2) If you can understand them. I think Cisco was one of the first companies that I dealt with that had a TAC in India. I only ever called them once. After that, I would wait until the Aussies were answering before making the call, down or not.
3) IOS: one bad command and you're walking 1/4 mile to the data center or driving into the plant at 3am. The next day, you're convincing your manager that buying modems or a terminal server would cost less than a 30-minute outage.
4) If you use telnet, I hope you listened to the people when they told you to disallow access to your firewalls' admin interface from the internet.
Also, if Proteon had been cut-throat, Cisco would have disappeared instead.