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January 2012

Leaving Kelbyville

...or: how all-you-can-eat pricing is fundamentally broken for casual users.

This is the story of my life these days: I'm busy. I am really busy. I don't have time to dedicate hours and hours doing any particular thing, especially when it is inconvenient. That's why we quit cable TV last year: we weren't watching much and, unless prior planning was involved, we'd be stuck watching shows when they air, which is basically never when we have time. So, this new year, I quit my Kelby Training and NAPP subscriptions: both are valuable -- I'm not disputing that -- but they have one all-you-can-eat price that just doesn't work for me. I can go months without having time to watch their videos and then whatever free time burst I have needs to be online (no catching up on a plane)... So it doesn't make sense for me.

To top it off, the Kelby Training iOS app has some really annoying bugs and oversights (e.g., nobody in that shop apparently uses a password wallet: there is no way to paste in the login password) that make it an irritation instead of an "invisible" pleasure to use. Of course, they aren't alone on my non-renewal shit list: the ACM Digital Library and the O'Reilly Safari Books app also drive me crazy when I get around to reading something on my iPad. I usually just give up. People, you may think you're being clever and protecting your precious, precious content from theft, but all you're doing is reminding me that life is too short to put up with this kind of crap. That's another renewal that ain't happening.

So, the point here is that all these one-price-fits-all subscriptions are really the economic equivalent of the "you must be this tall to ride" signs on roller-coasters: you either have to use the subscription *a lot* (e.g., my MSDN subscription at work) or you're just a sucker. I'm tired of that. I'll just do without...