Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

No, I have not signed up again for that damned Vonage plan. However, after 49 comments in the last two years (pretty much unheard of for my little blog) with the last one coming as recently as today, it seems like many of you still have issues canceling Vonage.

A quick Google search for “cancel vonage” shows that my blog post is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts, forum posts, email list posts, and all other forms of web communication which detail the drudgery that is attempting to cancel Vonage.

Why would a company go to so much trouble to try to keep customers who clearly do not want their service? Is their cash flow so bad, that they simply must have the revenue? I was amazed about a year and a half ago when I read the news that Vonage couldn’t sign up new customers. Even more amazing was the fact that not a day goes by that their damned commercial is on my TV or a week goes by that I don’t get some form of direct mail piece advertising their product. Apparently, somehow the news never made it to Vonage’s offices. Not one aspect of their business model or customer service strategy seems to have changed since it became clear that they were fleecing customers.

The money must be great, because they still are around and seemingly thriving. With the ubiquitous nature of the cell phone and with cell plans getting cheaper every day, what does Vonage offer that’s not available via a service like GrandCentral? How can we more effectively spread that word that Vonage is a Faustian bargain?

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Fedora Core Eats My Soul

After my Windows installation become flaky, I finally decided to make the full-time jump to a Linux OS on my laptop. I have used Linux for years in the server environment and have toyed with it on the desktop. Part of me was just bored I guess, but I took the leap.

I’ll write up more later, I’m sure, but the two biggest issues by far have been wireless LAN drivers. This mess with running Windows drivers through ndiswrapper is ridiculous. I do have it working though 🙂 It only took me an entire day of reading, testing, experimenting, and self-flagellating. The other problem is that I still haven’t gotten my sound working, which means no music on the laptop 😦 I made a post on FedoraForum, but it has no responses as of this posting.

The major positive impression I have this far is that it is so much faster than Windows. Apps start faster, even Java ones, and everything just seems to be more stable. There’s more of my journey coming up later.

Any recommendations on a 3-pane RSS reader? I tried Liferea, but I like the panes to be side-by-side not on top of one another. It didn’t seem to have the option to change. For reference, I loved Feeddemon on XP, so something that approximates that functionality would be cool.

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powered by performancing firefox

Canceling Vonage

It’s nigh impossible to cancel your Vonage account. I want to say at the outset that I never had a problem with the Vonage service. The quality was always good and I enjoyed all of the features that they offer. With the recent hullabaloo over the guy who was trying to cancel his AOL account, I thought their customer service might have gotten the message.

However, I spent ten minutes telling the guy I just want to cancel my account. He kept trying to sell me on keeping it. He was offering me lower and lower rates, giving me reasons why I should keep it. What I really wanted him to do was to just cancel the damn account.

Add to this the frustration of my having sat on hold for 30 minutes just to talk to the guy. That 30 minutes came after spending 15 minutes telling a first person what my issue was only to be transfered and have to go through the account verification process all over again. I was getting sucked into the customer service hell that Dell has become known for all over the web recently.

I understand that companies want to hold on to customers. Why, though, when I tell them that I like their service, that I recommend it to friends, but that I need to cancel at the moment, why don’t they just do what I ask? I have been a Vonage customer for almost 18 months. It’s clear that I appreciated the service. Why alienate me at the moment of our last contact?

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I just don’t get why Flock exists. Admittedly, I’ve only been trying the new beta for all of 20 minutes, but it is simply the same as Firefox. In fact, I had to install the Performancing plugin to post this entry as the Flock blogging client is too skimpy (no categories?!).

Can someone please tell me how Flock sets itself apart from Firefox? What is its mission? How could it not have accomplished that mission with a suite of plugins and skins for Firefox? Why “develop” a whole new browser?

I understand this is just a beta, but the only hint of the value this may have is in the integration of the photo tools and the bookmark sharing tools. These are not that compelling to me or to a huge swath of the market. The tools are very nicely done. My hope and the only logical thing is that they become a platform for building API-based tools into Flock. Hopefully, these few tools with which they’ve started are only to prove their concept and the company or third-parties can use the copious numbers of APIs popping up to develop their own tools based on these UI and communication foundations.

I don’t want to be a naysayer. I just want to see the light.

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XP on Mac

It's been in the news for a while that some enterprising coders had gotten XP to run on Intel-based Macs through a contest, but now Apple has gotten into the game.

They just released a public beta of Boot Camp, which will be included by default in OS X Leopard. This 83mb application allows XP to run easily on those new Intel-based Macs. This is really a coup. Windows and Apple have done everything they can to discourage running OS X on Intel or AMD-based PCs (but some have still done it), yet here is Apple openly and freely promoting the dual-boot configuration.

It certainly works as a marketing tool to sell more hardware. What I don't quite understand is how this affects the long-requested and rumored open market sale of Apple's OS X operating system. It seems to me that dream is still only a dream and that this news changes nothing on that front. Does it make sense for Apple to sell hardware for Windows-based machines? Not really, and this doesn't lead down that path. Judging from the available information, you would still have to run Mac OS X to enable XP as a boot option. There doesn't seem to be a way, with this software, to only run XP on an Intel-based Mac.

What does this do for Vista? Well, I think Apple answers that question with these two blurbs from the site for Boot Camp:

EFI and BIOS

Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.

Word to the Wise

Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.

This makes the upcoming release of Vista very interesting. Will Apple finally get a serious toe-hold in the market? Or is this just one more blow to the dreams of the *Nix-ites and their "free OS" world?

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