Optimizing life’s hidden costs

1. A couple of years ago I got a hole in the right buttock of a pair of trousers only two or three months after I had bought them. When the same happened in the exact same spot to the next pair, I realized the problem wasn’t the shoddy quality of the trousers. It took me two more pairs to figure out that the saddle of my bike was causing the damage. Or rather, I had expected the saddle was the culprit from the get go, but laziness stopped me from doing anything about it.

10 bucks paid for a new saddle. Cost of thrown-away trousers: well over 100 bucks.

2. Even though my pc is newish, it felt sluggish from the get-go. A friend told me to throw out my mouse, because it was squeaky and unresponsive. Stubbornness prevailed, until this week when I had to finish several jobs in a fair rush, and the mouse started to irritate me mightily.

Not only does the new mouse not squeak, it makes my pc feel a lot faster. Which is a fringe benefit I had not expected.

Cost of a new mouse: 20 bucks. Cost saved: lots of aggravation.

3. ‘My’ other blog is hosted in the US. So far, I had never bothered to look at the technical specs behind it. Turns out David pays 1and1.com 10 bucks per month for 200 GB webspace and 2000 GB traffic a month. This blog sets me back a mere 8 bucks per month, but for that I get 50 MB web space (yes, em bee), and 2 GB/mo traffic. NXS, my provider, is by no means considered to be expensive here in the Netherlands.

I found this out this week when the Teleblog started hitting some kind of ceiling, and 1and1 moved us to a slower server. This means the Teleblog is getting enough visitors to take advertising seriously.

What this also means is that the far more reasonable prices for hosting in the US make it so that a site can become popular enough to be ad supported before you run out of bandwidth and server space.

4. What I mean to say by this is that sometimes it’s the little, almost hidden costs that make a difference, but figuring out those costs tends to happen after the fact. That my mouse was unproductive wasn’t the eye-opener — I knew there was a cost associated by continuing to use it, but accepted it. But the fact that my pc suddenly felt faster was something I had not expected, and the hidden cost lay there.

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