Saturday, March 31, 2007

NFL and Real.com Team to Mess with Customers?

Last fall I signed up with the NFL through their NFL.com web site for the NFL Fieldpass product.  I think you get access to a bunch of interactive stuff, but I was only interested in one thing.  That was the ability to listen to the radio broadcasts of NFL games.  This mainly started out so I could listen to the San Diego Chargers (since coverage of a West coast team is limited here in NC).  I did find it nice to be able to listen to other games though (e.g. Sunday night games, Monday night games) when I was up here in my office working.  Just some background noise.

Anyway, I decided I wanted to cancel my subscription to the Fieldpass, which is provided via a Real.com subscription (the makers of the RealPlayer).  Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.  First, between the NFL and Real, they make it very hard to find out what you need to do to cancel your subscription.  You have to follow several links and FAQ's to eventually find the answer.

And how do you do it?  You have to call them up on the phone!!!  The number specifically is 1-866-212-1346.  And if you are lucky enough to figure it out ahead of time, you also need to have your account number (something you have to find via a link in the Realplayer software.

So what is up with all of this?  I get service from an on-line web site for an on-line service, but there is no way to cancel it on-line?  Indeed, I have to suspect both the NFL and Real have done this for the sole purpose of frustrating customers - hoping they will get so tired of trying to cancel their accounts, they'll just keep paying. I know there are companies out there that use that strategy.  I just would not have expected it out of companies like the NFL or Real.  Actually, I can almost expect it out of Real, but not the NFL.

That's not the end of this rant though.  Once you have that information, try to actually get it canceled.  First of all, the hours for customer service appear to be 6am - 6pm PST M-F.  Now, the last time I checked these are companies that operate on-line services 24/7/365.  But they can only handle customer service requests during certain periods of time during the week?

Next, once connected, be ready for a long wait.  On Friday, 3/30 I called and was on hold for about 20 minutes.  I finally gave up as I was tired of wasting cell phone minutes.  So, I still have not managed to cancel the service.  But based on this experience so far, as nice as the product was, I will have to start a push to warn people away based on the crappy way these two companies are treating their customers.

NFL and Real.com Team to Screw Customers?

Last fall I signed up with the NFL through their NFL.com web site for the NFL Fieldpass product.  I think you get access to a bunch of interactive stuff, but I was only interested in one thing.  That was the ability to listen to the radio broadcasts of NFL games.  This mainly started out so I could listen to the San Diego Chargers (since coverage of a West coast team is limited here in NC).  I did find it nice to be able to listen to other games though (e.g. Sunday night games, Monday night games) when I was up here in my office working.  Just some background noise.

Anyway, I decided I wanted to cancel my subscription to the Fieldpass, which is provided via a Real.com subscription (the makers of the RealPlayer).  Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.  First, between the NFL and Real, they make it very hard to find out what you need to do to cancel your subscription.  You have to follow several links and FAQ's to eventually find the answer.

And how do you do it?  You have to call them up on the phone!!!  The number specifically is 1-866-212-1346.  And if you are lucky enough to figure it out ahead of time, you also need to have your account number (something you have to find via a link in the Realplayer software.

So what is up with all of this?  I get service from an on-line web site for an on-line service, but there is no way to cancel it on-line?  Indeed, I have to suspect both the NFL and Real have done this for the sole purpose of frustrating customers - hoping they will get so tired of trying to cancel their accounts, they'll just keep paying. I know there are companies out there that use that strategy.  I just would not have expected it out of companies like the NFL or Real.  Actually, I can almost expect it out of Real, but not the NFL.

That's not the end of this rant though.  Once you have that information, try to actually get it canceled.  First of all, the hours for customer service appear to be 6am - 6pm PST M-F.  Now, the last time I checked these are companies that operate on-line services 24/7/365.  But they can only handle customer service requests during certain periods of time during the week?

Next, once connected, be ready for a long wait.  On Friday, 3/30 I called and was on hold for about 20 minutes.  I finally gave up as I was tired of wasting cell phone minutes.  So, I still have not managed to cancel the service.  But based on this experience so far, as nice as the product was, I will have to start a push to warn people away based on the crappy way these two companies are treating their customers.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Some notes on The Thomasine Church

I'll get into this some more once I have a chance, but I wanted to get this committed before I forget it.  Plus, I can then throw away the piece of paper I have these notes scribbled on and get my desk cleared up a bit.

Last night I was doing some research into the Apostle Thomas.  This was mainly prompted by some passage I read in the book Map of Bones that I am currently reading.  However, I have done research on the topic in the past while learning more about gnostic religions and the Gospel of Thomas that was discovered at Nag Hammadi.  So in the course of my reading last night, I came across a web site for The Thomasine Church.  It was very interesting, but it did prompt the following questions about the faith (I suppose directed more at gnosis than the Church itself):

  • Is there an opposite to the Light?

  • Is there a Dark?

  • How can the gnostic faiths help guide us in our daily lives?


I rather suspect the answer to the first couple questions is that there is no "Dark".  I seem to recall one of the sites I was reading mention that the different gnostic faiths don't include the concept of Satan or Hell like the Christian faiths do.  I suppose part of that is because they all seem to rely solely on the gnostic writings, especially those of Thomas, and ignore everything else.  One of the issues that I tend to have with some Christian denominations is their insistence that The Bible is all that there is.  However, it seems like the gnostic faiths I've read about so far ride the pendulum way too far in the other direction.

OK, I have to get on out of here.  Time for some soccer practice.  At least I've got those down and can continue this train of thought later.

Some notes on The Thomasine Church

I'll get into this some more once I have a chance, but I wanted to get this committed before I forget it.  Plus, I can then throw away the piece of paper I have these notes scribbled on and get my desk cleared up a bit.

Last night I was doing some research into the Apostle Thomas.  This was mainly prompted by some passage I read in the book Map of Bones that I am currently reading.  However, I have done research on the topic in the past while learning more about gnostic religions and the Gospel of Thomas that was discovered at Nag Hammadi.  So in the course of my reading last night, I came across a web site for The Thomasine Church.  It was very interesting, but it did prompt the following questions about the faith (I suppose directed more at gnosis than the Church itself):

  • Is there an opposite to the Light?

  • Is there a Dark?

  • How can the gnostic faiths help guide us in our daily lives?


I rather suspect the answer to the first couple questions is that there is no "Dark".  I seem to recall one of the sites I was reading mention that the different gnostic faiths don't include the concept of Satan or Hell like the Christian faiths do.  I suppose part of that is because they all seem to rely solely on the gnostic writings, especially those of Thomas, and ignore everything else.  One of the issues that I tend to have with some Christian denominations is their insistence that The Bible is all that there is.  However, it seems like the gnostic faiths I've read about so far ride the pendulum way too far in the other direction.

OK, I have to get on out of here.  Time for some soccer practice.  At least I've got those down and can continue this train of thought later.

Ooooh - something shiny and new

As you can see, I am attempting to get WordPress up and running in order to provide a "blog" portion of the totehmoon web site.  Why?  Well, mainly because I am getting increasingly frustrated with the blogging capability of the CMS Made Simple package that I use for the site proper.  While it has been a great package for setting up static pages (e.g. editing the Soccer page was very easy), it does not lend itself to blogging.  Not that I was doing much blogging over there.  Perhaps because that function was so bad?

Anyway, I run another site that uses the Serendipity blogging software.  It works great for that site and I have enjoyed writing on it.  However, it is not something that I want to get in and hack the formatting and stuff.  Whereas, I do want to do that here.  So, it was time to try deploying something new.  Given what all I've seen out there, I figured I would try WordPress as it is probably one of the more "mainline" packages available.

So standby and hopefully I'll have this thing figured out and running and incorporated into the site proper in a short period of time.

Ooooh - something shiny and new

As you can see, I am attempting to get WordPress up and running in order to provide a "blog" portion of the totehmoon web site.  Why?  Well, mainly because I am getting increasingly frustrated with the blogging capability of the CMS Made Simple package that I use for the site proper.  While it has been a great package for setting up static pages (e.g. editing the Soccer page was very easy), it does not lend itself to blogging.  Not that I was doing much blogging over there.  Perhaps because that function was so bad?

Anyway, I run another site that uses the Serendipity blogging software.  It works great for that site and I have enjoyed writing on it.  However, it is not something that I want to get in and hack the formatting and stuff.  Whereas, I do want to do that here.  So, it was time to try deploying something new.  Given what all I've seen out there, I figured I would try WordPress as it is probably one of the more "mainline" packages available.

So standby and hopefully I'll have this thing figured out and running and incorporated into the site proper in a short period of time.