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No Phone

Posted 2010.01.11 13.02 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Family/Friends by Stephanie

Well I thought it over and rolled it around in my head and then went ahead and cancelled my phone line this morning.

My mum was a bit wierded about it, and I guess I am feeling a bit wierded too. I’m sure it’s the ‘new reality’ or a part thereof. It’s just, at the end of the day, who can justify spending $45 per month, for a handful of real phone calls and a hundred or so spam calls?

The phone company rep was all trying to convince me to stay, but I explained that there was no problem or complaint with the service – I just don’t use it. And I can’t stand the ringing of the spammers.

Appearantly there is a new Call Privacy feature (for the low-low price of $6.95 per month) that lets you block up to eleven numbers from ever calling you again. And I did contemplate that before giving the final plug-pulling approval. It’s just – that’s another $7 plus tax every month, putting my bill over $50 per month, and it only blocks 11 spammers.

If it were the opposite, i.e. you could put in 11 numbers that are allowed to call, then I might have gone for it. Like, punch in my ‘friend list’ and nobody else but them could call? I’d have tried that I think. But eleven is too low a number, for $7 per month. They ought to look into something like a ‘friend list’ though – like with Skype or iChat or ICQ or any of those free IM things, you can set it so that nobody can call you unless they’re on your list. Crazy that free services have this function but expensive commercial services do not.

So the plug gets pulled tomorrow. I did agree to reserve the number for a year, incase I change my mind. We’ll see. Like I said, it feels a bit wierd. I guess I’m old-school enough yet, that you just assume everyone has a ‘real’ phone.

I know that ‘everyone’ doesn’t though – I’ve started seeing the alarm companies advertising that you can get monitoring even if you don’t have a home phone. That’s new. Part of the ‘new reality’ thing again, right?

WTF is with these Utility Cons?

Posted 2009.07.23 11.05 in Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

We’ve all encountered situations like this. Someone shows up at your door, at home or at work, with an official-looking clipboard, an official-looking photo-id badge, and a rehearsed spiel that they are here from an official-sounding company, on behalf of a legitimate company or utility, and they are going to save you some money.

As you know, long distance has been deregulated, and now you can save a lot of money by signing this contract so that your long distance is covered by this new low-cost business. Maybe you’ve heard that natural gas prices are going up and up, and they can save you hundreds of dollars over the next 5 years if you sign a contract to pay a fixed rate? Perhaps you’ve heard that the price of electricity is on the rise, and they can save you a lot of money if you’ll sign a contract to pay a fixed rate over the next few years? And the latest one: We can save you a lot of money over the next few years, because you know the United Nations is pushing to have every country start charging a carbon tax, and if you just sign this contract we can take care of that for you…

No, I’m not talking about the poor shlep who’s been walking around for 8 hours a day – he’s already been victimized, and sadly he probably even believes the bullshit that he’s telling you. I’ll explain momentarily.

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The Stephanie Maks Office Adventure Kit

Posted 2006.07.25 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

I was just getting ready to head out to work and had some of my ‘important gear’ sitting on my desk ready to, when I noticed that my bit of kit was arranged somewhat photogenically.

That’s right, it’s the Stephanie Maks Action Adventure Kit!

The kit consists of the following:
A Pentacle necklace, properly cleansed and blessed.
A mechanical, home-made wristwatch. Today it’s the one-handed model, accurate to within 5 or 10 minutes.
An antique PDA, circa 1996. Hey, just because stuff is new, does not mean it is better.

And now, I must be off! Duty calls!

Stephanie Maks Action Adventure Kit