Digital cable love/hate relationship

I love digital cable, but it’s a sick, twisted, addicted kind of love that frequently dips deep into the hate pool.

I love timeshifting, but timeshifting and a busted VCR means that I don’t get to sleep until the early hours of the morning, or I sleep in short fits and jerks, in between timeshifted shows I “must” watch.

I love that can use my TV and digital terminal as an alarm clock, but that turns my TV into a giant snooze button, with 1/2 hour pauses instead of 9-minute ones, but the end-result is the same — fitful, broken sleep, full of really vivid dreams but precious little actual rest. (Is that good or bad? The dreams are usually pretty kooky — the one that ended with David Caruso punching P Diddy in the stomach, killing him and starting a riot, was a particularly fun WTF?! romp that I blame partly on Mayo’s Massengill graphic — and almost worth the lack of rest.)

I love that I can buy movies and watch free episodes of favourite TV shows on demand, whenever I’m ready to watch them, but I hate the sneaky cost (sneaky in the sense that it’s easy to forget how many movies you bought because they’re so easy to order and the cost is delayed) and I really hate when trying to view the Rogers On Demand channel (channel 100) completely borks up the digital box. That dunks me reeeeally far down into the dark, deeps of the hate pool mostly because it messes with my ability to use the TV as an alarm clock and it threatens my television addiction. (Again, is that good or bad?)

That happened last night. I accidentally punched in 100 on the remote (force of habit). Rogers On Demand was apparently having troubles so it locked up the digital terminal. Power cycling the terminal and reauthorizing it have failed so far so I could only watch CTV last night and this morning. The fact that I couldn’t access all of the channels I could access before made it that much more important that I have that access again. (Yes, I could have swapped cables around so that I could at least watch regular cable on the TV, but there were principles involved — it’s like losing the remote and spending hours looking for it rather than getting up and changing the channels on the box itself.) So sleep was sacrificed to worrying pointlessly over what the problem was and how to fix it.

I’m thinking that I really need to get rid of cable. To save my sanity.


A dark evening for Rogers customers

All Youtube videos return an “An error has occured, please try again later” error message.


Rogers says, “Oh, it’s not us.” An hour and half after the problem starts, Rogers finally gets notified by Youtube that the problem is on Youtube’s end. (I’m guessing someone at Youtube accidentally blocked Rogers IPs.)  It’s supposed to be fixed within 24 hours.

As a former tech support agent, I feel a little bad for the Rogers techies (who are probably working in the call center I used to work in) who were expecting a relatively calm afternoon and have suddenly been swamped by frantic users jonesing for their Youtube fix. At least now they have something concrete they can say instead of “It’s not on our end.”

Rogers is hijacking my Web browser

So now if I click on a link to a site that doesn’t exist, instead of the usual generic Windows “Page not found” error I was getting (by choice) before, Rogers has decided to force its branded Yahoo search engine on me.

If I wanted the damn thing, I’d’ve set it up that way. I didn’t like my Yahoo email pages being taken over so that their all branded with Rogers Yahoo — I just want plain old vanilla Yahoo, please — and I don’t like being forced to visit the pages they’ve decided I should see, regardless of my settings. I Googled to see if I can stop this, and came across Toronto Mike’s blog and his post from July 21.

If you’re a Rogers customer, here’s how you stop the hijacking. At the very bottom click “Learn More About This Page” and agree to opt out of this madness. The opt-out is cookie-based, so if you clear your cookies you’ll need to do it again.

It’s nice that there’s a solution of some kind, but “opt out”? Are you kidding me? It’s like the City of Ottawa forcing your car to drive to City Hall so you can ask for directions, forget that spiffy GPS system or that you might want to just wing it. And this isn’t actually opting out — it just changes the type of page Rogers displays when it can’t find what you’re looking for so that (rather than my browser) serves a “simple error page” instead of their search page. So it’s still hijacking the Web browser.

Someone needs to be slapped. Hard.

(PS: thanks for introducing me to the term “jerkware”, Mike)