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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Last May, I discussed my voice over IP experience. A lot has happened since then. Actually, a lot has happened in the last two weeks.

I finally activated my Packet8 account and promptly started the switch to Vonage. I can't believe how horrible Packet8 service was. First, you have to dial a 1 before every phone number but the caller ID doesn't automatically prepend that 1. That makes caller ID as an easy redial impossible. So you instead have to remember the area code plus phone number and then re-enter it in. Nowhere on Packet8's site does it say anything about that, but Vonage addresses that issue in its FAQ.

Second, there were times when you couldn't dial any phone number in particular area codes. We live in 480 and my in-laws live in 602. Occasionally, my wife would call her family and it would just ring and ring. No voice mail pick up at all. She didn't think anything of it until she tried number after number. A quick call on her cell phone revealed that the problem was indeed with Packet8. How the hell is that any kind of service!

All in all, Packet8 made us long for the days of AT&T CallVantage. Sure, you had to reset the telephone adapter almost on a daily basis and there was the occasional dropped call if you didn't answer call waiting fast enough, but at least you could *always* make calls. I had high hopes for Packet8 since they seemed more technical and hacker-friendly. But I really think that they don't deliver on that promise and their web site is a joke compared to AT&T's.

We've had Vonage for a little over a week now and I deeply regret ever having listened to the asshole that said I shouldn't switch to them in the first place. He definitely wasn't worth the respect I gave him at the time. It has been a joy: the web site is comprehensive and the development seems ongoing. We've had no problems with the service and it connected us to 911 perfectly when we needed that recently.