Comcast – Time Warner Merger Fizzles

This Friday, the same day the Apple Watch started retail distribution, Comcast announced they were walking away from the deal they proposed 14 months earlier to acquire Time Warner Cable. In my opinion, this is great news for Indiana since part of the deal was that we were going to be shuffled off to a new company called Great Land Connections which would be a spin-off entity from Comcast and partially owned by Charter Communications. Like all cable companies, Charter has a less than stellar record amongst its existing customers. Even though Comcast has the worst reputation for customer satisfaction among American companies, I can’t help but think we’re better off with them rather than being slung around like a pawn in the trade-off Comcast was proposing to satisfy the Federal Trade Commission that the merger would not reduce competition. Great Land would likely not have the negotiating muscle to get as good a rates for media as Comcast, and it would also likely get Internet connections either through Charter or Comcast and be relegated to second tier performance and support. It’s the latter which worried me since neither AT&T through their U-verse service nor Charter provide anything close to the speed and bandwidth that Comcast provides. I currently get a minimum of 105 Mbps (usually around 120 Mbps) download speed and 20-25 Mbps upload speed. This is much greater than when I was with AT&T where I got <20 Mbps download and <1 Mbps upload speed for essentially the same price. According to their website, Charter offers only one Internet service tier at 60Mbps download and 4Mbps upload. While these speed differences have little impact when you’re just surfing the Net with a web browser, they significantly impact performance when you’re watching streaming video or using Facetime or Skype.

So while I have no love lost for Comcast as a company to do business with, I think we in Marion County are better off with them than being traded around as part of their proposed merger with Time Warner. Whether the deal for Charter to buy Bright House Networks which services 120,000 customers in Central Indiana in Hendricks, Boone, Hamilton, and Grant counties is affected by this latest news remains uncertain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that deal also falls apart as well.

Review: HTC One (M9) Smartphone

Having been an Android user for several years, I wanted to make the switch last year to the Apple iPhone 6 to see what I’ve been missing.

cq5dam.web.280.280I have to admit that I generally liked the iPhone 6 with its many unique features: larger screen size, Apple Pay, fingerprint sensor, etc. But I missed many features I was used to with Android, so I just switched back to Android with the HTC One (M9) Smartphone.

The iPhone was an easy to set up and use phone with limited customization required. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, but I enjoyed tinkering with the phone to give it the look and feel that was me.

For many years the Android world featured larger screen sizes than Apple until the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September. My previous phone to the iPhone was the HTC One (M8). This phone had a bright 5.0” screen with double speakers for better sound.

Last month HTC introduced their replacement for that phone—the flagship One (M9) phone. What appealed to me was that it did not make any drastic changes. Its cool aluminum back and screen had not gotten larger as many Android models had done.
In fact, the only major changes on this phone was a new 20 MP camera display and a larger battery for longer time between charges. The new 20 MP camera replaced last year’s Ultra Pixel display that was a lower resolution camera that required less light. Continue reading…

Apple Watch Pre-Orders Off and Running

Over the weekend, Apple started accepting pre-orders for the new Apple Watch. While I wasn’t in line Thursday night at the local Keystone store myself, I was interested to see some of the more intrepid reviewer post YouTube videos of their first impressions. In the two URL’s below are some good hands-on coverage of what these two reviewers thought and how the interface works.

User interfaces is where Apple really shines. If you stop and think what sets Apple software apart from others purveyors of technology, it is how they can make maximal use of a minimalist interface. With only two “buttons” and a tiny touch screen, you really have a wide range of commands at your disposal with the Apple Watch.