October 2008


I’ve written before about my experiences with Charter. It hasn’t gotten any better. Recently we were having problems with our Charter Cable. We called and were able to get an appointment for someone to come out about 4 days later, which is actually quite amazing as Charter is known for making appointments a month out. The problem we were having is the cable box was losing the digital signal about every 5 minutes and cause the screen to go black and digitize for a few seconds. The cable guy came out, did his tests, and concluded the signal was too strong. Now, I’m not a technician, but this makes no sense to me because the problem was not happening anywhere else in the house and the two other boxes (one that was identical to the problem box) were fine. Well, he puts some splitter thing that lowers the signal on to the cable and then puts the old box back in says that should fix it. Surprise, it didn’t, but it didn’t happen again until after he left. We call Charter back and they wouldn’t send someone back out the same day when their first technician didn’t fix the problem to begin with. The next day they can have someone come out is the following Wednesday. This is 8 days without being able to watch anything on that TV because the box is bad.

I was off for a few days last week so I decided to head to the Charter office to exchange boxes myself, still keeping the Wednesday appointment in case the box switch didn’t work. So, now I’m driving out of my way to fix a problem with their equipment myself. Awesome. I get to the office and there is quite a line. Most of the people in front of me are there to complain about billing. The lady that was working was extremely rude to the customers with billing questions. She even told one guy that the previous Charter employee he talked to lied to him! Wow. Nice way to salvage the reputation of your failing company, tell customers that the employees lie to customers. I don’t believe the previous Charter person did lie, because it was about a package that I had seen advertised quite often, yet the lady in the office refused to believe the price and called the customer and other employees liars. I really can’t believe this company. Finally, it’s my turn in line and the lady is just as rude to me as the other customers. I get my box and take it home.

I hook it up and follow the directions on the sheet they gave me to reset the box so it knows what channels to get. I got 3 channels. I call Charter. They send a signal to reset. I still get 3 channels. 2 hours later I call back, the lady sends a signal and tells me I will have to wait until my Wednesday appointment. I tell them this is unacceptable because after going to replace their equipment because they didn’t send one on the technician’s truck before, I deserve someone out that day. She says they can have someone out the next day. I ask to talk to her supervisor so she puts me on hold. She comes back about 10 minutes later and asks for some information, like where the box is, the serial number on the box, etc. She finds out, by asking this, that the new box wasn’t put into the system under our account. So, dubmass bitchy lady at the office didn’t even do her job right. Then again, neither did the first Charter person I talked to. You’d think that would be a standard question they would ask to make sure the equipment is in the system, especially if it’s obvious you’re not getting a signal to your box.

Charter is a completely useless company. Rumor has it they will be filing for bankruptcy soon. As if that’s hard to believe.

I’m writing this post so I don’t have to constantly explain my reasoning to everyone in #habari. This is not a post describing how bad Habari is, it is a fine product. It’s just not ready for me and I’ll explain why.

Everyone who visits my site knows that I like to change themes. The lack of quality themes on Habari is one thing that is keeping me from changing. Themes aren’t a make or break deal, but I do like to change things up and not having the ability to do so with a variety of different themes is something that will weigh heavily on my decision. If there was nothing else that made me hesitant about switching, I’d do it. But there are other things.

Lack of widgets or modules built in are something I really want. Because I like to change themes often, not having a widget system for sidebars and whatnot makes things difficult. I like to rearrange the contents of sidebars, footers, etc. without having to edit code. It’s not that I don’t know how to edit the code, it’s just that, these days, I shouldn’t have to.

Lack of documentation makes it hard to do the things I want to do. Back in the pre-widgets WP days this page was my Bible. When editing themes, I still use this page quite often. Habari’s documentation is seriously lacking and it’s difficult to find what it is I need to accomplish certain things. WordPress’s codex spells it out in a great way. This isn’t Habari’s fault, they are young. It took a long time for WordPress’s Codex to get to where it is now. Even a lot of the plugins that are released for Habari have come without clear documentation.

There are also other things that aren’t as big, but I wonder why they aren’t included. For example, Habari uses tags instead of categories. So why isn’t there a template tag to display a tag cloud? You have to use a plugin in order to display it if you want one. I’m sure there are other things like that but I’ve not dealt with it enough to see what they might be. Also, since the codebase is ever changing at this early stage, it takes a lot to keep up with themes and plugins as they are changed quite often and, well, WordPress is much easier to do with the introduction of the automatic plugin upgrading. I can’t tell you when the last time I had to edit a theme because of a WordPress upgrade.

So, there are a few of my reasons why I’m not switching to Habari…. yet. Hopefully, once they mature a little, these things will be introduced and worked on and it will make the transition from WordPress to Habari easier.

McCain responded to amazing $150 million in fundraising (with 3.1 million donors) month of September by the Obama Campaign:

“History shows us where unlimited amounts of money are in political campaigns, it leads to scandal.”

And that, Senator Disgrace McCain, is why I just donated another $50 to the Obama Campaign. I’m sure he thanks you. Please, if you can, donate now.

Something amazing happened in St. Louis today. Barack Obama came to St. Louis to campaign and was met with a crowd of 100,000 people. According to The Wall Street Journal, it was the biggest event ever in the U.S. I’m so happy to see so much support for Obama in Missouri and I hope he wins the state in the upcoming election.

When looking at the above image there are many things that awe me. The size of the crowd is the most obvious. I’ve never seen that many people gather in St. Louis. The thing that awes me the most, that I feel a deep down sense of pride and amazement, is the building in the background. That white building with the greenish dome is The Old Court House. It was in that building that over 150 years ago a black man named Dred Scott fought for his right to be a free man. He won his initial freedom, but that was later overturned. Now, 150 years later, the U.S. is seeing its first African-American major party candidate for president. Hopefully this is just the beginning and we will see President Barack Obama. Today was truly a historic day.

With the advancements in webmail, I’ve never seen the need for desktop mail clients. I mean, I understand the need for Outlook, or a similar mail client, for work email where you’re constantly sending and receiving email and integrating it with calendars and tasks, but for personal email for accounts at Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, I never quite understood it. The interfaces of those clients are great and I don’t know why someone would choose a mail client instead of the webmail interface. With the ability to add extensions to Firefox to notify you of new mail, you don’t even have to login to check to see if you have new mail. The major webmail services tend to offer all the features you want from a mail client built in to the web interface. That being said, I’ve decided to give the desktop client another go.

For one of my websites I’ve decided to use my host’s email. Instead of constantly logging in to my host’s webmail system, I decided to set up the account in Thunderbird. I’ve never had anything against Thunderbird, and I think it’s a great app, but like I said, if you’re using something like Gmail, I never saw the point. Well, I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and it’s fine. I don’t get much mail on that account so my opinion is mostly neutral. I have decided to add my Gmail account to Thunderbird to give it a go. One reason for this was because Gmail has been throwing me a lot of errors lately when I try to do something and I wind up having to close the window or tab and open Gmail back up. I won’t need to do that with Thunderbird. The setup is easy and Google provides perfect instructions for optimal integration with Thunderbird. I’m still not sure I see the point. Gmail is just as easy to access via my Gmail notifier or Google Talk, so I don’t save any time. I do kind of miss the threaded view of Gmail, but that’s not a deal breaker for me. Will I stick with it? I’m not sure. I’ll try it for a couple weeks but I have a feeling I’ll be going back to regular Gmail.