Project Goodbye Mediacom

Project ‘Goodbye Mediacom’ is underway…

After having Mediacom’s cable TV service for a year, their teaser rate has ended and they want to charge $69/month for basic cable + $6/month for HD + $11/month for an DVR device.

You know what? I don’t want to pay ~$1,000/year for TV.

I’m paying them $45/month for Internet (12mb), so if I remove the TV that will go to $65/month (they will have there pound of flesh), but the key problem is paying for TV.

I don’t really like to watch TV, as there are lots of development work I’d rather be working on, so 1K/year is too much for something optional that I don’t like.

So the options are:

  1. Over the air broadcast & Tivo
  2. Over the air broadcast & home made PVR
  3. No TV
  4. Put up and Pay

The first two plans relied on if we could get an aerial that worked where we live, otherwise we ether had to put up with Mediacom or just have no TV…  The house we are renting has a “no putting up aerials” rule, so it would have to be internal, and I didn’t have the option of putting it in the attic, as I wouldn’t be able to run the cable into the livingroom/office without plaster work, and I wasn’t going there ether.

When we first moved into the house we tried a small internal aerial, the  and it basically didn’t work RCA ANT121, I could see that there was digital TV, but was always “bad”

So I went to best buy and picked up a more expensive internal aerial with amplifier, the Trek FDTV2A, which also didn’t really work, there were three channels that were 80% but crackly, and the rest would never work for more than a few seconds. I tried it flat under the TV, vertical behind the TV, vertical on the wall, and held by hand. Flat worked best, but really wasn’t good enough. I found the +10db amplifier didn’t seem to help the signal quality, but I didn’t do any empirical testing.

So I return that to BestBuy, and purchased the Antennas Direct – ClearStream 2, this worked well in the living room pointing out the corner of the house (behind a chair) and in the office (the final project planned destination) I got 100% signal for 4 major channels and a total of 19 channels. I also also picket up a rocket-fish powered +4db amplifier/splitter, but my testing showed that across the 19 channels that it had a zero or non-positive effect. So I returned that.

I purchase these things directly from BestBuy at their +20% Amazon prices for the very reason of returning if they didn’t work. So in the end I was not stressed at the additional purchase price.

Now that I knew that Project ‘Goodbye Mediacom’ was viable, I started the planning for the DVR replacement.

Do 404 inbound urls effect your Google Rank?

I have my site and my comments on the internet scraped by those really annoying zero value add sites (you know with 80% advertising), and the worse thing is the don’t scrape very well. Text on the next line gets mixed into the url, Google see’s these bad links, follows them and they 404 by my server. So now my Webmaster Tools crawl error screen, is filling but with rubbish.

Ideally would be a button to say “ignore this link it’s junk”, and have Google silently ignore that inbound like. Basically down vote the bad link.

But that doesn’t happen, so I’ve been resorting to adding more and more RewriteRules to my .htaccess to make those bad links work, hoping Google will notice, and remove them. But it takes so long.

You can check them with the Fetch as GoogleBot, and it notes success, but this doesn’t feed into the error results.

So another nice feature would be to “requests a recheck of current errors” button.

So I ponder how bigger websites (those that get actual traffic) deal with this, as it reduces that value of the tools provide, and makes you question if it has an impact.

Update: was getting ready to ask about the above on the Webmaster Tools forum, but followed the ‘Please Read First’, and sure enough they have my questions answered in the FAQ, but still it’s really ugly. It’s like lots of warning messages in C++ that were fix in the code 3 months ago, it makes it really hard to notice the introduction of new problems.