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Running out of cell phone numbers September 27, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Business, Humor, Information Technology, Technology, Web.
Tags: , ,
2 comments

Apple iPhone 3G

Seeing this article about the upcoming IP number shortage reminded me of a recent experience I had with cell phones and cell phone numbers.

A couple of weeks ago I (with the help of my wonderful assistant) ordered about eight iPhones for a department where I work. Two of the phones were just upgrades to existing plans, but the other six were new service, so we were expanding the number of corporate cell phones on our account. That would seem to be a normal not-so-exciting routine process. Well, you’d be surprised at what a chore it was to get the vendor (AT&T) to ship the new phones.

Right away, after ordering the new phones through AT&T’s corporate customer website, we received e-mail confirmation of the phone order. Then, in about 24 hours we received several e-mail notices as the first of the eight phones were shipped. About two days after the order, all but three iPhones were on their way to me. But, three days later, we still had not received notice that the last three phones were shipped. When we called AT&T they told us those last three iPhone orders were “stuck” in the website. WHAT does that mean? They said to just wait and see if they will get “unstuck” on their own. I had a very tight deadline to roll out these phones and didn’t have time to wait for sticky websites. So, after much pressure on our AT&T account rep. and after many calls to the AT&T corporate support call center, they finally got the idea that we couldn’t wait any longer. After all, the rest of the cell phones part of the same order had already been received so it wasn’t a problem with the way we ordered the phones.

Finally, one of the people we spoke to shed some light on the problem — AT&T has run out of phone numbers, so the new iPhones that were added to our account had no phone number and couldn’t ship until AT&T could go wherever they go to ask for additional phone numbers for this part of the country. Isn’t that the wackiest thing you ever heard? I was really surprised that they had not seen this problem coming as they use up and assigned phone numbers to new phones every day. Surely, they have systems in place to monitor things like the amount of spare (unassigned) phone numbers left in their pool of numbers. It should not have caught them off guard the way it did.

So, the next time you are told by AT&T that your cell phone order is “stuck” in the website, know that they really mean they are stuck without any phone numbers and are scrambling to get more telephone numbers to assign their new cell phone customers.

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The following YouTube video has nothing to do with this post, other than the fact that I just purchased eight iPhone 3G phones from AT&T. The “will it blend” series cracks me up and I thought I’d share the video where they guy puts a new iPhone 3G into the blender to see what happens.

USA Gas Price Heat Map September 21, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, News, News and politics, Web.
Tags: ,
3 comments

This is an interesting way to display the cost of gasoline across the United States. It’s the “heat map” for gas prices broken down by county and displayed by color.As you can see, Georgia, Illinois, and Michigan are the “hottest” which means they are currently paying the most for the price of a gallon of gasoline.

The red areas represent gas prices that are $4.00 (US) or higher. What this doesn’t show are areas that are out of gas, like in the Atlanta area right now. (See comments posted by an Atlanta residents here.) Also, according to this news report, as high as 85% of the Nashville area gas stations are out of gas. And, this news report states that Nashville may not return to normal gas levels for another week. THAT is a shortage!

Gas Price Heat Map

Gas Price Heat Map

To view the current (up to date) map, just click on the map, or click here.

The price of gasoline in Dallas, Texas September 19, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, News, News and politics.
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14 comments

This week I have been in Dallas, Texas (USA). I was attending a technology conference, but I couldn’t help but notice the price of gasoline posted by gas stations along the route between the airport and the conference hotel (the Gaylord Texan – very nice hotel).

When I arrived in Dallas, the price for a gallon (US) of regular gas was only $3.49. By the time I left a few days later, it was up to $3.59, but that was still low compared with other parts of the country. In Houston, which is just a few hours away by car, gas was much more in deman and therefore more scarce and more expensive — according to the local (Dallas) news, the price was all the way up to $4.50 per gallon of gas.

To answer my own question that I asked in this post, the gas shortage is not everywhere in the United States. It’s just certain areas. But, it is real! Since I live in Kentucky, I am most aware of the shortages hitting this area which affects Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and West Virginia.

The biggest reason for those state having gas shortages is the pipelines from Texas (oil refineries) were shut down before hurricane Ike hit shore last weekend. I don’t know if they are up and running, yet. My understanding was that depending on the damage, the pipelines would be shut down for two or three weeks. It’s only been one week so far. This blogger has written some additional information about the gas shortage.

Here are two additional articles that discuss how the storm(s) have impacted oil production and availibility of gasoline:

Refilling fuel tanks after Ike to take weeks

Hurricane Ike destroys 49 oil platforms in Gulf

To Dallas and back – lessons for a CIO September 18, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Open Source, Technology, Uncategorized.
2 comments

Texas - The Lone Star State

This week I attended a conference in Dallas, Texas (USA) for CIO’s — also known as Chief Information Officers. As corny as this may sound, it has changed me, professionally.

Many of the sessions were led by Gartner research analysts. They gave me a lot of “food for thought.” In fact, I filled an entire legal pad of paper with my notes from just the Gartner sessions.

I have begun to see my role as CIO and my job where I work as far more strategic. I almost never have time (or take time) to conduct strategic planning — yet, that is my job. I must rethink what I do and how I do it in order to do what’s important — my job.

In one of the opening keynote addresses the speaker quoted Charles Darwin. I haven’t looked this up and verified it, but I will do that before too many days pass. Anyway, here is the quote:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

There certainly seems to be a lot of truth to that when it comes to technology and IT projects and support.

On a positive note, I took the Gartner CIO leadership survey and scored very high, compared with my peers (other CIO’s across all industries who took the survey). Of course, I have areas where I am weak and all areas could use work and improvement, but I was pleasantly surprised that my overall results were significantly better than the norm. To quote my friend, Stuart, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.”

I guess I’m at least going in the right direction.

Is gas shortage sweeping the United States real? September 12, 2008

Posted by Matsu in News, News and politics, Web.
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97 comments
Gas Shortage

Gas Shortage

An hour ago I heard from a friend who lives in the southern part of the United States and they said that gasoline price has gone up a full $1 in just a few hours (today). I hear they have extreme shortages in many states and where you can find gas in those hardest hit states, the price is already up to $4.85 (US) per gallon. That is up from $3.85 (US) yesterday.

According to this news story, in Tennessee a couple of gasoline station chains have been struggling to keep the pumps open and their storage tanks have begun to run dry. That has caused them to purchase gas from surrounding states to alleviate their shortage.

Here in Lexington, Kentucky, where I live, it’s just beginning to hit and lines of cars are forming at gas stations all across the state. At the same time, this news story talks about how the gas prices have increased over night. That run on gasoline will in fact cause shortages as people panic and try to fill up every vehicle they own — I wouldn’t be surprised if boat owners hook up their boat trailers and try to fill them up, too!

What a crazy world we live in!

Update: North Carolina reports that the record price jump has caused the governor to activate the “anti-gouging”  laws to prevent or minimize price gouging. See that story here. A similar statement was made earlier today by the governor of Kentucky, giving this warning to gas stations that if they are price gouging they will be prosecuted. And this chain of gas stations in Florida has asked customers to voluntarily ration gas purchases by limiting fill-ups to 10 gallons or less.

One more update:  If you do live in the Lexington area you might want to check out this website that keeps track of the Lexington gas stations with the lowest prices and the highest prices in the past 60 hours. The website that shows the price of gas in Louisville can be found here.