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Communications The Internet

The Other VoIP 129

JamesB writes "Voxilla reports that two major Voice-over-IP providers, VoicePulse and Vonage have announced plans for Video-over-IP. Their competitor Packet8 has already been offering this service for several months."
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The Other VoIP

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  • by essreenim ( 647659 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:34AM (#11041749)
    select what channel you want to watch over TCP!!

    • Channel? Why on earth would you have channels?
    • I use Vonage for my phone service. Works fine, no problems whatsoever. Also a nice little feature, if my DSL line is out for whatever reason, calls will be forwarded to a number of my choice (like my cell). I recommend it. Question, why would I want someone to see me while communicating (besides "cool factor") ? Is body language that important for most conversations? For that price?
    • by stephenbooth ( 172227 ) * on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:43AM (#11041834) Homepage Journal

      In all seriousness I'd love to be able to download the TV schedules to my PC, locate the shows I want to see (and be prompted about shows featuring actors I like or written/directed by writers/directors I like) then be able to have my TV change channel or my video (or PVR if I had one) start recording at the appropriate time. I don't watch much TV (tend to read or surf the web) but the shows I do watch I like to keep up with. It's really frustrating to find that a new series of a show I like has started (or the previous series is being rerun), an actor I like has a guest spot in an episode of a show I don't normally watch or a film I want to see has been on but I miss it it because I happened to not see any trailers.

      For that I'd buy a PVR (alhough it would have to interface to my cable box as well).


      • Or you could use your PC. Search Google for MythTV open source project.
        • I'd rather keep my PC and TV/Video as separate items, partly cos I use a laptop as my primary PC. It doesn't seem to solve the changing the channel on my cable box part of the problem. Plus a 22 inch TV is a heck of a lot cheaper than a 22 inch monitor and a PVR is likely to be a lot cheaper than the hardware/software required by this. I'll keep an eye on it tho', might turn out useful.


          • I've got a Myth box, it's one of the best investments I've made when it comes to television.

            With the right graphics/TV card, you can output to your existing TV, and with the right cable/IR device you should be able to change the channel on your cable box too.

            I built a seperate PC to be my PVR (Asus Pundit with a 300GB disk) and now I don't even regard it as a PC, it's just another bit of A/V equipment.

      • TiVo will do most of this with ease - Search by actor, search by topic, record wishlists, control cable box. No need to ever watch live tv again ('cept sports and news) L
        • I'm in UK, I believe that TiVo aren't available here (nothing on or I've seen PVRs on sale but they seem to either not have any show related functions you mention (really they're just like normal VCRs in that you set the start and end times, the only differences are they use a hard drive and some let you pause live TV). If you're on SkyTV (UK version of FOXTV) and have a Sky+ box then it will let you scroll through the TV listings (don't know if it covers all channels or just s

      • TiVo does that.

        Wish lists will automatically record shows with actors, directors, or keywords that you specify, keeping them around for as long as you specify. And it works with almost all cable boxes.

        • As noted above [] I'm in the UK so cannot use TiVo.


          • Why not ?

            • I was under the impression that TiVo pulled out of the UK market (but still supports existing units) some time ago. On the other hand, I read that they were planning on reentering the market verys soon.
              • I just know that I've never seen one or an advert for one and that neither or seem to list them. It's not unusual for a product to come out in the US but not appear here for some time. We do have similar devices but, as mentioned in an earlier comment, they are combined with something else (the two that spring immediately to mind are a combined DVD recorder and PVR and Sky+ which combines a satellitte decoder with a PVR) and don't, so far as I am aware, gave the function of being

        • For thoughs outside the states try vdr;
          Description: Video Disk Recorder for DVB cards Video Disk Recorder (VDR) is a digital sat-receiver program using Linux and DVB technologies. It allows one to record MPEG2 streams, as well as output the stream to TV. It is also possible to watch DVDs (hardware accelerated) with some comfort and use a IR remote control.

          I was going to try it, but it is primarily designed for digital capture cards which don't work to well in the states since the cable companies are protec
    • select what channel you want to watch over TCP!!

      You select your TV channel using IGMP, not TCP.

      It's not the future, though. There are plenty of places already doing this.
  • Like Netmeeting? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <> on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:34AM (#11041752) Journal
    Is this like a fancy version of Netmeeting? Wasn't that released in Win98?
    • In short, no. In this scenario you use your phone not your PC. Think of the difference between Skype and Vonage. One uses a PC (Skype), the other your normal home phone (Vonage). In other words, one will take off, the other flounder as an oddity.
    • It's pretty darn close. If it's based on SIP all they are doing is adding a new application or protocol session type to their INVITE messages. Hardly cutting edge. More practical in the sense that they've decided to incur the bandwidth hit and go with a specific type of video, I reckon.


  • by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:35AM (#11041761) Homepage Journal
    Using iChatAV for some time now, the only trouble is sometimes you don't want to SEE who you're talking to, and you don't want them to see you (if you're sick, or too lazy to put on a shirt). A funny thing I've found is a question of etiquette; when is it polite to cover the cam?
    • Exactly right. Video phones have been around in some form or another since at least the 1960's. People keep coming up with new and improved ways to do it, but the idea has never really caught on with consumers. I suspect it is exactly because of the reason you stated.
      • > I suspect it is exactly because of the reason you stated.

        There is another reason: the quality is typically so poor, that the added benefit is not worth the expense/hassle of the extra equipment. As latency gets lower and bandwidth gets higher, video phones will become much more useful for those times when you do need them, and the problem you and gp mentioned is easily solved with the equivalent of a mute button for video.

      • Well, welcome to the future, man. Almost every cell phone right now has a video camera in it. Currently, places like London and Seoul have fast 3G networks [] for their cell phones, and within 5 or 10 years, everybody should have a local WCDMA cell tower.

        It's inevitable that voice calls will universal and standard.

        The way your problem is addressed is that you can choose to initiate either a voice or a video call... when answering a video call, you can choose to answer it in voice-only instead. Video ca

    • In my opion the etiquette is if there is something I don't want you to see -- it's covered. Just like if there is something I don't want you to hear the mouth piece is covered.

      On a side note -- if you're also using iSight with iChatAV take a look for iGlasses. It gives you all the options that _should_ be included in the camera basic setup (contrast, exposure, brightness, manual focus, shutter time, etc). With it in "Night Vision" mode you can easily use the camera from the light of the LCD monitor in a bl
    • If it becomes standard ten years later I'm sure cordless phones will remain quite camera free.

      Working at RadioShack there are still a ton of people who buy cordless phones without caller ID support.

      I for one will never buy a webcam (wtf is the point?)
  • VOIP Spam? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by farsideofthemoon ( 766786 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:35AM (#11041769) Homepage
    Does anyone here get VOIP Spam yet? Have telemarketers started pissing on this communication medium yet?
    • Re:VOIP Spam? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, and Yes.

      Been using Skype for about three months and started to get spam. Thankfully you have the 'only allow approved contacts to contact me' option
    • I've heard of several people getting VoIP spam. Personally, I haven't gotten any. I switched to Time Warner's digital phone service a couple of months ago, which allows you to keep your existing phone number. My old number was in the "do not call" directory, so I'm assuming that's helped me to avoid getting VoIP spam.
    • I live in a rural area. Packet 8 (unlike Vonage) offered me a local VoIP number, but I think the numbers they have are either a new exchange or an exchange that is normally used by cell phone numbers. So... I don't think I have anything to worry about on that account. Isn't it illegal to knowingly spam cell phone exchanges?

      One thing these companies need to do is add a blocking feature to the DTA boxes so you can block certain incoming phone numbers. I don't see how it could be that difficult. It would be
    • Re:VOIP Spam? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gadzinka ( 256729 )
      I've got VoIP phone from my cable provider. Nothing special, it's Europe/Poland, so nothing as fancy as unlimited national etc, but cheaper and more reliable that monopolistic national telco. If I got spams on it I'd welcome them with "could you wait just a sec" and happily counted 0.03pln (about $0.01) per minute I get for incoming calls off my bill ;)

      • In the UK they still pay by the minute for any call local or LD. That's why Robert gets a discount, because of the complcated regulatory environment behind the scenes. In the US, the FCC recently sheilded VoIP providers from state regulation. (stuff that sometimes makes calls within a state higher than outside a state, and makes phone service affordable for rural America) I thought it was interesting that the article mentioned that the service would only work in-network, because there are no interconnecti
    • Does anyone here get VOIP Spam yet? Have telemarketers started pissing on this communication medium yet?
      I have been using vonage since July 2002 and we have never gotten a cold call on that line.

  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:36AM (#11041772) Homepage Journal
    Pricing is another matter that Citron refused to discuss. VoIP provider Packet8 offers a video phone for $499, with no additional charge for video services. Citron called the Packet8 device "a phone with a camera slapped on it."

    And theirs will be what, A Ferrari with a naked woman lying on it? No, probably a phone with a camera slapped on it.

    • I think the answer is obvious. It won't be a phone with a camer slapped on. It will be a camera with a phone slapped on of course.
    • It should be an axiom of technological progress, and has been since 1927 (that I can document, someone places a video-phone call in "Metropolis", a silent movie), that anytime someone opens a new voice communications channel anywhere, within a few years some genie-ass comes up with the brilliant idea of sending video over the same channel, calling it a new invention. Not only that but after they die from lack of consumer interest, they get reinvented by a new generation of genie-asses every 10 years or so.
  • by Ransak ( 548582 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:36AM (#11041773) Homepage Journal
    Article from October [].
  • Packet8 Video (Score:2, Informative)

    by LoneGunner ( 636894 )
    I'm not sure of how many months were meant by several, but packet8 had it whenever i started service with them. And if i remember right that was back in January.
  • by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @10:41AM (#11041821) Homepage Journal
    From wired [] 1995:

    SGI's Challenge XL server will be used for the Time Warner Cable trial in Orlando, Florida, which was scheduled to begin late in 1994 and will service a total of 4,000 homes. Customers will have a powerful set-top box, built by SGI and Scientific-Atlanta.

    Never quite worked, though :)

    • > Never quite worked, though :)

      It worked fine. It was just too expensive. They were never able to cost reduce their expensive set tops. Duh.
    • AKA Pay Per View - which is HIGHLY successfull and RAPIDLY exploding market. (Making cable companies millions)

      Sure, its taken 9-10 more years to become standard but its here :)
    • Actually, I HAD one of those boxes (Holy crap, I had no idea only 4,000 'em were out there)...

      It was a cool thing. Granted, the Video on Demand wasn't that reliable (Every once in a while, it stuttered while the data caught back up, and once the server crashed while watching a movie), but I still loved the damn thing...

      The best part was there were online games offered on them which you could play with the remote. There was this mech-warrior game that was rather fun. Oh, and the free archive of Monty Pyt
  • I've started to notice the bandwidth w/ my Time Warner cable modem starting to wane. They now offer a "premium" package...makes me wonder if they're throttling back on the bandwidth for us "basic" users, making paying $20+ more a month more attractive. Where's all this new bandwidth for Video going to come from now? People in my neighborhood will be going "what's going on? Oh nothing much..." in full streaming video while I won't be able make a g**dm phone call now!?
    • They could be throttling you back, or more people have signed up over the past few years. Both scenarios are probably happening. This is the major flaw with cable modem technology. Try using a cable modem in New Work or San Fransisco. Not fast at all, every shares the same local pipe, before yuou get to the internet itself. DSL is a better concept, allows for much more flexibility and scalability, at the local level. Also, cable companies suck. Also my cable service tended to go "down" a lot. My DSL service
    • Just wait until the government steps in, kicks broadband providers in their asses, and forces FTTP rollout for 98% of the American public with static IP, along with VoIP 911 regulations. Just like they did with electrification and telephone in the early part of last century.

      In fifty years it'll seem strange that we used to pay so much for such crappy broadband, and that not everyone had it. Just like telephones and electricity.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Video-Over-IP phone over FTTH is ready in Japan. If you're living in Japan, you can see TV CM everyday.

    From Tokyo, Japan
  • Packet8 gets massive free advertising, and the site is "down for maintenance". Did they get /.ed ? Or is this just a biz blunder ?
    • by moniker ( 9961 )
      If you look at DSL Reports over time, Packet 8 has experienced a lot of growing pains. If you go far enough back though, you actually see some of the Packet 8 staff responding to reviews, which was pretty cool. []

      Packet8 doesn't have the features of Vonage (like I would love to have email notification of voicemail), but at 20$ a month, it felt great to tell Verizon off one last time.

      Funny thing though, you start to develop a paranoia regarding the quality. A lo

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Packet8 is very cool. I've been using it since Feb this year. I tried Vonage and SipPhone as well, but gave up on those. I'm using Packet8 to call the USA for free when I'm outside the country... since its IP based and I'm clling a US number, anywhere I go in the world, just plug in and call home. ET call home!
  • The idea is great, the technology is there but it's going to take a social shift for people to start using video phones. Until then they will be a novelty...

    I work from home a lot... I can just picture myself using a video phone in the morning when I'm still weraing my sweats and I haven't showered or shaved. Yeah right...
  • Packet 8 rules (Score:3, Interesting)

    by freelunch ( 258011 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @11:02AM (#11042023)
    I had Voice Pulse for 6 months and the drop outs just became too much. They also have an extremely loud high pitched noise that blows your ear out once in a while.

    I switched to packet8 about 2 months ago and it has been great. Big improvement. And my plan costs $20/month instead of $35+.

    Earlier in the year, VP wasn't so bad. My guess is they are badly oversubscribed.
    • I've had VoicePulse for about 3 weeks now and I've had zero problems. I pay $25/mo for unlimited local and LD.

      I was running it over a 384k SBC DSL line and calls got choppy when I was d/ling stuff. Switched to RoadRunner's 3m service and haven't looked back.

  • Nope, don't think so. Let me explain why.

    I'd love VOIP and this service IF it was available here in SW VA. I admit, though, that I'd want someone else to try it first. Personally, I'm still waiting on HDTV to be easily and commonly available and for the TVs to become cheap.

    You know, if I'm typical of the average ruralish consumer, this will never make it here. There'll be no incentive for these companies to come here!

    I hope I'm wrong though. I do have DSL, so maybe I'm wrong.

    • I'd love VOIP and this service IF it was available here in SW VA.

      I hope I'm wrong though. I do have DSL, so maybe I'm wrong.

      I live in rural america, have DSL, and use VOIP on my DSL service. If you have DSL then by default isn't VIOP available? I don't understand this statement. By the way, I use packet 8.
    • all you need is broadband man, so it's everywhere, even sw virgina
    • You're a rural consumer, but you haven't jumped on the HDTV bandwagon yet? I mean, come on, how much more rural can it get than that? Wagons! Wagon jumping! Plus, you get a really incredible sharp picture. Or, "picher," if you will :-)
    • My parents live 4 miles outside of a 70,000 person city. Said city has had wireless broadband (some proprietary tech) that reaches 2mi LoS, cable and DSL for over 6 years. They still can't get cable (not even TV) or DSL, and as they're on a hill in the woods, they can't get wireless love. So they stick with $10/mo dialup.

      Pretty sure they won't be seeing much *oIP any time soon :(

  • Just like damn 3G video phones it's a tech in search of an application.

    Why would i want people to see me when I've just dragged myself out of bed to ring in sick - and if I hide the video- won't they think I'm in bermuda or something enjoying the sun?!?!
    • Ah! But you're not forward thinking!

      Someone is sure to come up with alternative video input hacks, so that you can hit the "I'm sick" button, and insert a video of you looking like death warmed over. Or perhaps the "I'm in Beruda" button, so you can fool your friends into thinking that you're in the Carribean, when you really stayed home this vacation to paint the house.

      Let's not forget the "I'm working at home" hack, that shows you intently slaving away at your desk, and plays a message saying "I'm too
  • Look, I know that some geeks will think that this is cool. But, speaking as a geek, I doubt that even a significant portion of the geek population will go for this.

    NOBODY WILL BUY THIS. Nobody wants a friggin' video-phone, and particularly not for 500 bucks, when they can get the same amusement from NetMeeting and a $20 webcam.

    Voice over IP is a good idea because it uses the existing telephones. Videophones... forget it. This is a publicity stunt to raise awareness of their brand of voice over IP.
    • This is a publicity stunt to raise awareness of their brand of voice over IP.

      I WHOLLY agree with you. I think a device like this is counter-intuitive. The entire purpose of a video-phone is to facilitate face-to-face communication, except its not face-to-face. I think if we've learned anything from the Internet, its that people would rather have asynchronous communication. They (me) like email and IMs because I can answer them when I can. Face to face meetings are becoming a waste of time.

    • My parents live three states away. I'd love for my grandkids to be able to see them on a regular basis like that. Or talk to friends like this. Or talk to that "special someone".

      Video phones for the average consumer have been around in one form or another for fifteen or twenty years. I don't think the problem is the demand for the service. The problems are a cascade effect:

      1) Cost-prohibitive: $500 for a friggen phone?!? Better figure on buying two, because I can guarantee that whoever you're going to wan
  • Vonage's network barely works right now - and has been less stable in the past few months than any time in the past year I've subscribed. What we really need is mobile access from our smartphones. There's a crappy beta available for WiFi Windows smartphones, but battery life, audio quality and other limitations of that platform make it more a curiosity than a tool. The Treo is much better suited to this application, maybe using Bluetooth to connect to an accesspoint, or to a pocket AP, or even over the burs
    • I have had vonage for several years now. While there has been some outages off and on, the past year has been superb - 0 outages that i know of - and this is in Lancaster PA.

      I have MUCH worse service from cell phone/Wireless services than i have ever had with Vonage so i'm thinking completely the opposite. I don't want to hold my cell phone 2 feet in front of me and yell so they can here me to do video over IP.

      Treo already does so much its useless and 99.9% of the time within 2-3 days of purchase most pe
      • Let me get this straight - your Vonage service is nearly flawless (rare & lucky), while your cell service sucks, so you don't want Vonage service on your "cell" phone to replace it? And IP video has been around for years, failed in your Houston startup, but will take off now? No wonder you can pull stats about 99% of new Treo owners first 2-3 days experience, and say things like "it does so much it's useless". Forgive me when I don't take your criticism of these technologies seriously.
        • Let me get this straight - your Vonage service is nearly flawless (rare & lucky), while your cell service sucks, so you don't want Vonage service on your "cell" phone to replace it? And IP video has been around for years, failed in your Houston startup, but will take off now? No wonder you can pull stats about 99% of new Treo owners first 2-3 days experience, and say things like "it does so much it's useless". Forgive me when I don't take your criticism of these technologies seriously.

          Yes, my vonage s
          • My entire post was about *avoiding* IP Video, *and* cell transmission service. In favor of a mobile phone which defaults to WiFi (or Bluetooth in the near term, until Treo WiFi is released), rather than cell/PCS. That functionality requires the power of a smartphone, which then offers lots of hooks for other features to people like me, who have had all those smartphone platforms you mentioned, but aren't jaded. For people like you, there's just lots more options for the connection path, many of which are mo
            • I'm still not sure of what your talking about. Wireless is wireless - they all have the same limitations of range, line of sight and bandwidth. Cellular/PCM is at its limits, but being greatly expanded through 3G and other services.

              While it would be great to have VoiP over "wireless" you still have the same network problems you have as PCM/Cellular calls. (irregardless of bandwidth)

              If you want a bluetooth or 802.11 phone, lookup cisco's phones. However they're not free-roaming or networked and require a b
              • All that different "wireless" techs have in common is: no wires. The PCS to my Sprint Treo does, at best, 110Kbps, in a large footprint shared with many other users, on a giant Sprint network that is extremely bursty for data (40-110Kbps variance over every 2-5 seconds). However, my home WiFi LAN can do over 50Mbps, is constrained to my own use, and includes QoS features that let my device reserve more bandwidth than its CPU can process. Even Bluetooth, though short range, can do over 1Mbps, much more than
    • You probably have an issue with your local setup. My Vonage works fine, sounds alot better than cell phones or even my old land line. The only issue I had with them was the voicemail access via their website was slow, which is fixed as of today or yesterday. Check your internet connection speed from several sources and average it out. Your probably on a cable modem and your local area is saturated with new users downloading songs from Kazaa all day.
      • What exactly do you mean by "local setup"? My home's phone adapter? My cablemodem? I've had several voicemail and audio problems with them over the past year - about 8-10 - including lost/days-late/repeated voicemails, unintelligible echoing, rebooting the phone adapter, nonfunctional dialtone, etc. Never has the cablemodem been the bottleneck; my speeds are always >2Mbps/200Kbps, I have dual broadband WANs through the router, and Vonage tech support has never mentioned any config problems/changes on my
        • For starters, where are you? Who provides your cable modem service? How do you test your connection speed? If others using Vonage (my brother near Philly, myself in Northeast Pa and another poster from Lancaster PA) seem to have no problems at all, then I would conclude its your service provider or something else to your region, not vonage itself. I know when I setup Vonage, the Lynksys router needed 3 firmware updates before it worked well. You can force them with a Vonage tech on the phone.
          • I'm in a part of NYC that includes a lot of global datacenters, has had cable for about 15 years, has had RoadRunner for about 8 years, and has few residential subscribers - but very good infrastructure. I can be pretty sure of that, because I'm the tech advisor to the NYC City Council's tech committee, and I get good answers to questions like that. I test my speeds with the apps at, as well as watching FTP and HTTP transfers to/from various Internet servers. Then there are my own handrolled
    • FWIW, I haven't had the slightest issue with Vonage since I set my account up a few months ago. Not a single one.

      When my account was new, they couldn't get the stuttering dial tone working on my line, but once it got escalated high enough, they got an engineer to figure it out and its been fine since.

      I'd bet its a local problem.
  • If you have Windows, you have NetMeeting (conf.exe). If you have Linux, you probably have gnomemeeting. Even if you downloaded something like Yahoo Instant Messenger, you have a slightly easier to use video and audio conferencing package for Mac or PC. All are based on the same standards. What is it that pay services like Skype or Vonage provide that these services don't?

    The only added value of Vonage seems to be a connection to the plain old telephone system (POTS) so that you can contact people in th
  • Anyone remember CuSeeMe? Postage-stamp video-phone calls (without audio) over 14.4k dialup back in '94 or so.

    Once DSL arrived, medium-quality full-motion video was "only a matter of time." I don't know if "TV-quality" is doable over your typical 3-4Mbps cable connection but if not, this will soon be a non-issue.

    By the way, one of the major stumbling blocks to video, and audio to a lesser degree, is quality-of-service. Large chunks of the Internet don't handle this very well, but that is improving.
  • H.264 (Score:2, Interesting)

    does that mean that they'll have to pay Apple's licensing fees for every phone they sell?

  • by hansoloaf ( 668609 ) <> on Thursday December 09, 2004 @11:35AM (#11042332)
    for a long time now. first we used netmeeting types on the pc but the size are real small and the motion is jerky. so now we are using either D-Link I-2-Eye ( or Sorenson, a pioneer in this field, ( It has spread around the community like wildfire - I would estimate between 5,000 to 10,000 have one already. Basically its set on top of a tv but the quality is great as we get around 25 to 30 fps, we can call relay services (real interpreters) to call hearing individuals using sign language. And we can call point to point to chat up with old friends or keep in touch with new friends. I am sure in the future this technology will be built in tv sets and connected wirelessly to the router and thus to the internet. I think this has better future than these tiny screens on phones because you can see bigger sizes - as big as the tv allows. just my take. han solo
    • That Set Top TV box is a godsend. I help deaf people with their computer issues, remotely and on-site, and having to talk through the TTY interpreter was very slow.

      With the new video set top boxes conversations flow much smoother, although sometimes the interpreters don't interpret correctly and I end up getting an incorrect street name or customer name.

      Of course, after the initial call, writing through e-mail or IM is preferred.
  • What benefit will this add? Doesnt it seem like they are doing it for the sake of doing it, not cause it adds any value? I hope that this does not fail and force them to jack up the price of there current and very useful service in order to cover the cost.
  • Now the hardware can be purchased relatively cheap aswell. tI ds=,&webid=591137&affixedcode=WW

    Business Depot provides a rebate through Vontage so the hardware only costs you 15 bucks in the end if you sign up with Vontage.
  • ... not VoIP. Can I set up my firewall to block commercials?

  • I work from home most of the time. Many days I don't really get cleaned up before sitting down to work. The phone is nice because the customer can't see that I am still wearing the pair of baggies that I went surfing in that morning.

    Video phones would seriously screw up my life.

    What I need is imaging software that will modify the image in real time to make me look respectable. I can imagine a list of preference with check boxes for add shirt, add tie, remove the bags from under my eyes because I was out d
  • We had a couple of SGI's with the cute little cameras on top back in the mid-90's. Everyone thought that video-conferencing was going to be this huge new thing. Well, come to find out that video conferencing was just not something most people wanted. Who wants your grandmother to be able to see you pick your nose?

    • ah, the old Indy... fun little machine. They were new when I was at SGI. We used to plug into each others' cameras and then send each other snapshots of whatever embarassing thing the other was doing at the moment.

      I showed my manager how to use the camera, and then found he was using it to monitor our group. I logged into his system and replaced his camera output with mine, which pointed right back at him.

      It was almost three weeks before he noticed he was staring at his own Ficus plants....
  • I have BOTH Vonage (personal) and Voicepulse (biz lines). They need to fix/tweak a few things, really little things:

    * Use a rational codec for voicemail attachments that are sent out - NOT raw .WAV files. Yes, we have broadband, but we don't like downloading huge files, folks.

    * FAX FAX FAX. They really need to bust out some kind of T.38 bridge for their customers. Faxing just doesn't work - which means at least some bucks for Verizon.

    * Do for calls what we do for email! C'mon, we're talking about bits no
    • I will say that I've noticed that fax-over-Vonage has dramatically improved over the past month. I've been doing 8-10 page faxes (both coming and going) without incident, whereas this past summer a successful 3 page fax was a miracle.
    • Do what I do at home: use VoicePulse Connect [] using the IAX2 protocol to a server running Asterisk at your location. (The regular VoicePulse service is done the same way, the Asterisk servers are just there).

      Now you have Total Control of all that stuff (insert evil-genius maniacal cackle).

      For example, I just use VP for outgoing long distance - outgoing local and incoming cone via my BellSouth landline via a Digium FXO card. Incoming calls don't even ring my phones (Plain Old Phones driven off a Digium FX

      • Is there any way to get faxes that are sent to your Voicepulse Connect number? Or are they sent over your landline?
  • Hurray for phone sex...
  • I've recently moved from Australia to France. There they have a system they call ADSL2 that delivers 15 Mbits/s over standard telephone lines, and the first provider ( delivers video over IP for free over this. You get all the free-to-air channels plus some. You just plug your TV on the router they provide (for free) and off you go. There is no configuration.

    This is for 30 Euros/month (US$40 approx). Oh and it does free voice over IP too. Last time I was in France they still had this 1980's era

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.