Archive for August 4, 2017

Latest Game Of Thrones Episode Leaked

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 4, 2017 by itnerd

It seems that HBO has a new problem which comes hot off the heels of getting pwned earlier this week by hackers. The upcoming episode of Game Of Thrones has been leaked. It’s apparently a low quality screener copy. But the fact that even that got leaked is what matters because it came from a distribution partner rather than the hack that happened this week. Clearly, they have some issues both inside and outside that they have to deal with. And they likely need to deal with them fast to keep from being in the news for all the wrong reasons.

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BREAKING: Phone Service Down For Many Canadians

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 4, 2017 by itnerd

There’s some sort major outage that seems to be affecting many Canadians. According to Canadian Outages,  cellphones, Internet, TV and phone lines are down for people across the country. Specifically those on Bell and Telus. By extension those on Virgin and Koodo are also affected as those brands are owned by Bell and Telus respectively. Outage reports are coming in from Halifax, Toronto, St. John’s, Dartmouth, Moncton, Ottawa, Saint John, Fredericton, Mississauga, Calgary and Sydney.

This a a major problem because according to the CBC, it’s affecting critical services such as people’s ability to dial 911:

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia government’s Emergency Management Office says 911 service itself is not being impacted, but people whose phones are down may not be able to call.

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services has ordered all ambulances and on-duty crews to return to their stations and monitor their tablets for emergency calls. 

I’ll be keeping an eye on this to provide any updates as they develop.

UPDATE: There are now reports via Canadian Outages that Rogers has issues as well as Bell Aliant.

UPDATE #2: It seems you can take Rogers off the list in terms of outages in Atlantic Canada based on what I am seeing on social media.

UPDATE #3: It is becoming clear that cellular phones are affected by this outage as the CBC story that I linked to indicates that landlines are apparently not affected.

UPDATE #4: The CBC story has changed to say that its both landlines and cell phones that are affected by this outage. CBC also confirms that Rogers is not affected by this.

UPDATE #5: We have a cause for this epic outage:

UPDATE #6: Service is apparently being restored.

UPDATE #7: Apparently service has been restored (Bell) or on its way to being restored (Telus).

How To Save On Roaming Charges In The US

Posted in Tips with tags on August 4, 2017 by itnerd

Frequent readers who follow my travels know that I mention two things over and over again:

  1. Canadian carriers charge way too much for using your cell phone overseas.
  2. To avoid roaming charges overseas, have an unlocked phone and use a local SIM card.

That works pretty much everywhere except the United States where it is difficult to get a local SIM card. But because of a recent business trip, I can now share with you a way to get around that. Assuming that you have an unlocked cell phone, here’s what you do:

  1. Head to a gas station, WalMart, Target, or anywhere else that sells pre-paid credit cards. Then put at least $30 USD on it.
  2. Next head for the nearest T-Mobile store and sign up for their tourist plan which serves up 1,000 talk minutes and 2GB of LTE data for $30 USD. The only catch is that it is only good for three weeks. But that’s not a problem for most people who travel to the US. You’ll need the pre-paid credit card from step 1 to pay for this plan as you can’t pay for cell service in the US with a non-US credit card.
  3. Declare victory and have a beer.

I did this and it worked fine for me. Thus I have no doubt that it will work for you. Plus it is way cheaper than anything that Rogers, Bell, or Telus offers with minimal hassle, assuming you’ll be away for a week or more. Now you’ll lose your Canadian number, but that isn’t the biggest deal in the world if you save a few bucks. Let me know if you try this route the next time you travel to the US by leaving a comment.