Archive for December 2008
Hello folks -
Hopefully Christmas treated you all well. And for those of you who don’t like to say Christmas, but rather, call it an “Unspecified or Conglomerated Holiday(s)” well, hope it was good for you too.
Today, I’d like to take this issue of TechMage to talk about Text Messaging and something, I’m pretty sure, you didn’t realise about it – something that the big four cell companies would rather you not know.
Texting is a part of our daily lives now. And while I’m not overly hip on reducing our ability to articulately communicate to 160 byte messages, there’s something to be said about the phone-omenon. (yeah, that was corny). But in Rabid style, let me provide you a little insight into the thing that your cell carrier would prefer you not know.
First, a little techie background: Texting or Short Messaging Service (SMS) has been around for quite longer than when people began using it for texting. Turns out, SMS uses the same channel, the control channel, for text messaging. This channel is the one that controls how your cell phone communicates with the tower and handles things like switchover from one tower to the next, such as when you’re doing a nice long drive through the country. There isn’t a seperate channel between your mobile device and the cell tower for your text messages, implying an add-on service. Instead, you’re paying to use something you already have, whether you actually use it or not.
The point is, the channel is there; the bandwidth is there. So long as the text usage is proportional to voice usage, the cell companies won’t even have to install new infrastructure to keep up with the demand; it scales. But we’re paying for it, as if we’re getting a good deal on additional “services”.
The big four mobile companies, if you haven’t noticed already, have hiked up the price of texting for a-la-carte subscribers, which actually make up a big component of the market. Why? Well, they would tell you its because of increases in demand, but that’s just not so. Since the greatest majority of people with a cell phone have no idea how it works, the cell companies can charge you for an additional service, even though your phone uses the control channel.
You’re simply paying for the “privilege” to text. It’s not really a service, since they’re not really doing anything different to handle your texting. But the big motivator is to push you away from a-la-carte and move you to the $5/month plan.
Predictable Price Structure
You see, companies would rather be able to predict how much revenue they’ll have coming in, rather than try to gauge it. Remember back in the AOL v1 and v2 days when you paid by the minute for being online? With AOL 2.5, the moved you to a monthly rate and then charged you a-la-carte for additional usage. It’s the same here.
One thing I do in my job is deal with pricing for telephone use and I’ve noticed in just the last year, long distance companies are selling packages of minutes (such as 1000 minutes) for land-line long distance. Why? Competition with the cell networks who offer free long distance, being able to extract at least X dollars for any usage up to the maximum. In other words, they got your $60, even if you don’t burn the 1000 minutes – similar to cell usage.
But the texting thing is an increased cost based on nothing. The big four are raising the rates on text for no other reason than profit – because they see that the “thumb/Twitter” generation is more and more verbose.
So, for you a-la-carte texters out there who have been screeching that the price per message has been going up, well, now, just know that it wasn’t because of needing more bandwidth. That’s a red herring, if not an outright lie. But it’s a lie that is making your cell provider happy to take your $15-$20/month for unlimited messaging – and providing nothing additional, except a charge to your bill.
Just thought you might like to know.
Stross, R (2008) What Carriers Aren’t Eager to Tell You About Texting. New York Times. Online:
Hord, J. (2008) How SMS Works. HowStuffWorks.com. Online:
Well, dig this…
Today, Times Co., owner of the New York Times and Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times have reported they are in financial straits. The Times is borrowing $225 million against its big beautiful building in Manhattan while Tribune Co. is filing for bankruptcy protection because its owner is $13 billion in the hole.
No big surprise there – after all, the Times, (NY and LA), as well as the Chi-Trib have been journalistically bankrupt for years with all the liberal leaning nonsense that’s unfit to print. I guess cash follows rhetoric.
Or is there some other reason why Air (head) America can’t compete with Rush, Sean, and Glenn? Maybe it’s because no one wants to hear their garbage – so they have to have the FCC”s help to upend the table so they get their share.
Advice: Make a newspaper that people, left and right wing, actually want to read. Advertisers won’t buy ad space if your lousy publications aren’t in the faces of people.
After all, people can always roll up their dead fish in white paper, rather than old newsprint.
Wasted Money for Wasted Effort
Today, I gotta just go off on the new Capitol Visitor’s Center (CVC). It’s an utter disgrace, but not at all suprising. Essentially, it’s acutely indicative of all that is wrong in Washington, today.
Right out of the barrel, the project management team should all be fired and sent to jail for gross negligent mismanagement. When the CVC was pitched in the ’90′s, it had an original project cost of $71 million. After cost overruns, gross waste, and boondoggling ballooning, the final project cost was $621 million – yes, nearly TEN TIMES the cost! The project also came in three years behind schedule. So, from a Project Management point of view, the project was over-budget, behind schedule, and, as we’ll see here, not within good quality standard. In short, it’s another governmental project failure.
They hid one mistake. James DeMint (R-SC) came through on a preview tour only to find that some dunderhead identified, “E Pluribus Unum” as the national motto, rather than “In God We Trust”. You would think with all the money spent, they could have hired a 7th grade US History teacher to correct them on their “oversight”. The reference that it was the motto was subsequently plastered over temporarily, even though the column would cost $170,000 to replace.
Additionally, many references to the religious and faith heritage that our Founders UNQUESTIONABLY held were omitted from the displays. As visitors enter, they see the words, “We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution”. Of course, this may be true now, since the left-leaning Congress and anti-faith hack groups like the ACLU have made it a point to help Americans to forget that George Washington said these and other words, which acknowledge that the Founders did their work as God-fearing, reverent men:
‘…[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge.’
And yet, historians want us to forget that this nation was founded under a fundamental principle of freedom to worship our Lord.
You did know that the words, “LAOS DEO” are inscribed at the very top of the Washington Monument and emblazoned over most every single monument in Washington. Bible verses on the Liberty Bell, the Ten Commandments on the Supreme Court doors. Did you know the very first thing that 1st Congress did was go across the street – to church…for TWO HOURS, to worship the Almighty Creator and celebrate their new country.
We used to consult God as our Oracle. I guess Congress feels that the Constitution (which they don’t consult, really) is more authoritative than God Almighty. But with the high-and-mighty pogues in office now, I wouldn’t be suprised if Nancy Pelosi wants God’s job. After all, she’s doing so well running the House with her big 18% job approval rating.
Finally, Hopeless and Hapless Dingy Harry Reid made the point that the Visitor’s Center would be a good thing because, “In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”. Harry is put off by all the stinky tourists coming in, so he’s walled them off so their stench won’t reach his sanctimonious, self-righteous nose.
So, to sum up, let’s see, Congress made an extravagant doormat, absent of references America’s Faith Heritage, woven with wasted taxpayer dollars, just so Harry Reid won’t have to smell you if you start sweating in the summer heat and drop by the Capitol for a visit.
Hope you enjoy it!
(and we really want these clowns running health-care, the housing and auto industries, and telling talk radio stations to balance it out because it’s not fair?) Puuuleeeeze….
So, the Supreme Court, starting today is going to actually have a look at this:
To see if the guy written thereon can have this:
I never thought that such a Hail Mary would go this far, but evidently, there are a bunch of people out there who really REALLY think that Barack Obama is not qualified to be president. So today, SCOTUS is going to look over the legal challenge and see if there’s something there.
Now, me, I don’t particularly buy all the hyperbole about Obama’s place of birth. Personally, I think it’s an overcooked turkey, personally. But still, SCOTUS is going to look at it, which tells me that either SCOTUS thinks there might be something here, or they want to put this to bed once and for all.
Either way, it should be interesting to see – considering the story has been buried for months without so much as a glimmer in the main stream media. I’m surprised that the LA Times ran this piece this morning, considering they buried the Ayers tape – but that’s another matter.
So what happens if it actually is found that Obama can’t be president? Yeah, I know, snowball in hell, but…let’s just say…
Well, this is a very enticing question because it’s a question of a procedure that has really never been used. Say the president-elect, come January, become unable to assume the office of President. Who gets it?
I would say, Joe Biden. Since the people don’t actually vote for the president, but rather, choose electors who pledge their votes to a candidate, the line of succession would apply to the president-elect and vice-president-elect, as it would to the president and vice-president formally. Biden would be sworn in as President and then would select a Vice-President, which would have to have the approval of Congress, if one wasn’t chosen before inauguration. If such a selection would have be made before January 20th, then it would fall, again, to Joe Biden to make his selection.
Let’s say the both got wiped out – what then? Well, it goes to whatever the Electoral College says. And if no candidate gets 270 votes, then, constitutionally, it goes to the House to select the President from the top three vote winners and the Senate for the Vice-President out of the top two. And if it didn’t get resolved by January 20th, then Speaker Pelosi would step up as Acting President, since she’s third-in-line as Speaker of the House. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?
Have a good day, y’all.