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Old 04-21-2014, 11:33 PM   #21
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OMG, HANG UP! All this technology is not only distracting, but it's EXPENSIVE. Whether money or time or effort. It's gastly.

I'm tired of it all. I PAY for the convenience to talk to YOU. NOT for YOU to talk (or text) ME.

I go camping with lots of people and several times a year. BUT, it gets tiring seeing folks walking around with a smartypants phone in one hand and not looking up or giving me eye contact.

"In the Year 2525.. if man is still alive..."
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:47 AM   #22
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There are still lots of problems with roaming into Canada from the north Olympic Peninsula. I have learned to look at the roaming indicator on the phone when I'm in Port Angeles, right by the water, or in the hills. I keep roaming turned off on my personal phone but can't on my work phone. Remember that voice and data have to be turned off separately on a smartphone.

The big towers for Verizon are on Striped Peak west of Port Angeles and on Mt. Pleasant to the southeast of Port Angeles. There are a lot of antennas on both of them so I suspect AT&T has theirs in the same places. If you can see across to Canada and you can't see one of those mountain tops you may be roaming. Check your phone before making a call to be sure. If you are roaming, the solution is to move to where you can see one of these mountains and can't see Canada before making a call. Sometimes I can move as little as a few hundred feet to get local service.

On the other hand, there are few cell towers along the highway along the coast or near the campgrounds near the water on the north coast. The Canadian towers seem to go further west. If you need to call in an emergency and don't have US service turn on roaming. You may be able to get a Canadian tower. If that doesn't work find a hill tall enough to see Canada from and try again. Just let the dispatcher know where you are, they deal with this frequently.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
AT&T in the US has a voice plan and a data plan that you can add on a monthly basis. No prorate and it is good for 30 days. Costs are $30 each and the data plan offers 120MB for the 30 days, but with proper management and using WiFi when available it is doable. The calling side only offers 80 minutes of talk time.

The data side is handled by Rogers in Canada and appears to have very good coverage with LTE in many areas.

We plan to add both these to our phones for our visit in late May. Probably data on one phone and voice on the other. There is a bit of a payoff when we visit the Olympic peninsula, many complaints from US phone users getting dinged for Canadian minutes and data usage in that area as Victoria is a closer connection than any towers on the US side.
We live on the Olympic Peninsula and started getting billed for roaming charges. I called AT&T and they took it off my bill. Also disarmed roaming, but can start it up with a phone call should we need it in Canada.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:53 AM   #24
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Donna, I agree with you and I just crafted a long winded response and did something to lose it. Bottom line, since the powers that be have eliminated the pay phone option, there has to be a way to check in at home when we're off for a long time. -- Last summer the housesitter read us our mail over the phone and we found out there was an issue with the IRS (their mistake) -- Texting and email will have to suffice while we're in Canada which will make us slightly less reachable, which will be fine.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:10 AM   #25
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I know Ruthe, I was kinda pulling everyone's leg. I do understand the need to stay connected. I just feel sorry for the folks who are in an area with beautiful scenery and miss it all because they're too busy looking down at their phone. I see that behavior all too often.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:26 AM   #26
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Most of the places we camp have no cell service. While I love being connected most of the time, and require it for work, I still love to get away from it all when I can, and have no problem with it. If there is a dire reason, I usually just have to drive a few miles, but for the most part my vehicle does not move.

But, you can liken cell phones to many other modern conveniences. For me, total relaxation takes me away from the internet, phones, roads, homes and hordes of people. When I go tripping in the backcountry, I can finally totally relax, as I don't even have the option of being bothered, other than by the sounds of the wild.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:31 AM   #27
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Are you aware of the telephone option with Skype? We often use it from other countries to phone home to my wife's mother who doesn't have a computer.

It works really well and costs just pennies. We often sit outside a wi-fi equipped fast food place and make calls.

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Old 04-22-2014, 12:53 PM   #28
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Good reminder about Skype -- that would probably be a good way to check the mail. We are so backward -- we tried Skype once, it didn't work and then we gave up on it.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:30 PM   #29
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I installed the Skype app on my 5 year old Ipod (looks like an Iphone but without the cel phone). I just find a wifi hotspot wherever I am such as Tim Horton's etc and then make my calls with the Apple earbuds and mic plugged in. All my calls to US or Canada are $.04 cents per minute. The calls are free if you are calling someone who has Skype. Works great to call my home phone and check voice mail or call neighbors and the call quality has been excellent as long as the wifi signal is not too weak. You can install the Skype app on your Iphone or laptop too.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:51 PM   #30
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Skype is a nice product, if you want to make phone calls. It does require a Wi-Fi connection and if using voice only will work with a relatively slow connection. Skype however, is not a way to keep in touch, you cannot receive calls at will, you need to have that Wi-Fi connection. You can, however, receive messages and then respond with a call when at a Wi-Fi hot spot.

I have never used Skype to check mail, I do not believe it has that capability. It does have an answering machine function.

Skype works best when you have a reliable WiFi connection, such as you might find in a motel, coffee shop or store. I have my doubts it will work in many campgrounds. They are not known for robust data connections.

It has its uses, but as someone heavily reliant on my smart phone for maps, travel notes, gas station prices, eating establishments, local information and attractions, beside email and other data required applications, I need a data connection. WiFi is nice and I will use it whenever possible but it cannot be depended upon. Not that data can be depended upon either. I have opted to add a monthly data plan when travelling out of the country.

I think what I miss the most by not having data is the GPS capability of my iPhone. Actually the GPS works without a data plan, it is the maps that require data.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:06 PM   #31
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Too bad Garmin's smartphone didn't make it...their GPS function didn't require a cellular connection; used satellites. Went kaput in 2010. Maybe Asus will try it again in the future.

BTW, AT&T doesn't charge to receive text messages in foreign countries, however does charge to send them. There are nominal priced packages for this though.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:53 PM   #32
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When I said check mail I actually meant we'd call our son and have him read us our mail. And as long as someone texted us then we'd know to call them.
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:22 PM   #33
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You get mail?
Not just flyers and bills ( and fewer of those with online statements ).
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Old 04-22-2014, 04:00 PM   #34
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Telephones

People everywhere gotta connect
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:46 PM   #35
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Does that mean pay phones actually still exist in Canada?
Yes, but they are becoming less common, as I'm sure they are in the U.S., since most people carry mobile phones. If you want to call long distance from a payphone, a pre-paid card is the way to go.

Quote:
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Too bad Garmin's smartphone didn't make it...their GPS function didn't require a cellular connection; used satellites.
All GPS uses satellites... but most phones with GPS also use an internet connection (which means wireless data charges) to get assistance with a function that any cheap standalone GPS can do by itself. This is why you should not depend on most phones as a GPS in remote areas... just where you need it, it may not work no matter how much you are willing to pay.

A real Garmin (or Magellan) GPS is under $100. I have one in each car. Sometimes another box of electronics is the practical way to get functionality.
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