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About Mint Mobile International Roaming

evergreen-foxEarlier this month we spent a week in Canada visiting with family. This was the first trip back to my homeland since we switched to Mint Mobile for our phones, and I certainly learned a few things along the way.

My Bad

It simply did not occur to me that I should look into exactly how Mint Mobile would work in Canada before departing. It turns out that roaming in Canada is possible, but requires that you log into the web portal and enable International Roaming, which involves adding funds specifically to cover services used while abroad.

When our flight from Houston landed in Toronto I was able to use put my laptop on airport Wi-Fi and add International Roaming Credit. After a short while it appeared that I could send SMS, and incoming calls rang through to the phone, but I could not make calls. Any attempt to dial out was immediately disconnected.

Since we had a two-hour layover in Toronto, I engaged with Mint support via their web-based chat tool. Their support staffer was nice enough. They said they were dealing with multiple sessions at a time, so to be patient if there was a delay in their responding to any messages.

They offered some guidance, but none that seemed to resolve the trouble. We ran out of time and had to board our next flight without any real insight into why we didn’t have service.

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T-Mobile: Breaking-up is very hard to do!

We have used T-Mobile for our mobile phones since 2005. Over the course of 2021 I grew frustrated With T-Mobile. They had become too costly. There were no deals for existing customers. As our monthly mobile bill approached $200 I felt there must be a better way.

In December I decided to make a change. In truth, I’d made this determination in the early summer, but had to wait until the end of the 24 month promo deal associated with our current pair of Pixel 4 phones. That agreement ended on December 13th.

December 18, 2022

Free of the encumbrance of the purchase arrangement, I ported our two active numbers to Mint Mobile on December 18th.

Mint vs TMobile

Mint Mobile is a MVNO that offers well-priced prepaid service on T-Mobile’s network. So, I was confident that the experience of the service would be unchanged. We’d just cut our monthly cost.

I took advantage of a holiday promo, paying $240 for 6 months of 3 lines, where each line had unlimited voice & text, with 15 GB of data. 15GB is more than we actually need, but the price was good and I didn’t want to feel constrained.

The third SIM was for my Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop, which has a built-in LTE radio. For the past couple of years the laptop serves as a backup to our Comcast Business Class service. Mint doesn’t actually offer data-only (aka tablet) SIMs. I just got an extra voice line and put the SIM in my laptop.

The cost of the 6 month term was very appealing given that we had been paying T-Mobile $185 every month!

In just a few days I received the SIM kits. The porting process went smoothly, taking about 30 minutes for each of our phones. The SIM card for the laptop was a new number. It just seemed to work. There were no issues at all with the transition to Mint Mobile.

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Pixel & Pie – WTF Google!

Google Pixel (Very Black)

After carrying Nexus phones for years I bought a Google Pixel in December 2016. That was just after the Pixel 2 was released, so the older Pixel was priced well and still offered great performance.

I was very pleased with the Pixel until quite recently. The OTA update to Android 9 (Pie) in August has been a huge step backward. Since that update the phone’s battery life has been dramatically reduced. Where it once lasted all day with my typical usage, it now lasts only about 7 hours with only light usage. Further, the phone is often noticeably warm to the touch.

Being the inquisitive sort, I’ve done some experiments to try and find out why this is happening. There are no rogue apps running. Or at least the OS reports no app using more that 2-3% of battery power.

I put the phone in Safe Mode for a day so only the factory installed apps would run. Battery life remained abysmal. That suggests that the problem is not caused by an app at all.

I’ve come to believe that I’ve identified the source of the problem. It’s related to the Wi-Fi. If I turn off the Wi-Fi the battery life is closer to what was experiencing running Oreo. Turn it back on and it plummets.

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Sennheiser’s New SDW-5000 DECT Cordless Headsets

A Polycom VVX-600 and Sennheiser DW Pro2 headset are my workaday tools of choice. They have been for years. Polycom VVX remains best-in- class. The DW Pro 2 gives me hands-free flexibility and cordless mobility, sufficient to reach the coffee machine, which is clearly a critical issue.

This pair addressed my quest for practical tools leveraging HDVoice. They explain why I’ve not put much effort into reviews of new desk phones in recent years. The matter has been largely settled hereabouts.

However, they not perfect. There’s room for improvement. In particular, the advent of WebRTC brought a tide of Opus-capable services that would benefit from full-bandwidth audio. The 16 KHz sampling required to support G.722 was great in 2010, but nearly a decade down the road it seems more than a little limiting.

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Pixel Receives Pie

Today my Pixel phone received an update that was reported to be Android Pie. This was the general rollout of Pie, which is Android 9.x. Since I participate in the beta program I’ve actually been running an earlier version of…

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Unexpected Friends: Pixel & Sennheiser DW Pro 2 Headset

Being in the conferencing business, I’m on the phone a lot during the course of my working life. Most of my phone calling happens via a pair of dear friends; my Polycom VVX-600 and a Sennheiser DW Pro 2 DECT headset. This pair has proven itself in literally years of office use. They’re simply tremendous.

vvx-600 & DW Pro headset

In fact, they’re so good together that my mobile phone was something of an afterthought. I only used it after hours, or when someone called me at that number. That someone was most typically my wife. Stella always calls my mobile. She never calls my desk.

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