Someone Explain This To Me….

Can someone explain to me why Dish Network does all sorts of charity work for Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans and yet treats their loyal customers so poorly? I mean they’ll basically just give you free stuff if your house gets blown away by a tropical storm, but if you’ve been a good loyal customer for almost ten years they’ll screw you over at every opportunity.

This is unfortunate since they spend an enormous amount of money telling everyone how great they are, but are unwilling to provide something to their current customers at a discount or at no charge, that they give new ones for free. Talk about great customer service.

Now I can understand some of the gadgets not being available to current customers, but what about standard stuff like receivers and dishes? Why charge out the nose for a newer, more functional receiver that will make the most of the service your customer already pays for? A service I might add the old receiver wasn’t even designed for nor can it use all the features of said service?

What brings this up you might ask?

It’s a funny story really. My parents got Dish Network when we moved up to Fritch, TX because Cox at the time did not provide service to rural customers. We got a big package and swiftly set it up, enjoying our new satellite TV. This was in 1997.

We moved back to Amarillo, taking our stuff with us. After a few months my parents decided they wanted a receiver in their room. So they called Dish Network and they sent a guy out to set us up with their Dish 500 service. Made them sign a two year contract and soon they were enjoying the service in their room. That was in 2000.

During the setup process he informed us that the receiver we had was vastly outdated, and updated the software as best he could. He told us we should really call them and get them to send us a newer one for the living room. Wonderful.

So now in 2006, they start seeing ads for a free DVR to new customers. They decide to call Dish about getting a new receiver. They are informed they will have to pay several hundred dollars for a new receiver. This is after nine years of being a faithful customer, honoring the contract and only missing one or two payments. Which they caught up within a day or two.

They are now stuck with an ancient receiver that barely works. Dish refuses to upgrade them. It will cost over three hundred dollars they say. Three hundred dollars for something everyone else gets for nothing. Not one penny! They refuse to give in.

Not only that, but apparently these ‘no upgrade rules’ aren’t even Dish Networks! They’re AT&T’s. But wait! When you call AT&T they say Dish Network made the rules. If you cancel your account for six months, then they might upgrade your receiver.

To make matters even funnier other satellite companies ‘don’t provide service’ in Amarillo. How the heck does that work? Does the satellite skip over Amarillo somehow? Can you not line your dish up with it, even though people in Oklahoma City can? What’s the deal?

On top of that, the slightest thing will make their service cut out. Clouds, the wind blowing very hard (which is like 200 days out of the year), and apparently the alignment of the planets. Solar flares oddly don’t affect it.

Some non-competition agreement I’m told is the problem. That’s great, Dish Network has a MONOPOLY here and they happily screw over loyal customers and say there isn’t a thing we can do about it.  My parents aren’t the only ones with this problem.

They’re extremely dissatisfied with how they’re being treated, and unless they want to go with the much more expensive cable company (which does in fact upgrade your equipment free if they change something), or go without for half a year they are pretty well stuck with Dish’s pitiful customer service.

Playstation 3

I’d like to say that I have the $500-$600 it takes to get a PS3 when they come out on the 17th, because I would just to be able to play White Knight Story. It looks awesome. Go to gametrailers.com and check out the quicktime version of the trailer. It’s “Final Fantasyesque” looking I think.

My brother-in-law and I were discussing that earlier. We thought it was probably worth it. Even if to just beat the game then sell the PS3 on E-Bay for twice what it’s worth. You know they’ll run out by noon that day.

Aaah if only I had the money!

Anyway my brother is running our D&D game now and sucking badly at it. I hope he gets better but I don’t think he’ll put the effort into improving. He wants me to help a lot but I quit DMing because of his crap. I don’t think I want to give him too much.

I accidently threw away my Rome: Total War expansion a few weeks ago so I had to order a new one. Kinda sucks because I hadn’t actually beat the expansion enough to really feal satisfied with it. I’m working on a Scipii campaign now, very little cheating and I seem to be kicking butt. The Scipii seem harder then the other two factions and their troops seem to suck more for some reason.

I like that their weapons and armor can both hit the ‘gold’ level but troop experience is more valuable in my opinion. I find it annoying that some campaigns you can get a general for practically no effort whatsoever by using an army with no family member to lead it against an enemy army, and in others you can conquer half of europe with an un-generaled army and never get one. I wish I knew what caused the ‘man of the hour’ thing to pop up.

I just can’t wait for Medieval 2 to come out. It looks great!

Nothing New With Blizzard

It seems Blizzard has put off releasing the expansion for World of Warcraft until January. It was set to be released on November 22nd (which was really convenient considering my birthday is the day before), at least according to Amazon.com. You can read IGN’s very brief article here. Unfortunately, this isn’t anything really new with Blizzard. They are notorious for doing this very thing with their games. Anyone remember Diablo II? They delayed it for what? Two years? Then when it finally came out it was two or three weeks before you could get a copy because they all sold out practically before their boxes actually came in contact with the shelves they sat on.

I hope this isn’t a marketing tactic. It is clever if it is, but unfortunately it’s nothing new to Blizzard. They claim they are just polishing things up but I can guarantee you these things will happen when the game is released.

  1. There will be considerable lag on practically all servers if many aren’t in fact down for the day.
  2. There will be a huge patch, probably in the 100 – 250 megabyte range if not bigger.
  3. Within one week of the expansion being released there will be yet another, albeit smaller, patch to fix the dozens of bugs that they didn’t catch during testing. It will likely screw things up worse then they were before, requiring a ‘ mini-patch’ a few days later to fix whatever catastrophe the last once caused.
  4. There will be at least one well intentioned but annoying if not completely debilitating feature added to the game within a month.
  5. The day it released there will be an obscene amount of blood elves on every server and the dranei racial city will be largely deserted.
  6. Within minutes of being able to log in you’ll see naked, floating corpses of female blood elves at the Ironforge city gates. Outside the Ironforge Auctionhouse you’ll run into a floating male blood elf’s butt every time you exit. Said levitating corpses will remain there for weeks.

According to Amazon.com the release date is “January 30th”. In my experience that usually means that there isn’t a concrete release date. Usually though it’s a middle of the month thing. I’m speculating on either the 17th or the 24th, right after the usual Tuesday updates, which by the way will take all freaking day.

Of course I don’t actually believe they’ll stick to the January release date. Most software companies don’t set deadlines.

Geek Argument Wars

The other day I started a thread on the Wizards of the Coast Message boards looking for more melee weapons for my d20 Future/BESM d20 campaign. I got some really cool replies but at some point it degraded into an “Average Damage” argument. It seems pretty silly to me because I’m not 100% sure what actual use information like average damage has in a D&D or d20 Modern campaign.

It did give me an idea for a simulator that might be useful in adventure design. Run a few thousand simulated battles through to see who comes out on top most. Might be helpful in basically determining and tweaking the CR of an encounter. Granted it’d be what I called ‘stupid AI’ because it wouldn’t make any real tactical decisions but it could give a nice baseline at how difficult an encounter would be and might give some insight into what tactics a DM could use. I don’t know if I’ll bother to write it, but it might be fun.

Seems like geeks get into really pointless debates about math and stuff and never really take into account stuff like “Does this really matter?”, “Is this information actually relavent and useful?”, and “Can anything useful at all come of this debate?”

I don’t mean like, useful in real life because there’s a lot of highly academic stuff that has no application in real life whatsoever. There’s math stuff that’s really only useful to mathematicians and has no real world application except helping said mathematicians understand other concepts that might or might not have some use in real life. I’m talking about stuff that isn’t really useful to the subject at hand. I mean who CARES what a weapons average damage is because the only thing is proves is that bigger numbers usually mean more damage and smaller numbers mean more consistant damage. You don’t actually need a hundred hit sample to figure that out.

Oh well, geeks do this, stupid but true.

 

-Aaron