The Service Economy

Recently, I realized that most of my monthly bills are for recurring services. Not including landline telephone bill, electric bill, or gas bill, my monthly service charges add up. These are the services I use which are business-related:

Business Use

  • MyFax, $10 per month: MyFax provides us with an incoming fax line. While we have a fax machine at home, it’s never in Receive mode because it shares a line with our other phones. MyFax receives our faxes and then puts the pages into a PDF file and emails the PDF to my email acct, which also allows me to read faxes received during the day from work.

  • Strongspace, $14 per month: Strongspace provides 6 GB of storage space where we can store backups of critical files offsite.

  • StatCounter, $9 per month: StatCounter lets me keep track of all the web statistics for all of my websites with just a snippet of Javascript per site. I use this service to track all of the ways that people reach my websites.

  • TypePad, $8.95 per month: I don’t actually use TypePad but I keep a basic account there so I can keep up on what new features are being added to the Moveable Type blogging engine that powers the site.

  • KeepMedia, $4.95 per month: A very inexpensive news service which lets me read dozens of magazines and papers for which I would usually have to have a full subscription. Example periodicals include BusinessWeek, NewsWeek, Esquire, USA Today. Have been using this less and less lately so I might cancel this soon.

  • Backpack, $5 per month: A very useful site for collecting and sharing digital information regarding concepts I am working on.

  • Cell phones, 2 for $150 per month: Waaaaay too expensive for how much I use it.

  • Comcast, $95 per month: Ah, the cable and Internet connection bill….my favorite. Not. Am hoping that the a la carte channel selection concept goes through soon.

  • Basecamp, free: This is an excellent online project management website. I use it only for managing one project: Narrative.

  • Ta-da Lists, free: A nice little task management application - sort of a simplified Basecamp - which lets me track the other tasks on my mind.

So the total for business services is just under $300 per month. We just switched this weekend to Cingular with the goal of reducing that service cost a bit. The following services I keep just for personal use:

Personal Use

  • UT2004 Server, $10.50 per month: I rent space on a game server so Petey and I can have low-lag Unreal Tournament 2004 games.

  • World of Warcraft, $14.99 per month: I play this every weekend in the late evenings. As of this posting I have a level 21 mage, level 18 warlock, and a level 11 rogue.

  • Ventrilo by Darkstar, $4 per month: A great voice conferencing client which allows multiple people to talk to each other at the same time. Great for communicating during quests and raids in WoW.

  • Flickr, $25 per year: Possibly the best online photo sharing website. I pay the extra $2+ per month so I can have a ton of extra “sets”.

  • XM Radio, $12.95 per month: I listen to XM whenever I am in the car.

So another $45 for personal services. All together, almost $350 per month for services related to the digital world.