Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Destination: Google Voice

We don't talk on the phone very much. The smallest monthly voice plans have WAY more minutes than we need. So a few years ago, I switched us to pay-as-you go. Even at $0.25/min, we saved money. Later they dropped to $0.10/min - an even better deal.

If you put $100 on the account, it won't expire for a year. (Small amounts expire much faster.) That's about $8/mo for minimal usage.

I also bought data on my account, so I could use a smartphone and get email, etc. You could buy up to 500MB for $25, but the smallest package was $5. They all expired after 30 days. So I bought a 500MB package once (much better price/bit than the other packages) and then signed up for automatic refresh on the $5 package, which keeps the existing balance from expiring. This was pretty cheap, too.

I use the data pretty lightly. Email & calendar mostly. Google Maps sometimes. 

I use Trello for my grocery list, which is awesome - my wife can add items to the list at any time, and I'll see them at the store.

Before we moved on to our land, I signed up for a MiFi as well. This is a 3G to WiFi gateway. It's 5GB/mo for $60. We didn't know how long it would take to get DSL, and thought this might be a suitable alternative. It turns out that one movie on Netflix is about 5GB, so we killed the data allowance really fast. I shoulda canceled the plan within the first 30 days, but because I didn't, I was locked in for 2 years. 

The MiFi has occasionally been really nice to have, like for road trips. We don't do those very often, though.

Recently they changed their rules so I can't buy data packages for pay-as-you-go. So it was time for something new.

I started carrying the MiFi with me everywhere. It provided data to my smartphone via WiFi. But carrying 2 devices was annoying.

Today I called the cell phone company and had them change my MiFi plan to be a regular voice + data plan. Now I am porting my old cell phone to Google Voice (GV). GV will forward calls to the previously-MiFi number. I have a GV app on my smartphone, so outgoing calls will come from the same number as before, although now through GV. International calls shouldn't cost anything extra now.

Eventually I'll bring the rest of my family along, using a family plan. I have calculated that it will cost about the same for the phones, but I'll be saving the $60/mo for the MiFi. And we won't feel pressure to keep phone calls short.


Prakash S. Yaji said...

Hi Jay,
I searched for your email id everywhere. Couldn't get it. So, thought of contacting you from here.
In this link, you told like below:
"Perhaps your shifter cable can't slide smoothly. Shift to the tallest gear (smallest cog). Pop the shifter housing out of the brazed-on stops. Slide the housing back and forth and look for stiffness. Put some lube in the housing and slide it back and forth to distribute it.

Perhaps your derailleur hanger is bent. A bike shop will have a tool to easily check its alignment.

If either of these is a factor, then you will never be able to adjust your shifting properly."

What is the solution in this case? I am also facing similar issue. It's a new bike, scott aspect 50 with acera rear shifter. It fell last week but I don't see any damage on the rear shifter. Don't know what happened. Please suggest.

Thanks a lot in advance,
Prakash Yaji

Jay Bazuzi said...

Prakash, I suggest you ask your question at Bicycles Stack Exchange.

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