atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5210: It's difficult to get there.

ONOES DSL USERS COULD PAY UP TO $200 IN OVERAGE FEES! The headline reads, "AT&T's data caps impose harshest punishments on DSL users" and it sounds like AT&T is suddenly imposing huge penatlies for data overages.

...except the overage fees kick in at 150 GB of data usage, and cost a minimum of $10 per 50 GB. So in order to hit that $200 maximum overage fee, you'd need to use an extra TERABYTE of data in ONE MONTH over and above the 150 GB allotted by your plan.

To exceed the 150 GB data cap, back when I was on AT&T DSL, I had to build El-Hazard and leave it running uTorrent 24/7. If you're using 1,150 GB of data per month you ought to be paying that $200 premium.

Look: I watch YouTube videos, I play World of Warcraft, I do a whole bunch of other stuff. My Internet usage has changed since the day I got the notice from AT&T about exceeding my data plan--I've drifted away from torrenting anime--and I do not use anything like a terabyte of data per month. I'd be shocked to my core if I used more than 100 GB a month.

The article tries to make this sound like evil corporate greed, but what it is, in fact, is just business. It costs money to supply an Internet connection, and the more data you use, the more it costs. If you're using a terabyte of data every month, that costs more than a usage pattern that consumes 100 GB.

It's even more acute in the wireless world. There's limited room in a cell tower's bandwidth; that compilation of fart jokes you're watching on YouTube is equivalent in data use to hundreds of simultaneous phone calls. (Then people get upset when they have to pay an extra $15 this month because they used an extra GB of data. *sigh*)

Bandwidth costs money. If you want to pipe data (up or down) you're going to have to pay for it.

* * *

Irony. "Le'Genius Wisdom Williams" is neither a genius nor wise, considering his chosen profession (teenage thug) and adolescent murder rap.

* * *

George W. Bush was not exactly conservative. And, yeah:
It's all well and good to be concerned about Trump not being a "true conservative." I get that, I really do, and to some degree I even sympathize with it. But "true conservative" ain't on the menu, and it never was except--perhaps--in the person of a too-slippery-by-half professional politician who never did stand a chance of being elected to any higher office than the one he already has, and whose "true conservative" approach has proven to be entirely ineffective.
"True conservative" hasn't been on the menu in three decades.

* * *

So, here's what happened:

Work, late April, early May: We are going to be open on Memorial Day and everyone will have to work his schedule.
Me: We're working Memorial Day.
Mrs. Fungus: What, you have to work Memorial Day? That sucks! Okay, I'll volunteer to work Memorial Day too and we'll make some money!

Work, mid-May: The team with the best metrics will get Memorial Day off, but we are going to be open on Memorial Day and everyone else will have to work his schedule.
Me: [looking at my team's metrics] Yes, we're definitely working Memorial Day.
Mrs Fungus: It sucks that we're both working on Memorial Day!

Work, yesterday: Hey, guess what? We're off on Memorial Day! If you call off Fri, Sat, or Sun you and your supervisor have to work Memorial Day, so work your schedule and you'll have the holiday off!
Mrs. Fungus: [unprintable]
Me: [unprintable]

...because she has to work on Memorial Day and I, all of a sudden, do not. And I don't blame her one little bitty bit, to the extent that on Thursday I'm asking if I can work Memorial Day, because that's what we both planned on doing all along, because the people in charge at my employer can't get their shit together enough to let us know what we're going to be doing.

Here's the thing: her schedule is made up a month in advance, so she has to get these things in; I of course am beholden to my employer's contract with #Major_Telecom, which has proven to be fickle. It's probable that management has been doing everything it could to negotiate a holiday off for us, and only recently got the go-ahead, but the timing of the announcement is unbelievably shitty.

My wife, however, has noticed something that no one at my employer appears to: they're going to open the call center on a holiday because a handful of people didn't show up for work? Really?

Let's say that 10% of the workforce calls off sometime in those three days. Let's further assume that the total workforce is three hundred people (which is a wild-ass guess based solely on the number of desks occupied with personal effects). That'd be perhaps thirty people and a sprinkling of supervisors; is it worth opening the center for that? On what is likely to be a day with light call volume? And with a threat like that, having to come in on a holiday when everyone else is off, isn't that going to depress the absentee rate?

I don't know exactly how call center traffic shaping works, but I do know that the call volume is managed by a system which knows how many butts are in chairs. Can a center staffed with thirty people take enough calls to break even on the premium pay? (Holiday pay: 2.5x your regular pay rate if you're actually at work.) How many calls per hour does an employee have to take to make our employer enough money just to pay his wage? I'm not at liberty to divulge numbers but it looks to me as if each employee has to spend his entire shift taking calls just to break even...and if call volume is low enough that it results in any significant amount of time spent "in ready", waiting for calls, the center would lose money. That, I would wager, is why we're getting the holiday off. (When I say "significant amount of time" I mean in aggregate, the sum of all the reps working that day.) I'm thinking that I'll work on Memorial Day (if they let me, and if they don't make my boss come in too) and earn some extra money, and hopefully not have to work too bleeding hard in the bargain.

And no I'm not going to call off on Fri, Sat, or Sun, thus guaranteeing that I work Monday, because I don't want to make my boss have to come in, too. He doesn't get much time with his family due to the schedule we work and the hours he has to put in. I'm not going to take away his holiday.

Mrs. Fungus thinks my offer to work Memorial Day will be rebuffed, because it sounds to her like they're playing games and they're not actually going to open the center on Monday. We'll see, I suppose. It's a bad idea to set conditions like that and then violate them--especially when you're dealing with people who have short time frame preferences--but people play games all the time and the English language has a whole slew of phrases which are synonymous with "empty threat".

But this little imbroglio has taught us that she should never volunteer to work a holiday, because we obviously can't make any plans based on what my employer is saying my schedule will be.

It's frustrating. But, what the hell--at least I have a job.

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