Monday, July 28, 2008

So you want to sell me a cell phone

Recently the Canadian government ended an auction where prospective cellular phone companies bid on bandwith for their operations. Within the next year new cellphone companies owned by Sasktel, Quebecor and others. The companies will require that time in order to arrange the infrastructure, plans and advertising campaigns to launch their new cell phone operations.

In order to be fair to everyone wishing for yet another cell phone subscriber, here is what I'm looking for in a cell phone (idea ironically stolen from high priced lawyer Edward Greenspan in his column in today's Toronto Sun and also published in the Edmonton Sun):

1. Do not charge me a "system access fee." A cell phone plan that pays per month should already have access to your company's system without any additional charge. If the cell phone doesn't, I will be forced to create my own system with two tin cans and a piece of string. If you can't give me access to your system, then what's the use of the cell phone? To use as an expensive paperweight?

2. No small print a the bottom of the adds. Just give me the price I'm expected to pay on a monthly basis and how long the contract is for. Give me the straight goods, straight up without any funny business requiring a magnifying glass and a dictionary to understand. If I wanted small print and big words, I would head to the nearest university library's medical section. Also, quite frankly, I don't care about the: system access fee, text fee, 911 emergency access fee, Frank's cut of my bill, etc. Just give me the final price AND MAKE IT AFFORDABLE!

3. Comparable products and prices to other countries. Recently Rogers released in Canada, after more than a year of availability in the United States, the IPHONE! However, Rogers got lambasted over it's rate plans online because the rate plants were substantially higher than what AT&T provided it's customers in the United States.

4. Customer Service! Rogers and Bell have pitiful records of customer service especially in terms of their base services (i.e. what their company was founded upon). Ellen Roseman, the Toronto Star's Consumer Affairs Columnist has raised these issues on Bell (phone service) and Rogers (cable service) and so have the readers on her blog. If I have a problem with my cell phone service (e.g. billing, reception, electronic problems, etc.) I want answers not apologies further issues that only get me frustrated.

5. SERVICE! I do not want to be wandering along Yonge Street anywhere from Bradford to the Toronto Star building and have a "dropped call". The same with anywhere on Highway 401 in Ontario. If you cannot guarentee service along these two routes at a bare minimum, then don't even apply. If your asking why? Then please cease your operation now as your truly not in the cell phone "service" industry.

So if your a Canadian cell phone company or are a prospective cell phone company, please review the above, and feel free to post your plans, if they adhere to the plans above, in the comment section.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zune comes to an end

Today I received an end of Zune campaign e-mail from chatthreads. They were looking for feedback on the word of mouth campaign. Too bad I barely had the Zune for two weeks, otherwise I would have gladly blogged about it more and provided more feedback.

There is at least one piece of information of product feedback that's needed to be said:

This past week I didn't use my Zune on Wednesday and Thursday. I had taken it out of my "going to work bag". I picked it up Friday morning and headed to work. Halfway to work I tried turning on the Zune. It didn't have any power. This despite the Zune being powered down after use and the "lock" put on each day so even if the buttons were touched, nothing would activate. Apparently the Zune, even when turned off, sucks power from the battery. This is kind of dissapointing as I couldn't use my Zune on that Friday.

But at least, on the bright side of this fiasco, the Zune powers up in less than two hours to full power again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I'm Engaged!

Yesterday, the day before my girlfriend's birthday, we headed down to the Toronto Islands. I had a birthday package that I wrapped myself and put a nice pink little card on it. This package stayed on my bureau for the entire week. The entire time my girlfriend stared at it threatening to open it. She doesn't like surprises at all!

We grabbed lunch at St. Lawrence Market then took the fairy to the Toronto Islands.
The first stop was the Olympic Island where we found a nice picnic table next to the shoreline. I took a couple of pictures with my digital camera. Then a couple of waves came and splashed us. Not a good spot for gift giving. So we retreated back a little further from the water to another picnic table.

At the second picnic table I got out the present. Yvonne opened the card and the present. After unrapping the paper there was a Mouse box from my computer mouse. In the box was a smaller white box. In the white box there was a ring box. I proposed to her there.
She of course ACCEPTED! :)

There is no picture yet of the ring as my Fiance wanted to pick out the engagement ring herself. So this week we are going to jewelry stores to see if we can find one she likes.

But at least....I'M ENGAGED!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Powering up to Zune

Last night I had to power up my Zune after two days of use. Instead of connecting it to the computer to charge like you would an Ipod, I decided to try out the AC adapter normally sold separately from the Zune.

After opening the AC adapter packaging, I quickly read the instructions and I was on my way to powering up my Zune in less than the two hours advertised. However, I got a little concerned about the brains behind the Zune on the following items:

1. The packaging for the AC adapter, after removing the recyclable cardboard outer case, is totally questionable if it can be recycled plastic. A cardboard try, like what the actual Zune unit comes in, would be a better option.

2. To use the AC adapter, the user has to use the connection cord between the computer and the Zune. I normally prefer to leave these cords attached to my computer for easy connection and disconnection. The AC adapter is marketed as a quicker option for powering up your Zune when on the go, however this requires remembering the connection cord which is probably still connected to your computer. A suggestion would be to provide an additional connection cord with the AC adapter package.

3. The connection cord on the Zune end I`m afraid I might break. This is because the connection end you must push the two small buttons in order to remove the cord from the Zune. Why couldn`t they make it with a simple USB style connection, like the computer connection end, that can be easily just pulled out. This would reduce the fear of damaging either the Zune unit`s connection port or the having to replace the USB cord for connecting the Computer (or AC adapter) with the Zune.

Did you read this post? Click on the below to due a quick survey of about word of mouth advertising on.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Zune Day One

Yesterday I received my free 8 GB Zune from Matchstick.ca along with an AC adapter and Premium Headphones. I eagerly took it home after work and went to work reading the set-up instructions for the Zune. This only took two seconds considering that there are only three steps to...PRESTO!...your synching your Zune with your computer.

What's even better about the Zune is it only takes two hours to fully charge the battery for use. Which is terrific for people eager to get their new electronic gizmo up and running in a hurry.

Today I tested out the basic package (i.e. zune with the headphones it comes with). I started the day with a full battery and, after about three hours of usage I'm only down to 75% battery power at most. This was while I used both the radio and MP3 player format.

The radio and MP3 had great sound quality on the regular Zune ear buds which are similar to the Ipod ear buds except they are not obnoxious white, but black. The radio had great quality in tuning with very little static in comparison to a regular portable radio player. Also, an added feature if the FM station you're listening to supports the technology, the Zune will display not only the FM tuning number (i.e. 98.1), the station name, the song title and the artist name currently playing. Also, the radio function allows you to input a bunch of presets so the user can cycle through their favourite radio stations looking for good tunes while skipping the channels you have no interest in.

As for the MP3 player function while it is playing it has album art, the title of the song and the artist`s name. The MP3 player allows the user to scroll through the normal menu of songs on the Zune if one is looking for a particular song or the usual ``shuffle the songs and play them randomly.`` Also, there are other ways to search for songs include sorting the music by: artist, album, genres and user created playlists. Bottom line, if your looking for a specific song or type of music any way you want it.

Coming up I will be trying out the other features of the Zune including pictures, video, the Premium head phones and powering up with the AC adapter so ``Stay Zuned!``

Did you read this post? Click on the below to due a quick survey of about word of mouth advertising on.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Aurora's Canada Day Parade

This morning I hitched up our camping chairs and headed off down the road to check out the Aurora Canada Day Parade. This parade returned after hiatus year in 2007 to somewhat of a success, here is just a glimpse of what people saw:


The Town Crier starting off the parade.


The Central York Fire Department parade entries.


The Old Aurora Fire Truck from 1928.


The parading of the Aurora "Canada's Birthday Town" flag.


The Aurora Seniors Center's float


How Downtown Aurora looked a long time ago from the Aurora Rotary Club float.


The York Lions' Steel Drum Band.

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