Archive for July, 2007

Sounds About Right

July 31, 2007

I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster a month or two ago. I changed, despite my considerable misgivings about entering into a relationship with Blockbuster, because you could turn every mailed DVD into a store for a free rental and they also gave you a monthly free rental coupon. I’ve had a hard time keeping up because I was effectively doubling my already-serious rental rate I had established with Netflix. But I’m a trooper so I’ve managed to do a decent job of watching six or so DVDs a week.

But it always seemed too good to be true. Netflix’s plans were great deals and they didn’t have the massive overhead of a retail presence that Blockbuster was saddled with. To be sure, Blockbuster’s parry was masterful: they turned that retail presence into a compelling reason to switch. In the end, though, it seemed like too good of a value.

I just got the following email from Blockbuster:

Due to changes in our subscription plan pricing, your current BLOCKBUSTER Total Access™ plan Unlimited DVDs up to 3 at a time with unlimited in-store exchanges each month for $17.99 will no longer be available at the current price as of August 1, 2007.

You will be moved to our new plan that includes Unlimited DVDs 3 at a time plus up to 5 free* in-store exchanges for $17.99. This plan will not include an e-coupon for in-store DVD and/or game rentals. The new subscription plan and pricing will go into effect on your regular monthly billing date following August 30, 2007.

TANSTAAFL. I’m a little torn about what to do. My first thought is to bail and go back to Netflix. I should have known that Blockbuster would pull a stunt like this so why would I stick around for the next shafting. On the other hand, five extra, spontaneous rentals isn’t a bad deal even still. Plus, it might allow me to get off the cinematic merry-go-round and not feel compelled to watch so many movies. That would leave me with more time to watch television shows!

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Mr. Conservative

July 29, 2007

The Goldwater Institute is hosting a screening of Mr. Conservative on August 16, 2007. It sounds like an excellent documentary and you certainly can’t beat the price.

Sweet Release

July 26, 2007

And now you can see why I haven’t been blogging around here all that much. I’ve been hard at work (really hard at work) getting a new version of Quick Blog out with my colleagues. Our task was to merge the Quick Blog and Quick Podcast products in as seamless a way as possible and I think we did a good job at it. Some might argue that they never should have been separate products in the first place but it made sense to someone somewhere at some time.

My part of the effort was writing the service that would actually convert our podcasting customers into blogging and podcasting customers. Let’s just say that it was a very important piece of this whole release and I really pored my heart into getting it right (and fixing it when I didn’t get it right and then fixing it again). I’m happy to say that no customer data was lost and no errors came up! That didn’t stop the butterflies, though, when it came time to push the figurative button to start it up. It can look great in test and on particular passes at production data, but that moment of truth is very unsettling.

With the new release, I decided to update my blog template and I must say that I love it! If I could get some yellow in it, it would be reminiscent of my original bblog design. I was never very happy with my previous template, but I didn’t want to cheat and make my own design. So I waited patiently until the day when we had a template that I liked.

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