Friday, March 18, 2011


This week has been very long for me. Age is definately catching up. I guess part of it is my spring cleaning type mold. This differs from most peoples ideas of spring cleaning, as I usually don't do much cleaning. What I have been doing is organizing a few things and trying to replace all the switch plates and outlet plates in the house. For some reason, the builders often preferred the cheaper of the choices for decorating and things like exhaust fans. The plumbing is good though, but you wouldn't know it by looking at all the various pipes in the attic. Some pipes are held in place by nails bent around them.

At least switch plates are easy enough to tackle. I have been driving Wanda nuts with switch plates. Last night she went to bed and I was still changing them out. I watched a show with her before bedtime and during the show, I was up changing out outlet covers in places where I could still see the show. Thankfully it was on of the easier plots of Law and Order: Criminal Intent from the first season.

We started using Neflix on the Playstation 3 just a little while back. In the time we have been using the service the numbers have shows have grown quite a bit. I was just getting used to the idea when I read in the paper about AT&T's plans to implement broadband usage caps. Suddenly, I was being considered a potential "usage hog" just because of my Netflix use. I resent the phrase because I have never owned a Harley or even a black helmet with skulls on it. I would prefer "Usage Pig."

There are probably future ramifications about this introduction of usage caps. For now, they will of course have the caps high enough to tamp down too much protestation. They can legitimately say it only effects two percent of their customers. These "Usage Slothes" will be charged more for additional gigabytes downloaded. I called Netflix. How many gigs does a movie take to watch? "Regular or HD?" he asked. I said "unleaded without ethanol." He laughed and said HD movies take about 2 gigabytes an hour. So I called the AT&T folks. Where the first Netflix guy knew all the answers to my questions, one after another, and even shared a few anecdotes, AT&T requires multiple hold times and transfering of calls. The first person doesn't know anything, switches you to another who knows nothing who switches you to a third who can answer one question partially and has to switch you to another to answer a big question. This big question cannot be answered by this final person unless I have my IP address. "You can look up my account information but you can't look up my IP address you monitor my usage with?" No doubt someone else there at AT&T would have been able to do this, then I could have started the whole process over but I decided "Really, didn't I actually call with the intention of proving they would have to switch me around at least 4 times like usual?"  Things like that the remain unchanging over time just make me feel that life is not passing me by. Some things are universal and constant, like AT&T's global and global company wide ideas about cusgtomer service.

My big question was "Can you tell me how many gigabytes I used last month?" While the newspapers had said the limit would be 150, one of the minion of AT&T employees assured me the limit would be 100. I could guess that there was a possibility of me being in the Slothful Mulish Hog category. I do some downloading and even without this, assuming 2 hours a night of Netflix, we would be at 120 gigs. I doubt we use two hours a night though, but who knows. Not AT&T, at least without my IP address which I had no access to on my daily walk. Calling customer service on my daily walk is one way to multitask.

So I called back Netflix with an idea. First person I talked to had such a friendly response I was in disbelief. I said "Let's assume AT&T figures out some way of letting me monitor my gigabye usage, if I came close to the limit, say on the 20th of the month, could I put my Netflix on "vacation" until the end of the month. "Oh yes, sure." Umm, could I do this every month? "Absolutely... oh, your billing date would change every month.

Ahhhh...  the sweet smell of a good company on my daily walk.