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#80768 by gnowellsct
Thu May 05, 2011 10:00 am
Ooma hopes to make money on hardware, so they might as well put out some good hardware as well as these cheap handsets. Here are some suggestions based on a few days of use:

1. when you scroll in the address book, the responsiveness of the scroll button is very poor. You can actually scroll further than where you think you are and have to back track. This kind of functionality will only work with a very tiny address book. If people are really going to upload dozens of phone numbers on Ooma and use them in their handsets, it will have to be more like a cell phone, where the scroll is instantaneous, not delayed, permitting a quick flip down the list.

2. Along these lines a character string search would be nice in the address book.

2A. An alphabetical list scroll should go "around the corner" not "to the head" and stop. With a long address book it often makes sense to scroll "up" to enter the Z list to get to the S listings faster. But of course one can only do that if one has a scroll button with the quality specs to keep up with rapid clicks. Anyhow this address book has no easy way to get down to S, T, R, U, V, Y entries. You have to go through the whole list with a manifestly cheap button.

3. The call initiation protocol is odd. If I just pick up my handset and scroll in my recent calls or my address book, I can't just find a number and hit the green call signal. I must first hit the green call button, wait for dial tone, THEN scroll, THEN press the green call button again. Since guests in my house are accustomed to cell phones, it would be nice if the call-initiation protocol was the same: if you selected a number and hit send, it should initiate the call. It seems so obvious that I worry that my handset is not functioning right (only one of the two I purchased are working).

4. Voice quality of speakerphone is poor.

5. The "called today" display (left click, center button, looks like a sheet of paper) does immediately show the "recently called." Although "called today" is probably downloaded from the Ooma site, and "recently called" is kept in the handset, there's no reason why the handset can't input directly into recently called.

6. No extended warranty is offered on the handsets. This is not only a failure to develop a potential profit yielding activity, it practically screams "WE EXPECT THESE WON'T LAST." It puts out the picture that Ooma does not have confidence in its own product.

7. It would be nice to know what the amperage draw of Ooma handsets and telephones are. Telo is providing ring tone on two old land line phones which is real nice. But I wish to investigate whether I can keep the modem and ooma working during a power outage with a 12v battery and inverter. Power outages are rather frequent in my area and the main reason I hesitated to let go of the land line.

Some of these are software issues but some are hardware. Ooma might as well make a $100 to $150 handset and see if they can get better software and better "feel of quality." I don't think this handset will stand heavy use, or being dropped by kids, and the like.

Ooma should make the effort on the hardware because otherwise they'll lose the sales to other phone systems with better design features and durability. I think I will be using my Ooma handsets a LOT, but I am very grateful that I have two legacy phones that are usable as well. The Ooma handset has the feel of having been designed by novice engineers. That's the only way I can put it. Either that or it's a $5 phone with huge cost constraints to justify the free service.

In any market there is the bulk value customers seeking low prices and another group that is prepared to pay more for better quality. This is typically 20% of the customer base but the source of 50% or more of total profits.

Notwithstanding these observations, it felt good to disconnect from Verizon land line. One of the side benefits of this conversion is that I now have four phones in the house instead of two. Very convenient. I bought the Ooma handsets out of the belief that they would be best designed to integrate with the system. But if I had known their build quality and design features, I probably would have got just one and looked for something else.

GN
#80773 by murphy
Thu May 05, 2011 11:49 am
1. That's because all of the intelligence, and the list, is in the base. The commands are sent to the base and the base generates the display.

2. It has alphabetic search. If you are searching for Robert, start spelling Robert by pressing 7 6 2. That should be sufficient to get you there. Note that you do a single press of the key that the letter is on.

2A. Since you can directly jump to any name, scrolling is not needed unless you have two entries with the same name.

3. Once you reach the desired name, press the select key (right soft key) to display the number. Then press the green key to place the call.

7. My Telo base draws 0.09 amps with the lamps at full brightness. My handset charger draws 0.02 amps when charging a handset and nothing when the handset is not in the charger.
#80807 by gnowellsct
Fri May 06, 2011 6:38 am
Thank you Murphy for the answers. I will definitely try the search algorithm you mentioned. I still think there are some build quality and programming issues, but this information is helpful.

Of particular use is your data on the amperage draw. I can readily rig a battery to supply up to 10 amps of power with the inverter I have (basically what you stick in a car plug to get 120v) so it seems that all I have to do to maintain the phone system in a power outage is lug up the battery and set things up. I don't know the specs on linksys and the router but it's hard to imagine they will be worse.

So here's the follow up question: during a *typical* power outage, is the data transmission capability of the cable system maintained? If I have everything provided with power on my end, will I have the equivalent of POTS? I mean, both POTs and cable can go down if a storm brings down lines. But in the *usual* course of things, what keeps POTS going is that the phone company supplies power to the phones. So I'm hoping that if I maintain power, I can keep the phones up....

My last power outage here lasted 6 days and to keep the cell phone going I had to charge it off my car battery.

thanks for your first answer, and perhaps you know something about the new one.

Greg

p.s. To any Ooma staff that may be reading. I had a 3 hour phone call last night on my working Ooma handset and the battery held out through the whole thing apparently with reserve capacity, and it was on speaker phone, so probably drawing a bit more than in ear phone mode. I was very pleased with the call connection quality and extremely happy with the idea that I wasn't going to get dinged on a monthly phone bill or use up my cell phone minutes.
#80811 by murphy
Fri May 06, 2011 6:53 am
During my last outage, (planned to replace the pole across the street) which lasted about 4 hours, the cable continued to work for 1.5 hours. It then went down for an hour and then stayed up for the duration of the outage. I don't know how they power the line amplifiers along the street. This particular outage was local to my street so the run to the head end kept it's power.

The copper telephone system supplies it's own power from a huge bank of batteries at the central office. I suspect they have a generator to back up the batteries for a long outage.
#80817 by gnowellsct
Fri May 06, 2011 12:05 pm
Hmmm. Good to know. During our power outage of 5 days the neighbors had a backup gas powered generator and were on line the whole time. Don't know if they have DSL or TWC (or only two choices).

So it sounds like plugging in power is "worth a try" but that nothing is ever going to be as good as POTS. I read somewhere that the average downtime per year of POTS telephones is 4 minutes per year 99% to 5 decimal places or something like that....

Ah well. Thanks, GN
#80827 by murphy
Fri May 06, 2011 1:41 pm
gnowellsct wrote:So it sounds like plugging in power is "worth a try" but that nothing is ever going to be as good as POTS. I read somewhere that the average downtime per year of POTS telephones is 4 minutes per year 99% to 5 decimal places or something like that....

That may well be the average. However many years ago my POTS line went down for 19 hours. The whole neighborhood for about a mile around me was out. The central equipment failure was dialing 911 and as I later found out 411, from every house in the area. The police were going crazy because they have to answer every 911 call where no one comes on the line. After the third trip to my house I told them to ignore the calls until Verizon got it's problem resolved. If I needed help I would use my cell phone.

All of my electronics are on APC UPS units that provide sine wave power. Originally I tried to use them for backup power but that didn't work very well due to short battery run times. Several years ago we had a long outage in the middle of August with the humidity at 100%. After that I spent some money and had an automatic 7 KW propane fired generator installed. (There is no natural gas on my street or it would have been natural gas fired.) Now the UPSs only have to cover 45 seconds until the generator comes on line. It covers the critical stuff like the refrigerator, the well pump, the oil furnace, the instant hot water heater (also propane), lighting, and the microwave. (Okay so the microwave isn't critical.)

True to my forum name (Murphy's Law) the incidence of power failures dropped significantly once the generator was installed.
#80901 by gnowellsct
Sun May 08, 2011 10:43 am
I have a number of marine batteries with 80 amp hour ratings around the house. So I can keep the electronics running considerably longer with an inverter. I did have a heavy duty socket installed for a gasoline generator but so far I'm too cheap to buy one. The basement sump pumps are powered by the water system....those natural gas backup things are pricey, at around $7k....
#80904 by gnowellsct
Sun May 08, 2011 11:09 am
Well I'm not understanding how to use "search" on the Ooma handset. When I go into the address book and start pressing numbers coresponding to letters of a name there is no search function which executes. If there is a way to get into a search box I haven't found it.

The Ooma on-line instructions only mention using the up/down scroll.

So I'm a little worried that this is a worthless address book....
#80908 by murphy
Sun May 08, 2011 11:40 am
gnowellsct wrote:Well I'm not understanding how to use "search" on the Ooma handset. When I go into the address book and start pressing numbers coresponding to letters of a name there is no search function which executes. If there is a way to get into a search box I haven't found it.

The Ooma on-line instructions only mention using the up/down scroll.

So I'm a little worried that this is a worthless address book....

The number 5 has three letters on it (J, K, L).
To search for the name Larry you would press 5 2 7 7 9 to spell the name completely.
Do not press 5 three times to get an L.

There is no search box. It's a dynamic search. Most names are found after three button presses.
#80929 by gnowellsct
Sun May 08, 2011 6:07 pm
OH!

I had thought that to get the letter "b" you had to hit two TWICE (once to get to A, then once more to get to B). So I was getting incoherent results.

Now that I do it your way it works fine. The results are a little counterintuitive sometimes because you can get an "incoherent match" based on the other letters in the buttons. OK, seems like a usable system!

:?: WHY DON'T THEY PUT THAT IN THE DOCUMENTATION ON HOW TO USE THE ADDRESS BOOK?

Greg

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