In a previous blog post Netflix Short Changes Mac Users, I reported that Mac users were being shortchanged membership privileges that only PC users were able to access. Specifically, online movie viewing. Mind you that both PC and Mac users pay the same monthly Netflix service fee, but only the PC users received the benefit of such services. This has been a sore spot for Mac users, myself included. At the time of my original post, I complained to Netflix, as did many other Mac users to no avail. However all that is about to change for us Mac users. Thanks to Apple's new iTunes features, iTunes users (Mac AND PC) can rent movies and watch them via online streaming. And the online streaming works on Macs, PC's, your TV using Apple TV, iPods and your iPhone. How's that for a delivery vehicle?
It's true that Apple will have some catching up to do in the selection department, but I'll be happy to pay only for what I watch and not a penny more.
I predict that Netflix will soon suffer a backlash from Mac users who have grown tired of waiting for services we were promised and services that we paid for, but never received. And I won't feel sorry about it, because Netflix should have had the business acumen to see it coming.
Hats off to Apple for their continuous strive for perfection and innovation.
Photo above owned by Apple, Inc. Visit apple at: http://www.apple.com for details.
During the summer, I finally broke down and decided to give Netflix a try. While 98% of my TV watching has come from iTunes, with a small portion coming from abc.com, I have friends who subscribe to Netflix and enjoy the convenience of getting movies in the mail.
Overall, I have liked the Netflix service. It's convenient, if I keep my queue updated with what I'd like to watch after I return my current selections. Netflix has a great selection, especially TV shows from the past that I somehow seem to get sucked into watching. Admittedly, I do find it a bit limiting when I'm in the mood to watch something on a Wednesday night, and my movies won't arrive until Friday. However, that's where the Netflix streaming service comes into play. Some plans are allotted a certain number of hours of video viewing, via web streaming, to your computer, etc. So one Wednesday night, tired, but in the mood to watch a movie, I thought I'd give Netflix online viewing a try. No luck! Why? NetFlix doesn't support streaming for Macintosh platforms.
I find this completely mind boggling, ridiculous, and it pisses me off!
1) How could Netflix ignore the 3rd largest manufacturer in the computer market (and gaining ground, every year)? I would think that there is a decent slice of Mac traffic to profit from, and because Macs just magically work, streaming media would be a welcomed option. I would understand if Netflix touted itself as a Microsoft shop, but this isn't the case, and Netflix is supposed to be user and platform friendly.
2) My Netflix plan INCLUDES 17 hours of online viewing. 17 hours that I pay for -- every month -- but that I can't use. I pay the same price as PC users, but I'm getting short-changed 17 viewing hours a month. Over a year, this adds up to 204 hours (or 8 days)! Whether, or not, I use the 17 hours a month, isn't the point.
It's not right, nor fair, that a company charges for a service that it cannot deliver, and I think Netflix needs to adjust their pricing plans accordingly.
I called Netflix and filed a complaint. The Technical Support Representative was very nice, explained they've gotten complaints about this issue, and that "hopefully, after the first of the year this would be fixed". They couldn't provide a timeline of what "next year" meant. Hmmm, they are aware that there is a problem, they've been receiving complaints, yet no resolution is in sight, and customers are getting lip service; "hopefully," and "sometime," after the first of the year. At the conclusion of my phone call with Netflix, the support person (embarrassingly) admitted that Mac users, indeed, were getting the short end of the stick.
So why isn't Netflix agressively doing something about their inability to deliver advertised services? If they can't deliver their streaming service to non-PC users until (maybe) after the first of the year, why can't Netflix adjust their service plan pricing NOW?
I might also state that this is a hot topic on the Netflix Community Blog, with over 250 comments.
Because Netflix clearly understands that there is a problem, yet they aren't motivated to do the right thing by their customers, I'm convinced their inaction has to do with financial gains, combined with the fact that they are certain that their customers will just live with it. I don't know about other customers, but I'm getting the same bad, after-taste in my mouth that I got with the Verizon debacle, where Verizon, too, intentionally ripped off their customers. And we know that ended -badly- because customers fought back.
It's unfortunate that once a company proves that they care more about their bottom line, than they do about the customers who support that bottom line, I tend not to want to support them at all.
Sorry Netflix, until customer satisfaction is number 1 on your list, I'm off your list!
It's never a god idea to harbor ill feelings, because usually I find such feelings raise no one's blood pressure but my own. But sometimes, as a consumer, it feels really good to kick a company where it hurts the most: their revenue stream!
No cell phone service provider is perfect. I've never heard anyone say they love their cell phone service, and I think, as a lot, they pretty much all suck. I do confess, that before my run-in with Verizon, I was quite pleased with the signal quality & coverage, but that changed once I purchased the Motorola V710 Bluetooth phone. I bought this phone to work with my in car stereo system. When I purchased the phone, I specifically asked if the phone's Bluetooth was fully compatible with my car system (note that the car was on order and had not yet arrived, so I couldn't test it first). I was told it was fully compatible & I would be able to use all the Bluetooth capabilities; connect the phone to my car via Bluetooth, including transferring my phonebook to allow hands-free calling.
Two weeks after I purchased the phone there was a class-action lawsuit filed against Verizon in the state of California (where I live), for disabling the Bluetooth functionality; the SAME functionality that allows file transfers, including the transfer of the phone book to the car. While this may appear to be an extravagance, I have to tell you that I have a long-distance commute, and a need to be on the phone more than I'd like. I hate wrestling with headsets, the old-fashioned cord style, or Bluetooth Star Trek looking devices that you wear on your ear. They're annoying and look ridiculous (people, you really DON'T look cool driving, or walking around with a blinking device hanging off your ear. No one is impressed, I assure you). So having your phonebook displayed on your GPS screen where you merely need to select who you want to call with a single touch, the phone dials the selected number, and you hear a "hello" through your car stereo is a really GREAT thing! It's also safer than looking down at your phone instead of looking at the road! But thanks to Verizon's deception, this capability was not functional, even though I was told it was (and paid a higher price for the phone).
I wrote the president of Verizon, as well as their customer service department and I filed a complaint with the FCC. I did get a return phone call from Verizon (the very next day), assuring me that they valued my business and to "hang in there" with them. As I had been a Verizon customer for many years, and my cell phone service was limited because I live in a remote area, I did hang in there with them.
Verizon lost the class-action lawsuit, and customers were able to return the phone for refunds, or get another phone (which was a useless offer because they had no intention of enabling the functionality they intentionally removed). I felt frustrated in having been deceived, and I felt held hostage by the fact that there really weren't any choices based on where I live and my driving route to work.
After 2 long years, another option finally arrived! The Apple iPhone, using Cingular cell service. Long story short, everything worked as expected, and I get good coverage where I live and en route to work.
I found it interesting that as soon as Apple had announced the iPhone, I got calls and text messages with "special deals" from Verizon. I even got coupons in the mail (free phone anyone?).
Hmm ... Verizon wasn't worried were they?
As I cancelled my Verizon service, I also sent a letter. And I sent it every which way that I could: email, paper, sent to their president, their customer service, etc. And I have to say, IT FELT DAMNED GOOD to get this off my chest! Since I have sent my written correspondence, I have not heard a peep from Verizon. Of course, what they don't know is that my husband, currently a Verizon customer, will also be canceling his service. Between the 2 of us, we've supported Verizon profits quite nicely. But that was then and this is now.
It may seem, sometimes, that one person doesn't make a difference, kind of like a snowflake seems insignificant, because it's only a single snowflake. But eventually snowflakes add up and you can end up with a blizzard.
As I can't help resist yet another opportunity to share my Verizon experience, here is the letter I wrote them.
In the past, I have always been very happy with Verizon service. I have always been able to get a dial tone and that is why I had been a Verizon customer for so long.
However, ever since you deliberately disabled the Bluetooth functionality on your Motorola V710 phone, I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth. I was sold this phone under false pretenses, just as many other Verizon customers were. You, Verizon had the chance to do the right thing, which would have been to re-enable the functionality and ability to transfer files as Bluetooth was designed. But you didn’t. You waited until you lost a class-action lawsuit and then allowed people to trade in the phone. But you really didn’t make things right in the eyes of your customers. People like me. And the fact that you deliberately deceived your customers in the first place is really unforgivable.
I have waited 2 very long years in order to pay you back for your taking advantage of me. Two long years, where I’ve had nothing but a very expensive, $45,000.000 speaker-phone parked in my garage, which in all actuality should have allowed me true “hands free calling”.
The Apple iPhone is out and it uses Cingular service exclusively. And I am very happy, ecstatic in fact, to tell you to take your cellular phone service and your crappy, crippled Motorola Bluetooth phone and stick them both up your ass!
Verizon, Can you hear me now?
Why do people think that it’s OK for their dogs to bark for hours on end, day or night, at nothing but the wind? I’ve had many dogs over the years and I have trained each one so that they bark at intruders, or something that is out of the norm, instead of barking for the sheer hell of it.
About 8 years ago a neighbor of ours had a dog that would bark from 5 pm to midnight, every single night. I could tell when the guy got home because the dog would quiet suddenly. I left him a nice note, letting him know that the dog was barking, and could he please help us out by quieting the dog. The note was nice. But then 2 weeks went by and the barking continued, and my subsequent note was a little less neighborly (but I still used “please” and “thank you”). Admittedly, the last note I sent over was rather hostile, citing the dates and times of the barking. I had also tried calling the doofus on the phone. His response: “Dogs are supposed to bark.” I explained that yes, dogs do bark, but “trained” dogs bark only when something is out of sorts. They aren’t meant to bark for 6 hours straight at the sound of wind blowing or out of liking the sound of their own bark! His next argument was that we live in the country, which made it OK for his dog to bark. I explained that was precisely why I moved to the country, to avoid the neighborhood noise, including barking dogs. At the end of our conversation I explained to him that I was prepared to take this all the way with Animal Control and I asked him if he was aware that after the 3rd call he could be fined and if the barking still persisted, he could lose the dog. The dimwit still didn’t quite grasp the concept. Eventually, after a several months of working with Animal Control (and I had admittedly became quite grumpy from the lack of sleep) the guy decided to give his dog to a friend who owned 20 acres of land. The dog could run free and bark all day and all night to its heart’s content. I felt bad (for all of 30 seconds) and then decided that it was his preference to give up the dog rather than train it. Not my problem.
I have family in Oregon (the irritation to dog barking is obviously hereditary) who had such a bad problem with a barking dog that they took the owners to court where the judge ordered them to train the dog and charged them $500.00. Months went by and nothing had changed, so they went to court again. Another $500.00 fine to the owners of the dog. The judge told them next time they’d have to have the dog “debarked” (severing the vocal chords to eliminate the barking). Three months later that’s exactly what happened. Adding insult to injury the owner of the dog went out and bought another dog. A puppy, I think. While it did bark here and there, and there were a few phone calls back and forth, the problem never escalated to what it had been with the first dog. All in all, for my family to get a little quiet it was a long and painful process. They had to keep a journal of the dates and times of the barking, prove that it was this man’s dog that was barking (on video tape), they also had to have witnesses sign a petition, not to mention all the phone calls to Animal Control who is always understaffed. Going to court wasn’t exactly on their top 10 list of things to do either. What’s really sad is that animals pay for human stupidity.
As for my story, it’s one down, and one to go! There is one more barking dog that drives us crazy. The owner (RB) lives down at the end of the road. We asked one of our neighbors if he knew who owns the dog that barks every night from 6 to 11 pm, and he merely grunted, not really giving up any information. Obviously he was playing the “I’m an idiot card,” because he lives right next door to the offender, which was why I had decided to ask him in the first place. Mind you the man I asked has a newborn baby, and I would think between the baby and barking dog he wasn’t getting much sleep. I would have hoped that he would have welcomed some help. After additional investigation (including trekking down a dark dirt road by myself with nothing but a flashlight), it appears to be common knowledge among the mountain people at the end of the road that RB’s dog barks EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I don’t have the full history, such as whether anyone has ever talked to RB about his dog, or made him aware of the fact that the barking is worse when he’s gone for the evening (he’s a single guy, so he’s gone most evenings).
My dilemma: Do I send a nice note over explaining the obvious, or do I call Animal Control and let them deal with it? I hate to call Animal Control and cause trouble, and I would much prefer to be a nice neighbor, but then again, I went through so much with one numb-nut already, I hate to go through all of this again. While there are some general guidelines about dealing with these scenarios, they are usually time-consuming.
How is it that someone is completely oblivious to the fact that they own a dog that barks constantly? He must hear the barking when he drives up his dirt road, right? And wouldn’t at least one of the many neighbors who live close by (closer than even myself) have said something since this has been going on for years, as I understand it? Can people really sleep through all that barking? Am I the only person in which constant, repetitive dog barking sends me reeling? Please don’t suggest hypnosis, or something similar because it doesn’t work. The noise drives me crazy. Not all noises, just barking dogs. I’ve laid awake many nights thinking of revenge: Taping the barking dog and then calling the owner at 4:00 am and playing it into the phone, or on his answering machine. Maybe a cheap boom box with the volume turned on high, blasting his dogs barking on his doorstep at 2:00 am? I found websites dedicated to revenge for owners of non-stop barking dogs. Most of them, I wouldn’t consider (I love animals, and I’m not about to hurt one even if it does keep me up all night --- now maybe tossing a “laced” piece of beef to the owner might be more like it). Just kidding! Really (no hate mail please)!
I don’t know why it is that most people who live in the country have big dogs and big dogs that love to bark (why don’t they investigate dogs that are prone to incessant barking before they buy them?). Come on people, if you’re going to have a dog, be responsible! Love your dog; play with your dog, but most importantly TRAIN YOUR DOG! And for those of you with big, barking dogs who live in the country, please remember that there is a reason that most of us choose to move out of the city (paying penance every day with our long commute times into the city for work) and the reason we’re willing to pay the price isn’t just for the trees and fresh air. We like to come home to peace and (drum roll please) QUIET!
When your dog(s) start paying taxes as I do, then maybe we can talk about your dog’s rights, including the right to bark for hours on end, day and night. Until then, shut them up. PLEASE!
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