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This is where random thoughts and rants will go.

If you break your iphone

posted Jan 25, 2009, 2:59 PM by Brian Tanner

I broke my 3G iphone a few days after buying it.  I dropped it and it smashed. My fault.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, you will likely not get much help from Rogers in this case.

If you go into an Apple Store (conveniently, we have one in Edmonton), they have a replacement policy where you can pay them and give them your broken phone, and they will give you a new one.  In my experience, the 8 GB phone costs $250 and the 16 GB is $350.  This is not cheap, but far better than having to buy out your contract with Rogers or worse, keep paying for the plan and use some other phone. 

At the time when I broke my phone, Rogers did not have a policy in place where you could get a new phone from them without buying out your old contract and starting fresh.  This way, at least you can get a new one.

Oh!  And check with your credit card that you used to pay for your iphone.  Some have special insurance.  I have a free, plain-old President's Choice Mastercard.  It has purchase protection for 90 days due to accidental damage, etc.  So, President's Choice reimbursed me for the $250. Phew!

I am posting this now because I ocassionally get e-mail on this topic and after following up with a few people, it appears that this is the best way to proceed.  It's also possible that you might be able to mail off your phone to a third party to get the screen fixed for roughly the same price (or a little less). This was not an option when my phone broke.

Baby Pool

posted Jul 20, 2008, 11:08 AM by Brian Tanner

I'm a person that likes games, and I've been known to gamble once in a while.  Further, I realize that this whole "having a baby" thing is quite serious, and I want to lighten it up a bit. 

So I welcome you to the 2008 Baby Tanner Baby Pool.


The idea is to gamble on which day the baby will be born.  Each bet is $5.  Each person can bet on multiple days, and each day can be bet on by multiple people.

No IOUs.  Bets must be paid for before they are registerd.

The payoff structure is very simple: If the baby is born on day X, all of the people who bet on day X split the entire pool.  We'll go by the date on the birth certificate, as I'm sure that's an official-enough source of information.  Also, whether its a regular birth or a C-section, natural timing or induced:  all bets are still on.  We are not doing a planned or scheduled C-section.

This is not a 50/50 or similar draw, we'll only take a share of the money if we bet fair and square and win.

If the baby comes on a day the nobody has picked, the money will go into an RESP for baby Tanner's post-secondary education.  I'm not to worried about this because someone will probably scoop up the unclaimed days.

The cutoff will be Tuesday, January 15th.

Registered Bets

Here are the dates already chosen:

 Jan 20
 28 Vanessa H
 29 1 Martha
 30 1 Jim
 31 Getting Induced 1 Anna
 Feb 1 1


 2 1 Dawn
 3 1 Dawn
 4 2MJ, Martha
 5 Alex
 7 2Jess E, MarkLee
 8 2Granny, Rich
 2 Nolan,Gord
 10 2 AndrewT, Alyssa
 11 3 Nolan, Shayna, Leah
 12 2Ruth, Robin
 13 2Mandy, Brian 
 14 3 Tim, Allie,Irka
 15 2Terry, Dianne,  
 16 1 JasonH,
 17 1 Lynne
 18 1 Shayna
 19 1 Joel
 22 1 Steve
 1 PaulG
 25 induced by now   
 Total39 $195 

So much frustration with the CCRA

posted Jul 20, 2008, 10:33 AM by Brian Tanner

Ugh.  Sometimes the Canadian government blows me away with its crap-shoot bureaucracy.

 This guys had the EXACT same experience as me, so I'll just link:

Becoming a Hojeelinor

posted Jul 20, 2008, 10:31 AM by Brian Tanner

I'm thinking about starting a software company in Alberta.
No disclosure yet on what we'd do, who would be involved, or what timeline I'm thinking of.  Suffice it to say that I like developing software, I have a good eye for quality (I think), and I have some cool ideas that might make a difference in the world.

 And, my ongoing commitment to a quality product will matter in the sector that I have in mind.  So I just have to keep thinking about this stuff in my spare time and see what happens.  I'll start talking to people soon.

But that's not the reason for this post.  I was talking to Nolan Bard, and he asked if I was going to become a zillionaire.  I said no, I wanted to make Hojillions of dollars, not zillions.  (Hojillion by the way was brought to our group by Colin Cherry, or at least to me through Dan through Colin).

Nolan asked how to spell the word that would be someone with Hojillions of dollars.  We then decided, that if you had that much money, you could probably spell it any way you want, and in fact, you could probably pay Websters to put a picture of you beside the word.

 So, the official spelling that I am adopting is: hojeelinor.  As in "when I launch my software company and sell soo many copies of our software, I will be come a hojeelinor".

Now, of course, I'm not really in it for the money.  I want to be comfortable, but most importantly I want to do something I can be proud of, something that excites me, and something that can make some sort of difference in the world (for the better).

 But hey, I just googled for hojeelinor, and there are 0 hits .  I'm going to try and make that word happen, cause it's funny.

Don't Order Pizza from Pizza Hut (at least in Canada)

posted Jul 20, 2008, 10:02 AM by Brian Tanner

Somebody should get fired.

So, Mom Harriott is visiting, and we thought we'd order Pizza. Usually we order online from Pizza 73 which is a painless (and actually enjoyable experience). Their interface is all "Web 2.0" with dynamic updating of pages without reloading, and its well done.

But Ariel doesn't like Pizza 73 as much as others, so we're going to explore. She's got a Panago flier, but I prefer Pizza Hut, so I'm checking their website.

I should mention, all of this frustration happened yesterday, and I eventually gave up. I'm reliving the experience today so that I can tell you about it.

I go to and score, they have online ordering (I don't like the phone). So I click the link, and am presented with a map of Canada: click Alberta. Easy so far.

Ok, now I'm at "Already registered" or "Not Registered?". First off, I don't want to register, I just want to order a pizza. This is the first bad sign. But whatever, I can dig it. I'll go the "Not Registered" route, type in my postal code, and see if the service is available in my area (PS: of course it will be).

Ok, it takes me to a page for entering all of my info.

I don't want to, but I do. I get to the end, hit submit, and I get "You must enter a valid zipcode". Oh, so they don't do careful validation, I typed my postal code like a0b1c2, I should try: a0b 1c2. No good. a0b-1c2. Nope. Ok, so it thinks I'm in America. How to change, no idea. How did I make them think that? No idea.

Maybe I made a mistake. So I start over. Same process, but when I get to the registration form, it's this one:

I know what you're thinking. That's the same link! Yup. But this time the page has a red background instead of white. And now that field actually says postal code! Great! This is gonna work!

So I fill it all in and go "confirm", and I'm on the next screen.

Choose a username. Why do they do this? I thought username was a solved problem : use my e-mail address as username. It's unique, and its mine, and I've already typed it in on the previous screen. Nope, can't use that, username can't have the @ symbol.

Try btanner.

Now the password. Oh cute, they have a little password validator, makes sure you choose a good password. This is very important for ordering pizza. Lets pretend my school password is thrcew## (It's not). This password should be good enough for pizza hut, its good enough for Unix and everything else I use. Nope! Pizza hut says this is TOO SIMPLE. Ok, instead of ## at the end, I'll use thrcew33. That's apparently a stronger password, and it is accepted. Also, for fun, I tried "password11". That is also a strong enough password.

Now I need to choose a security question. There is a short list of options, fine. Birthplace city. Winnipeg. But, for some reason, the security answer field is password field, so it's ********. Interesting choice, even my bank lets me choose my security question in plain text. Whatever.

Click Finish.

Account name in use. Please try again. And it erased my password field, but not my security question fields. Fine.

Try. brian_tanner. Can't have "_" in it. Brian.tanner is out too then I guess. Hmm. Oh, "suggest a username" button. It suggests TannerB. How clever. Fine.

Oh. That one is in use, all fields erased again.

Try: IHatePizzaHut.

Oh. That one is in use, all fields erased again.

This is getting frustrating, lets make the username and password be thrcew33.

Nope, username and password cannot be the same.


USERNAME: thrcew

Aha! I've cracked the Pizza Code! I'm in! Remember, by the way, I haven't even seen a menu or the prices/specials yet.

I'm not actually going to order anything now, because we ended up just calling Panago.

But, I hope you get the feeling of how horrible and frustrating this was. Let's sum up:
1) I chose Canada and got to the US registration page

2) Doesn't allow e-mail as username. Many username's already taken, including IHatePizzaHut.

3) Username suggestion is a waste of time, it suggested something that was taken

4) Password strength meter is more aggressive than anywhere else (in the wrong ways) and weaker (in the right ways). By the way, the Google password strength tester thinks that thrcew and thrcew## are strong passwords (too weak for pizza hut). Google thinks that password11 is only fair (strong enough for pizza hut).

5) Security answer is a password field (this is just weird, not a big deal)

At the end of the day, I just wanted to order a pizza. Now, I will never order a pizza from them again. My time is valuable, and someone at their company wasted a bunch of it.

I hopped over to the Pizza73 website to remind myself what thei process was all about.
1) Pick your food
2) Fill in details.

For Pickup, they need: Name, Phone, City.
For Delivery, they need address (and if you live in an apartment, the suite number). You must also choose a payment method, which means if you want to pay credit card you have to type it in. However : paying cash is an option.

Optional are e-mail address and comments.

Now, that is easy. I know who I'm ordering from next time.

So, if you care, be like me: don't support a company that puts such a low priority on useability.

PS: If you do want to order from Pizza hut, you can use this account and order as me, John Smith:

Username: thrcew
Password: thrcew33
Security Answer: Winnipeg (or winnipeg).

Post a comment here if you do. I'm going to send a link to this post to pizza hut, see if they care to comment.

I broke my iPhone

posted Jul 20, 2008, 9:07 AM by Brian Tanner   [ updated Feb 23, 2009, 8:09 AM ]

So I bought an iPhone.  And I love loved it.  I dropped it, twice.  The first time, it fell off the table, no problems.

Second time, it fell out of my pocket, and it hit the ground in a bad way. Smash.  It still works... sortof, but the glass panel is totally smashed (picture below).

Before I start explaining the story so far, let me say: this is my fault.  I dropped it.  I should have had a case.  I don't expect to walk away from this unscathed.  However: there needs to be a system.  Rogers or Apple needs (in my opinion) to have a program in place so that if you drop your item, you can either get it fixed or replaced.  People drop things.  Sure it happened to me, and it is bound to happen to some other people.

 Here's the story so far:

I tried to take it back to the Rogers store (in Winnipeg, where I was visiting when I bought it), and they told me it was physical damage so there was nothing they could do (not covered by them).  The girl was like "oh man that sucks", but that was it.  They don't even do repairs or refer you to a repair place.  You're on your own.

I called Rogers iPhone tech support.  They told me to find someone who fixes iPhones or to buy a new one outright from Rogers.  Well, nobody has parts yet for the 3Gs. I contacted a couple of the iPhone fixit places online and it seems like in a couple weeks I can probably get it fixed for $200.  So that's not *terrible*, at least is a solution (provided it can be fixed).

When I enquired with some people at Rogers about how much to buy a new iPhone they told me they couldn't sell me one outright.  

Then I called Apple's iPhone tech support.  The guy was like "you're in luck, take it to an Apple store and they'll give you a new one, it's a 'capture' promotion.  They are giving free exchanges for physical damage.  However, this won't be the policy forever, so probably you should buy a case".  I'm assuming "capture promotion" means that Apple knows that a policy of giving free exchanges like this will make customers for life.   So, I went in to the Apple store last night, and I couldn't get in to see a Genius because there were no appointments left.  I have an appointment for tonight at 6 pm.

So that's where things stand right now.  Maybe the Apple store will do something (fingers crossed), or maybe I need to wait a few weeks and pay for a new screen module (less good but still better than nothing).

If both of these fail, I'll probaby have to either talk to high-ups at Rogers and pay full retail for a new phone ($500+) or buy out of my contract ($600).  I don't think it'll go that far, and if it does you can expect to see me in the local newspaper first.



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