I was writing Short Takes this morning and it occurred to me that I should include a blurb about Microsoft's apology this week to gamers who suffered at the hands of its ineptitude when the Modern Warfare 2 "Stimulus Package" map pack was released last week. By which I mean, I, like many others who were offline for two hours that day, received the following message from the software giant via Xbox Live:

To thank you for your loyalty to Xbox LIVE and for buying the Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus package on day 1, we will extend your Gold membership for 7 more days of adrenaline-pumping action with your friends on LIVE. Your account will be updated by May 1.

Wow! 7 more days. What a gift.

Actually, what kind of gift is that? I wondered. So I did the math.

Xbox Live Gold costs $49.99 per year. If you divide that by 365 (the number of days in a year) and then multiple that figure by 7 (the number of additional days you're getting), you arrive at the value of this gift. Which is...

Just under 96 cents.

So two hours of your time, two hours of incredible aggravation ... is worth 96 cents. To Microsoft.

Just so you know where you stand, oh loyal Xbox Live subscriber. :)