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Look Ma, No Bell

On 09, May 2007 | 4 Comments | In Telecom, Toronto | By Ryan Feeley

So my transition from traditional phone line (aka POTS) is now complete. No longer dependent on the likes of Bell or Rogers, I and am using Chatham, ON based Teksavvy for both VoIP and Dry-loop DSL. I even ported my original phone number and waited the ceremonial five weeks. Internet has been incredibly reliable, and phone has been decent although sometimes exhibits VoIPish qualities, especially during big transfers. I never hear problems but the people I’m talking to sometimes do. I guess the provider knows where there bread is buttered.

Here are my suggestions for a reduced hiccup transition, which is a lot harder than it should be:

  1. Using your existing internet connection, pick a VoIP provider that will provide you with a new local number.
  2. Get VoIP hardware; either a VoIP adaptor or a SIP-capable phone and plug it into your router or DSL modem.
  3. Forward your traditional phone line to your new number.
  4. Use your new VoIP phone to place all outgoing calls.
    • Hiccup: the people you’re calling will see your new unknown number in their Call Display.
  5. Switch to a DSL provider that supports Dry-loop (aka Naked) DSL.
    • Hiccup: they will likely install a new line in a different room which means your phone and router must move with it.
  6. Thanks to phone number portability regulations, you should inform your VoIP provider that you would like to port an existing number.
  7. Wait minimum 5 weeks for the phone number transfer to take place. Your traditional phone service will be automatically cancelled when you remove the number.


Pay less as you go

On 28, Apr 2007 | 3 Comments | In Ontario, Telecom | By Ryan Feeley

7-11 Speak Out Wireless logoIt’s been four months since wifey Julia purchased a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) mobile phone and minutes from 7-11. As an illustrator chained to her home studio, she has very little need for a mobile phone. But when she’s away at Sheridan teaching, or meeting up with friends, a handy comes in handy.

For $100 she got 500 minutes and a very simple but nice Nokia handset. That’s less per minute than most of us pay during peak hours on a monthly plan. The best thing about 7-11’s minutes is that, unlike other PAYG programs, they last a full year. I was worried she would burn through her minutes fast enough to justify committing to a monthly plan, but I my fears have been allayed. After four months, the numbers are in and she’s spent $65 of the $100. That’s $16.25/month!

Telus how we’re getting Rogered.

On 10, Apr 2007 | One Comment | In Ontario, Telecom | By Ryan Feeley

With the iPhone on the horizon, and the dream of usable mobile browsing on the way, local telecom heavy-user Tom Purves posts a very disturbing graph about the cost of mobile data rates in Canada. Let’s say you want to download a few albums worth of data to you iPhone from somewhere on the net that is not one of the “authorized providers”. With current data plans it will cost in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars. CRTC: please wake up and smell my ass burning because this is ridiculous.

Chinatown faves

On 25, Mar 2007 | One Comment | In Food, Toronto | By Ryan Feeley

Having lived near Chinatown for the better part of a decade (Wow. Pause for reflection. That just means over 5 years right?) I have eaten at most of the places therein. Luckily they’re all easily brought up with a simple search for restaurants near Baldwin St. and Spadina on Google Maps.

Here’s my dubious designations for best Chinatown Spots:

Best Dim Sum, Rol San

  • The lineups don’t lie. Rol San has found the magical balance of freshness, quality and price. Eat in the back room for the incandescent lighting advantage. On weekends be prepared to wait unless you’re there by 11AM. Rule of thumb is 3N + 1 (order three dishes per person, plus one).

Best Salt and Pepper Squid, Xam Yu Seafood

  • Just north of the LCBO, this seafood-focused spot features standard dishes done solidly well.

Best Vietnamese, Pho Hung

  • On slow days you’ll find the staff unboxing fresh herbs shipping in from Vietnam. I am amazed at the quality of the beef in their noodle soup. The owner will not disclose his source or methods.

Best Dinner, E-Pan

  • New spot with that seems to be trying hard to impress. Well done dishes. Very friendly and clean.

Best Late Night, Rainbow Restaurant

  • On the north side of Dundas just west of Spadina, this largish Hong Kong style restaurant does dishes well late into the night. I recall ordering cold tea once with my best wink, but it never arrived.

Sushi, Simon Sushi

  • Lately we’ve had a few misses but it’s usually just above par with what’s available in Sushitown on Bloor.

Best Name (see photo)

Kom Jug Yuen Restaurant, available in larger sizes on Flickr.

Best Name Special Mention. M.Y Chafing Dish

  • Now called M.Y Hot Pot, M.Y Chafing Dish is a basement joint where I’ve never eaten but was nevertheless inspired to craft this pseudo haiku.

There is a dish

which is chafing

and it’s yours.