Posts Tagged ‘fido’

Burned by Fido Voicemail Automatic Delete

Monday, May 28th, 2012

I recently went overseas for a couple weeks vacation. To avoid the $2/min (?!) roaming fees, and to stay in psychological vacation mode,  I avoided replying to  voice-mails (and almost all emails). Besides, with the time difference, it would have been very difficult to return calls during North American business hours.

I did periodically check for messages if I found a WiFi on which the 3CXPhone VOIP app on my iPhone was able to successfully make outgoing SIP calls (a lot of public WiFi connections are limited to basic web browsing or throttle a user to too low a speed).

Now, finally getting to today’s topic. I’ve been burned by automatic voice message deletes by Fido. There was at least one voice mail to which I intended to respond when I returned to Vancouver. However, that message has been lost.

Here are the storage rules for the current Fido webpage for “Enhanced” voicemail:

New messages: 10 days from the day you received the message. (After this period, it will be automatically deleted).
Saved messages: 10 days from the day you first saved the message. (After this period, it can’t be saved again).

So… if you leave town for a working week (5 days) plus the two surrounding weekends (2+2 days), you can barely avoid losing a voicemail to the auto-delete if you check as soon as you get home. Isn’t this rather inadequate on Fido’s part? How much storage space do a few voicemails really consume in a world where storage prices have dropped 40% year over year for, well, years?

I hate to say bad things about Fido since I’m on a very good contract with them for my voice and data, and I’m generally satisfied.

There was a time when I considered 3rd party voicemail to save a few dollars per month, but before I could pull the trigger on that, Fido removed free call forwarding from their contract accounts!

The moral of this post? If you use Fido cellphone service, check your voicemail when you travel,  and write down the relevant call-return information!

P.S. If you left me a voicemail while I was out of town, and I haven’t responded, the above is the reason why. Fido simply deleted your voicemail to me.

Minimizing Data and Voice Costs when Travelling to Europe

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

I’ve recently returned to Vancouver after a trip to Europe – a couple days in Barcelona and a Western Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Magic.

I try to avoid using Fido’s atrociously priced international roaming for voice and data.

Here’s a rough overview of the system that I’ve pieced together:

  • I carried my iPhone with me and left it on. Technically, I was roaming, but I had no intention of receiving or making phone calls except in emergencies.
  • Data roaming on the cellphone was also off.  I considered buying the roaming data package, but $50 for 10MB of data seemed a bit steep. In hindsight, it’s not a horrific rate if I could somehow make sure only email was being downloaded.
  • Before leaving, I unconditionally forwarded all voice calls to voice mail.  With some cell providers, if you are roaming and you choose not to answer a phone call, the call will route back to your cellphone provider and you are charged roaming rates while someone leaves you a voice mail. I don’t think this currently applies to Fido; however, I wasn’t about to take the chance. Besides, I didn’t want my phone ringing during the middle of the night (I was, after all, in European time zones).
  • I instructed people to text message me if there was anything critical.
  • I have rules in my mailbox to forward emails that are critical (like our web servers being offline) to Fido’s email to SMS address, e.g. 604nnnnnnn@fido.ca.  These are actually active rules at all times, not just when I’m travelling.
  • Of course, the normal voice mail SMS notifications would get sent to me too.
  • With my cellphone on and technically roaming, I would receive the most important messages.  Receiving text messages while roaming is supposed to be free on Fido. I haven’t checked my invoice yet, but I’ve done this successfully for previous trips.
  • Interestingly, modern cruise ships have satellite based cellphone service, so even in the middle of nowhere, I could receive these text messages.
  • Internet access on board the ship is a pricey $0.75 per minute.  This was OK for briefly viewing email, but I wasn’t too comfortable using this too often.
  • On dry land, if I had some time to spare, I would look for WiFi.  At some ports, I stumbled upon Internet cafes.  But, much more common in Europe, as opposed to China, is a WiFi enabled coffee shop. With WiFi, I could download  email for offline review.  Internet cafe pricing was less than a few dollars per hour, which compared to the on-ship pricing, is roughly equivalent to free.
  • For voice calls, on the iPhone I used the 3CXPhone VOIP App with a Voip.ms account to make ridiculously cheap phone calls. I set these up prior to travel. Even while in Vancouver, this combination is useful for making cheap long distance calls on an iPhone while on WiFi – in theory, I can make VOIP calls on 3G; however, it hasn’t worked too well in my limited testing.  There’s either too much lag or too little bandwidth.

All in all, for me, the iPhone was a great tool to have when travelling, even if you don’t plan on paying for pricey roaming voice or data.  This obviously only works if you have similar needs to me – I didn’t really want to be connected, but I did want to know of anything critical.

Also useful for the iPhone was the CityMaps2Go App which had offline maps for nearly every city that I was in – perhaps I’ll post about that separately some day.  Evernote and Dropbox were also useful, but make sure that you use the flagging features to make the files and notes that you need available offline!

FidoListens.ca? Who are you?

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

I care about email security and transparency of email content a lot.  I deal with it all the time as a contractor who produces a email newsletters for local retailers.  I’m also the guy who teaches end users (including family) to be extremely skeptical about all the email they receive because 90% of it is fake, SPAM, and scams.

So, I get peeved when larger firms do email communications wrong.

Today I received an email invite from a company claiming to do work for Fido.  I think it’s cringe-worthy.

My first step in my research was a quick glance at the Fido homepage – no mention of a new survey program, though, I didn’t really expect to find one.

Looking strictly at the email itself then, here are some tidbits:

Subject line:  Invitation to Join the Fido Listens Panel

OK so far.

From: Fido Listens Team <fidolistens@itracks.com>

Who is iTracks.com? I’ve certainly never heard of them.  Definitely a yellow caution flag.

The email copy talks about a survey and some prizes for participating in Fido’s latest customer feedback thing.

A lot of scams offer prizes or financial incentives.   Can you get two yellow caution flags?  Or maybe just upgrade to a larger one.

The survey link goes to  https://surveys.itracks.com/survey/RogersFido_4?ID=xxxxxxx.

Well,  iTracks.com hosts the survey.  Their homepage looks legitimate at least.  Funny, I was expecting iTracks.com to be an online MP3 store.

And a support email address of support@fidolistens.ca.

Wait, now what is fidolistens.ca? More on Fido Listens later on.

And a contact mail address of Ipsos Reid, a well respected research firm based in Vancouver.

Ah! I’ve heard of them. Actually, I know people who have worked there. Of course, anyone can write an email with someone else’s legitimate mail address.

So, let’s review. Yes, I am a Fido cellphone user.  But who is iTracks.com?  Do I really believe that they got my email address from Fido? Who is FidoListens.ca?  And is IPSOS really involved?

fidolistens.ca?  At least this was somewhat comforting.  The vanity domain of fidolistens.ca forwards to https://iaf.ipsos.ca…, i.e. a page belonging to IPSOS and transparently hosted by them on their own domain.

In the end, I feel comfortable doing a survey that is hosted by IPSOS.  But that’s only because I know that IPSOS Reid is a legitimate firm.  A little over a year ago I ranted about another Fido survey attempt in my blog post, How to Properly Use 3rd Party Web Services, I didn’t feel comfortable with the firm conducting that survey.

If you are using a 3rd party firm for surveys or anything that is customer related, please make it easy to verify that it’s legitimate.  At Papaya Polls, we offer to host our pages under your own subdomain.  It works great and it is very confidence inspiring.  I would have zero hesitation in doing a survey which had a web address of http://fidolistens.fido.ca or http://surveys.fido.ca.

Anyway, enough ranting.  Time to enjoy the sun.

How to Properly Use 3rd Party Web Services

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Today I got an email marketing message from Fido, my cellphone provider.

Probably.

Unfortunately, Fido used a third party email and contest manager that makes me unsure if the email is real or a scam.

The email “from” line looks good: fido.communication@fidomobile.ca.

But it’s trivial to fake a “from” line.

The email “reply-to”: fido.communication(xxxxxx)@mail.konversation.com

I removed the x’s which I suspect are unique to my email address and used for mail list management.  It doesn’t really matter.  Is this address confidence inspiring to the non-technical user? Nope.

Worse, the email is about a contest.  In the email there is a link to enter the contest:

http://kmkapp01.konversation.com/Fido/eNewsletter/Default.aspx?langue=en

What is Konversation.com?  And why should I enter my phone and other info into a website that doesn’t even spell conversation properly? (That’s a joke, I realize it’s a cute mispelling used for a website name).  Sure, there are Fido logos in the email and on the web page.  But who knows?  I’ve seen fake bank websites that also look authentic.  It’s easy to copy logos and verbage.

In the end, I decided to skip this contest.  Who knows if it’s a real contest or not.  Besides, I never win prizes anyway.

What should companies do?  Use their own domain for everything because they’re much harder to use fraudulently.  If they choose to outsource bulk email, use a provider that can use “bulkmailer.example.com” for their messages.  For contests?  “contests.example.com”.  For surveys, “surveys.example.com”.

In fact, that’s exactly what we offer with the custom survey domain feature of PapayaPolls.com.  We have several clients who host surveys using a subdomain of their primary domain.

It works for everyone.  The end survey respondents are confident that the survey is legitimately from our customer.  Our customers are happy that their survey respondents are confident, and thus willing to answer the survey.  And we’re happy to have paying customers.

So there you go.  A rant and an advertisment for one of our websites all rolled into one.  Not bad for a Friday afternoon.