Tag Archives | MagicJack

MagicJack: The Aftermath

Steve Bass's TechBiteOh, my, but you’re a vocal bunch. When you like something, you tell me. Ditto for when you don’t. If you’re new here, read magicJack: The No-Brainer Money Saver.

Here are some responses that landed to my inbox–and a few of my comments.

* Some of you couldn’t believe I had a perfect, landline-quality connection with magicJack. That’s not quite what I said. When it works well, I said, it’s terrific. At times, though, I’ll make a call and the voice quality is dreadful — snapping, popping, and crackling. So I redial. Since I started using MJ, about 75 percent of the time I get good calls on the first try; 25 percent of the time I have to redial. And yes, bad connections and redials are annoying. But in this economy, so was paying AT&T over $300 a year for my extra landline. Now my yearly cost is $20.

* As with all things technological, kids, everyone’s mileage varies. Bad connections could be because of your ISP’s lopsided tubes, your kids downloading music on a networked PC, or the USB 1.0 ports on your ‘486.

* MagicJack doesn’t like Canada as well as it does in the United States. That’s obvious because magicJack doesn’t carry any Canadian phone numbers. Using magicJack in Canada means you’re stuck registering it with a U.S. phone number, and your Canadian buddies have to call the U.S. number. But you folks have great medical care, and very few paparazzi, so I guess it’s a trade, eh?

* I had a dozen messages wondering if magicJack steals passwords, sends spam, or kidnaps children. The most notorious of these accusations — read it on BoingBoing— is a year old. It’s all been proven false. Bob Rankin, a trustworthy journalist, wrote about it in his “Magic Jack – Good or Evil?” series: part 1 and part 2.

* In this corner are the lovers of Skype— and there are lots of you. Funny thing, I use Skype to speak to my Web designer in Singapore for free. But I don’t use Skype often because I already have a headset for my phone; I don’t like needing another one– a USB headset — just for Skype. (That may change: I’m testing Jabra’s GN9350e, a cool-sounding, dual connection wireless headset that lets me swap between the PC and my landline. I’ll keep you posted.)

[This post is excerpted from Steve’s TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up–it’s delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it’s free.]


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MagicJack: The No-Brainer Money Saver

Steve Bass's TechBiteI just saved $320 by cancelling an extra phone line and signing up with magicJack. It works as advertised; I like it; and it’s a keeper. I also have tips to make magicJack better, and if you’re intrigued, hack into it. (Fair warning: My magicJack review is long, way more than I usually allocate for one newsletter.)

Making the Switch to magicJack

I used to have three phone lines, and for years I needed all of them. But with almost all of my communication through e-mail, I decided to dump one and replace it with a magicJack. And save myself about $320 a year.

You plug the magicJack into a free USB port, then plug your phone line into the gizmo. Now you can make free calls with VoIP — they’re routed through the Internet. (The magicJack comes with a 6-inch USB extension cable in case it interferes with other devices plugged into your USB ports.)

Plug one end into a USB port and connect the other end to your standard phone.

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