Charter Cable acquires Time Warner Cable to become Spectrum

I forgot to post this old post from 2017. Basically Charter Cable acquired Time Warner Cable and renamed it Spectrum. The idea was better cable company. First thing Charter did was remove ALL DISCOUNTS. So you get your introductory offer, then FULL PRICE increase. Nothing you can do except QUIT!

With Time Warner Cable I had the following services: 200 channels + Extreme internet 200/20 which was only $100.60. Once Time Warner Cable becomes Spectrum and bill goes to $126.24. I made no service changes.

I call Spectrum and speak to Vin who offers me nothing, 15 minute call.
Vin transfers me to Customer Solutions, Mimi. She offers Spectrum 125 + digital packages and 100/10 internet for $133 (more than $126 and slower internet speed). Then I ask if there were internet only plans: 100Mbps $69.99 or 300Mbps $104.99. I promptly complain to the FCC and NCDOJ, this gets Spectrum’s attention.

Next week on Friday 3/31/2017,  I get a call from Craig, they offer Spectrum 125 + digital package for $112. I ask about the internet speed, which they say is 100Mbps. That’s half what I get now. I inquire about the other options. Craig tells me they have 300Mbps. Says there will be a $200 installation fee. I call BS since I already have all the equipment and the thought of paying $200 to “flip a switch” is crap. I told him I have 200 and would like to keep that speed and I would be willing to change TV to lower the bill. He says 200 is no longer available, and that 100 is plenty. I tell him we have 5 people in the house with multiple devices, he says has no problems with 100Mbps. I tell him that if I download a DVD of Linux at 4.7GB it will take twice as long to download at 100Mbps. He promptly shut up after that. Craig then said he needed to look over my account and do more research.

Today, Monday 4/3/2017,  Lionel calls stating that I mentioned I would accept the 300Mbps offer if they waived the $200 fee. I said yes I would. In my head I was thinking Spectrum 125 + digital package + 300 for the $112 price the guy offered before, or the $126 I’m paying now. But no they said it would be $156!!! That is going completely in the wrong direction. So I ask what if I drop the digital tier and go with the lowest channels: Spectrum 125 + 300Mbps. He says I’d save $12. TWELVE!?!?!?! RIDICULOUS.

I told them for now I’ll stay with what I have right now but that they need to bring back the sweet spot 200Mbps and that I will continue to complain to the legislature, BBB, etc that they are monopoly in our area.

Unfortunately because of the lack of competation, the alternative in Rolesville is CenturyLink who offers ONLY 25Mbps (in 2019 they offer 40Mbps). I’m apparently too far for fiber.

Today, my service is STILL the same, but my bill price is $146. Still the same TV lineup and internet speed. So much for Spectrum being a better cable company. Honestly I miss Time Warner Cable.

Really? that’s what you’re covering?

Sometimes I like to flip between the major cable news stations to see what they are all talking about during a specific time, usually after a big news event. Yesterday’s news about the Manafort trial outcome and the surprising news about Cohen pleading guilty was important. This led me to do my news station flipping to see what folks were talking about this morning at 8 am.

I was NOT surprised by what I found. The broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC were all talking about the Cohen story during their morning shows, it was brief as they had more important things to get to like the weather or what celebrity was doing what 🙂

The business news networks, CNBC, Fox Business, etc were all covering various business news. Some were talking about Snap CEO, Evan Spiegel. Others about what the market might do today. Pretty standard stuff, I wouldn’t expect them to cover the Cohen story.

The cable news networks were also as predictable. CNN was about to start what will ultimately become their day-long story about Cohen.


MSNBC was covering the same Cohen story.


And as you probably have guessed, Fox News was NOT talking about Cohen. It was focusing on brown people, specifically the fact that the murder suspect in the killing of Ms. Tibbetts, was an illegal alien. The story is horrifying and ABC News reported it with more compassion by stating that “the body of the missing girl was found” showing a picture of the girl as folks would want to remember her. The reporter did mention the killer was an illegal alien, but the focus of the story was on the tragic death. But not on Fox News, the illegal factor was the important piece:


So I flipped through the channels a bit more, CNN and MSNBC were still talking about the Cohen case, this time getting “experts” in side by side panels. Totally par for the course in their reporting. I think they could probably move on to another story now that they’ve covered it, but whatever.

Let’s go back to Fox News, maybe now they’ll talk about the Cohen case. Oh look they are talking about it.


Well sort of, they’re actually downplaying the entire thing because it wasn’t directly about collusion. They were parroting the President that it is a “witch hunt” etc. They didn’t spend much time on it either, which is okay. But they immediately went to Breaking News:


Yep, news about more brown people committing crimes. Because the few times I do flip to Fox News, that’s all they ever talk about.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that noticed this “phenomenon”. The NY Times noticed it yesterday: ‘We Have Some Breaking News’: A Wild Day Makes Networks Scramble:


Now I know why I stopped watching cable news altogether. CNN & MSNBC repeat the same story ad nauseam while Fox News spreads fear. I’ll stick to the world news in the evening, where they can give you the highlights without spending all day on them, and The Daily Show for my TV news. The rest of my news comes from newspapers.

Science trip to Iceland

I know that many of you are already tapped out with donations because of the recent world events. I’ve held off making this post because of that, but the boys have asked if I’ve shared their letter on my social media to help them raise money for their trip next year. Below you will find Marco and Adan’s letter. Thanks for taking the time to look over their letter.

Hello everyone it’s Marco Rodriguez, hope everything is going well!

My brother, Adan, and I were given the opportunity to go to Iceland for a
week as a trip for our school. This is an amazing opportunity, but
unfortunately, we currently cannot afford to pay for the entire trip in the
time given without spending more money than we should. We humbly request
that anyone reading this would consider donating a little bit of money
towards the trip to allow us to go have the trip of a lifetime.

For anyone willing to donate (remember every dollar counts so no need to
donate lots of money if it is not convenient), you can donate on the
online donation site. We each have our own link to our trip.

Donate to Marco

Donate to Adan

Click the links above and it will take you to the donation site (*Note: all funds donated on the
website will go directly towards the payment for the trip).

This trip package includes:

* Round-trip flights on a major carrier
* Comfortable motorcoach
* 4 overnight stays in hotels with private bathrooms
* Breakfast and dinner daily
* Full-time Tour Director
* 1 sightseeing tour led by your Tour Director & 3 walking tours
* Entrances: National Museum * Skógarfoss Folk Museum * Blue Lagoon
* Experiential learning: Thingvellir National Park geology walk * Greenhouse visit * Thorvaldseyri Farm
* Optional: Glacier Walk

Any payments are due by February 2018. As you can probably tell this is a great opportunity for
me and my brother and we would love to go, and any donations would be much
appreciated. We would be departing on the trip in March 2018

Hope everyone has a great day!

Thank you,

Marco & Adan

/home dir cleaning

After a failed Fedora 26 upgrade on Friday, I spent the day trying to recover a corrupted rpm database, missing packages, not booting into gdm. I recovered it enough to boot, but it’s really in a weird state.

While preparing to backup my homedir, I was go through files I no longer needed. I’ve been cargo culting my homedir since I started working at Red Hat in 2004.

Here are the oldest files from day one:

[jesusr@transam ~]$ grep "Apr 19  2004" /tmp/2004files.tzt 
-rw-r-----. 1 jesusr jesusr 153 Apr 19  2004 ./.config/nautilus/first-time-flag
-rw-r-----. 1 jesusr jesusr 82 Apr 19  2004 ./.metacity/sessions/
-rw-r-----. 1 jesusr jesusr 356 Apr 19  2004 ./.metacity/sessions/
-rw-r-----. 1 jesusr jesusr 82 Apr 19  2004 ./.metacity/sessions/
-rw-rw-r--. 1 jesusr jesusr 226 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/ncsu-student-projects/message-bus/rhn/LoggerTest/.classpath
-rw-rw-r--. 1 jesusr jesusr 369 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/ncsu-student-projects/message-bus/rhn/LoggerTest/.project
-rw-rw-r--. 1 jesusr jesusr 6377 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/ncsu-student-projects/message-bus/rhn/SqlTest/src/
-rwxrwxr--. 1 jesusr jesusr 5441 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/up2date/test/
-rwxrwxr--. 1 jesusr jesusr 17900 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/up2date/test/
-rw-rw-r--. 1 jesusr jesusr 23499 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/up2date/test/
-rwxrwxr--. 1 jesusr jesusr 2043 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/up2date/test/
-rwxrwxr--. 1 jesusr jesusr 4648 Apr 19  2004 ./cvs/rhn/up2date/test/

Go through my homedir is like a digital archaeological dig 🙂

Horrible configure script

A friend of mine was having trouble building the latest version of R on RHEL 6.8. The trouble was that the configure script could not verify the updated zlib. I gave him some advice, but nothing seemed to work. Typically I’ve solved this with a simple update of the LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

Last night, I provisioned a RHEL 6.8 VM, downloaded the latest version of R, and tried building it myself. As expected, the configure script reported that I did not have zlib 1.2.5 installed.

checking if zlib version >= 1.2.5... no
checking whether zlib support suffices... configure: error: zlib library and headers are required

This is simple, just download an updated zlib, build and install. I installed zlib 1.2.11 in /usr/local/lib64. Re-ran configure and go the same result as above. I set LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib64:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH, configure still complained about not finding an updated zlib.

Updated zlib is installed, LD_LIBRARY_PATH is set. I ran sudo ldconfig -p | grep libz. It shows it can be found in /usr/local/lib64. So frustrating that everything seems to be in order and yet configure doesn’t see it.

My friend was using a blog post to help him out, when I looked at it the author didn’t see to have a problem with configure after updating zlib.

What in the world is the configure script doing to determine what version of zlib we are using?

if test "${have_zlib}" = yes; then
  { $as_echo "$as_me:${as_lineno-$LINENO}: checking if zlib version >= 1.2.5" >&5
$as_echo_n "checking if zlib version >= 1.2.5... " >&6; }
if ${r_cv_header_zlib_h+:} false; then :
  $as_echo_n "(cached) " >&6
  if test "$cross_compiling" = yes; then :

  cat confdefs.h - <conftest.$ac_ext
/* end confdefs.h.  */

int main() {
/* Work around Debian bug: it uses even though there was no such
   version on the master site */
  exit(strncmp(ZLIB_VERSION, "1.2.5", 5) < 0);

So it’s writing out a C program to verify the library. That’s when I saw it.

exit(strncmp(ZLIB_VERSION, "1.2.5", 5) < 0);

ZLIB_VERSION is “1.2.11”. So they are comparing the first 5 characters. So that means “1.2.1” vs “1.2.5” and as you can see “1.2.1” is LESS THAN “1.2.5”. Well that would be a problem and never work. So I tried fixing it by changing it to use 6 characters. Well, “1.2.11” in lexicographic order is before “1.2.5”. So that breaks too.

I know there has to be a better way, but since this isn’t my code I just wanted to it to build. I changed it to:

exit(strncmp(ZLIB_VERSION, "1.2.05", 6) < 0);

Why in the world would they use strncmp to compare versions? Aren’t there much better ways to determine libraries installed on a RHEL system? I was astounded this ever made it out to the wild.

vij update

Vij is a bash function that makes editing specific files easier to find in a deeply nested directory structure. At the time I was working in Java which is notorious for having a deep directory structure. In 2008, I updated vij to be more powerful by offering a list of files matching the name, giving you the option to make a choice.

Our current project is in Golang and I’ve found a deficiency in vij. We have a vendor directory which contains our dependencies and sometimes vij will find files in the vendor directory which I don’t want to edit. It would be nice to exclude a directory from the find command used by vij.

I always want to ignore the vendor directory. But I also want to allow arbitrary names to also be filtered out. The existing vij implementation results in the following crazy output.

$ vij util.go

Multiple matches found...
1: ./pkg/broker/util.go
2: ./pkg/fusortest/util.go
3: ./vendor/
4: ./vendor/
5: ./vendor/
6: ./vendor/
16: ./vendor/
108: ./vendor/
q: Quit


I just want to see the util.go files in my code tree and ignore all of the ones in vendor. I changed the dafiles variable to have two more options. One is always ignore vendor from the normal use case, but also allow the user to pass in a string to filter on.

    if [ "$3" == "" ]; then
        dafiles=$(find . -type f -name "$2" -not -path "*/vendor/*")
        dafiles=$(find . -type f -name "$2" | grep -v $3)

Now when I run vij util.go, vij ignores the vendor directory.

$ vij util.go

Multiple matches found...
1: ./pkg/broker/util.go
2: ./pkg/fusortest/util.go
q: Quit


Let’s say I want to find all files named User*.java but not the ones in the test directory. You can simply supply “test” as the second argument to vij.


$ vij User*.java

Multiple matches found...
1: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/permissions/
2: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/permissions/
3: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/
4: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/
5: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/model/
6: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/model/
7: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/resource/
8: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/service/
9: ./src/test/java/org/candlepin/auth/
10: ./src/test/java/org/candlepin/auth/permissions/
11: ./src/test/java/org/candlepin/model/
12: ./src/test/java/org/candlepin/resource/
q: Quit



$ vij User*.java test

Multiple matches found...
1: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/permissions/
2: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/permissions/
3: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/
4: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/auth/
5: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/model/
6: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/model/
7: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/resource/
8: ./src/main/java/org/candlepin/service/
q: Quit


Here’s the full implementation of the updated vij:

# reused by other commands that require a filename
__dafiles ()
    if [ "$3" == "" ]; then
        dafiles=$(find . -type f -name "$2")
        #dafiles=$(find . -type f -name "$2" -not -path "*/vendor/*")
        dafiles=$(find . -type f -name "$2" | grep -v $3)
    matches=$(echo $dafiles | gawk '{print NF}')

    case "$matches" in
           echo "No matches found"
           echo "Multiple matches found..."
           for option in $dafiles
              echo "$i: $option"
              i=`expr $i + 1`
           echo "q: Quit"
           read -p "? " ans
           if [ "q" == "$ans" ]; then
              show=$(echo $dafiles | gawk '{print $'$ans'}')

    if [ "" != "$show" ]; then
       $cmd $show

vij ()
    __dafiles "vim" $1 $2


Looking back through the past elections going back to the 1980 election of Reagan, I noticed something about the winners. All but one had charisma. Despite some candidates being more capable and experienced. The charismatic candidates were better able to rile up their voters to get them to come out and vote, coupled with particular pains felt by those particular voters.

Let’s take a look at the elections:

1980: Reagan vs Carter (incumbent)

We had an oil shortage, inflation was high, coupled with high unemployment. Trouble abroad with Iran (hostages), and some other factors. Reagan was a masterful orator and could communicate with the masses. He gains the nickname, “Great Communicator“. He is able to get everyone on his side, wins in a landslide 489-49 electoral votes. Charisma wins.

1984: Reagan (incumbent) vs Mondale 

The economy is doing better for some, I still heard rumblings of tough times from the lower middle class. AIDS epidemic is front and center in the news. The First Lady, Nancy, is out and about with say no to drugs campaign. Mondale is not a very exciting candidate and things weren’t “feeling” so bad for the incumbent president. But it is hard for Mondale to compete with the charisma of Ronald Reagan, being obliterated in the general election 525-13.  Charisma crushes it.

1988: Bush (HW) vs Dukakis

Ok this is the one election that I felt wasn’t really affected by charisma of the candidates. I mean Dukakis was short and didn’t have the “look” people wanted in a president. Bush is actually quite boring but he gets to ride on the coat tails of a hugely successful and charismatic Reagan. I used to say the Republicans screwed themselves when they passed the two-term limit amendment to prevent another FDR. I think Reagan would’ve easily won a third term. I guess they were protecting themselves from a possible third Clinton or Obama term in the future 🙂 I digress, Bush goes on to win 426-111. We have two pretty boring candidates, for this argument I will give Bush the charisma points. Charisma wins again.

1992: Clinton vs Bush (HW) (incumbent)

Ah my first election, I missed being able to vote in 1988 by a measly one year. So I was excited to begin the process of being able to vote. We’ve entered a new decade. Just coming off the Gulf War, some folks are upset that we went to war. Oil prices spiked in 1990 still fresh in minds. People are still talking about trickle down and supply side economics from the 80s not working for them. A charismatic southern democrat, Bill Clinton. He found a way to engage the young voters. He’s able to charm folks to a win over the incumbent President Bush. Clinton wins 370-168 even with a third party candidate in the mix. Charisma for the win.

1996: Clinton (incumbent) vs Dole

The economy is booming, the internet is opening to public, and gas prices were low, good ole $1 for a gallon. The Dow Jones was hovering in the 5000, by election time it had risen above 6000. Personally, just graduated college in 1995, got a good paying job as a software engineer. The administration wasn’t doing as well publicly though. Despite the scandals happening at the time, like the Lewinsky scandal, Clinton marches to a decisive 379-159 win over the experienced but less charismatic, Dole. Charisma 5 for 5 so far.

2000: Bush (Dubya) vs Gore

The new millennium. We survived the doom and gloom of the Y2K bug where the entire internet was going to just shutdown because of storing years as 2 digits instead of four, nothing happened 🙂 The Dow Jones is well into 10000.  Tech is moving a faster pace: Google, founded in 1998 and  Amazon, founded in 1994, are both thriving. This is the year I got married, relocated to North Carolina, got a new job, and bought our first house all in the span of 4 months. So the Clinton/Gore administration policies were serving me just fine. The rest of the country didn’t seem to agree with me, well they kind of did.  This would’ve been another case where the 22nd amendment hindered a possible third term, Clinton was still quite popular, with an approval rating of low to mid 60s. Despite his approval ratings, Gore was very boring. He was intelligent and a statesman but just bleh. In comes a cowboy, a president you could have a beer with, but has the rough and tough charisma people think we need. This was a devastating election because it was so hotly contested when CNN announces it for Gore only to retract it because of discrepancies in Florida. Ultimately, Bush wins the election 271-266. Cowboy charisma wins over boring statesman.

2004: Bush (incumbent) vs Kerry

Just 3 years after the worst attack on American soil, we are at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The economy isn’t fairing very well, after the dot com bust. Gas prices are rising, finally hitting $2. Bush has a pretty high approval rating, in the 60s, coming off his first term and his handling of September 11th. Remember, Bush was the cowboy. We put up John Kerry to be the opposing candidate. Kerry was a skilled politician, but not charismatic at all. He added John Edwards to his ticket which helped a little, but not enough to overcome the cowboy charisma of Bush. Bush wins 286-251. Charisma 7, boring 0.

2008: Obama vs McCain

In 2008, we are all annoyed at the high gas prices rising well past $3/gallon. Ravaged New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina which was hugely mismanaged, and Bush was blamed for it. The economy is doing poorly still reeling from the dot com bust and in the midst of what folks termed, The Great Recession. A young charismatic African-American, Barack Obama, rises from the Democratic party to round up millennials and minority groups with an easy to remember slogan: Yes We Can. Contrast this to McCain which many liberals seemed to like except when he was running for president, he became a different person to appeal to his base. He wasn’t very charismatic, which he tried to offset with his running mate, Palin. These two could not be more opposite. Obama wins 365-173 to become the first African-American president.

2012: Obama (incumbent) vs Romney

Two years after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passes, people are upset at being forced to get health care. The administration bailed out the auto industry, bailed out Wall Street, gas prices are still in the upper $3. But the economy has survived, the Dow Jones hit a low of 6627 in 2009. By 2012, it had rebounded back to 13000. Romney was a capable candidate, especially compared to Bush from 2000. He was a successful governor, he would’ve been a capable president. Romney was missing one thing, charisma. He was no match for Obama’s charismatic speeches. Obama wins the 2012 election, 332-206.

2016: Trump vs Clinton (Hillary)

We finally hit the present. Gas prices are back into the low $2 range. The Dow Jones has climbed above 18000. This was an election purely based on charisma. Donald Trump is able to rile up his base to get people voting. He did it in a different manner, a pretty nasty bully but behind all the nasty things he said, he did have a message that many folks heard. But the Democrats thought that an experienced candidate that could maneuver the intricacies of the presidencies would be enough to win. We missed one aspect, Hillary Clinton was a dud from a personality point of view. She always seemed fake, tried to hard to empathize and I believe that was truly her undoing. Trump wins 306-232. Charisma wins yet again.

I’m extremely disappointed in the outcome of this years election. I still believe that Hillary Clinton was a more qualified candidate. I think she would’ve been tougher than any man could ever hope to be. She would’ve been a hawk in the Oval Office. She just couldn’t convince the people of that, which is equally important.

I firmly believe it doesn’t matter how much you know and how capable a leader you could be, if you lack personality you will NOT win the presidency. You need to have the charisma to be able to rile up your voters in order to increase your turn out. That’s really all it takes now, in this age of social media.

Looking forward to 2018 mid-terms and 2020! I just pray to God that Trump doesn’t destroy everything before then.