Ok, I bit. I decided to take Om's lead about ooma and despite my concerns that were only reinforced by a back channel thread led by some of the brightest minds in VoIP blogging that Om started, I was willing to give ooma a shot.
That was until I got to the very last stage of the sign up process. WOW there Nelly!!!
I immediately stopped. It seems in the process the subscriber gives ooma the right to make changes to the already existing services provided by the local telco and also change the long distance provider.
Sorry. Back in 2001 I spent a lot of time with the then Pacific Bell reps configuring my home phone service for three PSTN lines with things like call forward/busyno answer, remote call forwarding, elimination of the the Pacific Bell Voice Mail in favor of my own (previously Webley, now GrandCentral on my main line, PhoneGnome on my second line now) and I still have Webley as the CallForward/Busy No Answer default if everything melts down.
So when I saw what basically is a general assignment of control of my phone service's features, I quickly stopped and cancelled all ooma efforts. To their credit their PR folks made sure all activity was stopped, and offered me the beta of their non PSTN product, which I'm considering.
This made me think about PhoneGnome and how non-invassive the approach taken by friend and client David Beckemeyer really is. I called David on my drive to Los Angeles on Thursday and we talked over the whole thing.
Basically PhoneGnome lets a buyer gradually adopt Voice 2.0, without any need to change what they already have. The person uses as much, or as little of the 2.0 features and functionality that they want, and at any time, just by unplugging their PhoneGnome they still have everything their local phone company is providing, without needed to talk to a customer service representative. ooma doesn't enable this.
Had I gone through with the the EULA I would have lost, and never been able to recover the unlimited long distance plan I have on my primary line that costs all of $20.00 a month. While I'm likely under utilizing that today, if all melts down and I need to make those calls, I know its there. Candidly, some day that will go away, but until then between PhoneGnome and my local line services, I know what I have and what I have to do to keep them. The ooma method doesn't give me that same set of assurances.