Sunday, November 14, 2004

some inconsistencies I've noticed...

I heard on TV the other day about "50 million Americans who
don't have access to health care". The statement is simply
a lie. By law emergency rooms can not deny access.
I think what they were trying to say is 50 million Americans
aren't covered by health insurance. That though, is also
not what it seems. Many people don't want health issurance,
they self-insure, others decide it is too expensive and take the
risk themselves, and still others decide they would rather their
kids have $125 Air Jordan shoes, cable TV and flip-top camera
cell phones.

Since the election, I've noticed a number of Democrat losers
whine that Bush voters are ignorant or don't know the "facts".
The implication being that if they just knew, they would have
certainly voted for Kerry.
These same losers earlier complained that their voters are to
stupid to know how and when to register, where to vote and
how to vote or even read the ballot.
My take then is that no matter who you voted for, many
Democrats think you're stupid.

Yassar Arafat lived and died a terrorist. He was corrupt as
well, but that didn't start until the money start flowing his way.
How can one "pay their respects" so such an animal?
What is there to respect? That he lasted long enough to
die of natural causes instead of dying from "lead poisoning"
long ago? That he sent others to kill women and children at
bus stops? That he denied "his people" peace and security?
The only person the civilized world should have sent to his
funeral, was someone to make damn sure the monster was

comments on parenting

I think we should write a know if you are part of the we...the title...
"Good Advice Your Kids Could Use, Since Mine Just Ignore It"

Let's start with some of the things I have learned over the years.
First there are three levels of intelligence.
1. Stupid, you don't learn from your mistakes
2. Average, you learn from your mistakes.
3. Smart, you learn from other's mistakes

Of course level 2 breaks down into sub-levels A and B.
A. You generalize what you learn, i.e. "Hey, I put my hand on the burner,
it was hot, maybe the other burner could be hot too"
B. You only learn the specific lesson at hand, i.e. I put my hand on the
burner, it was hot. I put my hand on the other burner, it was hot, and in
the case of our stove, there are four burners, so the lesson is learned
four times.

I suspect my oldest son is in category 2B. I'm not sure, but I also suspect
that a lot of other 18 year olds keep him company in that particular

One of the reasons I believe many kids fall into the 2B category, no matter
how many times their parents are proven right, the teenagers continue to
1. think we're stupid, and therefore
2. ignore our advice.
This proves that they are not in category 3, Lord knows we've made heaps
of mistakes, but the kids sure don't seem to want to learn from them.
I think it also proves that the kids aren't in category 2A, you'd think they
would see, "hey my parents were right about that, maybe they are right
about this..." In fact, it might be more accurate to say, "hey my parents
were right about these 10 things, maybe they are right about this thing
here". Nope. I guess they think we're just lucky...EVERY DAMN TIME!
If I was that lucky kid, I'd be buying lottery tickets!

I'll get to the actual advice in another blog...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Why companies who outsource overseas lose money

Companies can't possibly be saving money outsourcing their tech support

No way, no how.

Here is my story, part of which is a continuation of the computer dying.
I will pick on two companies, HP and VONAGE, but rest assured that they
are not alone.

HP- Our family has 3 HP laptops, a HP digital camera and one of their
desktops, which has been the subject of earlier blogs.
You could correctly guess that I have been generally pleased with HP

In the course of trying to get the desktop up and running (its still not
in case you care) I have had to deal with HP support via telephone. The
first instance, when I finally talked to a human, she was what I say (euphamistically) a "non-native english speaker", henceforth NNES.
Speaking plainly...she could barely understand american english, and she
could barely speak english at all. Having travelled a bit, I'd guess she
is from (and may still be there) the asian subcontinent...Pakistan,
India or Bangladesh. The conversation took a long time, probably a little
over 30 minutes. I needed to have HP send me recovery disks.

A few days later, the FEDEX package is labelled with the correct
address, but a person who is not me. Bottom line, I can't take delivery of
the package. So now I wade through voice automated hell to get the privilege
of speaking with another NNES. I'm trying to explain the problem, after a
while, again I'd guess 30 minutes or so, the NNES gives up and passes me on
to a american speaking...AMERICAN! Holy cow! and everything was
straightened out in just a few minutes.

VONAGE a IP phone company that competes with Packet8 (which after this
experience I HIGHLY recommend over VONAGE if you just want simple phone
service). Friends of ours got the VONAGE phone. I spent a couple hours
at their house a week ago trying to get it working with no real luck. Last
night, I went back to finish the task. At my wits end, I call VONAGE tech
support (ironically using my Packet8 phone:). It takes a couple tries to get
through at all, when I get a NNES, probably from the same part of the world...
maybe HP and VONAGE share a call center... I spent well over an hour on the
phone with this guy. His pronunciation is so bad, I can't understand him when
he asks me to do a 'tracert' so he spells it...I can't even understand him
saying the alphabet (and he thinks I don't know what a 'tracert' is, after
I've already ripped thru various commands, IP settings etc.without his
prompting). I'd guess just the tracert thing lasted at least 10 minutes.
Anyway, after 2 1/2 hrs, of which at least an hour was on the phone
with this guy, I get the thing working.

Now, here is why these companies can't possibly be saving money with these
out-sourced call centers. In HP's case, they used about 1 man hour to do
something that with a native english speaker took 10 minutes...they have to
be paying the NNES a mere 16% of what they pay an American to break even...
and that is not counting...
- they incurred the cost of the incorrect shipment
- they lost some of my "goodwill" which is hard to put a value on.
- the expense of setting up an overseas call center
- including risks inherent in basing operations overseas, such as:
- political instability
- currency/banking instability

The numbers for VONAGE work out similarly, I think we could have solved the
problem in about 15 minutes with a native american english speaker as the
tech. Plus, in this case the goodwill costs are measurable and HUGE!
I recently wrote a small article in a newsletter about the great success
we've had with our IP phone. A few people that have bought IP phones as a
result and a large number have asked more specifically what to get etc. I
have recommended the Packet8 over VONAGE in all cases. I know at least 2
people have bought Packet8 and another 2 or 3 are seriously considering it
because of my article and after talking with me. Each one of those people,
if they end up having the sucess with Packet8 that I have had, is very likely
to recommend the service to others, especially as they rotate to other overseas
assignments. VONAGE lost real business, real money for 2 simple reasons,
their product is difficult to install compared to the competitor, which makes
it likely you will have to talk to tech support...and they barely speak