Heavy Lifting

I have again experienced the pain and suffering of a domestic flight, nearly coast to coast, sitting next to someone who is really too large to fly on planes. I don’t want to be rude, but if you are so big as to not be able to sit in a single seat, lower the arm, or use a single seat belt, you need to buy a second ticket.

Forcing thin, tall people to sit next to you and be mashed into the aisle is no way to be friendly with others. And I could certainly do without all the sweating and snoring.

SBC DSL Woes

Is it too much to ask that I just get what I paid for?

After more than 30 days, I still have slower DSL speed, over charged pricing, and no resolution to my series of phone calls to SBC. No one department seems to care about the customer experience, only their little portion of it. There is ordering, provisioning, tech support, and billing. And goodness, if they don’t all happen to be in different buildings and in some cases different time zones.

This leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth for SBC. If I had a real alternative to them I would take it right now. Really I would.

Schedule Slips

Another week goes by with me in Taiwan and I ponder the following thought as I sit here looking out at the Taipei 101 building: do project schedules ever work out?

It seems to be that whenever I leave the office for any period of time, one of my products has a schedule slip or it gets put on hiatus. I’m not sure how much this has to do with me leaving, but it certainly seems more visible from the road. Because I’m away I feel like it is out of my control, or the decision was made because I wasn’t there to stop it.

As I look back on more than 10 years of schedule setting and execution, I find that almost none of the dates ever put down on paper were met. It makes you wonder: why bother forecasting a date for anything if it always turns out to be wrong?

Hosting Issues

I just spent the better part of an hour running down a bug with my new web host. The PHP function mail() is great if it works. It sucks when it doesn’t because I can find very little information on how to troubleshoot it. By luck, I happened to Google my host’s name along with “mail() not working” and found an answer.

Sometimes it pays to search closer to home rather than all over the web, I learned. At least now I know why it didn’t work. Next time I’ll be more careful, I suppose.

On the Road Again

I’m sitting here on a smoggy Sunday afternoon, 33 stories up in a hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. Thanks to the busy travel season I’m here two full days before I normally would be. I contemplate the mound of work I should be doing as well as the plethora of crummy television on in Asia.

One thing that I am reminded of is how poorly Amercians are perceived outside the US. Bush has basically burned bridges the world over, and the general public will be paying for this long after he’s gone. It’s really, really sad, actually.

In the meantime I think I’ll find something more productive to do. Like breathing in some toxic local air, maybe.

Can Tivo Survive?

There has been some news of late (here and here) where it looks like DirecTV and Tivo may be on the outs. This matters a great deal to me because I love my Tivo, and it is a strong reason for having DirecTV.

But, that aside, Tivo’s very livelyhood rests on the ability to keep subscribers (and thus revenue) flowing to the company. So why does this matter? Well, DirecTV = 1 million Tivo subscribers. Tivo on its own has only 500K subscribers. I think you can see why it would be bad for DirecTV to leave Tivo in the cold.

I hope that Tivo wakes up and understands that their business policies (read: high pricing) are what is killing deals between themselves and would be subscriber magnets like cable companies. It is only a short time before they are rendered irrelevant by the coming freight train called Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition. Do they really want to fight their friends too?

WiFi Media Devices

I’ve spent enough time in my new place to realize that I need a way to get at music from any floor, at any time, without dragging a laptop around. So this morning I started out on a fruitless search for the “perfect” WiFi based media adapter. Needless to say, I failed.

All of these devices use 802.11b (there is one g model), support MP3, maybe support WMA or AAC (non-secure). A few support streaming. Most of them required MusicMatch, making them non-starters for me (who needs yet another crappy music player on the PC?) Since I’m a paying Napster subscriber I want my secure WMAs, and possibly secure AACs from iTunes, to play anywhere. These devices just can’t do it.

So I’m left with a decision: cough up +$600 for a laptop to haul around upstairs (since the laptop I have belongs to work, and they hate personal files on it!) or come up with some crummy 900mhz wireless point-to-point system that breaks up every time my neighbors talk on the phone.

Seems like a business opportunity to me, for someone.