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September 2010

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Most of these I knew, but there were a few surprises, such as Scott Wolf.

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I recently decided to downgrade my AT&T Uverse services. Before I downgraded, I had the top tier TV package (with all channels, HD, and all movie channels) and the top tier internet package (18mb). I decided that with Hulu, iTunes rentals, and Netflix (along with other modes of obtaining content), I no longer needed the top tier TV package.

Most of the shows I watch are currently on regular network channels or basic cable channels such as TBS, TNT, and USA. I do watch some shows on the movie channels so I will need to either wait for those to appear on Netflix or arrange for other ways to watch them. I dropped two levels on the TV plan and saved myself about $45 a month. For the internet, I decided to only drop down one level sine I enjoy Netflix streaming. I went from 18mb to 12. That saved me $10 a month. It will be nice not to have to pay $170+ a month for those two services anymore. Would have I liked to keep all my movie channels? Yes, for the simplicity of not having to find additional means to watch those shows (I rarely watch movies on the movie channels), but that alone could not justify the additional cost.

It is pretty ridiculous how much TV and internet costs these days. Uverse was the cheapest TV and internet combo I could find. Charter might have been cheaper for what I wanted but 1. I hate Charter with a passion. 2. Charter has bandwidth caps. Uverse, as of now, does not. Going with a dish service was an option, but then I’d be paying a higher internet fee to get internet through another source (which would most likely be Charter). With prices the way they are it’s easy to see why customers are clamoring for a la carte TV options and services like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and iTunes TV Rentals. When will the cable and satellite companies learn? My guess is never. They will hold on to their outdated business models for years and years, just like the RIAA has.

One of the things I’ve often wanted in some of my music apps is the ability to put them to sleep using the built in sleep timer. I’ve been waiting for Apple to release a public API to harness the timer in the Clock app. It appears they have, just not many developers know about it or use it. One of the best music apps, Pandora, does. From their FAQ:

How do I put Pandora to sleep after a certain interval of time?

To do this, exit Pandora and enter the native iPhone “Clock” app. Touch the “Timer” option in the lower left corner. Set the amount of time you want Pandora to play, then set the “When Timer Ends” option to “Sleep iPod” and touch the green “Start” button. Choose the desired Pandora station and leave it playing. Pandora will shut off when the specified interval is up.

I tested some other apps to see if they harnessed this API as well and it appears they don’t. Last.fm will shut off when the timer is done but then it will start right back up. Same thing with the Sirius XM app. The AOL Radio app hasn’t been updated in forever so I didn’t even try that one (which is a shame, it is a good app). I’m not sure why more developers aren’t using this. Do they even know about it? It should be noted that I tried searching for the API in the docs and could not find it but this was the first time I’ve ever even looked at the docs so I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.