Tag Archives: rogers

Getting rid of our landline

We’ve finally done it. We’ve finally gotten rid of our landline. Even though we rarely use our home phones, there is the mental dependency of knowing that the landline always works. After years of paying for a home line that was rather expensive for calls that we rarely get other than marketers, we finally decided to get rid of our landline altogether. We wanted to come up with a solution that would be cheaper for us in the long run but wouldn’t really change the way we live our lives. There were two things that we had to work around.

1) Our mobile plan
The good thing about our mobile plan was that all incoming minutes are free. It’s one of those “legacy” Rogers Wireless features that we kept. We rarely call out from the mobile phone and if we made calls, we’d make it from our landline. Even so, most of our communications tend to be either IM anyway. However, we had to consider how we dealt with the outgoing calls to family and friends.

2) Not convenient carrying a mobile phone around the house
There is a reason why we have a cordless phone in every room. That’s because we don’t see the need to carry around a phone every where we go.

To solve this problem, we came up with a solution that used a number of technologies. The first is something called freephoneline.ca. It’s a VOIP service that offers free calls to a large number of cities in Canada. In order for you to use it as a home line replacement, you have to purchase an ATA device and the configuration file. Both cost about $50 each. There are a number of nice things that I like about this solution. The configuration file that you purchase also allows you to use it with a software SIP solution like iSIP. The second is that outside of that one time cost, it’s free. With the SIP configuration, I can also bring this phone number wherever I go. In the land line replacement solution, the purpose of this service is to provide cheap outgoing calls.

It’d be rather inconvenient to figure out which phone to use. To solve this problem, I purchased the XLink BTTN. This is a rather neat device that allows you to plug in a landline as well as pair up to 3 mobile phones via Bluetooth. When paired with a phone, it treats it like a headset. It always assumes that the landline call is cheapest and calls that line by default. It then chooses a mobile phone in sequence. However you can override the sequence by pressing the mobile pairing you want (ie 1, 2, 3) and press the flash key on the phone to select it. If you’re on the landline and get a call on a mobile phone that is paired with, the XLink simply treats it like call waiting for a regular incoming call. One of the new software features that the XLink is beta testing out is a Skype gateway embedded in the device which will be another alternative for low cost calling.

What I like about this is that it’s relatively safe. If we were to have a power outage we’d still have the reliability of our mobile phone. Overall, the solution isn’t cheap. Total cost comes to around $200 but we will recoup that cost in about 5 months without compromising on how we live today.

Twitter via SMS for Rogers

Twitter SMS messages came back to Rogers today with some mixed reviews. Earlier on in the day, I got an tweet from Keith McArthur, who looks like the new Rogers Social Media guy, letting me know that Twitter via SMS is now available to Rogers and Fido customers. I was really excited – not that it impacted directly because I typically tweet using PockeTwit – but because that means that my friends who don't own a smart phone or aren't willing to pay for a data plan can now receive Twitter messages on their phone. It was my understanding that Rogers would treat Twitter messages like they would any other text messages. As far as I could tell, this had minimal financial impact to end-users because as of today, all incoming text messages are free. Other news also trickled about Rogers charging for incoming messages in the future but only for phones that aren't on a text messaging plan. When this news hit, there seem to be a lot of anger as there was a misconception that people were getting bombarded by Twitter messages and having to pay for it. It looks like anger has subsided by the time I'm writing this post. When I was thinking about this, I was a bit baffled by the anger because of a number of reasons. For one, by default, updates to devices are turned off when you follow someone. I actually have to specify to have device notification turned on by each person I follow. This makes sense to me – I don't care to be personally notified on SMS about everyone's status. There are probably only a handful of people I truly care about to be notified. Secondly, it would have been no different than what it was a few months ago just before SMS notification was turned off in Canada and there was an uproar about it. My frustration however is that at 10:30 pm tonight – I still haven't received one SMS update on my phone. Minimal impact to me personally but would be nice if this worked; there are other people I'd like to be able to reach out to via Twitter ๐Ÿ˜€

Update: 2009-05-08 23:00 – I have been advised to delete device and then reactivate it for SMS to work. Trying to but getting the fail whale. Hopefully will be fixed tomorrow.

Update: 2009-05-09 22:23 – Still no SMS updates although @_gloomybear_ started getting her updates via SMS. Waiting for another 2 more days before I ask for help again. Lack of communication on statuses is disturbing on Twitter