Sunday, July 10, 2005

My $1,023 Cell Phone Bill

I just got my Cingular bill: they charged me over $900 in roaming charges for calls made from my new house. So, I called customer service and asked what went wrong. They explained that even though I changed my address, I didn't change to the 410 area code, therefore all calls would be billed as if I were still in the old area code. Too bad I wasn't told that at the time I changed the address.

There is a second factor in play. I originally signed up for service with ATT Wireless, which was bought by Cingular. Appearently, I had been on ATT's local plan, rather than their nationwide plan. The nationwide plan would have cost me an extra $10 per month. Since I've had this phone for 18 months, that would have been $180.

Now, here's the question: How can Cingular think it is a good idea to stick a customer with $900 worth of roaming fees? Obviously, their technology could have absorbed the calls for $10. Instead, they agreed to wave $400, and then tried to talk me out of cancelling their service. They expect me to pay them $600, increase my monthly rate plan, and like it?

Of all the transactions I have to undertake, I dispise having to buy a house, a car, and dealing with cell phone vendors. How is this possible? You buy houses and cars maybe every five years. Cell phones are replaced every two. Why does it have to be such a big deal?

But I'm still drawn back to the original question: How can Cingular think that customers would like to pay them $600 for $10 worth of services?

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I learned a new acronym: STONITH

The term references how clustered systems handle a failure. During operations, all of the systems in the cluster are constantly running checks on their neighbors. If the systems, called nodes, sense that one of their neighbors has stopped responding, they force the failing system to switch offline, or power-off. Since the working node is killing the failing node, they are executing a stonith: shoot the other node in the head.

Gotta love that one.