Archive | June 2013

The Genius of TDS Telecom Is All In Their Billing Process.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

Though I had railed about this for six months, 3 years ago, I had forgotten about it since I just opted to pay my TDS bill, electronically, at least a week before it was due. That was the only way I could prevent TDS from claiming, bogusly, on my next bill that I had not paid my bill by my due date.

Let me give you some dates so you can understand the issue. As you can see from this snippet from my July, yes July 2013, bill, my due date is July 26. It is and always has been around that, i.e., 26 or 27 of the month.

The way I look at it, and believe me I had plenty of experience paying bills, that means I have to get them my payment on or by the 26th or 27th.

Not so with TDS.

They require at least 3 business days prior to your due date to process your payment, even if you pay electronically. Now note that no credit card demands this. If you have a credit card bill that says due date June 26, you can pay on June 26 and all parties are cool.

But, not so TDS.

But, it gets better. Hence the genius of TDS.

They claim that they ‘cut’ my next month’s bill by the 27th of each month so that it can be in my hand by the 1st of the next month — the 3 days to account for the mail, though I get my bill electronically.

Wait. Wait. It gets better.

To cut the 1st of the month bill on the 27th they close their books on the 24th. I kid you not.

Now again you have to remember the 3 business days to process your payment.

This means, per the genius of TDS, that you need to get your ‘due on the 27th’ payment to TDS by ‘the 21st’ to avoid them claiming that you were delinquent in your payments — and furthermore reporting this to the credit rating companies! Sheer genius.

So now I pay my TDS bill on the 20th to be on the safe side, though my due date is the 27th. That is a ‘week’ ahead.

So, why this sudden outburst. I paid my DISH bill through TDS — for which I got a monthly $5 discount.

I cancelled my DISH account as of June 21. I have e-mails etc. to prove it and DISH, to their credit, has never contested that.

But, my July 1, 2013, TDS bill, which I received electronically on June 26, one day ahead of my June pay date, had DISH billing from June 29 to July 28, 2013. Nice.

Yes, I ranted.

Their accuse. They started cutting the bill on the 21st.

I won’t tell you how this problem was fixed. But, it was not pretty.

I did a quick Google on what others have to say about TDS billing. Not pretty.

So just a heads up.

You might want to check your credit rating …

Tri-Nations Series: West Indies (WI), Sri Lanka (SL) & India (Ind) Starts In Jamaica, WI and ESPN, Again, Steals Coverage.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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++++ Search ‘cricket‘, or check CATEGORY ‘cricket’
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Click to access ESPN CricInfo.

Click to access ESPN CricInfo.

 


A rerun of the sad and sorry situation that us in North America faced with the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy 2013 — the big difference this time being that ICC-cricket.com is NOT showing any free videos of the series. Bummer. So we are totally at the mercy of bloody ESPN.

Reasons 36 To 40 Of The 1,001 Reasons I Really, Really HATE DirecTV.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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#36. Don’t ever believe anybody who tells you, or anything you read online, that the DirecTV Genie is slow. That is a bold face lie. The DirecTV genie is NOT SLOW. It is bloody catatonic!

#37. Fast Forward (FF) on the bloody Genie is so, so, so, so, slow and lethargic that I have to always double, triple check the progress bar at the bottom to see if it is moving and in many cases it is not. That is how slow it is. At its ‘x4’ speed, i.e., the maximum, it is probably going at 1.5x times the normal play speed. 

#38. Once you Fast Forward (or Rewind) and then go back to normal play mode, it takes eons for the sound to kick in. So much so that you have to rewind back a bit to catch up with the sound.

#39. The Genie recorded ’40 minutes’ of a movie for me last night — and while it could have been my fault, i.e., hitting record on a movie that was already playing, it, despite its penchant for popping up the most useless and inane confirmation messages (#32), sure did not ask me to confirm that I was just recording the remainder of a movie — because if it had, I would have said ‘NO’.

#40. This morning, on my Genie Mini, I got a message saying that it could not find a server and asking me to select a server. But, when I hit the button that said, SELECT SERVER, it just told me no server found! Of course I have a server. But it was a useless, annoying dialog. I just recycled power on it and it came back fine.


Unstinted Kudos & HUGE THANK YOU To Bank Of America.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


bofathankyou


Over the last 16 days, ever since my disastrous, nightmarish move to DirecTV, I have just felt abused, raped and degraded by DirecTV and TDS Telecom (who handle my DISH billing) — though to be fair during that same period I had service from DISH (yes, DISH), Google (on one of our 3 Nexus 7 pads) and Direct Sat (who refunded me my whole payment) that exceed expectations.

But, I had still been feeling battered and bruised — and mentally exhausted.

A wonderful company with great values. I love interacting with Fidelity. It is the ONLY phone call I enjoy making and even look forward to!

This morning as month end approaches I had to do some financial transactions. I first called up Fidelity. I had been saving this call till today. Dealing with Fidelity is ALWAYS a pleasure. They are so nice. So helpful. So pleasant. I am not a phone person. Never have been. But, I enjoy calling Fidelity. So, I called them up. As ever, piece of cake. Smooth as can be. No hassle. No aggravation. Just pure unadulterated ‘service with a smile’. I like Fidelity.

Then I called up Bank of America. I often see folks, especially on CraigsList (Boston & NH), ranting, foaming at the mouth, about BofA. I have been with them for a long time. I really have never had any problems with them. I have always found that they do their very best to help you out. I have multiple credit cards with them and we have a checking out with them — since they were the only bank in the U.S. that was able to accept, electronically, my very small pension from the U.K.! I enjoy dealing with BofA too — except that with them I also get to interact with them in person if I visit one of their local branches in Concord, Manchester or Rochester.

So this morning I called them. As nice as they can be. Answered all my questions. Then out of the blue, this rep says something along the lines of: ‘You have been a good customer for a long time. You have an excellent record with your credit cards. Let us do YOU A FAVOR and help you out even more …‘. No, I am not stupid enough to tell you the details. But, I was staggered and it takes a lot to stagger me. This was way beyond anything I had expected. It was like winning the lottery! Wow. I am impressed, and humbled. There was absolutely no reason that BofA had to do what they did. I had not asked for anything. I was just going through some numbers.

Suffice to say I am delighted. Yes, it was a big, unexpected favor. Of late I am totally jaundiced. I expect nothing from people. As I pointed out the other day, of late I can empathize with this squirrel and TDS and DirecTV have a lot to do with that sentiment. So, this was really great. Made my day. Actually it has made my year!

With This Post I Claim ‘First Use Rights’ Of The Term ‘Infactrivs’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


infactrivslogo


Of course there is a reason. There is (and has always been) a method to my madness.

I just want ‘first use right’ if this ever, ever came up (not that it really can because among other things book titles cannot be copyrighted!)

I did a Google & BING search just to be sure.

Beauty of today’s blogging. A WordPress post which is timestamped and preserved (forever by WordPress) is such a wonderful and totally free way to establish a claim.

With luck all will become clear soon. 

In the meantime try out the word. It really does roll off your tongue. Yes, ‘today’ (actually yesterday since it is now 1 am), it having been Deanna’s birthday, we went for a long walk on Old Orchard Beach, ME. This word came to my head while I was walking. The joys of befriending your brain.


infactrivsGoogle1


infactrivsBING1


Reasons 31 To 35 Of The 1,001 Reasons I Really, Really HATE DirecTV.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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#31. Took me 5 attempts to wake up the lethargic Genie this evening. Probably the damn remote — which started giving me problems yesterday (#21).

#32. Why does the Genie expect an ‘OK’ confirmation when it is woken-up from power save hibernation. Just get on with it. Just flash the message saying it has restarted and get on with it.

#33. DirecTV tried to charge me $5 on Saturday when I wanted to talk to a Customer Service Rep. about the PIP problem I was having. I hung up, called again and started by saying I had a billing issue — which I also had. Those calls are free.

#34. I got bill through the mail yesterday, though I had signed up for paperless billing — and this, furthermore, 2 days after they had already charged my credit card for the full amount of the bill.

#35. As I described in this post I hung up on four (4) DirecTV reps when I was trying to get a price on what my DirecTV service would cost me.


Robert Irion’s July 2013 Article In ‘National Geographic’ Rather Lax With The Facts!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Post:
>> The June ‘National Geographic’‘Maxed Out Mount Everest’ … — May 25, 2013.


IrionarticleJuly 2013


I am, and have been for decades, a great fan of ‘National Geographic’. It is one of the few magazines that we continue to subscribe and do so without fail.

I dived into the July 2013 cover story about the ‘Solar System’ as this is very germane to the work I have been doing on 4 Vesta and Comet ISON (C/2012 S1).

There is at least one huge howler that tungsten and titanium nitride could only have been created by the Sun. WRONG.

So, for the first time in my life I wrote a letter to the Nat. G. Editors.

Check it out:

Click to ENLARGE and read.

Click to ENLARGE and read.

 

DirecTV HR-34 Genie: How To Fix The No Sound On Some Channels Problem. It Is An HDMI, SD/HD ‘Conflict’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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Google search if you type "direct tv no sound on some channels". Try it. Click to ENLARGE.

Google search if you type “direct tv no sound on some channels”. Try it. Click to ENLARGE.

Appears that I am not the only DirecTV Genie customer who has run into the ‘No Sound‘ on some channels problem.

Well, given that I know a fair amount about A/V I actually know what causes the problem and how to fix it.

The problem, at least in my case, has to do with me using HDMI for my HD connection.

The problem has to do with switching to a Standard Definition (SD) channel after watching a High Definition (HD) channel. It might not happen each and every time, but if you are without sound the chances are that you are HDMI connected and just switched to a SD channel from an HD channel.

OK. This is a well know problem within HDMI circles. Yes, DirecTV should have fixed it, but then again pigs should be able to fly.

There is no simple or elegant solution. Yes, maybe you can turn off everything and power-up while still on the SD channel. That should work. But, that is aggravating.

A more strategic solution is to run a RCA red/white audio cable from the RCA video/audio out plugs from the back of the Genie to a RCA audio/video input on your ‘sound box’. Yes, you will have to SELECT that on the ‘sound box’ to get sound!

Yes, not fun, but as I have found out to my intense cost, nothing related to DirecTV is fun. That is why I hate, really hate, detests DirecTV. I even set up a countdown clock to tell me how much time is left on my DirecTV contract.

DirecTV Genie back panel

DirecTV Genie back panel. The RCA video/audio outputs are the yellow, white, red outlets at the BOTTOM, below the green, blue, red component video outputs.

Reasons 26 To 30 Of The 1,001 Reasons I Really, Really HATE DirecTV.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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#26. No sound last night on ‘Military Channel’, #287, and the two channels below it. Same problem I had had with Channel 203 Sunday night. 

#27. A Google of ‘No Sound‘ problem (above) reveals that it is a well known problem and has to do with Standard Definition (SD) channels on an HDMI-connected High Definition configuration. See Google search results below.

#28. The installed who appeared decent enough LIED to me explicity about EXACTLY this problem because I asked him about it, using HDMI, SD, HD terminology and he said that ‘no, no, you won’t have any sound problems using HDMI‘. Like so many others associated with DirecTV he lied to me point-blank.

#29. The frigging DirecTV Genie only has one set of RCA audio/video, i.e., the yellow, red, white plugs, output, so I have to disconnect my DVD recorder so as to fix the damn ‘No Sound’ problem by having a parallel audio connection. DirecTV stinks.

#30. DirecTV does not supply a booklet of anything that shows a diagram of the Genie back panel so that I could work out how to fix the bloody ‘No Sound’ problem. Yes, I can find the damn picture on the Web but that doesn’t help me much, at 11:30 pm at night, when I am on my hands and knees behind the accursed DirecTV HR-34 Bloody Genie. 


 

Google search if you type "direct tv no sound on some channels". Try it. Click to ENLARGE.

Google search if you type “direct tv no sound on some channels”. Try it. Click to ENLARGE.

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