Tag Archives: canada

How Canadian Cell Carriers Still Get Their Pound of Flesh Even With Two Year Contracts

When Telus Mobility called me this week to see how everything is going, which is quite well by the way… I told them I was happy with the actual cell service but still enraged about how their new two year plans are punitive and insulting. I just cannot believe that more people don’t realize this or have not taken to the streets in a Montreal Canadians Stanley Cup win riot in rage.

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The Good Old Days

Lets put this in context. When I got my iPhone 4 I got for $55 1GB of data, weeknights and weekends free and 10 numbers on a special call list that would not go against my minutes. Three years later and a month or two before the iPhone 5S was released I noticed they were offering a $60 for 3GB of data and unlimited calling nation wide. The nice representative gave me the new plan without adding time onto my almost expired 3 year contact as I told them I would be getting the new iPhone ASAP when it was released. That was until I saw the new plans.

Yeah, It’s a Change

The new plans are a) not only worse than what was offered not just a month before but three years before and b) more expensive.

So what happened? Cell phone company greed. It’s not just Telus, all of the carriers in Canada have lowered the bar to to similarly awful plans across the board. They are punishing the consumer because the Canadian government told them to ditch three year contracts. Do not sheed tears for them, they will still get their pound of flesh.

Get Your Fresh Data

A subsidized iPhone now requires a minimum plan of $70 versus the $55 from 2010 or $60 a month earlier in 2013. Also for $70 now you get 500mb. 2010 it was 1GB and my current plan is 3GB. That’s 6 times less data!

Data still cost the same for the carriers before and after the iPhone’s release. Data is 1’s and 0’s, electrical signals, a virtual commodity. They are not grown, harvested and shipped to market. There is no shortage or crop failure that causes market scarcity and prices to rise.

No Money For You

I have told Telus that when whatever the next iPhone is I will but it from Apple unlocked. The very nice representative said I could buy the phone from Telus unlocked. I told her that I would rather give Apple the money than Telus on principal. It would cheaper from me to but the phone unlocked than pay more and get less just to receive the subsidy on the phone. Finally I can use a SIM card in the USA on my phone!

You See Them Too, Right?

Over on iPhone in Canada go read their story on what I knew was true What’s Cheaper? Buying an Unlocked iPhone vs Subsidized 2-Year Term Compared. Nice to see someone actually did the math so I have some actual facts to back-up my anger.

Oh and PS, if you want to new iPhone please for god’s sake wait till the fall for the new one. At the very least you could get the iPhone 5S as the free one.

Canadian Mint Releases Third War of 1812 Quarter, Charles-Michel de Salaberry

The Royal Canadian Mint has released their third coin the War of 1812 series, Charles-Michel de Salaberry.

According to Wikipedia, de Salaberry defeated a superior American force advance on Montreal in 1813 at Chateauguay. Kind of a big deal. That’s also why we had the city of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

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Display case for silver quarter / photos © Royal Canadian Mint

The $49.95 fine silver (99.99% pure) de Salaberry quarter is available for purchase now from the mint for those of you with more money than cents (that was a pun).

While the 10 coin pack is only available for purchase April 9th from their web site I was lucky enough to get two of the non-painted version from my father in-law.

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Next quarter in the 1812 series, Laura Secord.

Netflix Canada Offers Video Quailty Management

You might have heard stories of people with low internet data caps incurring overages due to the 1 to 2 GB of data used by Netflix per hour. It is unlikely that Bell and other internet providers will increase their caps, Netflix now offers the ability to manage streaming quality to reduce the amount of data consumed.
This might make the difference to some Canadians who are looking at Netflix Canada as a valid way to consume content online in HD. But if you have a 2GB a month cap, forget it and keep renting the DVDs.

Since I refuse to give up my unlimited (that’s real unlimited with no data cap) Bell DSL account this doesn’t affect me personally but it’s nice to know they are thinking of us clients. Or at the very least trying to build out their market share in a country that has limited data caps in place.

During the past 5 months using Netflix I have doubled my internet usage from 30 GB a month to between 60GB and 90 GB. My first month of Netflix I used a wopping 140 GB which I haven’t reached since my bittorrenting days. If Netflix keeps adding a-list content I can only see my usage increasing.

Now if only Zip (who I use their DVD rental service extensively) will hurry up and enter the streaming game in Canada we would have some competition.

Sloan: The Double Cross

The Double Cross, Sloan's 10th Studio Album

Mark those calendars Sloan fans as Canada’s favorite fab four from Halifax are releasing their 10th studio album The Double Cross May 10th 2011 from Yep Roc Records, distributed by the Outside Music Label in Canada.

As the post on their site goes on to tell, 2011 being the band’s 20th anniversary they plan to spend it touring North America.

They are offering a song off the forth coming album called Follow The Leader. If you don’t mind handing over your email to get the confirmation link it’s free. I’ve listened to it a few times and while it seems off the top classic Sloan, they have managed to weave even more classic rock vibes into their musical arsenal. That’s why we love them.

The 11th Doctor Arrives in Canada

Just a friendly Canadian Doctor Who fan reminder that the new series of Doctor Who airs Saturday April 17th @ 9pm on Space. Tune in an hour early and Space will be airing DOCTOR WHO THE ULTIMATE GUIDE to get you ready for the new season. If you can’t wait check out the free 9 minute clip from the Canadian iTunes store of the first episode the Eleventh Hour.

Since I have access to my own Tardis, let me tell you that the first two episodes are pretty darn good and that’s coming from a 25 plus year fan.

Remember Your Winter Tires

Next time you bitch about how it's now a law in Quebec to have winter tires between December 15th and March 15th, there might be a reason for it. I should mention that this photo was taken on December 8th, a full 24 hours before the 35cm of snow that the Montreal region received on December 9th.

This is probably the most unique car in ditch poses I've ever seen in person. 

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Olympic Torch Relay

This morning I took the three kids to watch the Olympic Torch relay as it passed through town on it's way to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Before you think I'm the best dad ever, just to let you know I did totally lose it on them getting everyone ready and out of the house on time. In the end think we got there 5 to 10 minutes before the relay arrived.

It was pretty exciting to actually see the flame coming down the street. We have been watching the daliy updates on the local news so I think with ET being the oldest he understood what was going on.

I'm glad we saw it at the town hall since with the kids being so young I think just watching along the route would have been too quick for them.

I was hoping that we might have seen some of the mascots as they are super cute and kids would have enjoyed it but they probably save them for the big end of day celebrations. Or not since they seem to be currently on tour in British Columbia. This weekend I'll try to make some folded paper mascots with the kids.

When the relay arrived the crowd of course swarmed and left us on the outside so quickly (because I knew this whole was just going to last a few minutes) I put Carts on my shoulders, put a foot up on the carriage and balanced ET up on my knee so they could see the flame. I would love to see a photo of that, I must have looked crazy.

And like that it was over.

The boys seemed to have enjoyed it but noticed people had little Olympic flags and like a Norwegian Blue were pinning for the fjords wanted one (we did do an arts and crafts before bedtime and they made there own). We went in the city library to see if they had any but unfortunately they were all out. They had refreshments but the boys didn't want any so we started walking back to the car.

On the way back I noticed the relay bus was parked around the back of city hall and some people were milling about. So I headed over. I'm glad we did since one of the relay runners let the boys hold a torch and posed for a photo. Best advice I can ever give my kids; you want to meet someone after an event, run the around back.

I even got AR in there so she can't come back in 20 years and ask why she wasn't in the photo; even though she just started standing up last week not holding onto anything. Dad's still one step ahead of you kids.

While it might not be something the kids remember when they are grown, it was a fun event for them in the short term and as a parent you get excited to see your kids excited. When I picked up ET at school today he had two drawings of the mascots holding Olympic torches and he told me how one of the torch bearers had visited the school today as well and talked to his class. It's still strange for me when he recounts things that happened that I wasn't there with him for. You get excited because he's growing up and sad since he doesn't need you around.

And of course the last time the torch came to town was in 1988 for the Calgary Winter Olympics games and who knows the next time we'll get a chance to see it.

Plus I have to thank my boss Cindy for letting me take the time off work.

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Sloan – Hit & Run

The new Sloan EP Hit & Run has dropped (as they say) and it’s pretty good.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sloan I’ll make the assumption that you don’t live in Canada but if you do… shame on you. And if you don’t live here you should move, I’ll wait.

Do yourself a favor and click play below and listen to the album as you read the rest of my review. 

Sloan – Hit & Run

The title of the EP is most probably in reference to band member Chris Murphy being injured in a hit & run accident this past summer. That caused the group to cancel shows while he recouped.

As a long time fan it hits all the Sloan standards with tracks like Take It Upon Yourself, hand claps and all. It would have fit in nicely on their 1999 album Between the Bridges. It Is Never is pure Sloan awesomeness, but I’m a sucker for layered songs that build up to distortion endings that reprise the main theme. Plus I’ve always had a man crush on Patrick Pentland and his songs.

One of Sloan’s strengths can also be a weakness on a five song EP like Hit & Run. With four distinctive song writers the variation can be jarring switching between them. Jay Ferguson’s Midnight Mass is a perfect example of this problem. It’s a good song but sandwiched between two up tempo ones brings down the energy. Which is a shame since Jay Ferguson has done some really great songs with excellent lyrics and melodies over the years.

That said it’s a good addition to the Sloan catalog of memorable songs.

Sloan is offering the EP in MP3 320kbs, Apple Lossless and Flac formats directly from their site in addition to other music stores.

This is unreladed to the Hit & Run EP, but Witch’s Wand was one of my favorite songs off their last album Parallel Play but the video that I just got around to watching is so weird I have no idea what’s going on.

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Hail in June

The Montreal region had a pretty big storm the 25th of June. Gusting winds and rain strong enough to knock out the satellite (it doesn't happen that often).

The real surprise was the marbles sized hail that came down near the end of the storm. It must have been pretty localized since not everyone I talked to the next day had seen it.

The boys were very excited (as was I) and wanted to go out during the storm and collect some hail. I got them to wait till after the storm died down. I still remember the huge hail we had in Quebec during the mid 1980's and didn't want them pummeled to death.

Donna collected some off the patio shelter for them as anything that had fallen on the ground had melted as it was like 30 degrees Celsius (or 86 degrees Fahrenheit)  that day.

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