Carolina Digital Phone Hosted IP SolutionsHosted IP PBX service or digital phone service can help with business continuity. When a major catastrophic event happens or equipment failure occurs, a business continuity plan must be in place. Often, traditional phone lines fail. When these phone lines fail, a digital phone may continue to work if the Internet is still operable. Even if one server fails with digital phone service, there is usually more than one server to ensure that phone lines are always available. Having both types of phone lines can aid with disaster recovery.

In North Carolina Carolina Digital Phone offers the ability of reducing communication cost by utilizing a SIP enabled IP PBX phone system instead of a traditional PSTN PBX network is the first advantage people think of when switching to an IP based PBX phone system. Essentially phone calls made over an IP network are free. Typically an IP PBX by-passes the wholesale charges made by the incumbent telephone company. (AT&T, Verizone, Qwest, SBC, Bell South and Sprint) This by-pass occurs as the customer is connected to a SIP enabled trunk provider, via an broadband Internet circuit like a data T1 line, as opposed to multiple telephone lines to the incumbent phone company’s switch. The SIP provider will use the Internet to by-pass the long distance and international charges as long as the distant end party is connected through a SIP enable connection. For example, an international call that is placed over an IP PBX will be carried on the IP network from the point of origin to a break outpoint in a foreign country. The SIP provider will incur its capital costs of the IP infrastructure and only the wholesale charge for the foreign national leg of the call. Previously, the service provider would have to pay charges to the local phone company, an international carrier and the foreign carrier.

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Whether you’ve been kicking around the idea of switching over to VoIP Broadband Phone Service or you’ve never even heard of it before, if you’re interested in increasing both the quality of your phone service and the money that stays in your bank account, then listen up. As I see it, here are just some of the reasons why you should lose all of your current phone services in favor of VoIP over both traditional land line and cellular services:

With Voice over Internet Protocol phone service, you will no longer have a need for your land line phones any longer. Now I’m not telling you to rip out your old phones and throw them in the trash, yet. The technology is still in somewhat of a transitional period and you may need to find a way to use both services while getting used to a new system, but soon enough you will find that your old system is no longer needed. VoIP phone service will also eliminate the need for any long distance services you currently have and will save you money by dropping these expensive services and, eventually, your land line service altogether.

Communications with VoIP are unlimited. Once you choose which VoIP service provider you’re going to go with you will be put on a flat rate service where you can have unlimited communications worldwide. Depending on your equipment, many service providers don’t even charge extra for international calls. But even the ones that do, their fees are next to nothing compared to what you were paying for the same services with traditional land line and cell phone services.

Conference calling is no longer limited, either. Previous 3-way calling service found with land line and cellular phones are no longer limited to just you and maybe 2 other people on the conversation. Now you can have as many as you want on the call because virtually all VoIP service providers offer a better solution. Since the internet is used as the method of delivery with VoIP service, technology is no longer 2-dimensional. Using VoIP phone service for both conference calls and teleseminars is relatively simple which makes it an excellent idea for business.

VoIP service is cheap: But not in the sense of not being worth what you pay for it. You will definitely be getting more than your money’s worth. Why, even the most expensive of VoIP service providers are much less expensive than traditional services. By eliminating the middlemen and others that have a hand in helping to provide you with your current services, VoIP can bring your costs down dramatically. In addition, since your connection is established and maintained through the internet you don’t have to worry about the need for it to have to go through land based wiring systems that are in need of constant repairs, maintenance and upgrades. Now initially there may be some small additional charges when the person on the other end of the line you need to talk to is still using a land line or cell phone service (at least until they wise up and get VoIP) because the need for the “middleman” still exists. Just be sure to check with your chosen provider for any rates that may apply.

No additional costs for Internet services – Service packages offered by most VoIP providers allow you to save money on your broadband service from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) by providing you with the same quality service included in your VoIP service plan. By going with a VoIP service provider that offers the option of broadband Internet service, too, you will save more money by being able to get rid of the added expense of a separate ISP.

There are all kinds of free services and features with VoIP – Many VoIP service providers don’t even charge you to use their services at all. For example, since VoIP operates using your computer’s broadband technology, if the person you need to talk to has VoIP, too, all you need to do is activate your VoIP service and that’s it because most with most VoIP service providers computer to computer calls are free. By eliminating the need to pay for the rental fees of cell towers or land lines there are no expenses involved when placing calls over the internet to someone else with VoIP service. In addition, many of the features you would normally have to pay extra for with traditional services like caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, call forwarding, voice mail, etc., are included and already set up for you in most packages available from your VoIP provider. Many of these features were rarely even used with the other types of services because there were always additional fees that were charged for them. Once you acquire these features along with your VoIP service and begin using them, you will be asking yourself how you ever did without them. Once again, always be sure that you check with your provider for the services and features included with your plan and any rates that may apply.

VoIP is capable of sending both files and data – VoIP service allows you to send files or data, like faxes, over the connection, too. Just like you would over your broadband connection from your computer, you can send faxes anywhere faster and at a much lower cost than you would with a cell phone or a land line. VoIP allows you to send files or data much in the same way that you would if you were downloading a file from the internet.

VoIP goes with you where ever you go – Since the internet is accessible throughout the world, VoIP will always be there with you. Where ever you can establish a broadband connection you can use your VoIP service to make a call. Wireless, or WiFi, “hotspots” are available in hotels, coffee shops, airports, etc., all over the world so you will almost always have your service there with you. If you’re out on the road a lot, just think about all the money that you’ll save by not having to pay extra for long distance calls or additional cell phone service fees when you need to make a call back home. Staying in touch with the office or, if you’ve gotten rid of your old traditional service at home, too, the family will be just like being there. All you will need to do is hook up a headset and microphone to your laptop and you’ll be good to go. There are also VoIP phones, or softphones, available that are a lot like cell phones with software installed on them that will allow youto use the service much in the same way by tapping into an existing internet signal. Some VoIP service providers include these phones as part of the package you choose so that anywhere there is a broadband connection available, you can use your softphone to make calls just the same.

Hopefully this has helped to clear up any of the questions you may have had in regards to why you should get rid of your current land line or cell phone service, or both, and go with VoIP service instead, whether it be for your business or personal use. Besides, if you already have a computer with a broadband connection, a router, a microphone and/or a headset, then you’re already more than halfway there.

VoIP is the future of telecommunications and the future is now. So before you go and sign on for another year with your current cell phone provider or commit to another annual contract with your land line phone service, I highly recommend that you look into VoIP phone service instead. Not only will you begin to reap the benefits of saving money by eliminating your current service providers right off the bat, you will also realize the convenience and quality that comes with VoIP, too. By doing so now, you will show other businesses that you’re staying on the cutting edge of technology and why they should be doing business with you and not somebody else. Because if you wait too long and suddenly find yourself falling behind in the game, it could already be too late. Let’s put it this way, if another business is trying to get a hold of you and find themselves having to pay additional charges because they’re calling your traditional land line office phone, or cell phone for that matter, do you think they’re going to call back if they’ve managed to get a hold of someone else that’s not costing them additional money? Think about it.

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Easy Free Mail Calendar Sync Gone in Windows 7

Is mail calendar sync important to you?

Is mail calendar sync important to you? Apparently, Microsoft doesn’t think so. It’s no longer available as an integrated solution for free with the latest version of the Windows operating system. For some odd reason, the company decided to do away with years of tradition and bundle separate calendar and mail applications — as a download, no less!

That’s right; not only is there no mail calendar sync like before, but the alternatives provided aren’t even provided “out of the box” — they have to be downloaded first. This is due to Microsoft not wanting to go to court over monopoly accusations anymore. By providing just about anything and everything a casual computer user could want out of the box, it had been sued numerous times for stifling competition by the makers of such software as web browsers and, yes, e-mail clients. So with the latest version of Windows available on the market, Redmond’s decided to make everyone download such freebies, thus signifying consumer choice as opposed to somehow being forced to use only Microsoft products by virtue of their free inclusion with the operating system.

So, all well and good, but why oh why did it also have to have taken away the intuitive mail calendar sync provided by the integrated solution it used to, well, provide?? What would having calendar and contact functionality together in a free e-mail program have done to its fears over looking like a monopoly? Such features are almost always found together now, and separating the two into two separate programs is indisputably a step back. Or is Microsoft just being snarky with the government and its competitors — at the expense of Windows end-users?

Who knows what they’re thinking. Who knows why they stopped including pinball in their free games line-up! It’s a silly decision, which is compounded by their silly response that there are separate Windows 7 programs for calendars and contacts!

Rethinking the ‘Never Unsubscribe’ Rule for Spam
The Times’s technology columnist, David Pogue, keeps you on top of the industry.

When it comes to junk mail, the rule, for 15 years, has been: Never respond. Don’t even try to unsubscribe, even if they give you instructions for doing so. You’re just letting the spammer know that your e-mail address is “live,” and that you’re a dummy who actually opens those messages and reads them. You’ll wind up getting put on even more spam lists as a result.

Well, I think it’s time to revisit that advice.

I use Mac and Windows, but my main carry-around machine is a Mac laptop. Onto it, I’ve installed an amazing antispam program called SpamSieve. After reading countless glowing reviews, I gave it a try, and found it indispensable. It works with all Mac e-mail programs, and does an astonishing job of putting all spam from all my accounts into the Spam folder.

I still have to pore over it, though. Every now and then, a piece of legitimate mail winds up in there.

Now, my e-mail addresses are fairly public. I do have one private address that I never, ever use on the Web. (That’s how spammers get your e-mail address, by the way — they scour the Web for e-mail addresses that people type into forms online. Which is why you, too, should have a separate e-mail address that you use only for private correspondence and never use when, for example, ordering products or signing up for things.)

But since my addresses are public, I get added to every mailing and spamming list under the sun. And even with SpamSieve’s assistance, it’s gotten out of control — the amount of time I have to spend double-checking the spam folder is growing year after year.

So a couple of months ago, I decided to try an experiment: I’d violate the old rule. I’d deliberately try to unsubscribe from every spam list. And I’d report on my findings.

First, the good news: it worked. An awful lot of the spam comes from “legitimate” companies. Now, I don’t consider spamming O.K., ever, and I think these companies should be ashamed of themselves. But “legitimate” means that they’re real companies with real Web sites and names and addresses — and, almost always, real Unsubscribe buttons at the bottom of the spam.

The best Unsubscribe button by far is the one provided by something called SafeUnsubscribe. I don’t know much about it, except that it’s a service offered by a company called Constant Contact, and it claims to have 370,000 customers — companies who pay to use SafeUnsubscribe.

Bottom line: When you see SafeUnsubscribe at the bottom of the message, click it. You land on a Web page that basically says, “O.K., that’s it. We’ve taken you off ALL mailing lists.” One click.
These 370,000 companies, clearly, are the ones with a guilty conscience. “We’re going to spam you, but gosh, we feel bad about it — at least we’ll make it easy for you to get off our lists!”

I like SafeUnsubscribe because it (usually) knows, and fills in, your e-mail address. What really irks me is the other ones: spam with an Unsubscribe button at the bottom — and when you click it, you go to an unsubscribe page when you have to type in your email address! You spammed me, you idiot — you already know my e-mail address!

Those “dumb” unsubscribe buttons mean that I have to go back to my e-mail program and look up which address they spammed, then go back to the Web page and paste it in. When you have 30 of those a day, it’s exhausting.

Anyway: after a couple of months of this, I’m happy to report that, as far as I can see, not a single one of these companies has contacted me again. Unsubscribing in 2011 really works.

(Note that I’m talking about spam with an Unsubscribe button at the bottom. The ones pitching you Viagra or bigger body parts won’t unsubscribe you — and don’t pretend that they will.)

The corporate spam, in other words, is usually easy to stop.

Now, the bad news: That spam isn’t very much of the total volume. I’m still inundated by the less responsible spam:

– All kinds of messages in Russian and Asian languages. (Hint: Dudes, you’re wasting your time.)

– A million, zillion e-mails from a firm called Rodman & Renshaw (not sure if it’s really them, or someone impersonating them).

– The usual phishing scams — fake e-mails from banks (that I don’t even have accounts with), asking me to log in to correct some kind of error.

– A million “I was in the U.K. and I was mugged, old pal! Can you help me out?” scams.

– Variations on the old Nigerian scam: “I’ve just come into possession of $50 million, and I need your help getting it out of the country…”

– Invitations to have my product manufactured at a company in China.

– A lot of weird ones where the entire message is a single Web link. Do they think I’m some kind of sucker?

In any case, I think it’s time to revise the old “Never respond” rule. It’s true that you should never, ever respond to a piece of spam by rewarding it with a purchase. Don’t ever click “click here” — you’re only encouraging them.

But my experiment (confirmed by my Twitter followers) is that clicking legit-looking Unsubscribe buttons does reduce the spam flow, if only from actual companies.

And perhaps best of all, it gives you a fleeting, illusory feeling that you actually have a way to fight back.