Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To Piss Off A Customer...

Yet another example of how a company trying to protect itself from its own interested customers just ends up pissing people off. In this case, we have Comcast Sports Net, the cable channel on which many Cubs/Blackhawks/White Sox/Bulls games appear. I wanted to watch the game on my deck yesterday, since it was so nice out and since the game was such an important one (This one game decided whether or not the Bulls made the playoffs).

So I went to CSN's website, where you had to register to get access to the live stream of the game. It asked you many questions: name, email address, mailing address, etc. One of the questions it asked was who your cable TV provider was, since you had to have an active cable subscription to get the stream. Leaving aside for a moment why that is business stupid, I then got the following email from CSN's customer support:

"Dear Customer,

Your recent registration for the Chicago Bulls local internet streaming package was, under the terms of the offer, contingent on your having an up-to-date subscription to a television provider that distributes Comcast SportsNet Chicago and that has authorized Comcast SportsNet Chicago to enable you to watch Bulls games streamed to your computer.

This is to inform you that RCN, the television provider you selected, is unable to confirm that you are its customer in good standing. Accordingly, and as noted in the Purchase Policy governing your order, we are hereby terminating your access to live streams of Bulls games through

If you believe this conclusion has been reached in error we encourage you to contact your local television provider. If it turns out that an error has been made, your access will be re-instated forthwith. You may also contact us via Live Chat Support (found at

The RayV Team and Comcast SportsNet

You guessed it. They tried to match my name to our cable subscription instead of our address. Awesome, except that our cable bill is in my girlfriend's name, not mine (she's lived there longer than I have). So now, despite the fact that I have RCN cable in our condo, my ability to stream the game is cut off. Now, I could go through the always pleasent process of sitting on hold with RCN and then CSN's customer support....but no thanks. I just won't watch next time I want to sit on the deck on a nice day.

Great way to boost ad revenue, hotshots!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beware The Political Centrists...

There are words tossed around in politics today that are sacrosanct: moderate, middle ground, centrist. Usually those words are used to positively describe a politician that is reaching across the aisle, working with his more leaning compatriots. But you need to be careful with centrists, too. Often they can be an indication of someone with either no vested opinion of their own, or one that is willing to set their opinions aside. For what, you might ask? Why, money and privelage of course.

Take the new internet law passed in the UK, the Digital Economy Bill. Here you have an example of the much heard of Three Strikes policy. If you are accused of copyright infringement via illegal downloads over the internet three times, your internet connection is severed. Read that again. ACCUSED. Not convicted. Not tried. Not even arrested. Just accused. That means no form of due process.

Who could be responsible for passing such a law?

Well, the much maligned Lord Peter Mandelson, President of the Lords Council, is the one that crafted the law immediately after taking a short vacation with some entertainment industry executives (no, I'm not making this up). But he couldn't have passed the law without help. So who else was in on it?

The notoriously centrist Labour Party, fairly well known for not being far on either side of the political spectrum on any major issue. From the DailyTech article, written by Jason Mick:

"The bill was hurriedly passed before the upcoming election, which is expected to hurt the current dominant party, the centrist Labour Party. Opponents from the left and the right both derided the bill and are trying to seize a portion of control of the island nation from the Labour Party."

Think about that for a moment. In Britain they have many parties. In America, we basically have two, Democrat and Republican. Can any of us Americans even FATHOM a scenario in which a bill passed through Congress when it was opposed by BOTH the far right and far left? How could that even happen? Think about the major issues that get reported on: Healthcare, Education, Abortion, War Funding. Which of them could you imagine the far left and far right AGREEING on, and then legislation goes the opposite way against both of them?

So what is the only possible motivation for a centrist party to go against what both sides of the political spectrum want? Again, from Jason Mick:

"[The Bill] enjoyed the hearty support, though, of the music and film industries which lobbied heavy for the bill pouring millions of pounds in support to help override the voice of the citizens."

Yup. Money. These politicians sold out to lobbiests. Now, granted, unless I'm mistaken, the House of Lords members are appointed, not elected, so theoretically they have no constituency to represent (even though they are supposed to). But, if that's the case, what the hell do they need that much lobbying money for? They aren't campaigning, are they?