Archive for August, 2007
I signed up with Packet 8 today and filled out the forms to port my number from ViaTalk. I’m going to miss all the cool web features that ViaTalk had but in the end they proved to be an unreliable service.
I can’t comment on Packet 8′s service since I don’t have the equipment yet but I have heard good things about them. Also, Packet 8 has been around 20 years and they have several patents, so they will probably stay in business for a while. Did I mention they turned a profit last quarter?
So, what’s wrong with ViaTalk?
- Voicemail was horrible. It must be running on an overworked windows box. It stops and starts during playback and the greeting is often choppy. I also found this to be the case with braincast. obviously the same system
- Incoming calls get sent to voicemail without ringing my phone about 10% of the time. Maybe there is something wrong in my SIP setup but 90% of the time incoming calls work fine.
- Call waiting stopped working after a few weeks. All incoming calls are sent to VM when I am on the line now.
- Management refuses to admit that they are having issues keeping up with the new subscribers. Brendan only posts on forums outside of the viatalk site forums (why address people you already have?) and on those forums he says they have plenty of capacity and the long wait times to support will be under control in days. I would rather hear that they are a bit overwhelmed and are bringing in hardware and resources to address the surge in membership. Transparency is key.
Warning for people using the viatalk voicemail rss feed. Don’t post your link anywhere public since search engines will find it. Want to listen to ViaTalk customer’s personal voice mails? Check this out.
These people must have posted their RSS link somewhere.
One final plug. If you sign up for Packet 8 use me as a referral.
Disclosure.. I own EGHT (packet8 ) stock but I also own PRTL (lingo) and I went with SunRocket over both of them 2.5 years ago. yeah. i owned them 2.5 years ago too. VOIP was looking so promising.
I was left a comment asking if I thought we would be getting a refund from SunRocket. My reply got long so I’m creating a new post.
I don’t think we’ll get anything back from SunRocket. They ran out of money so I don’t expect we’ll get anything. I interviewed for a job with SunRocket about 2.5 years ago. I’m now glad that I didn’t get the job. Back then they were small and thrifty. Once ex-AOL management came in they were spending too much to attract anymore VC funding.
VCs want big returns. $200/year VOIP is not a big return business but it certainly can be cash flow positive. I think independent VOIP providers can succeed. I suspect ViaTalk will survive because they are a private company and Packet 8 (EGHT) will survive because they are an established company that doesn’t have to rely on VC. Lingo is part of Primus (PRTL) and they have been reinventing the company over the past few years. Time will tell if they can turn the company around.
I’m looking forward to BarCamp this Saturday but I’m feeling like a total slacker. I haven’t suggested or volunteered to run any sessions. Hopefully, inspiration will find me on Saturday.
I’m hoping that this is just a start of more tech conferences in the DC area. Most of the conferences here are geared towards government agencies so real techies end up leaving town for the “cool” conferences. RefreshDC does some great things but I (maybe incorrectly) think of that as more of a designers group. I’m sure Mr. Garber will set me straight. I guess I should attend the next meeting and find out because I’m all about getting real technology talk and conferences in DC.
I was happy to see that the minivan was no longer parked in my yard when I returned home tonight. There is damage to my lawn but fortunately no oil. I put the grass back but its so dry this year I doubt it has a chance or re-rooting.
From this picture I took it looks like the driver might have lost the front wheel before running into my yard. Note the scrape marks on the road.
This morning as I left for work I noticed a minivan had crashed into my yard. The left front wheel sheered off when it hit the curb and the occupants left as the minivan was no longer functional. I would guess the driver was under the influence of something.
With my string of bad luck lately I might as well focus on the good positive items here.
- The van missed the telephone pole by a foot or so. If it hit it, I would have lost power, cable, phone, etc
- The van missed my car. Having just put new tires and pipes on it I guess this is a good thing.
Of course being the pessimist here are the negatives that will probably happen today
- The oil pan (if not already cracked) will crack when the tow truck drags the van out leaving me with an oil spill in my yard
- The process of dragging the van will do damage to my lawn (if the oil doesn’t)
I’ll put up pictures tomorrow. The van had “pimp my ride” written on the hood in black tape and a “Dead Kennedys” symbol made of tape on the side. Classic.
Was it just a coincidence that I was wearing an AIM mail “Pretty Vacant” t-shirt as I left?
I had the displeasure of having Midas install my 3rd exhaust system on Saturday. 4th if you include the original. Sure the muffler is free but they toss in a few hours of labor for a 30 minute job. This doesn’t bother me as much as the wait. I am an impatient person and if I show up before the place opens I expect a quick turnaround. Here is my story/nightmare.
- Got to Midas at 7:50AM. They open at 8 and I was the 1st one there.
- The manager Mike had my car on the lift at 8. Things were looking good
- 8:15AM. My car is still idling on the lift. No one is looking at it
- 8:20AM. Someone finally lowers my car and turns it off
- 8:50AM. I get the usual story that everything has to be replaced
- 9:00AM . We agree on a price. I ask if they have the parts. Mike doesn’t know
- 9:15AM. I ask Mike again if they have the parts. He is now angry with me for asking questions. He said they need to be ordered and they may take an hour to arrive. I ask if I can take my car and return when the parts are available. Mike tells me to chill and to go for a walk or something. Mike says that when he is rushed he works slower. Nice.
- 9:16AM I go for a walk
- 10:00AM I return from my walk. My pipes are now off the car. Mike makes a statement that makes it sound like my pipes are in.
- 10:20AM. Mechanic sees me pacing around. Says the pipes are NOT in. I start to wonder if they have even been ordered. At this point I’m their hostage as I can’t leave with no-exhaust.
- 10:30AM. I ask Mike if there is any update. I’ve been there 2.5 hours and I would not have waited around if it was going to take this long.
- 10:31AM. A customer waiting for an oil change tells Mike that he is rude for not addressing my questions in a professional manner. Mike and the customer start arguing and the customer takes his car and leaves.
- 10:32AM. I’m so screwed. I’m sure now that not only will Mike cut my brake lines but that my parts will never actually arrive.
- 11:30AM. Car is done. I exchange pleasantries with Mike and get home. Mike gives me a coupon for brake work. Now I’m even more worried about my brake lines. :-\
- 12:03:26 EST I get a call from the Midas I was just at. The customer who stormed out filed a complaint with the regional manager and Mike, the customer and the Regional Manager wanted to hear my side of the story.
- 12:08AM. Call is done. The regional manager was a nice guy. Apparently I can get a few free oil changes for my troubles. The sad thing is, I do my own oil changes because I hate waiting for people to do them.
I need a chill pill. I’m pushing 40 and I’m still as high strung as ever.
It looks like SunRocket member services communications are running on auto-pilot. I just got the following email today.
Dear Antonio, Thank you for being a loyal SunRocket member. From time to time we like to check in to hear how you are doing with the service and to learn where we can improve. We sincerely value your business and strive to ensure that your experience is a great one. Please click below to take a short survey and provide your valuable input.
Thank your for being a valued SunRocket member.
Sincerely,SunRocket Member Service
8045 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182
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Too bad the survey link didn’t work. I have some feedback for them.
If you sign up for ViaTalk and you want to throw a referral my way use the following link.
The person who referred me gave me his phone number to use as a referral when I signed up but they wouldn’t accept it. Make sure you use the email function on their site to invite friends. From there you could build a URL like I did.
You can also make some pretty funny referral pages by messing around with the URL in the email.
Today a mortgage company left me a recorded message. I am on the do not call list so I thought it was interesting that I got this call 1 day after my number ported to viatalk. I suspect its just a coincidence but would love to know if other SunRocket or ViaTalk customers got a call today.
This mortgage company could have paid to become affiliated with SunRocket so they could legally cold call us. Oh the conspiracy theory.
The call was from 18663035008 (CHL Financial Services). Leave a comment if they cold-called you.
Just FYI. I never received an email when my number port was completed. My only indication was that my phone stopped working. As mentioned in my previous post, when this happens do the following
- Log into viatalk using your ported number and existing password.
- Goto softfone config and get your new password
- Update your device with new number and password.
Also.. for some reason Brendan (ViaTalk) CEO started answering questions on the DSL Reports forums. I would have expected him on the ViaTalk forums. :-\ His thread is here