Study hard. You might learn something.

Reading the news reports of President Reagan’s funeral, I read something interesting in this article about the whole process. It seems to be a somber affair, as one would expect of a funeral. However, some are treating it “more like a parade” than a funeral. I don’t have a problem with this, for the most part. While standing on chairs to take pictures may be a little tacky, a state funeral is as much a celebration of America as it is the mourning of a president. I don’t think it’s a significant disrespect, so I don’t really care.

But then there is this:

After the building was opened to the public, some people left crying, but others got on their cell phones to ask if they had been seen on television.

I’m sure those people were respectful in the Rotunda, but why bother if you’re just an ass who wants to be on the TV. You’re delaying the people who want to express a genuine emotion. If getting on the TV is your only goal, Jerry Springer is looking for you. Save us the burden of being distracted by you, because you’re no different than the morons who sit behind home plate at every baseball game, talking on your cell phone, waving at the TV. Nobody likes you.

Instead, show some class. In case you need a lesson in how, here’s your example.

Margaret Thatcher pays her last respects to Ronald Reagan.

I can’t make it any clearer.

When will the revolutionary informercial air?

I received a response from an e-mail I sent to the company that owns my preferred domain name for my company. Consider:

Hello Tony,

Thank you for your inquiry.

[Domain Squatting company] is a new concept in premium domain names. We have over ten thousand premium .COM domains, all available for lease or purchase. These are some of the best domains available on the web, and many are worth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

Our goal is to make these premium domains available to everyone. Because we make the actual investment in the domain, we have the flexibility to offer a pricing plan with the most efficient price points, and the most flexibility.

Each of our domains is available to be leased or purchased with the following options:

For Domain Names consisting of 8 or more characters (not counting the .COM):
1. Monthly Lease for $9.95 per month
2. Annual Lease for $99 per year
3. Purchase for $495.00

For Domain Names consisting of 7 or less characters (not counting the .COM):
1. Monthly Lease for $19.95 per month
2. Annual Lease for $195 per year
3. Purchase for $995.00

If you are interested in leasing or purchasing one or more of our premium domains, please send us an email and let us know which ones. We will then email you a link that will take you to a customized checkout page.

Best Regards,
[Domain Squatter]
[Domain Squatting company]

Domain squatting is not a new concept; it’s been happening since the Web became The Next Big Thing. And yet, it hasn’t gotten any less despicable.

There is no “actual investment” involved with this company. I’m guessing they pay some college kid $8 an hour to search for available domain names that contain “key” words. That college kid gives the company a list and [Domain Squatting company] registers the list in bulk, probably paying a few bucks for each name. Assuming $4, with more than ten thousand domain names, that’s a $40,000 “investment” for this new concept. I will concede that to be a large sum for an initial start-up cost, but if they sold them all, their revenue would be between $5 and $10 million, a tidy profit.

They won’t sell them all (I’ve seen the list and most of the names are not “premium”), so I’ll be conservative in the rest of my estimate. To make an easy number, I’ll put $10,000 in overhead for the year, giving a nice round $50k for costs. To break even, assuming a nearly even-split between the categories, [Domain Squatting company] will need to sell 67 premium domain names.

There might be 67 names on that list worth using, names that might generate revenue to justify an expense beyond the normal cost of domain registration. [Domain Squatting company]’s business model is good because it has a low sales threshold to achieve success, assuming their prospective consumers are willing. But a “new concept”? No, a new concept would’ve been a methodology to determine which 67 will sell and then only buying those.

They’ll have to find 67 other suckers.

Low expectations are easy to satisfy

What the hell is wrong with America? Most days, checking the news on the internet is my first productive task. Usually it’s just a scan of headlines to make sure the world still exists. If there’s nothing major, I’ll come back to the news later to get more details. Yesterday, there the news that President Reagan had died.

I’m not going to pretend that I idolized President Reagan since anyone who has read my writing can infer that. But he was a United States President and deserves the respect that we attach to the highest office in the America. Even though he hadn’t been in good health for a decade, this is a Big Story&#153.

He presided over an extremely prosperous time. While I suspect that the prosperity was more from his optimism than his economics, it happened on his watch. (For what it’s worth, I believe the same “optimism trumps economics” applies to President Clinton.) President Reagan spent Soviet Communism into the history books. Blah, blah, blah.

This story, as well as the 60th anniversary of D-Day, deserves the primary attention for the day. Yet, what do I see when I click on the President Reagan story?

Click for a sign of the apocalypse.

I understand that it’s Entertainment Tonight, but using the word “entertainment” doesn’t offer a free pass. If the story is worth covering, the legitimate “weight” of the story should matter. The death of President Reagan has heft. The marriage of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony is a useless trifle. At least President Reagan was more important than Mini-Me’s annulment.

Phone companies are stupid

After my recent troubles with Verizon, I’m inclined to believe that phones companies are run by incompetent management. Of course, I know that it’s not something wrong with just phone companies, but an inherent risk generally realized in large companies. They’re big, inflexible, and stupid. They march forward, trampling over everything in their way, which usually includes customers, when they’re nice enough to believe that people are customers instead of imbeciles to be separated from their cash. Those companies are dinosaurs, waiting to be made extinct.

In New Zealand, one such company is Telecom Corp.. It recently eliminated its plan that gave customers unlimited text messaging for $6.29 per month. It now offers “only” 1,000 messages per month before extra charges kick in. That’s a good move, since text messaging is a dying phenomenon.

Before I went through my cell phone switch nightmare, I never used text messaging. When I returned to Sprint, I got the cool phone that makes web surfing and text messaging workable. So I started messaging. Certain people have been known to receive a dozen or more messages per day now that I’m used to messaging. It’s cool and stuff. But 1,000? Danielle has only 500 per month with her Verizon plan, but I’ll be amazed if she uses them all. So 1,000 seems to be plenty.

But still. Progress works like this: every year, a company changes its services to offer a lower price or more of the product. It happens with cars. It happens with computers. It happens with video games.

The common theme in my examples is technology. Anything that can technologically improve gets better or cheaper. It’s so unavoidable that it might as well be the 11th Commandment. But Telecom Corp. missed the memo.

Fraser Ray didn’t like that, so he protested by sending 80,012 text messages during May, the last month of the old plan. He makes me look like an amateur since I only sent Verizon twenty-six checks to pay my $56.09 bill. I have a new hero. But Mr. Ray was not alone because New Zealanders are awesome.

Telecom spokeswoman Helen Isbister said a handful of people had sent more than 100,000 text messages in May.

With an obvious protest, how does Telecom Corp. interpret this?

“I suppose it’s an indication of the kind of thing we wanted to discourage by putting a cap,” she said.

Phone companies are stupid.

The world is a conspiracy

The most logical domain name choice for for my new company was registered by someone else, two days after I incorporated. It would be acceptable if someone with an interesting idea purchased it. You know, like a woman who will be famous and I can ride on her coattails like a monkey strapped to a rocket. But no, my preferred domain name was purchased by a company looking to extort money by holding it for ransom. Scumbags.