Category Archives: rant

Sling Drops All Fox Networks from its Lineup

I’m one of those cord-cutters, who dropped their cable subscription for TV, and went with air antenna for local channels, and subscribed to streaming service.  I particularly chose Sling, mostly from word of mouth, and the subscription was pretty low.  Those also included a few local channels (just in case my air antenna cannot get a good signal, which can be common in the Bay Area).

For some odd reason, some channels are not reachable at all with my air antenna.  It seemed like most of those were stations based out of Oakland area, but not sure.  Luckily, the Fox affiliate was on Sling … until this past Thursday.  This seemed to be in the news of late:

From MSN’s web site:

The dispute stems from a carriage dispute between Fox and Dish. Both the satellite network and Sling, their over-the-top internet TV service, have not carried Fox regional sports networks for two months since their sale to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. That deal was brought upon by the Fox’s Corporation’s sale to The Walt Disney Company earlier this summer.

A Fox spokesperson expressed sympathy toward Dish’s 12 million satellite users:

“Dish/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers. Dish/Sling elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is Dish/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”

The drop comes at an inopportune time for sports fans. Fox networks not only carry college and professional football (the NFL and the XFL starting February), but they will also feature a good portion of the MLB playoffs, including the World Series. The effects could be felt as soon as tonight, as the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package makes its 2019 debut in Green Bay for a game between the Packers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Yeah, I noticed that on Thursday night too!  Luckily, they also had it broadcast on Amazon Prime, of which I subscribe to already, so I didn’t miss that game.

So I started searching for alternative streaming services … YouTube TV!  I looked at it, and compared the pricing to Sling, and it was comparable.  Looking further, it actually had more variety, for a little more per month ($49 as opposed to $45).  Come to think of it, I did also have some add-ons to Sling (like on-demand DVR recordings), so the price actually may be equal.  YouTube TV also has a bunch of local TV offered too (other than the Fox affiliate).

I lucked out, because one of the channels YouTube TV had, but Sling didn’t have, was Olympic Channel.  They happen to be broadcasting UCI World Championships this week.  So I lucked out, and was able to watch the finals of the Men’s World Championship Road Race.  Nice!

So goodbye Sling, and hello YouTube TV.

Certifications … They Only Test that You Can Take a Test

In Tech Support, the big thing is to gain as many certifications as you can … Oh boy.  I’ve been at this for 20 years, and just because you have this fancy CCIE or JNCIE, all that means is you know how to take a test.  It does not mean that you know anything.

I remember a few cases, where someone had a network down, and I could see his email signature showed he has a CCIE.  What was the solution?  Proxy ARP.  That is so simple, probably a CCNA could have solved it.

So when I see a certification on a resume, I look at it like a driver’s license.  It just means you studied, but do you know anything about network security, or network basics?  Not necessarily.  So that’s the main reason why I never went for any certifications … it doesn’t mean you know anything, and it’s a big waste of time.

However, I’ve been forced to take it now.  Damn bureaucracy … What I hate about these certification tests is that they don’t tell you what they want you to answer.  All the questions are damn riddles.  I know the product left and right, and still, I just barely pass … but I guess all that matters is the passing grade, not that you get 100%.  Oh well.  I guess I still have a job, at least.

Juniper Networks Certified Specialist, Security (JNCIS-SEC)

Ok, I guess they encourage me to brag about this, so here it is (after all the kicking and screaming).  Maybe now I can continue what’s more important … cycling!

Rant: Bike Safety at a School

I find it ironic that on my commute into work, the most dangerous part is not going with traffic on Central Expressway, or Lawrence Expressway … but when I have to pass by a school. So many parents drop off their kid in a big stupid ugly vehicle, aka SUV. They don’t mind running me, over another school kid over with their car.

How can we encourage kids to ride their bikes if parents don’t care about their safety since they ride a bike?

No $749 is not an affordable phone

Apple is so smug. Here they are, advertising they have these new phones and at an affordable price, $749. What the hell? That is not affordable. A Chromebook is half that price.

Why can’t someone make an affordable phone, less than $500? Is that too hard to ask? All I want is the following

  • Decent camera
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth
  • Headphone jack
  • Removable battery
  • WiFi
  • Run social media apps

Is that too hard to ask for?

A fingerprint scanner would be nice, but why can’t we have this less than $500? While we’re at it, how about something smaller than 5 inches? Something I can fit in my pocket?

If you want a big screen, get an iPad.

Hey Go Pro … Ever Hear of QA?

In this day, where more people are using high tech devices, you would think that manufacturers would be more stringent on QA testing.  Well, maybe my standards are too high, because I work in Customer Support for firewall and router devices?

Recently, Go Pro released new software (version 2.3) for their Quik application on PC and Mac desktops.  Soon after releasing that software, it failed to load any videos.  It would always give you a “Loading Media” message, and it stays there forever.  It still is able to import videos, but after it’s finished, you can’t view it.  You can’t even view videos that had been previously imported.  The prior release, 2.1, was fine.  I had 2.1 on my drive from previous upgrade … I uninstalled 2.3, and installed 2.1 … the result … I’m able to view my videos now.

This problem is not just isolated to me … I’ve seen many other people complain about this on their forum … Mac and Windows platforms of various OS’s.  I posted that downgrading to 2.1 resolved the issue, and others have commented that it works too.

So why do they release software, that is extremely easy to reproduce.  I mean, it happens on all OS’s.  So Go Pro, don’t you QA your software before you release it … like any other vendor out there?

Ok, rant over …

No, Not Another “Evolution is Coming” Radio Station Plans

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.18.54 AM

When I first moved to the Bay Area (17 years ago), I had to find a  radio station to replace what I was listening in LA.  My listening tastes were classic rock, and a little alternative rock.  I found one that fit that mold exactly, KFOG.  It was perfect, the DJ’s were cool, it was one station that I could listen to, and not need to veer away from it.

Features I liked included 10 at 10 (10 great songs from one great year), acoustic sunrise and sunset (as the word implies, acoustic versions of some hit songs), Live from the Archives (guest artists coming in, to play their songs, kinda like MTV Unplugged, if you are old enough to remember that), and was very well connected with the community, sponsoring concerts like Kaboom (mixing concert with fireworks at the Embarcadero).

It’s true, the last couple of years, the station has gone through some changes (I guess due to declining ratings).  As a result, I have looked to alternative stations, like The Sound, radio station in LA.  But I would always come back to KFOG every now and then.  Now, just heard that they are laying off the majority of the DJs, and it’s now a robotic automated station until their formal change in format later this month.

Boo … and boy, you should see the responses on Facebook.  This is very bad news for radio overall.  They are taking a San Francisco tradition, and destroying it.

Their website says now “The evolution is coming”.  Translation … we are destroying your radio station.  I’ve seen that with 3 other stations, and they all say the same thing … evolution.  Is this some buzzword that the radio industry uses, that thinks listeners will want to embrace?  What are they thinking?  Same thing happened when KMET became the Wave … when KCSA became a spanish station …

I guess I really am listening  to the Sound full time now.  Not that that’s a bad thing … just not a local station, that’s all.  Maybe they should syndicate Mark in the Morning here …

I Love My Mac But Damn That Spinning Beachball

I’ve been a Mac user for a long time.  My first one was a Mac Plus, that I bought way back in ’86, I think.  I eventually got a helpdesk job, supporting a network of 300 Mac users in ’94.  So I’ve been using these things for an extremely long time.

One thing that always annoyed me was the spinning beach ball.  For all you Windows users, that’s equivalent to the rotating hour glass.  However, on Windows, at least you can do a Ctrl-Alt-Delete, kill the offending process, and continue on your merry way.  On the Mac, if you’re lucky, you can command-Option-ESC, and it will give you the Activity Monitor, and you can choose the offending process, and kill it … I said if you are lucky.

If you are unlucky, hitting command-option-esc won’t do jack.  It just sits there, spins its silly little beachball, and gives you the virtual middle finger.  You’d figure after all this time, Apple would have come up with a way where you could kill a process, without having to power off the whole thing, and power it back on.

So when it came time to refresh my work laptop (I had a Lenovo laptop), I had the chance to switch back to Mac OS, which is what I prefer, and I am used to … or go with an upgrade on the same old Lenovo platform, on Windows.  Well, with all these spinning beachballs, hoops you have to go through to get the same functionality as on the Windows platform, sadly I went with the Lenovo route.

So Apple, you had your chance … I could have gone the Mac OS X route, but because of your spinning beachball hanging everything (including the ability to force quit), I had no choice but to continue on the Windows platform.  And no, I am not fluent enough on Linux to go that route (that would have been nice).

Where’s My Picture Apple?

So it’s been what … about 3 years since I last owned a Mac.  Been working on Windows all that time, and now I’m back to a Mac as my home machine.

When I take photos on my Garmin VIRB, I typically import them into iPhoto … ahem … maybe that was my first mistake.  I use Google Photo for all my pictures, so I wanted to transfer the photo that was imported into iPhoto, then transfer them over to Google.  Well … that is a lot easier said than done.  So typically, you would see a file where the picture is, and then simply drag it over to Google Photo … right?

Well, first of all, this is Finder, which is where all the files are located, right?  Wrong … I mean look at the list of items you have to choose from in Finder … Favorites, All My Files, iCloud Drive, AirDrop, Applications, Desktop Documents, Downloads.  But where is iPhoto, and where is the equivalent file for the pictures?  So I did a Google search, and I found an interesting thread .. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3272818?start=15&tstart=0 … the original poster wanted to find out where is the file that is imported into iPhoto.  Exactly what I was looking for.

The main responder went ahead and told the guy that he is an idiot for needing to know where the file is … and basically stating that you don’t need to know where the file is.  And then went on the debate on Apple wants control, and why can’t you answer the question.  Then, he responds with:

In a nutshell: you can’t access the files via the Finder. When you chose to use iPhoto you chose to make it your Photo Manager. Anything you need to do can be don either with or via iPhoto. It’s your “Go-To” app for your photos.

Say what?  The Finder is supposed to have your files.  Well, after reading the thread a bit more, I finally found where the file is located, but it is a bit convoluted.  I have to go into iPhoto, select the photo, then choose File > Reveal in Finder > Original File.

Just to geek out, I wanted to see what the path was.  It is essentially Users/username/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Masters/Year/First two digits of month/day/folder name

Ok, so why couldn’t I find it by browsing through the Finder?  Well, the Masters filder under iPhoto Library is hidden.  What????  Sheesh!

I really wish Apple would compromise on its control of its files.  This simple little want became a 3 hour project.  I want my 3 hours back, Crapple!

Time Change Again … Why????

It’s that time of year again, time to change the time again, Sunday. Remember, it’s spring forward, fall back. That means turn the clock back 1 hour, which does mean Sunday is an hour longer. But this time change has multiple impacts, which is for the worse.

First, there is the possibility that we’ll be in the office an hour earlier than before, if we don’t change our clocks. D’oh! When I do go down to visit my dad, looks like the first order of business is changing all his clocks. However, some clocks has a weird DST function, which sometimes work, but most of time doesn’t … it’s more work than it was originally designed!

Then there’s the issue of who actually changes the time. I know that Arizona doesn’t change time, and Hawaii doesn’t change time, so that gets confusing.

One positive is related to work. Currently, when we have to hand over a case to India, for follow up, we sent a handover note at 6 pm PDT, which equates to 6:30 am IST. With the time change, 6 pm PST then becomes 7:30 am IST. This, hopefully, will guarantee that they will take over this handover, thinking that they will more likely already be in the office by 7:30 am than 6:30 am. The one negative, is on the flip side, where India hands something over to us … 6 pm IST equates to 4:30 am PST. I can’t remember, but hopefully, India will stay until 7:30 pm local time … otherwise, there will be a 1.5 hour period where there is no coverage. Yes, time change does cause challenges. Meanwhile, Europe would have more of a business day overlap, where 6 pm GMT is 10 am PST, which means that handover from Europe may give us more opportunities to communicate with EMEA customers live. So there are some pluses and minuses with the time change.

Time zones … I never really observed the difference between PST and PDT … I kind of always just referenced time with PST, EST, CST, etc … but after doing some google searches, I found out PST is Pacific Standard Time, which is the time zone used when it is Daylight Standard Time. The time change for Sunday is for Daylight Standard Time. When the time changes again in March, that is Daylight Savings Time, in which case time zones change to PDT, EDT, CDT …. or Pacific Daylight Time. Oh what would I do without the Internet?

Now, for several weeks, I got used to riding in the dark for my morning commutes, and with enough daylight to start my commute home, and needing lights for the second half of my commute home. With the time change, it’s going to screw me up again … riding in daylight in the morning, and riding in complete darkness at night. I really wish we would just keep at one time. Is there really that much savings in energy by changing time? I’d just like them to for one year, try not changing time, and then the next year, enforce time change, and see what the energy consumption difference is between the two.