Archive for December 1, 2017

#PSA: You Can Now Unlock Your Phone For Free If You Are Canadian

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 1, 2017 by itnerd

As of today, cellphone unlocking is now free in Canada. Prior to this, carriers such as Rogers, Telus and Bell could charge you $50 to unlock your phone. That’s no longer the case. On top of that, devices must also be sold unlocked as well.

So, why should you care? It’s simple. If your device is unlocked, you can take it to any carrier and get service for it. Which means if your current carrier isn’t meeting your needs or has horrible customer service for example, you can go elsewhere easier. On top of that, you can switch phones at will without being forced into a new plan. Something that really irked my wife when she got her iPhone 6 as she was forced to dump a really good plan for a crappy one. Finally it means that when you go overseas, you can use a local SIM card at a much lower price point rather than be charged the rather than be hosed by cell phone carriers for roaming. All of this is great for the consumer, but likely bad news for cell phone providers as they will now have to up their game if they want to retain customers.

That’s all good. But it does get better. There are other changes that go into effect today that should make life easier for Canadian cell phone users. You can find out about those changes here.

I’m thinking that Rogers, Telus and Bell are flooded with calls from people asking for their phones to be unlocked. If you tried to get your phone unlocked today, I’d appreciate a comment below describing what your experience was like.

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Why Leaving Auto Updates Turned On Your Router Is A Bad Idea

Posted in Commentary on December 1, 2017 by itnerd

This is one of these cases where I’m writing this so that you don’t become me.

I recently reviewed the Linksys WRT32X gaming router. It is an amazing router. One of the best that I have ever tested in fact. So much so that instead of going back to the router that I was using at the time, I kept this one in place because it was so fast. And for months that was a non issue.

That changed two nights ago when a new firmware got downloaded to the router and made WiFi unusable. In effect, it took an outstanding router and made it a sub par router. Now I discovered this when my wife’s computer would not back up to the network attached storage box. During my troubleshooting I discovered that it would back up via Ethernet just fine. I then did further troubleshooting and discovered that the firmware had changed on the router. On top of that, I also discovered that I had left auto updates turned on which led to the firmware being installed.

Here’s what makes this situation worse. For reasons that I do not understand, there are no downloads available for this router:

downloads

That takes away my first thought at the time which was to downgrade the firmware to something that worked. The fact that downloads aren’t available for this router is a #fail in my mind. Thus I reached out to the Linksys Cares Twitter account for help:

No response from them as of yet. When I’ve asked questions to them in the past, they were usually good at responding. So I don’t know what the deal is with that. But I did some looking around via Google and discovered that I am not alone in terms of having a router that isn’t performing up to the level that it should and Linksys is apparently aware of it and is “working on it”.

Now I usually turn auto updates off precisely so that I don’t get into this situation. After all, any company can let a firmware update go out the door which will cause you problems. Just like in this case. But I must have left it on as I tend to leave routers in as close to a default state as I possibly can. But I guess I didn’t think about checking that setting when I decided to leave this router in place. Now I am stuck until I get around to swapping out this router for something that works as fast WiFi is important to me. The take home message is that if you a router and you have auto updates turned on, it may not end well for you. Just like it did not end well for me.

I have learned my lesson the hard way and will be much more careful going forward.

UPDATE: ASUS read my story and is sending me a ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 for arrival on Monday to solve my router issue. I will be reviewing it as soon as I possibly can. Thanks ASUS!