Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam

Internet Usage Reporting

The company I work at charges itself money for using the internet. Yes, it sounds a little silly to me too, but it's a very large company and I understand why they do it that way.
The business unit that handles the network access then becomes a "revenue generator", in that they can show that they make money for the service they provide. Even though that money comes from other units within the same overall company, it's a management thing.
This also allows the individual business units to keep track of internet usage reporting by individual employees without seeming "invasive".
But the rates are unreal. $0.078 per megabyte plus $0.003 per object. That may not sound like much, but it adds up really quick. The per-object charge really swamps quickly if you are web browsing.
That also includes e-mail access outside of the company directory.
And they keep track of the time as well. So far this month, I have accessed the internet during prime-time hours for 31 minutes and 31 seconds. The total charges I have racked up so far this month are some $6 and change.
Doesn't sound like much, but when you consider that I am really pretty stringent about my internet access at work, it's astronomical. I usually will read my yahoo! e-mail over lunch, and I may have to access some of the MSDN website or some other reference stuff, but beyond that I wait until I get back home.
Last month, I ended up downloading a bunch of files from the MSDN website. I broke $90 in three days. Usually if you go over $45 in a month, you have to report your reason for using so much bandwidth, and document that it is 100% company related.
Like I'm using MSDN for my own personal amusement.

So I've been keeping track. They have a handy web interface that will allow you to see your usage report. This month, I'm averaging about 100 objects per day, and about 2MB/day. That's about 46 cents per day currently. I think I'm safe, at least for now.

Energy bill came in the mail. 86 bucks, all electricity. That's what I get for having all electric appliances, including the A/C. And it's been pretty toasty-warm and humid (the toast would probably be soggy), so the A/C has been going pretty heavy.
And about 15 bucks a month for water/sewer/trash.
Even with the cell phone bill, I'm still under $1000/month for everything. At least down here. Groceries may put me over the top on that, and gas when I travel back and forth to Minneapolis. Of course I had a buttload of initial expenses when I moved in with deposits and furniture and all, so that does kinda bite a big chunk out of the savings. And the work on the house-- well, a lot of that was tools. Material costs were probably $400 for the roof/deck, another $100 for the canopy, and I'll easily add another $100 with the rubber membrane installation this weekend.
And oh yeah, I have to pay estimated tax every quarter. And the regular house payment, and the regular bills for the house in Minneapolis, and all that jazz. And that house is not well insulated. I need to fix that particular little issue somewhere along the way.
And I need to buy a new boiler, and some accessories for controlling it. And I need to fix the front porch roof, put a new roof on the house, tear out all of the old concrete, fix the sidewalks, fix all of the windows, replace the old siding, remodel the bathroom and kitchen...
And oddly enough, I'm excited about doing it.

It's a combination of having both the time and the money to do it that is the pain in the ass. The teardown work doesn't cost anything but pain and sweat, but there has to be something happening to replace what was torn down.

I've wanted to build a studio for a long time.
Currently, I've been using the upstairs Big Room for studio space. It's far from ideal: it's a converted attic with knee walls, the ceiling is only 7'6" high, and it's a little small for shooting anything. Plus being upstairs, it's really inaccessible.
So I have a couple of different options:

1.) Since the house needs a re-roofing and it is most likely that it will need new roof decking as well, just tear off the roof completely and essentially add another story to the house.
Although that $ound$ expen$ive, it would add value to the house and could be recouped if I were to sell it. It would give me a large space (probably 700-800 sq. feet) that I could use, and could be dedicated to studio space alone, with control and equipment rooms being on the same floor.
Downsides: it's expensive. Hoo, boy, is it expensive. And it would put all the access on the second floor, which is a pain in the ass for moving equipment and set pieces around. And it would be a big empty space in the house which is a little diminished for resale value.

2.) Build a "garage" studio. Since we tore the old garage down, this is a strong consideration. City of Minneapolis puts a limit of 26 x 26 feet for a garage, so with estimated six inch walls, that leaves 625 square feet maximum of space (25 feet square). Then again, I don't know if the lot will support something that big, and it might have to be smaller-- say 22 x 24 feet. That drops the square footage down to less than 500, which is abysmal for shooting anything.
It also means that there would be just the one room, and having to have the control and equipment room elsewhere. That's not a huge deal, but it is a little awkward and inconvenient. And it would make parking difficult, as the garage wouldn't actually be used as a garage. On the upside, it would be accessible.

3.) Sell the house and move out into the country. Buy a hobby farm or something where I can build a big-ass building or two or three. Nice option, but it does involve moving farther away from the metro area, and I like the convenience of being close to stuff. And then there's the selling and the buying and the moving, all of which leaves me cold.

4.) Keep the house and rent or buy a warehouse. The good: space. The bad: being far away from home. And being expensive.

5.) Find a group of people who need studio space and rent/buy and divide it amongst everyone. This has a lot of possibilities, particularly if most of us were available to work on projects together. Downside is that sharing thing, where you'd have to depend on a whole lot of other people to be able to pay regularly and on time.

These considerations come into play as I'm working on the remodeling of the house. For instance, if I'm going to be redoing the roof, I need to know whether I'm going to add the second story or not before I get into it.

I really like the first idea, but finding the money to do it will be an issue. The last one probably has the most viability, but I don't know of enough people with a passion for production AND disposable income to make it real.


Where's that damn winning lottery ticket when you need one?


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