Through the Wire (1 Viewer)

cablewithaview

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Apr 18, 2005
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Cox Finds Inspiration In Adversity

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Cox Communications Inc.’s New Orleans system this year considered canceling its annual Inspirational Heroes Program, which honors students who have overcome adversity — physical, emotional or social challenges — to nonetheless thrive.

As it turned out, Cox — whose own employees performed heroically last year — decided to not only continue, but expand that program. The New Orleans cable system, still in major rebuild mode, launched its first annual Cox “X” Awards, to thank more than 30 groups, ranging from local officials to civilians, who performed extraordinary service during the killer storm last August.

At last Tuesday’s ceremony, Cox New Orleans also presented its X Awards to some of its own for their support to the system following the catastrophic storm: Cox president Pat Esser; Cox vice president of communications and public affairs Ellen East; and New Orleans region manager Greg Bicket.

Esser and East flew in from Atlanta to attend the breakfast program, which attracted 650 people, and to help hand out the 14th Annual Heroes awards to the kids. Some of the most heart-wrenching remarks came from school officials. St. Bernard Parish school superintendent Doris Voitier, an X winner, recalled on the storm’s eve opening up a shelter for the elderly, disabled and sick.

“When those levees broke Monday morning, and that water came rushing in, it was everything we could do to get them to the second floor of our school,” she said. “And we sat there as the flood waters leveled, and our firefighters and our sheriff’s deputies brought people to us, and our numbers swelled to 1,200 to 1,500 people as we sat trapped on that second floor of Chalmette High School for days with no provisions.”
A Loss of Popularity With the Cable Guys

Popular Science isn’t too popular with the cable crowd these days. The industry didn’t take too kindly to the magazine’s tips in its May issue about how subscribers can “upgrade” their DVR set-tops by hacking into them.

Scientific Atlanta Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association wrote a joint letter May 9 to the magazine seeking an apology for its “How 2.0” column. The story in question, headlined “Hack Your Cable Box,” offered hands-on advice on how to increase the storage capacity of an SA box’s hard drive.

“We believe Popular Science shouldn’t be the place for step-by-step instructions on how to tamper with equipment leased by cable operators,” the letter said.

“Tampering with cable operators’ property, including the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300 DVR that was specifically referenced in the article/picture demonstration, is a direct violation of the contractual rental agreement made between the cable subscriber and cable operator,” the missive went on. “Such a violation may result in the loss of cable privileges by the subscriber, and also serves as grounds for legal liability.”

Popular Science has removed the hacking story from its Web site.

“The spirit of our How 2.0 section is to inspire tinkering, not tampering,” editor in chief Mark Jannot said in a statement. “It’s not our intention to encourage readers to skirt the law and so when Scientific Atlanta contacted me, I took their concerns seriously. We’ve removed the story from [Web site] popsci.com and we will print their letter in our August issue.”
The Things You Learn On Investor Day …

It wasn’t technically a “road show,” but Time Warner Cable’s first-ever Investor Day last Wednesday was a four-and-a-half hour marathon of information that many in the audience of investors and analysts were no doubt thoroughly familiar with already — Time Warner Cable’s financial results have been fully reported as part of Time Warner Inc. for years.

But at the soirée at New York’s W Hotel, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt did serve up tidbits that may have not been known to all in attendance about the five other executives who presented that day.

According to Britt’s introductions, chief operating officer Landel Hobbs is Time Warner Cable’s resident wine expert (no word on where Hobbs stands on the rack when it comes to enological acumen among noted vintner and Time Warner Inc. topper Dick Parsons); chief technology officer Mike LaJoie is learning how to be a pilot; executive vice president of product management Peter Stern is a concert pianist; chief financial officer John Martin is a martial arts expert who regularly attends Ultimate Fighting Championship matches across the country; and last, but not least, executive vice president of the Los Angeles region Roger Keating is a new father.

We were assured by some Time Warner Cable insiders that Martin — a black belt in karate — only attends the UFC matches. He’s not a participant.

“There are some that have counseled me through the years and said that my interest in combat martial arts was a direct and natural outgrowth of my day-to-day interaction with the investment community,” Martin said at the conference, adding to the jocularity. “I think it was purely coincidental.”
Visions from A Virtual World

OK, marketers. You may be wondering about the branding philosophy that led Nintendo Corp. of America to name its soon-to-be-released, simplistic game controller Wii. After all, the unschooled will likely pronounce it “why” until informed the correct pronunciation is “wee.”

Well, according to Justin Keeling, a consultant to G4 Network, which arranged a VIP tour of the Electronic Entertainment Expo last week in Los Angeles for cable and satellite executives, the name of the console is a visual metaphor. Since the trend in gaming is toward online communities playing games head-to-head, the two I’s represent two people facing each other.

Now you know. Drop that factoid at your next party.

Also a word of advice for the uninitiated: If you’re interested in attending a future E3, we highly recommend getting hooked up with a tour. Thanks to G4, which hosted cable and satellite operators, attendees received the Cliff Notes version of what’s hot and not in gaming. And perhaps as importantly, G4 guests had the ability to cut hellacious lines to see the latest and greatest, like the aforementioned Wii, making its global debut.

A Nintendo employee told us the wait to experience the new technology ranged from “four hours to deceased,” he said. We chose to ignore the “Die, rat, die” stares of the jealous zealots.

A final observation: As good as high-definition pictures and Dolby sound are, there were some experiences at E3 that cable and satellite will never be able to match. EA Games’ pavilion featured a 360-degree high-definition screen, with speakers rumbling under the feet of gaping, gob-smacked visitors. The sound was cranked so high you swear you could hear the sweat plopping off the Madden NFL virtual players. Did someone say way cool?

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6334607.html
 

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