Monthly Archives: December 2014

Republic Wireless – A Customer’s Review

Written by William Roush on December 28, 2014 at 10:16 pm

A review from a user on Republic Wireless, a relatively new wireless carrier that uses WiFi to offload your phone calls and text messages, reducing costs and passing those savings off to you.


Background On Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is a wireless services provider started by the VOIP provider BandWidth. They differ from your common wireless providers by understanding the concept that anything the cell network can do, the internet can do better. They save you money by offloading as much as they can, including phone calls onto your wifi connection. This reduces their costs and they pass that onto you.


As of 12/28/2014 their plans are as follows:

Cost Features
$5  Unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi only.
$10  Unlimited talk and text on cell and WiFi.
$25  Unlimited talk, text and 3G on cell.
$40  Unlimited talk, text and 4G on cell.

You can jump between plans twice a month on their website at the click of a button, allowing you to jump on 4G when you’re going to some big city for a conference and will be pulling a lot of data, but fall back on 3G when you’re at home surrounded by WiFi you use often and your own computer and internet.

Dead Zones

The biggest thing I worried about up-front was dead zones. Well it’s basically Sprint when you’re on the cell network, so nothing new for me there. Coverage was a bit spotty but I never was unable to make calls, data usually suffered poorly in these places though. All the same problems I had when I was a Sprint customer I have now when I’m on the cell network.

However at work, there is a funny dead spot that affects all of us… well, did affect all of us. Now two of us are on Republic and we tag on our guest wireless to make phone calls, so while we have Verizon and Sprint people having to move around the building to find cell signal, us Republic users are strong phone and texting over WiFi.

Call Quality

First call I make I’m on wireless, nice and clear (relatively), arguably better than when I’m on the cell network. Walked on the other side of the house where my WiFi is spotty without thinking about it, after my call Republic had a message for me “Congratulations on your first WiFi to cell transfer!”, I honestly didn’t even notice.

When I’m on cell, again I notice no difference from Sprint’s network. Of course this is all “by ear” and phone quality is garbage as-is (when compared to higher quality VOIP services such as TeamSpeak).

Account Management Tools

The account management UI on the site is simple and easy to use and offers a few fun reports on WiFi offloading. Everything is consistently clean and minimal, without the need for a ton of additional text, details, and ads for other services plastered all over the screen as is common with other carriers.

Simple straightforward statement history page.

Simple straightforward statement history page.

Order status page showing the phone I ordered.

Order status page showing the phone I ordered.

Nice phone status page.

Nice phone status page.

Easy to read bill.

Easy to read bill.

Cool little offload graph

Cool little offload graph

Their mobile app leaves a lot to be desired, I can’t access billing, orders or my overall WiFi offloading, but is receiving improvements so we may see those sometime. Recently detailed data usage has been added, showing you how much data is being used on various networks including wireless, cell and roaming, and by what apps. Very useful.

Dashboard, not much to see here.

Dashboard, not much to see here.

My Account leaves much to be desired.

My Account leaves much to be desired.

New feature on the app, data tracking.

New feature on the app, data tracking.

New feature on the app, data tracking.

New feature on the app, data tracking.


Cost Savings

Sprint Republic
Data + Minutes $69.99 $25.00
Premium Data $10.00
Surcharges $4.15
Taxes $6.01 $5.17
Total $90.15 $30.17

$59.98/month in savings, I pay for my cell phone in 3 months.

Hardware Availability

Now for the bad news, Republic Wireless currently only offers 3 phones. The Moto X (just releasing the 2nd gen), the Moto G (1st gen) and the Moto E. The reason for this is that they have to put their own calling software on the phone to handle their WiFi offloading technology.

If you’re looking for a specific phone (or anything not Android) you’re out of luck for the time being. I think the range of phones offers a decent choice in features and prices, but I can see if you have your heart set on a phone you may be locked out of Republic Wireless.

I hope they consider porting their system to Cyanogenmod, opening up for unsupported phones that you can hack onto their network.

Also, Republic Wireless doesn’t subsidize your phone cost, so you’ll be dropping anywhere from $99-$300 on a new phone when you hop on Republic Wireless (used phones are available too at discounted rates).


Unless you need a specific phone or can’t deal with Sprint’s towers, go with Republic Wireless, you’re throwing money away if you don’t. If you’re currently on Sprint you’re dealing with their spotty towers AND not taking advantage of leveraging WiFi, stop doing that to yourself and get on Republic Wireless.

Looking at my bill and my early cancellation fees (yours may be different), I should have dropped them months ago and hopped on Republic Wireless for a massive savings by now.

I’ll come back after probably 6-12 months and update this on anymore findings…

Invision Power Revokes Perpetual/Lifetime Licensing – My Thoughts

Written by William Roush on December 28, 2014 at 1:56 am

A story about a board administrator’s experiences with Invision Power’s move to drop Perpetual/Lifetime licensing, and the responses from the community.

What Is Perpetual/Lifetime Licensing?

Perpetual/Lifetime licensing allowed those of us on the older Invision Power’s IP.Board software (prior to 2007) to have lifetime upgrades for as long as the product was around and only pay for support if we wanted to open support tickets. For someone that wanted to run the boards for an extended period of time and didn’t need to rely on support for anything could break even after quite a few years of operation (usually around 4 years).

The Decision To Purchase

Back in 2006 I was running a small board with a handful of users, mostly friends. I had some plans to expand the board that never really panned out, during this time Invision Power was closing out their lifetime licensing and I decided that dropping the extra cash for the software would be a worthwhile investment if I ever decided to start up a board again.

This is important, because I honestly haven’t really been using the software for the past 8 years, which sets the tone for why I feel burned. Recently I decided to investigate the use of IP.Board for a new project…

Invision Power’s Move To IPS4

So Invision Power is working on a new version of their forum software, called IPS4, it’ll consist of a “core” module and their forum software.

“With IPS4, we’ve changed directions somewhat in that IP.Board as we all know it will become a forums app within the suite. Members, profiles, search engine, ad management, spam mitigation and other key items are now part of the suite core. This allows for cleaner, more streamlined integration across the whole suite with the forums app no longer carrying the weight of the load which led to clunkier integration in the 3.x line.” – Lindy, IPS Management

No different than it is now...

No different than it is now…

Whoops, that’s how our software is technically licensed in 3.x, oh well. Sure more responsibilities are in the core, but the point still stands.

“After careful consideration, we determined the most appropriate thing to do is offer the ability for legacy customers to switch to the newest structure, free of charge — this would allow them access to anything current customers have access to. Legacy customers would receive six months free renewals, so there are no out of pocket expenses. After that period, renewals would then be $25 every six months, which would include all of the latest services such as chat and spam mitigation.” – Lindy, IPS Management

“After careful consideration, we decided to invalidate lifetime licensing and ask for more money.” Bold strategy cotton, lets see if it pays off.

“I would like to stress that these legacy licenses were only offered for 2 years – there really aren’t that many of them and even less exist today as most have converted to the new structure over the years to leverage hosted services such as spam mitigation. All told, these changes will only have a net impact on less than 4% of our license holders – of those 4% we’re not sure how many still even use their license. From IPS’ perspective, it makes sense to clean up our backend systems and rid them of 10-12yrs of accumulated coding provisions to handle different license types under different scenarios. Further, it allows us to more cleanly reintroduce our software as a true suite of community applications with seamless integration across the offerings.” – Lindy, IPS Management

If those of us with lifetime licensing don’t make up a substantial part of your customers, mind refunding that licensing then? Also, customers shouldn’t have licensed benefits revoked because you didn’t consider it in your billing software setup.

A forum member brought this up:

“The license was for IP.Board, not IP.Core + IP.Board. If IPS wanted to, they could call the forums “IP.Forums” or “IP.Discussions” starting with v4 and legacy license holders wouldn’t have any claim to it at all. Might be off of IP.Board, but since it’s a rewrite of the code and such, it could be given a different name and would be perfectly legit.” – Wolfie, Forum Contributor

However that wasn’t the case when Invision Power 2.x (around 2004) or 3.x (2009), when under both of these releases they could have just renamed the system (and if I’m not mistaken 3.x was actually rebranded to “IP.Board” from “Invision Power Board”).

Discussion link 1, discussion link 2

Further Iffy Behavior – Charging For Domain Changes

Another fee they’ve tacked on is some “administration” fee for changing your domain more than once every 6 months. In the early days of testing I hosted the site on a handful of different domains (all variances of the original domain name), it was a pain but I got the license changes done during the process. Now you pay $15.

“It’s to stop dishonest clients from “domain hopping” a licence in order to be able to get support on them all, instead of legitimately paying for support on them all.” – The Heff, Invision Power Client

That doesn’t make sense, you only get support for whatever the currently licensed and active board is. Auditing can easily track hopping, and paying $15 doesn’t prevent this (and is still much cheaper than buying multiple licenses), it barely impacts those that are stealing $200 pieces of software, and harms those that are experimenting or host multiple domains (and aren’t just reverse proxying their way to victory).

Also, this system is completely broken for lifetime license holders. Those “hacks” that make the system work are working well.

This sounds like a cash grab and less like they’re resolving an issue.

Leaving Early Adopters Out In The Cold

Mind you, the solution we’re being given is to give us a $100 credit towards a platform that we must pay $25 every 6 months for updates (something we got for free prior)! This is their “generous” offer to us (and they’re using this word so many times it’s raising my blood pressure. We get to decide if it’s generous, it’s pretty crass for you to be repeating it yourselves so often hopping we’ll parrot it back to you).

I think one of the biggest telling pieces is this bit from Lindy:

“Naturally, we consulted with our legal counsel just as a matter of due diligence and the option to simply discontinue legacy licenses without any further intervention was technically within our right, but we did not achieve our position as a respected leader in the industry by being that company. After feedback discussion from customers and other parties, we devised and fine-tuned this solution, which we think is very fair.” – Lindy, IPS Management

Pretty much telling me “yeah, we were so unsure about this we consulted a lawyer” is already pretty telling, you knew this wouldn’t go over so well you had to seek legal council.

“The goal behind this change is to allow the software and internal systems to move forward without provisions and hacks from purchases made a decade ago. When these licenses were offered, we had limited product offerings, no spam mitigation, chat, etc. Since introducing those, we’ve incorporated hack upon hack to accommodate older licenses because we genuinely do appreciate those early adopters and their purchases. Further, we had IP.Board – which was everything – the core and otherwise. In IPS4, we have a forums app, which is an independent component of the suite, much like Gallery, Blog, Nexus, Content, etc. Search engines, file/storage handling, members/profiles and much more is all part of the community suite core that all applications share. With that, the time has come to press forward for the future and we would very much like to take our early supporters with us – hence the, in my opinion, appropriately generous offer which in some cases, more or very close to the original purchase price; again, even after a decade of usage.” – Lindy, IPS Management

You’re telling me that because of your team’s inability to plan on how to support various configurations that you’re just dropping a chunk of your customers, a good chunk that is the reason you guys are here today? Your earliest adopters?

Let alone WordPress can monetize on a hybrid system of free/paid services, are you telling me Invision Power’s engineers can’t figure out how to write a system that’ll handle it?

Literally telling me they must “hack” the system to make it compatible is telling me they don’t know how to properly implement a system that’ll handle it.

Mind you these are my options if I stay with this product:

  1. Don’t upgrade, stop receiving updates when Invision Power stops updating 3.x, get my IP.Board install hacked.
  2. Upgrade, get two years free usage, then pay $50/yr after that.

At the end of the day, I’ll just find another board, but I’m sure going to recommend a long list of boards before this one now, and I’m going to feel really burned that I dropped money on the future of a product (literally), and got that taken away by the very company I gave money to.


And to leave with this tidbit:

“Please think about what the Internet has done in the past decade, how it has evolved and how we, as a company, have evolved. Ultimately, we need to move forward and we feel we’ve found a fair and just way for you to join us. We do recognize, however, that not everyone will feel that way and apologize for those ill feelings.” – Lindy, IPS Management

Literally “People are moving things to recurring payment services now, and we want a piece of that”, thanks Invision Power.