You wish you had my energy?

I was out jogging with the kid in the stroller on 16th Street near Varnum NW – near the top of a pretty long, steady ascent – and I overtook a group of kids coming from school. A kid who looked 13 or 14, though I have no idea these days, looked at me. “I wish I had your energy, sir.” He said. “Pushing that baby all the way up the hill”.

Another reason to hate Adobe

Does anyone know what I did that installed this Adobe DLM into Firefox 3.5.3 on Windows XP? I’m about to disable it, but I’d really like to know how the loathsome weasels at Adobe managed to cram it into my Firefox Add-ons without me noticing. Is it something automatic when I updated Adobe Reader? Did I not unclick a box that I should have unclicked?

Keeping me busy – ebooks and publishing

I’ve got a lot going on these days. Work, the kid, family, finding time to spend with the wife – probably a lot like your life. But over the last few months I’ve added one more thing, and it’s getting close to becoming a reality. You may know that I was blogging over here for a while. It started out as an experiment to see where it would go, or to see if I liked blogging with a more professional tone. But the more I wrote about the ebook industry, the more I hated it. It started to feel like everyone was getting it wrong. $10 ebooks? Really? So I decided I had to do something about it, and the idea for Manfred Macx publishing was born. I’m hoping to launch the site in November. In brief, it will be a place where authors can come and get some help in getting their work out there, and giving fans an opportunity to support them. I will still complain here about DC parking enforcement (Have you seen the VW at 14th and Harvard that’s been parked there for 3 weeks? Why haven’t they towed it?) and various other things that need complaining about. It’s just going to be a bit lower on my priority list. But do check out Manfred Macx. At the very least, it will partially excuse my neglect of this blog.

Comcast still doesn’t have a clue

Fresh on the heels of my great experience with Verizon Wireless, Comcast provided a fantastic display of how bad they are at what they do. This is what happens when you have a localized monopoly. We’re supposed to get Verizon FIOS in three years, which is probably four plus years after we should have gotten it. I don’t know what sort of negotiations had to happen between DC and Verizon, but anything beyond, “Yes, Verizon, here’s your building permit” was probably not in the best interests of the DC residents. But that’s not the point here. The point here is that Comcast is terrible. Let’s look past the fact that they have to come out every 6-8 months and fix something because our signal strength has dropped to the point that our cable goes out. Never mind that they just keep inching the price up. No, my big complaint is the huckster who called me up this afternoon. He just caught me before I left to pick up the little gremlin from daycare. He starts off by telling me that Comcast has a great deal for me, only $10 more a month or something for Comcast Blast internet, which is super fast and awesome, and they’ll give me free Showtime, and boy are there some great shows coming out on Showtime, and if I sign up right now I can get some other fabulous prize, we can get you all upgraded within two business days, so can we set up an appointment right now? He didn’t take a breath or deviate from the script. By the halfway point, he could have offered me a couple of terabytes per second download speed for six cents a year and I would have turned him down. So, what did he do wrong that Verizon did right? He talked at me. I know, Verizon was lowering my bill, which is obviously much easier to sell, but that’s not really the point. The Comcast guy talked quickly, making sure he got everything out and asked me to sign up before I really had a chance to think about what his offer was. He didn’t really explain what the difference between what I have now and what he was offering. The Verizon guy actually had a conversation with me, clearly explaining what he was doing, how it would be different from what I had now (And he was looking at my account, so he knew what I was paying for), and why it would be better. When I told the Comcast guy I wasn’t interested, he tried to convince me. He asked why not. I stumbled for a minute, wanting to say, “Because you’re reading a script, and I hate being upsold”, but I didn’t really feel like getting into it. The Verizon guy knew my account, and knew how he could get me a better deal. The Comcast guy knew nothing about me beyond my name, and made me an offer that wasn’t terribly compelling. I hope Comcast is terrified of the arrival of Verizon FIOS. And I hope they deal with it by improving their service rather than lame attempts at upselling their customers. And Comcast? If you’re still reading and responding to unhappy blog posts about your service, make sure you read my post this time.