My new laptop has mobile broadband capability, so I looked at the prices. I pay $400/mo for 1 megabit up/down at home (spread over a large number of devices, at least), so I was just seeing how bad it was out there.
Well, AT&T has a page here that indicates it would cost far more for me to go to mobile broadband for my laptop. That table indicates that there is no unlimited plan, and there are only three other choices. I homogenized the units to gigabytes (there are little KBs hiding in there!), and calculated the price of using 1GB through 50GB a month to see how bad it could be:
I can only conclude that it makes no sense to buy any of these plans if you intend to do any significant work, play, or surfing on the Internet. Never buy the $20 plan for any reason, no matter what, since just surfing to a single web page could use up all of your monthly allowance, and $1,900/GB is pretty darned expensive. Compare that to the hourly activity of a 13-year-old girl and Farmville and you're bankrupt in no time.
A reasonable solution is a $100/mo unlimited plan. Frankly, the most reasonable approach is automatic upgrades to the next higher tier if you go over your limit. Until this is fixed, I cannot consider mobile broadband for a laptop.
Lately the news shows have been passing on the talking point that Tea Party activists are complaining about high taxes when for most of them taxes have gone down. Obviously one cannot have huge deficits without paying for them some day. In fact, does anyone remember this particular complaint from the Declaration of Independence?
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
The Tea Party activists are clearly concerned that the government will grow to uncontrollable size and look for planets to feed upon like Galactus from the old X-Men comic books. They know taxes will rise, and they know that stopping profligate spending is the only way to prevent it. They are being proactive.
Still, I feel there is another undercurrent in the Tea Party movement, and it is the understanding that the Rule of Law needs to return. The Rule of Law enshrouds the idea that no matter who you are you will be treated the same as anyone else under the law. This governing principle has not been evident of late. Here are some examples.
Organizations have been deemed “too big to fail” and were bailed out, but smaller businesses were allowed to flounder. It was claimed this was necessary to prevent a bigger disaster, but it bends the rule of law. Large corporations really don't mind government regulations. They increase the barriers to entry in markets. Every government regulation pretty much serves to protect incumbents and discourage newcomers. Sounds like every other part of politics doesn't it?
And the War on Small Business is not the only Rule of Law problem apparent lately. When 50% of the people don't pay income taxes, and a large number of those get a refund that's also an apparent injustice. Taxes and payouts should be separate systems, not a complicated mishmash of exceptions that make some people get money back when they don't pay anything in the first place. Tea Party activists can see the writing on the wall: this disparity means that most of them will end up paying for something that other people will use! Once again, they are being proactive.
And then there's health care. The bill recently passed “taxes” people if they don't buy health care insurance! That's a fine in tax clothing. How can it be fair? Sure, you have to have liability insurance if you drive your car on the public street, but the comparable insurance is comprehensive insurance, not liability. Even then, if you have a million dollars in the bank, that's an allowable exception to buying liability insurance anyway.