Thursday, July 23, 2015

ZenBanx $250 USD for $250 CAD PLUS $10 signup bonus!

Update September 2015: ZenBanx is running a promo for INR (Indian Rupees) letting you exchange up to $250CAD to INR at a rate of 1CAD = 55INR. Usually 1CAD = ~49.5INR, so this is about a 10% bonus. The steps are the same as the previous USD. Do the transfer on September 30th, or before October 15th if you have account signup issues.

About the offer


ZenBanx is offering a promotion to get $250 USD for $250 CAD on August 3, 2015 (Note: ZenBanx will honor the this offer until August 17th, as long as you sign up by August 3rd). At the time of this writing, $250 USD is worth $325 CAD. This translates to a bonus of $75! Plus, if you signup through this link, you get an extra $10 bonus! The original ZenBanx site has info about the PAR offer here. I recently signed up and have posted some details below.

Once you have setup an account you can get a referral link to share the $10 bonus with friends also.

About ZenBanx

ZenBanx is a new virtual bank that with offices in US and Canada. They are first launching in Canada, but are planning to launch in the US as well in Europe and Asia. They let you exchange money in most main currencies with very low commission fees / very close to market rate. The person who started ZenBanx it had previously started ING Direct (now called Tangerine) and is looking to make a more flexible and cheaper bank for people who travel or deal with multiple currencies. Check the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this post for some extra info.

How to Signup

Here's some points to consider before signing up:
  • You need to be a Canadian Resident 18 or older to open an account and enter your SIN (Social Insurance Number), which allows them to verify your identity. They will not make a "hard" hit on your credit file.
  • They also need a Driver's License, Passport or National ID card to verify your identity.
  • When signing up through the mobile app, you need to take a selfie (personal photo) to verify your identity
Follow these steps to signup:
  1. Visit this link and proceed with the initial signup steps  (please note this is my referral link that gets you a $10 signup bonus , and I get a $10 bonus too).

    Note:
      I've copied their Account Agreement and Debit Card Agreement that you accept during the signup into a Google doc for reference.
     
  2. Finish signing up and verifying your identity using their mobile apps or website. You will also need to enter a verification code that was sent to your email address.
     
  3. Deposit money into your account using one of the following options:

    3 a. Write a cheque for at least $250 CAD to yourself. Use the ZenBanx app to capture images of the cheque and make the deposit, or you can login to the ZenBanx website and upload pictures of your cheque there.

    3 b. If you don't have cheques, you can link an external bank account by entering your external account manually. To do this click on the My Info area, which is to the left of Sign Out in the top right of the page when you're logged in to your account. For me it says "Add Photo" since I haven't added a photo of myself yet.
     
  4. Wait several days for the cheque to be processed by ZenBanx and show up in your account.
     
  5. On August 3rd (or before August 17th if your account setup was delayed), login to the ZenBanx website or the ZenBanx app and do a transfer from $250 CAD to USD:

    5 a. In Account Overview, click on the Canadian Flag for your CAD position, or click the chevron / arrow to the right where it's showing your CAD position.

    5 b. Click Exchange Money

    5 c. Enter $250 in Amount to Exchange in the From Position on the left side of the page. You should see a Canadian flag and your CAD account balance on this left side.

    5 d. Under To Position on the right side of the page, select USD. The website will show a ZenBanx loading logo for a few moments while it gets the exchange rate.  NOTE: The $250 CAD will show up as less than $250 USD (perhaps $185 USD). It's OK, ZenBanx will credit the amount of USD within the following 3 - 5 days to bring your total converted amount to $250 USD.

    5 e. Click on Move Money it will load a confirmation page.

    5 f. Click Confirm on the new page.
     
  6. In the following 3 to 5 days you should see a credit of USD in your account, bringing the balance to $250 USD. Score!
Some Extra Notes / Tips:
  • Make sure to set a reminder to login to the account on August 3rd to convert the money!
  • You need to login to the account or make a transaction at least once every 12 months to avoid a $25 "Dormancy Fee" being charged. Details are in the Dormant Account Fee section in the account agreement.
  • If for some reason your account signup is delayed, they have said they will honor this promotion until August 17th, 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I withdraw / access the USD?

You have a few options:
  1. Use the ATM/debit card they send while in the US to get the cash. A $3.00 "Out-of-Country ATM fee" is charged per transaction. You can make a cash withdrawal from a participating ATM network (Interac or Cirrus or THE EXCHANGE) throughout the world. 
  2. Use the ATM/debit card at a US retailer and get cash back. There's no fee for this as far as I know.
  3. Send the money to someone else with US account. A $5.95 CAD fee applies per transaction.
  4. Convert the money back to CAD in your account and transfer to your bank account. No fee for this (as far as I know).
Here are links ZenBanx provided to show ATMs and retailers in the US:

Are there any fees with ZenBanx?

There are no monthly fees. However, to send money to someone else, a fee applies. As per ZenBanx customer service it's $5.95 CAD to send money to someone else in another currency, and $3.00 CAD to withdraw directly from a bank machine in another currency in a foreign country.

There is a $25 "Dormancy Fee" if you don't login to the account or make a transaction at least once every 12 months. Details are in the Dormant Account Fee section in the account agreement.

You can see all of the fees listed in this PDF: http://zenbanx.ca/dms/FeeSchedule.pdf


Other Questions


Also, if you don't already have an account with Tangerine bank, you can get a $50 signup bonus using my "orange key" 14149116S1 by visiting: tangerine.ca/referafriend. They are a Canadian no-fee bank with chequing and savings accounts.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

7 minute workout

Apparently short and high-intensity workouts (also referred to as high-intensity interval training, abbreviated as HIIT) can be more effective than lower-intensity longer workouts, as explained in this article Why Your Workout Should Be High-Intensity. I've been trying out a 7-minute workout for the past few weeks, and I really have been enjoying the nice boost it gives and the convenience that it's so versatile and quick to do. You can see an overview of the moves in the article The Scientific 7-Minute Workout by Gretchen Reynolds of NYTimes.

Here are some of the 7-minute workouts I've tried so far:
  • [YouTube video] - The Scientific 7-Minute High-Intensity Workout by POPSUGAR Fitness - It gives nice visuals and helpful tips for how to do the excercises.
  • ...there are also some good apps my friends have used with android and iOS, but I need to find the links for them. A search in the app stores for "7-minute workout" should yield many options for you.
Of course, be careful and consult a doctor if you may have any concerns with exercise.

Best of luck getting fitter, 7 minutes at a time.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Investigating Acanac 8-Day Internet Outage - February 2013

As mentioned in my previous post there was an Acanac/Distributel cable internet outage lasting 8-days from February 7-14, 2013. Since I don't really know the cause for the issue or why it took an "excessive" amount of time, I've sent the email below to try and get some answers.

In the grand scheme of things an 8-day internet outage is not a very big deal. I'd still like to have some explanation of what happened and why.

Email below sent to Acanac Support on February 25, 2013

Dear Acanac Management,

We are an Acanac customer located in the west end of downtown Toronto. Our cable internet went down on February 7th, 2013 and wasn’t fixed until February 14th, 2013 (I noticed it was working at about 3pm, after resetting the modem).

An 8 day outage seems quite excessive and makes me think that:

  • Rogers is taking an extraordinarily long time to fix their network issues and/or -
  • Acanac is taking a long time to fix issues

For my own piece of mind and for the others I will share your response with, could you please let me know:

1. What happened and why it took so long to fix our internet?
2. Since we are dealing with you rather than Rogers, do we get a slower response time when issues occur?

I doubt you’re happy with the situation also. I appreciate third-party internet providers and we have certainly saved money dealing with you. However I’d like to know more of the facts and reasoning behind this service interruption. I haven’t heard of an 8-day outage happening now or in the past for Rogers customers. I’d like to know what is different with your company.

I know at one point during the outage there was an outage in London due to a transport truck hitting some of the network infrastructure, but that wasn’t the cause of our issue as it occurred after our problems started, and was fixed before our outage was fixed.

Also dealing with your company during the outage was a bit of an adventure, but I’ll send you my comments (and suggested improvements) on that later.

Sincerely,
Steve
Acanac Cable Customer


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Acanac and Distributel Cable Internet Outage - February 7-14, 2013

Our Acanac cable internet outage lasted 8-days from approx 11 AM February 7, 2013 until 3PM February 14, 2013. I've posted a blog post about my inquiry to Acanac to investigate the outage.

Past Status Updates:


February 14 @3PM - After restarting our modem, our internet is now working, thankfully. I'm quite curious how it took 8 days to rectify the problem. I'm going to try and inquire about this - check back for an update!

February 13 @ 5AM - NO INTERNET . Apparently the issue was resolved for many people on February 11. Our house as well as someone else we know nearby who has Acanac is also not working. We re-opened our "ticket" for them to look into again. Tech support has also not replied to any of our support emails.

We're switching companies for sure. Right now it looks like TekSavvy since they have 24/7 tech support that can be called. www.start.ca is also a new company and has faster cable internet plans. No 24/7 tech support though - so I'm apprehensive about using them. I'll check them out though.


As of 5:20 PM on Monday, Februrary 11, 2013 we still have no internet and I haven't received any replies from tech support for 36 hours. We'll probably be switching to TekSavvy since they seem much more organized and professional and their tech support can be called 24/7.

A major problem is that I don't know what is happening. Was there an explosion somewhere? Is this waiting on Rogers to fix? With a 5 day outage and no explanation so far, it makes me think Acanac and Distributel are not very organized and prepared to deal with problems. Their communication is certainly lacking.

My Experiences with Acanac During the Outage

We have Acanac cable internet at our house in Toronto, and its been down since Thursday February 7 (2013) - so 4 days and counting so far! Apparently there's a widespread outage for Acanac and Distributel cable internet customers in the GTA.

The only updates I have are from Distributel's network status page. The status has been more or less the same for the past 4 days:
So I'm not really sure what has happened and why its taking so long to fix. Apparently Rogers customers also had an internet outage on February 7th, but it was fixed by the end of that day (it appeared that way on the @RogersHelps twitter account).

Either way I'd like to get a full report explain this outage once its resolved (which is hopefully soon!).

Acanac Communications Log

Emailing [email protected]

  • Feb 10, 2013 - emailed Acanac support at 5AM to ask for an update. Have not received a reply as of 12PM
  • Feb 11, 2013 @ 4:30 AM EST- have not yet heard back from the original email. I received an automatic response saying a ticket was opened. I sent another reply to ask if it was being worked on.
  • Feb 11, 2013 @ 5:20 PM EST - NO reply to support email yet. 20+ people in queue when calling in.
  • Feb 13, 2013 - received an email from support saying the problem was resolved and to reset my modem. However, that didn't work. We had to call back and open another ticket, and the internet was fixed on February 14th for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Changing FreePBX postfix SMTP server (to Gmail)

FreePBX uses the "postfix" package by default to send emails. This usually works for most people, but since the emails are just being sent directly from the FreePBX machine and not a standard mail server, it is most likely to get flagged as spam.

To lower the chance of messages getting flagged as spam, I setup a Gmail account and used its SMTP servers to send email.

FreePBX Version

I have performed these steps on the FreePBX 1.814 and an earlier distribution. If you're using postfix for email, then these instructions should work for you.


Prerequisites
  • A gmail account created at gmail.com
  • Knowledge of using SSH command line
Instructions
  1. Add the following lines to /etc/postfix/main.cf file:
    /etc/postfix/main.cf
    relayhost = [smtp.gmail.com]:587
    smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
    smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
    smtp_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
    smtp_use_tls = yes

  2. Create the file /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd with the following contents:
    /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
    [smtp.gmail.com]:587 [email protected]:password

  3. Restrict permissions on the postfix file:
    chmod 400 /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd

  4. Hash the file into a .db that Postfix will read:
    postmap /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd

  5. Change the owner of the sasl_passwd to the postfix user:
    chown postfix /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd

  6. Reload postfix:
    /etc/init.d/postfix reload

Friday, November 30, 2012

What's the current version of VMware ESXi?

You can find the current version of VMware ESXi (and ESX) on the VMware ESX Wikipedia page. Its quickest option, and usually updated within a few days of release.

The current version is shown in the top right of the page, as shown below:



Sunday, June 3, 2012

HTML include macro broken in upgrade to Confluence 4.2.4

I've resolved this issue, but I wanted to write a quick post about the issue and the problem that caused it.

I chose to upgrade our Confluence installation that was running 4.2 to 4.2.4, due to some stability and plugin install issues we were experiencing. The upgrade went smoothly, but I just found that some embedded HTML content was no longer working, what was appearing was an error in the page:

Unknown macro 'html'

The HTML include macro was also not showing up in the macro browser.

The solution? Re-enabling some modules for the "Confluence HTML Macros" plugin. Instructions for re-enabling the plugin are found on Atlassian's site here.

I enabled to modules:

html
(html-xhtml)


-and-

html-include
(html-include-xhtml)


and things were up and running again after that. It seems confluence may have added this xhtml module since the 4.2 release, and caused a conflict which lead to the modules being disabled.