10 January 2010

Gadget Profiteering

Many succumb to the ongoing lure of gadgets. Sleek gadgets that express of an image of ourselves as smarter, more savvy, more informed, sexier, etc.

Who hasn't experienced gadget envy?

Some of these gadgets are monuments to design ingenuity.

I applaud the professional designers and engineers who bring us these gadgets, albeit as hollow, and ultimately unfufilling as these agglomerations of plastic and metallic minerals tend to be. Yet they are beautiful in a MoMA design collection sense. Some of these gadgets might end up in the MoMA collection which also includes design icons ranging from a self-aligning ball bearing to an entire Bell 47D1 helicopter.

Bobtuse Money
Srinivasan Keshav, a professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, is an expert on mobile computing.

Professor Keshav analyzed the expenses that carriers incur handling SMS text messages from cell phones. He found that
  • wireless channels contribute about a tenth of a cent to the carrier's costs
  • accounting charges might be twice that, and
  • other costs round to zero since texting requires a fraction of a mobile network's infrastructure.
Keshav estimated a text message doesn't cost providers more than 0.3 cent. Do you know what you pay per text message?  It is pure profit for your carrier.

Here's some cocktail napkin arithmetic I imagine professor Keshav shared with a graduate student

Cocktail Napkin Arithmetic

I imagine professor and graduate student nursing some warm pints of stout at the Bombshelter Pub in Waterloo.

I also imagine professor Keshav looking above his reading glasses, then rolling his eyes as aforementioned student texts his mate about the true cost of SMS messaging.

Bomber Pub

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