5 years ago now, while I was at the start of being a consultant all on
my own, I purchased an MSDN Universal subscription. I went with that
level because it was the only one that included the database schema
integration with Visio, which I was using to architect databases.
a consultant, the price tag is high, but you definitely get a lot for
your money. It made it a lot easier when I bought it from Vio Software which was recommended by a .NET trainer from a class I was in at the time.
year, Microsoft updated their MSDN subscription offerings. If you had a
Univeral subscription, you could choose between their 3 Team Systems:
Architects, Developers or Testers.
Looking over the
information, I found that what I really wanted was actually in the
middle of the Architect and Developer editions. There were features of
both I wanted, but I couldn’t choose both.
I had made the
decision to go with the Developer version since it seemed better suited
to an individual developer. When I went to Vio Software to place my
order, I could only find 2-year subscription renewals. A pre-requisite
for these was that you had to renew an existing 2-year subscription.
I asked about the availability, I was told that since Microsoft
restructured their plans, they no longer offered what I wanted through
third party resellers.
Since this made the Team Systems more
expensive for me, I finally decided to downgrade to the Professional
version. I felt like I was backed into a corner and forced to choose
between way too much or not quite enough, so I chose the lesser of the
two, if nothing else, to avoid having my subscription lapse and having
to pay the updated, very high prices for a new subscription.
setup package from Vonage was waiting for me when I got home from work
today, so I’ve been busy making some phone calls to test things out.
instructions were very simple. I have an existing Linksys SRX200
wireless router plugged into my cable modem, so all I had to do was
plug a cable from the VoIP router to my existing one, plug in a phone
and finally power it up. I immediately got a dial tone and searched
through the documents provided to see what else I had to do. That
seemed to be it.
I called my own cellphone and since I was
right there that didn’t make too good of a test so I called my
girlfriend. We could barely understand each other due to the constant
fading in and out of sound on both sides. It was like an audio
rollercoaster catching every few words of the conversation.
testing a few things and reading the online help, I disabled the
firewall on my Linksys SRX200 and it seems to have fixed my issue. I
called my mom and the sound was crystal clear. Better than I would have
I would like to re-enable my router’s firewall but a
quick search on the internet wasn’t fruitful, so I’ll have to keep
looking. I also need to hook up my DirecTV to it, but there seems to be
a lot of info available for doing that.
So far, so good. I’m currently happy with my decision.
UPDATE: Setting up DirecTV was as simple as setting up a ,,#019 dial prefix as described here.
After moving down to the Dallas area, I decided to use SBC
for my phone service. They seemed to offer some competitive plans for
local/long distance calls and they had a really good web site. I signed
up. I hate them now.
One of the first features I missed from
my old Verizon plan when I lived in the Philadelphia area was answer
call. Their automated voice mail system. After going through a number
of answering machines it’s one feature I liked a lot. It just always
Since I found out my new SBC plan didn’t include their
CallNotes™ feature I had it changed around to add it. Doing this meant
moving to a wider area plan which forced me to change my phone number.
I don’t know why. Being a new resident, and having deliveries being
made, I had to call up everyone to update them. Inconvenient, but I had
my voice mail.
I had a plan I thought included free
long distance calls, too. I was surprised to get a $230+ phone bill the
next month which told me otherwise. It wasn’t free, the plan “included”
long distance but that doesn’t specifically say it’s free.
Okay. MCI calls and asks me to switch long distance. I switch. Screw SBC.
next bill comes and I’m getting more irritated now by my local charges
totalling up to $70 a month. About 40% of these seems to be all these
mysterious taxes and surcharges.
I would call SBC’s support to
weed out unnecessary features, but prior experience with that was awful
assuming I could even get through to anyone.
So today, I was
prepared to call them and decided to check out VoIP as an alternative.
I’ve read a lot of things both for and against, but I’m taking the
plunge because I’m disgusted with SBC.
So that’s why I’m switching to Vonage and I’ll report my experiences here. Stay tuned if you’re interested.