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I recently switched mobile phone carriers. Sprint was charging me way too much for my comfort. I'm told the rates I was being charged were pretty competitive, but $85 a month is whole a lot to pay, in my opinion. My plan was that rate for unlimited voice minutes, data, and text messages. I decided that though I didn't mind having unlimited texts and data, there was no reason for me to pay for unlimited voice minutes. I investigated Sprint's website for a plan that allows me to take the voice minutes down to something reasonable-- say, 100 minutes a month. No such plan was available.

Through some relatively random web-bouncing, I some time ago discovered Ting, a wireless carrier that resells a mishmash of Sprint voice/data/SMS service and Verizon voice service, and bills 100% for usage. Each category has usage tiers for which there are respective monthly rates. Their website has more information if it should interest you. The point of this post is not to sell Ting service, though if you do wind up interested, let me know. I can get us both a billing credit if you sign up.

So I switched to Ting, and watched my phone bill drop from $85 with an employee discount, to about $35 per month. With my $40 employee phone stipend, that makes my mobile phone service free of charge. Good news all around. But I left out a critical piece: the fact that I talk on the phone a lot for work, and I do still talk on the phone with my family, but only when I'm at home. I don't like having full phone conversations away from home. This however is totally fine, since there are abundant voice-over-ip carriers available, and I have the world's best residential ISP. I tried a couple out, and settled on just using calling and receiving calls from within gmail.

Part of my job is to be on call once every six weeks or so, for a week at a time. That means that I can expect to be woken up a couple times a week for a work call. When I was on call, I discovered the headset method was not a viable option for being oncall. It's far too difficult to get from being asleep to at my desk with the phone answered in a shorter time than it takes for the call to go to voicemail.

So I bought an ooma and my first landline phone in over ten years. The phone has a second handset that only requires a small charging cradle. So I put that in my room. Now, for about $65 a month, I have gigabit internet, 4G mobile phone service, and an unlimited landline. I'm getting concerned about the power consumption and distribution load in my apartment though. I have a bit of a tech corner now, with 20+ powered devices. I might have to look into that.

1:18 PM, Jul 15, 2014

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