Home 2.0/2.0

Verizon had another Home 2.0 reveal this weekend. The new FIOS service is amazing, and the fact it is as close as 6 miles from my home, but still not yet available makes me horribly jealous of my neighbors that have the service available.

The event seemed better organized than last time. The “on stage”/”off stage” was handled much better, and every single person I saw from Verizon was pleasant, engaging, and fun. I brought my 12 year old with me, and he had a great time playing the carnival games and hanging out. We were even there when a lucky neighbor one the 42″ plasma TV, which was great!

These Home 2.o events at 4 hours long, from 12 to 4 pm. While the entertainment is great, after about an hour, it was time to go.  As much as I wanted to hang around for the reveal, we had exhausted everything to do in about 60 – 90 minutes.  A few kids were monopolizing the Guitar Hero and Madden Football, making that activity harder to enjoy. As much as the events coincide with real estate open house hours, I am starting to think that three hours is a better time span if you want people to hang around for the excitement and the reveal.

I did get to see the Kaczors, the first Home 2.0 family and spoke with them. I asked Mrs. Kaczor what the biggest difference was for her, and she said the laptops made a huge difference- she could do work online from anywhere in the house with ease, no longer tethered to their desktop computer in the office. They also had been really enjoying the kid’s playroom, which allowed them to relax and play together as a family.

The economics of having the telephone, computer and TV services integrated into one bill is one of the things I have loved about the Comcast package I currently have. My largest complaint about my current carrier is the erratic service problems we have from time to time, where all of a sudden, signal drops out, or I get weird artifacts on phone calls. I am hoping the increased speed with FiOS will eliminate some of this service variability, improve performance for uploading pictures and video on the net, and provide reliable service into the house.

I did learn that when FiOS comes into the house, you get a wireless router as part of the system, meaning the house becomes wireless “automatically” without having to purchase any additional equipment. I wonder if I can get a neighbor to buy my router, cheap? Can you say Ebay?

I’m also hoping to convince my friend, Melody Ruth, to try out to be one of the families for the Home 2.0 makeover in Delaware.   FiOS is just coming into their neighborhood, and if anyone is deserving of a tech makeover, it is the Ruths.

Melody and her husband, Rich, work for Bank of America.  Melody works part-time, so she can be available for kids, Alex,  15, who is autistic, and Cassie, a normal teenage girl in the throws of middle school and its social as well as educational demands.  Mel also does a ton of volunteer work with the Delaware Autism program, trying to do whatever she can to help other parents while she gets support and help for Alex.  Rich is also involved with the autism program, and for many years served on the Parent’s Association at Centreville School.

The Ruths use the internet, but their older desktop computer is painfully slow and outdated.  They recently bought an old,  used laptop to try to allow Cassie or Melody to get on the computer while Alex uses it for the many history-adventure games like Civilization he enjoys playing.  I have been their stand in geek squad to trouble shoot problems, but what they really need is updated equipment.

Between the volunteer work to help others Melody and Rich do, Alex’s interests, and Cassie’s need to complete school projects and socialize with her friends without displacing anyone else on the computer, the Ruths could badly use a Home 2.0 makeover. And for all the good they do to help others, I hope the Home 2.0 project expands to Hockessin, DE.

More pictures from the weekend’s home 2.0 will be posted later today!

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