Archive for July 27th, 2010
Well, I got it and tried to get it set up. As with many things involving the Internet and routers, it quickly turned into a high-frustration effort. I did get things working briefly—the Ooma seemed to download its update and the center flower showed blue. But that was quite brief. I quickly found that my computer was disconnected from the Internet, the Ooma would not (after the initial blue center flower) settle down and work, and I could not get things going even with the help of my local ISP and two different Ooma reps.
One problem, of course, is that you’re trying to get help on the very device that is now your communication device. So when they said (as they did), “Unplug the Ooma,” then your connection is broken. Duh.
But apparently to fix it, they do need to power it off. Bad problem there. And, of course, unlike landline phones, if there’s a power outage, you have no communication (including no 911).
My frustration with the unit continued to mount (setup is NOT a “snap”, unless by “snap” they mean you reach your breaking point) until I decided to hell with it and to return it to Amazon (which sells it at a discount).
I did call Ooma to tell them I would not be using my account. Apparently, if you come to that decision, they definitely do not want you as a future customer: to reactivate the account will cost $80, so it’s a permanent break.
Interesting idea, and I hope that some other company will implement it successfully. My experience with the Ooma Telo was extremely negative, and that last promise of a $80 penalty for returning as a customer was the frosting on the cake.
“Avoid” is my thought.
Very interesting article by Kathy Ruffing and James Horney at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame. Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4). Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1).
The deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at nearly 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.
The events and policies that have pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term, however, were largely outside the new Administration’s control. If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.
While President Obama inherited a dismal fiscal legacy, that does not diminish his responsibility to propose policies to address our fiscal imbalance and put the weight of his office behind them. Although policymakers should not tighten fiscal policy in the near term while the economy remains fragile, they and the nation at large must come to grips with the nation’s long-term deficit problem. But we should not mistake the causes of our predicament.
Recession Caused Sharp Deterioration in Budget Outlook
Whoever won the presidency in 2008 was going to face a grim fiscal situation, a fact already well known as the presidential campaign got underway. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) presented a sobering outlook in its 2008 summer update, and during the autumn, the news got relentlessly worse. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that became embroiled in the housing meltdown, failed in early September; two big financial firms — AIG and Lehman Brothers — collapsed soon thereafter; and others teetered. In December 2008, the National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed that the nation was in recession and pegged the starting date as December 2007. By the time CBO issued its new projections on January 7, 2009 — two weeks before Inauguration Day — it had already put the 2009 deficit at well over $1 trillion.
The recession battered the budget, driving down tax revenues and swelling outlays for unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other safety-net programs. Using CBO’s August 2008 projections as a benchmark, we calculate that the changed economic outlook accounts for over $400 billion of the deficit each year in 2009 through 2011 and slightly smaller amounts in subsequent years. Those effects persist; even in 2018, the deterioration in the economy since the summer of 2008 will account for over $250 billion in added deficits, much of it in the form of additional debt-service costs…