2009 April (2)

Browse Month: April 2009

Bandwidth Caps Are Bad, Speed Caps Are Better

Bandwidth Caps Are Bad, Speed Caps Better - iStudioWeb With the latest craze about Time Warner and AT&T introducing download caps for their subscribers, it doesn’t seem like companies care for anything but the short term profit, if that. Price-conscious consumers won’t buy into this game again, like we did with cell phones and limited minutes. Anyone who ever overused their cell phone plan knows how hard it was to pay off skyrocketed bill. Personally I had that experience only once – I was consulting some really large project over the phone and my phone bill went from regular $120/month to $653. Of course, it was a justified business expense, but still – it would have been just $240 if I had two separate plans. If you ask me today – I would go to any lengths available to keep my costs down these days. But I digress.

What beats me in the whole capped broadband picture is that ISPs are trying to implement a restaurant pricing. While at the same time forgetting that they are anything but. My cable provider claims that he provides speeds up to 15Mbps. My dedicated servers are on 10Mbps lines burstable to 100Mbps and I am yet to see speeds above 1 megabit. Between themselves servers swap stuff at very least at full 10Mbps which makes it painfully obvious that my cable provider lies is something like McDonalds – at best.

What is obvious to me is that download cap pricing structure is a loose-loose situation for everyone. Once consumers will get a feeling of what their limit will give them, most of those who, supposedly, would be a cash cow for ISP will leave for something else. Or keep their usage under strict control. Either way, ISPs will loose money. Or, rather, will earn less than they do now – just because they have caps. Wouldn’t you talk on your phone more if it was unlimited calls? Sure. Are you postponing calls to your friends until it’s “unlimited nights and weekends”? Most likely – yes. See the pattern?

If provider companies are so inclined to slice their services in tiers – why not turn the situation into a win-win? How could they do it? TIER THE SPEEDS, NOT THE DOWNLOADS. Some “old parents” setting wouldn’t need more than occasional e-mail checking, downloading pictures of their grandchildren and maybe a video or two. That would be a slowest and cheapest tier. A mom-pop-kids shop would probably need some more advanced tier – videos, music, iTunes for kids, heavy MySpace/Facebook and YouTube. And geeks, gamers and internet business owners would appreciate the fastest speeds and the lowest pings out there at the premium. Basically, companies would milk the same bunch of people, only do it so much different that it would make everyone happy.

Credit Companies Want You To Fail!

Credit Card Companies Want You To Fail Last week I got two letters – one from GE Bank (that provides credit services for Lord & Taylor) and one from Chase. Both were somewhat apologetic and notified me of the credit line cut. In fact, they cut it so much that the credit limit is barely above the balance on the card.

Now, I don’t claim to have a credit score of 900, but it was a decent enough score, especially for a current economy. With lines cut like these, my credit score will undoubtedly plunge – because the integral part of it is an available credit to total credit ratio. As you can see, with a simple move two credit providers have just destroyed about 75 to 100 points of my credit score.

What does it mean in a long run? Well, I expect some more credit cards to do the same (although I don’t have that many anyway). That should bring my credit score down even more. Inevitably, some of the credit lines will get so close to the balance that cards get accidentally overdrawn. That pushes the score even further down. In a two to three months I expect my credit score to nosedive by no less then 150 points, with even more diving in the following months. There’s almost nothing I can do¬† to prevent that. Obviously, if I was capable of paying off all the balances – I would have done that a long time ago, but I would still need some credit for operations anyway.

So what these credit companies are looking at is in approximately 3 to 4 months driving my credit score down so much that I would stop caring about it. Then, an interesting thing happens – once you stop caring about your credit score, you realize that you can just stop paying credit cards, free up a lot of cash, stop answering calls from credit card companies for about half a year (imagine all the cash you can save by then), wait until your debt is sold to a collection agency, wait out a little longer and then make a deal on paying off just a fraction of the initial debt.

Once you’re done settling (even before you’ve paid off your balance) – your credit score will start to raise, in about a year you’re back to the previous numbers without the debt and with whole lot of cash. Credit company looses, you win.

Now tell me – what’s the rationale behind the initial action of the credit company to cut the credit line of an individual (or a business) that makes all the payments on time and always pays significantly more then a minimum payment? Does it all make sense? From my point of view – it doesn’t.

Self-Improvement For Small Business Owner – Part II

This is part II of the series (read Part I of Self-Improvement for Small Business Owner).

When you talk or read that goal management is good – you are not making any real progress. Even more so – the more you talk, the more you waste your time. So if you really want to start going – here’s a first step at organizing your goals.

Remember how I talked about dividing your goals into three categories? Hope you do, because, being a geek I have done half of the work for lazy you. The following link will open a Google Document in a new window (you can click on the picture as well for the same effect):

Goal Matrix by iStudioWeb.com
Goal Matrix with Color-Coding

This colored thingy is already broken down into 9 color-coded areas. Once you write your goals in each of the areas, you should start associating your goals with these colors. Now, I am not saying you should use these colors to brain wash yourself, however, if you feel certain colors would represent your goal/priorities better – feel free to copy this chart into Excel or Calc and change them around. The idea is to have three colors for each priority and distinguish between a long and short term by intensity (saturation, if you will) of the same color.

Why? Good question. Ideally, your short term goals must lead you to achieving your long term goals. So by coding short-term goals in the same color as your long terms you implicitly suggesting to yourself that that’s why you are doing this. As an example, take running 10K distance (that’s one of my long term goals for now). I know that I can’t just get up and run 10K, because somewhere around 3 – 4K distance I break down. So I set a short term goal to get an extra 5 minutes to run every week. During my workout yesterday I had a 30 minute run instead of 25 as of last week and I have successfully broken my dreaded 4K barrier. Maybe I stick to 30 minutes for the next week or maybe I will increase it to 35. In any case – running an extra 5 minutes makes a perfect deep-blue colored short term goal, at the same time reminding me that colored in sky blue goal of running a 10K run is getting closer every time I achieve my “+5 min run”.

Aside from that there is one more use for this matrix, which I will talk about in the next part of the series. Stay tuned.