Canadian Do Not Call List goes into effect today

do not call Starting today, Canadians can add their numbers to a national Do Not Call list. Nearly four years have passed since the Government of Canada announced that they would introduce what eventually became Bill C-37, legislation which empowers the CRTC to setup and manage the Dot Not Call List and to dish out penalties to violators. You can learn more about the history of the list at Wikipedia.

To sign up for the list, visit the DNCL website or call 1-866-580-DNCL (or 1-888-DNCL-TTY). I just added my number online, and it was a quick and painless process. Two things caught my attention:

  • Your number doesn’t remain on the list permanently. My registration will expire on October 31st, 2011.
  • There are quite a few exemptions, including registered charities, political parties, newspapers, and businesses you are already doing business with.

According to CBC, so many people tried to add their numbers to the list today that the website went down and the phone line was constantly busy. Global TV reported tonight that over 1 million Canadians have already tried to register. The CRTC originally projected that 16 million numbers would be on the list within the first two years.

Michael Geist has been one of the DNCL’s most vocal critics, and setup iOptOut to help Canadians create and manage a personal DNCL. I don’t know how effective the list will be, but I figure it can’t hurt to get my number on there.

Extremely Handy: Google SMS

google mobile I’m a little surprised that I’ve never blogged about Google SMS before, because it’s a wonderfully useful service that deserves more attention. It’s amazing how few people know about it! What is Google SMS? Basically, it’s Google via text messaging. The power of Google in your pocket!

Using Google SMS is really simple. All you have to do is send a text message to 466453 (GOOGLE). There are a bunch of built-in commands you can use, but the default is just a local search. For instance, when Sharon and I were in Calgary last weekend, we used Google SMS to give us the address of Tubby Dog. I sent the following message:

Tubby Dog, Calgary

And Google SMS replied immediately with:

Local Listings: Tubby Dog 1022 17 Avenue SW Calgary, T2T 0A5

I’m not exaggerating when I say immediately either – Google SMS is incredibly fast.

The built-in commands or “search features” include: weather, glossary, dictionary, stocks, directions, flights, translations, calculator, currency conversion, sports, and more. There’s a full list with examples and an interactive demo here. The ones I use most are local search (as above), movies (such as “get smart t6p”), and the calculator (such as “0.45 lb in kg”). The weather search (“weather edmonton”) is also handy.

I’m fairly dependent on Google for looking stuff up, so Google SMS is great because I don’t need to be at a computer. Do yourself a favor and program 466453 into your phone now!

Ten digit local dialing comes to Alberta

cell phone It’s another sign that Alberta is growing – we’re running out of phone numbers! To deal with the extra demand, we’re getting a new area code: 587. The area code isn’t specific to a geographic area like 403 (south) and 780 (north) are. Instead, it will co-exist with the other numbers, which means you’ll soon have to use 10 digits when making local calls:

After September 8-12, 2008, you won’t be able to make 7-digit local calls, but will have to dial the area code in front of the 7-digit phone number. You should plan ahead to ensure your telecommunications services are ready for the change.

To help prepare, the telecommunications providers have a phase-in plan as follows:

June 23 – 28, 2008: Permissive dialing period, you can make calls normally but will hear a recorded message reminding you to use ten digits.

June 29 – September 8, 2008: If you dial without entering an area code, you’ll hear the recording reminding you to use ten digits. Data transmission, like modems and fax machines, may not work unless you use ten digits.

After September 8, 2008: You’ll hear a message asking you to hang up and use ten digits.

All three digit numbers, such as 911, will remain the same.

For more information on the changes, check out dial10.ca.

iPhone

Post ImageI am not crazy about Apple’s iPhone. Obviously it doesn’t work in Canada yet anyway, but it will, eventually. I think gadgets generally fall into two categories the day they launch: there are gadgets you “must have” right away, and there are gadgets where it’s wise to take a “wait and see” approach.

The difficult thing is that you can’t predict which of the two categories a particular gadget will fall into. I figured the Xbox 360 was in the first category, so I lined up and bought one the day it was released. That turned out to be a good decision (minus the lack of HDMI output). When the Wii came out, I figured it was in the second category. Turns out I probably could have bought that one right away! I think the iPhone falls into the second category, but I guess we’ll find out over the next few weeks.

Today is the first day where the lineups to buy the iPhone will be insane, though some individuals got started a couple days ago. The rules are basically that you can only buy two per person, and it’s first come, first serve.

It’s already hard to ignore iPhone-related news, and it’s not going to get any easier, at least for the next few days. That said, I’d be disappointed to look back in five years and not find a post about the iPhone. Most of the things I have read so far are kind of the same, but I did like Paul Colligan’s list of reasons for not lining up, especially his last point:

Ratatouille Opens On Friday Too! Shorter line, better snacks, my kids can come and Steve Jobs still makes money off of me.

Well said 🙂

If you are especially stoked about the iPhone, don’t miss Engadget’s coverage.