Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. โ€•Edmund Burke

Techno-Crabbiness: It’s CONTAGIOUS!

Okay, okay…I admit: as a Techno-Crab of the first water, my crabbiness has gotten out of hand in the past few weeks. That notwithstanding, it’s refreshing to discover that Better Men and Women Than I also cast the occasional jaundiced eye upon the miracles of modern technology. Our friend Money Beagle, for example, reflects (in a much calmer tone than mine) upon the shortcomings of the smartphone. Ultimately, MB decides that despite a slew of aggravations, the smartphone is a kewl enough gadget.

But is it kewl enough to be worth $500 to $800? That’s the price range I saw in a quick web perusal this morning, ranging from refurbished iPhones to various Android devices. I dunno. That’s an awful lot of money. And I’m running out: don’t have enough cash in the bank, after the various major expenses, to keep me going until the next RMD in September or October.

Spiffikins comments, in a response to yesterday’s rant here at FaM, that as a practical matter all cell phones are required by law to be able to reach 911 — whether you subscribe to a service or not. So…that would mean that if you wanted to replace your land-line extensions with cells, you wouldn’t have to supply them with minutes at all: just keep the things charged up.

That IS an insight. The problem, of course, is that the reason you have extensions is so that you can answer the phone in whatever room you happen to be when someone jangles you up. If what you have is five different phones with five different phone numbers (or, if they’re not supplied with minutes, presumably NO phone numbers), then you would have to RUN to wherever you left your functioning, paid-for-service device at any given time. If you can remember where you left it…

Ooma (VoIP) begins to look better & better…now to find someone to help me figure out how to install it… The price is so low that I could probably afford a smartphone (someday) and still keep my antique set of base + four cordless handsets.

Author: funny

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15 Comments

  1. As memory serves the gal over at “I pick up pennies” has Ooma. She could give you the “highlights and the low lights”….and may even offer “tech support”….As for the 400-$1000 cell/smart phones…think I’ll pass….

    • Yeah… A blogging friend is her mom — they live in Phoenix. I actually asked them if they would help out but they didn’t respond to my email. So…presumably the answer is “not on your life.” ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh well.

      Brave New World: Expensive as Hell and an unending hassle.

      • Hmmmm….Might want to send another e-mail, the first may have went to her “junk folder”….You guys are braver than me…making that “jump to Ooma” to me seems risky. I’m still floored that your local carrier got the go ahead to abandon copper lines…In this neck of the woods I don’t think something like that would fly…

  2. jestjack, it is happening in your neck of the woods. Verizon is actively retiring copper line service in Maryland.

    • I just spoke to my local elected representative and that would be news to them….As memory serves this was brought up to the Commission where it got very poor reception. It was my understanding this was plan was “tabled”….Could you provide some information on this via a Sun paper, Wall Street Journal or Washington Post article. Just got off the phone with Verizon…this would be news to them as well…

      • Verizon publishes the copper retirement disclosures here: http://www.verizon.com/about/terms-conditions/network-disclosures
        There are several for Maryland.

      • To be clear regulators, here in the Free State-where nothing is free, have drawn a line in the sand if you will. IF Verizon decides to abandon copper they must give the “public”….you and me…as “good or better” than we had. Which means they CAN abandon the copper BUT have to provide the better….”fiber”…. The Sun has covered this pretty extensively. And in my “neck of the woods” new Fios installation has ceased….as it is too expensive I’m told by a “little bird” with Verizon. Add to that the Free State is PRETTY litigious…that is this could wind up in the courts for years. Not so long ago Verizon sent out erroneous notices to folks in Montgomery and Howard County and the “watchdogs” were all over it. Let’s not forget we can’t even get plastic grocery bags outlawed or restricted by fees statewide….Taking copper away without a fight seems unlikely….Just my 2 cents…

  3. Here in Arizona, the utilities get what they want because they own the members of the Corporation Commission, the governing body that oversees utilities. That’s not an exaggeration: they put forward the candidates and back their election campaigns; they see to it that the state and local Chambers support these guys; and they have an army of highly paid, experienced and effective lobbyists who target the Corporation Commission as well as the legislature.

    The CC just approved a HUGE rate increase for the most rapacious of the power companies in this state, Arizona Public Service. My son lives in the APS district: he has been paying $350/month in the summer to keep his house just barely livable — in the heat, the inside of his house is around 90 degrees. This year that tab will go up to $425 — for a 1300-square-foot. I live in the Salt River Project; in a 1900-square-foot my summer bill has never gone over $225. Thus because of this control of the legislature and the supposed regulatory body, APS is able to charge people TWO HUNDRED BUCKS A MONTH more than SRP charges (and makes a profit) for 500 square feet less.

    The Corporation Commission is the body that says what will be done about the copper wiring. And since the utility companies own it, there’s not a damn thing consumers can do. If you report some outrage they’ve committed, you’ll get a form letter back telling you to complain to the FCC.

    • Wow…that’s sad. Around here solar is going up EVERY WHERE and because of that growth in the utility segment has been stagnant and in some service areas electrical consumption has went down. One would think that would cause the utility to be more efficient to meet the challenge….NOPE…..last hearing the electric utilities said they needed higher rates because folks were using less electric….So to compensate they need more per KW….How they did this with a straight face is beyond me….

      • The power companies have seen to it that solar companies cannot get a foothold. They chased them out of Nevada, and they’re doing the same here, by lobbying the legislature and the Corporation Commission to install regulations that make it unprofitable and impractical to install solar systems on homes.

      • Jacking up the rates to punish consumers for conserving is EXACTLY what APS did. First, we had a little power crisis. Consumers obliged by doing everything they could to use less electric. Result: APS went to the Corp Commission and said “we’re losing money and need to raise rates because these peiople aren’t wasting enough power.” So your reward for sweltering through the summer and doing your laundry in the middle of the night and switching out lightbulbs that work for ugly blue things that hurt your eyes was…yes! HIGHER POWER BILLS. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Over massive statewide citizens’ protests, APS built a nuclear power plant. Virtually all the power generated by that thing goes to California. Meanwhile, Arizona enjoys all the potential risks and the question of what to do with waste that stays poisonous for thousands of years. NO ONE wanted this. To pay for it, what did APS do? They increased their rates to Arizona customers. That’s WHY power bills in the APS service area are so much higher than they are in the SRP district.

        These are reasons that I don’t even bother anymore. I will try to keep my power bills down as much as I can by not leaving lights on and not repairing the electric oven and always using space heaters in the winter, but I am NOT going to be told when I can run the clothes and dishwashers or what kind of light bulbs I can use.

        By the same token, I’ve stopped discommoding myself with the giant recycling bin that collects nothing (legal) but junk mail and has to be rolled out to the front curb every week (where vandals dump it over and the trash guy busts the lid off or leaves trash strewn all over the yard) and all the stuff gets shipped to China(!!) (at what cost in diesel for the freighters?), while the actual garbage has to be toted out to the back alley, where I have to dodge bums and burglars to get to that trash can.

        Neither the power companies nor their paid lackeys in government and regulatory agencies give a damn about saving power or recycling. They just want to keep on shearing the sheeple: they want to make money on us. Period.

        As for “as good or better” than we had: Cox’s digital service for the phones is NOT that. It’s incompatible with a cell-blocker — after several days of silence, the robocallers have discovered they can now get through to my number: yesterday I had four nuisance calls while I was trying to work on a pair of complicated spreadsheets created by WonderAccountant. And digital is vulnerable to all the ills that your computer suffers: If the power goes out, you lose your phones. If your computer goes down, you lose your phones. If Cox’s cable goes down (as it does every time a few drops of rain fall), you lose your phones.

        It means that having to buy and pay for a cell phone is now no longer an option. If you’re going to have uninterrupted access to 911, you HAVE to own a cell and you have to keep it charged up. Yeah: you don’t necessarily have to buy minutes to buy 911…but in an emergency you might want to call a friend or family. And the 911 operator ain’t gonna do that for you.

        So: What we end up with is inferior service, more nuisance, and higher bills.

  4. Come on Funny….don’t stop recycling!! To me recycling is one of the few things that DOES make sense today. San Fransisco is hoping to be “zero waste” by 2020….quite an accomplishment… IMHO. I recycle as much as I can…cash in the metal and aluminum for $ and the plastic and glass to the County….Paper is used in the woodstove and the composter takes the food scraps….Our trash contribution is tiny to non-existent….Recycling works…..

    • I don’t buy much that needs to be recycled. Or that (with the system available here) can be recycled. I compost food scraps (paper can also be composted if it doesn’t have toxic inks stamped on it — otherwise shredded paper can be deposited at a collection place). I don’t buy food or drinks in cans. Wine & beer bottles are about it for glass (all these two of these per week can be tossed in WonderAccountant’s blue barrel on collection days). I don’t buy stuff packaged in plastic or cardboard if I can avoid it, and what I do get falls into categories specifically forbidden by the City of Px. Plastic grocery bags cannot be recycled here, either — I use them to pick up dog mounds. which isn’t recycling but which on the other hand does not require purchasing special packages of dog-shit-picker-upper bags.

      The only thing that might remotely be recyclable is the junk mail that’s dumped in my mailbox every day. And it IS printed with toxic ink. Even though a lot of trash is delivered in the mail, still…at the rate of three or four envelopes a day, it would take six months to a year to fill the blue barrel — during that time it blocks access to my garage cabinets (which I use all the time) or sits outside hideously, defiling the front yard.

      When the City gets serious about a recycling program, I’ll reconsider.

  5. Don’t get me goin’ on those plastic grocery bags. With the high winds we have had this week renegade plastic grocery bags now adorn trees and shrubbery like Xmas ornaments. Yet the powers that be can’t bring themselves to outlaw them or make them expensive to use…which is just nuts. In neighboring DC they placed a charge on the plastic bags and it has reduced litter significantly….which helps their waterways, sewer systems and community pride. In this neck of the woods the grocery stores and bag manufacturers fought the legislation…claiming banning or charging a fee for bags would harm the poor by putting an undue burden on them. WHAT?? So the legislation was “tabled” BUT in an effort to …address the problem/calm the masses…. , local grocery stores began collecting these bags. My “Super Store” collects them across the chain and has them taken to a facility where they are made into benches, outdoor furniture and plastic lumber. They have donated many benches to local parks and recreational facilities. A good example of “making lemonade out of lemons”….

    • Here, too: clearly there’s a well financed lobby keeping the damn things in circulation.

      The cities of Tempe and Tucson outlawed plastic grocery bags. Forthwith, our honorable state legislature passed a STATE law forbidding cities and towns to outlaw plastic grocery bags. It is now illegal in Arizona to ban one of the most egregious sources of plastic pollution.

      Well, why would the state legislators, few or none of whom possess many IQ points, CARE whether some towns ban grocery bags? Why? Obviously, money. Clearly they are being lobbied by paid lobbyists, and very possibly they’re getting some kind of kickback themselves, in return for the right votes.

      The issue here is that we’ve GOT to get corrupt and stupid people out of elected office. And we also need to get a grip on lobbying.

      And…why charge a fee for the bags? Why not use paper bags, which do biodegrade? And which, we might add, do not tip over and spill their contents all over the inside of your car’s trunk? Why not simply tell people to BRING THEIR OWN BAGS?

      Decades ago, in England grocery stores did not provide bags at all. Instead, you bought, for a tiny amount of money, these mesh bags that would roll up into a little ball and fit inside your pocket or purse. A mesh bag could expand to hold a week’s worth of groceries. So instead of four plastic bags, you carried ONE bag home.

      What, you ask, about picking up the dog shit? Well, you either do not walk your dogs in public, or you do what we used to do in America back in the Day of the Paper Bag: leave it sitting on the ground. In your own backyard, a pooper-scooper works admirably without your ever having to bend over or put your hands on the stuff.