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Posts tagged magic jack

MagicJack update

magicjack

Since last posting about magicJack I’ve actually had the chance to use the magicJack USB device on a daily basis. Initially I was really excited. Then there were some problems, but now my hopes have been bolstered, somewhat, again.

The problems:
– Sometimes incoming calls wouldn’t connect. I had this happen three times on the second day I was using it full time. One time I was the caller. The incoming calls were coming from different places so it wasn’t a problem on the other end. This hasn’t happened since.
– Initially there was lots of static on my calls. Once I removed the cable connecting the magicJack to the USB port (the USB extension cord pictured here), the static disappeared.
– An echo or lag sometimes happens. This is heard more by the person on the other end than the caller on the magicJack end.

The possible solutions:
– I think the first problem was solved by a reboot of the computer.
– Don’t use the cable to connect your magicJack to your USB port. Connect the magicJack directly into the USB port.
– I believe the echos and lags occur because of an upload speed that is too slow. Something I have done that has made this better, if not made for perfectly clear calls in most cases, is the following.

1. Go to an internet speed test site like this one: http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ Test your speed and write down your results.
2. Download TCPOptimizer.exe from here: http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php and run the program. Move the Connection Speed slider bar to the far right. Click on “Optimal settings” and then hit “Apply changes.” Reboot.
3. Run the internet speed test again and see if your results aren’t better. My test results weren’t much better, but my phone calls using magicJack seem clearer with less echo and lag on the other person’s end.

Is my magicJack connection crystal clear and perfect in the US yet? No. I’m hoping with a better connection in Japan it will work better. I’ll let you know soon. Until then, I’ve got my fingers crossed.

magicJack

magic jack cables magicjack

A friend recommended that I pick up a magicJack before heading to Japan. Yesterday I did. What is magicJack you ask? It is a device/service that allows you to make free phone calls. I picked mine up at RadioShack for $40. You can also buy them online, but with shipping you’ll end up spending about $47.

I set it up at home on my laptop and at work on my desktop without incident. The installation process worked a little differently on each, and in neither case did it automatically install like it was supposed to. In both cases I had to launch an executable file that was supposed to run on its own. The install was fast and easy once I launched the correct file. I had no further problems.

Currently I spend about $25 a month for unlimited calls using voip.com. Hopefully by the time I get back from Japan in 2010 magicJack will have local numbers in my area so I can use it instead.

With no local numbers available, I opted for a Eugene, Oregon phone number. I can still call anyone with this device in the U.S. or Canada for free even while in Japan.

The marketing on the package is a bit deceptive. It says “Free International Calls.” When you read the fine print what you will find is that “International Calls” means calls to the U.S.A. and Canada from anywhere in the world–not calls from the U.S.A. to anywhere in the world. So, when I’m in Japan, I can call the U.S. for free but I can’t call other numbers in Japan for free. It costs about $.02 a minute to call Japan landlines and about $.15 a minute to call Japanese cell phones.

One of the nice things about magicJack is you don’t have to have a headset, nice computer speakers/microphone, or a webcam to use it. You can simply plug in any phone and speak and listen through it. It does work through a headset or webcam though. Another nice thing, compared to Skype, is the other person doesn’t have to be using magicJack. You can call regular phones and regular cell phones without any additional fees.

The cost is really incredible. $40 gets you the device and your first year of unlimited calls. You can then pay $60 for 5 more years of unlimited calling to the US and Canada or $20 a year on a year-by-year basis. That is not a typo. $20 a year–not month–for unlimited calls, voice mail, caller id, etc.

Finally, not only will I be able to call from Japan for free, but since this is a U.S. phone number, friends and family from the U.S. can call me for free or for much lower rates than they would normally have to pay when calling Japan.

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