Hotwire Communications Fails

It has been about a month since Hotwire Communications came to install their new service in our house in Boca Falls. We are finally throwing in the towel and having DirecTV reinstalled.
For past blog posts on Hotwire in Boca Falls, please see:
Hotwire Communications Problems; Hotwire Problems Continue; Hotwire Communications Update
We have had problems with the service almost every day. The problems ranged from brief glitches in the picture to the service not working at all. Hotwire staff have been to our house roughly 10 times. On at least two occasions they were in our house for hours, disrupting our lives.
Sometimes their efforts would result in brief improvements. On other occasions it would be worse after they left. At one point we were told the problem was in their central equipment and that was then fixed. The problems continued. Every day I hear from more residents unhappy with them.
I have requested a technical explanation, and the response has been silence. At this point we have the opinion that Hotwire Communications is not only incompetent but dishonest.
On the technical side, consider this 2008 Motorola press release. It indicates that Hotwire would be using Motorola equipment for the network and the home. I don’t know what they’re using at the center of their network, but the equipment in our home is not Motorola. We have a router from Alcatel/Lucent and a switch from “Trendnet”. Our set top box is branded ADB.
One theory as to why it works so poorly is that Hotwire chose to use cheap equipment. Another theory is that the whole idea of IPTV (internet protocol television) is fundamentally flawed. More likely we’re somewhere in the middle – that IPTV is difficult to deliver well, and Hotwire is not competent to do it well.
For an interesting if somewhat dated reference, consider this (pdf): Stephen Davies: Secrets to Successful IPTV Deployment
I love this quote from it:

We may never know why the Hotwire Communications setup in Boca Falls has failed. But we do know it has failed. The dishonesty comes from their failure to let us know ahead of time that we’re their guinea pigs. If they had been honest about that up front, our HOA might not have fallen for it.

Hotwire in Boca Falls – Update

Latest Update as of May 7: Hotwire Fails
Here’s more on the problems with the new video service in Boca Falls:
I heard from Hotwire today that they did an equipment upgrade last night. They are monitoring the situation to see how it is working.
Last night (before the latest upgrade) we continued to experience glitches. It was not as bad as before but still substantial. Our main TV worked, but it displayed “artifacts” roughly once every 2-5 minutes. Another TV stopped working and we had to reboot the box twice to get it working again.
As of early this afternoon it appears to be working better but in the past good moments like this have been followed by more troubles. We will see.
We also continue to hear more complaints from other residents of Boca Falls unhappy with the video quality.
For past articles, see:
Hotwire Communications in Boca Falls
Hotwire Communications – Problems Continue

Groupon Fraud in Boca Raton

I received an e-mail with a Groupon deal to see a golf tournament, the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound. The deal is misleading, and arguably fraudulent. Why? Here’s the language from the Groupon page:
For $51, you get a golf package for one (an $85 value), which includes:

  • General admission to tournament starting at 9 a.m.
  • Admission to the Grapes on the Green party, starting at 3 p.m. across from the 18th green
  • Commemorative wine glass
  • Lanyard

The interesting part is that the deal includes “General admission”.
I do enjoy golf, this is quite close to my house, and I’ve never seen a tournament. So I went to the tournament website to learn more. I wondered what other kinds of deals there were so I went to the Allianz Championship tickets page.
General admission to the tournament is FREE:
Good Any Day Grounds Ticket – Free Admission
No Ticket Required
What you’re really getting for the Groupon, the $85 value they reference, is admission to the:

3rd Annual Golf & Wine Experience $85
Saturday, February 11 3pm-6pm

Is this an example of Groupon fraud? You be the judge.

Sagi's Grill

Sagi’s Grill closed sometime in 2013. In its place is Pita-N-Go Boca, which we reviewed in February 2014.
I went to Sagi’s Grill for lunch today and enjoyed it. It’s a small and simple place in the southwestern corner of West Boca. It’s on the west side of 441, just south of Judge Winikoff and just north of Sandalfoot.

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The plaza includes a number of ethnic restaurants and retail, especially South American places. Parking can be difficult.
Sagi’s is recognized by the Orthodox Rabbinic Board of Palm Beach and Broward counties (under its former name Falafel Armon). In other words, it’s Kosher.
I had the shawarma platter, which they make with turkey. It comes with rice or french fries. Both the meat and the rice were very good. The meat was flavorful and nicely textured.
Lunch also includes their “salad bar”, which is not what you might expect. I didn’t see any lettuce. It has several bowls with various kinds of salads like cole slaw, potato salad, and some more ethic dishes that were all delicious.
At $11.95, my shawarma platter seemed a little expensive. But it was a lot of food and I took more than half of it home. Also, it seems reasonable to pay a little more for genuine kosher food (even though I personally do not keep kosher).
Table service was a bit limited on my visit. I was never offered more cold water or hot water for my tea, and since half the food came from the salad bar, there’s not much service needed. There was a big table of older Jewish women who were getting a lot of attention from the lone waitress. On the other hand, the place was not crowded.
One other important note for families – the restaurant website does show a kids menu.