Daily Giz Wiz 779: Ooma

Episode 779 of the podcast

Subject: Review of Ooma
Released:Thursday 5 March 2009
Length:about 18 minutes
Download file:dgw0779.mp3 (8.5 MB)

Listen to the episode

Short info

Replace your landline phone service with the Voice over Internet Protocol Ooma VoIP.

Detailed information

The ooma system started in July 2007, and the price of the package (the ooma Hub plus the ooma Scout) has come down.  The ooma Hub is connected to your router and hooked up to your own telephone, which enables you to make telephone calls via the internet using VoIP (to another telephone number).  You can keep your own land line telephone number, and if you don't have a number, you can get one from ooma (for a one-time fee of $40).  All calls within the US are free (subject to a limit of 3,000 minutes per month for outbound calls), while you can make international calls at cheaper rates through ooma.  If your friend overseas has an ooma system and a registered US number too, those international calls are also free.  Although naturally aimed at the US market, the ooma system can be used outside the US too in the same way.  If you keep your landline number, you can of course use the traditional 911 service.  If you use a number from Ooma, it includes the E911 service so that emergency staff can be given your registered address.  The ooma Scout can be connected to another phone jack in the house, and lets you make calls from another phone in the house.

Ooma's peer-to-peer technology differs from other similar services in that instead of using normal telephone exchanges to terminate calls, ooma routes calls through other ooma users' phone lines if possible, cutting out the termination fees on the calls.  If there are no ooma users with a phone line within 12 miles of where a call is terminated, only then will ooma use the normal telephone exchange.  For more details, see TechCrunch's article in 2007.  Because of the initial outlay, whether ooma is worth investing in depends on how long it stays in business.

Ooma does also have a Premier plan, for a yearly fee of $100 or $13 per month, which gives you extra functionality.


Ooma has nothing to do with Uma Thurman, but does have something to do with Ashton Kutcher, who was involved Creative Director.

All For Nothing

Dick is always prepared for a disaster, with all his emergency kits.  Leo wonders, if at the end of Dick's life, Dick lying on his death-bed would be disappointed that nothing bad had happened, and all that engery spent on getting ready for disasters was expended for nothing.  That is indeed a frightening scenario, but Dick always looks on the bright side.  While his emergency kits may prove to be of little use to him, his beneficiaries will inherit all his kits, and God willing, they will have a disaster.

Emergency Kits at the TWiT Cottage

Leo has had his share of buying emergency kits, such as the Ready Kit Plus (Episode 29), even though he eschewed the Talking First Aid Kit (Episode 454) for not having a Swedish accent.  The TWiT Cottage is well equipped with emergency kits, only that no one is allowed to use it.

Bring Back the Jingle Singers !!

Brian Zager has noticed that Leo has been inviting celebrities lately such as Elvis and the Beatles to sing the Letters Jingle.  He hopes that Leo is not considering laying off the Jingle Singers who at this time of economic downturn cannot afford to lose their jobs.

A Public Announcement for WTHII

The next issue of MAD is going to be the April Issue (Watchmen cover).  So Dick is extending the current What The Heck Is It game to 15 March.  The next WTHII will be for another 6 weeks, and the prize will be the 500th Issue of MAD.

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Tags: Phone Accessory VoIP

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