August 2008

Rogers iPhone data usage less than expected

I don’t know, maybe the reason that iPhone users on the Rogers network are using far less data than expected is because Canadian customers, remembering stories of monthly phone bills running four or five figures thanks to data usage, are terrified of going over the limit, and are holding back accordingly.

In the first four weeks after the iPhone launched in Canada July 11, Rogers says 95 per cent of customers used less than 10 per cent of their plans’ data allotment. … In the first four weeks of usage, 95 per cent of customers used less than half a gigabyte and 91 per cent used less than 200 megabytes. Only a single customer exceeded the 6 GB threshold, [Rogers spokeswoman Liz] Hamilton said.

People scared of exceeding the limit will generally buy more than they need. But changes are afoot to address these usage patterns: Rogers’s iPhone plans will become less generous in the fall, but they will cap data charges at $100 a month no matter how much you use. And data plans will be unlimited for the first three months, and can be changed, so that people can find out for themselves how much data they would normally use if they weren’t holding back. Both go some ways to addressing the problems with limited data plans I outlined two months ago. Unlimited data would still have been easier for all concerned in practice, even if Rogers has a corporate allergy to it: it would not have saturated the network — not on a device with WiFi — and it would have put users at ease. Via MacNN.

Fun facts about my teeth

I have no fillings. This used to be a matter of some pride for me, except for one small detail. It’s mostly because I haven’t been to the dentist in 12 years. And “no fillings” is not the same as “no cavities”: the last time I was checked — back in 1996! — I had one or two very small cavities that, in dentists’ opinion, were too small to drill at the time, but they’d drill if they got worse.

In the intervening 12 years, I either had a dental plan, but life was too chaotic (graduate school, moving from city to city) to see a dentist, or I didn’t have a dental plan and was afraid of what it would cost. (Knowing, of course, that the longer I put it off, the more likely the dentist would find something, and the more expensive it would be. And a healthy — or in this case, unhealthy — dose of procrastination was certainly involved here.)

Yesterday, I finally got off my ass and saw the local dentist, who, after the hygienist had her way with a decade-plus of tartar buildup and sensitive gums, found a total of four cavities, which will receive fillings in a month or so. So much for 36 years of dodging the dental drill. Still no dental plan, but I’d set aside more than enough money for it.

Not that I’m unfamiliar with dental work. In addition to braces, I’ve had a total of 11 teeth pulled: four eye teeth along with three baby teeth that had yet to fall out, as part of the orthodontic work, as well as my wisdom teeth. (Remind me to tell you the story about how I got my wisdom teeth out on the same day that O. J. went on his slow-speed chase along the Interstate, and how I thought the news coverage of that event was a drug-induced hallucination. Me, the next morning: “You mean that actually happened?”)

Caturday and the passage of time

Snuggling cats

In honour of Caturday, here’s a recent picture, taken by Jennifer, of Doofus, who continues to grow, and Goober, who is merely enormous. He’s catching up, as you can see.

Speaking of cats, Jennifer got a strange e-mail the other day. It went like this (typos intact):

Hello I am sorry to hear that your meow passed away. Please do not feed any of your other cats choclate. The same thing can happen to dogs if you feed them choclate goods. Unfourtanly the cat wouldn’t know any diffrent. It is quite possable that your cat has pased away due to the cookie. You can consult your vet to ask what choclate can do to a cat or dog for a clear reasion why. Since you in to since you would under stand the ingreadent that would effect the pet. sorry once again.

Nice, eh? “Sorry about your cat dying. By the way, it’s all your fault.” I don’t think you can find a better definition of asshole out there.

But here’s the thing. Our boy Brian (that’s his name) is referring to this picture of Maya appearing to eat a chocolate chip cookie. The problem for his nasty little theory is that it was taken in November 2004. Maya died in March 2007. It’s kind of ridiculous to argue that chocolate chip cookies are so toxic to cats that a single bite can kill them — but that it’ll take two and a half years to take effect. Asshat.

This is an example of something I’ve been noticing lately about some of the e-mail I get about my sites. No matter how old a blog entry or a page is, some people write in as though it went up yesterday — there’s no sense, in other words, that any time has passed. To take another example, the Ringneck Diary is five years old, but I still get e-mail from people who write in as though it’s current and ongoing. The present participle, in other words.

I wonder if I need to make things more clear. But then, an awareness of the passage of time is not our boy Brian’s main problem. Tact comes to mind. Decency. And, you know, literacy.

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At the Canadian Museum of Nature

Daspletosaurus torosus (skull)

Jennifer and I paid a visit to the Canadian Museum of Nature last month. My photos: let me show you them. The focus of the photos is on the new Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery, which is quite a bit different from the old fossil exhibit, and the special Ice Age Mammals exhibit, which was smaller than expected.

Some quick points about the visit:

  1. The Museum was only half open; the rest is being renovated. The half we were in had been renovated first, I think. It was hard getting around, especially from floor to floor.
  2. My comments regarding children at the Biodome are equally applicable: museums are turning into day cares.
  3. After processing a whole whack of photos taken with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 prime (see previous entry), I’ve noticed that the lens suffers from a certain amount of chromatic aberration, at least on blown highlights when wide open.