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edu email

It really annoys me that I spent over four years at GaTech and don’t have an email address from them.  In fact I used to take classes at City College of San Francisco in order to take advantage of educational discounts for software and such (eLearning at Stanford doesn’t provide email addresses to students unless they register for credit)… but when I went to get transcripts from the University of Florida I discovered that I’d had an email address from them because I’d taken four classes (I actually withdrew from two of them when I decided not to spend the entire Summer in Florida).

Originally posted 2013-08-02 13:00:24.

Can you hear me now?

Does it occur to you that if a company has a slogan like “Can you hear me now?” perhaps that’s because it’s a question many of their customer have to ask over and over…

I’ve had Verizon Wireless service since the late 90s — and except for a two year period where I had a flat rate regional service in San Francisco I would say I was relatively happy with them.

Two years ago, when I started to make preparations to move, I opened an account with AllTel.

In San Francisco, I roamed on Sprint with my AllTel phone, but I still had my two Verizon phone.

I have to say, in San Francisco there’s no question that Verizon offers far superior service to Sprint.

However now that I don’t live in San Francisco, and Verizon has purchased AllTel I’m just not that happy with service any longer.

Frequently I have cases where my phone doesn’t ring… I don’t get a SMS message or voice mail notification for a day (or more)… in the middle of a call the other party can’t hear me, or I can’t hear the other party for thirty seconds (or so) and then it’s fine… twice I’ve been the unwilling participant in conference calls (right in the middle of talking to someone I wanted to talk too, suddenly I had two strangers on the call instead of who I’d called)… constantly I have issues with data connections.

The funny thing is everything worked just fine here before Verizon took over AllTel — but the cellular service is getting to be extremely unreliable, they’re closing several of their stores, and they keep trying to coerce old AllTel customers to change over to Verizon plans and pay more for less.

Well — I’m tired of it… and I’ve started looking around.

I pay about $110 [including fees and taxes] month for 350 minutes of voice, unlimited data, unlimited text, free nights starting at 7:00 pm, free weekends, free mobile-to-mobile, eleven air time free numbers I designate, and nation wide roaming (of course they did try and charge me $86 for roaming in my home area and that took three months to correct).  For that I use about 2.5GB of data and 3700 minutes per month; and don’t incur any extra airtime charges (but it does require being cautious and having to plan ahead; I have to put customer service number I intend to call in my air time free number the day before I call them).

For about $90 [including fees and taxes] per month (with a regional carrier) I can get unlimited voice, unlimited data, unlimited text, and nationwide roaming — no games, no need to plan ahead, simple.  I’m asking myself could service be any worse?

The only down side is a new two year contract.

Originally posted 2009-10-09 01:00:25.

Un-unlimited Data

Last week Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg confirmed that Verizon would be discontinuing it’s unlimited data plans in favor of tiered data plans (similar to what AT&T introduced with the iPhone 4).

I’m expecting T-Mobile and Sprint will use this announcement to their advantage, since both of those carries still offer unlimited data (and at a lower price than Verizon ever did).

Also, Verizon’s move to end unlimited data just as the smart phone market hits critical mass may also catapult carries like Cricket and MetroPCS to major expansions since they’re far more likely to find large numbers of subscribers eager to dump the expensive plans offered by carries like AT&T and Verizon.

For the moment Verizon still offers their $29.99 unlimited data plan — so if you think you might want a smart phone in the next few months you might be wise to go ahead and do your upgrade now if your contract permits it, and remember that you can purchase a used CDMA phone with a clean ESN (meaning it has not been reported lost or stolen and the terms of the contract / account it was on were satisfied / paid) and have it added to your account with the unlimited data plan without incurring any extension to your current contract.

Keep in mind that when Verizon launches it’s 4G (LTE) services at the end of the year it’s very likely that they will not offer any unlimited data and will require a plan change to use the enhanced services (meaning you won’t be grandfathered into the unlimited data once you move to 4G).

For me, this is yet another reason I’ll dump Verizon in a heartbeat when I have an alternative.

Originally posted 2010-10-03 02:00:36.

Banks spend big to sell credit cards to students

By Amy Haimerl, personal finance editor CNN
October 26, 2010: 4:27 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The U.S. Marines recruit college students to become one of the few, one of the proud.

Bank of America just wants their financial future.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank spends exponentially more money than any other bank to recruit students for credit cards.

In 2009, Bank of America unit FIA Card Services paid colleges and alumni associations $62 million for the rights to market cards to students and members, according to a report from the Federal Reserve.

The second biggest spender, Chase, dropped $13.8 million to recruit new borrowers, while U.S. Bank forked over $2.5 million.

When the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure Act — better known as the CARD Act — went into effect in February, it required credit card companies to disclose how much they pay colleges for the right to set up on campuses — plus how many new borrowers it racked up. On Monday, the Federal Reserve made its first report.
College degrees that don’t pay

In total, the report showed that credit card companies spent $82.4 million to net 53,164 new student accounts.

The University of Notre Dame got the biggest payment of any school: Chase paid the school $1.8 million and in the end got 77 new borrowers. The school used the funds exclusively for financial aid, according to university spokesman Dennis Brown.

Meanwhile, Bank of America spent $1.5 million on the University of Southern California campus to sell 659 new accounts.

“If you look at how much is being paid per account, the numbers vary wildly,” says Josh Frank, senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending.

In pre-CARD Act year, Frank estimates that 200,000 to 600,000 new accounts were opened on college campuses and through alumni and other organizations.

“But even in a normal year,” he said, “this seems like a lot of money to pay per account. But it’s possible that they just value those accounts more highly and that they’re more profitable for them.”

One major change from the CARD Act is that students under 21 can no longer obtain a credit card without a co-signer — something that could severely limit new accounts. Credit card companies also can’t entice new borrowers through T-shirts and other giveaways — unless they are 1,000 feet (about three football fields) away from the campus.

“Anecdotally, it does seem to be a different environment on college campuses,” Frank said. “Banks are still on campus, but their presence is lower.

Chase paid the University of Notre Dame $1.8 million for the right to market credit cards on the Indiana campus.

Original article on CNN.com

Originally posted 2010-11-08 02:00:40.

Microsoft Office 2007

Today a new version of Microsoft Office 2007 should be available.

One 22 December 2009 Microsoft got an early Christmas present; and injunction on the sale of Microsoft Office 2007 went into effect with the loss of a patent case involving a company named i4i located in Toronto, ON, CA.

The patent in this case, No. 5,787,449, was issued in July 1998.

i4i alleged, and successfully defended the assertion that Microsoft infringed on a patent by including a custom XML feature in Word 2007 which allowed it to open .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM files.

An injunction issued in August 2009 was delayed until the ruling was issued on 22 December 2009.

Reuters estimated that Microsoft will have to pay about $290 million US ($200 million awarded in damages by the jury, and about $90 million in fees and interest).

Microsoft responded to the court ruling in a public statement:

While we are moving quickly to address the injunction issue, we are also considering our legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc or a request for a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kevin Kurtz, director of public affairs for Microsoft

In separate announcements, Microsoft confirmed that the code used in Microsoft Word 2007 would be changed, and a new version would be available on 10 January 2010.

Ruling

Originally posted 2010-01-10 01:00:27.

Beware the Ides of March

The Ides of March, May, July, and October would be the 15th day of the month.

The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars (Aries in Greek Mythology) and a military parade was held to honor the god of war.

The Ides of March is best remembered as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 709 AUC or 44 BC.

Of course, General George Washington also quelled a mutiny of his officers in 1783; but fortunately no one was stabbed as they were in Rome roughly 18 centuries before.

Originally posted 2010-03-15 01:00:17.

Volcker’s views being echoed by Obama

Paul Volcker for years has been adamant that banks should not be allowed to use federally insured money to gamble on the market.

Hard to deny that we need to make changes in the way Wall Street and Big Banking does business; remember, we’ve done nothing but bail them out and allow them to make record profits using tax payer money.

I personally believe the right solution is to tax big banking and to make it more profitable for them to break up into smaller (more easily regulated) business units.  This would also make small banks and credit unions much more capable of competing as well as prevent an economic collapse when one or two banks make bad investment decisions.

Originally posted 2010-01-27 01:00:33.