Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Roaming in the US... Now that's the way to do it!

We just got back from a 4 day trip in Boston. Because a lot of the time my wife and I were going to be in separate parts of the city, we really needed to be able to contact each other. Suffice to say, we were dreading the roaming charges!

Having spoken to our current cell provider, we were looking at $1.50 / minute for voice, 60c / message for text and $5.00 / MB for data. A $50 package would have given us 50 minutes, 50 messages and 25MB of data, before going back to charges that were approximately half of the 'non package' prices.

Only 50 messages? The worst thing about that is that it's incoming and outgoing, so really it's only 25 messages in a way. This was still going to be expensive!

We started to think about prepaid SIMs, but trying to organise that was going to be a hassle. That is until I found Roam Mobility.

There is one prerequisite for using Roam and it's the same prerequisite for using other pre-paid SIMs... your phone needs to be unlocked as far as the network is concerned. This is fine for us as we had Nexus 4's that only cost us $50 to begin with :)

So here's the deal: with Roam, you can buy a SIM card for $20 (I bought mine at the local Telus store). Once activated, that card gives you a phone number based in the US (note that it also only works in the US). So long as you use it at least once a year, you can keep that SIM. Once it's activated, you buy a 1, 3, 7, 14 or 30 day plan.

We opted for the 7 day 'Talk + Text + Data' plan and here's what we got:
- Unlimited talk within the US as well as to Canada
- Unlimited text within the US as well as to Canada
- A total of 700MB of data usage (for every day's worth of plan, you get 100MB of data)

How much? $27.95!

So for less than the $50 roaming package from our own provider, we got unlimited talk and text and all the data we needed / wanted. They even tell you how to set your phone up as a mobile hotspot for your laptop!

The coverage was no problem and it was probably the most simple process I have ever used for anything related to telecommunication.

So that's my tip: if you're roaming to the US, get an unlocked phone and jump onto Roam... I can't wait to travel that way again, just so that I can use it again :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Not Going to NEPHP? Try Pandacodium Instead!

You may or may not have noticed that I'm heading to Boston next weekend for the Northeast PHP conference. You also may or may not have realised there was a little sarcasm in that last sentence.

But what are you going to do? Where are you going to be? What if I told you that you could attend a hackathon instead?


Pandacodium is an online, world-wide hackathon that's going to run for 48 hours starting on Friday, August 16th at 7PM.

I don't know if the theme changes every year, but either way, this one is going to be focussed on developing real-time web applications.

Although I've never been to a hackathon, and I'm probably going to miss the one in Charlottetown in a few weeks, it's something that I'm itching to do... and now you all can! Please, let me live through your adventures :)

Seriously: I urge everyone that can to take this opportunity to flex your coding muscle, stretch your comfort zone, meet new people and more importantly have a heap of fun! Head over to http://pandacodium.ca right now and sign up. If I weren't going to Boston, I'd be doing this.

Let me know if you're going to go in it... I want to hear all of the gory details!