So Long, Cingular

After two years of service, three accounts, three phones, four relocations (across two accounts), and far too much hassle with their phone system, I am finally giving up on Cingular for cell service this week.
I have to admit that it is largely not because of their service (although it has certainly annoyed me having charges appear on my bill for “toll calls” despite having long distance and roaming, among other things), but because of our usage patterns. Katie and I each have a phone at a $30/mo plan, with far too many minutes on each phone, and we use about 20 a month total. And that’s assuming we keep our phones charged. So after taxes, we’re spending $72/mo on 20 minutes of airtime – essentially more than $3 a minute.
So instead, using a pool of my birthday money and gift cards, we picked up an Audiovox 8500 with Virgin Mobile. That’s right, I’m trying the whole prepaid thing. I’m happy with the phone thus far (far more features than I need), I’m happy with the Virgin Mobile-specific features (one button to get an SMS with my account balance; all incoming SMS messages are free), and I’m happy with the no-strings-attachedness (minimum I have to spend is $20 every 90 days to keep my phone active, which is quite reasonable).
And best of all, I haven’t had this good luck number-wise ever; the last four digits of the new number is 1337. How l33t.

It’s All So Clear Now

It’s great when you have a weekend where you read two strangely profound statements that make you think.
First yesterday I stop over and read this brilliance from Rands, the “holy duh of weblogging“:

After sitting staring at the ceiling thinking about this comment, I realize it crystallized, for me, a very basic question about how to think about weblogs. The painfully simple question is, “What is a weblog?” The painfully simple answer is, “A weblog is the representation of a person on the Internet.”

Then I’m reading the guestblog on boingboing – which has been surprisingly well authored by John Dvorak – and read this great comment about what the OSS community truly revolves around (not by John, but one of his readers):

“OSS is an important effort to replace ‘for-profit’ motives (with it’s material rewards) with ‘for-ego’ motives (with it’s emotional and psychological rewards). It’s a restatement of capitalism’s thesis (‘private vice begets public virtue’) for an industry in which the participants feel the immaterial rewards for one’s self (prestige) are equivalent to, or greater than, the possible material rewards for one’s self (money).
Vanity is the driving force behind OSS, as is greed behind closed-source software. Try to use someone’s OSS code without attributing original authorship, and you will see how quickly your quaint “community” devolves into harsh campaigns of public remonstration towards the violator. It is of primary importance that original authorship always be identified.
This is not the hallmark of a communal environment; it is indicative of an environment in which everything is okay as long as people get credit for what they have contributed to a project. In other words, people in this community are not driven by altruism over greed, but by fame over obscurity.”

Just something to chew on this Sunday morning.