Cell Phone Service Pricing

I think I want to start an electrical utility. After researching pricing plans, I like the following:

  • Pre-paid, flat-rate pricing, say $199.95 per month for 1,500 kWh of home electricity usage. If you exceed the monthly allotment you pay an additional $0.99 per kWh.1Maybe those who sign up first will get unlimited electricity per month and will be able to keep their plan as long as they don’t move. How about carryover-kWhs? Or neighborhood plans where neighbors share kWh’s?
  • $0.30 to recharge a AA battery. If you recharge a lot of AA batteries you can pay $9.95 per month for unlimited AA battery charging. Other sizes of batteries will have different rates.
  • $9.95 per month to connect a work laptop to your home electricity service.
  • $9.95 per month to use an extension cord to “tether” other devices to your home electricity service.

You may wonder why I would propose such a complicated pricing plan.2You might note that it (1) has many customers bearing the cost for the few who use the most electricity, (2) doesn’t encourage conservation, (3) charges differently for different uses of the same electricity, and (4) has outrageously different pricing with no relationship to how much electricity is used. Clearly, you don’t understand these charges are necessary to cover the costs of maintaining and upgrading the electricity infrastructure.

It makes total sense to me.3Most important, let’s not just charge by the kWh. After all, I just paid my cell phone bill.

Don’t Drive Distracted

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes […].

Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use, and drowsiness. (.)


Would you like to avoid crashing into someone riding a bike? Someone who is a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, a dad or a mom?

Pull over and get some sleep if you’re drowsy. Wait until you’re stopped to change the CD or iPod playlist. Have someone else pick up the kid’s toy from the back seat.

Hang up and drive.

Hat tip: Patrick Benner linking to Peter Bregman writing in Harvard Business Review

One clean cell phone

When we went hiking in Oneonta Gorge, I was careful to bring a couple of plastic Ziploc bags to double bag my digital camera. I even removed the car door remote from my key ring and left it in the car. I was quite proud of my planning and forethought until I realized at the falls, after wading through waist-high water, that my cell phone was still in my pants pocket.

I quickly removed its battery and put the pieces in in a baggie for the return wade. At the car, I also removed the SIM card and opened the clamshell so it could dry. At home, I used the blow dryer on it for a few minutes and then left it to dry. Unfortunately, even after 24 hours of drying, the phone wouldn’t boot without locking up. So I put the phone (not the battery nor SIM card) on an insulated cookie sheet in the oven at 150°F for an hour.

It’s all better now after its unscheduled cleaning. Not bad for a free phone. :-D

Shut Up and Let Me Drive

A new study shows that brains aren’t good at multitasking — If you’re listening, you can’t watch as well. Or, in scientist-speak:

When attention is deployed to one modality — say, in this case, talking on a cell phone — it necessarily extracts a cost on another modality — in this case, the visual task of driving.

Why the attack on cell phones?! The study showed that listening, not “talking on cell phones,” impaired visual processing.

In the interest of safety, let’s not ban just talking on cell phones while driving. Why not ban listening to music or talk radio? In fact, let’s outlaw radios or CD players in cars. In the meantime, some enterprising lawyer can file a class action products liability lawsuit against automobile manufacturers for making available audio equipment in their vehicles — obviously a defective design that contributes to the unfettered distraction of responsible drivers and the consequential injurious accidents caused thereby.

Better yet, let’s make it illegal to drive under the influence of sound. “Kids, stop your fighting and be quiet back there. It’s the law!” “Sorry, dear. I’d love to talk about your book club but I can’t; it’s illegal.”

Shut up and let me drive.

hat tip: TechNudge.

Airport blogging

I’m at the PDX airport, waiting for my flight. Yet, I’m online, using my laptop, completely unwired. Too cool.

Yes, I hate it when the big name bloggers talk about their travel plans and brag about blogging from the back seat of a taxi using a bluetooth cellular phone networked with a PDA using a WiMAX connection. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t resist. ;-)