Thursday, July 31, 2008

So, it's been a busy July

The photograph is, from left to right, Jo-Anne, Stephanie, Jon and me. Yes if read Stephanie's blog, there was a wedding in the family. I had the privilege and honour to walk Stephanie down the aisle as the father of the Bride. Yes I was nervous and at the same I was happy for this day. I thought it was a wonderful ceremony and a delightful reception. All went together great and I had a good time.

Okay, I should be posting more photographs, so hold on:

Stephanie and Jon with Stephanie's Grandparents

Stephanie, Daniel, Jeremy and Katrina

Katrina with the lucky catch, fortunately for her, Rachel took herself out of the

There are a lot more photographs but I've decided to keep myself to these few with the blog.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wyndfield at the Ball Park
Originally uploaded by paulg57
Yesterday a group of us from Wyndfield Community Church went to the Rogers Centre to watch the Jays take on the hated New York Yankees.

The idea was set up by Sarah Brinson, the one on the right who got us the tickets and did the planning. So we piled into a couple of cars and went off to Toronto.

Now from past blogs you know I'm a Tiger Fan, so this brings the question, what was I doing at a Jays games. Especially after all the nasty things I've written about Rogers and their iPhone rate plans.

The answer is simple:

1) it was a baseball game and
2) it was an opportunity to boo and rain catcalls down upon the Evil Empire.

The boos and catcalls were loud as well. As well, every so often a spontaneous chant of "Yankees Suck" rained down onto the boys in pinstripes.

A person that was part of the group asked why players such as Derek Jeter was booed. I informed her it was because; he's the captain, he's a great player and he's a Yankee. She understood and then I explained to her that the loudest boos are directed at the best players, and as I recently heard 'boos on the road are the same as cheers at home".

I then told her that A-Rod was going to get booed because:

1) he left his wife for Madonna
2) the little stunt he performed last year at a Blue Jay game.

Speaking of A-Rod, when he came up to bat not only were people booing but they were also shouting comments like "Material Boy". Never underestimate the creativity of the fans of the home team against the visiting team, in particular when that team is the New York Yankees.

As for the game: Roy Halladay pitched a two hit complete game gem and the home crowd watched the Jays beat up the Yankees 5-0. What also impressed me was very few people left the game. My experience with Toronto Sports Fans is they tend to leave early, no matter what the score.

The end result of all this, we got to go to another game.

Before I close, two very interesting baseball teams, or at least names:

The Witicha Wingnuts
The Lansing Lugnuts

You got to love it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It Just Gets Better

So, Rogers has changed the data plan and claiming through their paid hacks how wonderful they were to respond to their customers.

Now the Media, which is probably owned by CanWest Global is pointing out how wrong Bloggers such as Smithereens is about their reports on the problems between Rogers and Apple.

This is best read in the Ottawa Citizen, In fact in their cover page they have a photograph of the ten people in front of their local Rogers store:

The media hacks want us to believe it's all a lie. In fact here is what the Citizen reports:

Online sites such as have been reporting on the relationship between Apple and Rogers, stating that Rogers' cellular data pricing is too high and that Apple is not happy about them. The blog has since retracted most of its story, now referring to it as a "plausible rumour."

The gossip has fuelled other Internet sites such as, which has collected signatures from more than 58,000 angry Canadians and called for federal government intervention and greatly reduced iPhone pricing from Rogers.

"We are definitely responding," said Boynton. "We have spent the last two weeks going through customer service transcripts ... people are very excited, they really want this product."

"They want to do things with this device that they haven't done on other devices before."

The iPhone, which goes on sale at Rogers' stores tomorrow, squeezes a digital camera, iPod, cellular phone and laptop computer into a pocket-sized device -- a selection of features that creates a quagmire of questions about how to charge for services.

I personally love the line in which they say from reading the transcripts from Customer Services how excited people are about the iPhone. Let's say this, people are excited, they want to experience what people in different parts of the world want to do which is enjoy the iPhone. However the same people were also very angry at Rogers who they blame for messing what could have been a wonderful experience for those same people. Again, its like those in Rogers have never gotten the new media where information is transmitted the speed of light.

In fact, I should quote some more from the Citizen:

"This is a case where the people who scream the loudest get the most attention," Levy said. "If you are a blogger, unlike a real journalist, you are not subjected to the same checks and balances of real media and you can pretty much say anything. Whether or not it is backed up by fact is almost irrelevant."

Notice the blame for it all is about the bloggers, they are the one who bring about the anger and confusion. They are the ones spreading half baked accounts based upon mere hearsay and they don't even bother to check their facts.

Plus the situation goes back from this, Rogers brought about a convoluted rate plan that can best be described as screwing the consumer. Their defense of not giving the consumer stuff they didn't need again points out to the fact they think people are stupid.

Again, I conclude with this, Rogers messed it up. To them belongs the blame. Whether or not Apple diverted iPhones is totally irrelevent, besides we will know the answer.

I still say, don't buy the iPhone tomorrow. Don't buy the first weekend. Make Rogers sweat and see whether or not they will lower their prices even lower.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Did Rogers' Blink?

Seems what the sales clerk said to me last week was true, Rogers did have some alternative pricing plan ready just in case. It is true, the price for the data plan is going down and what you can do goes up.

The article in Yahoo, Rogers lowers cost of data plan points out a few things about the plan, and also gives some suggestion that all this was a ploy to inspire some 'spin' on the whole iPhone to Canada thing.

One expert states:
While it's seen as a victory for consumers, some analysts called the price change a marketing tactic intended to create buzz about the iPhone, which is coming to Canada a year after it has been available in the United States and six months after being introduced in Europe.

"This is all about buzz development," said McMaster University's Nick Bontis. "What does buzz do? It creates lineups outside the door, which is exactly what Rogers wanted."

Analyst Carmi Levy said Rogers didn't do a "knee jerk reaction" in response to consumer outrage.

"Carriers of this magnitude do not change course on a dime and you don't simply introduce a half-baked plan into the market without weeks and-or months of study," said Levy, of Toronto AR Communications Inc.

Let's just think about it. It wasn't just the last week that there was all this negative reaction, it was building up because the date was getting close, but people were angry the moment they heard about the plan. This is the age of the Internet, people know what's happening in other nations, Canadians know AT&T was offering an unlimited data plan. They also could compare the two plans and do the math and what the conclusion of the mathematics? We were getting hosed and hosed badly. With this knowledge and the fact that information was being sent out as fast as people could blog, it means people could hear, learn and get angry. Also, let's remember, we live at a time when critical mass can be achieved with greater ease.

This leads to the question, did Rogers do all this at the last moment, probably not it was in their back pocket, but I think they totally misjudged the anger of the consumer towards their plans. As well, if the rumours of Apple's anger are true, then Rogers totally messed it up. If this is an effort to put spin then it is bizarre. I know people think it doesn't matter what they say as long as their name is in the papers, well, that's the old thinking. The new thinking has to be, think of the consumer because they will quickly decide whether or not they want to deal with you any more.

As well, there was no need for spin as far as the iPhone is concerned, those who knew of it, wanted it. There was no need to inspire them, or get the noise going, they were the noise. It's as if Rogers had no clue about the online community of iPhone fanatics.

If this proves anything, it proves that data and voice plans are based up absolutely nothing. If Rogers can give a plan that is half the price and 15 times the data, it means the only way to determine the price of any rate plan is the bottom line of the company, it doesn't cost them that much to provide. As for Apple not being happy, one person suggested that with the growth of iTunes as a future source for television and movies, they wanted nothing to force people to not take advantage of the itunes store.

If Ican quote more from the article:
The Rogers spokeswoman said an online petition protesting the costs of its plans to run the iPhone didn't have any impact.

"In the last few days, we have been looking at our customer feedback and had real thoughtful insight from them," Hamilton said.

The same promotional data plan will apply to other smartphones that run on a 3G network, such as the BlackBerry Bold, Hamilton said.

"We've expanded this promotion for all 3G smartphones. It's not just the iPhone."

In other words, you want to believe the protest had an impact, Rogers knows competition is coming and they had better not make for those future carriers a mass of future customers. The insight is this, customers are fed up and they are not taking it any longer.

This is not Rogers' finest moment. I still say, 'don't buy the iPhone on July 11th'. Wait a couple of days, or even weeks, make them do a bit of sweating perhaps there's another plan in their back pocket.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rogers may get Phoned

I was watching TWITLive, which features streaming audio from various TWIT programs. This being Sunday it was time for TWIT and there was messages asking Leo to talk about the Apple Roger fallout. There are now rumours all over the blogsphere regarding Apple's feelings about Rogers.

If you remember, the Globe and Mail featured an article which asked the question, why doesn't Apple love Canada. I think we now know the answer, because they have to work with nobs like Rogers. Ted Rogers has a history of jobbing the subscribers of his cable company and his wireless and now he thought he could do the same with the iPhone. The rest of the world offer unlimited data? Not in Canada. The rest of the world has short contracts? Rogers makes you take three years. Although to be fair, that's standard fare. The rest of the world offer the iPhone for $199.00, well actually Rogers has no control over that.

Now, word is circulating that Apple is not happy. And if Steve is not happy, well, heaven help the person or company that has made him unhappy.

So what are the rumours? For this I went to the excellent blog Smithereens that intends to let Rogers know how dissatisfied it is with its partnership. This site has a link to the online petition It is here Canadians can sign and complain to Rogers about the pricing plan. Smithereens reports over 36,000 Canadians have signed which is apparently more people then there are iPhone available for Canada. You can read the blog here.

Here is the good stuff:

Here are the tidbits I have managed to glean from my source within Rogers (And I'll let you draw your own conclusions):

First, an employee of Apple Canada sends a text message to my source that says something to the effect of: "You guys are screwed for iPhone," but will not respond to multiple replies asking for clarification.
Next, an employee at competing handset manufacturer RIM (Blackberry's parent) sends my source a text soon after saying there are rumours of an Apple-Rogers fallout.
Then, my source receives a call notifying him that all the part-time staff who had been hired for next week's launch have been fired without notice. (UPDATE 07/06: Apparently, only certain dealerships took on additional staff for the launch, although most urban locations did. Also, some dealerships may not have let all their iPhone help go, but others definitely have. It's important to clarify that any decisions to let staff go were made at the individual dealer level, and not by Rogers least not directly.)
And finally, a senior Rogers rep confirms that Apple has decided to divert a large percentage of their planned Canadian shipment to Europe and that each Rogers store may now be getting as few as 10-20 units, ostensibly due to Apple's displeasure over Rogers' high data and voice rates. (UPDATE 07/06: Although no per-store numbers can be confirmed, the verbiage used by head office is apparently that numbers will be "significantly reduced" and that stores should "exercise caution" not to over-promise. Europe has also been reconfirmed as the destination for the allegedly diverted units.)

Couple this with what I found out at the Rogers' store means, we can expect lower rates come the 12th of July. Or do we? This is going to be the question of the week. Let's remember Rogers has been nailing the consumer for so long that they probably feel it's their God-given right. As well, they may know something of the Canadian psyche, which is to complain and belly-ache but ultimately do nothing. I suspect that's what they are hoping. However if the Apple side of the rumour is true then this adds something to the equation. For once Rogers is beholden to another and there are some points.

I already mentioned the Blackberry Bold, it's coming and can be thought of as a iPhone killer. Second is other services with 3G capability are coming soon as well, soon Rogers will not be the only game in town.

Now just to give a fair and balanced report, eCanadaNow is reporting that Rogers is unfazed about all the flack. Again, this is the typical thinking process of a major Canadian corporation. However what is untypical is Rogers is dealing with Steve Jobs who indirectly controls hundreds of thousands of worshippers called Appleslappies. If he declares his displeasure then Rogers is done for. We all know Hell hath no fury like a MacSlappy scorned.

What should be done? Don't buy the iPhone on the 11th, or 12th, or that week for that matter. Let Rogers know we Canadians are serious. Contact other companies about the Blackberry. Call Rogers customer service and tell them why you are not buying the iPhone.

Speaking of other carriers, I was listening to net@nite with Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur. Amber reported she was able to get a better deal from Bell by simply saying to them she was considering getting an iPhone and ditching her Blackberry. Just put that in the back of your mind.

Me? I'm sticking with my Virgin Mobile.