Monday, December 27, 2010

Yahoo Answers persecution

[EDIT: This issue has been resolved, this article left for archival purposes - ironically my answer that was removed, then reinstated was voted as best answer, located here

I have been an active member of the Y!A community since 2007, rising to the #1 spot in the Consumer Electronics-Land Phone section.

At 10:25pm I received the following violation email:
Hello joe r
You have posted content to Yahoo! Answers in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. As a result, your content has been deleted and 10 points have been deducted from your points total. Community Guidelines help to keep Yahoo! Answers a safe and useful community, so we appreciate your consideration of its rules.
Question: Should I buy Ooma, home phone service?
Deleted Answer: the service is not very "free" magicjack -$20/yr or nettalk - $30/yr is a much better price than $250 up front, then $12 or so per year for taxes and fees.. i would recommend vonage over ooma because side by side, it would take you a year and a half to even break even with the cost of vonages service... http://nyphonejacks.blogspot.com/2009/12/vonage-vs-ooma.html
Violation Reason: Spam
In Yahoo! Answers you may not post links with the purpose of directing commercial activity to a non-Yahoo! site or an email address.
If you feel this content was removed in error, please read the Community Guidelines and make sure that this content: 1. respects the question-answer format and is not chatty or personal communication; 2. does not contain non-relevant links to external sites or other questions and does not promote your own blog or website; 3. is respectful to other people and does not offend other community members. If you still believe this content has been removed in error, please contact Customer Care and tell us why.
Yahoo! Customer Care
Which I immediately appealed. As stated at http://answers.yahoo.com/info/community_guidelines I did not violate any of the guidelines set out for the service. Here is the text related to linking to your own blog while answering a question

Exploiting the community

Yahoo! Answers is a place to gain knowledge, not customers, page views, or dates. If you have years of experience in something, have a special hobby, own your own business, or if you are a knowledge partner, it's OK to accompany a good, on-topic answer with a link to your website, blog, or email to offer more information. However, it is not OK to post links that are unrelated to the topic or are clearly meant only to solicit others for personal and financial gain. Also prohibited are solicitations like "Will you add me as a contact?" or propositioning people.

My answer to the question (quoted above) did NOT violate these guidelines. The link WAS on topic with what was asked, and the link was not clearly meant to solicit anyone for my personal or financial gain. The main purpose of  me creating this blog was that I was constantly answering the same questions on Y! Answers over and over again, so I felt that I should provide information to everyone, so that they can find the information themselves. Perhaps some people want to find the answer to questions with out losing points for asking a question, or perhaps some people want additional information or resources when asking a question, that can be added to, or updated once the question has been closed from Y!A.

Just within the last few months I have decided to attempt to place advertisements onto the blog. So far the experiment is a failure, and i have only accumulated just under 50 CENTS in the 2 or 3 months that the ads have been on the blog.

I received a reply from Tanisha Adison, who obviously can not read the community guidelines of the website of which she is a moderator, at 12:02am DEC 27 2010. Here is the form letter response that she cut and pasted from the generic responses that these people send out


Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Answers Customer Care.

Your content was deleted for spam.

In Yahoo! Answers, you may not post links with the purpose of directing
commercial activity to a non-Yahoo! site or an email address.

On review of your case, we have decided not to reinstate your content.

Please refer to the Answers Community Guidelines and Yahoo! Terms of
Service for further information on participating in Yahoo! Answers.

We appreciate your contribution to making Yahoo! Answers a valuable
knowledge search product.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Answers Customer Care. Your case
number for this issue is 78671160. Please reference it in all future
communication about this particular issue.


Tanisha Adison

Yahoo! Answers Customer Care


Y! claims to not provide telephone support for "free" products or services, but this is just one service of Y! that I use. I am also a paying customer - I pay for several domain registrations with Y! which I am considering moving to a more reputable company, one that knows how to read their own terms of service, and community guidelines. 

Of course I appealed this as soon as it hit my in box, and was sent this generic response

Hello joe,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care. This message is to let
you know that your Yahoo! Answers inquiry will require some additional
research before we can determine what, if any, action is warranted.
Please note that we are routing your issue to an Abuse Support Agent who
has specialized expertise. We try where possible to provide a written
response within 24 hours, but actual time may vary. 


The Yahoo! Customer Care Team

What type of expert do they need? Someone who graduated High School that knows how to read THEIR OWN community guidelines, on their own website? It has been 12 hours since my account was suspended, and 10 hours since last I have heard from them. Obviously they do not care about those people who contribute to their community to make it a reputable place for people to come for quality answers to their questions.

EDIT: 3:02PM DEC 27 2010 - 17 hours and still waiting on an "expert" to get back to me, in which time I have received 2 additional best answers, one from the person who asked the question, and another by votes from the community.

EDIT 5:30PM DEC 27 2010 - The people who answer the phones at Y! claim to not have a number for Y!A nor can they help with troubles with Answers. They also claim that they do not have a direct email address for Tanisha Adison, nor do they have the name of the person that is in charge of Answers. I am beginning to think that there is no such person as Tanisha Adison, as there is no Facebook or myspace pages with that name, nor are there any phone listings with that name, and the only web hits that I found were several people who complained about her removing their content from Y!A. I find it difficult to believe that someone could work for a tech company such as Yahoo, and not have any online presence. This post/blog, just hours old is already ranked #3 in google and yahoo for the search term of "Tanisha Adison"

EDIT- 11:30PM DEC 27 2010 - nearly 25 hours have passed, I send them another follow up email with no reply as of yet. I will be transferring  all of my paid services from Y! sometime tomorrow if this has not been resolved by then. (Even if it has been resolved, I may still move some or all of my paid Y! services to a different provider) This is unacceptable, and not the way to do business.

EDIT - 11:58PM DEC 27 2010 - It appears that Yahoo has removed this blog from search results for "Tanisha Adison" but it still remains as the #3 listing in google search results. If yahoo has the time to alter or tamper with search results then why do they not have time to reply to a legitimate concern of someone who has contributed to the Answers community for the past several years?

EDIT- 9:00am DEC 28 2010 - I got an email for yet another best answer voted on by the community, yet still no reply about the violation. How is it that I continue to receive best answers if I deserve to be suspended from the community? Also - how is it that most answers that I provided a link to my blog were chosen as best answer?

EDIT - 9:41pm DEC 28 2010 - Finally at 11:23 this morning my answer and account was restored, 37 hours after it was unjustly removed, and the initial appeal was denied by the illiterate  Tanisha Adison. As of this moment a Yahoo search does not bring this page up for a search of " Tanisha Adison" (although it WAS ranked #3 just several hours after it was posted) it still sits at the #3 position on Google with or with out quotes.Although my account was restored, I still do not have my top contributor badge, nor am I ranked #1 in the land phone section as I had been prior to this unjustified suspension.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Phone commands for Linksys ATA devices

 I found this information out there on the interwebs somewhere, but forgot to save the website of the source. This information should work for all Linksys/Sipura ATA devices.

**** "Active IVR Menu"

You will hear "Sipura configuration menu". Enter option followed by the pound key.

110 "Check WAN IP Address"

It will announce the IP address of the WAN port.

120 "Check WAN Network Mask"

It will announce the Network mask of the WAN port.

130 "Check WAN Gateway"

It will announce the gateway of the WAN port.

140 "Check MAC Address"

It will announce the MAC address of the Sipura SPA-2100.

150 "Check Firmware Version"

It will announce the firmware version running on Sipura SPA-2100.

160 "Check Primary DNS Server IP Address"

It will announce the Primary DNS Server IP address

170 "Check WAN Port Web Server Port"

It will announce the WAN port web server port.

210 "Check LAN IP Address"

It will announce the IP address of the LAN port.

100 "Check WAN internet Connection Type"

It will announce the WAN Internet Connection Type.

101 "Set WAN Internet Connection Type"

Enter "0" to use DHCP, "1" to use Static IP, or "3" to use PPPoE.

111 "Set WAN Network Mask"

Enter IP address using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point. Note that the WAN Internet Connection Type must be set to "Static IP", otherwise you will hear "Invalid option".

121 "Set WAN Gateway"

Enter network mask using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point. Note that the WAN Internet Connection Type must be set to "Static IP", otherwise you will hear "Invalid option".

131 "Set WAN Gateway"
Enter IP address using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point. Note that the WAN Internet Connection Type must be
set to "Static IP", otherwise you will hear "Invalid option".

161 "Set Primary DNS Server IP Address"

Enter IP address using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point.

7932 "Enable/Disable Wan Port Web Server"

Enter "1" to enable, or "0" to disable

732668 "Reboot the Sipura SPA-2100"

The Sipura SPA-2100 will reboot after you hang-up the phone.

73738 "Factory Reset"

Enter "1" to confirm, or "* (asterisk)" to cancel. Sipura SPA-2100 will inform you that the "Option Successful"

877778 "User Factory Reset"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Anual VoIP service for $30/yr no PC required.

I have been sitting on this for a while, wanting to wait until I had a hands on review of this product, but time and financial restraints have not allowed for me to get my hands on one of these devices and try out.

There is a new Skype and MagicJack killer on the block, which will even give other consumer centric VoIP products like Vonage and OOMA a run for their money. The NetTalk is a new product that similar to the MagicJack comes with a low annual cost - comparable to a monthly bill for landline phone service. The service is $30 per year, which is $10 more than what MagicJack is offering, but with the recent issues that MagicJack customers have been experiencing with attempting to reach certain destinations, and the limitations that require the MagicJack to be connected to a PC to work this product is a better choice.

This device connects directly to your router, similar to how a traditional VoIP service providers ATA would (think Vonage, or OOMA) The initial cost for the device is $70 which includes the first year of service.

So far all of the reviews that I have seen for this device is positive, so check it out at http://www.nettalk.com/ and let me know what you think in the comments.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have finally reclaimed my youtube account after having lost the password and no longer having access to the email account that I set it up with.

youtube.com/nypj will become a secondary/backup/mirror account

youtube.com/nyphonejacks.com will become the main youtube channel and will hopefully have videos added sometime after this weekend.

Sent from my BlackBerry® by Boost Mobile

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clear mobie intneret $25 per month

Clear has mobile internet, with or with out a contract - at the same price, does not make much sense, because what would the motivation to sign a contract with the potential for an early termination fee if you did not have to.

Any how, Clear is offering 2 versions of their mobile WiFi unit. The Spot, and The iSpot. Both devices sell for $100. The different versions both offer unlimited internet connection for several devices, however one device costs $45 per month, while the other costs $25 per month.

The $25 per month price is for the iSpot, which is for "iDevices" only (meaning that they only support apple devices such as iPod, iPad, etc. It is not designed to connect with a laptop, or other non-apple products. A quick internet search shows that the device is using MAC filtering to prevent non-apple products from using this service. With Google you can figure out how to spoof your MAC address and use an iSpot with your laptop (or other non-apple product)

Or you can always just opt to pay the $45, it is only $5 more per month than Virgin Mobiles mobile internet.

NO 4G service yet - despite the hype and advertisements.

Being in the communications industry, I do not know how I allowed WiMAX, and LTE to slip by me unchallenged as 4G technologies. While they do have the ability, and will likely be upgraded to conform to the ITU standards of 4G, NO carrier currently has a 4G network. Not Clear. Not Sprint. Not Verizon. Not AT&T. And certainly not T-Mobile, who has been promoting "the largest 4G network".

T-Mobile has made upgrades to their GSM/HSPDA network, and have made a number of their towers HSPDA+. Upgrading to a HSPDA+ network, depending on the hardware installed on the network can be as simple as a software upgrade, and in no way constitutes the revolutionary changes that require an incremental change of the generation of the device or service.

HSPDA+ is more accurately a 3G+ technology, and FAR, FAR from being a 4G technology, regardless of how it stacks up to other so called 4G providers (as there are currently NO 4G carriers)

While AT&T and Verizon are going to be building out an LTE network, when they first come on line they will not truly be 4G, but are capable of obtaining 4G speeds within a year or so after they go on line. AT&T will have the advantage at building out their "4G" network, because LTE is the next evolution of GSM. Verizon however will have to build an entire network along side of their current network, and maintain 2 networks. They also will likely have to offer LTE/CDMA phones to prevent customers from reaching a dead zone while they build out their new network. (LTE is backwards compatible with GSM, so ATT will only need to maintain one network)

If HSPDA+ was a "4G" technology, then ATT would have upgraded to such a network already, but since it has no potential to ever become a 4G technology, ATT opted to bypass the upgrade to HSPDA+ and save their investment capital to build out their LTE network.

Now onto the Clear/Sprint WiMAX 4G claim. While the network does not currently obtain the speeds required to qualify for 4G, like LTE it is an entirely new network that carriers need to build out, which in my opinion should qualify it as 4G, or at least PRE-4G. Also it will be able to be upgraded to the speeds required to qualify as 4G within a year or so.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The importance of redundancy

Weather building a VoIP system, or a data network that requires minimal down time it is always important to build in redundancy into the design and implementation of your network.

I recently had an encounter with Bank of America a multi-national company, which shall remain nameless, who had a system failure and was unable to assist me because of this failure. In the business that this company is in, I found this to be extremely disturbing that a single point of failure could bring this company to its knees until the trouble was isolated and resolved.

When building a VoIP network, if you are using a hosted PBX provider the only redundancy that you need to take care of locally is internet connectivity. A multi-WAN router with multiple internet connections, and battery back up power should be all of the on-site redundancy that you need to keep a single point of failure from bringing all of your phones down.

For data networks, redundancy gets a bit more complicated, and expensive. Multiple servers, constantly mirroring each other, as well as redundant internet connectivity, and redundant power sources (battery back up, diesel generators) should be implemented. For national, or multi-national companies redundancy should not stop at a single data center location - multiple data center locations should mirror each other, to prevent a natural disaster or other catastrophic loss of one or more data center from losing any data.

What needs to be considered is not the up front cost of creating or maintaining this redundancy, but what the cost of failure could be upon the business, or its clients. The loss of data, or the ability to retrieve, or input data into a system, even for short periods of time can result in not only immediate financial losses, but also lead clients to consider going elsewhere to conduct business.

A failure in the evening, weekends, or holidays may not immediately be discovered by the company until the beginning of the following business day, and then may even take some time to have the system back and running to full capacity. If that system is accessible, or used by clients or customers during these off hours they will have no way to access the information stored on that system until the system is fully restored, which in turn can cause them to have financial losses, or lost business/customers as well. It trickles down from one customer to another, and the customers who have a financial stake in your network always being available to them will look elsewhere for the services that you provide, and these are likely the larger clients that you want to retain as customers.

So remember:
Redundant internet connections
Redundant power sources for all network/servers
Redundant servers
And for larger companies:
Redundant data centers

This is not the place to cut corners and attempt to shave a few dollars off of your operating expenses, a failure could end up in loss of revenue and customers, and even potentially bankrupt or put you out of business.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Added many videos to my youtube account.

[youtube.com/nyphonejacks has been reclaimed and will become my main youtube channel going forward]

I have been pulling all of the videos off of by blackberry of horrible Verizon conditions that I have come across in the course of my work. I still have a bunch of files to convert and post up onto youtube, which should be complete in the next few days. If you are interested check them out http://www.youtube.com/nypj

New NET 10 plans

Net 10 has two new plans:

$50 unlimited

$25 - 750 minutes

once again, it appears that NET10 has become the choice for one of the cheapest pre-paid cell phone plans...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Obsoleet TV

If you are interested in obsolete technology, then there is an IP TV show that goes over lots of interesting stuff at http://obsoleet.noobelodeon.org/

The show discusses various old or outdated technology like VCRs, payphones, various old audio formats, and many other topics.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

$40 unlimited cellular internet


6/30/11 Due to Virgin Mobile closing an account of ours that had funds in it, that should have been active for 365 days we can NOT recommend using Virgin Mobile at this time! 
[edit:11.12.10 this article is newer $25 mobile internet]

All of the unlimited cellular internet connections seem to be disappearing. Most carriers are reeling in their unlimited cellular internet connections, and putting a cap on data usage, normally in the 5Gb area.

One carrier has risen above all of the others, and is offering an unlimited cellular data service for only $40 per month.

Not only is this price point going to give other cellular carriers a run for their money, but at that price point it may even be beneficial for many people to cut the DSL or cable modem service and use this as their sole means of accessing the internet.

I even ponder if this will cut into the voice revenues of many cellular carriers, as you would be able to walk around with a wifi VoIP phone and a MiFi device to get your calls just about anywhere.

Friday, September 3, 2010

freecnam.com now forwards to this site... and is forsale...

I gave up on the FreeCNAM.com project that I wanted to do. Because I do not have the time or resources to devote to this project, and the fact that tnid.org is providing CNAM data once again.

If you are interested in the domain name you may leave a comment, or email me at info@@@freecnam...com (added characters for spam prevention)

I am donating freecnam.com to the TnID people for a new project that they are working on.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free hosted PBX/IVR

A few months ago I posted an article about PC based PBX/IVR systems. These set ups required you to run them locally on your own PC. http://nyphonejacks.blogspot.com/2010/06/pc-based-pbxivr-systems.html

Today I talk about a hosted PBX available for FREE - or for $20 per month, depending on how many users you have, or if you need VoIP calling as well...

http://www.phonebooth.com/ is offering a free local phone number and IVR system that will forward to whatever phone that you choose. I have just signed up, so I will be playing around with it in the next few days, or weeks, and will report back here as to how I found the service to be. It appears too good to be true, so I am weary about recommending this for business purposes. If you are going to use this for business I would recommend forwarding an existing number into this service, and then having the service answer the calls and route them however you need them to be routed, so that in the event that the service ends, or the cost outweighs the benefits you can just set up a local PBX or IVR system with out the need to be concerned that the number that your customers have to reach you no longer is in service. Again, this is just preliminary thinking, I am not saying that the company is going away any time soon, or that the price will skyrocket through the roof, I am just saying to be cautious with your business number, as the old saying goes "you get what you pay for". But it seems that there is many things that are becoming cheaper, or even free that is still a value. I believe that their business plan/model is to get you hooked on their service with the free edition, and then you will eventually want to upgrade to the paid version - which seems like an extremely good value, or is overly under priced. Either way, stay tuned for my hands on testing with this service, and I will let you know if it is worth trying out. In the mean time, feel free to try it for yourself, just do not go printing business cards with your phonebooth phone number on it until you are sure that the service will fit your needs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taking over a number for a business that is closing.

I have come across people who inquired about how to get the phone number for a competitor that has just gone out of business.

Well If the phone service has already been canceled, it is not likely that you will be able to obtain that number. The phone company usually puts disconnected numbers into a state of inactivity for a minimum period of time (that can vary from provider to provider). Also telephone companies do not normally let you choose your number, and when they do it is considered a vanity number with additional monthly fees in most cases.

What you need to do so that you can obtain your competitors telephone number is contact the owner BEFORE the store is closed and have them transfer the bill into your name. You should ensure that the bill is up to date before having the bill transferred into your name. Of course the current business owner is not going to want to just give the number away, so you should be prepared to offer some form of compensation for the number.

I am unaware of any laws that prevent the transfer of a telephone number in this way, BUT the telephone companies do frown upon selling phone numbers, because the subscriber does not own the number, it's ownership remains with the telephone company.

once the bill is under your name then you can port the number to your current service provider, but I would recommend just finding the cheapest provider that offers free/unlimited call forwarding and just forward it to your main line.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well your competitor has a customer base, and possibly has placed advertisements in the yellow pages, magazines, newspapers and other forms of media. You can tap into these resources and potential new customers with minimal effort and expense.

Once the number is transferred to your name you can view my blog about how to port your number if you need additional help. http://nyphonejacks.blogspot.com/2010/08/lnp-local-number-portability.html

LNP - Local Number Portability.

EDIT - 8./9/2014: While all of the information below remains accurate I would like to add that if you are porting from a VoIP provider, then you should confirm AFTER the port has been complete that your account has been closed! This is probably more relevant to business or hosted PBX VoIP customers and not so much for residential service like that provided by your cable provider, or carriers similar to Vonage. Remember NEVER contact your current provider to cancel service UNTIL the port process has been completed, doing so may cause the port to fail!

Many people are switching from one carrier to another, or switching telephone services from land line to cellular to VoIP and many of you want to be able to bring your number with you. Maybe you have too many people that already know your number. Maybe you are using the number for business. Whatever the reason you want to be able to bring that phone number that you have become attached to with you when you leave one provider, and move over to a new provider.

When looking to change carriers, or services and bring your number with you there are several things to keep in mind:

*First contact the NEW provider that you want to move the number to, and tell them that you want to port your number. They will likely require additional information, such as the account number, and/or password for your account so that they can port the number over to their service.

*Do NOT cancel your current service until the port process is complete, doing so may result in you losing the ability to take the number with you.

*You may be required to pay any outstanding balances from your current provider before they release the number. If your service has been suspended for non-payment your current carrier may not release the number to your new carrier until payments have been brought up to date.

*If you are in a contract, you may be required to pay any ETFs (early termination fees) before the number is released from your current provider.

*Many VoIP providers will be more than happy to port your number TO their service, but it may be difficult for you to port the number away from them if you are not satisfied with the service - check the service providers policy for taking your number with you when you leave, or ask them. Land line and cellular carriers are required to port, but VoIP carriers are not bound by all of the same laws as land line or cellular carriers. You may not be thinking about this, since you expect that your new service will satisfy your needs into the foreseeable future.

*Not all VoIP providers allow numbers to be ported TO their service. (Magicjack comes to mind)

*Some VoIP providers will charge you a fee to port your number (Ooma comes to mind).

*Porting to land line service can normally only be done when the line originally was served out of the same central office that serves the address that you will be having the service activated at. In some cases you may be able to port a number to a land line that is not originally served from the central office that serves the address where service will be activated, but this normally comes with added monthly fees, and is normally not a viable option unless you are running a larger business and can not afford to lose your valuable telephone number.

*Make sure that the company that you are porting your number to is reputable, and financially stable. You do not want your new carrier going bankrupt and going out of business leaving you with no way to move your number to a new carrier.

EDIT- If the number that you are porting is your DSL number you WILL have problems. The DSL WILL be disconnected once the porting process is complete

If you have any distinctive ringing numbers, be sure to include them in the port process with your new provider if you do not want to lose those numbers. If your new carrier does not support distinctive ringing, discuss alternate options with your new carrier, such as making it a virtual number, or adding an additional line of service with your current distinctive ringing number.

When you begin the porting process, your new carrier might provide you with a temporary number if they activate the service before the current service is canceled. You may wish to forward your current number to the temporary number that the new carrier provides to you. With call forwarding active on your current line to the temporary number that your new provider gives you, you will be able to answer your calls with your new service. I however do NOT recommend this for businesses. I recommend that businesses leave their old service active for incoming calls while the port completes because call forwarding will only forward ONE incoming call - while the line is active all other callers will get a busy signal.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Current pre paid rates



6/30/11 Due to Virgin Mobile closing an account of ours that had funds in it, that should have been active for 365 days we can NOT recommend using Virgin Mobile at this time! 
[For the latest cell phone rates click HERE]

[unlimited plans HERE] (old)

Straight Talk:
$30 - 1,000 minutes - 1,000 texts - 30MB data - expires 30 days (3c/min)
$45 - unlimited minutes - unlimited text - unlimited data

Page Plus:
$10 - 100 minutes - text 8c each - $1.20/MB - roll over if replenished in 120 days
$25 - 400 minutes - text 8c each - $1.20/MB - roll over if replenished in 120 days
$30 - 1,200 minutes - 1,200 texts - 50MB data - 30 days (2.5c/min*)
$45 - unlimited minutes - unlimited text - 20MB
$50 - 1,000 minutes - text 8c each - $1.20/MB - roll over if replenished in 120 days (5c/min)
*if only counting voice minutes...

Net 10:
 $15 - 200 minutes - 1/2 min for texts -auto-bill 30 days (7.5c/min)
$20 - 200 minutes - 1/2 min for texts - expire 30 days (10c/min)
$30 - 500 minutes - 1/2 min for texts - auto-bill 30 days (6c/min)
$30 - 300 minutes - 1/2 min for texts - expire 60 days (10c/min)
$45 - 600 minutes -1/2 min for texts - expire 60 days (7.5c/min)
$60 - 900 minutes - 1/2 min for texts - expire 90 days (6.6c/min)

Virgin mobile:
$20 - 400 minutes - 30 days  (5c/min)
$25 - 300 minutes - unlimited text - unlimited data
$40 - 1200 minutes - unlimited text - unlimited data
$60 - unlimited minutes - unlimited text - unlimited data (3.3c/min)
20c/min with no plan

Boost mobile:
$50 unlimited minutes - unlimited text - unlimited data
10c/min with no plan

$10 - 30 minutes - no text/data included - 30 days** (33c/min)
$15 - 45 minutes - no text/data included - 30 days** (33c/min)
$15 - 10c/min - unlimited text - (no data included) - 30 days
$25 - 130 minutes - no text/data included - 30 days** (19c/min)
$50 - unlimited minutes - unlimited text - (no data included) - 30 days
$50 - 400 minutes - no text/data included - 30 days** (12.5c/min)
$100 - 1,000 minutes - no text/data included - 90 days (10c/min)
**after you reach gold member status (add $100+ to your account minutes expire in 90 days, and all airtime purchases incur a 15% airtime bonus)

ATT go phone
$3/day unlimited minutes - ? text - ? data
$60 - unlimited minutes - unlimited text - no data included - 30 days
25c without plan

Verizon wireless:
$4/day - unlimited minutes - no text/data included
25c without plan

I did not include some of the other smaller carriers, so you may find a better deal with one of them, the problem with them however is lack of national coverage. I intentionally left out Metro Pretty Crappy Service, because I would not recommend anyone to use their services.

The cheapest per-minute rate would be Page Plus $30 plan that includes 1,200 minutes at 2.5c per minute, which also includes 1,200 text messages and 50MB of data. The amount of minutes and text messages should be sufficient for most users, however the limit of 50MB of data may be a problem for heavy mobile internet users.

If you do not need more than 300 minutes, but are a heavy texter, or mobile internet user, then Virgin Mobiles $25 plan that includes 300 minutes, plus unlimited texting and data would be the best option for you.

If you need more than 300 minutes, and are a heavy texter, or mobile internet user, than the $40 Virgin mobile plan that includes 1,200 minutes plus unlimited text and data should suffice.

If you feel that you need unlimited minutes, unlimited text and unlimited web, then the best offer is Straight Talk's $45 plan.

For light use users, you may want to consider the $3/day unlimited ATT Go phone, although I would recommend against this as if you use your phone every day the bill can add up to $90 for the month while there are unlimited plans for 1/2 that that include much more than what ATT is offering. If you only use your phone occasionally, you may consider just paying boost mobile 10c per minute instead of getting a minute pack with one of the other carriers.

Currently Boost and Virgin are the only carriers that I am aware of that offer blackberry or android phones, blackberry plans for virgin and boost are $10 more than listed plan prices. You might have luck activating a smart phone with one of the other carriers, but to my knowledge they do not offer them directly.

I provided links for you do double check the pricing, since pricing can change at any time.

Friday, July 30, 2010

16oz coke bottles for the price of 20oz bottles

Sorry for the off topic post, but while at the store earlier today to purchace a soda to quench my thirst from this heat I noticed that Coca-Cola products now come in 16oz bottles in place of the industry standard 20oz bottles - and they cost the same as their 20oz counterparts.

This is an outrage, and I recommend that you contact the CEO of Coca-Cola at:
phone: (404) 676-2121
fax: (404) 676-6792
email: officeofthechairman@na.ko.com

Hopefully Coca-Cola will realize that this was a mistake, and give its customers the 4 oz back that they stole from us, and that I can get back to posting on topic.

[EDIT] it took the CEO over 2 weeks to initially reply, to which he claimed the 16 oz was just another "choice" for consumers, and not meant to replace the 20 oz bottles. Yet I have not seen anywhere who stock BOTH the 16oz and 20oz products, so not sure what he meant there. He offered no resolution to the problem.  The second Email that I sent took even longer to respond to - and I advised him that he made no effort to retain me as a customer, nor provide an adequate response to my inquiry, and that at minimum I should have been provided with a coupon for a free Coca-Cola product, the response was that he did not think that offering a coupon would have remedied the problem, but claimed that I would receive a coupon in my mail - 6 months later, and I still have not received any coupon. EVERY issue from EVERY OTHER company where I made the CEO's office aware of a trouble I was provided with satisfactory, or better results, usually resulting in the CEO, or other management contacting me by phone less than 24 hours after my complaints, but not with Coca-Cola, they do not care about their customers. 

my latest recommendation for a "throw away" phone

6/30/11 Due to Virgin Mobile closing an account of ours that had funds in it, that should have been active for 365 days we can NOT recommend using Virgin Mobile at this time! 


I have always recommended the Net 10 LG300 for a throw away phone. The reason being that they cost $25 to $30, depending on if they are on sale or not, and comes with 300 minutes, that are good for upto 90 days. This phone and its 300 minutes plan is still good for low usage, where you do not expect to use all of the minutes in a single month, BUT if you need to use more minutes within a single month, then I have found an even cheaper alternitive.

 Virgin mobile has always had several phone models in the $10 range. Currently the kyocera TNT (flip) and JAX (candybar) phones are $10 each, and with a $20 paylo plan you will have 400 minutes to use to talk.

So for the same $30 you can have a Net 10 phone for 60 days and 300 minutes (with 10c additional minutes, if you actually add money to your throw away), or a Virgin mobile phone with 400 minutes (for 30 days, with 5c additional minutes.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FREE dial up.

While most people are using broadband internet connections, or stealing WiFi illegally from there neighbors there is still people that are using dial-up internet. Either for there main connection to the internet, or as a back up, or for traveling. Years ago there was plenty of free dial-up service providers to choose from, starting with NetZero. It was mostly ad supported, and very limited. People figured out how to disable the ads, then it was patched, then they figured out how to disable them again. This was a constant cat and mouse game with NetZero and other similar services and the crackers, until finally most of the free dial-up ISPs just ended up going with a subscription model.
The good news is that there still exists several free dial-up ISPs. While I have not tested any of these, since the first thing I remove from every PC that I own is the 56K modem, and my portable PCs are netbooks with no dial-up capabilities, you should hopefully find something worth the cost of admission (free) for your dial-up needs, whether it is for your main internet connection, a back up when your DSL or cable modem goes down, or while traveling.

claims to have local access numbers across the country

has access numbers for CA, DE, NJ, PA

has access numbers in the entire state of MI according to the site

has access numbers in NH, Mass, and RI

it appears I may have spoken too soon in the above post, netzero claims to have nationwide access numbers, but only gives you 10 hours free per month.

NYC's free ISP

ID and WA access numbers

southern california access numbers

If you have any others, or want to share your experience about one of the above, then leave a comment below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The following two posts were sitting in my draft folder from last month, and accidentally never got published.

OOMA premier $20 discount code


$50 off Ooma!! Click HERE or use code VEF3711 Ends 7/31/12

These codes are expired, follow NYPHONEJACKS on Twitter to get new Ooma codes when they become available!

[EDIT: This code is likely expired already. I have 3 single use codes that will save you $50 that must be redeemed by May 31, 2011 - email me if you want one. These are first come first serve]

[EDIT 3.8.11 -  Not sure if the code below works anymore, but I just got a new code for $20 off. PREM20OFF I believe that this code is also now expired]

Before OOMA restructured there rates, the premier used to cost $99 per year, but they raised the prices sometime last year. But now with this discount code you can get OOMA premier for $99 with this $20 off discount code - the code/discount only applies for NEW OOMA premier subscribers, if you already have an OOMA premier subscription then it won't likely work for your renewal.

The code is:

Also included with this $20 discount is a free port of an existing phone number ($40 value) or a free OOMA scout ($60 value)






New area codes planned

New NPA Location Old NPA Overlay? In Service Date Planning Letter(s) Status
227 MD 240 Yes Active
249 Ontario 705 Yes 03/19/2011 398 Active
274 WI 920 Yes 03/10/2012 385 Active
283 OH 513 Yes 316 286 264 Suspended
327 AR 870 Yes 05/18/2013 400
341 CA 510 Yes 206 190 Suspended
343 Ontario 613 Yes 05/17/2010 386 Active
364 KY 270 No 10/29/2011 391 376 371 365
365 Ontario 905 Yes 03/25/2013 Active
369 CA 707 No 238 210
380 OH 614 Yes 317 297 290 Suspended
447 IL 217 Yes Active
464 IL 708 Yes 195 Active
531 NE 402 Yes 03/26/2011 397 393 Active
534 WI 715 Yes 08/14/2010 384 Active
539 OK 918 Yes 04/01/2011 403
557 MO 314 Yes 303 279 261 Suspended
564 WA 360 Yes 298 239 196 Suspended
579 Quebec 450 Yes 08/21/2010 401 395 Active
627 CA 707 No 238 210
628 CA 415 Yes 206 191 Suspended
659 AL 205 Yes 289 284
667 MD 443 Yes 299 266 Active
669 CA 408 Yes 206 149 Suspended
679 MI 313 Yes 227 209 Active
689 FL 407 Yes 325 323 Suspended
721 Sint Maarten No 404 396
730 IL 618 Yes Active
737 TX 512 Yes 276 233 Suspended
764 CA 650 Yes 206 193 Suspended
873 Quebec 819 Yes 06/01/2013 405 Active
929 NY 347 Yes 04/16/2011 402
935 CA 619 No 230 128
938 AL 256 Yes 07/10/2010 389 Active
959 CT 860 Yes 255 217 Active
975 MO 816 Yes 304 280 262 Suspended
984 NC 919 Yes 306 271

Saturday, July 10, 2010

some updates to the site

I have just finished doing some minor updates to this blog. I have added a search bar above, and to the right I have added a YouTube player for my channel NYPJ, as well as some advertising from Google ad-sense and Amazon affiliates. There are also some other widgets that I have added to the right side bar, hopefully it will be handy for some of you visiting this blog.

I have struggled with the thought of leaving my blog ad-free, but I finally broke down and decided to attempt to monetize the blog, even if it only brings in a small amount of money. I am hoping that the ads do not become too obstructive of the content of the site, and that I do not need to end up removing them. You can trust that even though I have placed advertisements on the blog that my commentary will remain unbiased for or against any product or service that I discuss on this blog.

If you have found the content on this website to be of help to you, the I ask your assistance in helping make the new ads on the site a success and click through any of the ads that appeal to you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

free phone service with gizmo + google voice

EDIT - This article is outdated, and the information no longer works. For free incoming/outgoing calls with google voice check THIS newer article. 

[EDIT: Gizmo is being discontinued by Google.]

I have seen many outdated articles related how to get GV and Gizmo to work together so that you can have not only free incoming calls, but also free outgoing calls.

Since Google Voice has disallowed incoming SIP connections, and since Gizmo no longer has this as an option, I will discuss the way that I have been able to make free outgoing calls from my Gizmo account using Google Voice.

My first test was to just use click to call to call into my Gizmo number, but for some reason when I answered the GV call from Gizmo the line only rang once and then I was faced with silence. Knowing that my GV number works, and that I am able to call into it with no problems with other phones, I figured that somewhere the GV number realizes that the CID is calling itself. Click to call displays your Google Voice number, not your Gizmo number as the CID, So I assumed that this is where the problem lied.

So with the above informatiion to guide me into a way to make free calls I decided to try one of the other Google Voice numbers that I have access to, in conjunction with my Google Voice number,

Here is the soloution - you will need 1 Gizmo account, and 2 Google Voice accounts.Gizmo is currently in closed beta so if you do not have a Gizmo account then you will need to find a different soloution (such as a VoIP buster account with an ipkall DID)

Gizmo account - self explanitory
Google Voice account #1 - this is the account that you will link with your Gizmo account (or other VoIP provider with a US DID)
Google Voice account #2 - this will be the number that you call from GV account 1, and will appear on your CID for your placed calls.

If you already have a GV account that you use that is connected with your phones, then you will want to use this account as the GV account #2

with GV account #1 (a new account if you have one existing GV number that you use to receive calls) link this with your Gizmo account, and set up an address book contact with your GV #2 account phone number.

unfortunately you can not add a GV number as a forwarding phone with your GV #2 account, so you will have to enter * and your pin every time you make a call, but I guess that is a small price that you pay for unlimited FREE calls to US and CAN.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Telephone Color Code

EDIT newer post with color image and also 568A/B located HERE 

Supprised that I did not post this earlier.

 For station wiring, you will either have wire that is green/red + yellow/black, or blue/white + orange/white

Line 1
Green = blue white
Red = solid blue
Line 2
Yellow = orange/white
Black = solid orange

Here is a run down of the colors for larger cable

For cables larger than 25 pair the wire is wrapped into binders, where the first 25 are wrapped in white, then the second in red, etc...

If you notice the first colors repeat, blue, orange, green, brown, slate. To make this easy to remember, all you need to do is remember the phrase "Bring Our Guys Back Safe"(Blue, Orange, Green, Brown, Slate)  To recall the order of the second color you just need to remember the phrase "Why Run Backwards You'll Vomit" (White, Red, Black, Yellow, Violet)

Updated posts

Added more links to this post http://nyphonejacks.blogspot.com/2010/02/helpful-links.html



Sunday, June 20, 2010

PC based PBX/IVR systems

Anyone interested in setting up a PC based PBX or IVR system should already be familiar with Asterisk, it is a free open sourced PBX software that runs on linux.

However if you are a noob at linux, or find configuring an Asterisk server too complicated or difficult, there are some windows based options available.

I have recently been playing around with Call Butler, which was at one point a commercially available product that was offered for sale for $200. It is now available as open source software, and free of charge. Set up is quick and easy. If you are looking to set up a PC based PBX/IVR then i would recommend downloading this program and testing it out.

NCH also has a simple to use windows based PBX called Axon Virtual VoIP PBX. They also have a host of other telephony software available. This software is commercial software, with a trial period. You can download and toy around with the software to see if it will meet your needs, and then decide if it is worth the purchase price. I like NCH as they seem to have software for just about any business needs that you have. I have used the free version of there Express Invoice software for providing customers with a printed bill, but that software has so much more features. I would compare the Express Invoice software to Quick Books, or other accounting software.

[EDIT 11.23.10]
Phonebooth.com provides free hosted IVR service with 200 included minutes per month, and additional minutes are not too bad. There is also a monthly plan which includes VoIP service.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

edited a few posts




Prepaid Smart Phones

6/30/11 Due to Virgin Mobile closing an account of ours that had funds in it, that should have been active for 365 days we can NOT recommend using Virgin Mobile at this time! 

Finally, there are several choices for smart phones for those of us who would prefer to not be tied down by contracts, and go the prepaid route. The downside to this is that the phones are not subsidized and that the whole cost of the phone must be paid in advance, BUT often times the savings had with the monthly bill compared to contract phones will offset the added cost of paying the full purchase price of the phone within the first 2 or 3 months.

Leaving out Metro PCS, because there coverage is not that good I will provide you with some carrier approved smart phone devices that are currently on the market.

The first real prepaid smart phone on the block was the Boost Mobile Blackberry 8330. Its upfront cost is $250, and the monthly unlimited plan is $60 per-month. Compare that with sprint's unlimited simply everything plan at $100 and you save $40 per month, so it would take just over 6 months for the phone to be "free" or for you to start realizing the savings.

The next smart phone that came out also came from one of sprints prepaid companies. Virgin mobile is now offering the Blackberry 8530 for $300, and has plans for $35 for 300 minutes + unlimited text and web, $50 for  1200 minutes + unlimited text and web, and $70 for unlimited everything. Making the $35/month plan one of the cheapest blackberry plans available. Yet even if you decide that you need unlimited everything, comparing the $70/month plan with Sprint's unlimited simply everything plan will still save you $30 per month. This will take 10 months to get the phone for "free" or see the savings potential, or even quicker if you choose one of the lower cost plans.

The latest smart phone to reach the prepaid market is not a Blackberry, but an Android phone, and is available by Boost Mobile. The previous 2 Blackberries mentioned above are on Sprint's CDMA network, this one is on the NEXTEL iDEN network. I am not sure why Boost choose to put a smart phone onto the older iDEN network, instead of putting it onto the Sprint CDMA network. The model number is i1, and pricing for the device is not yet posted on the website. I would assume that they would keep the cost of the device to the $250-300 price point, as they are a prepaid company and cater to people looking to save money compared to contract phones, and people are used to having there phones subsidized by the carrier, and to not like to spend that much for there phones. The Plan pricing is also not posted on the website, but I would assume that you would be able to get this device with the $50 plan, because unlike the Blackberries Boost does not need to pay an outside company for PUSH email, or other features.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FREE cell phone service for low income people

I mentioned on a previous post about cheap cell phone service here about Safelink Wireless a life line cell phone service provided by TracFone. Since that time another company has begun offering free life line cell phone service, Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless is provided by Virgin Mobile, which is now owned by Sprint. They offer 200 minutes per month for free, and additional minutes are 10 cents each. Text messages are 15 cents each or $5 for 200 messages.

Safelink Wireless minutes vary by location, but NY only offers 68 minutes per month. Tracfone Wireless minute cards can be purchased to add time to the phone a 60 unit Tracfone card will give you 100 minutes of service that expires in 90 days, and a 120 unit Tracfone card will get you 150 minutes that expire in 90 days. Sounds stupid, but two 60 unit cards will get you 50 more minutes.

So my conclusion would be to apply for the Assurance Wireless phone. Not only will you get more minutes per month for free, but you will also be on Sprint's CDMA network, unlike Tracfone, which mostly operate as an MVNO on AT&T's GSM network. (People who have read previous posts from me will notice that I am partial to CDMA, and critical of GSM, even though HSPDA is a GSM technology, and supposed to provide faster 3G data speeds.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

helpful links

Have a Boost Mobile iDEN phone (or NEXTEL), and want to install a software that you downloaded from the internet on your computer to the phone? You can with this link...

Want to search for a phone number from an address? Perhaps you want to search for a name or address from a phone number?

Need to know how to dial an international number from anywhere in the world, to anywhere else? Or look up what country a person is calling you from?

Want a FREE DID?

What about some FREE VoIP?

Just want to make a free call from your PC to someone in the US or CAN?
http://callingamerica.com/ [no longer provides FREE calls]
Want to know what phone company currently controls a phone number, and what carrier originally owned that number?

Want to know what central office serves a certain exchange? Perhaps you want other detailed information about a certain rate center, or other telephone switching equiptment? There is lots of interesting information to be found at this site.

Don't want to be bothered with telemarketers?

Want to file a complaint about someone who violated the do not call list, or some other issue with a tele-commerce issue?

Want more info on how telephone numbers are assigned, or some other similar questions?

Want information about laws governing the telephone? You can check the FCC website linked below, but you should also search for the Public Service Commission (PSC) or Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for your state.

EDIT- 2-27-10
Got a Magic Jack and need some more help than there "customer service" provides?

EDIT - 6-13-10
Free conference service http://www.freemagicconference.com/

EDIT - 6-24-10
Want to know how to get a real person on the phone, instead of having to press 1 for this 2 for that?

Looking for a vanity toll free number? Look up if what you want is available by using this tool, don't worry, you can order your toll free number from whatever carrier that you choose if it is available.