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Comment: Only two explanations? Here's another (Score 2) 482

by mcappel (#46891555) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

It's not just "handsets are expensive, so we're selling them on an installment plan" or "because we provide locked-in service." It's because the cell phone companies, and indeed almost every other business, does not want a revenue stream at slightly above the cost of providing their service. Cell service providers want the greatest possible monthly revenue stream, which will almost certainly result in a higher margin, to occur over the conract period and beyond. They figured most of us wouldn't trade in their handsets every 2 years, which resulted in nice margins once the handsets were paid off. Did you see your cell bill drop after 2 years? I didn't.

If the cell phone companies could have gotten away with locking customers into 3-year+ contracts they would have, but that's a separate issue

It's not just T-Mobile nibbling away at AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon 2-year contracts. It's MVNOs putting pressure on the sacred 2-year contract, too.

At the risk of burning karma points, here's a consumer-focused article I wrote describing how MVNOs might save a consumer money in monthly service fees: http://www.bills.com/bills-blo...

Comment: Re:Bus (Score 1) 273

by mcappel (#46661483) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

Wasn't there a bus from a company called something like green tortise tours that was taking people to and from Burning Man for many years? I know it's the land that invented the drive-thru but surely you can apply a bit of alternative thinking and leave that SUV at home to get to an alternative festival. Even cutting the number of vehicles by a quarter would make a difference.

Green Tortise still operates. The event also contracted with a bus company last year to transport more participants departing from the Bay Area. It is my understanding this will continue to expand.

Comment: Re:Hey, join the Exodus team and you get to help! (Score 2) 273

by mcappel (#46661441) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

So, is it still worth going? I've never been, but it's on my list for the future. Should it be? What's the best (and worst) thing(s) about it?

Yes. It's still worth attending.

The art is amazing. It's unlike any other. Some is utter crap, but for the most part, the art is difficult to describe in type and scale.

The art cars and art bikes are also unlike anything elsewhere. Imagine steampunk, but operational. With flame effects.

The raves are fine if that's what you like. I don't, so I ignore them.

Comment: Re:Hey, join the Exodus team and you get to help! (Score 3, Insightful) 273

by mcappel (#46661269) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus
Haselton, what jnelson4765 said.

Join the Gate Perimeter & Exodus Dept., work in the lanes for a few shifts, and then I imagine you would see the enormous flaw in your proposal. All participants need to buy into any Exodus plan, and abide by its rules voluntarily. This is spelled out in the FAQ. I doubt all participants would abide by your idea voluntarily, and once a few start busting lanes, everyone else will and all hell breaks loose.

The GPE people, and I'm one of them, work hard to make event entry and exit as quick and painless as possible. It's in everyone's best interest to do so. Join GPE, and you may see another idea once you're part of the team. Contact me privately and I'll talk you through the department sign-up process, and become part of the solution.
User Journal

Journal: New page at Bills.com

Journal by mcappel

My sense is that most slashdot readers don't need to be told to avoid payday loans. However, if you have a friend of family member who needs persuasion that payday loans are very bad indeed, see this page I assembled: http://www.bills.com/payday-loan-laws/

User Journal

Journal: My first journal entry: Yay

Journal by mcappel

As you can tell from my history, I used to be the editor of LinuxWorld and worked in the computer journalism word most of my adult life. For the last 3.5 years, I've worked as one of the editors at Bills.com, which is a completely different gig.

Here's a new debt calculator tool Bills.com created: http://www.bills.com/debt-consolidation-calculator/ The nice thing about it is it puts all consumer debts in perspective, and it helps people look at repayment options and the costs of each.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden

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