Archive

Posts Tagged ‘President’

Remember When the Economy Started to Tank? Think Communications… Part 1

07/28/2010 Leave a comment

I’m going to break this into a multi-part post because after I began writing it, I noticed that I had a lot to say about each topic. I didn’t want the “You lost me at hello” brain melt happening to you, the Reader.

Gas prices in my area broke $4 a gallon for the first time ever. It seemed we would never again see the price go back below $3….then something happend. Either the President released reserves, or the oil companies felt sorry for us, realizing that if they didn’t do something, they would soon lose several customers…but the price dropped down to about $1.79 and lasted for about 2 months…

I blame two industries, three depending on how you look at it….

Oil Industry, Cellular Service Providers (Post Paid), Cable Companies (Communications, not including cellular or radio broadcasting)

I will discuss these in a moment.

During that time, while we were all scraping together to make sure we could put food on the table with this new budget impacting spike, oil companies were reporting record profits, month after month….and the executives were going home with bonus checks they never imagined.

As I said something happened, and anyone can feel free to pipe in here and educate me and the readers as to what it was, but the price of gas did go down…and in the midst of the chaos and the dust, there were two industries that did not change. Cellular and Cable Services.

Cable Companies – I won’t name the service provider in my area – their lawyers and budget is much bigger than mine, but I know I don’t care for them. We actually have two in a sense. One is a true cable company providing digital phone services and internet, as most do. The other is largely a telephony services that has contracted with a satellite company to provide services. Part 1 we will talk about the cable company.

So the cable companies provide internet, and they also provide phone and television services. Think about your own bill. How much are you paying? Cable companies raise their prices on average of 8% every year since the first cave drawing was broadcast in analog back in the day…

I know before the Digital Television age really became rampant, homes in your neighborhood were still using the old televisions. As the FCC declared that all broadcast stations had to go to digital, what did the cable companies do? They began raising the prices as soon as they could figure out how to manipulate the market. The FCC caught on to that. As the switch to digital began, the channels started dropping from the analog lineup. We were paying the same prices for a decreasing channel lineup. If you wanted your old channels back, you had to pay more to get into the “Tiered” programming structure many cable providers currently use. Here’s where they screwed you the first time.

You could switch to satellite services. I did for 3 years with Dish Network and I loved them. The only reason I don’t use them now is because i live in an apartment that doesn’t allow me to hook up satellite without extra money in damage protection. The cable company locally loves to bash satellite providers…the signal drops in the rain (not as often as they say, i lost maybe 30 minutes in 3 years), there are no local service people that can come out 24/7 (duh, because they don’t have wires running all over the city that can can get damaged or stolen), the “ugly” equipment outside your house (that’s the cable company’s way of making you think that satellite dishes on your neighbors houses are an impairment, in fact they are ugly – but more to the cable exec’s that have to drive around and look at them) who actually notices this in a neighborhood?

I love that they bash the signal issue….where do you think the cable company gets their signals from?? Satellites!

In our age, we all need the internet it seems. Its to the point that we communicate with family, friends, employers, coworkers, clients, government and so on. We have become so dependent on this luxury, that several can’t imagine not having it in their homes. What would we do without Social Networking sites? We wouldn’t know how many therapy sessions it took  Cousin Lucy Lou to stop picking her nose…or that your buddy Jim was officially announcing that he was sitting in the drive thru at Starbucks rockin’ out to Queen after noticing all of the ugly satellite dishes in the neighborhood nearby…or that Mindy has seen the latest Blockbuster film for the 9th time and has changed her review of it for the 6th time.

Fees for broadband are getting stupid as well. Each year they keep dropping some lower speed plan and make you pay more for the next one up, if you switch. They remind you that because you were grandfathered into the plan you had, you can never go back to it once you change something. I recently downgraded maybe 25% of my original plan speed for a savings of about $7. The odd thing is that most of the time, my download speed is not much better than when i used to have DSL. How can that small of a decrease present that big of a change of quality? I asked the phone rep if she could connect me to the tech dept after we were done. I wanted them to ping my computer and tell me whether I was getting a true (or close to) download speed as they were advertising that I was getting. The tech department told me that they couldn’t do that….hmm. I find that hard to believe because they probably know all the details of my computer, browsing habits, browser, speed, memory and what I have on my desktop.

Telephone services. Why are we still paying for long distance? I use Vonage currently, and have for almost 4 years. I can take my number wherever I go. Hell, even if I travel, I can still take my adapter and plug it into a broadband internet computer and still get calls anywhere…I can also call anywhere in the US and some other countries for no long distance. Call quality sounds as good as the old method. No extra charges for voice mail caller id etc. And they don’t publish your number in a directory – standard, no charge for that. Send me an email and i will get you hooked up with them as well. Referrals get special deals I think, so check with me before you do it on your own.

For your convenience, the cable company offers bundle prices on their services. I don’t know what you pay for yours, but the average I hear from friends locally is around $160 per month…freakin insane….

So watch for my Part 2 where i will discuss wireless companies including the one I use. I will also tie this all in together to show you why I feel that these industries contributed to the current economic conditions of the last two years, and discuss a bit about how they could be better corporate citizens. Feel free to leave comments. I will review and publish each one as long as its relevant to the discussion. Thanks for stopping by!

Advertisements

Obama and Change.gov

01/16/2009 Leave a comment

I didn’t vote for Obama. I didn’t vote for anyone this election. I recently moved counties and could not get registered in time to vote.

I have heard a lot of people say good things and others say bad things about having him as our 44th President. I wasn’t completely familiar with every facet of his campaign, but there is a part of me inside that is happy to see him in Office. Hopefully, I can say that 4 years from now.

One facet of his Administration that I really like is his call for the Citizens of the United States to participate in making the necessary changes in government, and in our country, as well as its future.

It is a sign of the times, that a President utilize technology and the Internet to allow the Citizens to be heard, offer ideas and opinions on the issues that are important to us all. The venue for this is the website www.change.gov.

On this website you can learn about everything that Obama is facing, as well as his documented plans on how to tackle big issues. You can even look at a PDF file that is the Transition Guide that he and his administration are following to prepare for taking command in Washington DC. More importantly, there are areas where Citizens can sign up and volunteer to help accomplish goals to better the tomorrow of this country.

Do you think you can solve part of the country’s problems better? Great! There is a JOBS section that allows you to actually fill out an initial on-line application to be considered for appointed positions.

You can also fill out invites to the President and VP and their spouses for special events that you would like to see them consider making an appearance for.

I recently filled out a segment on the site under the Citizen’s Registry. This is where you can voice your ideas and other Citizens vote on whether your idea is important. The more votes, the further up your idea gets. If it makes it far enough, the top ideas will be presented to President Obama for review as Citizen Concerns and possibly leading to changes in legislation, programs, government, etc.

I wrote mine on Veterans Education Benefits that Expire after 10 years. Please take moment and review my post there and if you agree with what I have to say, please vote in support of it. If you don’t agree then vote that way as well. If you read it, but don’t care what I said, please do not vote either way. This is a site that is allowing citizens to be heard for the first time, and really does not have room for those that want to go in and just screw with people to watch rankings change. You can find my post here:

http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=0878000000055eG

Obama….McCain

09/05/2008 2 comments

I was at a karaoke night at a bar last night where I was recruited by a guy named John, I believe to help with a song. I was unfortunately sitting the closest to John when he started the song “Rolling Down the River”. At least that’s what i think the song is called. That’s all I remember about the song when it was over with. John had warned me in the opening of the music that he may ask me to help him if he “ran out of gas”. I haven’t heard my voice through a microphone at a bar in over 6 years. I also have no idea who John  is

Sure enough 3/4 of the way through the song, you could hear John sputtering, knocking, wheezing as he approached the hill to the gas station. The man was totalling gracing us with his artistic rendition of Elvis in the later years. If you closed your eyes for a moment and listened to him…you would swear…that he was never going to stop, but removing the visual from the live voice that was only 5 feet away from as he gyrated and disco’d his way to Planet John Stardom seemed to be a little more tolerable. John seemed to have fun, and that’s all that really matters. I can’t criticize too much, as I didn’t get up and sing at all.

I have sang karaoke. When I am in regular practice of it, I have been told that I can do a pretty good job with some of the country artists like Chris Cagle, Gary Allen, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney.

Since Omaha has switched to a smoke free city (no smoking in any establishment – at all) I went outside to light one up. While out there, I had walked into the middle of a discussion between an intoxicated girl and her husband (I believe) regarding the current Presidential campaign. She was absolutely against Obama winning, but yet she didn’t seem to care much for McCain either. The discussion geared towards what would happen first…first black President, or first female President. I think we could solve this debate really fast if we could get a qualified black female President.

Seriously folks. Who cares?

Who cares if the next President is black, white, green, purple male, female, gay, bi, straight, religious, agnostic, atheist, blind, deaf, handicapped or not?

Who cares what state they are from, what church they attended, how many people they slept with in high school, whether they did drugs, whether they have a college degree or not?

The position of President of the United States should be won by the person that is most qualified to do the job. Regardless of what may come with that package.

I think of how many good candidates there probably are out there that decided not to try to run because maybe their past is a little questionable. So be it. Honestly, over the last 40 years, what President has not had something controversial come up while in office? These are the same people that while running for office maybe had slightly tinged career history, maybe immaculate reputations, but did it matter? Not really in the end. Maybe we should consider letting someone into office that has a questionable past more than what has been in there so far. Someone that has had a chance to get all of the crap out of their system..

My Sergeant Major in my unit Fort Riley, KS once told me “There isn’t a great Sergent Major in the Army that i know of that hasn’t had a few Article 15’s in their career.” I loved that he said that because it made sense. (If you aren’t familiar with this, and Article 15 is a form military code enforecement that can lead to dock in pay, extra duty, loss of rank, etc depending on the severity of what the reprimand was for.)

I heard this girl at the bar make a comment regarding how she isn’t registered to vote, never has voted, but freely admits she has opinions about the government. This I disagree with. If you do not vote, you have no right to complain about the government. The only exception to this would be students under 18 years old because they can’t vote.

This goes inline with my belief that if you have a complaint about something, that is fine. Until you can find a sensible way to solve that problem that you have the complaint with, then keep it to yourself. I have been doing this at work for a few years, and it works wonders when it comes to getting stuff accomplished. That is another reason I have this blog…it’s a place to bounce some of those ideas around. You should try it…