[mythtv-users] Cox Communications has turned off Firewire output

Jay R. Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Wed Aug 29 18:53:16 UTC 2007

On Wed, Aug 29, 2007 at 10:51:04AM -0700, Tom Greer wrote:
>    On 8/29/07, Jay R. Ashworth <[1]jra at baylink.com> wrote:
>      Well, perhaps they need to put out an internal memo that says "please
>      don't tell customers incorrect things that will get us shut down by the
>      FCC".
>    The response I received from the Customer Support supervisor really
>    pissed me off. It was so different than any other interaction with
>    Cox, that I was truly surprised.

Cox is otherwise good?  :-)

Ok, ok; RoadRunner business is always good to me in Tampa Bay, too;
maybe it can happen.

>    He started by rather pompously telling me the firewire ports were
>    deactivated by a new software download to all set-top boxes.
>    Then, as we discussed the issue, he rambled a bit about:
>      * protecting the content of copyright holders
>      * that the USB and firewire ports being for Cox internal use only
>      * my attachment of unauthorized devices to the box being a violation
>      * that this was a "corporate" decision
>    This supervisor was obviously not surprised by my call.  He was aware, in
>    advance, of the action being taken.  While it did not appear that he was
>    reading a script, he was prepared.

That is odd, indeed.  I'd make a point of that in my communications.

>    He seemed ill-prepared for my quotation of FCC regulations.  At first he
>    stumbled a bit, then he decided he was safe to hide under the corporate
>    decision umbrella


>      > Well, I'm glad you have made progress with Cox. @#$%^&! Time Warner
>      > Cable out here in Los Angeles cut off Firewire back in January. It
>      > seems that they're using the same coders. :-(
>      I gave Snider a heads up on the thread here; he says "please do have
>      people send me their reports on these problems, in detail; the FCC
>      people get 'visibly angry' when they hear these things".
>      For whatever that's worth.  :-)
>              [2]jsnider at 1394ta.org
>    I do think that the fear of FCC reprisals is important. Obviously,
>    my email campaign to Cox Communication executives and managers got
>    attention. While they did not respond directly, I did get rapid
>    responses from the manager who oversees all of California and from
>    my local technical support team.

That's a good thing to hear.

>    And for what it's worth, also, I concur with those people who say
>      "don't cancel your service if you propose to make a fuss; you'll lose
>      standing"; they're probably right.
>    I agree that I need to remain a customer for now.
>    However, if Cox was not responsive, my primary concern is to find
>    a way to keep the MythTV system operational. I've invested a lot
>    of money building the system and my family is really happy (and
>    dependent) with the results. Additionally, from my experience as a
>    business manager, I know the most powerful customers are those who
>    are willing to vote with their dollars - and who have influence to
>    motivate others to follow. In that vein, whenever I am unhappy as
>    a customer, I get loud in a public forum, emphasize my long-term
>    happy customer status, register my present unhappiness and threaten
>    to take my business elsewhere. It is a very successful formula. I
>    would strongly recommend this strategy for all of the Time Warner
>    Cable customers in LA:

>      * Identify as many Time Warner Cable executives as possible.
>      Specifically seek those who have regulatory compliance
>      responsibility. The regulatory executives/managers are
>      key. If the FCC lowers the hammer, these people could
>      lose their jobs. You may need to make some telephone to
>      identify the right contacts. Here is a starting point -
>      this web page lists the three divisional presidents who
>      oversee Southern California and provides an email address:
>      [3]http://www.timewarnercable.com/SoCal/AboutUs/socalteam.html

>      * Make all of your initial contacts with Time Warner in writing.
>      Emphasize your long-term customer status. Be courteous and
>      professional. But be very specific about the FCC regulations
>      (quote the CFR that I noted in my opening post) and their
>      non-compliance. Do not threaten. Instead assume that some poorly
>      informed person at some lower level in Time Warner has made a
>      mistake and request their assistance to correct the situation.

And most importantly, remember this excellent general rule for
confrontational situations:

	"The first one who raises their voice, loses."

Treat this as a temporary inconvenience that you're sure comes from
someone's low-level ineptitude, that you're sure will be easily cleared
up as soon as it's escalated to the proper level, and you're likely to
get farther.

Play racquetball; get all that irk and annoyance out first.

>      * Write to all of the above committee members. Explain
>      the situation to them using the FCC regulations. Again be
>      professional and courteous. Tell them that you have been
>      unsuccessful in getting this resolved and request their
>      assistance. Attach a copy of your correspondence to Time Warner
>      from above.

Make sure it's clear to them that this function is important to you and
your family so as to make sure you're receiving all the entertainment 
you're paying for.  Try to sound as little like a geek as possible;
that people geeky on this sort of thing are opinion leaders tends to go
right past such people and their staffers.

>      * Write to the FCC as well. Attach copies of the correspondence
>      with Time Warner and the city of LA. Ask them to investigate.

Make sure, in all these cases, that you explain that there *is* an FCC
reg that's being violated, and what it is, and why it's important to
you.  People in the trenches may not have the 30,000 foot picture.

>    Finally, find others and get them to do the same. Avoid form
>    letters. Each person's correspondence needs to be unique. Boiler
>    plate type correspondence from customers is an instant turn-off. It
>    creates the appearance of manipulation by one or a small group - as
>    opposed to a groundswell of individuals who are upset.

Yup.  Don't let it look like astroturf.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                   Baylink                      jra at baylink.com
Designer                     The Things I Think                       RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates     http://baylink.pitas.com                     '87 e24
St Petersburg FL USA      http://photo.imageinc.us             +1 727 647 1274

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