About Crazy @Evernote Pricing

I like Evernote and I use it constantly. I was using it today, in fact when – BOOM! – in the middle of a meeting, without any warning, a notice came up in my iPhone app that blocked my access to my notes and said my subscription has just ended. Like, literally, that very second, right in the middle of that very meeting.

I couldn’t do anything with Evernote until I renewed my subscription.

Okay, but, excuse me, Evernote? I’m kind of in a meeting right now…? Can I finish taking notes and deal with this later, please? Apparently not.

After the meeting I go back to my desk. I open Evernote on my Mac. BOOM! Another “renew now or else” notice pops up. That was kind of expected. But, hey, waitaminnit… the subscription fee is different. On the iPhone they wanted $70. On the Mac they want $50.

This is disconcerting. Enough that I want to sort out the discrepancy. But I’m working. I decide to deal with it later. (Plus, I think I have an unused code in the back of an old Evernote Moleskine at home that’ll get me a few free months…)

Back home, I find the Moleskine with the code, log in to the Evernote web site to try and use it and – BOOM – hammered again with that renewal notification. But, hey, there’s another different number on this renewal notice: $58.

I know I need to renew Evernote. Heck, I want to renew Evernote. Right now I just want to give them money and get on with my life. But I’m confused. This doesn’t make sense.

I hate giving money to companies that confuse and frustrate me.

There are three different rates I’ve seen for the same Premium service.

  • Evernote app on iPhone: $70
  • Evernote app on Mac: $50
  • Evernote web site: $58

Evernote Premium Price Quandary

Which do I choose?

You’re thinking, duh: the cheapest one. But here’s the catch: I’m in Canada. So if that $50 subscription is in US dollars, that’s like a million dollars Canadian. Okay, not quite that much. But it’s a full $70, the same as the highest price.

So the new, added question is: what currency are these fees being charged in?

I could make some assumptions. Like, because iPhone apps have to charge fees through the App Store, and my account is with the Canadian App Store, that’s $70 Canadian.

And it might be that the subscription fees identified in the Mac app and Evernote web site are US dollars, right? (In which case, anyway, shouldn’t the rates in the Mac app and the web site be the same?)

Or maybe Evernote directly charges its customers in their local currency?

I don’t know. It’s all very confusing.

I tried getting in touch with Evernote today for an answer but they were incommunicado.

In the meantime, until I am empowered with the knowledge that will clear up this clusterfuck of a pricing dilemma, the Evernote apps are blocking my access to my notes. Which totally sucks.

With Music, Apple Pleases Older People, Microsoft Focuses on Youth

I’ve spent the last few weeks with a demo Windows Phone running the new version 7.5, or  “Mango”, operating system. It’s been a splendid time. Microsoft is really onto something.

My regular phone is an iPhone 4S, though, and I have to say: there are no two operating systems so different as Apple’s iOS, which runs on my iPhone, and Mango. They differ in every way, from philosophy, to user experience, to look and feel. And that’s a good thing.

One key element I’ve noticed about the two platforms is this: Apple’s iOS is geared towards an older crowd, while Microsoft’s approach is much more attuned to youth culture.

A good example of this is in the way the two platforms provide commercial access to music. Continue reading

Will You Give Yourself to Google for Plus?

Dear Google,

I am now a citizen of Plus, and therefore your humble servant.

I have been admitted into your rare realm of Circles, Huddles, Streams, Sparks, and Hangouts.

It truly is a metaphorical place, a wondrous world of social baubles designed to mesmerize me into a state of pure trust, such that I’ll share my inner most secrets with you.

This is the place you want me to abandon Facebook, turf Twitter, and toss Tumblr for.

You want this to be my internet home, the place I hang my hat online. And for that you’ve manufactured a glorious array of trinkets and toys such that I’ll never be lonely ever, ever again.

And you’ll let me stay here free.

The only thing I have to give you in exchange is my soul. And that you’ll resell again and again to whomever is willing to toss a few pennies your way.
Continue reading

The Drawbacks to Toktumi/Line2 in Canada

I’ve written about the great Toktumi/Line2 (I wish they’d settle on one brand name, really) VOIP service before. It’s a cost-effective, easy-to-use way to make long distance phone calls from your mobile device.

You sign up, get either a toll-free or local number in Canada or the US, pay a flat monthly fee ($10 for a local number, $15 for a toll-free number) and then you can make calls within North America at no additional cost.

I’ve subscribed to it for a while now instead of subscribing to a long distance plan with Bell. However, I’ve never adopted it for general use. I’ve never shared my Toktumi/Line2 number with friends, family, or business colleagues.

Two things prevent me from doing this:

  1. text messaging is not supported with Canadian numbers, and
  2. your phone number is not displayed accurately on call display systems outside of the US.

Both of these shortcomings unfortunately make Toktumi/Line2 unacceptable for general use anywhere outside of the US.

Call Display

Call display is a telephone owner’s single-most valuable defense against telemarketers. Most of us depend on it to identify who’s calling us, and then use that as our primary decision-making factor in whether to answer the call or not.

There’s an unwritten rule that we all seem to subscribe to: Do Not Answer Unrecognized International Calls.

Why not? Because 9 times out of 10, it’s a telemarketer.

For example, as I wrote this, a call came in one my iPhone. It looked like this:

Would you answer that call? No, me neither. So I didn’t.

Unfortunately, Toktumi/Line2’s numbers only represent themselves accurately on call display within the US, and only when you’re using a US-based phone number.

If you subscribe to a Canadian number with Toktumi/Line2, your number will be displayed on the device of the person you’re calling as an international call, even if you’re calling locally.

For example, say you subscribe to the Vancouver number 604 800 3719 with Toktumi/Line2, when you call someone it will display to them like this:

Would you answer that call? No, me neither. And that’s my own Toktumi/Line2 number.

If you take a few moments to “parse that string”, that is, break it down into its separate parts, you might recognize the Vancouver area code. But nobody does that. Most of us would see the “+64” and instantly dismiss the number as illegitimate.

That’s a huge drawback to using the Toktumi/Line2 service in Canada: when you call people, it’s likely you’ll be perceived as a telemarketer and your call will be ignored. It’s happened to me on many occasions, in fact.

One other major drawback to your number being displayed incorrectly? People can’t call you back. If they do, they end up making a long distance call to a foreign operator who informs them that the number they’re calling is invalid.

Text Messaging

Simply put, Toktumi/Line2 only supports text messaging on US-based numbers within the US.

You can’t text to or from a toll-free numbers, and you can’t text to or from a Canadian number.

That’s a huge drop in value if you’re outside of the US.

Using Toktumi/Line2

For folks in the US, Toktumi/Line2 holds tremendous value and utility. You can call and text all you want around that country for next to nothing (you can make calls to Canada at no additional charge, too). It’s a sweet deal.

Unfortunately, the service for us folks outside of the US is less enticing. You can’t text, and your phone number is misrepresented to the recipients of your calls.

That said, it’s still a great cut-rate long distance telephone service. If the people you’re calling are willing to risk answering a call from an unrecognized international number. And that’s a big if.

The Value Proposition of Northwestel’s Internet Services

A conversation earlier today about Northwestel’s recent minor adjustments to their internet services plans (read about them in the Yukon News story, Telco selectively increases rates and bandwidth) got me playing with numbers. I was trying to get a sense of the value of Northwestel’s internet services in Whitehorse compared to other Canadian jurisdictions. I’ve established Shaw’s services in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, as my benchmark for these exercises. Dawson Creek is just outside of Northwestel’s jurisdiction, being about 400 km south of Fort Nelson, and is comparable in size to Whitehorse (actually, it has about half the population of Whitehorse).

My goal was to summarize the value of the internet services in Whitehorse compared to a similar Canadian jurisdiction outside of Northwestel’s service area. It’s easy to say things like, “Dawson Creek residents pay just $75 a month for 400 GB of data and download speeds of 50 Mbps, and we pay $130 for 90 GB of data and download speeds of 25 Mbps”. But what does that mean? What does it look like?

From my view, there are essentially two components to any internet service: data transfers allowable and the speeds at which you’re able to transfer that data. So I decided to just illustrate these two aspects of service against cost, on a 1:1 basis, then compare Northwestel in Whitehorse to Shaw in Dawson Creek. Here’s data (click on the image for a larger view):

Across both grids, everything is 1:1, so you can directly compare Shaw’s costs and data allowances against Northwestel’s. To me, this directly addresses the question of value between the two services.

Next, there’s speeds:

Again, across both charts, it’s a 1:1 ratio.

I don’t know about you, but I get a remarkable sense of a lack of value in Northwestel’s service offerings compared to Shaw’s. And it’s not a moderate difference. It’s significant.

The North is Not Ready for the iCloud

On Monday Apple will introduce a new service called iCloud.

It will instantly make what’s known as “cloud computing” mainstream, changing the way we use computers in a fundamental way.

We’ll no longer store our stuff – our files, music, and movies – locally on our computers.

It will all be moved to the internet for instant access from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Except for Northerners. Our lamentable internet services aren’t nearly ready for such a significant paradigm shift.

So as an exciting new era in computing arrives, we’ll be left even further behind than we already are. Continue reading

Why I’m Down on Google, RIM and their Ilk

It seems like a lot of people assume I’m all boo-hiss on Google, RIM, Samsung, HTC, and their ilk just because I’m absolutely blindly in love with Apple.

While I certainly admire Apple, it’s not a blind love. I have plenty of criticism for that company and its products (don’t get me started on the company’s abysmal cloud strategy or the failing quality of its consumer Mac software products).

After all, one can’t help but admire a company that literally comes back from the brink of death and in 10 short years redefines the entire consumer technology industry. And one also can’t help but heap scorn on the also-rans that seek merely to duplicate Apple’s accomplishments through rank mimicry. Continue reading

An Example of the Conservative Platform in Action

Following on my post from earlier today, it seems that US citizens are waking up to what sort of liberties law enforcement services down their way are taking with their liberties.

An article that’s spreading across the web today, “US Police Increasingly Peeping At E-Mail, Instant Messages“, reveals what Christopher Soghoian, a doctoral candidate at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, learned in a recent study.

Police and other agencies have “enthusiastically embraced” asking for e-mail, instant messages and mobile-phone location data, but there’s no U.S. federal law that requires the reporting of requests for stored communications data…

“Unfortunately, there are no reporting requirements for the modern surveillance methods that make up the majority of law enforcement requests to service providers and telephone companies,” Soghoian wrote. “As such, this surveillance largely occurs off the books, with no way for Congress or the general public to know the true scale of such activities.”

The article explains that AOL receives over 1,000 requests per month for private information from law enforcement, and Facebook receives 10 to 20 every day.

Should the Conservatives reach majority status in the House and force through their omnibus anti-crime bill, then this is the sort of thing Canadians can expect in the not-to-distant future. All funded by increases to our internet bills, most likely.