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Ooma Telo, What is it, How it works, My Experiences with it.
By Harold Buechly Trails End Computer Club tecc.apcug.org harold (a) buechly.com
It's March 1876 when Mr. Bell spoke “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” Our telephone system started out with a wire running from one room to another room, then building to another building, then town to another town. Other neighbors wanted on the system which required a means of connecting each other by utilizing an operator who would connect the caller to the party they wanted to communicate with. In the cities, every telephone was wired to a large brick building occupied by operators and lots of wiring throughout the building and means of connection various wires together to complete the circuit. Later the operators were replaced with mechanical stepper relays and switches which allowed us to have a dial on each phone throughout the city and we could connect directly to any other phone. We could now dial direct to any phone on the system.
Then it gets more complicated. Push button dialing (touch Tone), on to computers running the system and one wire or fiber that carried hundreds or thousands of calls at one time.
That big brick building has now shrunk down to the size of a closet. No more operators, no longer requiring a crew of technicians to keep the relays and switches working properly and the wiring throughout the city simplified.
Today we use cell phones or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) or a combination of both with one unit.
MagicJack was introduced in mid 2007. The industry now has had 9 years to develop and improve. Today the cost of VOIP can vary widely, some over $100.00 per month, some where you own the hardware, some where you rent the hardware.
Of the many internet telephone services you may use or own, I selected the Ooma Telo.
Many other features available.
We have tried the unit hooked up to our 15 million bits per second internet and find it works as well with the parks wifi at about 3 million bits per second. At this time we have experienced 100% satisfaction with the service.
The whole unit is transportable by using a computer to move it elsewhere, I assume nationwide and Canada.
The Year in Perspective
Andrew Cummins, President, ICON Computer Users Group, MO
We’ve put another glorious tech-year behind us. It is incredible how cheap computers have become. There were Black Friday deals for Windows PC for $200. Yes, they are low-end for Windows, but they’re good enough for many people. Non-Windows computers for under $50 are now being integrated into many things, like Smart TVs and video streaming sticks. Of course, a high-end PC, like a car, can be any price, but excellent high-end PCs are incredibly cheap by historical standards.
Computers are getting small. As a matter of fact, the limiting factor in size has become the human interface. This past year, we saw real computers that fit in watches, USB sticks, and even the temple of eyeglasses. These smallest computers don’t run Windows, but that’s not because they lack the power. Windows isn’t optimized for the functions of these tiny computers.
Computers are getting more functions. As with size and price, changes in function are more incremental than fundamental. We started hearing lot about something called Augmented Reality this past year. This is where you where you look at the world through a computer screen overlay, creating the potential to see the world anyway you want to see it. One crude way to accomplish this is with goggles that hold focusing lenses and a Smartphone in front of your eyes, providing ether Augmented Reality or fully immersive Virtual Reality. This is something I really hope to see demonstrated at ICON, soon.
The world is becoming more connected. 2015 saw data/internet bottlenecks melting away. T-Mobile started offering unlimited free streaming of the greatest data hog of all, video, showing that data caps are really just excuses to create more expensive tiered pricing plans. (Data caps do little to alleviate traffic at times of peak usage.) This reflects that even cell towers have gotten to the point where providing video to the masses isn’t a problem.
Computers are getting easier. Every new thing is a learning curve, but those curves are getting much smaller than the curves of the past. Microsoft has brought its personal assistant, Cortana, to Windows and many things can now be accomplished by just talking to the computer in natural language.
Wow, this was an impressive year. The tech industry always excites me with new things. It’s a sure bet that these trends will continue. How cheap does a PC need to be before some of you will give up your Windows XP machines? A new PC might pay for itself in electricity savings.
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