Just As I Thought

Why phone numbers are running out: I have them all

I am cornering the market on phone numbers, before they’re all gone.

I am cornering the market on phone numbers, before they’re all gone.

As of tomorrow, I will have a whopping six different numbers! I finally broke down and called the evil AT&T to get a regular land line telephone. I’ve been using Vonage for about 4 or 5 years, and the quality has been going downhill steadily. The last straw was when I had a point-to-point DSL line installed for this website last year. With all the sites running on this server plus my prodigious surfing, the line just isn’t solid enough to also handle voice over IP; I can’t seem to get the whole shebang to obey quality of service rules and prioritize the voice calls. This means that when I call people I sound like I am either underwater or on a cell phone.

I was fretting about making the switch because I was worried that I couldn’t keep my phone number — and I was right. AT&T cannot (or will not) port my Vonage number, even though it is a San Jose exchange. It is not a number that is in their “rate area.” It turns out that it’s easy to port a number over from old fashioned telephone companies to VOIP or mobile… but it is almost impossible to bring them back again.

For the time being, I’ll keep my cheap Vonage service just for number continuity — especially since that number is printed on my business card and letterhead. But this adds yet another number to my list. Now I can be reached at:

— My original 703 number

— My San Jose number

— My fax number

— My mobile number

— My new home number

— My Grand Central number

And just for kicks, since it’s a disposable, free number, ya’ll feel free to make voice comments on the blog using the Grand Central number. Call “Just As I Thought” at 408-877-2566. Telemarketers beware — that number doesn’t actually ring my phone, so you’re wasting your time.

As a sidelight to all this, I also took advantage of AT&T’s Dish Network bundle. I’ve been pretty sick and tired of Comcast for a long time now, and their prices have gone through the roof — I am paying an outrageous $80 per month for their plain ordinary digital package plus high definition local stations. Not only don’t I have any premium channels, I don’t even have all the digital channels. I can’t watch things like the DIY channel, for crying out loud. And last month, after the prices went up at the beginning of the year, they added insult to injury by rejiggering the program guide to include annoying banner ads that make it a pain to navigate the guide. (If we’re getting ads, shouldn’t the price go down?

So, by the end of the week I will have dumped one evil company for another one. At least I’ll save $20 per month when all is said and done.

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