I’ve had high speed Internet for about as long as anyone in my ZIP code–as soon as DSL was available, I signed up and paid through the nose for it. It took a while for fiber to become an option, but I switched once I did. I’ve been a Southwestern Bell/AT&T customer for a good 17 years. Over the years I weighed it and AT&T U-Verse vs Charter Spectrum.
Recently I switched to Charter though. There are pros and cons to each of them, so I thought going through them might be helpful. Keep in mind Charter recently acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, so this applies to former Time Warner Cable and Bright House areas as well.
A friend asked me a good question: Does a POTS phone use the same wiring as U-Verse VOIP? The answer is, it depends. Outside your house, no it doesn’t. But that’s not your problem. Outside, that’s AT&T’s problem.
Long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and knights in shining armor fought them, people had landlines. And they plugged cordless phones into them. Everything was great. Then phones started using the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. Wi-Fi came out using the same frequencies and the two interfered with each other. Now, it seems increasingly difficult to keep cordless phones from interfering with Wi-Fi.
Many people have neatly solved the problem by using cell phones exclusively. But what if that isn’t an option? You’re actually in luck, and you don’t have to dig up a 20-year-old 900 MHz phone and try to find a battery that works in it.
I haven’t received a fake Windows tech support call in a very long time. A couple of the operations doing this have been shut down, but based on the continued popularity of the things I’ve written about them, I wonder if some people are still getting them.
That makes me reluctant to block them, just in case they call me again, but if you’re getting those calls and want them to stop, I can tell you how to do that.
I got another “Windows Technical Support” call on Friday evening. My caller ID said Minneapolis, and since I have coworkers in Minneapolis, I answered. But the guy on the other end was a long way from Minneapolis and probably doesn’t know diddly about ice hockey.
I’m pretty sure it was the same criminal as last time, but over a better VOIP connection. I remember the voice pretty well, because his parting lines from last time, “Enjoy your broken computer, Mr. Genius Man!” struck me as funny. And he started the conversation with, “I’m calling you again about your Windows 7 computer.”
My conversation with him revealed a few things about why this scam is likely to be profitable.
“Oh, so you think you’re Mr. Genius Man,” the crackly voice said, drowned out by static caused by his cheap VOIP connection. “Enjoy your broken computer, Mr. Genius Man. Goodbye, Mr. Genius Man.”
So ended 23 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, but I figure it’s 23 minutes he wasn’t spending scamming someone else. I don’t do it often, but my kids were playing nicely and we were all in the same room, so I guess I don’t regret it too much. Read more
Now here’s a potentially huge money-saver. I still have phone service through AT&T that rings through old-fashioned phones (you know, like the kind you see in a museum) because there’s nobody that’s going to give me a wireless plan with unlimited minutes for about 30 bucks a month.
But, still, that’s $360 a year. I’m sure there are things I’d rather do with $360 a year if I could free that up, right?
As I wrote earlier this week, I’m a new AT&T U-Verse customer. Prior to that, I was using old-school POTS with a DSL connection. Between the phone service, DSL, and long-distance calls, I was spending around $75 a month. So it looked like I could switch to U-Verse with the 250-minute voice plan and 3-megabit Internet, save some money, and get a bit of an upgrade in connection speed.