Friday, September 01, 2006

Back in the House

It's nice to be back in the house. I was so excited to be back in my own kitchen, that I invited ten guests for shabbat dinner (plus the four of us), just so I could cook several different dishes. Rachel then went and invited four more at the last minute.

I finally got rid of traces of Bezeq from my house, the monopolistic Israeli telephone company. Israel extended many monopolies to infrastructure companies in order to provide incentives for building up the country. Then it extended those monopolies out of some sort of pride.

Now we are fighting against them tooth and nail, but these companies still don't get it. They think that the "country" still wants us to keep them as monopolies out of some sort of pride or gratitude for sixty years of bad service and high prices.

Every time we bust one of the monopolies, it goes the same way: years of payoffs and foot dragging, strikes and sabotage by the company, then huge price cuts as soon as the other company is finally allowed to compete in an attempt to force the other company out of business. If the other company survives, we end up with a status quo of prices nearly 90% less than they used to be, and service ten times better.

The phone company only lost their local service monopoly about nine months ago to cable service. They lost Internet service monopoly to the cable companies a few years before that. They lost international telephone service monopoly about five years before that, and rates dropped from $1/minute to 7 cents a minute. It used to take several months to get a phone installed, and it now only takes a day.

We still have a horrible electricity monopoly, and each cable service has exclusive rights to specific areas of the country. We also have public transport and other public service monopolies. I'm waiting with baited breath.

Chris Bateman writes about how electronic games should easily, but don't, offer you several ways to play them, rather than forcing you to play the way they tell you to.

Aaron Ruby writes about gameplay psychology. Among other things, he writes that the difference between a game and a toy is that a game builds a place for you to play, where a toy requires you to build that space on your own.

I'm still undecided as to whether I should keep my near mint Cosmic/More Cosmic or sell it. Any offers?



Anonymous said...

You can find an interesting article on why people tend to romanticize things like national monopolies here:

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, Adam.