You may think that TechMan complains a lot about technology and you would be right. But we have tech companies broadcasting how good their products are, so we need people to see them from the user point of view.
So now that I’ve justified being a grumpy old man, here are my latest complaints.
Verizon FIOS TV’s on-demand service never was that great, but the new one rolled out late last year is infinitely worse. “Terrible” and “nightmare” are a few of the more polite descriptions on the Verizon website forums.
In the old system, you had to maneuver vertically through text lists to get what you wanted.
In the new one, to select a show, you have to maneuver horizontally through movie posters of programs one at a time and vertically between the two rows. Then the same thing to go back.
This process requires many more clicks and sometimes the name of the show is barely readable. Plus the whole site seems slower than before, perhaps because it is now so graphics-intensive. It is onerous. Hey, Verizon, a lot of us can read. We don’t need pictures.
Perhaps worse, previous episodes and seasons of network shows, which up until a few months ago were free, are now $1.99 per program to watch. The fee seems to kick in three or four shows back from the latest show. So if you discovered a show late and wanted to go back and watch the 10 episodes of the first season, it would now cost $20.
Verizon claims this is not its fault. The company says contracts with the providers now require this and that may be true, because Comcast is the same. Past shows on Premium channels like HBO are still free but of course you are a subscriber who pays.
Are the networks trying to drive viewers to their online apps to avoid cable company charges? Who knows? But as usual, the consumer takes it in the neck.
Blow up real good. You can watch 60 recently declassified films of U.S nuclear tests on YouTube. They are among 10,000 movies made of 200 high-atmosphere tests conducted between 1945 and 1962 by the United States, according to TheVerge.com.
Alexa, meet Siri. Amazon has made Alexa, its artificial intelligence voice assistant, available on the Apple iPhone via its main shopping app.
The voice service is activated by pressing the microphone icon at the top of the Amazon app for iPhone. Alexa can add items to the Amazon shopping basket, play music from Amazon Prime Music and answer questions or do simple calculations.
Some of the 10,000 Alexa “skills” can be enabled using the iPhone, reports CNBC.com.
Don’t need your steenking meetings. In continuing to keep an eye on the Trump Federal Communications Commission, TechMan notes this factoid from an interview with former FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler on Marketplace.org. Mr. Wheeler said, “I had a regularly scheduled meeting every other week with every commissioner here at the FCC” to talk about working together and the commission’s concerns and focus. “And for the last two years, Commissioner [Ajit] Pai has canceled every one of those meetings,” he said. Earlier this year, Mr. Pai was appointed to head the FCC by the Trump administration.
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