This whole deal reminds me of some work I did for a UK advertising company years ago. I got to have lunch with the MD and Creative Director, who had just done market research for a cigarette lighter company on who their competition was. Was it Ronson, the low-end player? Or Dupont or Dunhill, the high-end players? Turns out that it actually was Parker Pen. The company learned that they were in the gift market.
My take is that telephone companies still think that other phone companies are their competition, and that the rules and givens of phone company competition will work in their favor. But actually they are actually in connection. And with increasingly wrong numbers.
Peter Peterson is chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as well as of his own investment firm, the Blackstone Group. He's a lifelong Republican who served as Secretary of Commerce in Richard Nixon's cabinet. He is also sounding alarms about the current economic policy.
Several reports like this have appeared in the past six months. It seems consumers are staying away from permanent relations with digital cable.
Quite a bit of work was done in the 90s that suggested offering 200 channels or 1000 channels wasn't of any greater value than offering 20 channels -- assuming you get the right 20 channels for a given family. To first order most families watch about a dozen channels (this is working from sketchy memory, but you get the idea) that are common to the vast majority of other families in their community. Additionally there are a handful of channels that are interesting that are not commonly watched by other families bringing the total to something less than 20. This makes is very difficult to sell additional channels.
The cable companies I've been around see enormous value in their services than their customers. Being monopolies has clouded their views and it must be quite a shock to learn their customers aren't onboard with emptying their wallets. Many of them talked about $100 a month cable bills ($150 with cable modems, $200 when you throw in all you can eat telephony) and prepared to become very wealthy.
I sense (this is not measured - just anecdotal) that most people consider their $30 to $40 cable bills excessive. We dropped back to a $13 a month really basic analog service and find it is overkill for our needs. An added benefit is the signal quality is better than when we had to go through the DCT-2000 digital cable box.
The cable guys may have themselves in an interesting bind. Of course they can drop prices somewhat (digital services are amazingly profitable once someone buys them), but I suspect the comfort level for cable TV service is much closer to $20 than $50.
Since I don't use Windows, I haven't been following rss news aggregator/readers for that platform. I have tried FeedDemon and NewsGator (both were functional, but not very impressive when compared with NetNewsWire Pro), but can't claim anything approaching a serious test.
If you use Windows and don't have one of these do yourself a favor and follow their advice. If you use a Mac get NetNewsWire Lite (the free version) ... if you end up addicted you may want to get the Pro version.
This is great fodder for a physics prelim question. How efficient is the car/compressor combination? What is a realistic range given a compressed air tank as described? Assuming the mix of methods used to generate power in the US, calculate the relative amount of pollution generated vs conventional and electric cars.... (ok - it would go a bit beyond a prelim question, but calculating raw efficiencies doesn't)
Last year we found ourselves facing the holiday season with reduced financial resources. The trick was to chinch the belt a bit and set a strict limit on gift giving and entertainment - about household total of about $200 in our case.
It worked and didn't work. Clearly meeting the financial target was healthy and the extra quality time and reduced hassle from not constantly shopping was much better than I had expected. What I wanted to do was work on handmade gifts. Unfortunately there wasn't the time to do a good job and I ended up wimping out and buying things. I finally got around to building some bat detectors, but that came in the Spring.
These days we all have amazing tools that support writing, art, music and even video. The trick is to set aside the time to do a good job. So consider this a warning if you want to try something like this - now is the time to start.
So if you want to focus on the holiday - or perhaps not focus on the craziness of December - set some limits and start working on a few projects. It just may be that the people around you value your time and creativity more than the marketing prowess of a large corporation. You may even be excited by the anticipation of the recipient's reaction.
If you still feel like you need to spend some money consider giving it to a worthy charity, putting it aside for your kid's education, etc.
Now if I can only find some time and conjure a bit of creativity ...