New Year's Non-Resolutions
It's really New Year's Eve now -- it's getting dark outside during the last sunset of the year (far behind the clouds, alas, here in the San Francisco Bay Area). Naturally, one's thoughts turn to resolutions for 2005. I don't really believe in resolutions. Why should we try something novel or suspend our vices based on the fact our arbitrary time scheme is ratcheting along?
But still, custom is custom. So here are a handful of very modest IP-related resolutions, with a thought or two attached.
--I will overcome my consumer indecisiveness and actually open a residential VoIP account. An awful confession to make for someone contributing to a site called IP Inferno, but I'm hung up on Vonage vs. CallVantage (I'm leaning, thanks to testimony from people like Andy Abramson, toward CallVantage for its reputation of superior quality of service; but I do like Vonage's pricing). My VoIP activity so far has consisted of forays into Free World Dialup (completing random calls to users in Scotland and Chile; though Jeff Pulver is listed several times, I could never get him on FWD) and Skype (I actually do some SkypeOut activity, including bargain calls to my son in Tokyo; but as with FWD, I'm struck how seldom the other people I know who have Skype accounts are actually up and reachable when I'm online).
--I will try a simple VoIP videophone in 2005. Packet8's is out there already. Vonage is promising to roll out something in the first quarter of the new year. Anticipated benefit: Knowing whether the party to whom you are speaking is really paying attention to you. Anticipated disadvantage: The party to whom you are speaking will know whether you are paying attention to them. Actual disadvantage: Finding anyone who has a videophone to call.
--As part of my IP experimentation, I will also try out a Wi-Fi VoIP phone (especially if I can get one on loan). I can understand the potential for these devices. But frankly, I don't get the appeal at this point. I think it all has to do with my picture of how Wi-Fi has been deployed to date. Most settings are both public and mostly enclosed, such as at Starbucks. Perhaps it's not different from making any other wireless call, but is it really attractive to potential users to sit in the middle of a cafe and yak on a phone that you can't really move around with at this point? I'm not seeing it.
OK, that's it for now. Resolutions or no resolutions, have a great new year, all.