“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

[posted 10/7/11] I had this comic written and half drawn when I got the hospital to visit my friend Mikey on Wednesday night. It was about 7:30pm and I had been away from a computer or Twitter for 2 hours or so. I get into Mikey’s room we start talking about his treatment, and his projects at work. “Yeah, and now that Steve Jobs is dead…” comes out of his mouth in the middle of our conversation. That’s a weird way to get the news. Anyway, I decided to hold the comic until after I posted a tribute strip [HERE] and people had a few days to process the his passing. So here’s my snarky commentary about the hypnotic powers of numbers being added to the names of things. Enjoy.

COMMENTERS: Are you upgrading to the iPhone 4s? Are you disappointed it isn’t a completely redesigned iPhone 5? Do you think any key features are missing or that people should just be grateful for their magical future phones? Also, WTF is going on with cellular, txt and data pricing? Txt msg’ing is a completely obsolete technology that just keeps getting MORE AND MORE EXPENSIVE for LESS AND LESS service. My first phone came with 3000 minutes, unlimited nights and weekends and something like 500 txts included for $35. Now plans with under 500 minutes, no txting and a few GB of capped data run over $100. WTFFFF?

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  1. The ridiculous price of the monthly service plans is why I don't have a smartphone of any sort.

    On a recent episode of Tech News Today, Wil Harris mentioned that in the UK his data plan for his iPhone costs him "fifteen quid" (about $26) – for unlimited data *and* tethering! That's what competition does and why we need 5 or 6 roughly equal sized players in the wireless market, not 2 or 3 behemoths.

    Not to mention that I don't actually make/take a lot of phone calls, so their minimum 400-500 minute per month plans are ENORMOUS overkill for me. Give me a $9.99 plan with (say) 50 minutes a month and I'd be happy. Add $30 for unlimited, un-speedcapped data with tethering, and that's a package I'd buy.

    Oh, and your point about SMS is well taken – the cost of providing the service is basically a rounding error; I understand the need to charge something for it or some would abuse it, but there's no reason for text messages to cost more than a penny each, EVER.

    • My husband just got an Android with Bell (up in Canada), and with their $40/month plan we get unlimited free calls to our top ten phone numbers plus unlimited data (texting, vid chats, online stuff). No idea what the cost is to call to a non-top-ten number; but it does involve a three-year contract. Still, for $40 that's no tbad!

      –Mind you, we're into his third month of it and I have yet to see a bill under $150, so we may be missing someting. >< And of course if you get HBO etc it's like an extra $5 for each channel and maybe $8 for each movie or what, so that adds up fast.

      But Jesus, he's watching movies on his frigging CELL!! Mine doesn't even take pictues! Plus he got it at a booth at teh Calgary Stampede and payed like $50 for it, brand new.

      Not sure if they offer that plan where you are but it might be worth looking into, because theoretically it's a great deal.

    • A lot of things drive the cost of data on U.S. cellphone networks. The comparative size of the entire country-wide network that the top 2 providers have to build, maintain & constantly upgrade (like the new world standard of 4G, LTE). U.S. cell service isn't subsidized like in Europe. The American consumer demands perfect service, even in low/no population areas where it really isn't economical to maintain anything except minimal pass through service. Don't even try to explain the limitations of an electromagnetic signal & why they get low/no signal in their basement or inside their stone-walled building at the bottom of a tree-lined valley. Everyday normal users of voice & data are really subsidizing high data users and the low-cost minimal usage plans setup for the elderly & government-assisted program users. A tower in everyone's backyard isn't economical and the lovely NIMBY luddites would block them anyway. Oh, and at least in Europe, you would be paying full retail for that shiny new iPhone or Android phone. That's one reason so many people there use Blackberry…they are cheap. Here, the phones are subsidized by the cell company by hundreds of dollars. I can't fully excuse the pricing of services beyond a decent profit on investment, but TANSTAAFL folks. Let's see what kind of profit margins are running at your place of business, hmmm?

  2. I've had an iPhone 3G (not even a 3GS) for a couple years now. Two days ago, it suddenly developed a graphical corruption on the screen. Thanks to the announcement of the iPhone 4S, the price of the iPhone 4 dropped by $50. Hello, new upgraded iPhone 4!

  3. If you think explaining it to your friends is bad, try explaining it to customers. I work for Apple and I am so glad I have today off.

  4. Part of the emphasis on texting over calling is that texting has zero cost for a wireless provider. A text's character limit is the limit of the signal they can piggyback on the signal that is constantly pinging the nearest cell tower to assure you have service. Texts for a provider are completely free to them, the rest costs them money, hence why they want you to have more texts than anything else.

  5. Oh man… the timely nature of Steve Jobs' passing really makes me want to make a horrifying "joke" about what can be done with all that kerosene… and a viking funeral. But I will not. I will not.

  6. It's interesting if not darkly amusing that Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer initials PC
    So steve jobs lord king of macs was killed by PC

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