Kommandeering Developers Everywhere

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Simple Math

Being a math major, I've always gotten away with ridiculous stances and opinions about how numbers work. One simple, expensive sheet of paper allows me latitiude to adamantly declare such facts as derivatives being invented by the drummer from ZZ Top; or possibly that in advanced math, you learn that there are exactly 2.718 imaginary numbers recorded thusfar. All fascinating, and meticulously documented.

Why do I bore you with boring stories of a boring undergrad degree? To reiterate two of my well-known discoveries:

1) Telecom = fraud. A simple equation with profound results. Ah, to have the power of a monopoly, the integrity of a boxing promoter and the care for self-improvement of a heroin addict. The good news: No matter where you are in the world reading this blog, your situation is probably similar...

Your local communications behemoth spends most of its day bribing poorly paid government officials with bad comb-overs, counting its money, and making life hell for local ISPs.

No matter where you live, I doubt that your local telecom has conference filled with comments on their whiteboards such as, "We can always do better!" and people working long into the night trying to figure out "how to pass savings along to the customer."

Back to the equation: Can you imagine me in some dimly lit classroom furiously scratching chalky equations and muttering, "Ok, move world peace over to that side, the starving cildren on each side cancel out, divide by the second coming of Christ, subtract the year of Tom Hanks last good movie.." and the finally stepping back as the results of years of work ended in "Telecom = fraud"? It's a great vision. Too bad I spent most of my time in a bar.

2) Law of Simplified Statistics: "It you have a bag with 3 green balls, 6 blue balls, and 4 red balls, what is the probability that the second ball selected at random will be blue, given that the first selection was not red?"

Such inane questions led me to my most important discovery: that there are only two probabilities in life: 100% and 0%.

If you have keys in one jacket pocket and reach into a pocket to grab them, what's the probability that you put your hand in the right pocket? 0%.

If you remind yourself 32 times one night to mail bills out before leaving for work in the morning and leave 17 notes on your keyboard, what's the probability that you actually mail those letters? 0%.

If you know you'll be receiving an important call at work around 10am and never get it, then go get a drink of water at 6pm, what's the probability that the person called during that 30-second period? 100%.

And so on. Why am I telling you these two discoveries?

The scene: 2 weeks ago, I cancelled my cable TV, but vehemently reminded my cable TV company that I did *not* want my business class cable modem disconnected. "No problem Mr. Olson! They are, as you know, two separate accounts. It doesn't even make sense that you'd bring that up, since we have no control over that account and it's all done at the facility. We'll just switch off your TV service and everything's fine. Sleep easy Mr. Olson."

Fast forward two full weeks with cable TV. Today at 3pm, everything goes dead. Why you ask? Becuase what is the probability that working with a cable company went as expected? 0%. They apparently sent a tech to my house to physically disconnect my cable line. Several calls to the customer support line trying to explain that my residential "Time Warner" service has wrecked my commercial "Time Warner" service only got me a promised return call from...."a modem specialist."

Several episodes of incompetence and indifference later, and I've got guy#2 up on a telephone pole at 9:30pm reconnecting me...and complaining that this is the second consecutive customer that's complained about having their cable TV service whack their business class cable service.

So I'm back online for the meantime, and I apologize to all the poor souls that sent emails during this time, only to have them bounce back. And sorry for the long blog, but everyone's allowed a rant from time to time without leaving their frustrations under a "Read more" section, right?

Now, what are the chances that guy#2 reconnected everything (including cable TV) and I'll be charged next month service for service I didn't want and didn't use? 100%. Why? Because telecom = fraud.


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