BT et C

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Verizon can Die

Today I'm looking for competitors to Verizon. This is an active search, as I am quite tired of paying 3 digits a month and being unable

it's true

to view any itemized synopsis of what I'm paying for. I know that DSL comes in around $40 and that I have call waiting. Deeper than that I cannot delve.

  • Item: Trying to view my bill online generates this message:
"We are currently experiencing problems. Please try again at a later time or contact Verizon customer service"

Now, if you believe there is actually a thing called "Verizon customer service" then I have several thousand Authentic Collectors Item Leaves in my backyard that you can have for the low low price of $100 each.

  • Item: Okay, screw it, I'll have the bill mailed to me.
"Sorry, we are unable to provide you with Paper-Free Billing. We have encountered some problems while processing your request."

A surprising message, since I am presently provided with Paper-Free Billing and can't stand it because I cannot get the information. It should be renamed Information-Free Billing.

  • Item: "Add/Modify" services sound like the thing for me. Before I whine, let me say that the DSL service is fairly reliable. I just need to know what I'm paying for rarely-used phone service. (I more or less hate telephones)
"We're sorry this information is currently unavailable. Please try again later."

I am going to be updating this entry with my research on Verizon's competitors. A fiberoptic connection would be a lovely thing, but it is categorically Not Worth dealing with this company.

Note to Verizon:
If you paid more than $99 for this account management system, you should know that the 15-year-old who built it for you is laughing all the way to the bank.

Update 1:
Speakeasy has a "OneLink" service where you get DSL and no need for a phone line. This service might be quite... serviceable, in view of my newly found love for Skype. More to come...

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Had a nice chat with Jack last night. His employer, Tricia Parks, gave a talk that I'd like to read or watch, or whatever you do with talks that you missed. The basic idea is

The vice president of IT may be a concept with an expiration date, like the Vice President of Electricity. In olden days your company had a professional whose job was to make sure this newfangled thing called electricity was working at all or most times. Eventually, as Jack put it, you "outsourced the complexity" so that you just need to know.

-how to flip the switches.
-(the "advanced" tab) how to reset a circuit breaker.
-pay your bill

I will do an extended comparison of IT and e- later, but for now note a critical distinction:

-electricity is on or off (0 or 1), it doesn't vary in quality, except as its availability varies over time. 99.9% reliability, or what have you. This is basically the only method of supplier differentiation.
-software can be working, but crappy. Its value at time X can be 0 or any positive integer. Yes, right up to "infinity"


If you are not the IT guy, it might as well be of "binary" value. You've got 4 things you want it to do, and it's either doing them or not. As Carr puts it

"The majority of business users of PC's rely on a well-established and fairly rudimentary set of programs - e-mail, word processing, Web browsing and spreadsheets - that use only a small fraction of the computing power built into today's desktops and laptops. The case for continuing to upgrade these programs is weak and getting weaker ... nearly 75 percent [of corporate buyers] want to see less frequent upgrades, and more than 20 percent plan to stop buying upgrades altogether"

Now I haven't read Carr's book, but I can't shake the feeling that IT will continue to matter a little: the IT guy's job is to be aware of the software's "actual" integer value; to navigate what software is available and spot opportunities to enhance it. It is (or rather, should not be) to "keep IT going" like the old VP of e- did.

The "core four" (eml, browser, text, and spreadsheet) might get completely commoditized, but the sky will always be the limit as to what IT can do, because it is a product and a cause of human creative thinking.

PS: google "vice president +of electricity" to see Nicholas Carr transformed into Nicholas Cage. hehe.

Friday, December 03, 2004

BT is dead! Long live BT is off the grid, and is so not-visited that I'm not investing another minute in bringing it back on.

BT et C will live here now. It's easier and it's free, and when I signed up for a blogspot account 4 minutes ago I had to put something in the "Name Your Blog" field and the rest is history.

brb ... gonna go comment on luke's blog now that I'm registered woo hoo.