Bills that jump inexplicably. Technical problems. Customer-service nightmares. Nobody mentioned getting a statement addressed with an unprintable epithet - this winter's now-legendary Comcast customer-service fail. But other all-too-familiar frustrations were again on display last week as dozens of Philadelphians spoke at public ses
OK, let's all take a deep breath about our hometown cable powerhouse. You can make merry or mourn over Comcast's decision - pushed by federal regulators - to drop its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. Then you can join me in focusing on more pressing business at hand now in Philly: the expected renewal of Comcast's citywide franchises - the first in 15 years. City officials have scheduled six public meetings for this week as they start negotiating. It's your chance to speak up.
Marivic Wright, a Philippine immigrant, was a return visitor Tuesday to the E-Gadget Help Desk at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She came for assistance in finding another e-book after poring through two on her Samsung Galaxy Note 8 "phablet." Her latest: The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality.
Mayor Nutter says he's just negotiating a business deal as Philadelphia heads into talks with Comcast over a cable-franchise renewal. The city wants the best possible terms from its hometown cable, Internet, and entertainment giant - six public forums are scheduled next week, if you'd like to weigh in.
Nope, you weren't imagining it. One in four teens - and perhaps all of them at your house - say they are online "almost constantly" via a smartphone, and most of the rest go online at least daily from a mobile device, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
The ominous letter from the prosecutor's office was addressed to her grandfather, Albert Lachowicz, but it came to Jennifer Paczan because she was handling his finances. Even five years later, the Pennsylvania woman still recalls her reactions: first worried, then confused, and, finally, outraged on his behalf.
As Philadelphia faces its once-in-15-years franchise renewal talks with Comcast, you may be worried that city officials are just a little too cozy with Philly's 1st Corporate Citizen - a reasonable concern after I reported last week that the mayor's office has been sitting on a report likely to embarrass the company.
The last time you phoned Comcast - yes, I know, this will tickle at least a few readers - did you reach someone within 30 seconds? What's your total monthly Comcast tab? If you've quit Comcast, was it because of cost, service problems, or some other reason?
Here's a quick financial-literacy quiz for you savers and investors out there, courtesy of Wharton professor Olivia S. Mitchell: 1. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 percent per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?
Michael Copps objected strongly a dozen years ago when then-Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell took what he considered a big wrong turn: classifying cable companies' broadband Internet business as a lightly regulated "information service."
Free the Phillies! Free the Flyers! Free the Sixers! Fat chance, you say? Maybe so. But that goal tops my wish list for this year's franchise-renewal negotiations between Philadelphia and its richest corporate citizen: loosening Comcast Corp.'s unfair and damaging grip on most of Philly's big-league sports scene.
Jeff Gelles covers consumer and technology topics for the Inquirer and writes the weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns for The Inquirer. He welcomes comments in this blog as well as calls and e-mails about consumers' concerns. Contact him at 215-854-2776 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffgelles.