A review of my Netfone VoIP service


This is actually more of a rant than a review. But hopefully it will serve the purpose of other people avoiding Netfone in the future.

To start with, I've never received worse service at a company than this, not even with Telus if you can believe that. The service is so bad, that I even have trouble believing it... until I try to contact them again. I've used them for about a year now and never really needed to contact them. My VoIP phone is basically only used for forwarding to my cell or receiving voicemail. I almost never use it as an actual phone.

Random observations in Tokyo


Always when first arriving in a new city you'll notice odd things that everyone else just perceives as normal... and you do too after a couple weeks. I wish I'd written more down in Buenos Aires, I recall there being a bunch of things but can now only remember a few. I've listed a few my random observations from Tokyo after one week below:

Chopsticks that cost more than a years supply of sushi?


We stumbled upon a chopstick store today in Ginza, Tokyo. A super neat tiny store with every kind of chopstick you could imagine, chopsticks for kids, chopsticks with coloured pencils on the back, training chopsticks, great chopstick stands, etc... they also had /these/ chopsticks...

Tokyo and Harajuku Girls

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We arrived in Tokyo Saturday afternoon after a nine hour flight. We'd been slightly mislead about filling out our customs entry forms and Sam needed to fill out a second form when we we arrived at the customs gate, at which point they decided to search our luggage. Anyone who's seen the way either me or Sam pack would know this is not a pleasant task. Every square inch of our bags are generally stuffed with something with the layout being fully optimized to the contents of the bag ;-). Also, Sam often needs to sit on her bag to get it to close completely. The officials were quite courteous and didn't want to make it too difficult to repack, so after painfully searching through two of our four bags (trying to leave most things undisturbed), and only opening the third bag (likely giving them a bit of a fright with how tightly it was packed, they decided to just pass on the rest and let us through.

Heading for Tokyo

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If you want to know how to totally pass the airline lineups for economy class, bump up your flight, AND get a great seat... you need to talk to Sam. She saved us about an hour of waiting in line and got us on the same flight.

It feels like we just barely got a chance to settle into Vancouver and already we're heading out to another continent. It was great seeing everyone when I was back and I'm super sorry to anyone I didn't get a chance to see. Both Sam and I had an awesome time while we were here.

Rocky Mountain Road Trip

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About two months ago Sam and I went on a short (week long) road trip through the Kootney's and Rockies. The trip was amazing, and I think on the kootney side we hit on average 2 hot springs a day. Ahhhhhh. I just got those photos up and you can take a look at them here.

A small win over a big telco

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I could go on for hours about the issues I have with Canadian cell phone companies and I'm definitely not alone. It's insane how Canadian (and US) cell companies screw their customers and have absolutely no repercussions. When Telus/Bell first started charging for incoming SMS's there was an impressive amount of outrage over it. Nothing happened, and approximately one year later, coinciding with the iPhone 3GS release, Rogers began charging for incoming SMS's. Somehow no one seemed to notice this (or we'd all just given up hope of changing it). Regardless, Rogers clearly has much better PR than Telus.

Back in Vancouver

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I arrived back in Vancouver from the farm Monday evening and just got my last few photos up now.

I had another great time out there and glad I was able to make it. Something about being out on the farm and eating mostly food that was picked that day that just really relaxes you. The greenhouse they put up in the spring when I was there had done quite well for them and saved them from losing their entire tomato crop (it was a really tough year weather wise for everyone on the east coast this year).

At the farm


My dad and I flew out to New Brunswick on Monday evening (overnight flight) to visit the farm. We both wanted to visit Mike again and thought it would be great to spend a bit of time out on the farm as well. I was out previously in the spring when they were mostly prepping. So this will be a good contrast to catch some of the harvesting.

Raising anchor


I bought the last of my tickets for the 3rd leg and 3rd continent of my round the world with Sam the other day. We're heading to Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and then Southern Africa. And I'm super excited about all of it. My primary disappointment right now is that I don't think I'll be able to spend as much time as I'd like in any of the locations.

I commonly get asked two questions (normally one after the other):

  • What are you up to lately?
  • How do you afford this?

Next steps

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Today marks my last day with NowPublic. I've been with the company almost exactly 1.5 years now... I started November 26, 2007. The decision to leave NowPublic didn't come easily but I just felt quite strongly that it was time for me to work on my own projects. The team at NowPublic is made up of extremely smart people and I'm definitely going to miss working with them.

Starting on Monday I'll be focusing on a new product idea I'm planning with Sam, random development ideas, and traveling. The product idea isn't really at a state ready to be discussed in a public forum just yet but we're hoping to have something out the door towards the end of summer (as a hint, I recently registered disposablewebsites.com which I'll possibly be using as part of this).

This will be the first time that I can remember that I just have all of my time to work on my own things so I'm pretty excited for the next several months until I run out of cash ;-).

Happy birthday


Just thought I'd write a quick post to wish my blog a happy 5th birthday :). This site's been running on 4 different platforms: MoveableType -> home grown blogging software -> Wordpress -> Drupal, 3 different servers: Home server -> co-hosted -> VPS, and has 232 posts. Which implies I post just under once a week.

I've been neglecting the blog a little since I've been in New York, but definitely not because I have a lack of things to say... mostly just that those things are really boring.

Oh, and also happy Cinco de Mayo! For those who don't know, the 5th of May is /not/ Mexico's independence day, but celebrates the day that the Mexican army defeated the french when attempting to take over the country in the 1800s. I don't recall any Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Vancouver, but it seems quite popular here... there's also better mexican food. Maybe the two are somehow connected...

Aerolineas Argentina - Only like the worst airline EVER!


Imagine this scenario... you've decided you want to fly somewhere, so you try find some good flight deals, choose one and then book the flight. Pretty straight forward, right? Well not with Aerolineas Argentina.

I recently booked a flight to Iguazu Falls for myself, sam, and my parents. The process went something like this...

Photos from Buenos Aires

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I've finally uploaded all the last of my photos from Buenos Aires. I spent two and a half months in the city from November 2nd through January 17th and was still working for NowPublic at the time. I was able to make a couple weekend trips out of town to various places including El Tigre, Iguazu falls, Uruguay, and Machu Picchu. Most of my time in BsAs when I wasn't working was spent walking around and exploring the city.

These photos are from those wandering times around the city as opposed to any trip in particular (all of which I've previously uploaded the photos for).

Quick DrupalCon DC Wrapup AND a mystery!


Last week was DrupalCon DC. This was my 4th DrupalCon in a row... Barcelona, Boston, Szeged, and now Washington, DC. The NowPublic development team is distributed throughout North America and Europe, so the bi-annual DrupalCon is the only time we all (or most of us at least) are able to get together. Though the whole team couldn't make it this time around it was still good to see the guys that were able to.

We ended up staying in 4 bedroom house with 8 "beds" and 11 people. All in all a great time, and I managed to avoid the conference flu that tends to spread through conferences at this time of year (which is the first time I've done so in 3 years :) ).

The conference was very well organized, my only complaint would have been the internet... you should make sure it's working /before/ bragging to everyone about it.

I actually went to more sessions this time around than normal, but still have very little to write about. Did a bit of sight seeing while I was there, but the US DrupalCon's seem to just be a bit less of a party and more of a conference than their European counterparts... go figure.

Now for the mystery! Can you guess what this is?