Time Warner. If you’re not laughing yet you will be.

I wish to God Almighty I was making this up. I have NEVER in my 20+ years as a network/infrastructure engineer said this to a customer. I haven’t even considered it. It was always a joke you told colleges but never, ever said with any honesty to a customer.

Time Warner said the following:

“Solar activity this time of year causes issues with internet and television service.” Continue reading “Time Warner. If you’re not laughing yet you will be.”

Open letter to AT&T Wireless. You Stink. Fix it!

Where I live- zip code 10901, AT&T Wireless service is generally good. With half signal bars I get good calls and data. Even in side. Verizon however doesn’t.  So congratulations to AT&T Wireless. Sadly, I don’t need voice or data at home. Ever wonder why cell phones are referred to a mobile?

I ride a train to work every day. Two trips. Same route. Every day. About an hour and a half each way. That’s mobile. That’s when I need service.

AT&T Wireless sucks along this route. In some places there is NO SERVICE. The route? New Jersey Transit Bergen County Main Line/Port Jervis. Some stations along the line have perfect service. Sadly, since the train is moving, we’re not there long enough for it to matter.

To be fair, I am in a moving metal box. However, the Verizon customer sitting right next to me has perfect service. That’s just not acceptable.

I know what you’re saying- I’m using a iPhone- they have notoriously bad antennas. Maybe, but my shiny new iPad 3 with 4G gets great reception- full bars even. Those stations that have no service? Some have full 4G bars but no data can be sent/received. How does that work? Oh and just in case you’re wondering- I don’t exceed my 3GB data plan so AT&T Wireless should not be throttling me.

AT&T Wireless has a nice little smart phone app that I use A LOT on my iPad and iPhone. It’s called “Mark The Spot” It allows me to “report” issues. It even tells me when “new service” comes to an area I reported. Thanks! I think. Most of the time I can’t report the spot because–wait for it–there is no service. Does AT&T Wireless even read these reports? If they did, I am sure that I wouldn’t have the service problems I have. Sure they send me nice little text messages saying they got the report. I promise those are automated replies.

It gets more annoying. I spend a good amount of time in Penn Station New York (no thanks to NJT and Amtrak service issues). Guess who has service IN the station and IN the tunnels (all underground mind you)? Not AT&T Wireless. Verizon does though! Why is this I wonder? Could Verizon care enough to put femto or micro cells down there? I think AT&T Wireless doesn’t care. It’s most likely that they just don’t want to put femto or micro cells in the station or tunnels. Either way it makes their service suck and it frustrates me.

My midtown Manhattan office has similar AT&T Wireless issues. Dropped calls are the biggest problem here. But you say, “you’re in a huge building!” Yes I am. On the 18th floor in front of a window. Guess who never drops calls in our office? Verizon! You’d think that being high up and having a clear view would help. Doesn’t seem so. The service for AT&T Wireless at the street level is strangely perfect. I think those cell antennas need some adjusting.

Now you’re definitively thinking- why stay with AT&T Wireless? Well I initially blamed Apple because my beloved iPhone was only GSM and therefore only AT&T Wireless. That’s no excuse anymore!

I stay with AT&T Wireless primarily because they have great service where I live, which, generally is where I spend my free time. I had Verizon previously and because the service was so bad, all our cell phones would empty their batteries trying to connect to service while in the apartment. That’s a real bummer!

I honestly like AT&T Wireless. Their pricing and customer service haven’t been that bad. I have a family plan with 3 smartphones, 1 feature phone and 1 tablet. It’s affordable. Not affordable from a service perspective mind you….

So what’s this “rant” for anyway? Here’s what I want. I believe that I speak for A LOT of AT&T Wireless customers here.

PLEASE FIX YOUR NETWORK.

Stop adding 4G and LTE spots. Get the coverage fixed. 4G and LTE are useless if they don’t reach the customers. I live in a MAJOR metro area. New York is a BIG market. Service in the city stinks, I understand. Millions of cellular devices competing for air time. I get it. But on my train route? It’s suburbia. Low to medium density. Capacity shouldn’t be an issue out there.

Here’s what I’m doing about this besides writing long form rants. I use “Mark The Spot” EVERY DAY. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten a call from the “network” team at AT&T Wireless telling me to stop spamming them.

If we all use this app we can flood them with real data about the coverage issues. Of course I’m assuming they get the reports and really research them.

Spread the word. AT&T Wireless can be better. 4G is nice when it works. 3G that is consistent is much better. I’d even settle for Edge if it worked consistently.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Sidewalk Etiquette

I hope this doesn’t turn into a rant, my main purpose is to educate all of you who don’t know the rules of the sidewalk, especially in cities (NYC in particular) where walking is a main mode of transportation.

I really don’t feel like enough people take sidewalk etiquette seriously. The New York Times wrote in 2002:

First, walking rules are like driving rules.

”Stay to the right is the golden, No. 1 rule,” said Chris Avila, 29, who has lived in the city for nine years.

Everyone in the USA drives on the right. Even if you don’t have a car or a drivers license you know this. KEEP RIGHT!

Further in the same article:

”People who stop short really get me,” said Carla Melman, 26, a lifelong New Yorker. She said it was the equivalent of a car wreck on the Long Island Expressway on a Hamptons weekend.

If you need to stop an collect your thoughts or what not, PULL OVER. The rest of us need to keep going! Listen, I need to stop and think on the sidewalk all the time. I pull over, looking over each shoulder first to make sure I’m not cutting others off.

In another piece in the NYT they extol the inconsiderateness of walking texters. Can you really cross a street, avoid other walkers AND text? 99% of you can’t. Pull over and text.

How serious is this problem with sidewalk etiquette? Wikipedia has an article on it. Yes. It’s that bad people.

Borderstan.com has an article about it. Their big irritation? Large groups of people making impenetrable walls. Break it up people! Especially you tourists who have no idea where you’re going!

Here’s a good article about etiquette for “considerate” New York tourists. They spell out the same things. A GOOD tourists learns how to blend in.

A few more:

 

I am certainly not alone in this. There are LOTS of articles from many different places on how to behave on the sidewalk- from car rental places to major news papers. The locals (generally) know the rules. I know SOME who clearly don’t. So lets recap:

  1. Walk on the right. Just like driving.
  2. Don’t stop suddenly. If you need to stop, pull over.
  3. Don’t text and walk and certainly don’t read a book (I’ve seen it!). Pull over.
  4. Keeps pets on a short leash
  5. No skateboards or bikes. If it’s 2am ok, maybe then.
  6. Break up groups. No walking 5 abreast just because you’re all together. Some of us want to pass you.
  7. Don’t step on heels.
  8. If you need to cross the path of oncoming walkers, look for a clearing. See #2.
  9. Don’t cut others off. Look to your sides before changing your position in the stream.
  10. Don’t wander all over the sidewalk randomly. See #1, #2 and #3.

There are probably hundreds of others we could add to the recap. Let me know what they are.