Lessons Learned …

Augh! I thought I’d thought of everything, but maybe not. Here are some answers on how to accomplish certain tasks while away from a home base…

Fax me, Baby!

Yes, there still exists companies and individuals who insist upon a fax transmission. Simple answer, after trying about a million other ideas, I finally decided on Faxzero.com. You can send a short fax for free, with an ad for them on the cover page, or as I do, charge the fee to PayPal. You must have a document, or photo of one, on the computer you navigate to the web site with. Upload the doc, and it is sent to any phone number in Canada or the USA. Minor fees apply to other countries.

If you need to receive a fax, you can join on of several web to fax sites, who will assign you a phone number. Whatever is faxed TO that number is email to you. Several of these facilities have Apps on iTunes or Google Play store. Faxzero is all web based, and will suffice for most needs.


Need to pay someone for a product or service bought on line, or perhaps get paid by someone remote from you? I have been using PayPal for many years, and have no complaints with them. Your account information is not revealed to the seller. They are paid by PayPal, whom you in turn pay, keeping your monetary info secure.


Insofar as Internet goes, we found the following to be a reasonable solution. In Canada, I have a Rogers SIM that I put in my iPad, then enable connection sharing. Our phones “wifi” to the iPad and share the single Internet connection. The cost is only $5 a month, if you’re not using it, otherwise, it slides with whatever category of data usage you have entered into.

In the States, we got a Verizon data hub, which acts like a router to your devices, distributing Internet to them. Data is purchased as you need it, in blocks of varying sizes, which are valid for x number of days, or until data limit is used.

UPDATE: So Verizon officially SUX! They have an actual policy that says pay as you go customers get last priority on the cell. The modem we got was crap, and we were not offered the faster alternative. Most of the time it was slow to not working. If we find a better way next year we will update. Telus is now offering a Canada/USA plan, but you have to stay on it for two years, rather than switch to it when away.

In both cases, we use data to make Skype Voice calls to whomever we need to speak to. These calls are four cents a minute or so. You buy a few bucks worth of credits at a time from Skype. Naturally, if you have tech savvy friends, you can make Skype to Skype calls for free (using only data). Tip: turn off the stupid video feeds to save data. We tried another app, Ringer, which gave us an inbound number,as well as the ability to text SMS users … read on.

Blue Text, Green Text?

This may not immediately make sense to non-Apple users. There are two flavours of texting: SMS and MMS. Simple Messaging System was the original texting, and you are limited to short passages of (you guessed it) text. This system uses a layer of the telephony signal on the cellular system. Multi-Media-Messaging is newer, cooler, can be text, video, a sound clip, a picture, a movie clip. This type of messaging ONLY works using the Internet - so you have to be using cellular data to send or receive these texts.

Apple attempted to simplify this by using the same texting App to display and send both flavours. They are differentiated in the Chat App by colour. Blue is MMS, green SMS.

So why all this preamble? Because certain people who shall go unnamed have only got SMS capability. While you have a full cellular connection (ie your phone will ring) you can send them, and receive their texts. But once you go to a data only connection, you cannot. 

The solution: Pinger. This App lets you choose a free telephone number used to text to and from. Then their web site takes your outgoing text from your data connection, and sends it out using “your” phone number. Texts received by that number are relayed to you via Internet. Heck, there’s even a web based facility allowing you to send and receive texts, even though you’re too fucking cheap to own a cell phone, Janice!

Tip: most cell providers allow you to send their customers a text from the company web site - two things: you must know who their provider is; you can only send, not receive in this way. So suggest a method of reply in your text!

WTF is with ONTARIO?

Dumbest, most backward province we have ever visited. You cannot buy insurance on a car here unless you have a provincial driver’s license. No allowance whatsoever is made for part time residents. The ministry themselves tell you to bring a car from wherever you are from.

Also, when I looked into capitulating, I was told I would get a beginner’s license, and lose my motorcycle and air certifications. I’m guessing this was just a bitch, because I had read on line that you could bring your abstract and insurance history and transfer them. The woman I spoke to was on auto-program. Never said one word to me until I made her.

And, this is not a complaint so much as information - shite is CLOSED on the weekends! I’m all for people getting a family day together, but it sure takes some getting used to after BC open all day everyday, and twice as long on holidays!