at&t comes through!

I thought it was only fair to give AT&T U-Verse its due after bashing it so much. My U-Verse connection was installed last Thursday by a very polite guy who hit his time range (10am sharp on a 9-11 am range) and left in about an hour. This minimized the amount of time I had to take off of work, which was great. The end result was the parking of a massive device known as a “gateway” which supposedly decodes the VDSL signal into TV and internet. Speaking of internet, my bandwidth got doubled to 12mbps for the same price so that’s fairly awesome.

TV is good! The DVR service is cool in that I can remotely schedule it from a web browser/iPod Touch App. So in case I have forgotten to set the DVR to record a show, I can fix that problem fairly easily. One gripe I do have, and one that is not local to AT&T, is the whole scenario of sports blackouts. I had my first encounter with them when I tried to watch a Rockets preseason game on FSSW. I get the channel, but the Rockets game is blacked out here in Austin. Supposedly because the Spurs are our “home” team. Couldn’t choose a worse home team if I had picked one blindly–I despise the Spurs.

Anyways, with no league pass available on U-Verse and the Rockets sucking enough to only have something like 6 games broadcast nationally (and all of those on NBATV meaning I can’t watch it anyway), it looks like I’ll have to follow the Rockets via the good old online live stream. At least with a 12mbps downlink I shouldn’t have any buffering problems!

I suppose that’s it for now. I should’ve been asleep a while back but my college habits haven’t faded away yet.

at&t rant partially repealed

So an update on the AT&T U-Verse situation. Today I gave them a call at around 8.30 in the morning and was transferred to a very helpful lady who just happened to be working with both AT&T U-Verse and AT&T! Apparently a cancellation order had been placed for my internet on the 15th, somehow. Don’t know how that happened… perhaps it happens automatically if they detect the presence of an AT&T HSI account? The AT&T service rep didn’t know how that happened, either.

Anyways, so it was confirmed that my AT&T HSI account would be cancelled on the 15th, and that my TV was installed on that day. The lady also scheduled my internet installation for that day so that I wouldn’t have to pay an installation fee on another day. So if all goes to plan, I will be getting my TV+Internet through U-Verse on Thursday, and have my old AT&T account cancelled (that will have a rebate check of about $18 worth of credit from the previous snafu).

Oh, did I mention that I’m going to be getting 12mbps for $45. That’s the price I was paying for 6mbps DSL earlier. Hopefully cable will stand up to DSL. Oh, I’m also going to be getting a $100 rebate card in addition to the $200 I’m supposed to receive for applying online. So hopefully I should be getting about $300 back and will have Internet and TV all ready to go this weekend. That rebate check will also help me with my expenses for my new computer. 😉

Yay for good news!

at&t: where logic is shunned

As all of my loyal readers (aka nobody) would know, I recently sprung for AT&T U-Verse to fulfill my television needs in capitalist America. I already outlined my problems with AT&T in a previous rant, but today things took a turn for the worse.

When I reached work today, I had two calls waiting from… Saturday. I don’t know why AT&T called my work phone before calling my cell phone, which I had listed as my primary phone. It makes me shudder, to be honest. This appears to be related to the way they fudged up my AT&T High Speed Internet order a couple of months ago to not list my apartment number. We all know how that story went…

So, I had a voicemail waiting for me which asked me to “please call us back at ###-###-#### to verify some information.” Of course, what information was to be verified was not outlined, and of course when I called back the number above, they didn’t have a clue either. Finally, we guessed that it had to do with the fact that I had an existing AT&T High Speed Internet (HSI) connect, that wasn’t compatible with U-Verse. Fine… I could deal with that. Except, now, I was told that U-Verse couldn’t cancel my account that I would have to do it myself or the U-Verse installation crew wouldn’t be able to do their job on Thursday.

First of all, what the hell? Let me get the two companies involved here: AT&T and… AT&T. They’re both the same freaking company. As a consumer, I don’t give a rat’s hairy ass that U-Verse is a cooler sounding name with more marketable features. I have internet, I want TV. Through the same bloody company. I shouldn’t have to cancel and start a new account to achieve this simple task. It feels like infighting between the heirs-to-be of a rich businessman’s empire. Nobody knows squat about business so they resort to squabbling with each other. The worst part is if I hadn’t called back to “verify some information”, my installer would come in on Thursday and tell me that, “Oh, well I can’t do it now.”

The story doesn’t end here. I, in an online chat with AT&T U-Verse, determined exactly what I needed to do. After determining that I had to go to AT&T HSI to cancel my DSL account and then sign up for an internet account through AT&T U-Verse HSI (the confusion NEVER ends with these guys) I asked the support person what the offers were for U-Verse internet. She (or he… I can’t tell for obvious reasons but I feel like the name was Joan) said that I would need to get in touch with AT&T HSI for any offers since I had internet through them. WHAT? I was told to call up AT&T HSI and ask them for offers on AT&T U-Verse HSI?! Is that allowed? I thought they were separate entities!

To confirm that I actually had the information I needed, I got in a chat with an AT&T HSI rep. to review all the details. He said that I would have to contact AT&T U-Verse to figure out the details. I told (or rather, typed) him quite curtly that, “U-Verse asked me to get in touch with you and I would prefer not to enter an infinite loop, at this point.” He then told me to contact their tech department by phone call. Oh, but their offices are only open when I’m in office. Brilliant.

My decision: I’m going to send them a curt, angry email tonight. Last time I sent them a curt, angry email I got a phone call back within 15 minutes that fixed everything. Looks like its time to do that again. And if I don’t get a response, I will just have to call them and sound exasperated.

I didn’t know TV was this freaking hard to get!

Phew.

building my first computer

As a computer geek, one of the many things missing from my unspectacular resume is the building of a computer for myself. I’ve always been of the “buy it assembled from HP” mindset and it has stood me, personally, in good stead over the years. However, now that I have some disposable income, I realize that HP’s customization options just do not cut it. So I decided to finally make the leap and make my very own computer.

I’m not an avid gamer, although I enjoy the occasional sports title. Hence, I will not need to build a computer that looks like it has been put through a composter and then spray painted by a neon-color afficianado. Neither will I need to drop about $2,000 on a machine that’ll probably become outdated in a matter of months. My budget for this computer is about $700-800 and I am hoping to end up with something that outputs video smoothly to my 1080p HDTV and where I can play a decent cricket, basketball or soccer game or two (or three?).

I have already began the process of acquiring parts. Here’s a snapshot of what I’m looking at:

Intel Core i7 Processor
1-2 TB of HDD space hopefully in a RAID array (not RAID0) of some sort
at least 512 MB of dedicated VRAM

I suppose these are the main components. The motherboard is another expensive piece but I won’t start looking at that until I have decided on a processor.

To get started, I have already put in two orders for a couple of components:

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel
antec03 antec04antec02antec01

Specifications:

  • External 5.25″ Drive Bays: 3
  • Internal 3.5″ Drive Bays: 6
  • Expansion slots: 7
  • 3x120mm fans, 1x140mm fan
  • PRICE: $74.94 shipped

After thinking long and hard about what I wanted to buy in terms of a case, I came down to a choice between an NZXT case, a RAIDMAX Smilodon and this Antec. The Antec was slightly pricier but I figured with more drive bays and 4 fans, this product will hopefully last me a little longer.

Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB

wd01wd03wd02

Specifications:

  • Capacity: 1 TB
  • Cache: 32 MB
  • Rotational Speed: 7200rpm
  • Interface: SATA 300
  • PRICE: $84.99 shipped

Seagate and WD are my two targets for hard disks and with Seagates still receiving bad reviews for drive failures, I decided on the Caviar Black and was just waiting for a good deal. This is currently sold out on NewEgg (cost $94.99 shipped when it was available) so I figure I got a deal. The coupon I used at SuperBiiz only gave me $10 off my total, though, so I am going to wait for later in the build stage before getting this guy a buddy to RAID with.

That’s all for this update. Hopefully my packages will be arriving in a couple of weeks!

COST OF THIS UPDATE = $159.93
TOTAL COST TO DATE: $159.93
BUDGET REMAINING = $540.07-$640.07

Cheerios!