Cable Companies still ignoring Cord Cutting

I haven’t had my own cable TV line since 2008. Well, I did, for about five weeks in 2010. Then I immediately shut it back down, because the bill was insane. I continue to get harassing phone calls from Time Warner Cable, trying to get me to reactivate, at all hours of the day and night. I tell them, perhaps if these special offers were their normal rates, I wouldn’t have left in the first place.

What saddens me most as how ostrich-like the cable companies remain. They say that people are leaving in record numbers, for economic reasons – not because they don’t like the service. Let that soak in. No, really – really let it soak. Because I, the consumer, don’t see enough value for my dollar, I quit using a particular service. But, the cable company thinks I only did it because I don’t have enough dollars in my bank account. How self righteous can an entire industry be!? Continue reading

Siri's Android & Windows Phone 7 alternatives…

Remember when Siri was a big deal? Siri got a big ad campaign, but I haven’t met too many people who actively use it. It has been promised in the iOS6 iPad (3rd gen) update, but I’m not looking forward to it any more than the addition of any other feature. But if you’re the kind of person who was jealous of the iPhone owners with Siri, then I encourage you to check out these applications for your handheld of choice:

Windows Phone 7: Check out Ask Ziggy on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Android: Enjoy iris. on the Android.

In both cases, the applications pull from various sources on the internet to find the answers to questions you’re asking. I have found both of them to have excellent speech recognition engines, and be very fast. I have to give bonus points to iris. for having partnerships in place that allow them to pull data from services like ChaCha and Wolfram|Alpha. But Ask Ziggy is no slouch – it includes great in-line graphical forecasts when asking for the weather, and easy to read and time-stamped information when providing stock quotes.

Although neither integrates as flawlessly into the OS as Siri (and how could they?), and you may not be able to check your calendar on the fly, these are still two excellent apps that provide users of other platforms excellent alternatives to living a life without a voice activated digital assistant (boy we’ve come a long way from the PalmOne m505.

How to Change your Product Key and Activate Windows 8

There are just some things you can’t get away from, and the command prompt is one of them. A lot of people with the new RTM of Windows 8 Professional have will run in to an issue with activation. When you download the ISO, at least the one for Windows 8 64-bit Professional from Microsoft’s TechNet, it installs with a 90 day trial license. By default, there is nowhere you can click to change the product key! So I fell back on an old trick where you can use the command prompt to change the key in Windows. Here’s the step by step guide:

  1. Hold the Windows key on your keyboard and press “R” (this will bring up the RUN prompt).
  2. Type CMD and press enter or click okay (as seen above) (you can also do this directly from the start menu and click the “Command Prompt” icon).
  3. Type: slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX (with the X’s of course being your 5×5 product key – note the key I used in the screenshot below is also a fake, so don’t waste your time).

That’ll do it! You’ll get a pop up Window confirming that the key has been changed, then you can proceed with your Windows Activation.