Blog

Voice Messaging Done Right With Vontoo.com

Posted on: 2008-09-17 22:38:39

Tuesday, 11:55 AM, my boss comes into my office and tells me that he needs to broadcast a message to all of our agents. After some google searches, I finally landed at "Vontoo.com":http://vontoo.com/. Their site was clean, sign-up was pretty impressive, and the overall experience from their site and service has made me feel good about recommending them and talking about them.

Their "account creation process":http://www.vontoo.com/try-it.shtml is really cool. You type in your name, phone number, password, etc... and then the system calls you. You hit '1' on your phone to verify your information, and about 3-4 seconds later, your screen refreshes and you are automatically logged into their website. Awesome!

Their member area is very clean. Their "express" version (the version I signed up for) is very simple and straightforward. The same processes that one would use with sending a mass e-mail marketing messages applies, except it's even easier. One of the coolest things by far is the statistics.

\"Vontoo
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Very nice being able to see how well it performed. Billing is done by minutes, a minute for each call, basically. You can do pre-paid or look at their advanced accounts.

If you've got the need to do phone-based mass communications, "Vontoo":http://vontoo.com/ is really great way to handle it! Their staff was friendly, support guys definitely helpful, and they definitely gave me the feeling of going "above and beyond." Check them out!

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Would You Rather Becomes SpeedDate

Posted on: 2008-09-15 08:35:42

Finally read about the Facebook Application "Would You Rather suddenly becoming SpeedDate":http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/O3J3gngSvxw/ on "TechCrunch":http://techcrunch.com/. What a slimy tactic. Why are applications even allowed to change their name? You would think they wouldn't allow it.

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Things Not To Twitter

Posted on: 2008-09-14 13:37:21

A few days ago some friends and I were talking about someone's wedding plans and joked that instead of getting it photographed, you could just live blog/twitter it. That is probably not the best way to handle a wedding, but it is even less of a good way to handle "a 3 year old's funeral":http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider/~3/YDfAWenlTTo/things-better-left-off-twitter-the-funeral-of-a-3-year-old-boy

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Trying Yammer...

Posted on: 2008-09-12 11:07:27

"Yammer":http://yammer.com/ seems to be pretty cool. The idea (twitter, but limited to a company) is nifty, and definitely useful. Admin privileges only cost $1/mo./user. Interesting. Wish they had an iPhone app!

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Withdrawals

Posted on: 2008-09-09 20:03:12

A few months ago, I started taking Lexapro to help my anxiety... they worked great... until they didn't. Then my doctor switched me over to Cymbalta. After a few weeks, I started having crazy nightmares and insomnia. I visited my doctor last week and told him that I'd rather just get off of it. He said that since I was only on 10mg I could just stop taking it.

That was Thursday. That was my last dose. Sunday afternoon I started getting cold sweats, dizziness, nausea, etc. I slept most of that afternoon and evening. Monday morning I felt better and ended up going to work the next day. That lasted until right after lunch. I got even more dizzy and nauseous. Today I went to work and did great until vomiting right before lunch. I felt great, but after lunch ended up going to my girlfriend's house to sleep and couldn't wake up.

My body is sore, and I feel completely tired. I haven't driven any distance since Sunday. Worse yet, I've been reading that some people continue having these symptoms for weeks (not days).

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow... please pray that I can get over this crap soon.

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On The Road

Posted on: 2008-08-30 16:21:04

The card works great in Northeast Oklahoma. Heading to Baxter Springs and it's still going. Peaked down earlier at 1.67Mbits, and up at 435Kbits. Not too shabby.

It's been an interesting trip so far. Drove under the largest McDonalds in the U.S. Saw an über-mullet, and overheard some interesting things at a Wal-mart right after we got into Okahoma. Ate lunch at a Wendy's in Muskogee. Almost died when a car careened across the median into the northbound lane on 69. Got flipped off by a trucker on 44.

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Boo Verizonwireless.com, Yay Verizon Wireless

Posted on: 2008-08-28 21:19:52

Well, I'm heading up to Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas this weekend with Sarah to visit her kids up there. It'll be a long weekend since we have Monday off! Considering my quasi-successful PHP4 to PHP5 upgrade on my hosting server last week, I figure it'd be a good idea to get a wireless access card. This is how my adventure began...

When I first got my own cell-phone in college, I ordered it directly from "verizonwireless.com":http://www.verizonwireless.com/. It was quick and painless. What happened between then and now? I'm not sure, but it was definitely not the same experience I had with them in the past.

The first SNAFU was when the order "completed," there was no e-mail verification. I'm really used to the idea that I always get at least one e-mail when making purchases online. It's the electronic equivalent of a receipt. What vendor doesn't send one? Verizonwireless.com, apparently. "Oh well," I thought, "maybe it's just stuck in cyber-space." This was Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday rolls around and no e-mail has graced my inbox from verizonwireless.com. I call their support. She asks me for an order number, which I don't have, because I never got an e-mail. I ended up giving her my SSN (which they get from you for a credit check online) and my first and last name. She says that she order shows as being "in process" and hasn't been shipped out yet. She promises that once it does get shipped out, it will be overnighted to me. This was Wednesday (yesterday).

Today, still no e-mail from verizonwireless.com. Actually, that's not true. I did get an e-mail from them. They were nice enough to tell me that they were glad I stopped by and to sell me the "experience" of buying online:

!sites/nickvahalik.com/files/free_overnight_shipping.png!

I called them at lunch and was rather terse with the woman on the phone about my order. This time, she explained that she "wasn't quite sure what was going on" with my order. I asked her if I could cancel it and she said that she could "cancel the credit check" which would, subsequently, make the rest of the order fail to process successfully. When told that "their website says it would be delivered tomorrow":http://www.verizonwireless.com:80/b2c/promotion/controller?vendorid=EMAIL&jspName=/promotion/controller&promotionId=2154&promotionType=SPECIAL_OFFER&email=Responsys&CMP=EMC-C-S-ShopCart-1 , she responded that it only happens if an order gets processed successfully. Ugh. What a joke.

So I finally went to a store and ended up paying a little bit more for a "UM175 USB Modem":http://www.evdoinfo.com/content/view/2421/64/. It's a great little device and so far, the speed is very acceptable for my purposes (1.19Mb down, 234Kb up... in Belton). The lady who helped me was out very nice (her name was Natalie, and she works at the "Verizon store in Temple Mall":http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=verizon,+temple,+tx&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8. It was definitely a much more pleasant experience going there instead of buying online.

I shall follow up again once this card has been put through the rigors.

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Why I Disagree With Psystar

Posted on: 2008-08-28 08:58:55

I'm an avid Mac user and wouldn't trade my machine for anything. I do agree that there is a need for a mid-range Mac, just like the ones "Psystar offers":http://www.psystar.com/index.php?&page=shop.product_details&category_id=21&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=38&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=72. So when "Psystar":http://www.psystar.com/ started shipping systems, it looked pretty tempting. Then "Apple sued them":http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080715-apple-finally-sues-unlicensed-macintosh-cloner-psystar.html because of EULA violations and now "they are counter-suing":http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/08/27/psystar-finally-answers-to-apples-suit-by-suing-right-back.

From TFA(The Freaking Article) emphasis added:

bq. Pedraza told CNet that his goal is to make Mac OS X "more accessible, to provide an alternative" to what he characterizes as exorbitantly priced "generic hardware." Though Apple's most recent hardware uses the x86 architecture and uses many of the same components as other PCs, calling Apple's hardware "generic" is just unfair. And, Apple is under no obligation to make its OS available to install on any hardware. One of Apple's selling points it that it makes "the whole widget," and its approach has generally worked in its favor.

That's the whole point. The reason why Mac's have such a great reputation is because Apple does have so much control over them. That doesn't mean there won't be "problems":http://www.geocities.com/surfithead/pblines.htm. These are complicated pieces of machinery. And you know what? Despite those problems, "Apple's satisfaction rating for Q2 2008 (85) is 'all-time high' for the computer industry":http://www.forbes.com/2008/08/18/apple-consumer-satisfaction-tech-enter-cz_ah_0819apple.html?partner=yahootix.

If there is one thing a marketing guy can tell you, it's that "people who complain are some of your best customers":http://www.crosspond.com/apple/hall_of_shame/1. They complain because they have expectations, and they let you know when they aren't met. It's a sign of a quality company when people care enough to complain about your products "instead of just throwing them away":http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/technology/17spy.html?_r=1&hp&ex=1121572800&en=178b2edcf06c6a45&ei=5094&partner=homepage&oref=slogin. They spend a lot of money and they know what they are supposed to be getting.

All in all, I think the market that Psystar is trying to reach is something that Apple should definitely notice. However, they are definitely going about it the wrong way and for sake of Apple, I hope they lose their lawsuit.

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To: The Coolest Coffee Shop In Waco

Posted on: 2008-08-24 23:26:01

Please shop changing your hours every 4 weeks. This is annoying.

That is all.

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Work, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Posted on: 2008-08-23 12:43:58

This is pretty much how it's been lately. Finding some new things to write about as I go along but this is pretty much the first day I haven't been hard at work since I first woke up. And, sadly, this is probably what the outlook looks like for the next few months. I've decided to quit my full-time job and focus my efforts fully on "Netoteric":http://netoteric.com/.

I've already given advanced notice so that projects I'm working on will have enough time to finish and other departments can set appropriate timelines before February. It's going to be a long, tough road... but ultimately I believe everything will be much better off than when I started and the company will have a good infrastructure to build on for the next 5-10 years as it grows.

It seems lately that it's been an uphill battle to make progress and finish projects. Lots of different sides demanding attention and need things done to keep the flow going. Recently, the server Netoteric hosts on was updated to PHP 5.2.6 from PHP 4.4.4. This was an unexpected upgrade, but now that it's done, it feels like more of a blessing than a burden having to update some of the old sites that have been hosted on that box for more than 3 years.

The outlook is incredible bright, and there are good things ahead!

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