Monday, September 12, 2016

Cablevision (Optimum) is not good with cable cards.

Message sent:

to:James Dolan
date:Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 6:24 AM
subject:Cable card status.

There is no bind between your cable card and my TiVo Bolt despite conversations with Optimum support on three consecutive days last week, which followed two visits by Optimum techs to fix a cable card problem in my Panasonic TV; they spent almost all of the time talking on the phone to Optimum support, like I did for the TiVo.

The TV cable card failed again last night for the third time since the second visit by an Optimum tech. Conclusion: Cablevision (Optimum) is not good with cable cards.

Status: Not Ready

I've been dealing with the TV cable card failing for months and I know exactly how to restore service by myself: pop the card, wait for channels to load, then hit return on my TV menu. Annoying, but at least it works. But the TiVo Bolt has never been operational since I tried to activate it five days ago.

After the first two days of talking to Cablevision (Optimum) support people, who merely go through what pops up on their cumputer screens, TiVo support had me go through some TiVo Bolt screens to confirm that the bind had not been done. The screen shot above was sent to Cablevision (Optimum). No doubt Cablevision (Optimum) will want to have me reserve half of yet another day to have a Cablevision (Optimum) tech person visit and talk to Cablevision (Optimum) support people on the phone as they stumble through various stuff. No thanks.

Obviously, cable cards are not well understood by people who work for Cablevision (Optimum). It's old flakey technology that was forced on the "cable" industry by the FCC to give consumers the option of not having to pay exorbitant monthly fees to rent set top boxes from the service providers. But if you're going to pretend that you are actually supporting something, at least have the professional pride to put a little effort into it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cablevision (Optimum) struck out! Verizon FIOS is coming back!

Cablevision (Optimum) "tier two" support for CableCards called back. Steve was a bit ornery and could not bind the Cablevision (Optimum) CableCard to my TiVo Bolt. See two previous posts. OK, thanks, Steve, you continued the Cablevision (Optimum) tradition and made my decision easy.

Verizon will take a crack at the Bolt when it returns its service next week. Can't wait. Goodbye Cablevision (Optimum)!

Cablevision (Optimum) trying to wrestle CableCard to the ground in TiVo Bolt.

I decided to try the TiVo Bolt because:

Cablevision (Optimum) DVR fast forward is crude, lacking what Verizon provides: skip forward 30 seconds. THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2016

Cablevision (Optimum) CableCard support has been consistently lame.

I've had a Cablevision (Optimum) CableCard in my ten year old Panasonic TV for the four months I've been back with Cablevision (Optimum), partly to try its many WiFi hotspots available to subscribers, about the only attribute that distinguishes it from its local rival, Verizon FIOS. I hardly use those hotspots but today I was able to connect my Chromebook; Cablevision (Optimum) has no instructions for the ChromeOS, nor for Windows10, which probably also works. That makes dumping Cablevision (Optimum) and returning to Verizon FIOS a bit difficult.

But, since the Cablevision (Optimum) fast forward (FF) functions are so horrendous, that's what will happen if Cablevision (Optimum) strikes out. The CableCard in my TV has given me a lot of trouble and in the last few days I've had two Cablevision (Optimum) techs here to fix that. After spending half the day waiting for them and more hours watching them talk on the phone to Cablevision (Optimum) people who may or may not know more about CableCards, I have refused to have more Cablevision (Optimum) people come here to fix the Cablevision (Optimum) CableCard in my new TiVo Bolt DVR, which supposedly has lots of cool FF functions. Unfortunately, TiVo relies entirely on a CableCard supplied by my service provider, Cablevision (Optimum).

There needs to be a "bind" established between the CableCard and the device, in this case the TiVo Bolt. I got a new multi-stream Cablevision (Optimum) CableCard two days ago and have spent three days now trying to get Cablevision (Optimum) to properly bind those two. I'm supposed to get a call within 24 hours from what is probably the Cablevision (Optimum) version of tier support for its CableCards.

If that fails, Cablevision (Optimum) will have struck out and my next call will be to Verizon to have FIOS re-established. Then I'll give Verizon a crack at getting the TiVo Bolt to work. If not, return the Bolt and use the acceptable but less cool Verizon FF functions.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cablevision (Optimum) DVR fast forward is crude, lacking what Verizon provides: skip forward 30 seconds.

When I switched a few months ago I noticed it right away, that the Cablevision (Optimum) remote control lacked the button that was on my Verizon FIOS remote defined as "jumps forward 30 seconds in the program you are watching". In the Verizon menu you can switch from 30 to 10 seconds.

Why does this matter? If you're a candidate for "cord cutting", it doesn't. Those people mostly care about watching movies, basically anything but sports. That content can now be obtained ad hoc from various content providers and all they need is a connection to the Internet, which makes the term "cord cutting" silly. It's not subscribing to TV service.

But if you watch team sports (baseball, football, basketball) you need TV service. Black out rules limit or make very difficult watching local teams with generic sports packages. Switching channels is close to impossible with streaming video and when replaying, fast forwarding is essential.

Which brings us to the specific topic of this post: why does Cablevision (Optimum) provide only a single crude DVR fast forward function?

Verizon has the crude fast forward, too, but even there it's better. Cablevision (Optimum) seems to skip ahead and show a single still frame rather than speed up the frames. Increasing the speed of the Cablevision (Optimum) just makes it speed past the end of commercials even further. You then must back up, causing you to view what has happened. This is pretty annoying if watching a drama but for sports showing what happened is really not good.

Most specifically, the problem is not the commercials during sporting events. It's the dead time between plays, especially the 300 intervals of dead time between pitches in a baseball game. You've got to skip at least 10 seconds or try to get by with skipping 30 seconds and watch the next pitch right away. It's the only civilized way to watch a single baseball game.

I tried for months to use the crude Cablevision (Optimum) fast forwarding but it is not even as good as that provided on the old VCRs. I had bought a second Verizon remote control and still have it. Both the Cablevision (Optimum) and Verizon remotes have the same color function keys: A, B, C, D. On the Cablevision (Optimum) the green D key is not used. I tried unsuccessfully to "program" it to perform the 30 skip fast forward. I held down SEL and D to gain access but that did not work. To tell the remote the type of TV you have you hold down SEL and TV/power on the Cablevision (Optimum) remote. That causes the O. button (that BIG round one in the middle) to flash and then you can enter the secret code for your TV. The installer person usually does this for you.

Internet search was fruitless. There are such instructions on how to "hack" remotes for other DVR type providers but not for Cablevision (Optimum). I could not find a manual for the Cablevision (Optimum) Samsung SMT-C5320 set top box and DVR I have. Nor would Cablevision (Optimum) provide me with a digital manual for it.

Next I sent a message to Cablevision (Optimum) asking them to "program" the green D key to skip 30 seconds for me, for everyone, or tell me how I could do it. There followed a thread of messages and even a voice conversation. Cablevision (Optimum) repeated what a great idea I had and that it had been passed on. If Cablevision (Optimum) actually wanted to provide this function, the damn button would be on the remote.

The remote for my ten year old Panasonic HDTV has the skip fast forward button but I could not figure out how to associate the Panasonic remote with the new Samsung box from Cablevision (Optimum). I even considered using the Verizon remote but couldn't figure out that either.

I asked Cablevision (Optimum) about my using a universal remote control. Eventually, they sent a link on their website that showed four.

Here is a list of some brands and models of universal remote controls that will work with Optimum equipment:
  • RCA 5 Device Universal Cable Remote
  • URC SR3 Big Button Universal Remote Control
  • Universal Remote Control – 6-Device Preprogrammed Learning Remote
  • General Electric 24959 8-in-1 Universal Remote Control
Almost all universal remotes that were manufactured since 2001 are compatible with our digital cable boxes. These remotes may be purchased through most electronic retailers. While many of the universal remote controls available will work with Optimum equipment, we recommend using the remote controls provided by Optimum. Using remote controls provided by Optimum ensures that all functions will work properly.

However, when I simply asked for the Samsung code that such a remote would need during setup, Cablevision (Optimum) declined to provide that, telling me to find that in the manual of the universal remote control. In other words, I had to buy it first, then check to see whether there was a code for the new Cablevision (Optimum) Samsung box. And even then, I could only expect the universal to control the functions provided by Cablevision (Optimum), which do not include the skip fast forward.

Here is my reply this morning to the most recent "apology" from a Cablevision techie telling me what a great idea I had in suggesting that the green D button be programmed to provide the skip fast forward function:

It's not a great idea. It's basic stuff, which Verizon has. I'm guessing that Cablevision is getting more money from content providers to make skipping commercials as difficult as possible. Other Cablevision techs have suggested four different universal remotes when I asked about them but decline to supply the code for the Samsung box you distribute. Without that the universal remote cannot be set up to control your Samsung box. See how all this comes around to Cablevision trying to squeeze more money out of things?

Oh, and the Android app provided by Cablevision (Optimum) lacks any fast forward function, not even the crude one provided on the Cablevision (Optimum) remote control. You can't make up stuff like this.

Saturday, June 11, 2016 stats

Message just sent to about through its complaint process for its bloggers

Your stats seem almost random. I currently have almost as many pageviews in the Ukraine as the USA. And at 7 AM I have a spike  to almost 300 but the top ten top out at about 15, so how the heck could there have been 300? This uncertainty about the stats is persistent and there is ALWAYS a discrepancy between the totals and individual posts.

Am I the only person wondering?

Note: Google bought after I had been using for years.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Texting madness: sending a message to initiate voice communication.

I've recently experienced this moronic stuff. Receiving a text message to announce or request a voice conversation, aka, phone call.

I'm about to call you.

It's OK for you to call me.

What am I missing? Why not just call?

If texting were eliminated, what would these morons do? Just sit there, wondering what their $500 iPhones were good for?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Texting: primitive form of writing on phones designed by geniuses to be used by idiots.

Rant I just sent to a friend:

I cannot tell you how much I hate texting. I noticed that you sent a video that way. It went to my mobile number. Had it at least gone to my Google Voice number I would have had access to it on all my devices, not just the mobile phone.

Please send the link via email. Thanks.

Someone else called me today using a different number than previously. It's impossible for me to send her a text message to that new number. The crappy little programs provided for texting are so deficient I could not find a way.

My theory is that texting comes from early use of mobile phones by 14 year old girls. Those flip phones had limited online access and functionality but that was all that they knew. And email seemed to old fashion, as in for employed people.

So now you have idiots using $650 iPhones as if they were $25 pagers from 1985. They don't even need the data packages they're paying big bucks for. And doing it while driving.

Smart phones designed by geniuses to be used by the aforementioned idiots.

Rant over.

Thursday, March 31, 2016 am I the only one with font problems?

Excerpt from a post from my Radical Baseball blog hosted by blogger:

Thursday, March 31, 2016
1958 AL Home Run race. Who "led the league in hitting" ... home runs?

Techie note: I wasted an hour trying to make the fonts uniform. After a copy/paste of the list of the five players below, Google's, which hosts this blog, behaved erratically. So please excuse the appearance and try to absorb the content. Thanks.

Geez, what a massive waste of time and still couldn't get it right. Yeah, I know, just go in and modify the html code. Yeah right. That would blow up the entire mess.

I tried every trick I could think of. And what you see in edit mode is definitely not what you get.

Google, come on, give me a decent editor. Is that too much to ask for? Come on.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Abandoned" bank account: New York State Comptroller still needs to state policy and procedures.

Email reply from:

New York State Comptroller
Office of Unclaimed Funds
date:Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 7:22 AM
subject:RE: New York Unclaimed Property Rules & Time Limits

We require more information to search of our database.  We require the
account owner’s full name and any current and previous New York State
addresses associated with that name...

Blah. Blah. Blah.

This is reply to

Chase Bank: "your account is considered abandoned". Say what? WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2016

Obviously, the state employee who sent the reply didn't read my message ad/or didn't understand. Here is my reply to help clarify:

date:Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 9:21 AM
subject:Re: New York Unclaimed Property Rules & Time Limits

The New York State website was useless except for the happy state comptroller supplying information on how someone can get their confiscated money back but not the parameters for how the money can be taken...

... hope that the New York State legislature and Comptroller will fix this mess for all of us.

I stopped my account from being seized. What I want to know:
1. What are the New York State laws that cause a bank account to be declared abandoned?

2. What is a bank like Chase required to do in terms of notification?

3. Other than deposit and withdrawal, what constitutes activity? For instance a Chase person told me that these things did NOT count:
- transfer to/from another Chase linked account
- online access
- ATM access.

4. Specifically, how much advance notice must a bank send before it can have the state confiscate the money in an account? How many notices? Is the bank required to communicate digitally in addition to paper?

5. Doesn't my filing NYS income tax returns suggest that I am alive?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Chase Bank: "your account is considered abandoned". Say what?

You can't make up stuff like this.

I have an account with Chase Bank. I logged in last night to check on a matter and noticed that my previous log in was 12/21/15, less than three months before. Keep that in mind.

Yesterday, March 15, 2016, I received a PAPER letter from Chase Bank dated March 7, 2016. It states in part:

Service Center: 1-800-935-9935

Your account is in danger of being transferred to the state. Please contact us immediately.

Please act quickly ...

... Under New York law your account is considered "abandoned" because there has been no activity (deposits, withdrawals, etc.) for some time. As a result, we must transfer your balance of $... to the state's unclaimed property division.

You can stop the transfer of your money to the tate - but you must act now

- completing the enclosed ... form ... and returning it to us by 04/07/2016
- making a routine monetary transaction ... deposit or withdrawal at a branch ...


Mark Gamble
Senior Vice President
Chase Telephone Banking

The address on the letter is in San Antonio, Texas. I thought that was a nice touch, collecting for New York State from Texas. Adds to the utter stupidity of this.

Apparently an online log in does not count as activity. One can only wonder what is meant by "etc." when it seems only two actions ("deposit or withdrawal at a branch") matter. Very 1980s.

Since the letter from Mark Gamble must have sat in the Chase Bank mail room for several days, Mark Gamble has effectively given me only three weeks to save my account. Mark Gamble must be an idiot.

There was no digital communication, despite the fact that I have an active online account with Chase Bank. There was no message buried in my inbox at NOTHING. Just a PAPER letter. One letter. No prior warning or indication of any kind. Nice, huh? The letter was the one and only notice. There was nothing in it that indicated, hey, we've sent you umpteen messages. No, just this one.

And what the heck is "for some time"? How the heck much time? Last night I tried to check. The New York State website was useless except for the happy state comptroller supplying information on how someone can get their confiscated money back but not the parameters for how the money can be taken. I looked elsewhere and sent this email message to the state:

from: Ken
cc: David Buchwald <>

date:Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM
subject:New York Unclaimed Property Rules & Time Limits

Five years? Is that the limit on bank accounts? ​What am I a mind reader? There was no prior warning to the absurd letter I received today from Chase bank.

Today, I received a PAPER (good thing I wasn't traveling) letter stating that my savings account would be considered abandoned April 7 if I did not take action.

I logged into my Chase account less than three months ago and again today. 

Even if I did not withdraw or deposit, why doesn't online access constitute activity? ​And why didn't I get more than three weeks notice? What the heck is that?

My New York State income tax has been filed regularly and paper letters from Chase bank are not returned. Why presume abandonment?

I ended with my full name, address and phone number.

Auto Reply:

date:Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM
subject:Re: New York Unclaimed Property Rules & Time

Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.

Thank you for contacting the New York State Comptroller's Office of
Unclaimed Funds.  Your email is important to us and will be responded to by
one of our Communication Center Representatives as soon as possible.  Due
to the increased number of e-mails being received, response time may take 2
- 3 weeks.  Thank you for your patience.


Three weeks. Gee, that's how long Chase Bank gave me. Suppose I was travelling, maybe to somewhere with no Chase branches. Maybe to Phoenix, AZ to attend the baseball analytics conference. If I retuned after April 7 I would have had no idea that my Chase Bank account had been turned over to New York State.

But wait, there's more. Last night I found that my "abandoned" account was missing when I logged in at What I could still see were two other accounts, which I share with another person. I then exchanged messages last night with a Chase person and was told that my account is:

currently in a "dormant" status due to inactivity.

To reactivate your account, visit your nearest Chase 
branch. If you're unable to visit a Chase branch please 
reply to this message or call us at the phone number 
below. We may need to send you additional information by 
U.S. Mail to complete this request.


Dormant and abandoned. My logging in last night made no difference.

I'll mail back the paper letter, which requires my signature, so it could not have been handled by another.

I'll also withdraw $20 from an ATM later.

I'll call and vent.

And I'll send the link for this post to:

And hope that the New York State legislature and Comptroller will fix this mess for all of us.

Note: I dumped Chase about 15 years ago as my primary bank because of unprofessional junk like this. I just spoke to a Chase person. She could not find Mark Gamble as an employee. Hopefully, Mark Gamble was fired.  Unfortunately, try as she might, nothing couid be resolved on the phone. My ONLY options are those in the PAPER letter;
- mail to San Antonio, TX the Chase form with my signature
- withdraw or deposit money at a Chase ATM.

Chase can/will NOT restore the online link from my account to the joint accounts until its status as abandoned and dormant is rectified.  Argh!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Burning out a CPU. Say what?

Central Processing Unit (CPU): what would cause it to "burn out"?

Predicting Tommy John Surgeries
By Bradley Woodrum  February 23, 2016 at 12:25am

hundreds of thousands of lines of data ... The project also took, as a sacrifice, one of my computer’s CPUs, which burned out shortly after completing some herculean computations. Fare thee well, i7.

There's the suggestion that this massive project was run on one or more personal computers, not a mini or combination of computers. My reaction to the idea that one of this guy's CPUs, not a hard drive, burned out: say what?

He indicates that his PC had an Intel Core i7 CPU, which was introduced in 2008 and has two to six cores. If one core stops functioning, can the CPU continue to work? Beats me.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Project Fi: Google needs to straighten out conflicting features and objectives.

to:Project Fi
date:Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 9:30 AM
subject:Re: Service paused

Since Google used a noreply email ID, I'll reply here:

I cancelled the day the Nexus 5X arrived because the setup stated I'd lose Google Voice as I now have it since it was Grand Central (a company bought by Google), including free forwarding to my mobile and home phone numbers.  I'm disappointed I could not even try Fi.  Google needs to straighten out conflicting features and objectives.

I spoke to Google people both before ordering and after product arrival and got conflicting advice.  I had read multiple articles describing the problems for Google Voice users of subscribing to Project Fi but it seemed there was an inelegant way around: keep things as they are.  My Google Voice forwards calls to both my home and mobile numbers.  I wanted to get a new phone number from Google for Fi and had been told that would work but as it turned out, only if I used a new Google account, which, of course, was out of the question.  My intent was to test Fi for 15 days and then decide whether to keep it; if so, I'd have ported my current mobile number to Fi.  I never got started.  I had to back out of setup or I'd have lost my Google Voice.