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

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 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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Permalink 04:47:09 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 430 words   English (US)
Categories: Tech Tips, Gadgets

How to Get Around the Slingbox Lack of WiFi

UPDATE! Since writing this article we have found an even better solution to this issue. See the following article, How to Connect Your TV to the Internet Without Cords if you own a wifi enabled router.

After moving to a new residence I was facing a dilemma. My office did not have a television cable outlet and I was facing drilling an 18 inch hole through a floor above, part of which being concrete, to drop some coax. And me and drills often result in more than one well planned neatly done hole.

It was at that point I decided to simply attach my SlingBox SOLO to the bedroom Tivo and watch in my office via the SlingPlayer BUT the SlingBox Pro has no WiFi built in and surprisingly, no USB to utilize a USB WiFi Network adapter. So then I was stuck with the same problem of needing to drop physical line. I contacted SlingBox support as this seemed to me like a common question and they certainly must have an easy solution. Well typical first level Support didn't even answer the question in a way which suggested they read the question and after clarifying it to them they stated did not have a solution. After poking around their website I realized why outsourcing Support calls is bad for business.

Sling sells a solution to this built in deficiency in the form of SlingLink, which is an Ethernet over electrical wiring bridge appliance. Simply translated, it's a couple of boxes that communicate your network over the existing electrical wiring in the walls. Sling has a single port unit and and a 4 port unit (both sold in pairs of course). The former is $80.00 and the latter is $150.00. Those are ok prices compared to other units on the market which do the same thing but I was in a hurry and didn't want to wait on shipping or deal with it if it didn't work.

So checking for other units I found the NetGear XE102G (two units) in stock at a store near my work and purchased it and other electronic gizmos since I had just moved and didn't have enough boxes full of various tech crap not in use. Upon plugging the units in I was full of doubt that my problem would be solved this simply BUT to my amazement, it's worked and has not shown any glitches so far.

It appears that SlingBox is moving away from the models without USB having recognized the serious limitation as both the SlingBox PRO and SlingBox AV are "unavailable" on Sling's website.



Permalink 09:30:12 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 126 words   English (US)
Categories: Website Design Tips

Simply the BEST description of a DB Admin Ever!

I did not write this but came across it from a friend of a work colleague and it's spot-on and hilarious. Please enjoy:

"I'm highly skeptical of all DB Admins; this is an artificial position some evil genius created, because the unspoken bizarre premise is "people who program computers to talk to databases and design database structures are incapable of understanding databases, so we need someone incapable of programming computers to control the database. They'll be smart enough to know their inadequacy so their insecurity will manifest itself in a cocktail of attitude and stubbornness that will bottleneck the productivity of any project using databases, aka all of them, so while we're fucking this up hell let's pay them too much."


I love it!



Permalink 04:10:07 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 881 words   English (US)
Categories: Website Hosting Tips

SpamAssassin Best Practices

Spam is a never ending battle and it hasn't been getting any easier lately. Two factors are driving the increase in spam these past six months; the increasing number of home computers with broadband connections and the change in tactics by spammers to image spam.

The ever increasing number of home computers with broadband connections are sought after by spammers to be compromised or "zombied". This means the home computer is remotely controlled by a hacker without the knowledge of the home computer owner and mass emailing software is installed and running in the background spewing out the spam on the broadband connection.

Since they're not paying for the bandwidth, the use of image spam does not decrease their profits. Image spam is an email which contains random text (to fool spam filters) in the subject and first paragraph of the email body, followed by an embedded image which actually contains the spam message, usually pump and dump stock scams. To detect image spam requires optical character recognition which is highly demanding of the processing power of a mail server and an inaccurate science.

Most web hosting includes a spam fighting feature. One of the widest used is SpamAssassin. The rest of this article will review SpamAssassin best practices and applies to adjusting SpamAssassin settings via the Plesk control panel:

After logging into your Plesk control panel, under Services, click the "Mail" icon. This will bring up a list of your email accounts. Click on the email address that you want to alter the spam detection settings of, and on the next page, under tools, click the "Spam Filter" link and you'll arrive on the Spam filter configuration page.

Read more »


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