Friday, April 20, 2012

Time Warner - Are you listening?

Time Warner Cable logo
NOTE/UPDATE: April 20, 2012 - Shhhh...don't tell anyone, but this week I noticed that my Time Warner Cable account is achieving 20 Mbps download speeds and 2 MBPS upload speeds. No announcement, just faster speed. YES!

Update: April 23 - TWC sent out notice about the upgrade.

Originally published January 2012:

I am not a big fan of my cable and internet provider, Time Warner. Yes, they are infinitely better than my previous cable supplier, Adelphia; the company whose CEO and president were sent to prison for corruption. And yes, I have been pleased with the rather impressive download speeds (between 20 - 30 Mbps) I have been experiencing since switching over from Fairpoint's DSL about 10 months ago. But I have not been impressed with upload speeds in the neighborhood of 1 Mbps. At least with DSL I was getting uploads around 2 Mbps. I do a lot of uploads in a day and time is money.

With this as a background, I was thrilled to receive an e-mail yesterday that stated this:

Your Internet just got faster!

Time Warner Cable is happy to announce we have increased your Internet speed. Now you'll have even more speed to do what you love on the Internet - at speeds even faster than before - at the same great price!

This increase is already complete, and you didn't have to do a thing. We've already upgraded our equipment, and your modem has been updated.

Your new Broadband Turbo download speed is up to 20 Mbps, and your upload speed is up to 2 Mbps, increases of 33% and 100%!  

Excitedly, I immediately checked my speed with and was gleeful when the meter for download struck around 30 Mbps. But this was tempered when the upload speed was still registering 0.97 Mbps. I checked again, this time using Roadrunner's own speed testing application. Same results. Hmmm.

Ironically, I had called Time Warner just last week because my upload speed was almost nonexistent. A quick "chat" with one of their "analysts" using the Time Warner Support Desk and I had the modem re-booted and re-set and was content and back to my advertised "up to 1 Mbps" upload speed So, from this experience I knew what my upload speeds were a week ago, and clearly, despite the announcement, there was no "100% increase" today.

So I decided to call them on it and within a few minutes was texting away, chatting with "Benjamin" on the Time Warner Support Desk. We checked thing and tested again, re-set the modem, re-booted the modem and each time kept getting the same numbers. Benjamin eventually looked up my account and replied that I was only supposed to be getting "up to 1 Mbps." In response, I sent him the text of the announcement and a link to a web version of the same.

He said he would expedite me to another analyst.

Two analysts later I had now spent over an hour, re-booting, re-setting, and explaining my tale. "Sharam" is not very sympathetic and eventually gives me the same "company line" about my service contract only calling for "up to ONE Mbps" in upload speed.

In disgust I tell him he's not been helpful, then fill out the on-line evaluation giving Time Warner the lowest ratings I can and one more time explaining my plight. Fifteen minutes later, I receive an automated telephone call from Time Warner asking me to again rate my experience with their customer service. Once again, I give them failing grades. By that time I had wasted two hours on the damn thing.

So what should appear last night in my e-mail....? Read the following:

Dear Valued Turbo Internet Customer:

Earlier today you received an email from us announcing increased Broadband Internet speeds.

We apologize to you for sending that email prematurely. While Time Warner Cable plans to increase your Broadband speeds at no additional charge this year, the faster speeds are not yet available in your area. Please disregard the earlier email. We will contact you again when the new speeds are available.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, and appreciate your loyalty as a Time Warner Cable Turbo Internet customer.

I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad. But at least they appear to be listening...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Adding ALT Text in Blogger

When inserting images into webpages, accessibility standards require the use of something called "ALT description." The ALT, as it is affectionately known, is code that a person using a screen reader hears which describes the image. Screen readers are "Assistive Technology" (AT) software applications used by people with blindness or low vision to "see" what's on a computer screen, to navigate around the screen and to interact with content. Everything on the screen is "read" to the user by way of text-to-speech software. When the screen reader device encounters an image it announces to the user, "image." But unless the web page owner/designer has added an ALT description to the image, that is all the screen reader will say. The blind user will not know anything about what image is or why it is on the page. So if you want everyone to enjoy your Blogger blog, use ALT descriptions on all your images!

Here is how you add ALT descriptions to images in Blogger.


  1. Add the image the way you normally would by using the image icon on the menu bar.
  2. Highlight the image by clicking on it.
  3. In the pop-up menu that appears, choose "Properties"
  4. In the new pop-up you will see a place to add a Title and ALT text. 
Note that this is actually an improvement in Blogger. In the old version you could not add ALT text without viewing the HTML and coding it in directly. For more tips and to learn more about accessibility, check out my website