Blame It on Roku
Well, well, well. Netflix has had a busy week. First they announced they are raising their rates by 60%. In my humble opinion, in a single stroke, they went well out of their way to create ill will where previously there had been none.
Smooth move, Ex-lax. You just pissed off a lot of people and made them start thinking about taking their business elsewhere.
I don’t want to bury the lead (like I usually do) so I’ll interject this right now: Netflix has been down all day.
Worse, they advise you to visit a page on their website. When you do, they claim that their systems are completely operational and then tell me to call the company that make my Roku device.
“Don’t call us! Call that other company. You know, the company that makes it possible for us to run our business and deliver our primary product. Yeah, fuck them. We’re clever that way. Our Netflix scientists have discovered that pushing our problems onto innocent third parties seriously saves us a lot of money.”
Come to think of it, the Netflix service on the Roku has been sucking some majorly serious ass for a couple of months now. I’m talking about lots and lots of errors. Lots of little images that don’t load. Entire categories that remain blank and won’t let you select anything. And even when the system is working, the service is sluggish as hell, like when adding or removing a series from our instant queue. The refresh time is unbelievable.
Another problem: The streaming service almost never has the movies that we want.
The most recent example of this was yesterday we saw Jennifer Aniston on the Actor’s Studio. They mentioned a movie called The Good Girl. I’d never seen it. So we flipped on the Netflix, did a search and got nada. Another buttfucking courtesy of the Netflix. I think that is like ten searches in a row where search for streaming content has failed.
So what are the primary problems with Netflix right now:
- Useless “service status” accountability
- Buggy app on the Roku device
- Sluggish performance on the Roku device
- Streaming content library is underwhelming
- Downtime is becoming unacceptable (and they don’t compensate for this AFAIK)
And this is when they choose to raise prices? Wow.
I’ll say this. Until now I’ve been a loyal fan. I would have absorbed a $1/month rate increase without complaint. That would have been a 10 percent jump which is still pretty amazing in this economy and with an unemployment rate of 9.2%. I may not have graduated with a degree in business from Harvard, but something tells me the current economic climate may not be the best when it comes to jacking the rates on an entertainment product that competes for increasingly scarce disposable dollars in a budget that is shrinking or under threat in most households.
So today I explored the other channels on my Roku device. Unlike Netflix they all worked just fine. And I got to watch something extremely interesting and unusual.
By the way, if you want to find the status of the Netflix service, there is a way to do it even though Netflix provides none. Go to a website called “Down Right Now” which uses “crowd-powered service monitoring.” Sadly this a website like this fills an important niche as service providers fall woefully short.
I’m not quite ready to give Netflix my lowest possible rating but they had better watch it, because they are getting very close.
The Curious Case of Computers and a Curse
Chagrined, I couldn’t castle because the damn cheating computer cleverly had me in carefully choreographed check. Cheeseballs chasing a checkmate!
In case you haven’t noticed, this is my “C” post in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. And I’m just as subtle as always.
Today’s tale is one of torment and revenge. It even includes a possible effort to update the Bible. And it features the continued suffering and destruction of yours truly. Curious? Intrigued? Then keep reading!
This post is in honor of a Crapple iMac Computer. Yes, I said, “Crapple.” That is the word I have chosen in honor of this auspicious occasion.
If this was Sesame Street the word “Crapple” would probably be constructed something like this:
“Crrrrrrap … aaaaapple.”
“Crrap … aapple.”
I guess it helps to imagine two silhouetted faces frothily spitting those words back and forth at each other.
Anyway, growing up as a lonely anti-social and awkward geek, computers have always been very important to me. More important than people. (Har! No contest there.) I owned three before graduating high school. So I guess the progression goes computers, cats, poop, then people.
Since then my computer has evolved into my primary work tool and my primary source of recreation. I’d gladly shoot my TV, but I’d (usually) take a bullet for my computer.
On the other hand, I remain very much cursed. Sure, negativity has been ingrained in me since the moment of my conception, but it has also been nudged and nurtured by the curse. DNA and environment have conspired to make me what I am.
Sometimes I feel so cursed I speculate that God might be using me as an instrument to help introduce a new book in the Bible. It would, of course, be a sequel to the Book of Job. It would be called, of course, the Book of Tom.
The over-riding and oft-asked question manifestly revealed in the book of Job is, “Why do the righteous suffer?” (Wikipedia.)
Indeed! Great gurus aren’t just born. They are made. If they have the potential and are lucky enough to capitalize on the right set of circumstances.
But let us not digress and commit the sin of making this post too much about me. (Ha!)
In a nutshell, here’s the rest of the story:
My wife’s computer was about nine years old. I purchased it in July 2002. (Yes, I remember the date.) I finally got cable internet to my house, but my existing computer was so old the cable tech couldn’t make it work on broadband. So I ran down to Staples and bought a new Compaq so I’d have high speed internet that night. (Since leaving the big city I had been relegated to dial-up so I was ready.)
That was a long time ago. Since then the computer is barely a paperweight. It takes half an hour to do things like open an email or view a web page.
Meanwhile, my computer was about four years old. Not too bad, but it was having serious problems. It would BSOD (blue screen of death) all the time. It would literally take about 20 minutes after turning it on before it became usable. It was slowly dying.
Additionally, I had paid extra for something called the “super quiet case” with a special cooling system, but that thing was the loudest motherfucking computer I’d ever heard in my entire life. Being in my office was like listening to a jumbo jet taking off. It was slowly driving me mad.
I ended up hating my computer. But it was all I had. To this day, it is still the only computer where I have ever produced my Hyppo and Critter comic strip.
I was screwed. My computer sucked and I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. I tried over and over again starting a computer fund, but to no avail. It’s hard to save what you don’t got.
At work I was using a computer called a Mac Mini. It was awesome. It was about the size of an external hard drive and sat right there on top of my desk. At first, I didn’t even know it was a computer, it was so friggin’ small. And, although a few years old, it ran like butter. And, it was so quiet, you literally couldn’t tell it was turned on even though it was only a couple feet away.
It was love at first byte.
I’d never used a Mac before but I took to it like Tiger to a high-priced whore. But there was no way I’d be able to afford one of my own. Not when having a single dollar bill in my wallet felt like I was carrying a fortune.
Long story short, my sister stepped in and bought me one as a gift. She was buying herself a 27″ iMac with all the upgrades. She threw in a base model 21.5″ iMac for me. Brand freakin’ new.
I never forgot, though, that for everything the universe bestows, there is a price that will be extracted. Why? Basically “because you wish it” works out to be the most plausible explanation.
The computer didn’t arrive as promised. Delay, delay, delay.
When it finally arrived, it had Spanish language keyboard and the manual was in Spanish, too. There was some kind of hella snafu there. No biggie. It was still beautiful and awesome. It was amazing how a computer could be so cool as to transform my whole office.
I called Apple and they sent me the correct keyboard at no charge. I still have the manual in Spanish as my memento of the occasion.
That should have been the glitch, but I knew it wouldn’t be that easy.
As I began using the computer, I began to realize that something was seriously askew. It was slow and sluggish. Even though it had a beefier processor and double the memory of my computer at work, it ran like shit in comparison.
When a Mac pauses, the icon turns into a spinning wheel of color. It’s much like the “pause” hourglass on a Windows computer. On a Mac it has come to be infamously known as the “beach ball.”
And, just like Windows has the BSOD, the Mac version has come to be known as the BBOD or the “Beach Ball Of Death.”
At work my computers have never – not even once – crashed to the point where I had to hold down the power button for five seconds to reset, even though the computers are left on 24 hours a day for months at a time. At home, this happens two to three times a day.
The beach balls continually hit my computer all the time, and they typically last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. If I’m lucky the beach ball will go away and I can continue to use the computer. If I’m not lucky I have to hold down the power button for five seconds and start completely over.
It’s not supposed to be like this. I’ve lived through several beach balls even while composing this post.
At first I tried to work the problem on my own. I adjusted settings and surfed the net for solutions. I did all the diagnostics I could find. I ran Apple’s built-in hardware tests. Nothing ever found a problem or did anything to help.
As a last resort, I even tried re-installing the operating system to factory condition. This was a major pain in the ass, but I was desperate. I turned on my computer, actually feeling hopeful, only to find my faithful beach ball companion waiting for me.
I was beat. It was time to call Apple.
Could I get a replacement computer? Nope. For that you had to call within 30 days, I was told. Like an idiot I had tried to fix my computer on my own for six weeks before finally giving up and calling them. For that I now had to be punished. Rules are rules, right? Too fucking bad for me that it has only been six weeks and the thing cost $1,199.
It’s still covered by warranty, though. So on Monday morning I’ll be taking the thing to my authorized Apple repair center and we’ll see what they can do. That means I won’t have my computer for a week.
And that is how that shit works. I wish for something. Normally the answer is “no.” But if, perchance, it is “yes” then there will be a price to pay. Why? Because I wished it.
That’s just the way it is. Either this is a new book in the Bible or I’m someone’s science experiment.
You can bet your sweet ass I’ll be back to report how Apple takes care of me. I’m pretty sure I have a few more “eat my ass” posts left just in case. On the other hand, if it goes well, I have a nice friendly post in the works describing the conversion of a lifelong Windows user and his journey to the Mac.
Which will it be? It’s your move, Apple.
This is my “C” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”