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Wikileaks Blog Post Andrew Neely

November 14, 2011 1 comment

I remember when the “Diplomatic Cables Release” occurred in November of this year. A teacher at my high school was a recent veteran and I remember he was very upset and said that it was putting innocent lives in danger and that the culprit deserved severe punishment. I had heard about wikileaks before this occasion but this was when I really took the time to look into what it was and if my teacher’s claims were founded. From what I can tell, the event was simply uncovering a lot of confidential embassy documents. It seems like the event made a lot of diplomats unhappy but I don’t think that it really put anyone’s life in danger unless someone reacted to the information in a very extreme manner.

The more I learn about wikileaks, the more I think it is an essential part of the information age and the more I think that it is the most powerful example of the internet being used as a tool for liberty. I think that by creating an element of transparency in the government, the public will be informed of certain elements of society which would not be available otherwise. I also think that the government just might be more honest and less corrupt when they know that anything they say or do might be released to the public at some point.

Maybe I am not understanding an important element of wikileaks functions but to me it seems to be more of a gift to the American Public than a threat to american security. With that said I understand that it is only natural that the government and those in power would try to crush this power because it threatens their power.

Overall I think there are many misconceptions about Wikileaks and the way that they make private documents available is a natural step in democracy’s progression.

Categories: #7

Local journalism that made a difference

November 10, 2011 1 comment

The most compelling story for me is the story about the media coverage of the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island.

For me the impressive thing about this story is that in a large part thanks to one single reporter, Karl Grossman, who covered the issue of the Shoreham nuclear power plant for a family owned local newspaper, The East Hampton Star, a grassroots movement got sparked and continually supported in taking on the big fight against nuclear power culminating in the closing of the Shoreham nuclear power plant., preventing an accident that could kill thousands of people and leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable.

With his almost weekly published articles in The East Hampton Star over a span of almost 10 years, Karl Grossmann has inspired grassroots actions, emphasized concerns, protests and strategies and reinforced citizen’s confidence to believe in their power to stop the nuclear plant while other media outlets, local or widely-read daily newspapers on Long Island like the New York Times or Newsday either ignored the issue completely or if they were covering the issue they would not express any opinion contrary to the interests of LILCO (Long Island Lighting Company) who built the Shoreham plant or the nuclear industry at large.

Comments made by activists like “Without Karl Grossman’s reporting, Shoreham would not have been closed” or “It was a combination of word-of-mouth and reading the Start that inspired me to get involved” and “Karl Grossman was a critical factor. A few small papers helped us. The major media betrayed us” show how much impact local journalism can have in supporting a cause that is important for a certain community. The story also shows that larger media outlets, like The New York Times, have to play by the rules of their financial supporters, putting their financial well-being before a truthful and balanced coverage of certain issues connected with their supporters.

In this case, however, the ignorance of the major media outlets had no influence in stopping the local journalism, especially in person of Karl Grossman, to speak out for a cause and to help build a grassroots movement that ultimately brought about the closing of the Shoreham nuclear plant.

How can it be ensured that especially local journalism does not have to cautious about what they are reporting concerning controversial issues like this, meaning without having to fear about their financial well-being if they express critical remarks?

Categories: #7 Tags:

DirecTV

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Based on numbers gathered in September 2010 by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, DirecTV is the second leading multiple system operator, or MSO, with around 18,934,000 subscribers. This MSO started in the summer of 1994 and is owned by the DirecTV Group, which is controlled by Liberty Media. To date, it has generated over $17 billion dollars. DirecTV’s main competitor is Comcast, but is also threatened by Time Warner Cable, Inc. and Dish Network Corporation. DirecTV, however, also offers high speed Internet, and DVR.

            Bloggers/Users of DirecTV either love it or hate it. Honestly, there are more “hate it”s of the MSO than people who cannot live without it. Many people blogged about the billing problems with DirecTV. I can relate, because when my family had DirecTV, we got billed almost three times what we should have. My dad then spent hours on the phone trying to get reimbursed. After a struggle with the customer service, we ended up getting three months of TV free. Ultimately we changed to Dish Network though. There were also some problems voiced about the number of channels being received and complaints about the delayed DVRs. Users usually end up switching to a different service, and this can be aggravated by the slow moving customer service workers.  

            But there were pro DirecTV bloggers. One woman commented on the reliability of the satellite dish, saying it worked for her even in bad weather conditions. Installation for many people was simple and quick. Other people commented on the ease of DirecTV’s guides and the great quality of their HD channels. There are also the many sports packages for the NFL and NASCAR that create a lot of happy DirecTV fans.

            In the end, I think that the best MSO depends on the individual. If s/he likes more channels, or better service, they have to choose a system operator that accommodates that need. Much of the complaints have to do with how much money someone is willing to spend; some say DirecTV is cheap, some say it’s expensive. I say, you get what you pay for.

Categories: #7, Cable MSOs Tags:

Cox Communications may need to update with the digital times

February 3, 2011 1 comment

Image taken from Wikipedia.org

Cox Communications is the third-largest cable television provider in the United States and the ranked the fifth in the top worldwide MSOs, with just over 5 million subscribers.  This telecomm provider is a privately owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises and offer cable, internet and phone to its subscribers.  The company appears to have some very moral intentions around the communities they provide service for.  There are several communities in California with middle schools that have received grants for technology from Cox Communications.  A couple weeks ago, the company donated over 8,000 meals to the homeless and underserved in Orange County.  At the same time, at the San Diego headquarter, the company completed an alternative energy project.  Cox Communications seems to have a lot of their interest set on the community.  But that isn’t to say that it doesn’t have problems just like any other MSO.      

Read more…

Categories: #7, Cable MSOs Tags:

Comcast: The Good With The Bad

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Comcast is the largest cable operator in the United States.  It provides     television, phone, and internet services  It distributes service in 39 States and Washington D.C..  The company also owns many cable networks, including The Golf Channel and Versus.  Two weeks ago (January 18, 2011) Comcast acquired NBC Universal after approval from the FCC.

My research on Comcast and it’s public opinion standing yielded what I had suspected: not many people like the main providers of their, TV, Internet, or Home Phone.  These companies have enacted extremely complex coverage plans that are full of hidden fees and charges.  The frustrating results of these plans create a lot of negative reviews on internet review sites, such as My3Cents and RateItAll.  I found that most of the review sites had a rating of approval for Comcast of around 25%.  I think that this number is a little bit high, because most people are more likely to post something on the internet when they are unhappy with something.  However, from reading other blogs, other companies are not faring much better in the public eye.  This research leads me to believe that most service in this field is substandard, and with Comcast being the most widely used company, it has the most negative reviews

Categories: #7, Cable MSOs

DirecTV: Under heavy criticism

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

DIRECTV

 

DirecTV is a broadcast satellite service based in El Segundo, California that transmits satellite to different households across the United State, Central America, and the Carribeann. The main competitors of DirecTV are cable network providers and Dish Network (the 4th largest pay-TV provider). Going into the year of 2011, DirecTV had over 19 million subscribers. The company is directed by Liberty Media and has been in business for 16 years and counting.

DIRECT-vs-DISH.com

There are various websites and forums where users members can blog and discuss DirecTV regarding both its strengths and weaknesses. Just like any large topic, there are going to be mixed reviews. I found various reviews raving about DirecTV and its quality, as well as people that switched away from DirecTV and seemed to enjoy bashing every weakness of its service. I looked at over 10 different websites discussing DirecTV, such as Viewpoints.com and dslreports.com. However, the site that I found to be the most useful was Direct-vs-Dish. At this site there are satellite television reviews comparing both Dish Network and DirecTV. I chose to select two different entries that contrasted each other’s opinions.

DISH Network

Negative opinion on DirecTV from a man from Georgia:

“These people are scam artists, they will not give written contract under any circumstances before the installation. DIRECTV had pursued and solicited me until they have my signed contact, after that getting through to the customer service to discuss the problem was virtually impossible. Their customer service is lousy!!!! I had to talk to 5 different custeromer service representatives just to cancel my order! Most of my 30/40 minutes calls were either disconnected or transferred to other department where I had to repeat my “live” story all over again. Do not sigh up with them or at least NOT until you get a written contract detailing the pricing and technology (how many receivers, type of receivers, etc.). TERRIBLE SERVICE~ I would NOT recommend Directv to anyone unless you want to spend the rest of your TV-watching life in misery.”

Positive review of DirecTV:

“very good service. once back in october our super old reciver went out so we called dtv. they came out the next day. they upgraded us and signed us up for high defonition.we had dish back in 04.dish u freakin bite!!!!!! I WOULD CHOOSE DTV IN A HEARTBEAT!”

* Link to Site…

It seems as though there were numerous unhappy and sometimes furious customers that were far from satisfied with DirecTV. Most all of the reviews and entries were bashing DirecTV. In these entries, most customers would talk about either how they are unhappy with DirecTV and are switching to Dish, or switched from Dish to DirecTV and are strongly considering going back to Dish due to the “horrible service” and “sloppy reception during storms” to name a few. Although DirecTV is said to have the most full-time HD channels of any satellite or cable TV provider, Dish Network has gotten much better reviews of late. The appeal that DirecTV rides on is the fact that Dish Network may offer free HD, but they’ve taken away such popular channels as Disney Channel HD, Disney 😄 HD, ABC Family HD, and ESPN News HD. Also, they note that with Dish you are pre-paying for your service, have higher receiver fees, paperless billing, and a $99 fee for paper billing (which is in many cases desired). Even with all of this, the “bad service” of DirecTV seems to overshadow all of these supposed quirks in the Dish system, as DirecTV is under heavy criticism regarding both the way they do business and their sloppy reception.

 

 

Categories: #7

Comcast- Top dog or bad dog?

February 2, 2011 2 comments

I chose to research Comcast Cable Company because according to the ranking of the top ten cable TV MSOs in the U.S in 2008 found in our book, Comcast had the most number of subscribers at 24,182,00. After researching the company I found out many interesting things, including the fact that they are currently involved in a merger with NBC Studios. As of now reaction from analysts are mixed but one blogger for forbes.com Adam Hartung believes that if the newly merged company created creative teams with “the right permission and resources, NBCU/Comcast could be the next great media company.” However it seems that Comcast might not have as easy a time with many websites popping such as comcastmustdie.com and cutthecable.com. One blogger on cutthecable.com complained how all the profits of the company go toward its already rich shareholders instead of to the company. The ending their blog post by sarcastically saying, so remember the next time you’ paying your Comcast bill that it goes to the support of the underprivileged families of Philadelphia 76ers Basketball players.” Another blogger claimed that Comcast basically robs their customers because of their overpriced packages, “Comcast won’t blink twice when stealing from you – but they call it “PROFIT MAXIMIZATION.” Although there are a lot of blogs devoted to bringing down Comcast, not all comments are negative. One woman stated in her blog, mymoneyblog.com that even though she knew there were cheaper options of cable networs she liked being about to use her Tivo and the speed of the Cable Internet. She then went on to say that she was easily able to get a discount for her next Comcast bill. “With a 10-minute phone call, I just saved another $105 ($60+$45) off of retail. And from the way she talked, it seemed like the computer has already pre-approved each customer for certain levels of discounts.” Another blogger said that they did not think Comcast was exceptionally great but due to the fact that there were no other Cable networks available in his area he feels “stuck.” After all of my research I found that the most problems people find with Comcast Cable Company are their high prices and their customer service organization called “Customer Care.” Although it seems that a lot of people have various issues with Comcast Cable Company it seems that they are able to keep their top spot in the cable industry due to their fast technology and wide availability.

 

Categories: #7