A Weekend of US-based Technology

Back from a couple days in Minot, ND and some random thoughts about my use/mis-use of technology while there…

– first thing I did upon hitting our hotel room was load up Pandora.  Or at least I tried to – both the iPhone and iPad apparently still recognized I had a Canadian iTunes account and wouldn’t even allow me to download the Pandora app.  Still could get at it on my laptop or the in-room TV’s Roomlinx Internet service (yes, between Shea and I, we had FIVE internet-enabled devices available to us!)

– after loading up Pandora, I remembered a recent article I’d read which rated MOG (another US-only music service – so frustrating these aren’t in Canada!) as the best of the various online music services that have sprung up in the last couple years.  So I quickly set-up an account on it and gave it a whirl.  (And yes, in response to my talking about US-only services like Pandora, Hulu, etc. on Facebook during my LAST trip to Minot, I have set-up a program on my computer that spoofs my IP and allows me to access US-based services with no problems.  But the service I found has loads of ads, seems a bit slower than accessing sites directly and is a bit of a pain to load/unload when I want to use it. Okay, two extra clicks but still, why can’t stuff just work???)

– saw a book in Barnes & Noble that caught my eye.  Went back to hotel to check Overdrive but unsurprisingly given the limited number of books that major publishers are making available to libraries for e-book lending, it wasn’t available.  Decided to buy it as an e-book anyhow via my iPad’s Kindle app since it was priced at $9.99, a few bucks less than the price for the hard copy.  But once I logged into my Amazon account after clicking the one-click buy button, it recognized I was a Canadian and changed the price to $12.65 due to “taxes and other fees” (or whatever wording they used.)  That was still less than the print price by a few bucks so I went ahead and bought it anyhow.

– as with our Hawaii trip, I find it frustrating that SaskTel doesn’t have a plan that allows you to use your phone in the States as you would in Canada (Rogers isn’t much better – they had a plan but it gouged you – I think it was something like $50 for a weekend’s worth of access.)

– still, had wifi access throughout most parts of the mall where we spent the majority of our time, in our hotel room as mentioned and at most of the restaurants we visited off-site.

– I joked earlier about having five Internet-enabled devices for two (okay, two and a half with Pace) people but at one point, we had almost all of them going.  I’d put Pandora on the in-room TV quietly playing background music.  Pace was watching NetFlix on the iPad, Shea was reading an e-book on her iPhone and I was watching a movie on my laptop.  Only my iPhone was sitting unused and if I’d used it to Skype with an aunt in BC instead of stopping the movie on my laptop to do so, we’d have had all five going!

– speaking of NetFlix, that was another service that recognized us as Canadians traveling in the US when we logged in.  But instead of trying to charge us more/restricting us anyhow, they popped up a message saying that since we were existing customers but now in the US, we could access the much more extensive line-up they had for American-based customers.  I didn’t take time to explore but if true, that’s a pretty cool perk.

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