Cord Cutting in Regina

There has been a lot of talk over the last little while about the new skinny cable packages that the CRTC made the cable companies implement. I was interested in what the plans would be because it would have been simple to go from the rather large SaskTel MaxTV subscription we had to a smaller one, but the reality is, as we have all found out, the new skinny packages are all, to be blunt, crap. The extra fees for a PVR and extra channels really make the new plans useless or in some cases more expensive.

While we didn’t pay hundreds of dollars a month for our MaxTV subscription, the reality is we don’t watch a lot of what we were paying for. The kids tend to watch a lot of Netflix and YouTube and a very small amount of cable or broadcast TV. In fact the shows we watch are all on CTV these days anyway. At one time the kids watched a lot of DisneyXD and Family Channel but it has been awhile since they even switched the TV over to MaxTV. After talking about it a little bit and looking at what we watch we realized we only really watch a few shows on TV and all of them are on CTV. That made the decision to cancel our MaxTV subscription easy.

The switch had been really easy actually and I don’t see is going back to MaxTV or to Access cable any time soon. I asked around a little bit and after some research ordered a Winegard FL-5000 FlatWave HDTV Indoor antenna and a Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx ATSC Digital TV Converter Box from After doing some testing with the antenna it quickly became obvious I was not going to have much luck getting CTV to come in over the air in the basement, where our main TV is. I then proceeded upstairs and hooked the antenna up to the small TV we had upstairs. After a few adjustments to the antenna position I easily had a crystal clear picture of both CTV and CBC. This was not totally unexpected, since I had read to get a decent signal for CTV in Regina would require getting the antenna up around 10 feet off the ground. Looking at where I finally settled on the antenna placement it is roughly 10 get off the ground.

Now I just had to find a way to get the signal from the antenna into the basement where the main TV was. Luckily the previous owners of our house had run cable into every room on the main level and after a little exploring and checking it appeared all those lines were still intact. I hooked the antenna up to the cable line and hooked the corresponding out up to the Homeworx PVR in the basement.

We now get both CTV and CBC in full HD on our main TV and with the addition of an external hard drive I was not using we can record or favorite shows in full HD. While the Homeworx PVR is not as user friendly as the previous MaxTV PVR we do get several advantages. First the shoes we record are in full HD and the subscription and PVR we had previously was only standard definition. Second, I can easily disconnect the external hard drive, sneaker net it into my office and copy the recorded shows onto my computer so we can stream them easily using our Chromecast to any TV in the house. Third, I am not paying an extra $9.99/month for a PVR.

I had hoped that we would also be able to pick up GlobalTV over the air, and occasionally we do get a beautiful signal for Global, but it seems to be hit and miss. I could spend more time adjusting the antenna to pick up GlobalTV since the signal is so close to being clear, but after looking at the shows available on GlobalTV I decided to not bother. Perhaps that will change of they get a show we really want to watch.

Overall, I have been very pleased with our cord cutting experience in Regina. The quality of the signal of CTV and CBC over the air is exceptional in our area and i really can’t see a reason to going back to cable. Perhaps if any of us were huge sports fans my feelings would be different since there are little too no live sports on over the air stations in Saskatchewan. The next project is to install a Plex Media server so we can easily stream or recorded shows to the TVs in the house.

Roam Mobility Review in Disneyland

I don’t travel down to the United States very often but when I do get down there it is always nice to be able to stay connected. Unfortunately the mobile companies here in Canada like to charge fairly exorbitant prices for their roaming into the US. The last trip we took as a family I ordered some T-Mobile Pre Paid SIM cards and used them for less than what the Canadian mobile company would have charged. This latest trip to Disneyland I was thinking of doing the same thing but then I heard of a company called Roam Mobility. It was a bit of a hassle getting T-Mobile SIM cards the last trip so I decided to give Roam Mobility a try this trip and I was very pleased.

First off the prices for Roam Mobility were decent. I wanted to be able to make calls back to Canada, in the US, text and wanted data to be able to share photos and updates with friends and family. Not a huge amount of data, but being self-employed there was always the possibility that I might need to do some work while away as well so not having to worry about eating through data caps too quickly is always a concern. We were going to be gone for 12 days. My current Canadian service company, Koodo, has roaming packages for 10 days for $40, but with a data cap of 250MB (seriously only 250MB) and overage fees on data at $5/50MB. The next roaming package is 30 days for $75 with 750MB of data.

Roam Mobility lets you purchase a plan for the number of days you are going to be gone. So in our case for 12 days I would get 4.8GB of 4G LTE data plus unlimited texting and calls back to Canada for only $47.40 plus the cost of the SIM card ($15). Now I had to get that for two phones but it worked out to be a better deal for the Roam Mobility SIM cards than it was to use the Koodo roaming packages. Not to mention the Koodo packages offered unlimited talk in the US but we had to make several calls back to Canada due to a family emergency and the Roam Mobility plans let us do that and not worry about the cost. Price wise I felt it was worth using Roam Mobility over the Koodo roaming packages. Roam Mobility made it easy to order and easy to see what you price was going to be.

A good price of course is one thing but if you don’t have coverage where you are going it doesn’t matter how good the price is. Checking the Roam Mobility coverage map it looked like we would have great coverage in Anaheim. We were going to Disneyland and California Adventure mostly with some day trips to San Diego and Hollywood. For the most part we had great coverage everywhere we were, except one. For some reason in Disneyland in the Tomorrowland section I had no coverage at all. My signal would drop by the time we got to Star Tours. My son thought it was pretty funny that I could not connect in Tomorrowland.

My wife’s phone, a Moto G, had no problem connecting everywhere we went, even in Tomorrowland, so I don’t know if it was something about my Nexus 5 that was having problems or what the problem was. My phone would say I had a connection but I could not send or receive texts, data or calls anywhere in the Tomorrowland area of Disneyland. Other than that one area I did not notice many other problems with coverage.

The map says I should have had good coverage but I had problems in Tomorrowland.
The map says I should have had good coverage but I had problems in Tomorrowland.

I ordered our SIM cards online, and got a deal when I ordered. Two SIM cards for $15 with free shipping. Apparently you can buy the SIM cards at a few places like Staples and even 7-Eleven but I never did find see them when I was at those places. I had enough time to order the SIM cards online plus you need to create an account to activate them and purchase you plan anyway so if you know you are going to the US (and Mexico now as well it looks like) you might was well just order the SIM cards online, setup your account so you can activate the cards when you get them.

It was easy to setup the account, order the cards and purchase the plans. You can even tell them when the plans should start and stop in advance so all you have to do when you get to the US is put the SIM card in and perhaps add a new APN and you are ready to go. Roam Mobility will even send you a text with some instructions when you insert the SIM card in the US to help you along. It was all pretty easy.

The only problem I could see some people having is not having an unlocked phone. I have always made sure to buy unlocked phones, but many people that just get their phones at a discount from the Canadian mobile companies are almost always locked. Just something to be aware of if you are planning on using Roam Mobility, to make sure your phone is unlocked.

I am not a mobile review expert but overall I was very pleased with Roam Mobility on our trip. I plan on keeping the SIM cards active for our next trip south and it sounds like that will be a fairly inexpensive option than having to order new SIM cards every time. I would recommend Roam Mobility if you are planning a trip to the US. It could end up saving you from some of those insane $1000’s of dollars cell phone horror stories you hear about on the news.

If you have used Roam Mobility what was your experience?

Is Flippa Over Hyped?

As I mentioned in my previous post I have been spending some time on Flippa. Partly for fun and partly to see if I can raise some extra cash from sites and domains I just don’t think I will ever have the time to develop. I suppose I should be posting this over on the LGR Internet Solutions blog, but this is more of a personal project than a business one.

I have been testing the waters over on Flippa since September 2012 when I put up for sale. Since then I have had a total of four auctions on Flippa. Two websites and two domains. One website and one domain sold, the other two did not. That does not mean that the auctions that sold made me any profit though.

For example my latest auction for I have had that domain for a number of years and I always thought it was a pretty decent name. Two words and descriptive of what could be on the site. I probably should have kept the reserve on the auction higher, but I was pretty sure it would go higher than it did. Here are the numbers for that auction.

Final Selling Price: $100.00
Total Listing Price: $94.00
Total Profit: $6.00

Of course that does not include the number of years I have had the domain and have paid to keep it registered. If I include that in the price I have lost money. What I have learned from selling domains on Flippa, well that is PRICELESS!

Perhaps I simply over estimated the quality of the domain name but considering some of the crap that does sell on there I thought what I put up was probably of equal or better.

Yes I did say crap, because let’s face it there is a lot of crap on Flippa and a lot of it sells for ridiculous amounts. Don’t believe me check out this, this and this. See absolute s***, yet they sold for stupid amounts of money! If you don’t know why those sites are crap that is a whole other post. Heck you could make a website talking about the crap that is actually selling on Flippa.

Is Flippa worth using to sell your domains and websites? I think there are some developed websites that would sell well on Flippa but considering the cost of listing and closing I have to honestly say the hype about Flippa is over rated. Certainly some people are making money selling on Flippa if the crap I linked to above can sell, but the only people guaranteed to make money on Flippa is Flippa.

I will probably still browse Flippa occasionally simply for amusement to see what has been sold but I can’t see myself putting anything else up on there for awhile. I will probably make a list and post it on LGR Internet Solutions, I bet I will have better luck.

What has been your experience on Flippa?

Snipshot on Flippa!

I have been spending some time on lately mainly doing some house cleaning on websites and domains that I know I am just not going to get around to developing. As I use the site more I do come across some domain and sites that I think are great and if I had the money and of course the time I would jump at the chance at owning.

This morning as I was checking on the auction for I did a little browsing and came across an auction for Snipshot. I have used Snipshot before and it is a very cool website. To be short Snipshot is an online photo editor that is very easy to use. It could be easily be turned into the next Instagram or 500px website with photo editing.

It easily falls into the category of websites that I wished I had enough money to buy and build. If you have $10,000 to start the bidding on Snipshot take a look you could maybe get a cool site that has lots of potential. If only I had the time and money for it. Maybe next time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 is a good one for you, your family and your business! Looking back on 2012 it has been an extremely busy one for me here at LGR Internet Solutions, although you might not notice that from the updates to the blog.

I have been busy with a number of client websites and it has been a good year for helping businesses and non-profits build, maintain and recreate their web presence. In fact as I look back I spent more time on clients websites this year than another year since I started in 2004! That is exciting and 2013 is already looking to be just as busy with several jobs booked to start in 2013.

There are also some other plans for 2013 coming from LGR Internet Solutions that I am excited about and will be announcing here as they are closer to being ready. I will let you know about one plan here for this website in 2013 will be to make it more accessible to clients with several enhancements including members only sections and content that is exclusive to clients to help them build and maintain their websites. This will be particularly useful for my clients using WordPress. This site will become a resource for you after you are done your WordPress training with me so you can remember all of the little details to maintaining your WordPress website.

On a personal note I do want to let you know I am feeling better after my accident in the fall. For those that were not aware I injured myself when I fell on some ice, and despite my best attempts it was difficult to work for many weeks because sitting was simply to painful. I am mostly recovered now and can once again sit and work, although I find I need to take more frequent stretch breaks to keep my back loose.

As a final note I wanted to share with you my favourite Nativity scene that decorates our house during the holidays. It is often hung before all of our other decorations and signals the start of our holiday celebrations.


Cutting the Cable

We have been subscribers to Shaw Direct (it was Star Choice) for years and the service was ok. Back when we lived in Rosthern there was not much choice you either got satellite tv or you have crappy cable tv from the local cable company. Since we moved to Regina a few years ago things have changed considerably. We tried for awhile, but the fact that they were slow to bring in streaming was (I still don’t think they have it) was killer. When Netflix opened up here I jumped on it the first day it was available and we have never looked back.

Once we joined Netflix out watching satellite tv started to drop of. The kids never turned the satellite on any more and the only person that watched it occasionally was myself to watch the Rider games. Considering how bad their season was in 2011 it was even hard to sit and watch them for a whole game. By the end of October it was obvious that we really did not need Shaw Direct any more, no one was watching it so we decided to cancel. We went from paying $50/month for satellite tv that no one was watching to using only Netflix for $7.99/month! The kids don’t care, and I can usually find something to watch that I enjoy. I recently went through the entire 10 seasons of Stargate SG1.

Netflix still might have the best selection here in Canada yet but it is getting better. We don’t feel like we are missing anything without having Shaw Direct. If you do feel a need to catch the latest episode of some newer show you from the US or UK (I like Doctor Who, are you surprised) you can easily use a VPN service to stream those. I guess it is either that or do a torrent search, not that I recommend either. 🙂

Lots of people talk about getting rid of their cable or satellite tv but it does not seem like a lot of people actually do it. They have one reason or another why they hold onto their cable packages and pay the cable companies outrageous sums of money each month to watch whatever is on at the moment. If you have not stopped paying for cable of satellite tv why not?

Personal Blogging

IrresistibleI hesitate to post this today with it being April Fools Day and so many jokes being played on the Internet today, but I will post it anyway. I wanted to announce that I have joined the realm of being a personal blogger. I have always resisted being a personal blogger, but it has been on my mind ever since
I posted that I purchased

For those that are wondering I decided to use one of the free WooThemes called Irresistible. It is a nice theme and offers several nice options including the ability to change the colour scheme with only a couple clicks. I liked it because it had the LifeStream option built into the theme.

Topics I will be talking about over at will include more personal ones and not much to do with web development and web or blog consulting. I am sure I will talk about some computer and Internet related topics occasionally (since I already have). I don’t plan of having a regular posting schedule and it could go days or weeks without being updated or it could be updated everyday depending on what I am doing at the time. You are welcome to join me and take part in the conversation over there as I talk more about what it is like to be a husband, dad and a geek.

Backup Advice

Like most people that work with computers and the Internet regularly I am often asked for advice on computers. I try to help people when I can, but there is only so much you can do without physically going over to the persons house and fixing the problem for them. Many of the problems people will ask me about are often malware related but occasionally I do get asked about what I would recommend to backup their computer.

I often go on and on about what people can do to backup their computer. I am always amazed at how trusting people are that their hard drives will not fail. I guess I have seen enough hard drive failures to know that sooner or later the drives will fail. I have a collection of dead hard drives that I keep wanting to make hard drive clocks out of or some other crafty item. Being a Dad and taking tons of photos of my family and kids I have tons of photos that I never want to lose. With that in mind I here is what I tell most people that ask about backing up their computers.

  1. Get another hard drive – People think one hard drive is enough. I don’t understand that. If you want to backup your data the fastest and easiest way is to get a second drive and copy the files you want to backup to it. Either install a second hard drive in your computer, use a hard drive in another computer, get an external hard drive. I don’t care which you choose, just get another drive and copy your files over. Two copies of your important files are better than just one.
  2. Use an online backup service – I am amazed at the number of people that have never heard of online backup. It is one of the best things about having a broadband Internet connection. People often say they don’t trust it and don’t like the idea of their files being out on the Internet. These are often the same people that will post ridiculous amounts of personal information to their Facebook profiles. Their personal information is safer using online backup than it is on Facebook, but I digress.

    Personally I have Mozy Home installed on the family computer that runs Windows to backup all of the family photos and other personal documents. When I was investigating online backup services I checked out several and almost went with IDrive, but in the end Mozy won because of a 10% promotional code that I found to save me some money on my subscription. If you are looking for a discount on Mozy I usually post the latest Mozy promotional code on my company blog.

I have been pleased with the backup system I use. Keeping a local copy of our photos and files on an extra hard drive makes it easy to restore when one of the drives die and Mozy has worked well to back everything up. If you don’t like Mozy try another online backup service. Don’t want to buy another hard drive to install then buy an external hard drive. If you don’t like my advice that is your choice but you really should backup your files before it is to late.

I regularly look through our photos and the small price I pay to back them up is worth every cent. I can’t replace the photos of my kids and knowing that there is another copy securely encrypted and stored makes me feel good. I won’t bore you with anymore talk of backing up here anymore, but I will not promise that I will not talk about the other advice I give to people to fix their computers.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday and I am happy to report that I got exactly what I asked for! A brand new Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000! My old keyboard was a Microsoft Natural Elite and it was a good keyboard I liked it a great deal, but in the last month or so it has been sticking, keys have not been working when I pressed them etc etc, so I thought it was about time for a new one. I had the old one for five or six years, so it had a good life.

When I was at Staples one day I browsed through the keyboards there and was surprised that they do not have a lot of ergonomic keyboards. I spend a great deal of time typing and find I can type longer and faster with an ergonomic keyboard than a regular keyboard. I hooked the keyboard up this morning to my Ubuntu desktop and have been pleased to discover that most of the special keys on the keyboard work without me needing to go in and edit any files in Linux! That made my day! Forward and back buttons work in Nautilus and Firefox, volume controls work, calulator button works, favorites button works, home button. The only buttons that don’t work are the user defined ones since I have not set them up yet and the zoom button.

The keyboard itself has a nice feel to it. The wrist rest is a little softer and feels comfortable. The keys are easy to type on, although the space bar was a little stiff when I first started this morning, but it has loosed up and is quicker to respond. If you are looking for a new keyboard take a look at the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. In the hour or so I have been using it I have been very pleased. I think it will serve me well for many years to come. If I can get as many years out of it as my old keyboard it will be well worth the money. I know my wrists will be pleased with it!

Visual HTML Jokes

I was surfing around a little last night and came across this visual HTML joke of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I think you have to be a true HTML geek to think it is funny.

That photo reminded me of a couple of photos of a truck that is embedded into the ground at a small restaurant called the Black Top Cafe just south of Blaine Lake. I thought I would add the HTML to the photos and share them here with you. I could not decide which I liked better, the <i> or the <embed>. Which one do you like better?

Here are some other visual HTML joke photos I found on Flickr that gave me a smile.


by Noah Sussman
by Noah Sussman


by eelke dekker
by eelke dekker


by Mark.Pilgrim
by Mark.Pilgrim


by Mark.Pilgrim
by Mark.Pilgrim


by Tomas Caspers
by Tomas Caspers


by Jesper Rønn-Jensen
by Jesper Rønn-Jensen

What are your favourite visual HTML joke photos?