AT&T Teases, Then Denies Me Tasty High Speed Service.

On Monday I was out on the AT&T web site looking to see if U-Verse was available in my neighborhood yet. Right now it stops two blocks away, and I keep hoping AT&T will bring that tasty fiber goodness to my street. Anyway, after filling out the form on their site to see what products were available to me, I got a message saying they couldn’t validate my address. (That’s kind of funny since they validate it every month with a paper cell phone bill) The site asked me if I wanted to fill out a verify my address form, so I said sure and sent them my info.

On Tuesday I got this reply from AT&T:

Welcome to AT&T

Dear Wade Johnston,

Thank you for your interest in AT&T U-verse. At this time, the following U-verse services are available at the address below:

  • AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet, with speeds up to 18M.
Your service address is: XXXX XXXXX

You may place your order at for AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service. If you need help with your order you may call 1-888-697-7202. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Looks promising right? Not so fast. I was so excited that I clicked the link from the email, opened the AT&T site, looked at all that U-Verse juiciness and tried to decide Elite, or the next tier down. I didn’t pull the trigger, and when I went back today I was told that U-Verse is Not available at my address after all. At first I was stumped and then I chalked it up to bad site design, or a data base error on AT&T’s end. Being the resourceful guy that I am, I called the 1-888 number listed in the email.

After a brief hold I was connected to a chipper young lady named Sophia, who apologized for the problem online and offered to help. She took my address, put me on hold and went to look up where I lived in the massive AT&T  system. After a few minutes she came back and told me that No Services are available at my address. She asked me to read the email to her, and after she apologized  again for AT&T’s big tease, and then said let me check one more place. (like they have this stuff in a closet somewhere) After a few more minutes she came back and said nope you are out of luck.  So I asked her if I fill out another verify my address form, get a link to the site and it does go through, should I buy the service? she said no, that you aren’t really buying online, you are just requesting, and that an AT&T employee would complete the order. She told me I would probably get another email telling me that no service was available a couple of days later.

What a cluster. AT&T is in every neighborhood surrounding us, but won’t come two blocks down the road to hook us up. The website lies, the email system lies, and I am still left dealing with Time Warner Cable suck ass internet service. I know Google is bringing high-speed fiber to KCK. I know I’ll have it in about a year, but man I was excited. I really thought I was gonna get 8+ megabit download speeds for less money than I pay Time Warner now.

AT&T if you are listening, would you please bring U-Verse to my street. I know 10 Time Warner customers that would jump to your service in a heart beat if you did.

Design Friday, Guido Daniele.

Milan based artist Guido Daniele has been working and participating in solo and group shows since 1968 throughout Italy and Europe. In 1990 Daniele began to develop a new technique for body painting which blossomed into a new direction. That new direction eventually led to a new outlet for his works in a series of amazing advertisements for AT&T, The World Wildlife Foundation, Gilly, Furries, and many more. Over the last twenty years, his paintings on hands which are subsequently photographed have created some amazing illusions. The illustrations are really stunning in their own right, and I can’t even imagine how long it takes to design, illustrate, and photograph each one of these.

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A Couple of Wishes for iOS and iPhone 4.0

Yesterday I watched Apple’s iPhone 4.0 keynote given by Steve Jobs at the World Wide Developers Conference. I have to say, while the iPhone isn’t a perfect device, the upgrades presented yesterday improve the functionality 10 fold. And yes, I will probably buy one when it comes out and sign 2 more years of my life away to the shackles of AT&T.

There were a couple of things I was really hoping they would announce, and there is still a possibility that one of them might surface between now and the iOS drop in the next month. I was hoping they would announce a partnership with Verizon, and I was hoping that they might show off something like streaming audio from iTunes to a set of wireless speakers. I pretty much knew the Verizon thing was not going to happen, the iTunes thing though…

Here is the deal, I want to be able to stream music from my phone. It’s not always convenient for me to sync my phone to a computer connected to my wireless networked speakers, and use that device to spread the musical love through out my house. Sometimes, I buy music on my phone, and then want to play it back on a set of speakers in my home right from the phone, and I would think with the introduction of the iPad, this is going to become a more common request. I know that I can buy a third-party app like Airfoil to handle this, but it seems to me  that this is something Apple should have added to the overall user experience of the iPhone when it came out.

One last thing I was kind of surprised about, and could possibly be in the works, was the lack of native video out on the new phone. I’m not asking for a HDMI port on the phone, but it would have been interesting to see a iPhone dock connector to HDMI cable. Now that iMovie is available for the iPhone, and iPad it just seems like a no brainer. Think about all that video content that people are going to be creating, and wanting to show off on the big screen TV. It’s just to hard to cram around a phone or any small screen and see something like a video of your trip to Europe. Since the phone shoots 720p HD video, I would have expected Apple to have a solution for the TV, whether it is hardware based or software based.

So those are a couple of my wishes for iOS and the new phone. Hopefully they will come in the near future, or they already exist and there just wasn’t time to talk about them in the keynote yesterday.

Hulu Really Could Change Everything

Yesterday posted a rather dreamy vision of how we will consume media and interact with TV, Internet, Mobile device etc. If you didn’t read it, the basic point was where are we going to be in 10 years, and get ready because how you use things like your TV especially will be a very different animal. I really think that cable providers are going to have to re-think the way they do business. Their business model is a mess, and really they seem out of touch with what consumers want.

On the Hulu blog, there were some interesting year-end facts they posted. And this is why I think you won’t experience  TV the same way you do today in 5 or so years.

– Monthly users of Hulu, as measured by comScore, grew to over 43 million, a 95 percent increase over this time last year.

– Monthly streams, as measured by comScore, grew to 924 million, a 307 percent increase from this time last year.

– Hulu’s content library doubled over the past year. They now offer over 14,000 hours of premium content, up from 5,600 hours at this time last year.

– Hulu grew from 130 content partners last year to over 200 today, which includes the addition of Disney/ABC content.

– The number of advertisers/marketers Hulu have served has more than doubled, growing from 166 to 408. As a team, we are extremely excited about the atypically strong results we have been able to drive for our marketing partners.

– 6.4 million Hulu video players were embedded across the web in 2009, a 237 percent jump from 2008 levels. To date, Hulu players have been embedded on over 207,000 websites.

– Some of the more prominent consumer-facing innovations from 2009: Hulu Desktop, Captions Search, Continuous Play, Tags, and the ongoing innovation hub that is Hulu Labs.

– Our search service managed nearly 1 billion search queries in 2009, up 175 percent from 2008.

– The five most popular shows on the service in 2009:

– Hulu’s most embedded video of 2009 was the live stream of Barack Obama’s inauguration.

– The most popular clip on Hulu in 2009 was “Motherlover“, a Saturday Night Live Digital Short.

– The most popular full episode on Hulu in 2009 was Family Guy’s “Stew-Roids.”

– Our customers had a lot to say about us in 2009, and Hulu listened carefully. Some of the more colorful comments (via Twitter):

  • BradMays: If truly is an evil alien plot to take over the world…I’ve already been assimilated.
  • andrewjmay: Dear Hulu, This has been on my mind for a while now, but tonight is the night that I let you know my true feelings….I love you.
  • kiki_miserychic: I’m getting a coffee from McCafe tomorrow because Hulu told me to do it. My brain is liquidy slush.
  • Tiffanyasapun: found and my feet hurt. Those 2 are unrelated.

– Hulu was fortunate to receive a number of awards over the last year, including being named the World’s 3rd Most Innovative Company (Fast Company, March 2009), being included in TIME magazine’s Top 50 Best Websites, and ranking among the Top 5 fastest rising Google search terms.