First Update From Canada

It has been quite the first few days for me since moving back to Canada on the Independence Day of the country I was previously living in. I will try to give an update every week or so in a segment I am going to call “Toonie Tales.” Enjoy reading these, send me back some comments and as always, let me know if you’ll be in the area.

The drive up was relatively smooth, without much traffic and I only took a couple of stops – and thanks to the people of Cortland, NY who provided the free coffee and snacks at the one rest area I did take a break. The radio channels going in and out was a little bothersome though, at one moment you would be listening to some sports update and a fraction of a second later due to channel interference, it would switch to some religious feed with cry for “May the Lord have mercy on all of us.”

First day of work, I went through the motions of a new employee getting a tour, getting my ID and filling out the proper HR paperwork and was pretty uneventful – until it came time to go home of course. Due to the extreme heat in the area, there was a fire that took out a major transformer in the heart of downtown Toronto leaving much of the city without power at peak rush hour time (at 4:45 pm). I was fortunate enough to only have to take 8 flights of stairs down but I know of others who took well over 20 but I guess it is easier taking them down than trying to climb.

The environment outside was nothing like I have ever seen in the “civilized” West with all the traffic signals and crossing lights out of commission, it was initially an every man for themselves situation. Cars were creeping forward from all four directions until one person stopped and the entire row of cars would just follow suit. Hoards of people had taken to the street by this time and were all moving towards Union Station. Although there were some civilians who had taken to the crosswalks and were guiding human traffic and stopping and directing cars as people crossed, most were just anxious to get out of the glaring heat.

With a first day like that, the rest of the week seems relatively unexciting. First week of employment is always a little slow as work starts to streamline in towards you but I did have a couple of meetings yesterday and the workload will definitely pick up big time as more of my software and application requests are approved shortly.

A couple of things to note however: I had really forgotten how much everyone says “eh” in everyday conversation. You tend to lose that sense of reality when you only hear in terms of mocking back in New Jersey. Also the ease at which people travel not only through public transportation and the way they enter and leave work buildings, is a huge contrast from America. You couldn’t enter or leave the main doors without providing professional ID back in the States but here you just say hello to the person at the security desk and you just swipe in on your floor. On public transportations, you have your monthly pass with you but they don’t check every day, heck they haven’t checked for yet and it has been four days already. It really is an “honor system” but the penalty is so severe if you are caught on board without a ticket, that I don’t believe any everyday rider would risk it. Finally, the roads here are so much wider and a lot more fun to drive on. Once you are no longer in the cramped spaces of the tri-state area, you really notice the difference traveling through 3- and 4-lane local roads on a regular basis.

It is definitely a harsh transition from a smartphone to a regular one but in the meantime, I am enjoying keeping in touch with colleagues from south of the border through Google Voice and even exchange some emails in between. Please, feel free to send a text my way to my new number to keep me occupied during the slow days. Also if you’re somebody important, I might even give you my work contact information in case you need to reach me.

I Won’t Be Getting The iPhone 3G S

I just upgraded to the new OS with it’s new search feature, forward/deleting individual text messages, landscape format in the mail and SMS apps is also a big boost. I will probably post later this week or early next week on my initial impressions but so far, it is good.

As for the new iPhone 3G S (who came up with that name anyways?!), there are many reasons as to why I will not be buying it. You can start listing off the reasons varying from it’s price to lack of new features to even the exclusive carrier that has it.

The price which is $199 16GB and $299 32GB ($399 and $499 for ineligible upgraders) seems relatively reasonably priced with where they were last year and even compare it to other smartphones that are out on the market, I won’t complain too much about the $200 price tag for a new customer. As for the previous customers, you (and me included), signed up for a 2-year contract and for no reason does AT&T (as much as I hate them) have to give you any sort of discount for something you already agreed you would pay for. It would a nice PR performance on their part but expecting this from a company, that will charge you every single penny for the upcoming tethering and continues to delay the MMS capability that even the very simplest of phones have, is too much to ask for.

For me, I just don’t see the need to dish out another $300+ for a phone that is quite similar to the one I already own. I will just wait until next summer as my contract is reaching 20-21 months, right in time for next year’s WWDC.

As for the new features, I am just not very impressed. The compass and maybe the Nike+ capability in the new phone is something I really liked but I can’t say that is enough warrant for ditching the one I have. I will patiently wait for MMS to come out later this summer, possibly go back to JB and use a 5-icon dock and video camera. If you are big video editing enthusiast, I guess you could like the video camera and its capabilities but that are similar to things already available in the 3G (through Jailbreak). I don’t see the need to buy a new phone, re-up your contract for another two years just for that.

AT&T which seems to hold exclusive rights to the iPhone until the end of time seems to be doing all that it can to continuously irritate its current customers. ‘Sympathy’ isn’t a word I will use when describing the plight of the iPhone user considering there are more important things a person can accomplish with another phone and saving their money, but surely a company who is in the business needs to do a better job handling its PR problems — something they seem to have with every major product launch or announcement. Come on guys, you’re bound to get things right soon enough.