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It’s the Phone, Stupid

I moved recently, so I had to sign up for phone service again. I’d heard good things about VOIP (as opposed to POTS), and since I don’t feel any particular affinity for Pacbell, I decided to try it. After perusing the reviews, I decided to go with Vonage.

I signed up, and they shipped me the VOIP hardware (an ATA box) in a little over a week. I connected it to my DSL modem, plugged a phone into it, and heard a dial tone. I was floored.

Don’t get me wrong. I did expect it to work, eventually, after lots of twiddling, and maybe a tech support call or two. I definitely didn’t expect it to work out of the box. To my surprise, however, they’ve made it as easy as a normal phone.

From a usability perspective, this is a Good Thing. Consumer electronics companies, listen up! I don’t want to set the time, change the password, type in a greeting, adjust the brightness, pick a username or wallpaper or a ringtone. I want to talk on the phone, or listen to music, or send an email. The less you put between me and what I want to do, the better.

Vonage got this right. Who’s next?


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