Saturday, February 14, 2009

US Roaming Costs with a Rogers iPhone: Rogers vs AT&T GoPhone

Many people know Canadians as hockey players, or people who say sorry too much, or people who pronounce 'about' funny.

Not as many people know our proud tradition of extortionate wireless plans, so I thought I'd share.

By now you may know we have the longest minimum contracts to purchase iPhones - 3yrs. Something like a $2-3k commitment.

Since I recently went to the US with my Rogers iPhone I got curious about how much it might cost me to use it while I was there. Rogers make it quite difficult to find out their international data roaming and voice rates, at least to find a consistent answer. Online I found three different data roaming rates, ranging from outrageous to highway robbery to obscene "I demand a full public inquiry" material. I couldn't actually find the lowest rate on a Rogers site, but someone posted it in a forum and claimed it came from Rogers. The other two more expensive rates came from different pages on

I decided to compare the different rates I found with the comparable cost to buy an AT&T GoPhone in the US and use their Pay As You Go plans.

The table below shows some representative numbers, obviously not based on what I might have used for the week I was there had I actually used yellowsn0w to unlock my iPhone before leaving for the US, and bought a GoPhone + SIM at Fry's for $20 when I got there.

The GoPhone plan I didn't actually purchase online from AT&T after buying the phone at Fry's costs $.10/min for calls within the US plus $.29/min to Canada. They just introduced a 100MB data plan for $20 when I got there.

As you can see, the Rogers costs range from 8 to 50 times the costs of the completely theoretical 'GoPhone' approach.

Oh, sure, I probably could have phoned Rogers to ask about adding a US data roaming package to my monthly bill and got something a little less obscene, but this analysis is so much more fun, plus I didn't have to waste another half hour waiting in their call center queues.

If anyone reading this knows details of cheaper approaches that don't require getting a new phone number, the comments are open!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Know How to Get Out of Dodge Before You Go There - Can You Get Your Data Out of the Cloud?

Many years ago while still a student I got the chance to travel around Europe by train. Low budget, high fun. A lesson I soon learned was that the first thing you had to do on arrival in a new town was to figure out how you're going to get back out. Served me well when someone tried to mug me in West Berlin and I no longer wanted to be there... (This was January 1990 and the Wall was 'down' but still there.)

A similar rule of thumb applies in Cloud Computing and SaaS. Matt Asay, a machine of a blogger, today talked about the need to be able to get your data out of Cloud Computing services.

For me, guaranteeing open data is the most critical component of ensuring that cloud computing doesn't replace our desktop chains with cloud chains.
Oh so true.

I'm interested in this in the specific context of email and collaboration services. If someone chooses to go with a SaaS email provider, what avenues will they have to leave that provider with their dignity and emails intact at some point in the future?

Having the same software available from the SaaS provider and as on-premise software will go a long way.

Standard protocols like IMAP, LDAP, and calDAV will also be useful tools for data extraction. Gmail uses this approach to some extent now. As an example, they'll gladly import and export entire mail accounts via IMAP.

What considerations for 'data freedom' in a SaaS world are you worrying about in email, calendaring, and collaboration?

Photo credit: Lynn

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Google Password Assistance email - training phishing targets?

At first I assumed the email below was a phishing attempt, but after spending a few more seconds thinking about it, it looks legit.

Legit, but bad practice. I had not initiated a password reset, so something is wrong with the way Google are crafting the email below.

If someone else is trying to reset my password, they should let me know in this email somewhere.

I haven't logged into this account directly in a while, so even if the reset email is a preemptive one to help me get back in they shouldn't be putting an active link for me to click. That's just training me to be phished. Instead tell me to type their site name into my address bar manually.

Let me know if I've got it wrong! Comments are wide open.

PS: Yes, I've changed some links from their original state to protect the innocent (me!).

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 9:24 PM
Subject: Google Password Assistance
To: Andrew's Other Email Account

To initiate the process for resetting the password for your Google Account, visit the link below

If clicking the link above does not work, copy and paste the URL in a
new browser window instead.

Thank you for using Google.

For questions or concerns regarding your account, please visit the
Google Accounts FAQ at

This is a post-only mailing.  Replies to this message are not monitored
or answered.