Beware: Comcast hidden set up fees


Comcast bill including installation & set up fees

What you can expect on your first Comcast TV and Internet bill

Becky and I moved to Berkeley, California. Since you can’t transfer your Comcast TV and internet between states, we signed up for the Comcast Blast! promotion. I wrote this part down when I talked to the sales agent: $49.99/mo for internet and 50 digital channels for 6 months – no contract. When asked about installation fees, I was told there is a $50 one time installation fee, and an additional $10/mo WiFi router rental fee.

The image here is of my first bill as a new Comcast customer in California. I talked to 2 agents on the phone. The first, José, said that the Wireless Network SET Up (which was not a separate trip) was supposed to be included in the Install Fee – Internet. Makes sense.

The second agent, Kimberly, who was supposed to remove the charge not only did not remove the charge, but she explained the rest of the “Other Charges & Credits” to me. First, understand that this bill is correct as far as Comcast is concerned. There is no other way to describe it other than purposefully and negligently cryptic.

Here’s what it doesn’t say, and what is not disclosed when you buy the Blast! promotion:

  • $49.95 video installation fee
  • $20 cable installation fee
  • $49.95 internet installation fee
  • $20 internet activation fee
  • $50 wireless network set up fee
That’s a total of $189.90 in installation fees – and you’re supposed to be able to get that from the bill. Needless to say, I would NEVER have considered Comcast in light of these fees.
I will be canceling my account, demanding a refund, and making sure that everyone is aware of what they can expect when buying TV and internet from Comcast.

How will Twitter Music affect following to followers ratio?

Twitter Music Screenshot

As I’m playing with the new Twitter Music service, I’m discovering a ton of new artists. I think that Twitter wants me to follow the new artists I’ve found so I don’t forget what I’ve discovered and so that they can get a signal to show me more artists I’ll like. Cool.

What does that do to my following to follower Twitter ratio though? Potentially, I’ll be discovering hundreds of new artists I might want to follow. Most of them probably won’t follow me back. Anyone else feel like it might put your Twitter reputation at risk by throwing off your ratio.

Twitter Following to Followers ratio

Twitter wants to help me follow a ton of artists, but I’m already being picky about following artists because of my following to follower ratio. Hmm.

Hopkins vs Obama – State of the Union remix

image of mixing on ProTools

Bouncing down Obama's speech over Hopkins' "Insides"

Raphael, my new co-worker at Jawbone, and I are obsessed with an album I discovered by Jon Hopkins called “Insides“(2009). It’s been the soundtrack of a few plane rides for me, and keeps revealing new delicious sonic wonders.

Last week, president Obama gave his State of the Union address, and Raph was catching the replay of the speech. Of course, he was also playing “Insides” in the background. I’ll be damned if it doesn’t match the mood of Obama’s speech in many goose-bump inducing moments.

We passed the headphones back and forth a few times before I decided that I must mix the entire Hopkins album against Obama’s SOTU. A few hours after some eq, compression, and the wonder that is Longcat’s H3D plugin to sit Obama back into Hopkins’ world, and I had gold.

I’ll let you be the judge, but just give it a listen and try not to stand at teary-eyed attention and salute.

Coverage of the Visere + Jawbone acquisition

How not to recruit UX designers

The following is an email thread exchange I had with a recruiter. It was too appalling not to post.
========================
  1. My name is Dayn, not Dan. It’s in my email address, my email signature, and LinkedIn.
  2. Decide if you’re hiring a designer or a developer and make sure the subject line matches the job.
  3. You did not include any introduction or context in your blind email. Pasting in only the job description and blasting it out to everyone says “any idiot will do”.
  4. If you want the right person for the job, you had better remember their background.

Good luck in your search.

Dayn Wilberding
UX, Product Design
about.me

————————————

On Oct 4, 2012, at 1:41 PM, SW wrote:

Dan, this opportunity is in Santa Clara, Ca.  As to your being a fit i would need to see your resume. I’ve been in

touch with various designers and can’t remember all of their backgrounds.

 Cheers,

 Sw

————————————-

From: Dayn Wilberding
To: SW
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2012 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: Sr. Interaction Developer

Hello SW. Please provide context. Will you explain to me what company you represent, where the opportunity is located, how you found me, and specifically why you think I’d be a good fit for this position?

Dayn Wilberding
UX, Product Design
about.me

————————————-

On Oct 4, 2012, at 1:15 PM, SW wrote:

Senior Interaction Designer 

Job Description

The Sr. Interaction Designer will work with our other interaction designers, product management and engineering team. The Sr. Interaction Designer will be responsible for discovery, ideation, user needs analysis, concepts, wireframes and specifications. Some research, prototyping and/or visual design may also be part of the role, depending on the candidate’s skill set. As a senior member the team, the designer will take a very visible, senior role within the company as an advocate for User Experience.

In addition to excellent user interaction design skills, strong candidates should have experience thinking in terms of end-to-end UI design, applying strategic thinking and business goals to designs, focusing on user feedback, and understanding the relationship between visual design and interaction. The Sr. Interaction Designer will be responsible for delivering all aspects of interaction design: initial concepts, wireframes, creating functional specifications, working with product managers to define requirements, working with visual designers to create visual mocks and assets, and working with usability researchers to refine personas and market understanding, and working with engineering on implementation.

Responsibilities:

  • Participate in the discovery and requirements process with the Product Manager, Engineering Manager and User Research. Drive the clarification of the user tasks and objectives.
  • Develop user interface design concepts and wireframes, usage scenarios, task analysis, specifications, navigation maps, style guidelines, and other UI design documents.
  • Develop expert-level knowledge of competitive and complementary products and bring new ideas to the team.
  • Work with usability researchers to ensure that the designs meet the needs of our target customers.
  • Coordinate with visual designers to ensure that visual design mockups and assets meet the objectives of the user experience, fit with the overall brand, are consistent, support engineering needs, etc.
  • Work directly with engineering team to help drive concepts through to execution.

 

Qualifications

  • 7+ years as an interaction designer, creating excellent interfaces that delight the customer. Experience with touch-based, mobile or handheld applications a plus, but not required. Experience designing the initial framework of an application or website is also a strong plus. Strong, proven experience with retail and/or consumer based designs is required.
  • High degree of creativity and problem solving.
  • Exceptional understanding of fundamental design principals.
  • Strong conceptual, visual and analytical skills.
  • Exceptional, proven leadership, organizational and communication skills.
  • Relentless attention to detail and to consistency.
  • Ability to collaborate with the larger team.
  • Bachelors or Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Science, Design, or related field.

 

 

 

How to schedule Facebook Page posts for later

In this post from Mashable, they discuss the 5 admin roles for Facebook Page administrators and announce the ability to schedule Facebook Page posts for later release.

How to schedule Facebook Page posts

Some of you are familiar with Twuffer, the free tweet scheduling web app I co-concocted at Grady Britton in 2008. Facebook’s post scheduler works similarly, except that the FB intervals are 15 minutes vs Twuffer’s 5 minute windows, and anyone with a Twitter account can use Twuffer, not just FB Page admins.

Looking forward to your wall posts from the future.

How to undo a thumbs down in Pandora

I accidentally do this all the time. Thankfully, there is a way to undo your dislike or unlike in Pandora on the website.

Log in to Pandora.com and click on the little right-facing arrow next to the station you were listening to when you thumbed-down.

Pandora - edit station details

Then, on the Station Details page, scroll down to Thumbed-down Tracks. Remove as needed.

Pandora - station details - thumbed down tracks

 

Wilson Miner’s When We Build talk from the 2011 BuildConf

Designer? Developer? Give yourself 38 minutes to be inspired by Wilson Miner’s “When We Build” talk from Build 2011.

Every medium is an extension of a human facility. Everything we build redefines the environment in which we live, and therefore affects our facilities.

If you look at the timeline trend of environment-redefining developments, it follows that the digital screen might be just as definitive as the car, flight, or mass media.

At times of change, the learners are the ones who will inherit the world, while the knowers will be beautifully prepared for a world which no longer exists.

-Allistair Smith

 

How to align objects in Illustrator in reference to one object

To align multiple objects in Illustrator without moving one of the objects, follow these steps:

1. First, select the objects you want to align, including the reference object
2. Click the object you want to align to. This selects the “key” object. (You’ll know you’ve succeeded by the thicker selection indicator border)
3. Choose an alignment from the Align palette

Thanks to Interactive Llama for solving this for me.

Building an iPhone App – Lessons Learned

The following slides are from the AIGA and IxDA event called “Digital Dialogues” on Wed Feb 30, 2012 at ISITE Design in Portland, OR.

This is a tour of the Grady Britton discovery, design, and development process while building the Choicelunch iPhone app in partnership with Knuckleheads. We’ve included some roadblocks to watch out for, and materials from the build including sketches, wireframes, focus group data, and screenshots of the final app.

The talk was only 30 minutes so that we could leave a lot of time for questions.

Notable questions

Q. Wait. It looks like you took a prototype into the focus group for testing. How can that be? If you didn’t know what features to test, how could you have built a prototype to test?

A. Choicelunch was already committed to building a mobile app, so we weren’t tasked with testing feasibility. They had a sense of the major features they’d need to port over from their website, however they didn’t have definitive data on the method by which customers would like to order on a mobile device. eg, by date or by entreé. We felt that by building a prototype to test this specific question, and by doing it at the end of the focus group after the feature sort, we could be doubly effective when we reviewed the video of the prototype tests.

Q. You ended up falling into a Lean UX style of working with Knuckleheads. (iterate on concept, design, and development of specific functions or screens during development) Without the big master UX spec document at the beginning of the development phase, how were you able to build a QA process?

A. We actually did end up delivering a big wireframe spec; it was just easier for my team to have it as a reference for design. I hear Knuckleheads chiming in here, “note: you can’t have enough annotations.” Point taken. Whenever Knuckleheads and my team would land on a final solution for a specific section of the mobile app, I would merge it back into the master spec doc and post it as the latest version. I think the final version was v11.6.

That said, the QA process only somewhat referenced that spec. It did help, especially for the functionality of the calendar specifically, but for the most part QA consisted of simply having as many friends (close to the project and not-so-close) use it in as many mobile environment situations we could think of. Thankfully, we only had to worry about customers of the Choicelunch program, so the concepts in the app were already familiar to the user and they were able to focus on the functionality of the mobile app.

Bookmarks for February 2012

These are my links for February:

In a survey, ask for the single thing a customer would change

Question 2

Image: Blue Square Thing via Flickr

I’m deep into a project right now involving a digital brand refresh, responsive website redesign, and an overall user experience overhaul. Thankfully, the client conducted a survey last year of their customers. Of all the feedback collected in the survey, I’m finding the open responses to one question extremely useful, “If you could change one thing (brand), what would it be?”.

There are some 750 free-form text responses to this question. Some are insightful. Others are downright hilarious. Because of the way the question asks for a single thing, the  limited space to answer the question, and the time constraints of the customer’s own life, most of the responses are very well thought out.

When you compose a tweet, you’re limited to 140 characters. Personally, I think this constraint has made me a better writer. ‘Get to the point’ I hear myself saying. I think the phrasing of this survey question has had a similar effect on the respondents. They have given our client the single, most important pain point that they’d like to see taken care of. That prioritization has been invaluable.

I’ve gone through all 750 responses and grouped the similar answers. From those groupings, it’s been easy to see what our top priorities should be to inform the user experience overhaul. From here, we plan to test a few user experience flows with a couple rounds of customer focus groups.

My oh my it’s been an eternity since I logged into the blog let alone had time to write a post.  Yowzers!  The busy wedding season managed to sneak up on all of us as it does every year and just like that it’s autumn.  It’s amazing how fast the summers in the Pacific Northwest fly by!  However, I must say I welcome the change of seasons, rain and all.  Some of my favorite past times happen in autumn.  The beautiful leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, candles, wearing scarves, and curling up next to a cozy fire.  Now that it’s that time of year I will get back on track blogging about some of the fabulous weddings we were fortunate enough to be a part of this summer.  There were so many memorable moments and gorgeous photos to document the day that you won’t want to miss out.  Check back in the coming weeks as we get back on track updating you on what’s new here at Blush.  In the meantime, enjoy the start of the new season!

Blush wins Best “Day of Coordinator” from Oregon Bride

We couldn’t be more excited to announce that we recently won Best “Day of Coordinator” by readers of Oregon Bride Magazine.  There were many talented candidates so we feel extremely honored to have been selected…thank you to each and every one of our clients, friends and colleagues who voted for us!  Click here for a list of all of the 2011 winners.  Happy planning!

How often should my company tweet or post to Facebook? Maybe never.

A friend of mine works for a big, I mean BIG, nonprofit. They have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. She asked me my opinion on the right frequency for posting to their social network streams. My answer to her was “never”.

I hear this question a lot. The answer is, “Post in whatever frequency your social graph demands.” It’s an easy answer, actually, but rarely the answer the asker is looking for. There is no fire code capacity beyond which will ban you for life from the social nightclub. There is only what is right for your unique mix of followers. If you’re answering questions, curating content, and starting discussions, you could conceivably post more than 100 times a day. See NPR’s Senior Strategist and one man tweet flood, @acarvin. On the other hand, the KISSmetrics Marketing Blog recently released an infographic on best practices for timing and frequency in Twitter and Facebook that suggests we should post to Facebook 0.5 times a day.

Social-network

Image via Wikipedia

My friend’s company does not participate in online conversations. (Clarification update: It’s not that they have an official no-participation policy, but responses are purposefully extremely rare.)  That means that they do not respond to social media nor mentions in the press. Linking to or mentioning any entity or article online is out too, since it might be considered an endorsement. Participation in social media is a time and manpower commitment, and they do not want to spend time responding when they could be messaging.

Their current view of their Twitter and Facebook presence is one of broadcast messaging only. No conversations, no openness, no insight, just announcements.

Well, that’s hardly ‘social’ media at all! The purpose of having a social media presence should be to build 2-way, give and take, social relationships with your audience/customers/contributors that aren’t possible through traditional broadcast media.

To that end, I’d argue that participation and responding to their constituents via social media IS (or should be) a big part of their messaging. It shows they care about the individual contributor, they’re accessible, they’re listening, and that they’re an organization made of real people.

When I follow, friend, or add you to my social graph, I am inviting you into a mutually beneficial relationship. As a member of my social graph,

  • I expect value from your posts I can’t get elsewhere.
  • I expect there to be humanity and authenticity behind your posts.
  • I expect responsiveness. (think minutes and hours)
  • I expect your social media presence to be merely the technical vessel for communication with a real person I can engage with, and get closer to.

Make good on these expectations, and I’ll reward you with loyalty and by spreading your good reputation throughout my graph.

no tweet today

image by inezzy, on Flickr


Why the right answer for when her nonprofit should post is “never”.

It’s obvious that her company isn’t looking to make good on any of those social expectations. Their no-response PR practice calls them out as a bad friend, unworthy of social engagement. For them, it’s better to not have a social presence at all rather than having one that doesn’t even try to live up to to the expectations of the members of their social network. It might, in fact, be harmful to appear to have a social presence but be unresponsive when a constituent invites them to a conversation.

It’s a trite analogy, but what good is a having a phone number if you never intend on answering the phone? (Other than my case in which I need to have a phone number I don’t answer to have a data plan for my iPhone.)

 

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Lyra & Lee: 6 days and counting!

This Sunday Susan and Annmarie will head up to the beautiful View Point Inn in Corbett and help an absolutely stunning  and equally sweet couple as they tie the knot.  Here is a link to their engagement shoot by Bryce Jenkinson of Studio I Do.  It’s always exciting to work with talented photographers. Enjoy and congrats Lyra and Lee on your upcoming wedding!  http://www.studioido.net/slideshow/061211/

Style Me Pretty: International Oregon Wedding at Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn

We feel so fortunate to have made it onto Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book Blog once again.  I could talk for hours about how gorgeous every detail of this wedding was and how much fun I had working with Janet and Charles, but I’ll let her tell the story herself.  Enjoy!

A man from England met a woman from America while hiking in Scotland. They fell in love and decided to get married in a gorgeous, travel-themed Oregon wedding. She wore white, and he wore a kilt. Lauren Brooks was there to document the special nuptials, which Blush Bridal Consultation Group had planned and executed to a T. Sounds like a fairytale, right? This wedding is chock-full with oodles of our favorite kinds of details – sweet, meaningful, and unique. And there are even more of those noteworthy details over at Lauren’s blog, so journey over there next!

Lauren B

Lauren B 2

Lauren B 3

Lauren B 4

Lauren B 5

Lauren B 6

Lauren B 7

LAuren B 8

Lauren B 9

Lauren B 10

Want more of this fabulous wedding? Focal Point Video sent over the trailer!

Click here for the gallery.

We wanted a casually elegant wedding that incorporated elements from Charles’ Scottish heritage, including a bagpiper, a handfasting ceremony during the wedding ceremony and a sip from the MacGregor quaich to seal the marriage. Sandy Shipley, our officiant, was very accommodating to all our requests. We went with the travel motif because not only did our relationship span the globe, but so did our guest list. Compasses, globes, postcards and maps were a few of our favorite details.

We felt so blessed to have perfect weather, friends from all over the world there with us, and wonderful vendors that worked seamlessly behind the scenes to create a truly magical day for us. I relied so heavily on my wedding planner, Amy of Blush Bridal. She was like a member of my family after all was said and done. She helped us create our dream wedding by listening to us tell our stories and weaving it all together into our special weekend.

I didn’t want to take away from the beautiful vineyard and venue so I opted for a natural palate of greens, browns and creams with the pop of purple. Our amazing florist, Adria from Lavish Floral, did a great job of incorporating my eclectic floral wish list into the understated elegance of the ceremony and reception.  I was able to take several hydrangeas and rose bushes home and plant them in our yard as another way to remember our wedding day.  And remember it, I always will!

Wedding Consultant: Amy Nuttman, Blush Bridal Consultation Group / Flowers: Lavish Floral / Reception Site: Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn / Ceremony Site: Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn / Wedding Gown: Amy Kuschel / Cake: Dream Cakes / Caterer: Café Uncorked / Photographer: Lauren Brooks Photography / Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Effesenden Music / Entertainment: The Groove / Makeup: Nicole Wagner / Cinematography: Focal Point Video / Officiant: Sandy Shipley / Rental: Westcoast Event Productions / Invitations: Silver Leaf Designs / Wedding Accessories: Green Diva / Calligraphy: Alesia Zorn Calligraphy

Kerry & Adam’s Spring Sensation

In many ways it was another predictable spring Saturday in Portland…blue skies with patches of dark clouds,  intermittent showers followed by bursts of sunshine.  After all, this is what we’ve come to expect in April, right?  There was, however, a calmness in the air and people around town seemed a bit friendlier than they did on those dark stormy days just a week before.  Perhaps it was this lovely laid-back couple who didn’t seem to mind whether it rained or shined but something was certain:  I just knew from the moment I stepped foot into Urban Studio that it was going to be a FUN day, and it was nothing short of just that.  First off I got to work alongside my right-hand gal, Susan, who is a part-time coordinator at St Pat’s Church as well as a consultant at BlushAnyone who has met her knows she can brighten your day almost instantly with her smile and positive attitude.  She’s so much fun to work alongside!  Susan was just the start of a list of exceptional professionals who helped create a lasting impression for not only Kerry and Adam, but their 160 guests.  Kerry and Adam are incredibly sweet together and so much in love that you can’t help but notice it when you’re around them.  They are classy and elegant yet relaxed and fun all at the same time…a perfect combination.  They chose to get married at the beautiful St Patrick’s Catholic Church followed by a reception at the hip and modern Urban Studio in the heart of the Pearl District.  Adam knew from the beginning he wanted to include his vintage VW Beetle in the wedding (it was the couple’s transportation from ceremony to reception) so following suit Kerry decided to order a cake shaped like the car to showcase at the reception.  It was even decorated with touches of coral on the outside of the rims to reflect their wedding colors, eggplant, coral and ivory.  Adorable! It was surely tasty too since it was made from scratch at Lamb’s Bakery.  

Jordan with Blum did an amazing job with the floral including dramatic centerpieces with tall branches that adorned delicate orchids hanging from the ends.  Kerry and her girls’ bouquets were full of vibrant tulips, peonies, and orchids..so luscious!  The tables were covered in gorgeous eggplant linens accented by gold chivari chairs from West Coast Event Productions…simply stunning and fabulous in that space.  Kerry’s mom and friend made custom toss pillows in shades of coral, eggplant and ivory to accent the modern sofas around the reception, as well as cloth panels with the couple’s invitation design silk-screened on the front to hang up at Urban StudioNo detail was missed and the room looked gorgeous — especially later in the evening once the lighting came on and the dancing was underway.  The room can feel either spacious with a smaller group or intimate with a larger crowd (still comfortable with 150 guests) and being in the heart of the Pearl allows couples and their guests to check out other hot spots for an after party.  One of my favorite details at Kerry and Adam’s wedding were their favors.  Kerry ordered a variety of fun and silly paper disguises from Etsy and attached them to sticks for the guests to hold up throughout the evening for photos…they were a huge hit among adults and kids alike.  There were goofy glasses, mustaches, signs with phrases and more.  So creative!  The evening would not have been the same  if it weren’t for the fabulous Eric Wright of All Wright Music who got the crowd out on the dance floor and kept them there for 3 hours.  We even had to move more of the tables back to open up the space so there was more room for dancing!  Susan and I had a chance to work with Holland Studios which is always a good time and the photos rock.  Thank you so much Eric and Roberta, I can’t wait to see the rest of their photos!  Kerry and her bridesmaids got ready at the charming Hotel Monaco and their makeup and hair were done by the talented Deann and Nanielle of Face Body Beauty…they are some of the best in the biz and it’s always a pleasure working with this fabulous group of ladies!  Kerry and Adam ordered their very chic invitations at the adorable Wedding Cottage in Beaverton and the fabulous Alesia Zorn, calligrapher extraordinaire, calligraphed the lovely envelopes.  This is a service every bride should consider for her big day! If you’re looking for a clean, contemporary and flexible event space for your wedding be sure and call Via Hersholt over at Urban Studio for a tour.  It’s one of the best valued venues in Portland and the food is awesome!  Thank you to everyone who helped create such a memorable wedding for a very special couple.  A huge congrats to Kerry and Adam…you were a dream to work with and we wish you much happiness always.

Our best,

Amy & Susan

BeckenRidge Vineyard Open House

Come out and visit us at the BeckenRidge Vineyard Open House in Dallas this coming Sunday, April 3rd from 11:am to 3:30pm.  This is a beautiful venue tucked away in the Willamette Valley and one you must see!  Join us for a fun afternoon in wine country as you plan your big day, meet some fantastic professionals and enjoy a breath-taking view.  Admission is free so we hope to see you there!

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