Ooma Lives and is Featured at Amazon

I was surprised to jump to Amazon.com just now and find the Ooma box as the top featured item. I’ve been using Ooma as my “land” line for about a year-and-a-half as a Beta tester and have been awaiting reports of improved sales of the VOIP boxes since they recently started promoting it for about half of the original $399 sticker price. I found it a bit ironic that it was featured alongside Amazon’s Kindle — which is so overhyped on the site and perpetually claimed to be “out of stock” ala recent Nintendo Wii marketing ploys.

ooma on sale at amazon

When I first learned of Ooma, the idea of having a box at home through which to make phone calls (for free) and having access to messages online and via e-mail was intriguing. I do not have a personal land line and was tired of paying for Skype. I was using GrandCentral but wanted an alternative since cell reception at my house is so spotty. I was lucky to meet Andrew Frame, founder of Ooma, for a tour of Ooma’s HQ in Palo Alto in the summer of 2007, when I was an intern at the San Jose Mercury News (video below).

When I returned to Los Angeles, I signed up as a beta tester and was impressed with the quality, and loved having a phone number that I could remember (909-0090 nearly trumped the AT&T land line number I had when I first moved to LA — 669-9969). I’d recommend it to anyone who uses VOiP and incurs charges above and beyond ooma’s one-time-only charge for their Core system — now $219.90 at Amazon. If it means anything to you, Ooma still has the endorsement of the almighty Michael Arrington as well.

So is Ooma about to take off into the mainstream?
Or is it nearing its last gasp?

Continue reading “Ooma Lives and is Featured at Amazon”

iPhone 2.0 Falls Short

iphone 2.0 falls short no video supportI’m not gonna say sorry Steve Jobs, but I”ve established long ago that I won’t play your games. All I wanted in the second generation iPhone was 3G and video support. Well today Jobs announced a slim, 8GB iPhone with GPS, 3G and a host of 2nd party applications at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

But I’ve had a phone for two years that works on AT&T’s 3G HSDPA network and shoots video that could be immediately uploaded to the internet. The iPhone tries to be a fully operational mini computer but does not even allow for simple cutting and pasting.

Sorry fanboys and girls, this is a joke. Jobs is just working his strategy and playing consumers for tools — I can only hope he adds video support this year, but chances are it will be longer than that, in an upgraded model that would inevitably carry on the sales model of buy-an-iPhone-every year, you fools.

Now to seriously research and purchase either the Nokia N95 or Blackberry Bold 9000. Is there something else I should be looking at? Should I just stick to my LG CU500-v?

For not-such-bitter coverage of Jobs’ keynote, see: VentureBeat, Engadget, TechCrunch, NYT Bits Blog, iPhone Alley, CNET.

AT&T Charges for Mobile Use of Wikipedia?

suck it at&tWhile browsing ESPN Mobile on my mobile phone, I’ve been hit lately with text ads teasing me to “Get WikiMobile on Your CU500!”

My first instinct was to clickthru. I love Wikipedia and use it all the time. I’ve contributed content. I’ve also donated to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that keeps the juggernaut wiki afloat. I’m also surprised I’ve never used it on my phone considering how adaptable it is to small text screens, ala Snap Previews WikiShots.

But when I click through, I see “Get Wikimobile, Cool Tool, $2.99 per month.” Now I am aware of a very cool-looking wiki production tool called WikiMobile sold from an EU based site. This is clearly different, as you can see from the teaser-text at right. Of course, the fact that I’m supposed to want to by $3 so I can find out who “Britney’s exes” were is where most 3G mobile-Web-browsing Americans are going to feel insulted. For me, its just depressing to confirm that the open source, mob-managed, infinitely free and user-supported Wikipedia is being exploited by AT&T.

Does AT&T’s WikiMobile have anything to do with Wikimedia other than abusing Wikipedia’s GNU license to republish the content for profit? I can’t find anything anywhere stating that Wikimedia is complicit in this agreement and/or receives a cut of the profits. Assuming that if it smells like bullshit and looks like it, it may as well darn be, I implore Wikimedia to make Wikipedia publicly available as optimized for the mobile Web. Hey Colbert, you got my back?

PostScript: While I do subscribe to AT&T Wireless, I am not a DSL customer and am not subject to those sketchy, infringing terms of service. That said, you’re welcome to terminate my service, T, if’n you really are that stupid.