Number ported to Packet8

Sep 7, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

Today I confirmed that my ViaTalk number was ported to Packet 8 and I canceled my ViaTalk service.   This was the best experience I have had with ViaTalk so far.   I pay $1.95 for priority support so within 2 minutes my account was canceled.   The fact that I did BYOD and was on a monthly plan is what made this quick and painless.

Packet 8 has all the features I need and they work.  My Viatalk  service worked about 90% of the time.  Hopefully ViaTalk will get their act together soon.

Good news (for a change)

Sep 4, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

Fortunately my predictions for today were false.

  1. My car didn't burst into flames and my radio worked all the way to work.
  2. The dealer did not call me with a $600 repair bill for my wife's car.   They called me with a $450 bill for a new water pump.   I told them that I was pretty sure that was part of the powertrain warranty and I was right.  $100 deductible sure beats $450.   I was pretty sure something along the serpentine belt was failing.   The water pump is the only thing in that loop that is covered so I lucked out.

I wonder if they would have charged me $450 if I didn't call them on it.

Just for the record.  Our 2004 Grand Caravan has about 44,000 miles on it.   I think this will be my last American car.  How hard is it to make parts that last 200,000 miles?

More bad luck

Sep 4, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

I took Friday off from work and decided to take my kayak out on the Potomac. As I opened the hatch on my car I knocked the kayak off the front of the car and scratched my hood. Feeling stupid I put the Kayak back and preceded to the river. The weather was great and next to the WSSC water inlet I found an old Mt Dew bottle from the early 80s. Ah, memories. I strapped it to the front of the kayak and started heading back to Swains lock. Before I got there I hit a rock and my precious bottle came lose and smashed on a rock. Bottle smashed, hood scratched I headed home.

Later in the afternoon when my wife went to the pool I proceeded to put my kayak back in the garage and there I found a small puddle of fluid. Its either transmission or power steering. Wonderful, so I hang my kayak and race to the pool to inspect the minivan.

I call the dealership and they are approaching closing time and will not open again until Tuesday. I make an appointment for Tuesday morning and stress over how much this repair is going to cost me.

With the wife's car out of commission we head to Baltimore on Saturday in my old VW. When we go to leave on Sunday my battery is dead. Fortunately, I was on hill so I was able to roll start the car and get home. Once home I parked on our steep driveway and called around for batteries. Costco said they would "probably" have my size so I roll started the car and headed to Costco. There I found a remote parking spot on a hill to park my car in case they didn't have my size.

Inside, I was unable to find my battery but upon returning to my car someone had pulled in behind me blocking my rolling escape. So.. I pulled the battery out and headed into Costco to find the closest match to my battery. I found one, installed it myself (sams club does this for you) and dropped off the core at the auto center before heading home. I got home just in time to goto a neighbor's party so that was good. Or so I thought.

Monday morning I can't find my car key. Retracing my steps was easy, came home, got changed, went to party, came home. The key is probably lost in my neighbor's ivy. I guess I better buy a new one soon.

Finally, coming back from the pool on Monday afternoon I noticed my Radio was no longer working. Fortunately it was just a blown fuse but fuses don't normally blow without something else going on. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one.

As you can expect I can't wait for Tuesday. Here is how its going to play out. Dodge dealership is going to want $600 to replace my wife's power steering pump and my car will burst into flames on the way to work. I'm such the optimist. :-D

Leaving ViaTalk

Aug 23, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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?

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. Call waiting stopped working after a few weeks. All incoming calls are sent to VM when I am on the line now.
  4. 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. :-)

Referral Link

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 miss SunRocket

Aug 18, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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.

BarCamp DC

Aug 10, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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.

My Lawn Ornament is gone.

Aug 9, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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.

pimped minivan

New Lawn Ornament

Aug 8, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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.

  1. The van missed the telephone pole by a foot or so. If it hit it, I would have lost power, cable, phone, etc
  2. 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

  1. 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
  2. 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?

Not quite the Midas touch

Aug 5, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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.

SunRocket Survey

Aug 4, 2007 Published by Tony Primerano

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.

Click here to take the survey. 

Thank your for being a valued SunRocket member.


SunRocket Member Service

SunRocket, Inc.
8045 Leesburg Pike
Suite 300
Vienna, VA 22182


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Too bad the survey link didn't work.  I have some feedback for them.