Permalink 04:16:01 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 669 words   English (US)
Categories:

Why You Should Cancel Your NetFlix Account Now and What Your Options Are

What do a middle-aged Web Developer, a middle-aged French/American Operations Director and a twenty-something gay Program Manager have in common? They're all leaving Netflix as a result of Netflix's drastic price increase. And if I were a stock holder of Netflix I would seriously have my ears tuned in to who and who is not pissed off enough over the price increase to bail on Netflix so easily.

It is clear to me from various people's reactions in our peer/work circles that NetFlix is going to see a lot of customers leaving them for alternate sources of movie rentals.

Cancel or Suspend Netflix?

A positive for Netflix in this whole mess they've created for themselves is their Suspend feature which allows you to, as the word says, suspend your account for up to three months due to vacation or whatever. During such time you will not be charged and of course you have to return all "At Home" DVDs and will not be able to stream. You will however be able to access your account and see what you have rented in the past etc. You can turn off the Suspend at any time during your defined suspension period. If you allow the suspension period to expire your account will become active again. To continue your suspension of their service you will have to extend it before it expires.

Most people we've talked to are choosing this as opposed to cancelling their accounts altogether. For one obvious reason, they're pissed, but not pissed enough to kick NetFlix COMPLETELY to the curb. They're just suspending their accounts in the hopes that NetFlix will see the error of their ways. This way, if NetFlix gets a clue and reverses their moronic business decision, people will still be able to pick up their accounts where they left off.

What Are Alternatives to NetFlix Service?

The second, and MORE IMPORTANT, reason is there are many options out there to provide the same results that NetFlix provided, or even better. The below video from Funny or Die (which makes a great deal of fun out of this "tragic event") offers a clue as to what many former NetFlix users will be turning to:

Others are choosing the popular RedBox service. Can't really argue with $1 buck/night if one of these is on your daily path. But what about us streamers? Yea, that's right! The glorious promise by NetFlix that we would all be able to stream movies WE WANT with the push of a button! Which would almost make up for the jet-packs we were all promised. Well, there's the rub isn't it? NetFlix's streaming content sucks. There is nothing there! And that's actually what they're charging more for. They think their streaming content is worth an additional $6/month. Sorry! It is NOT!

In addition, there has been a steady increase in LONG delays on the availability of physical DVDs. Here is an example of just how poor NetFlix's DVD availability is:

NetFlix Cue
NetFlix Cue

Each of the above Movies in the cue is either not available yet from NetFlix or is a "long wait". Each and every one of them was available at the same moment from Amazon's Instant Video for $3.99 or less. When we saw that comparison our decision on how to handle the NetFlix 60% price increase was done. In addition to Amazon's Instant Video we decided to add HBO to our cable service as they were running a promo price of $10/month. So between those two and a DVR, we're pretty sure we'll be completely cancelling our NetFlix at the end of our Suspend period, unless NetFlix reverses their price increase AND increases the number of available titles both DVD AND streaming.

UPDATED TO ADD: Since this original article, Amazon has now updated their Amazon.com Prime deal which is unlimited two-day shipping for $79/year to include unlimited streaming of their video content.

How about you? What's your reaction to NetFlix's price hike? What are your sources for Movies/TV Series? Leave us a comment below.

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04/14/11


  
Permalink 06:11:25 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 1217 words   English (US)
Categories: Tech Tips

Where to Report Spam

Where to Report Spam and Drastically Reduce the Amount of Spam You (and others) Receive

Recently we found one of our email addresses suddenly receiving daily batches of spam. Every day essentially the same spam messages for over two weeks. Well we'd had enough and we wanted a method of putting the hammer down on these spam servers. So we again turned our attention to SpamCop.net. We had looked at it in the past but found the user interface confusing and we were impatient at the time so we dropped it then, but after revisiting it and being a bit more patient, we got AMAZING results! After reporting the problem emails only once, they ended immediately. It was so satisfying we found ourselves hoping for more spam to hammer, but since reporting those repeat problem spam sources we haven't had ANY spam for some time. Below we will give you the steps to make using SpamCop.net as pleasant and effective for YOU as it was for us.

ABOUT SPAMCOP
SpamCop.netSpamCop.net is a free spam reporting service which enables the user to easily report spam to the Internet Service responsible for it AND adds that server to their SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL). Many email providers use this SCBL list, a list of blacklisted Internet IP addresses to block known spammers. So by voluntarily forwarding your spam to SpamCop.net you help add to this list of known spammers. Using the free service is a little unclear due to its poor user interface so we will take you step by step to allow you to report your spam quickly and easily.

STEP 1: REGISTER
Before you can report spam you have to register with SpamCop.net (it's free) which creates a unique email for you to forward your spam to (SpamCop offers a paid membership but it is NOT REQUIRED to use their service). When you register you enter a Display Name (whatever you prefer) and your valid email address. You will receive your password at that email address.
Register at SpamCop
Once you receive your password email from SpamCop.net, go to the login tab, enter your email and password, and if you are on your own computer which you keep secured, select "Login expires in: 1 year". This will keep you logged in taking away the extra step of logging in when reporting spam. Once logged in you'll notice the following: "Forward your spam to: submit.I6uME566b4ksddzj@spam.spamcop.net" but with a different address UNIQUE TO YOU. THIS WHOLE ADDRESS starting with "submit." through the ".net" is your unique spam reporting email address. You should create a Contact in your email Client/Service named "SpamCop" and assign it YOUR UNIQUE address for reporting spam to make the process that much easier.

STEP 2: SUBMITTING SPAM FOR PROCESSING, TWO METHODS

FORWARDING AS ATTACHMENT
Forward as attachment, SpamCop
One thing that is not made very clear initially by the SpamCop website is the fact that you have to Forward the spam as an attachment. The reason being, if you simply forward it normally then the spam's past history is not included so there's no way to see the source. Forwarding as an attachment sends all of the needed information intact to SpamCop so they can determine the source of the spam.

Now most email Clients/Services do not make this as easy to do, or rather find the right button, as you would think. The following is a list of the most used email Clients/Services and each is linked to instructions on how to forward as attachment. If you do not see your email Client/Service in the list, see the section below for the second option of copying and pasting the spam email header information to SpamCop's website.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 2007
For Outlook 2002 and 2003 (Go to: Tools --> Options --> Preferences tab --> E-mail Options --> When forwarding a message select "Attach original message")

Some email Clients/Services do not allow you to forward an email as an attachment. If your email Client/Service is one of those, YOU CAN STILL USE SPAMCOP! Following is the method of obtaining the email Header and Body to manually copy and paste in the SpamCop spam reporting tool.

PASTE HEADERS TO SPAMCOP.NET
Paste Header and Body to SpamCop
The other method for reporting spam to SpamCop.net is to copy/paste the spam email's header and body directly. The steps to doing this can again differ based on which email Client/Service you are using. We'll use Gmail for this example and list links to steps for others that doesn't allow forwarding as attachment below.

In Gmail:

  1. Click on the message of interest
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the word "Reply," at the upper top/right of the message
  3. Select "Show original"
  4. The full headers, plus the text of the message, will appear in a new browser window (or tab, depending on your browser's settings
  5. The header is the stuff from the top down to just before the first visible word from the email message body (such as "Dear Sir")
  6. Select and copy this and paste it into the box with the following line above it, "Paste headers and optionally mime separators in first box:"
  7. Select and copy the remainder, the email message, and paste it into the box with the following line above it, "Paste decoded email body in second box:"

Then click the "Process Spam" button.

Link for instructions on obtaining Header and Body content for Hotmail/Windows Live Hotmail

ONE MORE STEP: REPORT NOW
If you forwarded your spam as an attachment, you then need to go to SpamCop.net to Report that spam which has been received and processed by SpamCop. Note the difference here, submitting to SpamCop allows them to process the source of the spam and automatically create Reports to the ISP(s) involved in the sending of that spam BUT, you still need to approve the sending of these reports. When you go to SpamCop.net after submitting spam you will see the following:
Unreported Spam Saved: Report Now
Click the "Report Now" link and you are presented with a lot of information, most of which you don't really need to worry about. Scroll down until you get to the button labeled "Send Spam Report(s) Now".
Send Spam Report(s) Now
By pressing this single button you will report the spam to every ISP that came into contact with it and any ISP hosting a website referenced in the spam email body. That's all you have to do. After Reporting that spam email, you will be taken back to the home page and at top of the page is a list of ISPs Reports were sent to:

And if you have other spam emails you submitted for processing, the "Report Now" link will still be available to send Reports on that next reported spam email, and so on. Yes, it looks confusing and the User Interface is a mess and the step-through process is completely non-intuitive, but that's what happens when programmers try to be website designers. HOWEVER, the spam killing programming behind the convoluted mess is highly effective. Again we'll bet your experience will be the same as ours, that being once you get used to Submitting and Reporting, SpamCop works so effectively you won't have any more spam to bash, and you'll find yourself daring someone to spam you.

SUMMARIZING THE PROCESS:

  1. Submit the spam to SpamCop for processing
  2. Go to SpamCop.net and click Report Now link
  3. Send Reports to ISPs


RELATED ARTICLES
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SpamAssassin Best Practices



  

03/05/11


  
Permalink 06:32:54 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 378 words   English (US)
Categories: Gadgets

How to Connect Your TV to the Internet Without Cords

Many TVs these days come with Internet features but only have a wired (ethernet) connection port. This is fine if your internet source is near the television but for most of us this isn't the case. You could run a CAT5 cable through your house but that's a bit of a pain to do properly and a bit of an eye sore if you're older than 24 years old.

We were facing this situation and thought we were looking at getting another set of Ethernet Extenders that plug into the wall outlet and use the home electrical wiring to transmit the Internet connection. Although this is convenient the units are nearly $100/pair and the transmission rate is less than that of either 802.11 G or N (WiFi). Also, they use a fair amount of energy as they are very warm to the touch.

Then we came across the NETGEAR Universal WiFi Internet Adapter (WNCE2001) WNCE2001 Not only is this a simpler solution than the electrical outlet ethernet modules, if you have an 802.11N wireless router, this adapter supports N WiFI (as well as G) and setting it up is SUPER easy, particularly if your router has Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). If your router has WPS you can install this ethernet WiFi adapter in two button pushes; power the adapter, push the WPS button on the adapter then push the WPS button on your router, YOU'RE DONE! Your TV is now connected to the Internet!

If your router does not have WPS, all you have to do is plug the adapter into your computer, open your Internet browser and it will automatically take you to the setup page. After finishing the directions, unplug the adapter from your computer and plug it into your TV and you are connected to the Internet with your TV.

NOW, the BEST part of the NETGEAR Universal WiFi Internet Adapter (WNCE2001) is it can be powered by a USB port from your TV (if your TV has an ethernet plug-in it likely has a USB port). Now the unit is pretty low power as it is but plugging it into the TV USB port for power means it's ONLY powered when the TV is turned on. So much less energy waste than the electrical wiring ethernet adapters.


  

11/22/09


  
Permalink 08:28:55 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 476 words   English (US)
Categories: Tech Tips, Gadgets

What is Cell Phone Tethering and Why Should I Care?

With the increasing proliferation of Smart Phones available, you may see a feature for some phones referred to as "Tethering". What is this tethering you may ask yourself and what good is it to you? Cell phone tethering is the process of using the 3G data connection on your phone as an internet connection for your computer(s).

Why Should I Care About Tethering?
Two very good reasons, costs and convenience. For starters, the data plans on most providers are very affordable, as they generally expect the usage to be email/web browsing through your cell phone. Verizon's unlimited (often referred to as "all you can eat") 3G data plan is only an additional $10/month on top of your minutes plan. Compare this to $70/month (plus the $50 for the hardware) for a Mobile Broadband USB Modem from Sprint and you can see the savings.

The convenience is obvious, you generally always have your cell phone with you so imagine being able to whip out your laptop wherever you are and be able to get on the internet. No need to find a wifi hotspot or get on your friends wifi. You ARE your OWN internet hotspot. And with BlueTooth there are no wires. Just open your laptop and you're connected.

Many internet users are what are considered "light users". They generally just email and browse the web. If you consider yourself a light user, you should seriously consider a data plan for your phone and use it via tethering as your home internet connection. Now you've just saved whatever you're currently paying for your home internet connection.

How is This Done?
Assuming you're phone supports tethering out of the box, it should have software included on a cd to help set this up on your computer and your phone will pass the data transfer via your included cables to connect your phone to your computer or if your computer and phone support it, wirelessly via BlueTooth. Questions to ask about tethering when purchasing a cell phone are:

  • Is there an additional monthly cost and how much is it?
  • How much data is included in that price?
  • How are the cell phone and computer connected? Physical Cable? Wirelessly with BlueTooth? Both?
  • Is there an actual cap on the "unlimited data" plan?

Going Around Your Carrier's Monthly Tethering Charge
If your Carrier charges a monthly tethering fee or worse, does not offer it at all, you can purchase a third party application from June Fabrics PDA Technology Group. They have versions for iPhone, Android, BlackBery, Palm, and Windows Mobile phones. This will allow you to use your cell phones data plan to connect your laptop to the internet and will appear to the carrier to be usage on the phone. (We don't recommend sharing the fact that you're using this third party software to tether with your Carrier)


  

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