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Larry the Cable Guy

Time Warner Cable pulled a fast one a few months ago. I have been using their cable service or their predecessor’s service since I moved into the house. I just had the basic cable plan (no cable box) but could get a few scattered HD channels that were paired alongside the standard definition versions. Also with the high numbered digital channels available on the new TV sets above the old broadcast group (the low numbers) I had some HD scattered in up there. All was well enough for me.

Then some marketing guru at Time Warner decided to move the HD channels to some 3 digit far away unreachable domain that REQUIRED the infamous cable box to receive.

Well, what use is a 48 inch high definition TV without HD channels to watch? I was doomed. The possession of a cable box was in the cards. I had to succumb. Nearly ten years without having to interface with “Larry the Cable Guy” was about to come to an end.

So after much delay and rescheduling appointments (without informing me), ” Larry1” showed up to “install” the box. Tough job but someone official has to plug in the cables. He earned his keep by replacing some perfectly functioning cable connectors on the cable. He says the company no longer “approves” the old style. I gave him the benefit on that one.

All seemed well and we started to enjoy the overpowering number of choices we now had in programming material. The HD channels were great. I was not given any information about the Motorola TV cable box so of course I looked it up on the Internet.  I think I know more about the box than most Larry’s.

About thirty days later we started to get really bad video and we were even loosing channels. I changed the box from RGB component cabling to HDMI. The HDMI was/is recommended to be the better choice. However, the deterioration of the cable service continued. I think it caused by sunspots (They cause radio frequency interference) as the trouble would mostly go away at night. It looked to me (as being a licensed radio operator for over 42 years) a deteriorating S/N (signal to noise) problem, linked to the sun. Not much I can do about that.

So we decided it was time to deal with a Larry again. Guess what. Time Warner has no direct way (live person) to contact to get service.  Get this… I had to enter into a chat session on line (like everyone in the world enjoys doing that) and engage in conversation with a computer program trying to act like a human. (Yes, really) I had to suffer though a full half hour session trying resets and checking/pulling plugs that I had already done many times. Finally the computer entity decides I need to have a service appointment.

Of course not immediately but she sets up for Larry2 to come out 3 days later.

Larry2 arrives right on schedule and of course proceeds to do all the “standard” things that were already attempted about 12 times previously. I just love the continuity. That’s OK because it was on his time and not mine. He was being thorough and that is actually commendable. I never believe anything until I check it out for myself.

His conclusion is the cable signal power level is too low. (Hmm… S/N ratio… a good Larry!)  Larry2 calls the cable head to boost the signal. Then he proceeds to “hang out” around his truck for about an hour. He crawls under his truck for awhile, flops out across the seats for awhile, generally just wasting time. I wasn’t home so Gloria calls me to describe what’s happening or rather not happening. We think he was looking for a cool place to snooze.

Actually I assume he was waiting for a call from someone at the front end that the line power was increased. I leave work early but he finishes before I get home. He told Gloria the cable is now fixed (he must have got the call for which he was waiting) but said another “Larry” (#3?) would show up to (he said set) or check the outdoor power level.

When I pulled in the driveway, Larry3 was getting out of his truck. He opened the cable termination curb box, yanked out the cables and threw up his hands as if in disgust. I knew what his problem was.  I have two cable feeds into my house. One for the TV and another for the Internet modem the cable company put in about 8 years ago. There is a signal splitter in the curb box for line #2.

Every Larry seems to think this splitter is a problem, like I am stealing cable or something (It is how that is done). So they have to call “someone” just to find out it is OK. Larry1 did that, and then installed a new splitter when he replaced the cable ends. So gosh, it must be in the records somewhere.

Meanwhile, because of his actions, I briefly explain to Larry3 the paragraph above. He attaches a meter for a minute or so, then packs up and leaves. I guess I have more power now. Larry3 doesn’t know how to talk to paying customers.

The TV is working great and after I reset the Internet modem a few times, it is working well too. All is well but it sure makes for a hell of a complicated procedure to receive a simple fix. KISS, just “Git-R-Done!”  Remember, the more complex the system, the more effort is required to maintain it.

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