Illegitimate Conservative Government?

Firm with Tory links traced to election day ‘robocalls’ that tried to discourage voters:

Elections Canada has traced fraudulent phone calls made during the federal election to an Edmonton voice-broadcast company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country.

While the agency investigates, aided by the RCMP, the Conservatives are conducting an internal probe. A party lawyer is interviewing campaign workers to find who was behind the deceptive “robocalls.”

Elections Canada launched its investigation after it was inundated with complaints about election day calls in Guelph, Ont., one of 18 ridings across the country where voters were targeted by harassing or deceptive phone messages in an apparent effort to discourage Liberal supporters from voting.

Android “Froyo” 2.2 now available for Acer Liquid E

I upgraded to the Android “Froyo” 2.2 today and I’m very pleased with the upgrade process and the results.

I upgraded to the Android “Froyo” 2.2 today and I’m very pleased with the upgrade process and the results. It only took downloading a file from Acer, putting it on the Acer Liquid E, and then rebooting. Fifteen minutes later I was up and running. Performance is a little better. The interface has more polish and snappiness to it. I especially like the performance improvements made to the browser as I do a lot of browsing. And, hey! Flash is available! And it works pretty well! Kudos to Acer for making this available to the Acer Liquid E and props to Google for developing a solid mobile operating system! You can get Froyo for your Liquid here. Be sure to pick “Smart Handheld” and then find your phone from there.

Acer Liquid E Review

For about 5 years now I’ve been using an old school Motorola V551 flip-phone. It worked as a phone, took a surprising amount of abuse, and didn’t do much else and didn’t do anything with any kind of style. So, I upgraded to the Acer Liquid E and I’ve been playing around with it for about a week now.

For about 5 years now I’ve been using an old school Motorola V551 flip-phone. It worked as a phone, took a surprising amount of abuse, and didn’t do much else and didn’t do anything with any kind of style. So, I upgraded to the Acer Liquid E and I’ve been playing around with it for about a week now.

The Acer Liquid E is a modern smart phone running the Google Android 2.1 mobile operating system. It has an underclocked CPU compared to other Android phones (1ghz reference specification compared to the E’s 768mhz) but, trust me, you’ll barely notice. And with Android 2.2 hopefully coming to the E (you better be listening Acer), it will increase performance even more. Even with the out of the box experience, this unit is very usable and enjoyable.

The Liquid E is an underrated phone, in my opinion, maybe because its predecessor wasn’t as polished and maybe because of the Acer name which isn’t a triple-A brand but, after researching a lot, I took the dive and I’m having a very pleasant time at a very affordable price (free when entering a contract).

Check out the Rogers Acer Liquid E unboxing video on YouTube.

The package comes with the phone itself, a little cloth pouch for the phone, a hands-free pair of headphones, a 2gb MicroSD card (nice throw in!), a standard USB cable (on both ends, I like that!), and manuals. Big thumbs up to Acer for using a cable with standard connectors on both ends! That’s one of my pet peeves about eletronic device these days. If they’re not standard and you need another cable for any reason, you’re screwed over and have to pay a hefty fee if you can even find it still.

The Android UI is slick. It also feels like the right operating system for a smart, intensively used mobile operating system. Multi-tasking, settings, flexible customization, etc, it’s usually all in there if you explore the menus enough.

Wifi usage is a breeze. When you see a network, that you can jump on, set it up the first time and whenever you’re back in that area, the unit will prefer that wifi network over the cellular network, saving your data plan. I have wifis saved for home, Home Depot, my dad’s house, and soon my work, and I’m sure I’ll have one at each family member’s house, church, and anywhere else I frequent. I like the operation of wifi usage on Android, it works very well.

Let me just say at this point that I really appreciate Acer not messing with Android too much. They have some apps but it doesn’t look like they strayed too far from the reference specification – this is a good thing. Thank you, Acer! It means you can go to other phones without it feeling like a completely different operating system.

Another bonus about Android phones is the transparent USB storage mode. Plug the standard USB cable into your computer and the Android phone pops up as a USB storage device. Brilliant. I can now manage the music on my phone like I want to and not tied down to any brutal software like iTunes.

Your stock applications are probably sufficient for most people but the Android Market is there any time. Installing and running apps from the Android Market is a breeze, very enjoyable and painless. The only downside is finding high quality apps. You’ll have to check ratings (you should probably only install 4 star ratings and above) and you should google around for the best apps.

Stock apps include YouTube, Gmail, a music player, camera, camcorder, messaging, and a whole slew of other apps. Rogers throws some of their own in and their My Rogers Account is actually not bad – although it requires you to be on the cellular network rather than wifi, but data is free for that app, so it’s okay.

Browsing the web is very usable and some of the features are really nice. The one feature I like is intelligent zooming of paragraphs. The browser doesn’t have to have a specially crafted page to be readable, just use the zoom icons and it will try to zoom in, usually successfully, on the actual content of a page, ensuring that menus, ads, and any other components are off screen so you can actually read quite well.

The E can handle a MicroSD card up to 32GB. That’s sweet and more than most people need. I’m one of those people that uses a lot of it for music so I picked up a 16GB and I’m doing fine. Speed of the microsd slot is quite good, no complaints.

As for apps, I’ve installed:

  • AcroBible Lite
  • Android System Info
  • Bible
  • StopWatch & Timer
  • Google Maps
  • My Rogers Acccount
  • OSMonitor
  • Shazam
  • TaskManager
  • Top application

One complaint I have about a lot of the free apps is the proliferation of ads. They take up a small portion of your screen. If an app is pittily and it’s available for free, let’s just leave it that way. The ads are a little annoying. But the apps are fully usable otherwise and the ads aren’t a problem. I just wish authors wouldn’t worry so much about it.

Battery life is good. Yesterday, my father and I were traipsing all over the city trying to get his Acer Liquid E and we were using my E the whole time with Google Maps. Just at the end of the day when I was nodding off to sleep, the battery started showing the orange caution highlight. Pretty good going for a whole day of pretty intense on/off usage.

Customizability is a big plus on this unit, as well. There are lots of settings to make it the way you want it. There are live backgrounds which are unique to Android (animated backgrounds, very impressive).

And, yes, talking on the E just for phone usage works fine. No complaints. Good voice quality, typical cellular delay (50ms-100ms? nothing unique about the E), operation is decent.

The Acer Liquid E is a great phone and it’s definitely underrated. I wouldn’t call it a top of the line phone but it’s not a low-end phone either, not by any means. I would actually say it’s upper-middle quality. This is a great phone, I’d recommend it to anyone.

Dealing with Rogers Sales Department?

Dealing with Rogers Sales? Leverage. Maintain some form of leverage when dealing with Rogers. This is a brief history of my recent dealings with the Rogers Sales Department.

Update 2012-06-09: A friend referred me to RedFlagDeals.com and their forum thread about getting the best deal with rogers. Check it out for info on what deals are available and how to go about getting them.

Leverage. Maintain some form of leverage when dealing with Rogers. This is a brief history of my recent dealings with the Rogers Sales Department.

Up until a week or so ago, I had been using a ghetto Motorola V551 flip-phone. In late May, my interest was piqued on the iPhone 3Gs. I called into Rogers Sales and agreed to go into contract for the iPhone 3GS 8GB at $99. I got evenings starting at 6pm for free, $12 Value Pack for free, and the 6GB data plan for $25 ($5 credit) all perks because I was going under contract. A week passed and my phone had not arrived. I phoned back in and apparently they were out of stock. So I had them cancel my plan they happily put me on without having a phone to back it up.

In late August, after hearing interesting things about Android phones from my brother in law, my interest was again piqued. So I phoned into Rogers sales department again and came to the same agreement about perks. I picked up the $29.99 value (for going under contract) Acer Liquid E. Great phone, in and of itself, by the way. I recommend it.

Now, the thing with carriers is that contracts are leverage one way or another. You can get good deals if you’re not under contract. If you are on contract, you’re not going to get deals. If you have other non-contract services, however, like internet, cable or home phone, well now you have some other leverage to work with. Remember this when dealing with the sales department.

So, late August I phone in and come to an agreement with a deal that satisfies me. You know how sometimes you buy something or enter a contract and it gives you a bad feeling? Well I had a good feeling about this. I got what I wanted at a price I was willing to pay. Evenings from 6pm, 6GB data plan $5 off, $12 value pack.

So, I eventually get my phone and really enjoy it. I like the perks I have. I keep an eye on the My Rogers service, too, which tells you about your plan and your usage. I noticed a few things were off. Well, today, I phone in and find out that I do not have the $12 value pack thrown in for free, I do not have 15% discount for having three services (I also find out the actual 10% discount for 3 services only applies to your voice plan amount. Aggravating!), and the first person I talk to does not understand the 6GB data plan $5 credit.

Unbelievable.

So I tell the billing department person I need action on this because the contract agreement has changed. Fortunately, although I asked for Sales, she redirected me to Retention. The Retention department is where you want to be when you need to talk serious with Rogers. But, remember, you must have leverage.

My leverage came in the knowledge that I know what I agreed to the first time, I verbally confirmed it repeatedly, I told this to the Retention person, I have two other non-contract services in case I need to use them as leverage, and I have a long history with Rogers – I’ve had a phone with them since 1998. Clearly, I’m probably not out to screw them over.

In Retention, I’m told I actually do have evenings from 6pm. Good. The 6GB data plan $5 credit wasn’t done but is doable. Fine. The $12 Value Pack is impossible, has never been an offer (*cough* *splutter* *vein pop*). Dear me. I was silent on the phone for a minute. I was seriously thinking of bringing out the other two non-contract services as leverage. Instead, I asked could he apply a credit to any other charge on my account to bring my total cost to the same price that I agreed to when I initially went under contract. Silence. “Oh yeah, here’s what I can do! …” Turns out Rogers has some non-dollar amount Value Pack equivalent that gives you more than the $12 Value Pack and they can credit it right back to your account, making it free.

Unbelievable.

So, here’s the deal, when Rogers says they’re giving you something for free on the phone, they’re not, and people you talk to at Rogers won’t acknowledge the “terms” that you’re using. What they do understand is “credit”. What they can do is charge you the original price and credit you back on your bill – accomplishing the same goal. They just play dumb for reasons unknown to me.

Here’s the thing. I agreed to a contract with specific terms. Rogers changed those terms on me without notice. What is up with this practice? Isn’t this illegal? Shouldn’t it be?

The kicker is they had no solid details on my account about my previous phone call in which I agreed to go under contract. How is that possible!

So, to everyone who has to deal with Rogers:

  • Leverage. Make sure you have it. Either be free of contract when talking to their sales department or have other non-contract services to bargain with if things are really bad. A long history of good customer relationship is a bonus, too.
  • Contract Perks: To get you under contract, when you’re not currently under one, Rogers has a few perks, of which I know of these:
    • Evenings from 6pm. This is an add-on you can pay for. You can get it for free going under contract. Remember, ask for an “offset credit”, not “throw it in for free”, which is how I worded it and they wouldn’t acknowledge that.
    • 6GB data plan for the price of the 500MB data. A $5 credit (remember, “offset credit”). You may be able to work a better deal than $5. The price for that kind of data is very high to begin with.
    • (Rogers Internal) Value Pack. This is the not the public value packs you can see on their website. If you go under contract, ask about whatever value pack they can give you that is the equivalent or better of the $12 Value Pack and ask for an offset credit.

What other perks do you know about? Would love to know.

Remember, Canadians pay some of the highest phone rates in the world. You are getting taken for a ride. The only thing you can do is try to get the best deal possible in a bad situation. So, don’t worry about asking for these perks. If they’re going to lock you in to a multi-year contract, they owe you and they should be happy to retain your business.

When all was said and done, I ended up with a 3 year contract $10 higher than the one I actually agreed to the first time. I’m still a little ticked off at that but at least it’s only $10 higher. This is all not to mention that my account, summing all service prices, is in the hundreds of dollars a month.

Shame on you Rogers for treating your customers like this.

Remember when we all thought cell phones were the bees knees?

History is going to look back at us and think we must have all been simple, uneducated serfs getting excited over shiny baubles.

History is going to look back at us and think we must have all been simple, uneducated serfs getting excited over shiny baubles.

im the bst wrst txtr evr

im the bst wrst txtr evr

It may seem odd but I’m just learning how to txt on my phone. I’m at that point where I’m trying to do things faster but my fingers don’t move as fast as I want so I shorten up my words.

Check out these real examples from my phone:

  • hy wt ds it lk lk 2dy? shd i cm up?
  • tx 4 cllng wll cll ltr hp 2 c u sn
  • hy hp ur dn gd tk cr hp 2 c u sn

I’m a pedant, I know that. I never liked txt before but I’m starting to like it but it’s so me to never like half-and-half barebones txt and real words. Like how hard is “hey” to type out instead of “hy”? And “lk lk” (“look like”). Only in context and thinking a little bit can you understand it.

Anyway I find my messages hilarious and I hope people can still parse them lol

Oh well I’m having good fun with it and hopefully I’ll become fast enough to convey more meaning in the letters I choose!