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  Saturday, May 10, 2003

Ferreting Out the Fittest in Cable. A price war over high-speed Internet access may be shaping up between cable and telecommunications companies. By Geraldine Fabrikant. [New York Times: Technology]

I have my doubts that Charter will make it. They serve my neighborhood, sort of. They announced cable internet service here over two years ago, then took nearly a year to actually deliver. I signed up on a trial basis, hoping it would be faster than my DSL service. But it was capped at 768 Kbps, which was good enough then, but not now: my DSL now runs at 1.2 Mbps regularly. And now Charter wants to raise my monthly rate by 11%. Go figure--prices are dropping, the economists are talking deflation, unemployment in this county is 12%, a broadband price war is at hand, and Charter wants to raise prices.

So here's my offer to them: for 11% more per month, give me the highest speed available, or I cancel. I'll call Monday to see what they say.

8:19:25 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

This culled from the SV-Web mailing list (which is associated with the Bay Area local of the National Writers Union, by way of the Wednesday Job Group (about which I know nothing):

The Real Scoop on the Valley's Unemployment Rate
If you think the unemployment situation in Santa Clara County is worse than the official 8.3% rate - then you'd be right.

Sure, the official rate has "dropped" to 8.3% in April, but only because the number of people in the Civilian Labor Force is dropping faster than the number of jobs (e.g., the number of people employed in the county dropped by 5,200 last month while the workforce dropped by 8,000 - hence the "improvement").  Still, doesn't it seem like a lot more than 1 in every 12 workers here have lost their jobs?

Well, here's the real scoop:  One in every six jobs (16.1% to be precise) that we had in December 2000 has been lost in the last 28 months.  Let me repeat that:  1 out of every 6 jobs in the Santa Clara County is gone and not replaced.

(Or here's another way to look at the current employment situation:  if the labor force size hadn't shrunk at all from its peak in December of 2000, we would now have an unemployment rate of 17.25%.

(For sake of reference, we've now lost nearly 3 times the workers and 2.5 times the jobs of the last recession in the early 1990s.  The highest official unemployment rate in the county during that recession was 7.3%, or 10.6% of the peak labor force.  Also, note that during the Great Depression, the national unemployment rate peaked at 24.9%.)

So, to recap:  162,000 jobs have been lost in Santa Clara County - 1 in 6 jobs that we had at the peak.  The last time we had this number of jobs in the county was in April of 1996, way before the "dot-com" boom - so it's not just a "correction" anymore.  And guess what?  It doesn't appear to be over yet, folks.  Wouldn't be nice if someone in the government or media really took notice of how truly bad things are here and did something useful about it? 

4:25:08 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

 "My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music."

 Vladimir Nabokov. [Quotes of the Day]

9:25:03 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Mid-week suffers spam overload. You are most likely to receive unwanted junk e-mails on a Thursday, says a survey. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

At least in my part of the world, Friday and Saturday nights are the big spam producers (which would be Saturday/Sunday morning in China, where much of my spam originates). There must have been over 50 items just this morning.

Speaking of which, I tried out my ISP's ( spam filters, and found they were snagging too many mailing list messages--I was losing large numbers of postings to TECHWR-L and other lists. Turning off the "advanced filtering" solved that. Apparently the spamster lists fingered some of the addresses that the posters to the lists used, such as Yahoo and HotMail and Earthlink. Now I'm back to tossing the junk by hand from Eudora instead of wading through the junk mailbox at Cruzio. C'est la vie, I guess. None of which is a dig at Cruzio, they're the greatest little ISP around: local, friendly, helpful, quality.

9:22:22 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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