Friday, August 14, 2009

4:11 to Ooma


YABT!!! (Yet Another Blog Takeover)

Greetings all you fellow geeks at heart! This is Mr. Sister once again stealing the bully pulpit right from under 5thsister's feet! Well, she is working this weekend and wanted someone to fill in for her. After she contacted over a dozen people and all of them turned her down, she finally relented and let me post! So, sit back and enjoy my little story I call the 4:11 to Ooma!

This is an excerpt from a recent conversation I had with a Time Warner Sales agent as she tried to get me to sign up for their telephone service.

TWS: Mr. Sister, can I ask how much you are spending on long distance service?

Mr. Sister: Sure.

TWS: Uh, how much are you spending on long distance service?

Mr. Sister: Nothing.

TWS: So, you don’t make long-distance calls?

Mr. Sister: I didn’t say that.

TWS: Well, what about telephone service. How much do you pay a month for telephone service?

Mr. Sister: Nothing.

TWS: Do you have a home phone?

Mr. Sister: Yes, I’m actually using it right now!

TWS: A cell phone?

Mr. Sister: No, this is a home phone.

This conversation went on for a while, confusing the heck out of the sales representative. But, I didn’t tell her how this was possible. Do you think I was just trying to torment her? Well, yes, but that is not the reason I don’t have a home phone bill!

So, you are probably wondering what I wasn’t telling that poor sales representative. How can we have a home phone and no phone bill?

Okay, I’ll tell you. One of the newest toys/gadgets at the 5thsister house hold is Ooma. What is Ooma? I asked the same thing! When I was researching Voice over IP devices, VOIP for short (yes, some people DON’T lead exciting lives!). By the way, VOIP is the technology that allows you to make telephone calls using an internet connection instead of a phone line (unless you have DSL, then you are stuck with that phone line).

Where was I… oh yes, anyway, I was searching to see if there was a service that could use to replace our dear old Ma Bell. And… Lo and behold on Amazon.com, I saw this VOIP system called Ooma. The ratings were outstanding! The cost of ownership was a high-speed internet connection (Check), and the Ooma device (Which was on sale for $229). Further research told me that the company had some very powerful backers and wasn’t a fly-by-night operation. The only detractor (from the reviews) was that the tech support was lacking.

I knew the 5thsister was not going to buy into my grandiose scheme to dump AT&T for a free internet phone unless I could prove two things. First, was quality of the service – It must be as good as AT&T. Second was that we could keep our old number. Well, the first was easy, AT&T had terrible call quality to our house (and every time we would complain, they made us prove that it wasn’t caused in the house first.) Also, our neighbor was using an internet phone service (albeit they were using the Time Warner Cable phone service). The second bump was also easy… although it cost $39.95, we could port our current phone number to our Ooma phone system.

So, with credit card in hand, I bought our Ooma system. Shortly after I bought it, Costco started carrying them at their warehouse clubs (which is great! Costco would only deal with financially secure companies so the product should be around for a while). Anyway, when I received the unit, it was completely plug-n-play. I had the thing up in less than a half hour with our same phone number!

Knocking on wood, I say we haven’t had any problems with our phone system (We’ve had it over a month). I sometimes forget that we even have it. Now, before you go off and buy an Ooma, be aware that the long distance is not totally free… Yep, you have to limit your long distance to under 3,000 minutes a month. If you talk that much, you probably have no time to read this blog entry in the first place.

So, the pros are:

  • Easy set up
  • Number portability
  • Free voicemail
  • Free Long Distance (within the US)
  • Low cost international calls
  • Free Caller ID
  • Free Call Blocking
  • Works with your current phones (no specialized phones)

Cons are:

  • Slow tech support (per Amazon.com review - I've had nothing but great communications from the company)
  • You need a high speed internet connection (preferably cable)
  • If you have DSL, you can't save too much on your phone bill (most phone companies don't offer naked DSL)
  • Doesn’t make AT&T, nor the internet companies selling VOIP happy (well actually this is a pro)
By the way, to all you 5thsister blog followers... Do you know HOW I know that 5thsister likes this device? She never mentions it! Not one word. In the world of technology, sometimes silence is golden!

Cheers everyone!

Mr. Sister.

7 comments:

Pelican Joe said...

On Amazon.com 556 reviews and a 4.5 rating. That is just amazing! By the way, for those that hadn't figured it out, there was a movie called 3:10 to Yuma. 411 is the old telephone information number (a play on telephones and a play on information). If you liked the post, please give me your comments. If you didn't like the post, I'm sure I'll hear about it :)

Raoulysgirl said...

I enjoy these "tech savvy" posts!!! Keep them coming!!!

Lissaloo said...

What a neat thing, I love the conversation with the rep. nice one :)

wexfordcindy said...

That is the first I heard of it....so do you use the Magic Jack with this system? Great blog! Mr Sister is quite a writet! Funny guy!

Pelican Joe said...

Hi Wex, I have found that Magic Jack is a adequate utility tool, but not a good home phone system. Utility meaning that you can go all over the world and as long as you have a Magic Jack, computer, and an internet connection, you can call anyone in the US. As of about 3 Months ago, I've started having major problems with my magic jack. About 1 month ago, it went out all together. I got my money's worth out of it, but I'm not going to purchase it again. Since then, google rolled out Google Voice that I use as a number aggregator. If I am going to be traveling out of country, I will check back into Magic Jack.

Now Ooma is a good home phone replacement and as far as I can tell, it performs as good or better than the other home phone replacements (e.g. Vonage, Time Warner Phone).

Sorry to miss guid you!

wexfordcindy said...

Glad to hear back on the Magic Jack! Was using you for my Guinea Pig, since I don't know anyone else that has one yet! I see that Magic Jack is going crazy advertising on TV lately...I wonder if the extra volume of people using it, messed it up for you? I was a computer geek friend that I'm sending your link to, he's always on hunt for cool techy things! Thanks for getting back to me! Say "hi" to 5th Sis for me! Cindy

5thsister said...

Thank you, Mr. Sister, for another wonderful and whacky blog takeover. And I even learned something about myself, to boot!

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