Zip.ca Review

Update: When Netflix opened up in Canada I cancelled my Zip.ca membership. While the service was ok it is not near as convenient as Netflix.ca and streaming.

It has been three weeks since I left Blockbuster and started trying out Zip.ca for DVD rentals. It has been an interesting change to go from wandering around a Blockbuster store to choosing movies online.

For some people wandering around the video store looking for a movie to rent is part of the experience. As a parent of two little kids it is a testing of patience! Moving to an online movie rental is much easier. There are no fighting kids, no distractions from the hundreds of movie titles with each kid wanting to get something different. I will often sit with the laptop on the couch and my son or daughter will look through the movies on the website for movies to add to our list. Gives them some choice while I have less headaches.

Getting movies in the mail is great, delivered right to my mailbox. This is a great bonus now that it has snowed and cold it seems even better. The closet mailbox to send them back is only a couple of blocks away and I pass it regularly when I go out for walks. Makes it easy to send the movies back.

Price wise renting movies online is probably not much cheaper than going to the video store. Sure there are no late fees and no annoying customer service people at the local rental store, but a break down of the cost of renting each movie is probably about the same. The price difference might come from not wasting a great deal of time wandering around the rental store or the gas that it I would have used before.

There are some things that take getting a little used too. With Zip.ca you can add movies to your list, and place an order that you would like to get them in, but you may not get the movies that you want at any one time. They ship what they have available, so you might not always get what movie you really want to see that week. If you are wanting the latest release you might be disappointed. This might get better when they start to offer streaming, but that is yet to be seen.

Shipping takes time. You go to the video store you usually walk out with something to watch that day. Movies delivered to your door takes time. Canada Post does its best to move mail across the country, but depending where you are you could be waiting several days for your movies to arrive. On average we have been waiting four days from the day the movie ships to when it arrives. All of the movies have shipped from Ontario so far, but they are being returned to Calgary. If they were being shipped from Calgary they might show up faster. I would guess that people in Ontario get their movies a little faster. Four days to go from Ontario to Regina is not bad.

For now I will keep using Zip.ca. The selection of movies is alright and we are not always in a rush to get the latest release. I am also curious about the streaming service that they are suppose to be offering sometime before the end of the year. There has not been a lot of details released about the streaming service except that it is coming. Hopefully I will be able to access it with my account level. Streaming from Zip.ca could easily move Zip.ca ahead of regular movie rentals.

Things I Have Learned About Apraxia

While I am by no means an expert in Apraxia, I have certainly been learning a great deal since my daughter was diagnosed with it. Here are some of the things I have learned.

People have no clue what Apraxia is. I can understand that, I did not either until my daughter was diagnosed with it. The problem is, after you explain it to them, they still do not get it and say stupid things like, well she will grow out of it, or she will get better. Next time someone tells you their child has Apraxia, don’t try to make them feel better by saying things like that. Their child will not get better, they will not grow out of it and it will be a long hard road for them and their child. Their child will need a lot of speech therapy for many years, and even then there is no telling whether or not the child they love will be able to speak reasonably normal.

That some rules do not make sense. For example, my daughter was under the care of a speech therapist with the local health district, when she started school she could no longer be seen by the speech therapist that is part of the health district. In this case that is alright because my daughter is in a special school where she gets speech therapy twice a week for 20 minutes each time. The average amount of time a student gets in the public school system is 15 minutes a week with another student. My daughter is lucky, but when she moves into the regular school system that will not be enough time. The rules of the school and health district state that my daughter cannot be seen by a speech therapist in the health care system if she is part of the school system. Children with Apraxia need much more speech therapy than the school system can provide, their rules are not helping children, they are harming.

Private speech therapy is expensive. While my daughter is getting more speech therapy in her school than most, we have decided to hire a private speech therapist. While she is expensive in the few sessions my daughter has had they have been good. Progress is slow but my daughter has shown a willingness to work with the new speech therapist and hopefully she can help my daughter learn how to talk faster.

The Government can help. I know it shocked me as well to learn that the Federal Government can actually help kids with Apraxia. While the rules of the local health and school do not make sense and private speech therapy is expensive, the Federal Government offers the Disability Tax Credit. Children with Apraxia qualify for this tax credit and all you need is your speech therapist to fill out the form and then you send it in. The money we are getting from the Federal Government Disabilty Tax Credit is what is paying for the majority of the private speech therapy. All the help I can get for my daughter the better.

It is challenging having a child with Apraxia. I wait for the day that my daughter can tell me how she is feeling or say “I love you Daddy”. While she can communicate in many ways and is smart we live in a world where verbal communication is important and I just hope that my daughter will be able to be a part of it.

Reasons Not to Buy an iPhone

My cell phone is nothing special, certainly not when you hold it up to a smart phone like an iPhone or an Android phone, but it does the basics plus I can surf and check email. Using Opera Mini has made that much more enjoyable. I have been tempted to get a smart phone recently and seriously looked at a new iPhone, but in the end I could not justify it. Here are some of the reasons NOT to buy a new iPhone just in case you are contemplating getting one.

  • Apple – Apple and their app store are ridiculous. Read TechCrunch any day of the week to see how dumb Apple is being about the app store to get an example. If I am buying the iPhone I should be able to install what ever applications I want on it, just like a computer. I don’t need Apple dictating to me what I should or should not be able to install.
  • Rogers – I got sick of cell phone contracts a long time ago after Sasktel screwed me over on a three year contract. I will never again get a cell phone contract with any company. Selling my soul to Rogers for an iPhone is one of the biggest reasons to never buy one. Just take a look at the ridiculousness of their data plans. Hell will have to freeze over before I ever sign up with a Rogers plan. This is also the main reason to never get a Android phone, they are all on Rogers as well.
  • Apple Culture – Ok this one is hard to explain. In some ways it is similar to the first reason not to buy an iPhone, except it has more to do with the people that worship the ground that Steve Jobs walks on than it does with the company. To these people Apple can do no wrong, where the reality is Apple is no better than Microsoft, Dell, HP etc. The culture behind Apple and its products disgusts me and I want nothing to do with it.

I know there are plenty of people out there that will disagree with me about the iPhone, but I know one thing, it is not for me. I would be interested in trying out an Android powered phone, except for that problem about them all being on the Rogers network. I wish cell companies would realize that I should be able to use what ever phone I want on their networks just like I can buy any phone to use on my landline. I suppose that is to much to ask for yet.