Friday, 23 August 2013

By on August 23rd, 2013 in science kits

08:55 – Time-Warner Cable just raised the stakes in its month-long dispute with CBS. TWC now offers a free set of rabbit ears to any TWC subscriber in areas that are affected by the CBS blackout.

I really wish that TWC, Comcast, and the other cable TV companies would start playing hardball with the networks and affiliates, whose demands for high payments to allow the cable TV companies to carry their free OTA signals is nothing but a money grab. The cable TV companies should simply tell ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC that in future they will pay zero to carry those signals. If the networks and affiliates don’t agree, fine. The cable TV companies will simply drop their signals. Given that something like 85% of the population watches those signals on cable TV, will the networks and affiliates really be willing to risk losing 85% of their audiences? I don’t think so. As to subscribers, TWC has the right answer. Give them a free set of rabbit ears.

We’re still building and shipping science kits, anything from two or three a day to five or six a day. We’ve already exceeded last year’s total sales, with more than a week left in August. Not to mention September through December, which last year accounted for about 48% of the total year’s sales. We’re getting low on the subassemblies we need to build more chemistry and biology kits, so this weekend we’ll do a batch of 60 or 90 biology small parts bags and 120 chemistry small parts bags.

22 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 23 August 2013"

  1. CowboySlim says:

    I saw that yesterday and decided to get rabbit ears today. However, in today’s paper it notes limited quantities of free rabbit ears at TWC offices but $20 off at Best Buy.

    How times have changed. When the first dug up our street two decades ago, the OTA channels were afraid that cable connections would replace twin lead, 300 ohm connections from rabbit ears. Consequently, they convinced governmental authorities to mandate that cable providers transmit OTA signals as part of the free package. Now, CBS local affiliate wants (I think) $2 per month per subscriber.

    I’ll post back after my rabbit ear run.

  2. CowboySlim says:

    Regarding my local alternative, Verizon, how I hate them. Twice my service was interrupted due two payment forgetfulness on my part once with each:
    Verizon: 10 hours to restore landline service after paying bill online with a $20 reconnect fee ($10 for solder and $20 for screwdriver rental?).
    TW Cable: Service restored with 10 seconds after reading credit card number to TW rep still on phone and no reconnect fee.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I got an email disconnect notice the other day from TWC, saying that we hadn’t paid our bill. I called Barbara at work, and she had me look through her files. The bill in question wasn’t there, so obviously it was lost in the mail. She called the 800 number, gave them her credit card number to pay the outstanding bill, and that was it.

  4. Miles_Teg says:

    If you use rabbit ears is the picture any good? I have an antenna on the roof and the picture’s fine. I think rabbit ears look naff.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Depends on where you are relative to the broadcast antenna. Digital TV has much, much shorter range than analog. Of course, all the local affiliates built their broadcast towers way back in analog days, so when the transition to DTV occurred, many areas that formerly got strong analog signals found they had very weak digital signals.

    Two of our local affiliates, NBC and PBS, have their towers on Sauratown Mountain, which is something like 18 miles north of our house. One of our neighbors dropped cable TV and bought one of those $70 indoor antennas at Wal-Mart. They could get only NBC and PBS, and the picture quality was crap. The other network affiliates have their towers about 30 miles southeast of our house. To get them, we’d need the biggest, most expensive roof antenna. (I think they’re color-coded purple.) We’d also need a rotor, with half the stations north of us and the other half southeast.

    Incidentally, back when TV was still analog, we could have gotten all of these stations with a decent set of rabbit ears.

  6. Lynn McGuire says:

    Great advice when you shoot someone in self defense:

    Always assume that you are are video. Always scream don’t come towards me before you shoot. And do your double tap quickly.

    And live in the Great State of Texas.

  7. OFD says:

    Good advice. I have zero sympathy for the shooter in this case; you do not shoot fleeing burglars/thieves in the back as they are fleeing and are no danger to you or anyone else at that point. Period. And it’s obvious that he did his double-tap and then applied a coup de grace later, which is total bullshit. Who the fuck does this retard bastard think he is? He clearly just wanted to waste somebody and here was a golden opportunity. As DA, Texas or not, I would have charged his ass to the max and looked for some prison time.

    If one or both perps are rushing him with a crowbar and not stopping, fine, drill ’em. But this whole deal was wrong.

  8. OFD says:

    News from Oz:

    “In 1996 Australia unloaded some of the most severe gun bans and gun confiscation programs on record. And for the guns that were not confiscated gun owners were forced to enter into license agreements and have their guns registered so the government knew what guns everyone had.”

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Two directional antennas coupled should also work and be cheaper and less hassle than a rotor.

    Yeah, but we need a top-of-the-line antenna to get a good signal in either direction. One of those isn’t cheap, let alone two. And then there’s installation.

    Oh, sorry. I just checked AntennaWeb, which is more pessimistic than when I checked it a year ago. Back then, it said we’d need a purple-class antenna, but could get something like nine stations, including ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS, NBC, and several independents. Now it says we need only a yellow-class antenna, but we can get only two stations, PBS and NBC. If we want to get six stations, we’d need a purple-class antenna and we’d have to build a 30+ foot (10 meter) tower to put it on.

  10. MrAtoz says:

    Fort Hood shooter found guilty on all charges. I hope they go for the death penalty. They still have an Ole’ Sparky at Leavenworth they could wire up. Firing squad: start with the kneecaps and work up. Hanging: make it a loose noose.

    No death penalty: dry shave him every day and feed him pig products only.

    Oh, yeah, did you notice it only took a day for deliberation, yet years to get to trial. Thanks Obummer for workplace violence.

  11. CowboySlim says:

    Back with my free RCA model ANT108 rabbit ears. I’ll see how they work in a while. TW Cable also giving us Tennis channel, not in our package, for no extra charge during the US Open. Might watch it but hardly can stand the incessant jabber and yakkity-yak from McEnroe. He is as bad, if not worse, than typical baseball yappers.

  12. OFD says:

    OK, Fort Hood shooter is guilty and either capital or MrAtoz’s suggestion is good. But I want the bastards who supervised this officer and promoted him and let all his hadji bullshit slide all those years. I want them at Leavenworth, busted to the ranks, busting rocks, and no tee-vee, web-sites or conjugal visits, twenty to thirty, mimimum. As accessories to murder, and whatever else. No Bibles, either; they can study the Q’ur’an with Nation of Islam preachers.

  13. CowboySlim says:

    Rabbit ears are not worthwhile in my area, total snow on all but one channel and that one is 90% snow.

    Regarding the Fort Hood shooter: I agree totally with OFD.

  14. Roy Harvey says:

    If you can get a decent broadcast signal for your digital TV you may find that there are extra channels available – say 24.1, 24.2, etc. I’ve seen stations with as many as three programs at once.

  15. Miles_Teg says:

    How far are you from the transmitter Slim?

  16. jim` says:

    I’m with Roy. I “cut the cord” long ago, but Comcraptic still sends a feed to the TV through the cable even though I’m on an “Internet only” plan. My TV, though old (2006?) has a QAM (?) receiver, and I think that’s the crucial thing.

    They switch the frequencies around every so often, so I have to go through an hour of letting the TV update itself, but when it’s done I get some local channels, plus a lot of home shopping channels.

    If I’d bother to write them down and check I might find something worth watching.

  17. Lynn McGuire says:

    Don’t forget about the virtual tv antennas for $8/month with DVR service at

    They cover NYC, Boston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City now with 26 more cities planned by the end of the year, Houston being one of those.

  18. OFD says:

    I checked that antenna site a while back and we is just SOOL up here for any tee-vee reception other than cable, which just breaks my wittle haht. Closest stations that were even possible are in the Vampire State across the Lake; Burlap is only thirty miles south but no dice, only intermittent possibilities. So I guess we is just stuck with Netflix and DVDs. So sad. Can’t watch the vastly entertaining and educational nightly dramas and hilarious comedies and the most wonderful news networks ever devised by mankind, etc., etc. our most grievous and terrible loss.

    For nooz, stuck with internet and furrin shortwave radio. When the Grid collapses, only the shortwave as long as we have batteries. Then back to smoke signals, maybe snail mail via hoss & carriage. We won’t give a shit; got enough books to last us until the end and plenty to do outdoors; rest of world can go to Hell.

    55 here and down to 45 tonight they say; leaves are turning faster now, Autumn iss icumen in, lude sing hooray! That was close to Middle English; let’s try German:

    Der Herbst ist in den kommenden, laut singen hurra!

    Mrs. OFD is in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, near Fort Walton Beach, for the weekend furlough, and then returns to serve the rest of her sentence in Montgomery, AL next week. Very close to our annual ACA reunion festivities, coming up in October; can’t make it this year, but she wants us to go next year, before everybody croaks. Already lost General Heine Aderholt and Lao General Van Pao recently; here’s an interesting video:

  19. Lynn McGuire says:

    I checked that antenna site a while back and we is just SOOL up here for any tee-vee reception other than cable, which just breaks my wittle haht. Closest stations that were even possible are in the Vampire State across the Lake;

    Dude, you are at the edge of the world. I am surprised that you have anything better than a taut string and an old soup can.

    got enough books to last us until the end

    If books were all you need then I’ve got about 400 in my SBR. Enough to last me until the end for sure. And then there are the rereads. And the daughter made me take her to B&N last Sunday afternoon where I picked up a few more. And the wife is beginning to notice my Amazon habit of these weekly deliveries of new books.

    I was very proud of myself when we moved back in Feb. I gave away almost 100 books to the library. Don’t worry, I have replaced them all and maybe a few more.

    *SBR = Strategic Book Reserve

    55 here and down to 45 tonight they say

    We may be down to 75 F tonight. We were up to 97 F this afternoon. And we have a tropical storm forming in the Gulf to throw about 10 inches of rain on us Monday. Please.

  20. Chuck W says:

    Antennae at the transmitters are the problem in digital TV. They knew things were not working out well during the testing period, but went ahead with it anyway over many tech objectors. On the other hand, this is exactly what analog TV went through in the early years. Transmitting antenna technology improved by a quantum over the course of 15 years or so. Same is likely to happen with digital (but that is no promise from me). Everyone I know who does not use cable or has both cable and OTA antenna, has problems with OTA digital TV. We are not getting a better system than we had—which just about describes every avenue of life at this point in time. Rabbit ears and indoor antennas simply will not work well at this stage of the game, even if you live only miles from the transmitters.

    In my view, the cable industry is in exactly the same spot as radio. Both know they are in serious trouble and probably near the end of the proverbial line. But industry owners being huge, mega-corporate giants, they are just going to suck it for everything they can between now and death. Don’t look for anything creative that will benefit you and me. The local cable companies around me utterly refuse to break out services. You want cable Internet here in Tiny Town? You will be paying for cable TV too, whether you want it or not.

  21. OFD says:

    If that ever becomes the case here, where we’re gonna be forced to pay for a bundle of shit we don’t want, then we’ll bow out of the whole enchilada altogether and stick to books and shortwave radio and DVDs. There ain’t a whole lot worth watching anymore from any source, so fah as I’m concerned.

Comments are closed.