Category Archives: Local DC area

Cheap Comcast for the Poor and Veterans

Comcast has cheap internet for people who get government housing or food assistance, and now also offers this for Veterans. For $10/month you get 15Mbps/sec download and 2Mbps/sec upload. This is 10x faster than the old DSL speeds and more than fast enough for streaming HD video. There are no charges for setup or equipment (modem/wifi router). If you qualify, it’s a great deal.

Go to:
https://internetessentials.com

Or call 855-846-8376

To qualify, you can’t have had Internet through Comcast in the last 3 months and you can’t have another Internet service.

I only wish this was promoted more, as there are lots of qualified people who have big $100/month bundle deals because they don’t know other options exist.

Through the Internet Essentials website from Comcast, customers can also order $150 computers. These are slower desktops and laptops (currently with Core 2 Duos and i3 CPUs) but they come with Windows 10, Office, and Norton Antivirus preinstalled. This is also a great deal if you qualify. Each household has up to 2 years to purchase the computers and can purchase up to 3 computers. CDI is the partner that runs the computer sales and they can be reached at 888-234-4272.

Why People Torrent

Cartoon from The Oatmeal depicting why people torrent content illegally.

It’s clear why people torrent. But it took me a while to figure out why HBO does not offer HBO GO, their internet video streaming service, as a stand-alone option outside of cable, even for a high fee like $40/month. HBO’s co-president Eric Kessler said that they would never offer HBO GO for sale to non-cable subscribers.

The reason is that HBO is owned by Time Warner Cable. They want to keep the existing cable TV model going. Time Warner doesn’t want to become a “dumb pipe” for TV programming streamed from others.

An independent HBO would clearly find that it makes business sense to offer HBO GO for sale and bypass the cable/satellite providers. So Time Warner created a content/distribution cabal that unfortunately limits the options to consumers. Comcast purchased NBC for the same reason.

See Freepress’s ownership charts showing all the vertically integrated media organizations.

Stop the SOPA bill

Congress today is working to pass SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act). SOPA would empower music and movie companies to essentially turn off sites deemed to be “enabling or facilitating” copyright infringement. This is broad language. Google, Facebook, Twitter and many others are trying to stop this from passing.

Read more at Lifehacker’s All About SOPA, the Bill That Wants to Cripple Your Internet.

Tumblr set up this page to call your representative:  http://www.tumblr.com/protect-the-net/

Video from the Song-a-day guy, Jonathan Mann:

Comcast Lies

Not that it’s surprising to anyone who has worked with them, but Comcast regularly lies. They do whatever they can to perpetuate the idea that there is no such thing as over-the-air digital TV, which is available for free if you have a TV and a small antenna.

This Wednesday, Comcast changed most of their analog cable channels in the Arlington, Virginia, area to present the following message.

Comcast has been doing this around the country for years, shutting off analog cable and moving customers to Comcast digital boxes so that they can charge more for each TV in the house and upsell pay-per-view content.

So an Arlington client of mine decided to cancel their Comcast cable instead of going through the hassle of a cable box or cable card. Given that the client watches the major network channels, they are okay with just using digital TV over-the-air for free.

When we called Comcast, Sam (Comcast Employee ID HEI) asked how the customer would watch TV without Comcast. “Over the air for free,” I said. Sam said that even if that was possible, it wouldn’t last long since all over-the-air was going away. So Sam was outright lying to us. Sam asked why we didn’t want a Comcast box since we’d need some kind of box to watch TV. I said that digital over-the-air can be plugged directly into a TV without a box.  Sam said that he had no idea about that. He spoke with a tone of disbelief as if I was making it up.

Had I not been on that call, the customer would have been bullied into buying Comcast digital cable after being told that was their only option.

I find that most people have no idea about digital over-the-air, which in the DC metro area has about 20 channels. During the over-the-air TV conversion from analog to digital, Comcast mailed advertisements telling people to convert to digital TV from Comcast. This confused people into thinking that the digital conversion meant that you needed to get Comcast digital TV.

This is why I use the word “Comcastic” as a derogatory term. As in, “That guy just stole my wallet. Comcastic.”