Tuesday, 6 January 2015

07:45 – Kit sales are starting slowly this year. We’ve sold only half a dozen so far, which is actually fortunate. Our current inventory on the CK01A chemistry kits is down to -1 and we have only half a dozen of the BK01 biology kits in stock. So I’m building another batch of the chemistry kits today and will then get started on another batch of biology kits.

Our component inventory system failed again yesterday, but this time in a good way. Many of our kits include wide-range pH test paper. We used to include a vial in the kits, but last year the price more than doubled. So I decided to start packaging the stuff ourselves, ordering the paper in sheets with separate color key cards, and making it up in coin envelopes. That was actually cheaper for us, even counting labor to make them up, and it provides more than three times as much test paper per kit. A win-win.

We make up 400 sets at a time. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that we were getting low. It didn’t seem that we should have gone through 400 sets that quickly, but I went ahead and re-ordered enough of the test paper sheets and color key cards for another 400 sets. That order arrived yesterday, just as I found 200 sets already made up that I’d misplaced. Oh, well. We’ll use 600 sets up quickly enough.


12:44 – I see that DISH is now offering live TV streaming, including ESPN and ESPN2. The price is a rip-off, $20/month/user for channels that are ad-supported. A tenth that price would still have been too much, but I suspect a lot of sports fans will now be dropping their cable TV service in favor of 100% streaming, perhaps supplemented with an antenna for local broadcasts. For $5/month additional, DISH will offer an add-on group of sports channels, which should be more than enough for anyone.

A lot of people subscribe to cable TV service only because that’s been the only way they could get live sports. Crappy though the deal is, this should result in a lot of them bagging cable TV completely. This is the first crack in the dike, and I expect we’ll see it widening over the next year or so. Just as there’s no longer any need for local broadcast TV channels, there’s no longer any need for cable TV service. Broadband Internet does it all, as it should.

15 thoughts on “Tuesday, 6 January 2015”

  1. Broadband Internet does it all, as it should.

    Except caps on broadband per month will protect the broadcasters. If I were to stream what I watch I would quickly exceed our limits.

  2. If I were to stream what I watch I would quickly exceed our limits.

    There is that. My cap with my Cox plan is 300G/mo. I exceed that now and then, but they haven’t enforced it. Just tried to sell me a higher plan via a “warning” email.

  3. Centurylink here in Vegas has fiber and can match my Cox broadband. But when I ask what their broadband would be if I add the same TV plan, broadband drops below what I get with Cox. I don’t have the top tier with Cox, either.

  4. I have no idea if we have a cap or not. Netflix HD streaming at top quality is only 3 GB/hour, so even if we average four hours a night for a month that’s only 360 GB.

  5. I have Comcast and my limit is 300 GB a month. With my wife and I watching different programs exceeding the 300 GB would happen about the 20th of the month. Caps were not put in place to “protect the network”, caps were put in place to protect the broadcast revenue. Comcast owns NBC and several other media producers. Comcast does not want people ignoring those broadcast partners while people cherry pick what they want to watch.

    If enough people start streaming and ESPN finds out how few people really care about watching their programming, ESPN would not be so greedy. But because a few low brow cretins like their sports, Comcast carries ESPN and passes the cost on to everyone, even those who do not watch sports.

    As streaming becomes more popular broadband providers will find more ways to restrict the streaming and their revenue stream.

  6. Speaking of streaming, Netflix recently started in Switzerland. I find it, um, fascinating that you are only allowed to see the selection they have on offer *after* you enter your payment method. Which I haven’t done.

    It turns out that their selection is pretty meager, especially where movies are concerned. Just over 1100 films, but that includes everything from “Mary Poppins” to a documentary on some national park in Costa Rica. Very little new; heck, not even the original Star Wars from 1976.

    Undoubtedly it’s the movie studios playing stupid IP games. What a shame…

  7. I haven’t bothered, but there are a couple of IP-spoofing services designed to work with Netflix. You simply tell them what country you want Netflix to think you’re in and then when your Netflix menu comes up you see what’s on offer for that country.

  8. I see that DISH is now offering live TV streaming, including ESPN and ESPN2. The price is a rip-off, $20/month/user for channels that are ad-supported.

    http://blog.chron.com/techblog/2015/01/dish-offers-espn-cnn-food-network-in-sling-cord-cutting-online-tv-service/

    I’ve been predicting this for quite a while along with millions of others. I wonder if all the DishTV channels will be available soon for the service? I see that local channels will not be available. I do not see a DVR in the offering so time shifting may be difficult.

    I wonder when DirecTV will respond? I read an article recently where they estimated that the DirecTV satellite bandwidth is running about 7? GB/sec. I’m not sure that the internet could handle that. Yet.

    Netflix is building an ad network:
    http://www.cringely.com/2014/12/01/tv-3-0-already/

  9. I’ve also been wondering when Netflix will stream broadcast shows like ESPN. That may be why they are building an ad network.

  10. Charter in my area has no caps. At one time they threatened a 250 GB cap, but shock of shocks they listened to their customers. Charter has actually been pretty good, better than reports in other parts of the country. The sad part is if that merger of Time Warner and Comcast goes through, for some stupid reason Charter in our area ends up becoming Comcast. That would be a disaster for us. Our only hope is that the regulators are not happy with their payoff.

    Regarding streaming services, I have found that the Android Apps do not seem to work reliably whereas the Apple Apps do.

  11. Just rewired all the damn electrical and internet connections with our living room “media center” and all is finally well, including Roku channels, media on this Winblows PC, Netflix, and the Comcast channels. Kind of a drag, as the song goes.

    Now screwing around with getting the PC-BSD laptop working on the network here. No joy so fah, but in progress. It’s ethernet hardwired right now, too.

    And the official weather liar word here for tonight, tomorrow and Thursday morning: winter weather alert/advisory: wind chill factuh now has us down to 30-40 below zero Farenheit. That’s right, there are zeroes with those numbers; it ain’t just 3-4 below, but ten times that. Eyeball fluid- and snot-freezing air. It ain’t tee shirt wearin’ weather no mo’ here.

  12. Thank goodness ol’ Ted had the wisdom and foresight to get this established!

    Was this not what the ship’s band was playing when the Titanic sank?

  13. Just for laffs I tried the PBS channel on Roku to watch yesterday’s NewsHour and it kicked off with a commercial for the IBEW and then it just looped continuously and that’s as far as I got. Buh-bye!

    The gun channel was stalled at the opening screen. Buh-bye!

    And ya gotta watch whatever’s live streaming on Fox and RT. Buh-bye!

    PC-BSD would not see/operate the hardwired-to-the-router network connection. Buh-bye! Now putting Fedora 20-1 on that laptop.

    Watched first episode of Season One of “Blacklist.” Looks pretty good, very fast-paced and the great James Spader stars.

  14. If enough people start streaming and ESPN finds out how few people really care about watching their programming, ESPN would not be so greedy.

    ESPN knows exactly how many sets are tuned to their shows (the cable companies know, so ESPN knows), and has estimates of how many butts are in front of the TVs. The NCAA football playoff semi-finals had a 15 rating and over 28 million viewers. That’s about 1/4 the viewers of the Super Bowl. It’s a huge audience.

    I see that DISH is now offering live TV streaming, including ESPN and ESPN2. The price is a rip-off, $20/month/user for channels that are ad-supported.

    Well, ESPN charges cable companies to run their networks. I’ve heard it’s about $5 per subscriber/month. The Mouse knows they have a lock on sports and aren’t shy about exploiting it. Sports is the “killer app” for live TV right now.

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