iPhone: A Compact Device with a Very Bulky Bill
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
The iPhone is widely acclaimed as a masterpiece of design — all those digital functions packed into one device. Well, it turns out, the rub is that very analogue, very low-tech phenomenon known as the phone bill. With an iPhone, you get AT&T service and an AT&T phone bill that might rival the federal tax code for density. Some iPhone users are getting bills in the mail that run 30 pages or 50 pages.
And one customer Justine Ezarik, got a bill that runs almost 300 pages. She's a Web designer and a video blogger in Pittsburgh. And she joins us now. I assumed you join us on your iPhone?
Ms. JUSTINE EZARIK (Web Designer; Video Blogger): Yes I am.
SIEGEL: Well, how much have you used this phone since you bought it to have a bill that runs almost 300 pages?
Ms. EZARIK: Surprisingly, I've only used 200 minutes of the 900 that I got. But most of them, it was all text message and Internet usage.
SIEGEL: How many text messages do you run per month?
Ms. EZARIK: Surprisingly, it was only 30,000 this month, which usually average about 35.
SIEGEL: Oh, this was a light month only it was under 30,000?
Ms. EZARIK: Yeah, because I still have my other Sprint phone so I was still getting messages on that one.
SIEGEL: And what was it in the phone bill that made it so long?
Ms. EZARIK: It was every single text message that I sent and received, the time, the date and how big of a file size it was.
SIEGEL: Now is this an option that you could do without? Did you say I don't need to see an entry for every single text message?
Ms. EZARIK: Oh - yeah, I believe AT&T does have an option that you don't have to receive detailed transactions and you can also sign up for e-billing so you'll just get it in the mail through your inbox.
SIEGEL: But you were not there in time. So you've got everything itemized. Thirty to thirty-five thousand text messages a month, that's a thousand a day or more.
Ms. EZARIK: That is. And it's kind of - that's a lot. That really is.
SIEGEL: How can you possibly find enough things to say to make that many text messages in a day?
Ms. EZARIK: Well, a lot of them I use a service called Twitter where I get updates from my friends on what they're doing through text message or Facebook. I don't usually go to their Web site. I just use it all mobily(ph) through text messages.
SIEGEL: Now, you're a video blogger or a life blogger and…
Ms. EZARIK: Mm-hmm.
SIEGEL: …to a certain segment of our audience, that's self-explanatory. But for those who are little puzzled by what you do for a living, could you explain that a bit?
Ms. EZARIK: Well, I do a lot of, like, tech hostings while, you know, cover different tech events. And I also do a thing called lifecasting through Justin.tv where I just have a camera with me 24/7, whatever I do, people can log in, see what I'm doing, and they can also chat because there's a chat-room right next to it. So they can interact. And I also do a lot of blogging and video blogging.
SIEGEL: Yeah. Inside - as we're talking, I'm looking at a computer and I see you in your car.
Ms. EZARIK: Yes.
SIEGEL: When I first saw you, you were having - hello, thanks for - Justine just waved to me. You were having lunch earlier and now you've gone to your car.
Ms. EZARIK: I have.
SIEGEL: And wherever you go, you carry a camera with you and you put yourself on the Web.
Ms. EZARIK: I do. I do. And it's surprising how this little community of people and friends that we made through this Web site. And - I mean, I've been stuck at airports and I didn't even know that one of my flights have been changed. And one of the people in the chat-room, they were actually tracking my flight. So they noticed that the flight changed and they told me. And I would have missed my flight if they didn't - if they weren't paying attention.
SIEGEL: But what's the relationship, if any, between your career as a life blogger on the Internet and all these text messages that you're forever making?
Ms. EZARIK: Really, there's nothing. I mean, even before I started doing this, I've always texted a lot. So there's really none - no correlation.
SIEGEL: You could be selling insurance and you'd also be texting a lot is what you're telling us.
Ms. EZARIK: It would be.
SIEGEL: There's nothing to do with your video blog. Well, Justine Ezarik of the nearly 300-page bill for your iPhone, thank you very much for talking with us and sharing your life blog with us for a few minutes.
Ms. EZARIK: Not a problem.
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