Mobile Phone in Mauritius

In an earlier post, I mentioned that we purchased the my.t tourist package. In this article, I will explain how to configure the iPhone when using the Dual SIM feature.

Fig. 1: All Configurations are in Cellular

In Canada I have the Koodo mobile service, and when I arrived in Mauritius I purchased the my.t tourist package. This package can be provisioned with an eSim. An eSim is an electronic SIM card. This is a digital, virtual SIM card residing in the secure memory of the phone instead of a physical SIM card. Any iPhone above an iPhone Xs has the ability to add one or more eSIM card. My Koodo service has an existing physical SIM card already within my iPhone. Both the eSIM card and the existing physical Koodo SIM card can coexist on the iPhone. In other words, the iPhone can access both networks at the same time. This is essentially the Dual SIM feature.

Fig. 2: Adding an eSIM

To add the eSIM, simply goto Cellular Settings and select Add eSIM. You will need to scan the QR code which is provided by the my.t provider. This is important. Remember that you must have WiFi service before you scan the QR code. We did this at the airport using the telecom kiosk WiFi. You can have eight or more eSIM installed but only two phone numbers active at the same time, so this is quite a handy feature if you frequently travel to many destinations.

Once the eSIM is activated, you should have my.t service in Mauritius. By default the iPhone labeled my existing Koodo service as Primary and my my.t service as Personal. I renamed the Personal to Travel as depicted in Fig. 2. I also make sure that Cellular Data and Default Voice Line is using the Travel (my.t) service.

Fig. 3: Ensure Data Roaming is OFF

The other thing that I did was to ensure that Data Roaming is off. See Fig. 3. You can do this by tapping into the details of the SIM service. In my case, I tapped on “Travel”.

I also went online to Koodo self-service and activated Easy Roam® International. At this point, you are probably wondering why are you roaming with Koodo when you already have a local Mauritian eSIM? The answer is that I am simply enabling Koodo roaming services but will actually not be using it. The Koodo roaming needs to be enabled so that my existing Koodo phone number is “reachable” by voice and SMS from Canada and elsewhere.

Fig. 4: My Primary Service Configuration

To ensure that I do not roam on the Koodo network, I then have to make sure that Data Roaming for my Primary service is also turned off, as depicted in Fig. 4. Notice that the “Network Selection” is EMTEL-MRU instead of Koodo, because Koodo is roaming under EMTEL.

So now while I’m in Mauritius when I use data and voice, by default it will use the my.t local Mauritian service. However, I am also reachable from Canada with my existing Koodo number. Koodo roaming is only activated if I accept an inbound call from Canada or other international countries other than Mauritius. Not to worry, receiving international SMS messages is free. This is especially handy for two factor authentications, like logging into a bank. You can even customize which service each contact should use, but I won’t go into that here.

Any apps that uses your primary number, like WhatsApp and WeChat will still be okay, because that number is still active, but those apps will use the local data service. You do not need to change your number that is associated with WhatsApp and WeChat.

If all goes well, your iPhone should report dual services.

Fig. 5: This is what your iPhone

Finally I turned on automatic Data Switching, so when I go back home to Canada, Koodo data will be used again.

Fig. 6: Turn on data switching

Hopefully you will find this useful.

To Mauritius!

September 19 6:55pm (Toronto):

Today we are heading off to Mauritius, taking an Air France flight this evening. I’m going to try to live blog our travel experience here. It has been several years since our last flight, so it will be interesting to see how much have changed and what remains the same.

We arrived at the airport about 4 hours prior to our flight. The check-in counter for Air France / KLM in Terminal 3 opened about 3.5 hours before the flight. This was perfect timing. We had our bags checked and passed security in about 45 minutes since arriving at the airport.

The terminal is super busy. Glad that masks are mandatory here. We situated ourselves in front of Smoke’s Burritorie to kill about 2 hours or so.

September 20 3:33am (In Air):

Just finished breakfast and we are close to Paris now. Ended up paying for Wifi on the flight costing about $45 for the entire flight. Caught up on the House of Dragons and did some surfing.

Flight Information

September 20 11:31am (CDG Paris):

Even though we are connecting and going through the same terminal (2E), we still had to go through security. The security at CDG airport is more strict. Anything that is electronics had to be taken out. This is quite different than in Toronto. A couple of us were caught and had to get our bags separately inspected. Now we are going to the gate for our connecting flight to Mauritius.

Our layover is approximately 5 hours long. We spent the time snacking and napping. I was partially amazed that our Apple Pay continues to work flawlessly with my Apple Watch at the airport. However, not all electrical outlets had power. This is a bit of a mystery. My theory is that power consumption that is impacting the entire EU, and perhaps this is an energy conservation policy that is being enacted. Just 30 minutes before our boarding, we finally discovered an active outlet. We quickly charged our Apple Watches that were all on their last legs.

September 20 3:30pm (CDG Paris – Gate M45 – Boarding):

During the boarding process, half of us had no issues with our electronic boarding passes and their corresponding QR codes worked flawlessly. The other half were sidelined to get our passport rechecked. I am not sure if this is a random selection process, or something went wrong with the QR code validation.

September 21 5:50am (Mauritius Airport):

There was no issues with immigration, since we had our health information form all previously filled out. We got to baggage claim quite quickly.

Mobile shop at airport

I previously signed up for the my.t tourist package. My expectation was that once we landed we can just scan the eSim with the QR codes provisioned after my registration. Unfortunately, this did not go as plan. Our cell activations with the provided QR code continuously fail to activate. While other waited for our checked baggages at the baggage claim area, I went out first to the telecom kiosk to see if we can resolve the activation issue.

I was told by the representative, that a face-to-face check-in is required at the kiosk so that a passport authentication can be performed prior to the activation of the eSim. All of this makes sense, I just wished they told us this when they provided the QR code!

The good news is that everything got sorted out and we all had our dual eSim ready to go online and make calls.

September 21 7:15am (Mauritius Airport – Parking Lot):

Our vacation home

We found our driver and started our journey to our vacation home. This took much longer than I thought. The traffic in Mauritius was horrendous! Someone needs to tell urban planning that roundabouts and motorways do not mix. The concept of on and off ramps are the way to go.

September 21 9:00am (Mauritius – Trou aux Biches):

Finally reached our home away from home. The host was very gracious and nice, and the hand over was without a hitch.

Another Car Reservation

Last year on July 27, 2021, I placed a reservation for a RAV4 Prime with a Toyota dealer. It is now over one year, and the latest news from the dealer is that I am in position number three. However, they are currently only getting one or two cars a year!

Our initial take on the RAV4 Prime is that it is a hybrid, so it eliminates any range anxiety while still satisfies any day-to-day trips with a 60km all battery range. We have good experience with our Prius Prime which offers us a similar hybrid experience but with only a 35-40 km battery range.

Toyota RAV 4 Prime

While we continue the wait, it looks like many more electric vehicles (other than Tesla’s) are coming on the scene. There are recent additions from BYD, Polestar, Ford, Hyundai, and KIA. What caught my eye from a recent YouTube-surfing-session is the Hyundai Ioniq 5. This vehicle was introduced last December and is now “available for sale” in Canada. It has comparable range (~400km) and charge speed (350 kW DC) with the Tesla Model Y, sans the hefty price tag.


The styling and look of the Ioniq 5 was not appealing to my taste. I then learned that the KIA EV6 is essentially the same vehicle but has a more traditional and sporty styling. Also a quick online build & price investigation showed that the Ioniq is a couple of thousand more expensive if we want to match the AWD long range trims.

So after much YouTube and online research, today I placed another car reservation for the KIA EV6. I opted for the trim named, AWD Long Range with GT-Line Package 1. I skipped the sunroof and the more fancied seats.

The bad news is that the sales guy is projecting a “three years” wait! He says that much of this will depend on supply chain issues. There is a good chance that it will be much sooner than the current projection.

On a side note, here is something else I discovered relating to KIA quality.

JD Power: Click for orignal source

I did not realize KIA ranked so high. The Buick and Dodge brand frankly surprised me as well. I wonder the accuracy on the above report, so take it for what it’s worth.

Nevertheless, I am keeping the RAV 4 reservation to see what options I have in 2023. Today, I also discovered that the Model Y may get a price cut and start sporting the new LFP batteries from CATL.

We will see! Who knew that buying an EV in 2022 is so difficult! This does not bold well for the planet.

Radar on the Bike

When I first started to ride my road bike, it was just my ears that was primarily the oncoming car detector from the rear. As drivers begin to pass more fiercely, I started to ride with these inexpensive USB charged rear lights.

USB rear lights

I got the this pair for like less than $20 CAD on Amazon. They last for about five hours and they typically don’t need to be charged on every ride, more like every other ride. Since I got two of them, I have one as a reserve and swap the other when the active one runs out of batteries. They also do not take long to charge, typically less than an hour or so.

When I upgraded my bike computer from the Garmin Edge 500 to the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, I was wondering whether I should get the Garmin Varia. At the time, I personally did not think it was worth it. These $300 CAD gadgets has a rear facing radar that detect passing cars, and relay their relative distances on your bike computer. The concept is seemingly, very cool, and it gives you about a 5 to 10 seconds warning before the oncoming vehicle actually pass you. The Varia also can detect and show multiple vehicles coming and it is pretty good in determining whether it is a vehicle or a bike that is passing you.

Garmin Varia RTL515

With the advent of the pandemic, it just seems there are more dangerous drivers out there when passing cyclists. I do not know whether this is a result of lower driving test standards, or simply people are out of practice because they are doing less driving. Regardless the reason, the result is more dangerous.

This week I spotted the Varia RTL515 on sale on Amazon, so I picked one up for $250.99 CAD. Also my wife was heckling me to get one. I guess safety is priceless afterall.

On my inaugural 50km ride with the Varia today, here are my thoughts on using the Varia. First the device and its vehicle detection worked extremely well. Throughout the entire ride, there was only one instance when the display showed no cars, while a car passed me in a split second. My ears still serve as backup. There was also an instance of a false detection, when a group of three cyclists were behind me.

Each detection comes with two beeping notifications. The first when it first detects one or more vehicles. The second when the way is clear. I am debating whether I should turn off these audible notifications. They were starting to get annoying after an hour, especially on busy roads during rush hours.

One area that does help a lot is when making a left turn, the device is a great early warning system whether there are any vehicles behind you. This is an excellent added assurance.

I think it is extremely easy for someone to take the detection results for granted, but I would say that this investment does not relegate the practice of checking your blind spot or cycling in a straight line into the whelm of extinction. In the end, it is just more information for you as the rider to process, but you will still have to judge your own situation (in the moment) and act safely and accordingly.

First Hydro Bill with Solar

I cannot believe that I am actually excited to receive a bill! Our first bill from Alectra Utilities covering the consumption period since our net meter was installed on May 4th has arrived.

Our July Alectra Utilities Bill Extract (click to enlarge)

This bill covered almost two and half months. As you can see from the above extract, we have given back a total of 2,763 kWh and used 1,621 kWh yielding a net of 1,142 kWh, which Alectra credited back to us at $0.115 / kWh.

The surprise is that this credit can be used to offset both the delivery and other added surcharges. It looks like we still benefit from any other regulatory and provincial rebates and they are incremental to our credit.

The net result of all of this is that not only did we not have to pay any electricity from May 4th until July 14th, a period which definitely covered some heavy air conditioner usage, we also generated $61.80 worth of credit on our account.

So, how much did we save? I looked back at our bills for the same period from last year (2021), and found:

Amounts From Last Year’s Bills (from 2021)

Although we do not have perfect alignment for comparison since I cannot find a bill in 2021 that matches the May 04th starting period, I think it is clear that we have saved approximately $450.

Of course it is not only about the money, but this bill has confirmed that our solar system has the ability to not only to stay away from grid electricity (after netting everything out) but also to give some back even during the peak summer months. This is also a confirmation that our Toyota Prius Prime (a hybrid plugin vehicle) is now also indirectly funded by solar. We were not certain about this when we first design the system, so I am ecstatic to have this final confirmation!

Live Monitoring of Electricity Consumption in Ontario

Today I came across Gridwatch. This is an interesting web app that provides a live monitoring of Ontario’s current electrical production and consumption.

From: Environment Canada

As the screen capture shows, we have a heat warning today. This situation is currently being shared by UK and Europe, where they are experiencing temperature in excess of 40ºC, clearly much worse than we have it here.

The hype of these high temperatures in the media caused me to wonder what is our current electrical consumption?

Which lead me to do a quick search on Google, and resulted in me finding the Gridwatch web app, and its home page:

Gridwatch Home Screen (click to enlarge)

Aside from how much electricity we are using, the most interesting part is the CO2e number which is currently at 81g/kWh. Since my solar installation, I have generated 6,450 kWh of electricity through the use of my solar panels from April 12 to today. Do some simple math, this means I have prevented 522 kg (~1/2 tonne) of CO2 emissions.

In a previous post, I mentioned that an average person in Canada uses around 14.2 tons of CO2 per year. From this perspective, we are just placing a dent on our overall CO2 footprint. However in this Reuters article, it claims that we have to remove 1 billion tonnes of CO2. If we do some rough math, the average per capita onus is (1 billion tonnes / 7 billion people) = 143 kg. Given our household is 4 people, we have an obligation to remove 572 kg of CO2 to meet the goal of 1 billion tonnes of CO2 worldwide removal.

I say we are pretty close! Okay, we can obviously do more and we will.

AirPods Pro Replacement

I purchased my AirPods Pro as soon as they were launched back in 2019. During the pandemic, I had one earbud replaced due to crackling noises when I moved my head. This replacement was performed under warranty, so Apple provided great service.

About two weeks ago the same thing happened with the other original earbud. I called it in, and was advised to book a Genius Bar appointment, which I did yesterday.

Today I went to the Apple Store, waited for 15 minutes, and they replaced both my earbuds no questions asked. Apparently to Apple’s credit, they found out that not one but both earbuds were defective.

The breakdown of the earbud was fortuitous timing. About a month ago, my wife informed me of this AirPods Pro Service Program. I did not think much of it because both were working. Now I am glad such a program existed.

When I first started to use the brand new AirPods Pro, I found out how bad my previous pair really were. The noise cancellation on these new earbuds worked twice as good as my defective pair.

Once again Apple Services can be dependent upon. I am glad to be sporting brand new AirPods Pro earbuds as a result of their service quality. These new earbuds will have a 90 days warranty.

What more can I say? I will continue to purchase Apple products not only because of their quality but also because of their prompt service and retail presence, a competitive advantage or feature that is often overlooked.

Rogers All Day Outage

Today we experienced the longest residential Internet outage that I have personally experienced since I have been a Rogers customer for more than 20 years.

My firewall records show:

Logs From My Unifi Dream Machine Pro

As per the records above, one can observe that initial instability started at around 2:15am and then at around 4:51am it failed for a very long time. There were attempts at around noon and in the evening to resurrect the system. These attempts proved to be unsuccessful. In each of these attempts, there were issues with domain name lookups, and possible routing problems.

Our Koodo LTE on our mobile devices were able to make phone calls, but data rates were very slow. Usability was intermittent at best. To get the latest news, we had to resort back to our emergency radio.

Our Stored Emergency Radio

We found out that this radio’s dynamo generator no longer works, and we should probably replace it soon. We tried solar but finally settled for batteries to operate the radio.

It turns out the whole country is impacted with specific incidences of:

  • Point of Sales (POS) terminal issues with using and clearing debit cards;
  • Work at home businesses can no longer function;
  • Issues with ArriveCan applications for those entering the country;
  • Possible 911 reception issues in certain areas;
  • This Toronto Star article has more.

I am writing this post at around 10:15pm. At this point the Internet is backup now longer than any of the previous Rogers attempts in fixing the outage. I hope we are up for good.

My speculation is that Rogers’ provisioning database was hacked and got corrupted causing the disablement of Internet access by all of their customers. This is my GUESS. I have no proof. We will see what really happened if Rogers choose to divulge such information in the near future.

There has been precious little information at this point on what caused the outage. My curiosity is piqued to find out what happened, and how Rogers can prevent this in the future.

Another NAS Storage Upgrade

Our home Network Attached Storage (NAS) media server is going below 4 Terabytes of free space. The Seagate IronWolf 12TB hard drives were on sale with Amazon offering them below $300. I figure that I swap out two old 6TB drives with these new 12TB drives resulting in a net increase of a further 6TB of storage.

The last time this was done was around two years ago when I replaced 4TB and 6TB hard drives with 10TB hard drives.

So far the mdadm and LVM storage architecture has proven to be very flexible. I am able to mix drives of different sizes and able to grow our media storage volume over time.

Previously I had to make two swaps, each swap for each drive in the array. Effectively I am changing two 6TB drives for two 12TB drives because they are in a Raid 1 array. I cannot swap both at the same time, because I have to incrementally sync the data from the old drives to the new ones.

This has always been inconvenient because it means opening the physical server twice. However, this time I used my USB 3.0 HDD dock. I inserted one of two 12TB new drives into the dock, and then I temporarily created a three disks Raid 1 array. Once the sync is completed, which took 10+ hours, I remove one 6TB drive from the array configuration and I then physically replace both 6TB drives with both 12TB new drives in the server chassis, and place one old 6TB drive into the dock. The 6TB drive in the dock is the one that is still in the array configuration. I then add the second 12TB drive that is already in the server chassis to the three disk array. Once again, a sync is required to accommodate the second 12TB drive. This also took 10+ hours. Once the second sync is completed, I can finally remove the second 6TB drive in the dock from the array and have the array returned back to a two disk Raid 1 array.

The above description is probably quite confusing, but this technique allowed me to just have a single down time for the server instead of two when swapping hard drives in the server chassis.

There will be an additional downtime when I grow or resize the LVM volume and file system.

After this upgrade I should have the following Raid 1 (fully mirrored) arrays:

  • An array with 2 x 8TB
  • An array with 2 x 10TB
  • An array with 2 x 10TB
  • An array with 2 x 12TB

The above four arrays are combined into a logical volume using LVM that results in a total volume size of 40TB (fully mirrored) or a little over 36TiB of usable space (increasing from the old 31TiB).

% df -h
Filesystem                        Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev                              7.7G     0  7.7G   0% /dev
tmpfs                             1.6G  3.4M  1.6G   1% /run
/dev/sdj1                         454G   64G  367G  15% /
tmpfs                             7.7G   37M  7.7G   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs                             5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs                             7.7G     0  7.7G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mapper/airvideovg2-airvideo   37T   26T  9.1T  74% /mnt/airvideo
tmpfs                             1.6G     0  1.6G   0% /run/user/997
tmpfs                             1.6G     0  1.6G   0% /run/user/1000
/dev/sda1                         5.5T  548G  4.7T  11% /mnt/6tb

As you can see from above, the /mnt/airvideo now has 9.1TiB free!

The NAS motherboard and CPU is now over three years old. I may give it a couple of more years before considering another hardware upgrade.

Thoughts on Inflation

Like others, I have been reading and experiencing about inflation. It seems like everything but GPU graphics cards are going up. Everything from prices at the pump, grocery shopping, and eating out are all going up. In short, these are the commodities that are needed to sustain life.

Normal people do not stock up on extra food and gasoline, not in huge supplies any ways. Most of us typically buy and use them as we need them. Therefore, price increases in these categories of goods are most likely caused by supply constraints and not by excess demand.

When central banks around the world sees high inflation rates, their immediate monetary policy change is to increase interest rates. This increases the cost of borrowing and impacts on cash flow. For example, you tend to use your credit card less and therefore you end up buying less. There will also be less investments and ventures. People will tend to save more.

If the current inflation is a result of supply constraints of key commodities necessary to sustain our current way of life, then a forced demand reduction means a pare back to our quality of life. The increased interest rate will have a dampening effect on items other than food and energy, at least not immediately.

It will eventually reduce demand on the essentials when people are indirectly impacted through layoffs due to lower business activities in other areas. This means people will have to buy less food and consume less energy. A lower quality of life.

Okay. Why raise interest rates then if it is going to do more damage than good? Unfortunately interest rate is the only main lever that central banks have. Interest rates will have to increase to the point where demand of the essentials are align back to their corresponding supply levels. This means to fight this type of inflation, we will necessarily see a recession in the economy and our livelihood.

The alternative is to allow for inflation rate to go uncheck and await for supply to naturally fix itself. I do not think this will work as high inflation effectively act as a brake to economic growth for everyone. The central banks now face a difficult decision. Let inflation create hardship for all or raise interest rates to cause pain for some (less than all), and reduce demand on the essentials. I fear they will have no choice but to choose the latter. As a result of this choice there will be a further widening of our social class gap. The rich will be more prepared to weather through the increase in borrowing costs. They may even seek opportunities to increase their social status. The poor will have to deal with making ends meet with less necessities.

In short, things will get much worst before they get better. When inflation is tamed, and I think this will be some time considering the current Ukrainian war, sanctions, and logistical issues, the poor will be less well off than the rich in the next cycle.

Let me know your thoughts on my thoughts.