... you US-Americans just need to get with the program...
We've had chip and PIN in Canada for years now, too. It's just the USA that hasn't caught up with the rest of the world.
But as someone who plays a lot of PC games, do you want Microsoft to start downloading and installing a bunch of updates whenever it wants, even if you're in the middle of game, or would you prefer the option to hold off until a more convenient time?
I understand why Microsoft considers it important to keep security patches up-to-date, but at least give the users some flexibility on when to apply the updates.
I'm also in Atlantic Canada. Have you looked into the Pay as You Go/Prepaid plan with Rogers or Bell Aliant? They offer daily or weekly data packages you activate when you need it. These range from $1-2/day to $5/week with Rogers. Caller ID is included with prepaid.
I'm currently on Pay as You Go with my basic phone, but when I finally decide to replace it, I'd buy the phone outright and stick with the prepaid plans. I don't know about your usage -- $100 prepaid is good for a year, but even if it only lasts you three months, it's still cheaper than getting locked into a 3 year contract at $50-70/month.
A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions that make it fail. -- Jerry Ogdin