Jeremy Ryan

Google Voice Review

Google Voice ReviewFor several months now we have been testing Google Voice with our businesses.  Overall it’s worked out quite well. 
The phone call quality is quite good and the extra services are great such all your voice mails being stored in a similar manner as gmail. 
It makes it much easier to sort them, file them and search them when needed later.  When you miss a call, the message is saved and you are notified by email when a new one arrives.  Google Voice also attempts to transcribe all messages for you.  It’s usually quite good, at least enough where you can figure out who and what the call is about before even playing the message. You can then tag the message with your own notes to further clarify or to remember things you want to say when calling back.
Another great feature is the call fowarding. Simply add any phone number to your Google Voice account and all calls are fowarded to that new number.
Then, there’s the Do Not Disturb feature, which allows you to turn off phone calls and route them directly to voice mail if you are out or are finished work for the day.
Making calls is also so much easier. If you call the same person over and over, simply start typing their name or number and Google Voice will attempt to find the contact as you type then hit enter and Google Voice makes the call for you.
The BEST part is that all calls within the US are FREE.  How Google Voice does this is when you make a call, Google calls you and then calls your recipient and connects you to, so no charge for either party.  The calls are free, the local phone number is free… you only pay very low fees for international calls at this time.
Below is a quick list of some of the best features of Google Voice:
– Google voicemail: voicemail like email
– Voicemail transcription: read what your voicemail says
– Custom greetings: vary voicemail greetings by caller
– International calling: low cost calls to the world
– Notifications: read voicemail messages via email or SMS
– Share voicemails: forward, embed, or download voicemails
– One number: a single phone number that rings all your phones
– Free SMS: send, receive & store text messages online
– Block calls: send unwanted callers straight to voicemail
– Record calls: record phone calls and store them online
– Conference calls: join several people into a single call
– Screen callers: hear who is calling before you pick up
The only drawback is that on a rare occasion making calls won’t work, but this is very rare and if this happens simply make the calls the old way until you can make phone calls on Google Voice again.  I assume that this is most likely due to large numbers of people signing up.
Definately worth a try for your business… it will boost productivity and slash your phone bills.

Vermont Libertarian Party Convention 2010

Come celebrate with like minded Vermonters on April 24th at the Orchid in South Burlington at the Vermont Libertarian Party state convention.

When: April 24, 2010, starts at 11:30 a.m. (sign in starts at 11 a.m.)

Where: Orchid Restaurant, located at: 5 Market Street, South Burlington, VT 05403, Tel: (802) 658-3626.

Cost: $10.00 per person, paid in advance of the convention to the VTLP (includes meal and hot tea, other drinks are extra.

Click here for more information and registration.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Liberty Themed Quotes

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are some liberty themed quotes by Martin Luthor King, Jr.:

  • He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • There comes a time when a moral man can’t obey a law which his conscience tells him is unjust. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. – Martin Luther King Jr.

  • An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Feel free to add more of your favorites below as a comment…

Tea Party – The Documentary Film – Thanksgiving 2009

Tea Party Movie

This Thanksgiving a new movie/ documentary about the Tea Parties of 2009 is going to be released, called TEA PARTY: The Documentary Film.  It releases direct to DVD and via download from the Apple Appstore this Thanksgiving Day at

The film follows the struggles of five grassroots individuals and their transformation from home town rally goers and rally organizers to national activists taking part in the 912 Taxpayer March on Washington.  In the process, they reveal what is at the heart of this nationwide surge of civic engagement – a call for a return to constitutionally limited government, personal responsibility, and fiscal restraint at the Federal level.

Watch the TEA PARTY: The Documentary Film trailer below…

Thoughts on Burlington Telecom Crisis

Burlington Telecom

I believe that Burlington Telecom’s current financial situation is a concern for the City of Burlington’s economic health.  The city already has so much on it’s plate, I don’t think that it needs the extra burden of trying to keep a risky upstart afloat in an extremely competitive industry such as telecommunications.
As the telecommunications industry seems to be an ever-changing one with many players crossing into each other’s markets (increasing competition from other phone, traditional cable, satellite tv, wireless phone, and even internet companies).  How can a small local firm be expected to continue making the huge investments needed to keep up and why is it necessary to the city’s future?
There are two options I can see that would be fair to everyone involved…
1. Burlington Telecom should repay the loan back to the city of Burlington.  Burlington Telecom could then issue bonds to the public market and then use the money to both pay of the loan and continue their work.  Then, Burlington Telecom could be spun off to become a completely private entity… perhaps even allow the current users of Burlington Telecom to take stakes in it to possibly become a COOP like City Market.
2. Alternatively, if Burlington Telecom must stay as part of the city government, they should meet their obligations as they agreed to.  They should repay the loan, seek financing outside the city government and continue to build out within Burlington first. If they succeed there, then they could be given permission to expand their services beyond Burlington.  If Burlington taxpayers or city employees/elected officials time are going to be used for the benefit of Burlington Telecom, then ALL residents of Burlington that are paying taxes to the benefit of BT should have access to BT’s services before residents of other towns do.  It’s only fair.
Either solution should require the risk to be shifted from the city government to outside private interests and most likely should involve an increase in the service rates that customers pay to allow Burlington Telecom to have some chance of being sustainable.

Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy by Lawrence Reed

Lawrence Reed

Last week the Ethan Allen Institute put on presentation at Sheraton featuring guest speaker Lawrence Reed.  He had some very good things to say about how to put Vermont (or any state or the federal government) back on the right track.  The main part of of speech was about seven principles that if followed by everyone involved in crafting policy in government would help improve our economy and way of life as we would be a much freer and more industrious people.  Here they are below…
Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy
PRINCIPLE #1: Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free.
PRINCIPLE #2: What belongs to you, you tend to take care of; what belongs to no one or everyone tends to fall into disrepair.
PRINCIPLE #3: Sound policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people.
PRINCIPLE #4: If you encourage something, you get more of it; if you discourage something, you get less of it.
PRINCIPLE #5: Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own.
PRINCIPLE #6: Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody, and a government that’s big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you’ve got.
PRINCIPLE #7: Liberty makes all the difference in the world.
Click here for more descriptive comments by Lawrence Reed regarding: Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy

Presidential Internet Kill Switch

Yesterday, EWeek published an article about a Presidential Internet Kill Switch, that would provide the power to the President of the United States to shut down the Internet whenever the President felt there is threat to strategic national interests. This provision was included in the original Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S. 773) and was introduced by Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. They drafted this legislation in response to post-9/11 complaints that the neither the private sector nor government was doing enough to protect the nation’s critical cyber-infrastructure.

This seems like a lot of power for any one entity to have. The ability to shut down the whole Internet in one place. This is the first I’ve heard of it and it should be a bit unsettling to people that it can be done. The article doesn’t explain how it would be done, but I imagine it may have something to do with ICANN since they have control over how website domains are operated. If they were to shut down their database, I suppose then no web sites would operate or if all major ISPs were to shut down their internet access with a call from the President that would work for here in the states at least. It would be interesting to know exactly how they would do it.

However, it would seem that during the time of a national emergency, this would be the time that you want the Internet running at full capability so that the citizens can communicate effectively and determine what steps they should take in response to the national emergency. Of course a major benefit of having this power as President is that you would be able to hide and/or prevent information from getting public too fast. Of course this ability would make an excellent target for a terrorist to be able to hijack and activate. I think this kind of power available all in one place could be quite dangerous for these reasons. It seems that from the comments on this article most internet professionals do feel quite uneasy about this as well.

Some Thoughts on Healthcare/ Health Insurance

There has been much discussion regarding Obama’s Health Insurance proposal lately.  I find most of it disturbing in that it seems to be a big power grab by the government instead of a solution.  To name a few problems…

  1. Forcing people to have an insurance policy even though they may be able to self-insure – or pay a 2.5% tax/penalty.

  2. Forcing companies into having health insurance plans – or pay a 8% payroll tax/penalty.

  3. Loss of freedom to choose what is in your plan or potentially your doctor.

  4. Loss of ability to get discounts for a healthy lifestyle.

I don’t believe this plan will do a whole lot to fix the root problem, which is the costs of healthcare.  The high costs of health insurance are a symptom of the root problem, not the actual problem.

Some things that could be done to help the problem…

  1. Reduce rules on the healthcare and insurance industry.  The federal and state governments could relax their policies regarding the medical industry.  Open up markets for all insurance companies to actively compete (this is a big issue here in Vermont, where we have very few health insurance providers, 2 that I can think of). Make it easier for people to practice medicine and for people to seek care from who they want.  Make the heavy licensing of medical practioners and hospitals optional in order to operate.

  2. Make the FDA approval process optional.  Here in the US, we get access to new drugs or medical devices many years after others in the rest of world due to the lengthy bureaucratic process of FDA approval, which can take 10 years to get.  Also, the process is so expensive that only the largest companies can afford to participate and only ideas that are very complicated or are expected to have a high retail cost are submitted for approval.  Why couldn’t the government make the FDA approval optional and allow other firms to offer their own approval or seal and compete with the FDA.  This would allow much cheaper forms of healthcare to be available.

  3. Promote the benefits of healthy eating and proper exercise.  There is strong evidence that most of our health issues are due to bad diets, not enough exercise as well as improper dental hygiene.  I have been guilty of this myself and it wasn’t until I lost my health insurance that I began to be concerned about these issues.  Since I’ve lost my health insurance, I have done the following…

    1. Lost about 66 pounds.
    2. Fixed 18 teeth and began brushing up to 3 times a day and flossing everyday.

    3. Modified diet dramatically, currently making the main focus on vegetables, fruits, almonds and whole wheat grains.

    4. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day (on average).

    5. Reduced risky behaviors – such as less risky bike riding and wearing seat belts more regularly. 

In doing so, I believe I have improved my health dramatically by making these changes which I probably wouldn’t have done if not for the loss of my cheap health insurance.  Perhaps that’s part of the problem… if so many people are getting cheap or free health insurance from the government or their employers, what incentive is there to be concerned about your health if you know everything can be fixed for a low cost or nothing in some cases?  Wouldn’t it make sense to at least allow discounts for good healthy habits or for scoring well on health tests?  Or perhaps allowing them to charge extra for risky behaviors/jobs, such as downhill skiing or logging?

I realize this can be a very emotional and scary issue for most people.  Everyone wants good quality care for as little as impossible.  No one like to pay for insurance if they are not sure they will need it.  At this time, I am currently trying to get on a health insurance plan that is affordable to my wife and I, which can be quite difficult here in Vermont where the choices are so very limited.

The idea or mystic of a very comprehensive healthcare/health insurance program that covers everyone for little cost sounds very attractive, but the reality is that the government running such a program will be very risky and I believe would end up being at least as expensive as our current system and will be far more intrusive.  If the government is running the program, what would stop them from placing far more limits on our activities to keep costs down… they probably won’t do that right away, but think 10 or 20 years down the road, when they’ve reached their taxation or premium limitations.  Look at anything else the government runs, it’s only a matter of time before the programs go under-funded and need to increase rates or tax rates just to keep up with payments.  At this point, the government will be forced to put limits on our behavior, which is already beginning with smoking and trans fat bans.  Why wouldn’t this increase with the government taking over healthcare/health insurance?  My wife and I are now living a much better lifestyle where we don’t eat much unhealthy food or engage in drinking or smoking or other behaviors considered unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for the government to force our lifestyle on others and I certainly would like to be able to get the occasional fatty burger and fries from when I want to.

So, I firmly believe that a government takeover of the healthcare industry will not signifantly reduce the costs in the long run, if at all, will limit our choices and most likely result a huge loss of personal freedoms.

ASR Interviews Neil Randall, Former Libertarian-Republican Vermont Representative

ASR (American Socialism for the Rich) recently interviewed Neil Randall, Libertarian-Republican, Vermont former Representative ’98-’02. 

During the interview they covered topics such as GM Bailout, Vermont Budget Passes, Libertarianism and the party in Vermont, Dairy Industry/Government, Campaign Finance Reform (Act 64), education, Ron Paul and more.

Watch the whole interview below…

Neil Randall on ASR from Matthew Cropp on Vimeo.



Come to a meeting that WILL change your Life and HELP TO restore liberty
Admission is free – all are welcome

FRIDAY – MAY 1, 2009 7:30-10:00pm
UVM – Fleming 101 – 61 Colchester Avenue, Burlington 05405

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LEARN about YOUR Constitution and the way our Founding Fathers meant it to be;

– Now, constitutional violations escalating over many years – OUR Republic is in grave danger;
– The true causes of our National distress;
– The fate of our Nation now rests with You… The People!

Find out VERMONT’s Role in the coming Continental Congress 2009

In the Spirit of our Founding Fathers and the Continental Congress of 1774, this national assembly will bring delegates from each state representing The People to discuss the future of our Nation and how we can restore Constitutional Obedience in America, before it is too late.

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