12 October 2007
Skype and Vonage
illustrate what is wrong with user communications: They are "closed"
and not standards-based. These strategies support business models that
are not in line with 21st century wants and needs. They have to go!
I've been a user of Skype and Vonage voice over IP (VoIP) services for a long time. I use Skype to talk with my editor at
and to connect with a few friends back in England, while Vonage has
reduced my regular phone bills enormously, particularly for
international calls. These things are on the plus side.
The minus side? With Vonage, it has been the aggravation factor: It
is hard to get good quality, at least over DSL, without resorting to
blind experimentation, and using it to support TiVo
or a home alarm system is a pain. Even when everything appears to be
working with Vonage, you get occasional weird sound-quality problems,
and faxing is only moderately satisfactory (incomplete transmissions
seem to account for about half of all faxes I send).