Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

Screen time is father and son bonding time

Computer gamesUntil my son turned three, I was his alpha and his omega. I was the funniest in the family. I was the most interesting person in the world. Gradually, though, someone else appeared. As my son embraced the brave world of online games with his dad, I watched their relationship blossom.

Educational games

My husband started with simple educational games like Tux Paint and patiently walked our son through the first steps of using a computer – using a mouse, then a keyboard. I remember how it took me at least a few days to get used to the gestures of a computer mouse (yes, I’m from that generation who first touched a computer at university). Of course, my digital-native child mastered the mouse in a few hours with GCompris, a free, open-source software suite.

He graduated to memory games, mazes, and educational games for reading and counting. Then in junior kindergarten he learned to play chess at his after-school program. Offline, he loved playing against his dad while online they’d team up to devise strategies to defeat the computer.

Minecraft

I was personally excited about Minecraft and how the two of us would play together. But my son trusted his father to help him navigate the new game. Plus, this game necessitated more research than I was honestly ready to do! With his dad, he sat through pages and pages of Minecraft wikis to understand how to build their home, their city and more.

As a result, now at dinnertime my son excitedly shares a new idea to expand his train station, and while I sit, baffled, the two of them have a full conversation on strategies to expand their online world.

Sharing his passion

My husband is a software developer who likes to build, in his words, “beautiful code.” So the natural next step was to share his passion and start teach coding to our son. They’ve just started together with an open-source software created by MIT called Scratch. It teaches kids the principles of code – dependencies, variables, etc. – while making it possible to build a simple video game in an hour or two. I know our son wouldn’t have the patience to sit that long without his dad guiding him along the way, helping him or holding his tongue, depending on what’s needed.

All of these software programs are available online, and most are open-source and free. If your kid is like mine and likes to learn by watching tons of Minecraft tutorials on YouTube on top of playing these online games, make sure you track your Internet usage with www.keepingpace.ca. Plus, find out what internet package is right for you and check out TechEssentials for tips for keeping kids safe online.

Over the years, I’ve loved seeing my son’s pride as he tackles increasingly elaborate games. I’ve enjoyed even more watching them grow closer.

Which online activities do you share with your children?​

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More bandwidth for Netflix customers

Given Rogers reputation as the fastest internet in Canada, some customers will be surprised by today’s Netflix report in which Rogers didn’t do as well.

What gives?

Netflix’s test was done just before we virtually doubled Netflix capacity and we’ll continue to add more capacity as it’s needed. These results only apply to customers’ specific Netflix connection and not overall internet speeds.

Independent third party testing continues to show that Rogers offers top internet speeds.

PCMag.com recognized Rogers as the fastest overall in its Canada’s fastest Internet Service Provider review. The Ookla Net Index shows that Rogers is fastest. YouTube has ranked Rogers as a top-quality network for HD videos. And Sam Knows, an independent leader in internet testing, found that Rogers customers get faster speeds than advertised even when the network is at its busiest.

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How to check your Internet usage with My Rogers

Internet usageConnected Rogers share how you can easily track how much Internet you’re using each month.

People are downloading large attachments, surfing longer and streaming movies and TV from services such as Rogers Anyplace TV more than ever before. And don’t even get us started on online gaming. Point is, as usage goes up, so does the chance that you might start creeping closer to your monthly usage limit. And whether you decide to upgrade your service to accommodate your new ferocious appetite for entertainment, or manage your usage to stay the course on your current plan, it’s always a good idea to check your usage from time to time. And it’s super easy. Here’s how.

  1. Head to rogers.com and log in to your My Rogers account.
  2. Click Account Info and (from the dashboard) in your Hi-Speed Internet sub-menu box, you’ll see a Monthly Usage progress bar indicating your total available usage, your used data and your remaining usage details.
  3. For a more detailed rundown, click Usage Details located in the bottom-right corner of that progress box.

Ta-da. You’re up to date on your Internet usage. If you find you’re nearing – or passing – your limit regularly, it’s time to adjust your plan for your needs. For more details on Internet packages and pricing, visit Rogers.com.

I’m careful to keep a close eye on my own account because I rely pretty heavily on On Demand content to keep me up to date on my favourite TV series. What tasks dominate your Internet usage?

Check out more great tech tips at Connected Rogers.

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Find your perfect fit: New internet packages have arrived

internetI’m spending more and more time online every day. With Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter merely a click away, it can be easy to lose track of time. I could also spend an entire day watching hilarious YouTube and Rogers Anyplace TV videos. Not to mention keeping up with that local sports team. These days sports and streaming go hand in hand – we had a huge spike in Rogers customers who watched the recent Winter Games on their computers.

This reliance on the web also means Canadians are ramping up our internet data usage. Recognizing this, you can now get faster upload and download speeds, plus more usage options, with Rogers new internet packages that launched today.

These new packages are simpler to understand and you can choose from bigger data buckets and faster speeds. Plus they come with a new name: Hybrid Fibre. What’s that? Our network is a combination of fibre to the neighbourhood plus high capacity coax cable to the home. Unlike copper cables (which are built for voice delivery) this combination lets large amount of information travel much faster – like cars on a multi-lane highway – so your videos keep on streaming.

Let’s not forget the importance of Wi-Fi. On average, Rogers customers have six connected devices in their home. The Advanced Wi-Fi Modem rental fee is included in most of the new internet packages. It’s up to three times faster than other modems (based on testing by Allion USA ) – perfect for a home packed with laptops, tablets, and gaming systems.

Just how important is the internet to our daily lives? Our Innovation Report  revealed that 28 per cent of Canadians would give up their morning coffee for always-on internet!

Let’s go by the numbers:

  • Over 25 million Canadians say they go online daily
  • Canadians watch 291 videos on average online per month
  • A majority (64 per cent) of Canadians have at least one social media profile

Check out Rogers.com/internet to find which internet package is right for you. What device keeps you connected?

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Weekend reading: Speed, Santa and photo messaging

Weekend readingWith the holiday – and related vacations – right around the corner, we’re getting into the spirit of the season, looking at Santa trackers and karaoke hits. Plus, we share details of our new Internet packages and look at this week’s photo-sharing announcements. Learn more in this week’s edition of the weekend reading.

Tech-savvy Santa Trackers

‘Tis the season for keeping tabs on the Jolly Old Elf, and this year both Google and Microsoft are joining the holiday fun. Google’s Santa Tracker includes a countdown ticker, while his animated village includes an advent calendar with games, a phone call function and videos. Meanwhile Microsoft has partnered with NORAD to create a tracker and countdown ticker that also includes games, movies, music and a library sharing news about Santa and holiday traditions around the world. Plus, be sure to head on over to our Rogers Facebook page to help Santa deliver presents!

Will you be tracking Santa on Christmas Eve?

Hitting high-speed

We’ve upped our internet speeds again with the roll-out of a new Ultimate internet package. We’re ramping up our download speeds from 150Mpbs up to 250Mbps, doubling upload speeds from 10Mbps to 20Mbps and quadrupling the usage allowance up to 1TB! If you have the Advanced Wi-Fi Modem on the Ultimate (150Mbps) package, you can call Rogers to upgrade to the new 250Mbps package for free. You will need our fastest, furthest reaching modem in order to upgrade. It’s currently available in the GTA and will soon be available to most customers in Ontario.

Private pics

Twitter’s been busy making upgrades this year, and this week, the micro-blogging service announced changes to its mobile apps, including the ability to send private photos. Direct messages also became easier to find in the navigation. The upgrade also ramps up the “discovery” feature that pinpoints popular accounts, tweets and trending topics.

Instagram, meanwhile, announced Instagram Direct on Thursday, which lets users send private photos to friends and groups. The update, which only allows people you follow to send direct photos and videos, is now available for iOS and Android.

Will you try either of these new photo-sharing features?

Sweet sounds

Last week we shared our holiday wishlist, but we’ve still got more seasonal tips up our sleeves. We hosted a live holiday movie trivia chat where we shared our favourite flicks and traditions and  got some great tips from the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring Team on how to keep your home safe over the holidays. For everyone hosting house parties, we rounded up our favourite karaoke tunes to help inspire your soundtrack. Of course, there’s no guest required – you can also just grab a hairbrush and put your skills to use with Rogers On Demand. Find the karaoke channel by visiting Channel 100, navigating to Music, then choosing Karaoke on Demand.

What’s your go-to song?

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Rogers is tops in PCMag.com speed tests

PCMagPCMag.com has recognized Rogers need for speed, ranking us the fastest overall in their Canada’s Fastest Internet Service Provider review. They also named Rogers Canada’s fastest wireless network on a national average.

For wired internet, Rogers had an average 27.2 Mbps download speed. On the wireless side, the Rogers LTE network delivered the highest speeds in six Canadian markets including Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, London and the Niagara region.

PCMag.com Features Editor Eric Griffith led the “Fastest ISP” project while Lead Mobile Analyst Sascha Segan ran the “Fastest Mobile Networks” search. We had a chance to ask them about the tests, fast networks and the growth of the industry.

What factors do you consider when ranking networks?

Eric: It’s helpful for both readers and providers to know how ISPs stack up against their competition. We factor the average upload and download speed into an index number (based on 20 per cent upload and 80 per cent download) to get a quantifiable measurement for all the providers.

Sascha: We measure speed and reliability. We upload and download data, surf to web pages and keep an eye on how often the connections drop or stall.

What were your findings?

Eric: After eight months of testing using our speedtest site, we found that in Canada, Rogers had the highest download speed by far. That pushed its index rating to 22.2–well above the rest of the major, national ISPs.

Sascha: Urban Canada has very fast networks, on average faster than American networks. The three major Canadian carriers have been very aggressive at rolling out LTE and advanced technologies like Category 4 LTE.

Why do network speeds matter to consumers?

Eric: The Internet is getting more and more bandwidth intensive—just look at the traffic attributed to Youtube  and other media streaming sites. The more speed a customer can eke out, the happier they’ll be.

Sascha: People get frustrated when it takes too long to get their information. And more and more people are using mobile networks for media streaming, and for uploading photos and videos. Those demand consistent, fast connections to operate properly.

What advantage does the customer get by being on the fastest network?

Eric: No delays—nothing annoys more than waiting. People expect video on the Internet to be as instant as the text they read or the shows on their TV. Only with a high-bandwidth pipe is that possible.

Sascha: The goal is seamlessness. With the fastest network, you don’t have to worry about when and whether your app will download or your movie will play. It just does.

How do you take advantage of the new network speeds available?

Eric: The best way to take advantage of the fastest network speeds: use it. You’ve got a pipe to the single greatest repository of information ever created by mankind. Use it often and constantly.

Sascha: You need a phone which supports a fast network. Right now, for instance, Rogers has three levels of LTE phones available. iPhones have LTE, but they don’t support the 2600Mhz band which supplements speeds in big cities. The sweet spot right now is with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, which have that faster 2600Mhz band. And we’re starting to see even faster phones like the LG G2, which support Category 4 for even faster speeds.

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Connecting youth for a brighter future

Sara and Neil

Sara and Neil attend the launch event.

Earlier this summer Rogers announced Connected for Success, a new affordable broadband internet program geared toward getting more families and youth online. Connected for Success will provide qualifying families with broadband internet for $9.99 per month with a usage allowance up to 30 GB, plus access to a $150 computer loaded with software. Today, we officially kicked off the initiative at an event at the Cooper Mills Toronto Community Housing residence in Toronto where families had the opportunity to enroll in the program.

Educator Neil Price attended the event. Price is a teacher in the Greater Toronto Area who also manages youth education programs for the Boys and Girls Club of Canada and leads the Rogers Raising the Grade Program, part of the Rogers Youth Fund initiative. We had a chance to ask him about youth, the internet and what Connected for Success could mean for students.

Why are you excited about this new program?

Connected for Success will ensure that often-marginalized youth and families who can’t afford internet are now given the opportunity to learn online and take advantage of everything the internet has to offer.

Why do you think digital literacy is so important for youth?

They need to be equipped with the skills that will make them successful in our increasingly digital economy.  The internet offers such a vast amount of information, and youth need to know how and what to look for to become more knowledgeable, and to learn to contribute valuable web content  – all while participating as responsible digital citizens!

How does the ability to get online change things for young people?

Youth who are given new access to technology almost always become more resourceful in their habits, using the internet to establish or strengthen friendships, research and study for school, and more. Ultimately, increased access to the internet leads to a sense of empowerment and inclusion for most youth.

What educational tools can young people find online?

There are an infinite number of resources: educational websites with videos, online courses, tools that can help with homework – even sites like YouTube can help youth develop essential skills in a dynamic and interactive way. There are no limits to what can be learned online.

What other advantages will the internet offer youth and families?

Access to the internet will not only help youth develop skills for the future, but will also help entire families to be more connected to the global online community. It’s going to be a game changer.

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Tweeting away at the Buffalo Bisons game

Bisons gameI’m the kind of person who always has to be connected.

While I work in social media (catch me @RogersSarahM) I’m also active on social networks — particularly Twitter — in my downtime. It’s rare to see me without my smartphone in hand.

I’m also a huge fan of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, so I was so excited about a summer road trip to the U.S. to see the Jays Triple-A farm team, the Buffalo Bisons I wasn’t sure if I could live without my phone.

Normally, I turn off my roaming internet when I cross the border. But this time, thanks to the new Rogers U.S. roaming internet rate, I didn’t have to. For $7.99, I got 50 MB of data for 24 hours. That was more than enough for me to tweet, Instagram and Vine my way through my 24 hours in Buffalo (not to mention use Google Maps when I got lost).

How it worked

My husband and I decided to walk across the Rainbow Bridge from Niagara Falls, Ont., to Niagara Falls, N.Y. Once we got through customs on the other side, I got a text message from Rogers telling me I was roaming and would be charged the $7.99 rate. There was nothing for me to subscribe to, and I didn’t need to call ahead, it just happened.* So easy!

One of the first things I did with my data was to check-in on FourSquare, naturally.

As we navigated our way to Buffalo, I looked up our hotel on Google Maps as well as where we would be eating dinner.

But the game was where I really made use of my data.

When I attend events, especially baseball games, my tweeting goes into overdrive. Thanks to the U.S. roaming rate, I was able to do the same at the Bisons game.

I sent out tweets, shared photos and even shot videos on Vine as I normally would do at a Toronto Blue Jays game. In total, I sent nearly 40 tweets, created four Vine videos, and posted seven photos to Instagram and on Facebook.

I knew I didn’t have to worry about my usage, because as part of the U.S. roaming internet rate, Rogers would send me a text message when I hit 90 per cent of my data (used 45 MB). Of course, I did all my social media activity without coming close to the 50MB — so there was no need for a text message alert! On top of that, I could check my usage at anytime by texting 3330, as my colleague Katie did when she was in San Francisco.

Before the U.S. roaming internet rate, I would have switched my phone into airplane mode before I crossed the border, but now I’m able to stay connected just like when I’m at home. Now I can travel and keep my fellow fans up to date on every pitch, catch and stadium hotdog!

* Existing customers in Quebec and Newfoundland may need to sign up, one time only, by visiting www.rogers.com/m/dus on their mobile device.

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Share more of a good thing with Rogers

Three years ago you told us you wanted to share internet plans across all your devices. And way back in 2010, we responded, becoming the first service provider in Canada to announce data sharing plans.

Today we have more than one million customers sharing data between devices and family members. With our family plans, customers get one convenient bill to manage, plus unlimited talk and text, and a large bucket of data to share with the whole family. Individual plans allow customers to share their voice, text and data across all of their devices, including phones, tablets and sticks.

While Rogers customers have been at the forefront of data sharing, we’re working to make it even easier for families to share data across their connected tablets and smart phones. Stay tuned to RedBoard for the details and for more news on data sharing later this year.

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How to get your internet connection running at top speed

LaptopIf you’re like most TV viewers today, you probably catch up with the latest TV shows and movies online through your smartphone, tablet or computer. In fact, our latest Rogers Innovation Report found that more than 8 out of 10 Canadians are logging screen time on a device in addition to a television.

We know how frustrating it can be when you can’t stream a video because your internet connection is not fast enough. And while most would assume it’s an issue with your internet service itself, we have some newly released data that shows this isn’t always the case.

Based on a recent study by SamKnows, an independent leader in broadband performance testing, SamKnows has found that Rogers customers received, on average, 106 per cent of advertised download speeds when our network is the busiest. By comparison, U.S. carriers tested by SamKnows performed at an average rate of 97 per cent during peak periods. In a separate study of broadband speeds in Europe, SamKnows also found European ISPs delivered only 74 per cent of advertised speeds during peak hours.

If you’re experiencing some issues with the speed of your internet connection, these handy tips from Tech Essentials can help you troubleshoot:

  • Make sure your wireless router isn’t slowing you down: If you’ve signed up for a fast internet plan, you need a fast wireless router to get all that speed. If you have an older router, data won’t transmit as quickly over Wi-Fi, and you might not get a connection as fast as you’re paying for.
  • Locate your router centrally in your house: Main or upper floors are better than basements. Also, position your modem and router away from other electronic devices.
  • Beware of spyware: Spyware, malware and viruses can cause your computer to slow down. Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and run it regularly.
  • Choose a strong Wi-Fi password and set your encryption to WPA2: Strangers freeloading on your Wi-Fi may slow down your network’s performance.
  • The best connection is a wired connection: Connect your modem directly to your computer using your Ethernet cord, bypassing devices such as routers, to get a better connection.

For more help on maximizing your Internet speeds, visit the Rogers Community Forums, a friendly community of Rogers customers eager to help out.

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