Semi-exclusive OR

In this town, you have Cox Cable, or you have whatever the heck it is AT&T is selling; if there are other options, they’ve been tucked away behind a Concealment Spell or something.

This past week, AT&T sent me a big bruiser of an envelope with the breathless announcement that “U-verse is now available for your home!” As expected, they had a deal to offer. Not as expected, they were making serious speed claims: “Now with blazing-fast speeds up to 45Mbps.” Of course, “up to” is the inevitable weasel word: not all locations can get this speed. Specifically:

In areas where AT&T deploys U-verse through FTTN, they use High-speed digital subscriber lines with ADSL2+ or VDSL technology. Service offerings depend on the customer’s distance to an available port in the distribution node, or the central office. To qualify for U-verse TV service (only available through VDSL2), the customer must be less than 1000 meters (3500 feet) from a VRAD, the VRAD must contain an available port, and the copper wire-loop must pass qualification. Where pair bonding is available, the maximum service distance can extend to 1600 meters (5500 feet). Pair bonding is also necessary for U–verse’s fastest internet tier (Power Tier 45 Mbit/s down).

If they’ve built a VRAD in this neighborhood, I haven’t seen it. Old-style DSL had to be piped in from the Windsor office at 23rd and Portland, which is a heck of a lot farther away than 1.6 km, the main reason I didn’t order it back when I moved in.

The punchline, of course, is that during this same week, Cox dispatched an email to tell me I was being upgraded from 25 to 50 Mbps — assuming, of course, I have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I’m assuming I don’t, even though they supplied this box in 2011, five years after the introduction of 3.0; and anyway, I get a fairly consistent 30 Mbps, which qualifies, I suppose, for “up to” 50 Mbps.

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Itemized

Price increase, you say? Well, maybe, if you tell me where it’s going.

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No sign of the dollar

I admit to not having had much use for Ke$ha, as the singer used to spell it, even if she did move 14 million downloads of “Tik Tok.” Having reverted to simply “Kesha,” she’s pushed herself a little farther, and while looking for something else — isn’t that always the case? — I stumbled across this track from her 2012 album Warrior. It’s the last song in the collection, it’s the only one she wrote herself, and I think she’s won me over:

(If this vaguely reminds you of Sia’s “Chandelier,” a favorite in these parts, well, it’s the same producer: Greg Kurstin. And Kesha’s song came out first.)

And you know, I’m the last guy in the world to complain about blue and/or purple hair, even on the Tonight Show:

Kesha on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon July 2014

(Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC.)

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Immovable objects

I was still puzzling over this, four hours after the fact — it happened on the way home during Friday rush hour — and finally I decided to toss it up here.

Exiting I-44 westbound at Classen puts you on the Classen Circle, which is no longer even slightly circular, and gives you a quarter-mile of This Is Not A Ramp before you discover you’ve gotten yourself into the southeastern terminus of the Northwest Distressway. The light was yellow, and I chose not to floor it; after all, there’ll be another green in a couple of minutes.

There wasn’t. The usual pattern for this light ignored westbound traffic entirely for a minimum of three cycles. Something was apparently stuck. Off in the distance, I could see a fire truck, probably from Station 17, heading east; it turned in at 50 Penn Place. That’s odd, I thought; Station 11 is probably closer. Then again, Station 11 probably couldn’t get there because of this damn stuck light.

At which moment I looked towards the rear, and stuck about three car lengths behind me in the left lane — I was in the center — was another fire truck. Station 11, I reckoned.

Now the lights along the Distressway aren’t synchronized worth a damn, but I could swear I’ve seen one or two of them temporarily disabled to make way for emergency vehicles. Is it possible that both engines pushed the magic button, a third of a mile in advance, and their signals managed to screw with each other?

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The quiet intruder

The hell of it is, you can always tell if there’s a mouse in the house — they tend to leave, um, calling cards in favored places — but ferreting (!) out their hiding places is difficult, and they’ve evolved responses to our feeble attempts to dispatch them to Mousedom Come.

I hadn’t heard (as opposed to “seen”) any indications of this little guy’s presence until Wednesday, when there was rustling along the wall opposite my desk. I wasn’t quick enough to spot him, but I figured I could do the old trap routine this weekend.

It may not be necessary. He left no pellets Thursday that I could find, and Friday afternoon, I found a mouse keeled over in the 96-degree garage. (Temperature outside the garage: 96 degrees.) He’d nearly made it to a gap in the garage-door weatherstripping before giving up the ghost. I almost felt sorry for the critter, even as I swept him out onto the lawn for the amusement of predators.

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Y? Because we have to

Oklahoma City lost its Radio Disney affiliate quite a while back. Now just about the entire radio network is going dark:

Disney has revealed plans to sell all but one of its remaining Radio Disney stations as it moves the brand to digital delivery. Broadcasting & Cable reports the stations will go dark around September 26 with the exception of 1110 KDIS Los Angeles, which will remain with the Disney brand.

The reason? Most listeners aren’t actually listening to those radio stations, but through other sources:

B&C’s report states that Disney’s internal research finds among Radio Disney listeners six years old and up, 37% of the their listeners listen via SiriusXM, 35% via desktop streaming, 31% via mobile streaming, and 18% via over-the-air broadcasts.

All the stations are on the AM band except WRDZ-FM Plainfield, Indiana.

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Meta beyond meta

I don’t know, I’ve never (been?) thrimbened:

As he strolled among the Kenthellians, through the wide parndamets along the River Elinionenin, thrimbening his tometoria and his Almagister’s scrollix, he thought to himself, “Wow, it is sure convenient there’s a glossary for made-up fantasy words on page 1048.”

This was the winner in the Fantasy category of the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and you only hope that the second edition of this turgid tale by Stephen Young doesn’t change the pagination.

The overall winner, Elizabeth Dorfman, contributed this stirring opening:

When the dead moose floated into view the famished crew cheered — this had to mean land! — but Captain Walgrove, flinty-eyed and clear headed thanks to the starvation cleanse in progress, gave fateful orders to remain on the original course and await the appearance of a second and confirming moose.

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti…

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True (cheap) enlightenment

From Bill Quick’s Amazon recommendations, something unexpected: 48 100 Watt GE Soft White Incandescent Light Bulbs (Case of 48) – $39.00. With free shipping, yet.

You’d think Wicked Contraband like this would sell for more than $0.8125 per unit. Quips Bill: “So … apparently that ‘ban’ on 100 watt incandescents isn’t really all that much of a ban.”

At the bottom of the specifications is this curious item: “Lumen Maintenance Factor at the End of Life.” Amazon explains it this way:

The lumen maintenance factor at the end of the life is the percentage of original brightness, or luminous flux, given off by a light bulb at the end of its life.

This bulb’s LMF is given as “1690,” which doesn’t look like a percentage of original anything. But based on the old rule for incandescents — 16 lumens per watt — I presume that these stay nice and bright right up until the moment that the filament shatters.

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Impersonationalism

Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis on Twitter) goes after a genuine fake:

I don’t want to give my minor tormentor, my idiot imposter, my personal troll any further attention but you probably already know who this is. This week, with shocking nastiness, he went after a prominent person I’ve met and I respect and with whom I share a number of friends. That person reacted appropriately — angrily — thinking I was the shithead going after him. I don’t follow my troll so I would not have seen this had it not reached some Twitter notoriety. That at least gave me the opportunity to tell the prominent person that his tormentor was my tormentor, not me.

What bothers me even more is the reaction of others who egg on the imposter trolls. One was a prominent columnist for a famous financial newspaper with funny colored paper who endorsed out loud the idea of trolling an important person whom he covers. That’s not what they taught me in journalism school. It’s sure as hell not what I teach there. Is this net we want to build? For that matter, is this the journalism we want to have? Is this our society?

Earlier this summer, a parody account mocking Salon, including their big S logo, was sufficiently persuasive that the real Salon complained to Twitter. (The wise guys have since resurfaced with a modified profile.) Jarvis has his reasons for not complaining to Twitter:

They might kill my troll-imposter’s account. But then I know what would happen: I’d be accused of being a humorless party-pooper because I don’t like being mocked every day or finding people thinking I’m a horrid shithead. And if I oppose Europe’s idiotic Right to be Forgotten fiasco, I could not stand for muting someone else. No win there. It’s obvious that a prominent person mistook my imposter for a real person because the user name gives no clue. But Twitter’s policy is that imposter accounts are OK. Now I don’t assume that anyone who’s being attacked should have to spend a damned second researching his tormentor. But that is Twitter’s policy.

It would be nice if Twitter could come up with a revised policy that doesn’t toss out genuinely great accounts like @SwiftOnSecurity.

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Maybe not so much choice

This year’s Teen Choice Awards were marred by the suggestion that someone other than teens might be making the choice:

The annual awards show, which hands out gongs for the best teen movies, music and this year — web stars, enjoyed its 16th instalment on Sunday and it is usually fairly innocuous — bar one pole-dancing routine by Miley Cyrus in 2009.

Which, I submit, indeed should have been barred.

But the ceremony’s officials may be kicking themselves for including the new category this year, after impassioned fans of losing “Web Stars” nominees claimed that the whole thing is set-up…

The latest furore started when Cameron Dallas, an 18-year-old Californian with 5.5 million followers on Vine, publicly denounced the process.

He won the award for “Choice Viner”, but was so incensed that he didn’t get the presumably more prestigious award of “Choice Web Star: Male” that he took to Twitter to reveal how he had been made aware of his win days previously.

“It’s funny how they told me I won the Viner award 6 days before the voting ended and made the runners up still vote to tweet for them,” he said, before deleting the tweets.

Meanwhile, a check of the fine print reveals:

According to its voting rules, which are published in its website’s fine print, “Teenasaurus Rox reserves the right to choose the winner from the top four vote generators.”

In other news, someone or something is using the name “Teenasaurus Rox.”

2011 Choice Web Star (!) winner Rebecca Black got one-fifth of a nomination this year:

Web Collaboration nomination for Rebecca Black and others

They did not win. However, RB says, and I quote, that she’s “blessed to be back at it.” And since I have it, a photo from one of the pre-ceremony parties:

Rebecca Black before the Teen Choice Awards

We’re just glad to have you around, Bex.

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Advance information

The beatings will continue, it appears, until the equine is no longer deceased:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How many citizens have a problem of buying 'havinga new vehicle before the calendar year?

If that makes little sense, this won’t make much more:

I got this response that I didn’t expect from one of my other questions about model years. I think it is weird, but I still find it acceptable for cars because think if I wanted it to be strict, then it could mean that i would have less fun according to my guardian’s rules. Here is this response.

“Haven’t we had enough of this whinging about the discrepancy between model and calendar years? No one in the Real World has a problem with it.

“Role model: William Maxwell Gaines, founder of Mad magazine, who set it up with an 8-issues-per-year schedule that guaranteed that no issue was ever on sale during the month printed on its cover.”

I started to wonder who has a problem with it.

For school buses, I think a 2013 school bus was there in 2012 for school bus fleet reasoning like meeting emission standards for 2013 for this school bus.

I have a problem when transit buses often enter service before the calendar year (if there is no need to or no reason to) because fleet age is something very important.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that emissions standards are set by model year, not by calendar year, therefore his concerns are somewhere between misplaced and pathological. Moreover, it’s hard not to wonder about the nature of his, um, “guardian.”

And besides, I’ve obviously told the little peckerhead enough already.

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The wonderfulness of me

Roberta X used to have a category called “the wonderfulness of me,” and the name was intended, I believe, neither as irony nor as humblebrag: it was simply handy. It’s not a term I’d use myself, though: my own shtick calls for somewhere below Whitmanian celebrations of myself but at least slightly above “wayward guttersnipe.”

From some gutter in a 107 IP comes this attempt to butter me up:

I’ve been browsing on-line more than 3 hours lately, yet I never found any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful price enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the internet will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before.

I dunno how excellent the content is around here, but there certainly is a lot of it. And there’s a reason for that, for which I turn to Gagdad Bob:

“Only the unexpected fully satisfies. Nothing that satisfies our expectations fulfills our hopes.” This is why I so enjoy this medium of expression. If someone were to offer me money to write a commentary on Don Colacho’s Aphorisms, I would be miserable. Blogging is only fulfilling — and it is, very — because there is absolutely No Plan. Every morning, I can’t wait to wake up and accomplish nothing, only maybe a little more deeply this time!

Says it all, or at least rather a lot of it, as I probably did.

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Digital squatters

The ultimate word on that “digital natives” crap, from Lynn:

I keep reading this stuff about how today’s kids, teens, and twenty-somethings are “digital natives” — that they have never known a world in which there were no computers or cell phones and therefore they are almost like a different species from us older folk who just don’t quite “get” all this new technology. The truth is that in all age groups there are both technophiles and technophobes, just as in every generation there are people who can work on cars and people to whom anything mechanical is mysterious and confusing.

People my age who grew up watching Star Trek have been waiting for these gadgets for over half our lives. I wanted a smart phone years before the things even existed. The smartest and most ambitious did not wait. They made it all happen. Digital natives? My generation created this digital world we live in now. What does that make us?

All else being equal, the person who gets credit for something these days is the person who, in the judgment of the individual writing the article about it, most resembles the individual writing the article about it. Who would have though there could be such a thing as shared narcissism?

I’ve never seen anyone my age who couldn’t learn this stuff, given time and a little bit of effort, and that remains true even as my age spirals out of sight. We may be mere digital immigrants, but I’m betting we take our citizenship more seriously, if only because we never took it for granted.

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While sticking to the seat

Advice for the unclothed driver, aside from the obvious “Don’t get pulled over”:

If you can drive without air conditioning, good for you. It’s my preferred way to do it. But: on very hot days cool down your car (and your body) before you put on your clothes. Otherwise your natural body heat will be caught beneath your clothes and that can feel very bad/hot.

I admit to not having thought of that.

Incidentally, if you need gas, you should probably get dressed before swiping your MasterCard through the pump reader.

(Via Nudiarist. Neither link should be considered safe for work unless you are the sysadmin or you have something on him.)

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The urge to wax has waned

Sometimes your first Brazilian wax is your last Brazilian wax:

[T]he awkward sexual innuendo and the pain are not the reasons I will no longer be getting Brazilians. No, I could deal with those again. There are three other reasons I will no longer be waxing the hooha.

We’ll just mention one of them here, since it’s one I wasn’t expecting:

After the technician left the room, I picked myself up off of the table. Actually I kind of slid off of the table in my own sweat. I walked over to the mirror to examine myself, and I was horrified. Not because I looked like a prepubescent girl (although that was slightly horrifying). I was horrified because it was at that moment that I realized that my pregnancy stretch marks went ALL THE WAY DOWN INTO MY TANTALIZING TRIANGLE. They look like grotesque, greedy little fingers pointing the way down. Or lightening bolts threatening to strike any who enter.

One of those “Abandon Hope” signs in post-topiary form. I don’t think that it necessarily discourages visitors, but anything that makes you doubt your curb appeal can kill the deal. Or that’s what they tell me, anyway.

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WISH for something new

Indianapolis’ WISH-TV, channel 8, is that market’s CBS affiliate — until the end of the year. Beginning in 2015, CBS will move to WTTV, channel 4, bumping WTTV’s current affiliation with the CW to a subchannel, leaving WISH-TV with, well, nothing actually.

Why would CBS do this?

SNL Kagan senior research analyst Justin Nielson notes that CBS’s new deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football may have prompted more aggressive affiliate renewal talks.

“Fox and CBS were the first ones to start extracting [reverse retrans] money, primarily because they are spending a lot of money on sports rights,” says Nielson. “Thursday Night Football is quite costly for CBS. They want to make sure they’re getting compensated for that.”

Fox’s affiliate in Indy is WXIN, channel 59, owned by Tribune Media, which also owns, um, WTTV. No other changes have been announced for Indianapolis television — yet.

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