UnoTelly review and Vonage revisited

UnoTelly review and Vonage revisited

Academic Blog Posts

Let me first share some articles from some academic friends of mine:

A friend tries Vonage?

Image representing netTALK as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A US female friend of mine was tired of her AT and T service.  She just switched to Vonage and has missed phone calls routed to her cell phone.  While not bad mouthing the product, I did suggest these three things:

  • Don’t let the Vonage folks talk you into using the Vonage router as the bridge between your modem and the PC and phone hookup.  A better option would be to buy a good commercial router like Linksys or Netgear.  Then run the Vonage device or router via an Ethernet cable to the commercial router.
  • Rather than send the calls from Vonage to the cell phone, sign up for the free Google Voice service.  It gives you a number that rings all your phones.
  • Rather than Vonage, go to Walmart and look at NetTalk.  It’s cheaper and every bit as reliable as Vonage.

Note to readers: Please don’t go for either MagicJack or MagicJack Plus.  I just got a letter from the attorney general of Florida.  It mentions I submitted a complaint to either the BBB or some other government/private sector body.  They are following up with anyone who issued a complaint in the past. Since you get live phone support with NetTalk, why bother with a product that only has chat support?

UnoTelly review

Someone approached me to check UnoTelly (see UnoTelly ). I thought I would get my friend Roger Richardson to run some tests for me (see Roger on LinkedIn).  We have worked together both at Motorola and outside Motorola.  At Motorola, he was a tester in their cell phone division and had various patents submitted.  He might suggest product improvements that might be considered.  Yet please don’t take them as necessities.

My research of other reviews

Better Business Bureau logo.

Better Business Bureau logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While Roger was doing the technical testing, I tried to see what else I could find out about the product.

  • A check of the Better Business Bureau Canadian website turned up nothing.  But this is a good sign.  This means no one has complained to the BBC about the company’s tech support, business practices, etc.
  • I did find a good review on how to use the product in South Africa at South African review. It’s interesting how they combine UnoTelly with the Roku streaming player.
  • I do like the fact they don’t have contracts you need to commit to.  You can drop any time without penalty and they offer a free trial.
  • A product review at Claim to fame says, “UnoTelly’s claim to fame is that it uses DirectDNS rather than VPN technology, which gives you the same entertainment at a faster speed than VPN providers can offer. “
  • A product review at product drawbacks lists a couple of drawbacks.  These drawbacks are related to security and what services can be unblocked. But a Google search of “UnoTelly review” brought up other reviews that were very positive.
  • It appears they do have a direct competitor Unblock US, when I visited some forum archives at direct competitor.

I hope the company eventually writes up a Wiki page on the product.

Roger’s take

roger on tuesday evening

roger on tuesday evening (Photo credit: nicholaslaughlin)

Now Let’s see what Roger says:

“It does work.”

That’s saying a lot from Roger.  I know how he likes to try to break things (i.e. new software, etc.).  But he goes have some feedback on the UniHelper functionality:

  • The interface UnoHelper application looks rough…. The start / stop buttons are not smoothed. The UnoDNS account data for the user feeds under the change account button on the upper right side.
  • On the install page the blue lettering for the install should have an underline to show that it’s a link without that users won’t know where to start.
  • UnoHelper. When the rest of actions have buttons then going to the quick start link to get it started isn’t smooth. Actions to start programs normally feed down. So a button at the bottom of the interface would be easier understood. As it is the user can press the quick start button when the service is not active. Should have that tied into the start button. So it’s only enabled  after the start button is selected. Perhaps the color of the quick start button would then change and then it would be enabled. If you get real fancy you create an error message box for pressing the quick start button don’t open the web page to show the error.
  • When you open the selection page for the web sites. The links are shown below and there is a slew of little icons at the top for what is covered. To make things easier they should make those icons linked. So once you get to the page just click on where you want to go. They will only look at the list the first few times. So why not make it easy to get to them?

Testing on various devices:

When I talked to Roger via Skype, it appears you need to set things up on the PC first, before accessing other devices.  We spent some time trying to see what devices from his son’s arsenal we could test with.

Roger’s son has both Xbox and Wii from Nintendo.  Unfortunately, we ran into two obstacles:

  • His son has a gold membership on Xbox, so he already has access to what we are testing.
  • You still need memberships to Netflix, etc., in order to test UnoTelly and access those sites.  Since we didn’t want to access trail site memberships, we stopped the tests.

My testing experience

I tried the application myself, to see what I would experience. I could set it up in five minutes.  I decided to give some of the free channels a spin on my computer.  You can run the application well from a Windows 7 computer.  Not sure what I can view currently, that I can’t access on my Comcast cable TV channels.  I’ll need to experiment more.

Summary

Roger does have some excellent points.  He has made suggestions how the UnoHelp interface could be built better.  Perhaps the product designers can review his suggestions?

What can I say?  You don’t have to purchase any company hardware, they offer a free trial and you can drop out at any time – no contract.  Perhaps in the future, Roger and I can have everything in place, to run it through it’s paces (i.e. Netflix membership, etc.).

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