Switching to Wind Mobile

For the past 5 years I’ve been using PC Mobile for my cell phone service. PC Mobile is an MVNO using Bell Mobility’s network. I was on the anytime plan with 500MB of data for $20/month (5¢/MB overage). With the anytime plan talk time and texting is pay as you go… 20¢/minute talk time and 15¢/text. I however use Hangouts (data) for texting and VoIP for the seldom voice calls I would make.  So on average I would spend about $25/month with PC mobile. My wife was also with PC Mobile on the anytime plan with the 100MB addon for $5/month.

Recently my wife was finding the need to show friends Youtube videos while out for coffee with friends… As you can imagine this would very quickly use up the allotted 100MB then use up the remaining credit on her account with 15¢/MB overage on this plan.

I started looking at Wind Mobile. For the past 2 years I have had a Wind Mobile USB stick with 1GB/month for $10 that I’ve been using through work. I was able to put the SIM card in my old Nexus 4 phone and test the network around the city. After a couple weeks I was sufficiently satisfied that I had good coverage everywhere we needed it.

I settted on the $40/month plan which gives unlimited Canada calling and texting along with 5GB/month of full speed data. As I was bringing my own device I also get $5/month in credits which I mostly use against roaming charges incurred when outside the City (Wind coverage area). As I have 3 lines asctivated (myself, my wife and the USB data stick) I also get $5/line discount/month.

Unlike some people on the forums I don’t have an issue with the Wind network speed. In most areas I get between 2 and 12 Mb/s HSPA+ which is sufficient for my VoIP application and most network functions. I don’t need my wireless network to be faster than my home ISP connection.


  • Unlimited data (doesn’t get cut off after the full speed allotment)
  • Decent price albeit slightly more than what I was paying on Pay-as-you-go
  • Unlimited calling and texting
  • reasonable roaming fees when in the US


  • Wind coverage only in certain cities
  • Lose Wind network and start roaming in many buildings like malls and Ikea



Native SIP client on the Galaxy S2


I recently got the Jelly Bean update (4.1.2) for my Samsung Galaxy S2 (i9100) and today I was pleasantly surprised to see that the native SIP client is enabled on the phone now. I previously used SipDroid then after upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich I had to use CSipSimple when in 3g/HSPA+ networks.

To get this set up you just get into the native dialer settings and at the bottom are the Internet Call Settings.

Now I just need to see if battery life improves or deteriorates with the native SIP client.


VPS Performance (Digital Ocean improvements)

I’ve been running this VPS from Digital Ocean for a few months now and while I’ve been impressed with network speeds/performance, it seems CPU/disk times times were bad. Just updating or accessing a page on my wordpress site could take 30 seconds to 1 minute or longer. Running updates with “apt-get upgrade” would take 15 minutes (over 10 minutes stuck at “Building dependency tree”).

Then last night I noticed that they have double the memory available and now with SSD storage at my pricing plan. All I had to do was log into my account, select the resize option and restart the VM. I immediately noticed the difference, updating wordpress is very snappy. All in all I’m very happy with my Digital Ocean VPS.

NAS disk corruption (the importance of backups)

I have two dedicated NAS devices (a DNS-323 and a newer DNS-325) that hold pretty much all our data. I do have backups for our photos, however I’ve been lazy and hadn’t got around to backing up our home videos yet. Well last week when I tried accessing the DNS-323 I noticed it was inaccessible, after logging into the web portal I noticed the 323 was wanting to format the drive…. not good, now I start getting worried. I pulled the Western Digital 2TB Green drive out of the DNS-323 and stuck it in my external USB 3.0 drive dock and plugged it into Ubuntu. The partition did not automount as it usually would and I couldn’t manually mount either. One of the first things I did at that point was to buy another larger disk to clone this one with the corrupt data. I have to say that I tried a commercial disk recovery solution (EaseUS) but that only recovered garbage that I never even had on my drive to begin with. In the end I was able to recover most of my data and I have documented the steps here. The moral of the story is to always have backups, and going forward I’ll be keeping all my data on a disk on my Proxmox server, the DNS-325 will be my on-location backup and my DNS-323 with be a secondary backup at a remote location.

VPS Setup

I most recently was using Yard VPS however performance lately has been lagging and it seems the server has finally crashed on me and have lost my entire WordPress content. I’m now trying out a VPS from Digital Ocean and on a clean VPS install here’s what I’ve installed:


2012 Summer trip to the Maritimes

We left Ottawa on August 5th headed for the maritimes. Barb and Paul’s Camper was parked in the Eastern Townships so a little detour to Warden was needed to get it hooked up and proceed on our trip. We headed north from Warden hitting Autoroute 55 then Autoroute 20. We made it all the way to Riviere-du-Loup and stopped off at the Wal-Mart there to spend the night. The parking lot was quite full of other campers.

The next day we made it into New Brunswick stopping off in Fredericton at Hartt Island campground. There they have a water park for the kids and you also have access to bicycles to ride along the Trans-Canada Trail. We were able to get some swimming in and then a good nights sleep, the next morning we took advantage of the bikes and rode downtown to pick up some things for breakfast at the Atlantic Superstore.

After getting stuck trying to back the camper up at a downtown Fredericton parking lot we decided to get outta town and head towards Moncton. A huge sign for Homemade Ice Cream beckoned us off the road about halfway where we indulged in some very good yet VERY expensive Ice Cream at McCabes. We got to Moncton and had supper at St-Huberts there, then we went looking for the location of Rebeca’s Grave (we were trying to include local ghost stories into the trip) we also checked out Centennial Park before spending the night at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Moncton.

Next day we set out to check out Magnetic Hill, although we didn’t roll the car up the hill we walked around and had lunch at the Wharf Village. Cindy, Paul and I also indulged in a tasting at Magnetic Hill Winery. We then set out for Nova Scotia. Upon arriving at the Nova Scotia Information centre we decided to take the scenic Glooscap Trail. Cindy, Sierra and Barbara took in a play at the Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro. Paul, I and the kids found a site for the night at Five Islands Provincial Park while the women were at the theatre. Next morning we enjoyed watching the tide go out and found some shells on the sea floor.

From Five Islands we continued on the scenic route where we stopped in at the Masstown Market then continued on towards Halifax finding a camground in Sackville where we reserved for two nights wanting a little more time to take in the Halifax area.

Next day Cindy and Sierra got their Hair done at a local Hairdresser recommended by the Campground owner, then we headed out towards Peggy’s Cove, stopping in for a few minutes at the Swissair memorial site first then got the walking tour of Peggy’s Cove. From there we headed to Halifax to take in the Waterfront and Busker festival that was going on. For supper we went to Salty’s and sat on the patio overlooking the Halifax Harbour.

On Saturday we headed north back towards Truro stopping in at Stewiacke for gasoline and to check out the Mastodon. At Truro we took the Transcanada east towards Cape Breton and south at Sydney to spend the night in Louisbourg in a campground right on the water

It rained overnight and was still spitting an very foggy the next morning however the fog lifted and the rain stopped during our visit only to return around 5pm after they fired the last canon for the day. After Louisbourg we headed up to Sydney and spent the night in the WalMart parking lot on the west side of town. From there we headed for Baddeck and left the trailer at the campground there to unhitch the truck before starting out on the Cabot Trail.

Our first stop was at the Keltic Lodge where we enjoyed a drink and the view in the sitting room. We finally all got a swim in the ocean at the Ingonish beach then went for a hike to find the nearby Mary Ann Falls. We finished the day off with a birthday supper for Cindy at the Hiker’s Pub in Ingonish. As it was getting dark we were able to find a very affordable apartement to fit all of us at the Driftwood Lodge right on the water. We finished celebrating Cindy’s birthday with cake.


Next morning Cindy and Paul went for a walk on the beach and we went for a swim.

We then headed out on the Cabot trail again and took a wrong turn that took us to St-Lawrence Bay where we took in a whale watching cruise. Cindy had stipulated that we were to get our money back if there were no whales. We didn’t see any whales but did see some seals and jellyfish and of course our money back. For supper we stopped in at the Rusty Anchor for a nice meal. The next couple hours were spent getting back to the campground to pick up the camper and head towards PEI, stopping off for the night in Antigonish.

Woke up very early and hit the road to make the 8 AM ferry to PEI, the kids loved the ferry and we enjoyed breakfast during the 75 minute trip. After getting off the ferry I was getting anxious to find a gas station as I had put off getting gas due to much lower prices on PEI. After filling up we bypassed Charlottetown and headed straight to Cavendish where we visited Green Gables and Avonlea Village after which we headed back toward Charlottetown for the night.

Next morning we shopped around the Charlottetown harbour then went over to get lunch at Boom Burger and a tour of the Cow’s Creamery. From there we headed to Kensington and took in the Haunted Mansion which everyone agreed was the best haunted house we’d been to.

From Kensington a short drive took us to Summerside and supper at the Deckhouse Pub. That night we stayed at LinkLetter Provincial Park right on the water just a few minutes from Summerside.

Next morning we got up and took Confederation Bridge back over to New Brunswick where we headed for Hopewell Rocks and enjoyed walking on the Ocean Floor. Another short drive to Alma and Fundy national Park where we stayed our final night in the Maritimes.