve further to and not be so self-absorbed. Interestingly enough, this plot was made way before there was any real push for environmentalism, so I’m not certain how much it follows the original. If it does, then it was definitely before its time.

All of the acting is pretty well done and I have to admit that the one that struck me was actually Jaden Smith. He was such a rebellious step-son in the movie, that you feel like he needed some severe discipline every time he opened his mouth. Which really drives home that there’s definitely acting in his blood considering his parents. A definite upcoming star.

If you’ve never seen the original or am looking for a pretty decent science fiction film, give The Day the Earth Stood Still a try. If you’re not a Reeves fan though, it will definitely strike you as one of those same-ole-face that he does in many of his more despondent characters.

Why Niche Magazine Subscriptions Aren’t Worth It

Magazines
Image via Wikipedia

Most people have subscribed to some sort of magazine in their lifetime. I mean any sort of magazine.

But I can tell you right now that the journalism industry is doing so poorly that it’s not even worthwhile to buy these subscriptions no matter what sort of deal you’re getting. Why? The chance of that niche disappearing is very likely and all you’ll end up with is holding the empty bag.

In this household, we’ve already had two different magazine subscriptions disappear from under our noses in the span of about two years. Just one day, you’re thinking that it’s been a while since you’ve had the last subscription. Then you go on the Internet and find out that the company has folded or the publisher just refuses to put out another copy and laid all of the writers off. What really drives me nuts is the fact that they don’t even have the courtesy to at least send a bulk mailing postcard to all of their subscribers to tell them that they basically are folding one of their publications. Just one day:

“BAM”.

Magazine disappeared. I think the nice thing between this and the newspaper industry is that at least they’ll tell you if they’re going down. Flames and all. Common courtesy and it really helps the subscriber to take the side of the struggling industry instead of getting them annoyed with the publishing corporation.

So if you run a magazine business, regardless of how successful you are, perhaps it’s time to budget out some money for postcards and stamps. Just in case there comes a time that you have to turn the lock and shut the door for the last time. Because remember that customer service is still your business and no matter where you’re going, if you want your loyal followers to come with you, don’t slap them in the face with you failed current venture.

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Movie Review: Exiled

Booted up my Roku and streamed Exiled in HD last night. And I have to say that it was not only a wonderful experience, but the film itself was also fantastic.

What was wonderful about this movie is that while it was your typical asian Triad/gangster movie, the gun battles were very subtle in the fact that there was not a lot of waving around and it was very smooth. There was a lot more focus on the actors faces and expressions which made it more dramatic and focusing the action as more of a integral secondary characterization. The entirety of the movie wasn’t difficult to predict if you’ve watched enough of the big star Triad films with names such as Simon Yam and Anthony Wong.

The movie’s actual story basically focused on a group of five individuals that grew up together in a gang, and how they interacted after two of them decided to betray the gang and their relationship with one another. It actually was refreshing also to see a foreign film in Cantonese that was subtitled and streaming directly in HD. THis needs to be provided more often by the service providers and allow for original language penetration. Just a personal pet peeve but I’m not super fond of dubbed voicing since it’s a distraction and sometimes the dubbed voice is worse than the original and just reading subtitles.

It’s also interesting to note that there is one scene that there is an actual depiction of a Triad agreement handshake. Due to this fact alone, this film was rated Category III in Hong Kong, which is the equivalent of NC17 in the States because no children under the age of 18 are allowed to watch the film for Category III ratings. This film however was rated R in the States.

I have to say that this film was done very well from script to acting to directing. I definitely would recommend anyone that has a Roku player to add it to their queue, and if not, to rent or buy it. If you love mafia and Asian gangster type films, you’ll love Exiled.

Time Warner Cable Financials Say Otherwise to “Money Crunch By Non-Tiered Pricing”

twc Time Warner Cable’s financial records for the beginning of 2009 seem to indicate that while they “claimed” bandwidth costs were soaring due to the top 10% of users, they added more subscribers with increased profits and a decrease in the cost.

And yet they still wish to “educate consumers” on how they’re the ones that are the victims in this whole mess of metered bandwidth. Hate to say it, but my money is on the data given by Consumers Union, whom is the publisher to Consumer Reports, a well known publication that does breakdowns for the consumer of products and the parent of The Consumerist:

If we may, we would like to offer TWC a little bit of advice: Stop trying to put one over on your broadband customers. There’s no amount of “consumer education” that can change the fact that TWC is making a whole lot of money selling broadband service — without metered pricing.

Oops. Looks like their own financial reports were their own undoing. What I don’t understand from all of this is why the senior management keeps pushing forward with this after all of the negative publicity. Personally, I would just let the entire thing die quietly and perhaps try it in the future (at least that would seem like the smart business decision). Adding fuel to the fire just lets the entire mess burn longer and shines the spotlight on your big boo-boo. Call me crazy, but in my opinion it’s not exactly the most brilliant of strategies.

Tips and Tricks: Dedicated Server Wipe Commands

Most of the time when you have a dedicated server, you could be colocation or you could have a managed server. Unfortunately, if you own the equipment or buy used equipment, there could a chance that there is proprietary data that could do damage to your company if you left it on there without properly disposing of it. One of the easiest ways to wipe a drive remotely on a *nix based system though is with the command shred.

If you have a console or terminal connection, then you can issue:

shred -f -z -v -u /dev/sda

This will basically wipe a drive instead of doing your normal deletions where the data could possibly be recovered. The shred command is covered more in depth but in essence it overwrites the deleted sectors with other data which essentially destroys the deleted sectors. Probably a good idea for any system administrator that is maintaining servers remotely with no way to access them the drives themselves physically.

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Garmin Nuvi 265WT GPS

I recently purchased a Garmin nuvi 265WT GPS for work. And I have to say that the Garmin brand really stands up to their reputation.

I suppose first things first. The only bad thing I can find about the Garmin GPSes are the map updates. You’re allowed two months of free updates once you register the product. But from there on out you have to pay a fee for any maps you download or pay a “lifetime of GPS” fee which would run you around $100+USD. Total rip-off in my opinion and I believe that the maps really should be free across the board since you’re really buying a hardware product with features that accentuate the mapping tool.

The 265WT comes with a 4.3 inch screen. Very useful since if the screen is too small, the entire user interface is difficult to navigate since it’s completely touch-screen driven. Unless you have fingers the size of a child’s, I would fully recommend getting a wider screen if you’re out to purchase a new GPS. Garmin’s interface has got to be one of the easiest ones to learn. After playing with a multitude of GPSes at stores, you find that navigational and everything else, Garmin’s wins out on ease of use. And that’s very important since you really don’t want to be frustrated while moving a ton of steel at sixty miles per hour.

Directions wise, it seemed to be pretty decent and had a number of food points of interest that were up-to-date. I have to say that part of the traffic transceiver or what not was off with older map data or something since when I went to a chinese restaurant down the road and decided to change the route, it told me to make a big circle to get back on course instead of just finding another way into the parking lot. Also, the map data being off since Peters Creek Parkway is fifty five miles per hour for the speed limit but the GPS showed fifty. Outside of that, it’s extremely accurate. The way it picks up the satellites is also very quick and nothing like the Garmin III Street Pilot I had back in the day that took a while to actually sync up.

I haven’t fully tested the Bluetooth features of handsfree dialing but I can say that it was very simple to pair up my phone to it and it seems to have decent sound coming from it to the phone. It’s basically an extension to the phone and I was able to make a call from another room with just the GPS unit and still hear quite clearly. I’m not certain what others would hear on the other end and that’s the reasoning for not having a “fully tested” review on the handsfree side.

The GPS itself also has the ability to give you text-to-speech road names, speak in multiple different languages for directions (useful for immigrants or going elsewhere) and can pick up on a FM band, traffic patterns if it’s available. It also can do things like link pictures with locations, give car tours (purchased) and a whole slew of other things like calculate about how much a trip will cost from the ecoRoute meter.

Overall, this is a very useful tool on any sort of trip where you’re not definite about the place you’re going and gives you a lot of leeway on where things are including hotels, food, and other things. It’s like buying all of the AAA maps and putting them in the palm of your hand. If you’re trying to decide over a basic model or a more extensive one like this, take a look at your driving patterns. For some, they don’t need the handsfree dialing and usually just need something to keep them in the general area or direction. Then a basic model is fine. If you happen to drive in the states that holding a phone next to your ear is a fine, then the more advanced models would come into play. In any case, it’s probably worth your while to get a GPS if you travel; if you’re looking for one that’s easy to use, choose a Garmin.

Movie Review: Transporter 3

Jason, Jason. I have to say that Jason Statham is typecast really well into an action role. I mean, if you look at all of his films from the Transporter series to War, the guy is a regular bad ass. With his typical sculpted muscles that make women tear up and his rough British voice really reminds me of the young Bruce Willis in Die Hard without quite the salary. Regardless, Statham does a wonderful job with this series.

I have to say that while I love the great vehicles (Audi’s A8), and the car chases are spectacular, after a while the action is repetitive of the previous movies. Not that I didn’t mind it, but the only thing different in this one was a rare BMX scene that I wasn’t sure if Jason actually did the stunts for. The gal in the film itself was a bit more difficult to understand and while she was a pretty long legged redhead, it still just didn’t quite hold your attention. At the end, I kept wondering if she was underaged in the movie due to a photograph that was shown of her later on and if they were depicting her in college, why they kept showing the drugs and drinking which is really a bad influence even though that’s what happens in places like Ibiza (which apparently where this girl was before she got abducted).

If you like Statham, and you’re looking for a quick action flick, I would definitely recommend Transporter 3. But as with most action flicks, you have to suspend disbelief due to the sensationalism of transporters.

As ISPs Hammer NC Legislation, Competition Moves Ahead

Cablevision arrives to install hanging wires
Image by quintanomedia via Flickr

It seems like while Time Warner and Embarq are fighting what they believe is the “good fight”, their competition elsewhere is using this opportunity to break ground. Cablevision is now offering a 101Mbps download service with no overage fees or caps that are known.

Obviously they’re playing the DOCSIS 3.0 game here and sneaking in while their competition gets all mucked up in political plays and negative publicity. From a personal perspective, I find that whomever is running the business strategy side of things is making a brilliant move. The more you can use your competitors demise to your advantage, the more fortified your business market share becomes. And why not? If your competition wants to dig themselves in, don’t help them out. Just stand on the sidelines and watch.

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