I went to an event this afternoon sponsored by Verizon and its new FIOS service. Verizon took over a home in the Yardely, PA community, and did a complete tech makeover of the home. For the big reveal, Verizon had a huge block party, complete with carnival games, face painting, free snacks and sodas, Guitar Hero, the ability to experience FIOS for yourself, and a giveaway of a 42″ plasma TV. Sweet!

I have to say, I am excited to have learned more about FIOS, but a little frustrated that my neighborhood near Longwood Gardens is not yet on the schedule. I would happily switch to FIOS if it were available. Instead, I am stuck with Comcast, where I have had some problems with service variations that have not yet been fixed despite numerous complaints. (But they’re the only game in town, at the moment.)

The FIOS service is impressively quick, great for someone like me who is on the ‘net all the time, uploading pictures, podcasts, etc. I can’t wait!

The tech makeover of the house included a new home office computer with a 20 inch monitor (SWEET!) for the dad who is a real estate agent, and new wireless laptops for Mom and for the Kids. A 4 in 1 printer, and a bulk printer as well, and even a custom website for the dad’s real estate business were part of the package. (Only leaving me to speculate whether they would train him, so he can do his own custom updates.)

The tech make over also included at tricked out playroom/entertainment center for the family, with an Xbox, surround sound….but if everything else was wireless, why were the Guitars for Guitar Hero on the Xbox wired???

The presentation was marred by a few technical difficulties with wireless mics cutting out, video cutting out, and people (including myself) deciding after the playroom reveal, it was time to leave.

This was a great event. I am so sorry I missed meeting James Earl Jones, a personal hero of mine, and someone I’d love to interview for the LD Podcast. Every Verizon person was personable and helpful, except for some of the concession people, who seemed preoccupied with talking to each other, and were somewhat rude, especially compared to everyone else.

The big execs from Verizon seemed to keep to themselves, which I thought was kind of odd at a community event. I know being the lead organizer of Podcamp Philly, I think accessibility and getting to be part of the conversation is vital. I think they would have been better served by talking to people other than their co-workers- it didn’t seem like it was particularly event “coordination” talk, either- just hanging and observing- when I think they should have been participating.

I met the Mom of the Kaczor family, and her mother. The Mom was really sweet. Mrs. Kaczor’s Mom had lost her husband in a car accident about 14 mo. ago, (due to being hit by a drunk driver) and her son is getting married next weekend. She was holding up to all this stress remarkably well, and was just as sweet and friendly as she could have been.

I thought this family was simply a great choice- they were a prototypical suburban family, and the upgrade to faster service will be more than just a luxury, but a business advantage for them. (Now all they need is for some of us in the local podcasting community to teach them how to use imovie and/or podcasts to help promote his real estate listings.)

I’m impressed by everything Verizon did, the friendliness of the staff, and more importantly, how totally cool FIOS is, and how badly I wish it were available in my area.

You can see all the pictures I took on my flickr stream by clicking here.