Spotty Wifi

Today it seemed that our wifi suddenly went spotty. No reason at all. It just decided to crap out and reconnect. I love being connected to the world, so those three minutes were really tough. There were also tough because they happened a few times.

Since getting Google Nest wifi we have rarely had issues. We also upgraded our internet plan a couple of weeks back in order to get us faster speeds and connect more devices. So it was strange that our wifi was choosing not to connect.

Restarts all around! All devices and routers. Seems like our problem was just as simple as Turning it off and on again.

Yay! Time to stream more shows!

Google Nest Wifi

My wife had Google Nest Wifi delivered to our home today. I thought for sure it would take a long time to set up. I was wrong. It took under 15 minutes including unboxing.

As usual, I was excited to have new tech in the house. My kids are stoked as well to have Google Assistant at their fingertips from almost anywhere in the house. We can also play music through the speakers in the WiFi Points.

We don’t have a Spotify, Youtube Music or Google Music account. So there wasn’t any option to really “skip” or choose songs. But I was able to choose a genre or style. I started by requesting Queen. Then moved on to Ska. And wow, I really enjoy Ska, who knew?

I’d be more excited about the idea that instead of saying “Ok Google” I could say “COMPUTER” like I am living in the Star Trek universe. But at least there’s some music to enjoy, and I love tech, maybe one day we will be closer to the Star Trek life.

WiFi

I can’t live without technology. Over the past 15+ years, I also can’t live without access to the internet!

Ya I know I could “live” without it. But it has become an integral part of my daily life. In fact, once I got a smartphone- I have been unable to remain offline for extended periods. I’ve come to terms with this. I do however know when not to go online or use my smartphone; for example- driving.

Since the world is connected and Google is everywhere- I figured that our trip out of the country to Japan would require some sort of access to the World Wide Web. After speaking to some people at work who have been to Japan recently, I came to the conclusion that access to Google would be a necessity.

I’ve been using Google Maps on my computer and my iPhone for the past few months studying up on Tokyo. I’ve been trying to get my bearings of where we are staying in relation to the various sights. I’ve already printed directions and train times for each day. But I know that I will also need access to a live map periodically.

Having access to “Google Translate” also seems like a great idea. Since none of us speak Japanese- nor can we read it- having quick translations both written and in speech will be handy. Knowing my personal limitations when it comes to other languages and cultures is humbling to say the least.

It all comes down to the question, “How am I going to access the Internet abroad while on the go?” I had a couple of options:

The first was to fork over $12/day on my personal cellphone to “Roam Like Home“. The second option was to get a SIM card or a “Burner Phone” and pay as I go for the twelve days we are there. But the option I liked best was “Pocket WiFi“. This is $7/day and I can connect up to 10 devices. This will also allow my wife and children unlimited access to the internet as we travel around Tokyo.

This option seemed like a no-brainer. I pre-ordered the Pocket WiFi from Econnect and it will be delivered to our hotel the day we arrive. I had the option to pick up at the airport, but it was on the far side of the airport at the Domestic Terminal. I have decided that we will try and manage a 15 minute train ride from the airport to our hotel without use of technology. This may end up being the longest 15 minutes of my life as I stress about what stop we are getting off at and which way to walk afterwards.

The benefits of having WiFi in a foreign country won’t make me feel so nervous. It’s a common ground that most of the civilized world understands. Who knows, after this trip I may try and venture further out of my comfort zone.

wi-fi 

In this day and age, most of us live connected to the Internet on a regular basis.  It is an integral part of our daily activities.  From getting directions to a restaurant, posting pictures of our meals to Instagram, sharing the location on Facebook, then tweeting about how great the food is #greatservice #freewifi.  

As much as I have a data plan on my cellphone, I still prefer to use wifi whenever possible.  Especially traveling out of the country.  Roaming rates on a Canadian cellular plan is astronomical!  Not using my cellular while out of the country means I usually only take my iPhone out to take pictures.  That means I’m spending more time enjoying my travels than tweeting about enjoying my travels.  At the end of the day, I connect to my hotel’s wifi and see what’s new in my other life.

  
We use the same hotels on a regular basis, so often times we have connected without searching for the host or re-entering passwords.  I’m not sure what to think of this.  Good that we like the hotels, bad that we are there so often we connect immediately.

We returned home for less than a week from our road trip to California before heading out again to Seattle.  During this time, it was nice to have the comforts of home, but it was a mad rush to get ready for our next convention.  The other hardship was my home internet decided to flake out.  Not having time to troubleshoot, my frustration level was increasing.  We are home now for a few weeks, so I am trying to see where our issue is.  Is it the router?  Is it the modem?  Most likely it’s the 30 year old cable running through our home that is dropping the signal.

 

Unimpressed.


I would like to work on this soon because my wife’s business relies on her ability to have access to the Internet to reach out to her customers and keep her business current.  For the kids and I, it’s for entertainment such as Netflix in the evenings.  Time to put on my IT hat and figure out the problem.  Or just call my internet provider and get them to fix it.

 

Crossing Over

Being a Canadian we are blessed with pretty decent “free” health care, decent wages, beautiful scenery, and a reputation worldwide of being nice.  There are plenty of other benefits of being Canadian, but our southern counterparts have many luxuries that we don’t.  Don’t even get me started on Netflix differences…

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Peace Arch Border Crossing

We live a fifteen minute drive from our home to the nearest border crossing.  It may seem odd, but I notice a difference as soon as we leave our country and enter the USA.  The roads are wider, the trees are fewer, there’s more concrete, more billboards, better prices.  The Canadian dollar took a bit of a dive recently, so the exchange rate isn’t worth the travel to find great deals Stateside.  I’m frugal, so finding good deals is always the plan.  The United States has a lot going for it, just like Canada, and often it feels that there are so many similarities that why aren’t we just one big country?  Unfortunately, there’s too much to give up on either side to become one solid entity.  I can still complain about what I don’t have, I can still have an idea of what “The American Dream” is, I can still admire from afar the luxuries that Americans have.  Here is a short list of 15 Ways Americans Are Different Than Canadians that is a fairly accurate read.

The US is rich in history, both good and bad.  Often times I know more about American politics than Canadian politics, but that’s okay.  The way information is shared these days, I wouldn’t really call most news “news”.  It’s more a ratings grab or shock value created  by the media networks in order to get advertising revenue.  Watching American TV up in Canada, I have learned that cellular plans are far superior in the USA. More coverage, better data, and cheaper.  That’s not all- the cost of food, gas, and most merchandise can be less than half the cost we pay in Canada.  Insurance rates, buying homes or cars, even eating out at a McDonald’s is far cheaper.

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Obligatory beach shot. 

When we travel, I try and find any place with free WiFi.   From the hotels we stay at to the coffee shops we stop at.  WiFi is the lifeblood that keeps me sane.  Sure, I’m enjoying my roadtrips with the family, but a quick downtime for my brain is also needed.  These vacations make me appreciate what I do have back home.  It’s always fun to daydream about never going back, especially when laying on a sandy beach in the winter months, but there is the reality that hits.  It’s not likely to happen, so just enjoy the moment.
I love my country, but as they say, the grass is always greener…