Posts Tagged ‘Business’

I have been an AT&T wireless customer starting in 2005. In mid 2009 I added DSL service. AT&T called in early November of 2009, and told me I was being moved to combined billing (for my DSL and wireless service on my account).

AT&T aka Death Star Communications

From November of 2009 to February of 2010 I did not receive a bill. I tried on multiple occasions to call and make a payment and was told as I had a $0 balance on my account that they would not take a payment.

In March of 2010 AT&T called and told me that I owed $1654 immediately or my services would be cancelled (at which point I would owe over $1800). As I did not have that kind of money lying around I was unable to pay before the phone call ended. I went to the store on Airport road in Huntsville AL where I lived to try to see if they could do anything. Taking with me screenshots showing my account had a zero balance for each of the last 4 months. The store refused to do anything and told me to contact support over the phone.
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Here’s another best-of, from Halloween 2007…

 

Public Private Partnership Legislation Testimony

Public Private Partnership Legislation Testimony (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

 

In just about every state, taxes on fuels pay for highway and road maintenance. In some states, there are also toll roads, created by law, and funded by the tolls collected on them. These toll roads are supposed to be maintained by the tolls, as well. In many cases, those funds are being used in the manner intended, but in some cases, we have to wonder.

 

There’s a new creative solution from the Federal Highway administration and the Department of Transportation called “Public-Private Partnerships“, where states are leasing out, or selling off infrastructure, like freeways, highways, toll roads, bridges, and if they have their way, even public utilities to the highest bidder. (more…)

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Another Blast-from-the-Past best-of article, from October 2007.

receipt

(Photo credit: geese)

Consider the lowly receipt. 3-5 inches of paper, a little bit of ink (or worse yet, a coating of a thermal imaging substance, that responds to heat) all with the aim of 2 things.

First, a receipt gives you a record of your purchase, for your records.

Second, a receipt acts as a flag, indicating that you’ve actually paid for that object you’re carting out of the store (or bringing back to return).

Wow. Think about how many receipts you collect, every day, for every purchase you make. Think about that much paper, times 6+ Billion people on Earth. Pretty big pile of paper, EVERY day, huh?

Here’s a thought. How many of those receipts you get every day are computer generated? Most of them, right?

What would happen if you had a token, that you could hand over, when you’re about to get a receipt, that they could store an electronic version of that receipt on? For example, a USB flash drive. Most of us who keep receipts are keeping them for bookkeeping purposes, for taxes, business (which is to say for taxes), or to track our personal budget. Wouldn’t it be handy if the receipts were machine readable, so that you could just import them into your spreadsheet, or tax software?

This doesn’t have to do away with paper receipts entirely, to be useful… But if even 10% of paper receipts were done away with, it would effectively reduce the amount of pulp wood being turned into paper, run thru a computer once, and then thrown away in 3-5 inch scraps.

Oh, you say, but what about those coupons that some places print on the receipt for you? Well, it’s just as easy to put a non-modifiable file on the token, that indicates that you are due one “coupon deal”, that can be read, next time you’re at the store.

Again, it’s about doing away with the paper… about reducing the “intentional” waste stream. Things that are being created knowing that 90% of the population is going to throw them away first chance they get. If it’s stored to the token in the appropriate format, and you needed a hard copy of it, you could print it out… but the 90% of transactions that don’t really wind up needing that don’t waste the paper.

Let me know what you think if this simple, small proposal to save the Earth. Leave us a comment.

 

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Here’s a blast from the past. Originally published March 14, 2009.  This post encapsulates my core philosophies of IT.

Hello ElectricityI have always been involved with technology.  When I was a child, I disassembled it, and usually put it back together.  When I got old enough to be gainfully employed, I started working in the technology field.  So I think that I have a suitable background to talk about technology.  Those of you who’ve been reading here for any length of time must think so to, because you keep coming back.

In this world, we’ve grown amazingly dependent on technology.  I realized this at a very early age.  We’ve got electronic traffic lights, to keep people moving safely.  We’ve got technology that makes sure the electricity makes it to us, and that makes sure the water and sewer keeps flowing.  We’ve got technology to keep us warm, to cool us off, and to prepare our meals, and to make sure our food doesn’t rot before we eat it. (more…)

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