I’ve not posted anything in a while. I just haven’t had much to write about and when I have had a topic I’d begin to write but half way through I’d stop not knowing how to end the post. Part of the reason for the block has to be having a busy weekend. While it was a 5 day weekend, I stayed busy reading the new Dean Koontz book, watching The Wire, and just hanging out. I also haven’t had anything to write about. Nothing eventful has really happened lately and I’ve been out of touch with the news of the world a bit. One thing has happened that I’ve heard about. Apparently Charter and KMOV have reached a settlement. I’m betting Charter had to come to some agreement for payment, which I still think is just wrong, but oh well, what can you do? Anyway, hopefully the writer’s block will go away and I’ll have something more to say soon.

There is a battle going on in St. Louis between the local CBS affiliate, KMOV, and a cable television provider Charter Communications. Normally, wherever there is Charter-bashing I am there. This time, I have to agree with Charter.

Here is the situation. KMOV has been in negotiations for 2 years on making Charter pay to carry its signal. Now their contract is up and Charter is going to stop carrying them on January 1st. KMOV tries to make their argument on their website. One of their main arguments, what they say isn’t right is this:

What they don’t tell you is they have been taking local programming for free and then charging you. Charter pays practically all cable networks for their signals, networks that are far less popular. But they don’t want to pay for local channels. That’s not right, it’s not fair and Charter knows it.

Here is the thing, and they said it right in that passage, Charter pays for cable networks. Those cable networks were created to fill a niche, and if you wanted to watch them, you had to pay for them. They pay for TBS, TNT, AMC, but not local affiliates, nor should they. The airwaves were given to the networks and in exchange they have certain duties to fulfill (airing local programming, public interest pieces, covering politics). Why should Charter have to pay for something that is available freely over the air with a pair of rabbit ears? People aren’t paying for Charter to watch local programming (well, some people who aren’t in signal range do, but that’s the very, very slim minority and they still receive more channels than the local channels). People pay Charter for those other channels. I think it’s ridiculous for KMOV to make Charter pay for programming that is supposed to be free to the people. KMOV is supposed to be acting in the interest of the public. How is making people pay (which is essentially what they are doing) in the interest of the public? Congress should have never given the airwaves to money-grubbing corporations. They belong to the people.

KMOV also states how Charter is paying for local affiliates in other cities, which I still don’t agree with, but if that’s the only reason they have, then I feel no reason to take their side. I don’t like defending Charter, especially since this will no doubt be a reason for them to increase cable fees, but they are right in this one. While I will be mad that the couple CBS shows I watch on KMOV won’t be available until it’s worked out, I think they have to do what they have to do. No one should have to pay for local affiliates. No matter what.

No matter if you agree or disagree with me, I do encourage you to make your voice heard to both Charter and KMOV.

Charter Communications offices: 314-965-0555
Charter Customer Service: 1-888-GET CHARTER (1-888-438-2427)
Charter E-mail:[email protected]

KMOV Contact Form

It’s time for a rant about 6 year olds and their mothers. What really bugs me is how much mothers coddle their young kids. What set off this rant is I was driving through my neighborhood and all the moms are standing at the corner with their kids and putting them on the bus. No, they weren’t just watching them get on the bus, they were walking them on the bus, making sure they were seated, and then talked to the bus driver for literally 5 minutes. Excuse me lady, there are 10 cars behind this bus. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your kid. We all have things to do and you are holding us up. The bus driver does not need to know about what “cute” thing your kid did last night or where you are going for the holidays. In fact, I’m betting the bus driver doesn’t care in the least. The bus driver has a job to do, and when you stop and talk to them for 5 minutes, you are impeding their job. Just because you have nothing better to do doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t.

Since these are young kids, there is a bus stop on every single corner of my street. Add up all those 5 minute conversations and you waste way too much of my life. Be considerate of the long line of cars lining up because you can’t shut your mouth. You also don’t need to wave to your kid until the bus is out of sight. Congratulations, your kid is now going to be teased and beat up the rest of his life because you don’t know when to loosen the slack on his leash. Now, go back in your house, stare at the clock until it’s time for the bus to drop off your precious kid, then go outside and talk to the bus driver again and waste more of my time.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve changed the address of my blog from mikeschepker.com/blog to pieceofshep.com. I figured the title of the blog is piece of shep so I should use that domain name. I’ll be doing something with mikeschepker.com shortly, just need to find time to do it. All the old links from mikeschepker.com/blog/ are being redirected to the appropriate places here, so you shouldn’t run into any errors. If you do, let me know. Even the feed address should redirect properly. (I’ve changed Feedburner to reflect the domain change as well, so if you were subscribed to that address, everything should be fine).

One thing I noticed after I changed domains was that WordPress uses absolute image paths instead of relative. That sucks if you change domains, as all my images were still pointing to mikeschepker.com. Luckily, I found this plugin that allowed me to search the posts table in the database and replace the upload paths on all the posts with images to the new domain. Worked like a charm. It’s a must-have tool for anyone thinking of moving their WordPress installations to a new domain. Also, thanks to Chris Meller, Caius, and BigJibby for their crazy .htaccess ninja skills which allowed me to redirect all the posts on the old domain to the new perfectly. They rock.

I use Microsoft Outlook 2007 at work for our work email. It’s an exchange account so I had to use it over other mail clients. I’ve grown to like it over the past year, but I never used it for anything other than email. I don’t keep a calendar at my work, nor do I save contacts in the address book, no I never used the program to its full potential.

Last week my Gmail account was hacked (still not sure exactly what happened) so I wanted to create a new email address to start using to replace Gmail. I will probably never stop using my Gmail account, but I will use the new email address I created for my more pertinent information. I decided to sign up for a Mobile Me account. I never would have even considered paying for an email account in the past, but since I got my iPhone I’ve been looking for an easy way to keep my calendars, email, and contacts all in one place. I could sync the calendar on the iPhone with Google Calendar, but only if I synced it with my MacBook first. I wanted something that would sync my calendars over the air. Mobile Me became that answer. I still have to open up my MacBook for it to sync with Google, but I don’t have to sync my iPhone to it anymore. Now my iPhone syncs with my PC only.

I decided to setup the Mobile Me account on my PC in Outlook and have it sync my contacts and calendars as well. While the Mobile Me website is a nice looking website, I don’t want to have to log in to webmail whenever I want to check email. In the past, using Gmail, I didn’t mind because Gmail login was integrated with all my other Google services and I have a Gmail notifier installed in Firefox. Outlook 2007 is much better than I would have ever thought. After all, it is a Microsoft product and I am beginning to loathe everything about Microsoft. They actually did do something right for once though. Outlook 2007 is better than 2003 by leaps and bounds, and Mobile Me works quite well with it. There were a few weird inconsistencies with deleted items appearing with just a line struck through it, but I believe I fixed that issue and everything should be working great now.