Suggestion for Island Tel

Here’s a free suggestion for Island Tel: the computer I’m using to type this in the Charlottetown Airport in the Business Centre that you sponsor is an ancient, slow, IBM Aptiva. It makes your high speed Internet service — which is presumably what you’re trying to show off here —- seem very sluggish and unappealing. An investment of less that $2,000 could get you a brand new sexy computer that would make the Internet fly, and make people used to dial-up connections go “ooh, ahh” and much more likely to upgrade at home. Just a thought.

Pete and Dave go to New York

My friend and erstwhile colleague Dave are off this week on a pilgrimage to New York City.

For Dave, despite his living large, take no prisoners, bravado, this is is very first trip to the Big City (or at least to this Big City). And it’s only my fourth trip (and my first was when I was 8 years old, so I don’t remember much) to the City. So I’m certain a wacky and exciting time will be had by all. Stay tuned for developments as they happen.

I’m heading off this morning for a circuitous via-Boston and New Hampshire route to New York; Dave is joining me at Logan on Tuesday. We’re flying Delta for the first time, which should offer an interesting comparison to the recent dreckly service I’ve been getting from Air Canada.

With time to kill because of my cheaper Saturday-stay fare, I’m heading to the New Bedford Summerfest Folk Festival tonight and Sunday — who could resist a stellar lineup of folk greats with an admission fee of $7?

Watch this space for more.


Tonight I’m introducing a new concept of time/distance measurement, MT2DBU. This is short for “Mean Time To Drunken Break-up” and it describes precisely the time it takes to walk (stagger) from bars south of Grafton St. and west of Prince St. to exactly in front of our house.

South and west of us, you see, is a collection of bars and pubs: The Merchantman, Rum Runners, Peakes Quay, The Olde Dublin, Gahans, where couples go to drink and make merry, especially on these wonderful summer evenings.

While alcohol sometimes brings couples closer together and introduces uncommon amounts of amouressness into a situation, in other situations, and perhaps with greater amounts of alcohol applied, it has the reverse effect, symptoms of which are much screaming, yelling, crying, use of extremely foul language and so on, all culminating in the at least temporary break-up of the relationship.

In front of our house.

You see the nature of the MT2DBU is such that the time between leaving the bar and said alcohol-induced frazzle reaching maximum intensity places said couple right along our stretch of Prince St., while they’re making their way through the downtown to their home to the north and east.

We have witnessed (and more often just heard) all manner and style of these sort of break-ups, and two summers of research has taught us a lot about the human condition. If nothing else, our ribald vocabulary has almost doubled as a result.

So if you and yours happen to find yourselves overindulged and ornery in the downtown heart of Charlottetown, you may wish to take my advice, nip any troubles in the bud, and take separate cabs home. You’ll thank me in the morning, and I’ll thank you.

I spoke too soon...

Although I stand by my earlier comments about Island Tel Mobility, shortly after I posted them came a fly in the ointment.

I pay $4.50 a month for Mobility’s InforMe text messaging service. This lets me receive short text messages on my digital cell phone, and I use it with server and network monitoring tools as an alerting mechanism (“Pete, Pete, the network’s down, we need you…” cries the server).

Earlier in the week I was upgrading this monitoring system, and this involved some testing of the email to cell phone system. It was working well and then, suddenly, it wasn’t. Nothing had changed on my end, but the messages I was sending myself as a test weren’t getting through to my phone.

This went on for several hours before I gave up and went to bed, but not before I wrote an email to Island Tel’s customer service folks to inquire about the outage and, further, to seek their advice on whether I could excpect this sort of outage to occur in future.

Today I received the following response:

Thank you very much for your recent inquiry.

We were having isolated problems with our Text Messaging service starting last Friday. The problem occurred in the Bell network which our SMS system is linked to.

The system should now be restored.

This service, along with all of our wireless services, are not guaranteed, and can on occasion develop problems whether they be system problems, or simply coverage problems.

So sorry for this inconvenience.

While I certainly appreciate the note back, it appears that what they’re saying is, in essence, “the system’s sometimes broken, so don’t rely on it.” This, for all intents and purposes, takes what might be a useful service and makes it completely useless. Would you hire a babysitter who told you “occasionally I’ll develop system problems and will let your child wander into the street?”

Their website says: “Text Messaging gives digital cellular and alphanumeric paging customers the capability to receive and view text messages on the display screens of their phone and pagers.”

I think they should add “sometimes” to the sentence. Sigh.