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Oscar2

Dec 6, 2008, 1:35 PM

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Magic Jack

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Wow, I don’t know how true this is because I haven’t made a call from Mexico to the USA or visa versa with Magic Jack, but I just got off MJ’s technical chat room and they confirmed several times that it’s .09 cents a minute calling the USA and visa versa, anytime of day. Phone forwarding and voice mail works well.


They also confirmed if you’re calling someone who also has MJ from Mexico or anyplace else in the world, there is absolutely NO charge once you’ve paid the first 40 dollars which includes the plug in module, and each consecutive year is about 20 bucks a year thereafter for the service. If you initially pay $60 dollars for the five year Platinum Preferred Plan, its gets you 5 years of prepaid service, which we accrues a $40 dollar savings.

I’m making calls locally but don’t know anyone with MJ in Mexico who can actually confirm this.



Rolly


Dec 6, 2008, 1:47 PM

Post #2 of 57 (14239 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack

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Oscar, be careful. Magic Jack has a pretty band reputation. Read here http://www.complaintsboard.com/...jic-jack-c89272.html

Skype calls to the USA are two cents per minute. Calls to other Skype users are free. There are no up-front and subscription fees except for an optional dedicated phone number in the USA that friends can use to call you. I think that is $60 per year.

Rolly Pirate


tashby


Dec 6, 2008, 2:05 PM

Post #3 of 57 (14235 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Magic Jack

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Skype is almost a miracle.

I'll add $10 of credit to my account and it takes almost F O R E V E R to use it up calling the US.

I also have a friend in Tokyo and I called her recently because I hadn't talked to her in ages. She has more money than us so she immediately said, "Let me call you back...."

I told her it was costing me 2 cents a minute. Ha!


johanson / Moderator


Dec 6, 2008, 2:11 PM

Post #4 of 57 (14232 views)

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Re: [tashby] Magic Jack

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I want to second and third the above comments. I know nothing about Magic Jack. But the techies and ISP owners all say SKYPE is one of the best if not the best VoIP around.


delmaracer

Dec 6, 2008, 5:52 PM

Post #5 of 57 (14215 views)

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Re: [johanson] Magic Jack

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I have used skype for just a couple of months and find it to be excellent, reliable and a real bargain.
Bob


robrt8

Dec 6, 2008, 7:00 PM

Post #6 of 57 (14209 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack

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I've heard that Skype is like a Mercedes and Majicjack is a VW Bug. I only use Majicjack and would agree with that. It sure is worth the price.


Rolly


Dec 6, 2008, 7:44 PM

Post #7 of 57 (14201 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Magic Jack

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How can it be worth the price when it costs much more than Skype?

Rolly Pirate


robrt8

Dec 6, 2008, 9:46 PM

Post #8 of 57 (14193 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Magic Jack

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I have an LA prefix number that friends and customers can call. Voicemails are emailed as mp3 attachments. I hook up a regular cheapo phone to my laptop and make and receive calls free.
The only problems I've had were remedied by unplugging and plugging Majicjack's USB device. I don't know if it costs a lot more than Skype. I paid for two years ($40?) and they threw in another year.
I haven't tried Skype. If it's better and cheaper I'm all for it.


robrt8

Dec 7, 2008, 11:22 AM

Post #9 of 57 (14167 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack

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I wanted to clear-up my first reply. Vonage is the Mercedes to Majicjack's VW. MJ is very much a VW Bug. It works good enough for what I need.

Now I remember trying Skype last year. The connections were poor and I never got the hang of using it. I'm sure things have changed. I don't remember being able pick up a regular phone and call.


Carron

Dec 7, 2008, 11:50 AM

Post #10 of 57 (14166 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Magic Jack

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We just hooked up with Skype about a week ago. We have talked to 5 kids and a gazillion grandkids plus business calls all over Texas. So far the cost has been $1.03. It would have cost even less, but some of our kids don't have computers so we have to pay for calls to their landlines. Amazing!!!!! You simply must try it.

One of the things we especially like about talking from the computer is that Hubby and I can both talk into the computer at the same time and we can both hear the other end of the conversation. Great way keep up with family communications when everyone is trying to talk at once!


Oscar2

Dec 7, 2008, 1:57 PM

Post #11 of 57 (14155 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Magic Jack

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robrt8, thanks for responding with well needed information which helps allot. This post is also addressed to some of the other users such as Johanson, Rolly and others who've been using Skype for sometime now and are faimiliar with more than just its operation.

Like most of us, I know you guys like to get the most bang for the buck, so as an entry player, Googling, Skype reveals a 3-6 or 10 dollar monthly subscription fee. The 6 dollar subscription gets you various large cities in Mexico. Does that sub., also allow calls to the US at what rates? Here are a few other questions your experience would help in making a decision based on MC peoples experience.


1. Which one of the 3 monthly subscriptions do you use, and why?

2. What is your total monthly outlay which also includes USA calls?

3. What is the size of the equipment needed and does it have to be hard wired in or can it be used WiFi? Which do you use and find the most effective?

4. Are you hooked up to the modem or the router in your home?

5. How, if any, does Skype enable Cell Phone usage, if any?

6. If on the road (traveling), can you use a WiFi connection provided by places like Strarbucks etc?

As I’ve mentioned, I have a 30 day free trial for MJ and yes, I still have time to make decisions. I’m going through the motions with a battery of tests to see the extent of its service and its limitations. I have kind of a techy background, so I’ll try and do my best in filling you in on results.

Initially I paid 39.95 which includes a 19.95 first year subscription, plus 59.95 for an additional 5 years of service which they call the Platinum Preferred Plan, which throws in additional perks. The 5 year additional plan saves you, I believe, about 40 dollars over that period, so I got one for my son, as well.

I will be testing, phone forwarding, Email, Conference Calling and Voice Mail and general clarity both on desk top pc’s and notebook pc’s.


Rolly


Dec 7, 2008, 2:13 PM

Post #12 of 57 (14150 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack

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Go to the Skype webpage to learn about fees and sevices: http://www.skype.com/...rency=USD&vat=NO

Rolly Pirate


RickS


Dec 7, 2008, 4:12 PM

Post #13 of 57 (14134 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Magic Jack

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Of the two, I suspect that Skype may be better and for sure has more customers. I don't know because I don't use it but have several friends in Mexico who do use it and swear by it. Having said that, I have had a MagicJack account for about a year and a half and have had NO problems with it from day one. I only use it when I am traveling (anywhere) and have never had a lick of problems with it. Good quality sound. $40 first year, $20 a year thereafter. At my home I use ViaTalk, similar to Vonage but with MUCH better customer service (located in the US by the way).

With respect to finding Internet sites that bash things, they abound for anything that exists.... technical or no. One generally does not go onto the web to find a place to 'spread the good news', only the bad.


raferguson


Dec 7, 2008, 5:06 PM

Post #14 of 57 (14128 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack vs. Skype

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There is one gotcha with Skype that I have found. It will not reliably transmit touch-tones. This means that I cannot check my USA cell phone voice mail with Skype.

This is a known Skype problem, as far as I can tell, unless somebody has fixed it. Unsure if other systems have the same problem.

No experience with other IP telephony systems.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Rolly


Dec 7, 2008, 6:47 PM

Post #15 of 57 (14117 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Magic Jack vs. Skype

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I don't have problems with the touch-tones.

Rolly Pirate


Oscar2

Dec 7, 2008, 9:19 PM

Post #16 of 57 (14103 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Magic Jack vs. Skype

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Richard, I was kind of hoping you’d chime in with your expertise in certain areas of telephony. RexC’s input kind of set my mind at ease but not that I was too worried because at 20 bucks for a whole year of service with MJ, is about what I would cough up too the mordida vigilante and just get a intolerant nod of passage.....

I’m going to tell you what my deal is and its getting a bit like being held for ransom by Verizon. When Verizon discontinued the cell phone North American Plan, which allowed only the minutes to be used when calling within or out of the three countries, Mexico, USA and Canada, they no longer permitted anyone to subscribe to this service “unless” you were already a NAP subscriber, then they grandfathered you in.

For sometime, I felt privileged but then again, my visits to Mexico kind of tapered and then they raised the price to $1440.00 annually for 1400 anytime minutes per month, which I hardly use anymore. Then I remembered your thorough piece of multi phase cell phones and Sim card usage in Mexico, for inexpensive local calls while in Mexico.

So here's my deal, like RexC, for traveling Mexico or other parts of the world, I can use MJ because first off, it’s a very convenient size, akin to one of those small Zippo cigarette lighters, which fits nicely in ones shirt pocket. I can plug into any USB port, which can be my notebook, a hotel pc or internet café while on the road and make calls to the US or anyplace else in the world at lower rates I couldn't possibly get from a land line.


Now, in addition to covering calls to the US with MJ while on the road, while in Mexico it would be good to get 2 nice cell phone configurations with Sim card abilities. I know technology is hard to keep up with, and based on what is going on right now, what cell phone configuration would you opt for use in Mexico?


raferguson


Dec 8, 2008, 9:00 AM

Post #17 of 57 (14084 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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The best cell phone deal depends on a few factors:

1. Where you spend your time

2. Who you call (or are called by).

3. Length of calls

If you spend a lot of time in rural areas with limited cell phone coverage, Telmex may be your best bet, otherwise I would probably go for Movistar. Look at the coverage maps on the web, especially for the areas you spend time.

If most of your calls are to and from the USA, there are some good packages. Movistar has a flat rate plan, I recall around 3 pesos per minute, for all calls, including calls to the USA. There are also packages that allow you to make calls up to 20 minutes long for only 12 pesos or so, so good for longer calls. You have to ask to get the right package.

If most of your calls are to one or two people, you probably will want to be on the same cell phone company that they use, and then put them on your friends list, so those calls are cheap.

Some heavy cell phone users carry two cell phones, and pick up one or the other depending on who they are calling. Or they use Movistar where Movistar has coverage, and use Telmex when there is no other option.

Regardless, international cell phone calls are not going to be really cheap, which points one to Skype or MajicJack or some other IP telephony system, if you are where you have an internet connection.

If I missed the point of your question, or if you have a more specific question, let me know.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


drmike

Dec 8, 2008, 9:23 AM

Post #18 of 57 (14081 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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Oscar,

I've used MajickJack since November 2007. Generally it works okay. It will drop your call occasionally, it does have some grinch-like anomalies, but for us it has been worth it (small letters). We are on our 4th MajickJack unit...three have ceased working for some unfathomable reason. One still works. We use it to call the USA and have a Houston phone number from them. Without the Jack we'd probably spend $200 a month in TelMex; I haven't figured out how much with Skype. It is not totally unreasonable for us, but adding to the line of the poster who said said it was like a Volkswagen Beetle, I would add the caveat of "Like a very old volkswagen Beetle".

I would hope the company would provide a more dependable product and better customer service, but for now it is what we use.

I'd be careful if I were you and search other alternatives well.
Dr. Mike

http://www.smarthealthchoices.blogspot.com

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.


Hindu teaching



johanson / Moderator


Dec 8, 2008, 9:59 AM

Post #19 of 57 (14073 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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In reference to coverage for the Movie Star cell phone system. As raferguson pointed out the coverage is limited. I am told though that here lakeside they have begun to expand their coverage and that it actually works in some parts of Jocotepec (West end of the lake) where was no coverage. It does work in the greater Ajijic-Chapala area.


Oscar2

Dec 8, 2008, 6:31 PM

Post #20 of 57 (14041 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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Quote
Regardless, international cell phone calls are not going to be really cheap, which points one to Skype or MajicJack or some other IP telephony system, if you are where you have an internet connection.



Richard, thanks for the response and info. I would have answered sooner but like every year, for as far back as I can remember, hanging all the Christmas lighting, Christmas tree, trimmings and all of one n-half dozen other things which start ringing in the holiday season which comes on strong around here and honestly, it feels good.

Based on what I’ve seen thus far, I guess your right, there is no cheap work around with the Cell phone dilemma. It’s like taking a little of this and that and putting something together from users information one can get from active MC’ers who’ve been there, done that. I take it from the lack of Cell phone type conversation, many just throw in the towel, pay the bill, grin and bare it and/or are busying themselves with trimming a little here, and little there, to make it feel like something is really happening…….who knows….Laugh

Thus far, drawing from what’s been said, Movistar, sounds like the best candidate for my kind of business while in Mexico. The reason I pointed to Sim card is because while tooling around town, like Morelia, Patzquaro, Guad and similar environs, for a month or so, two new cell phones with Sim cards would probably fill the bill. I’ve outfitted my son with MJ and intend to do the same for my daughter just in case we need to contact them for whatever, while down south.

And/or I could just bite the bullet and keep the $1440.00 a year North American Plan, and yes, grin and bare it, even though it will probably go unused 85% of the time.

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Dec 8, 2008, 6:33 PM)


Oscar2

Dec 9, 2008, 11:41 AM

Post #21 of 57 (14011 views)

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Re: [drmike] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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Dr. Mike, I was totally unaware you were an MJ user. You cracked me up and I’m still kind of chuckling over you saying that someone said MJ was like a Volkswagen Beetle and your take came back, yes, "Like a very old Volkswagen Beetle".

I’ve never tried Skype, Vonage nor Via Talk but based on what’s been said, they sound middle class and/or better, in performance. Incidentally, did MJ send out replacements on their dime and did it take long to get them south?

My house is full of phones, to many really. What I did was tapped into one of the lines on a dual lined phone base, which feeds 4 wireless dual line phones, so the hours my wife spends talking to relatives back east will now be gratis. The one line tapped into still rings on its own number because there are other hard-wired landlines in the house with that same number, which in essence bypasses the MJ hookup.

The next effort will be to try to send a fax through MJ just to see how effective it is, I’ll keep you posted.

The only reservation about Skype, Vonage or Via Talk is based on something I haven’t heard anyone volunteer, is about WiFi access at home or on the road at various WiFi facilitators. If the answer is yes, while traveling, how is this done? Searched Skype’s website but couldn’t find it.

On another front, as you and probably all of us have probably seen advertised are these extremely multifaceted apple “I Phones” touting kinds of communication, games, text messaging and much more, well, all of which, for me, is a bit much with such tiny keys and my bad eyesight.

At Costco, recently they’ve had on display a standard, tiny WiFi computer by Acer. The reason I mention this is because it’s 9.8” X 6.7” X 1.1” size is not only compact and weighs a measly 2.3 lbs but aside its portability the keyboard is so much more available then punching those tiny cell phone keys while text messaging, which I don’t.

This little baby, packs allot of muscle in such a small portable package and the icing on the cake is its internal internet WiFi accessibility. It comes with a 160 gig HD, and much more, at just a little more in price than the new revised apple “I Phones.” Costco’s "online" Christmas reduced price is $379.00 with their standard two year warranty. Now all of the above is only available online, it comes with the 6 cell battery, as opposed to the 3 cell battery, plus a 160 gig HD, as opposed to a 120 gig HD, if "not" purchased off the shelf at Costco. It touts the six cell at 5 hours of battery life, yea, we'll see....

The intention is to carry this little baby within your personal carry-on bag when traveling and if needed just plug in Magic Jack when needed to make calls without having to lug around the heavier and more cumbersome laptops. My son, who is in college mentioned that many pack these mini computers in their bags and use the word processor and or hook up the microphone to record lectures.

Yes, I ordered one, why, for one, proper sized portability and muscle goes a long way. In addition to being able to use MJ while on the run, I can also upload copious camera photos as a safeguard should something happen to my camera. And, how can I forget, Internet access.

Enough, I’m beginning to sound like a kid again playing with his newly found erector set……..boy, does that date me….. Laugh

Check it out:

http://www.costco.com/...p;lang=en-US&s=1

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Dec 9, 2008, 11:50 AM)


Rolly


Dec 9, 2008, 11:55 AM

Post #22 of 57 (14006 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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"...about WiFi access at home or on the road at various WiFi facilitators."

Skype works through your computer, so anything that connects your computer to the web is fine. I am typing this over a WiFi connection to my router in another room.

Rolly Pirate


Carron

Dec 10, 2008, 7:16 AM

Post #23 of 57 (13976 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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When we first moved to Cd. Acuna, Telcel was the only cell phone service available. Because of the many buildings surrounded by cement block walls, it does not work well in town. Everyone has to stand on the street corners to get reception. When we moved to the ranch, we opted for T-Mobile which has served us well with our straight line-of-sight right into Texas from our house. Then a few years ago Moviestar made its presence known. Now everytime we get close to town, Moviestar takes over our phones. Sometimes we can receive calls, but we cannot call out when we are under the influence of Moviestar.

Last week we drove to El Paso thru Texas and just about at the city limits--sure enough--our phones changed to Moviestar. Must be quite powerful coming in from Cd. Juarez.

The only way we can get out from under it when we go back out to the ranch is to turn off our phones. Sometimes it takes a couple of hours to get T-Mobile.


RickS


Dec 10, 2008, 12:01 PM

Post #24 of 57 (13956 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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Oscar2,

As Rolly has stated, Skype uses your computer as its connection so anywhere you can get a 'good' computer connection (this includes at your home using a direct connection or a WiFi connection) you can have Skype phone service also. Remember that phone service over the Internet requires a bit more bandwidth than just email or web surfing require. Just how much is debatable but one won't have very good service with a slow Wifi connection. Using them through a dial-up arrangement will get you nothing (OK, now someone will write saying they 'can' use their Skype with dial-up, but.....). AND, it is important to look at both download speed and upload speed. Bad (low bandwidth) upload will cause your voice to not be heard even if you can hear the other party's voice (download). Check your bandwidth quality (for Voice) here: http://myvoipspeed.visualware.com/ and click on a dot on the map.

As you know but others might not, Magic Jack also requires that you have a computer for use.... the small 'dongle' plugs into an available USB port and some software gets loaded onto the computer also. Obviously the computer will have to be running for Magic Jack to work. The same criteria for use, as above with Skype, is applicable.

Vonage and Viatalk (and all the other Vonage-like providers) have a different connection requirement (and capabilities). These services require one to have a small phone-adapter, provided when one signs up. This adapter is plugged into one's Internet modem, NOT into the computer. Some adapters are built into a router that is plugged into the Internet modem so that one can have more than one computer attached.... and if the router is wireless, one could have several computers attached by wire (usually 4 slots) plus a wireless computer to boot. So since the phone adapter is actually attached to the Internet via the Internet modem directly, a computer is not required for them to work. And if one does have a computer (why else would one have an Internet connection?!?), it would not have to be turned on for the phone to work. These type of phone services can also be used when one is away from home... even if one doesn't have their computer with them. "All" that is required is to have access to an actual Internet connection (here I mean the Internet modem, not just a Wifi signal). Most often this is not an option..... Starbucks might let you use their Wifi signal but they sure as hell are not going to let you into the back room to attach your adapter to their Internet modem! But sometimes circumstances will allow this option..... when I travel somewhere that I will be staying for a while (house-sitting in Ajijic; spending a month in an RV Park in Florida) AND I am confident that the owner would not mind if I attached my phone adapter to their primary Internet modem, I'll take my ViaTalk adapter along with me, because in my case ViaTalk IS my home phone so I can take and make call just like I were sitting at home when I am in reality thousands of miles away. It sometimes freaks folks out when they call my home phone and I answer it sitting in Rome! (Yes, I know that one can just call-forward their home phone to their cellphone and accomplish the same thing but I'm cheap.... think of all the air-time/long distance one would use having small-talk with a neighbor while in London!)

Anyway, as usual I've made this much longer than really necessary..... the point is that there are different requirement and capabilities depending on just what type of phone system one has purchased.

(This post was edited by RickS on Dec 10, 2008, 3:01 PM)


Oscar2

Dec 10, 2008, 10:07 PM

Post #25 of 57 (13931 views)

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Re: [RickS] Magic Jack vs. Skype - cell phones

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RickS,

Hey, length, forget about it, your detailed information was spot on and well needed, Muchas Gracias, and I’m sure others benefitted from it. If I interpreted correctly, Vonage and Viatalk, do need a modem hookup for their telephone adapter. Once modem connected, is it a hand held wireless telephone, and if so at what distance must not be exceeded to access or send calls.

The following link is product made by Belkin for use as a wireless hand held Skype cell-phone type configuration, dedicated exclusively for Skype users. It’s Wifi and only needs “hotspots” to log on for phone calls with the assigned international rates. You can pick them up for about $129.00 US. Check out the link:

http://www.belkin.com/skype/moreinfo/

The reason I took so long to answer is that this morning, UPS delivered that Mini Acer computer I wrote about and ordered last Friday. Talk about quick service, I’d call it jet-service…..Sheeess….they absolutely wasted no time at all! So, most of the day I was getting familiar with it, and loading it up with software I use regularly. It’s automatic Wifi has had me downloading and configuring various Windows upgrades on this little baby and hey, that six cell battery definitely give’s 5 hours of performance, Yahoooooo!

Tomorrow I will attach Magic Jack and see how this little creature works. Thus far, I love its size, especially for tooling around town and traveling purposes. Thus far, all four wireless lines make all outgoing calls via Magic Jack without a hitch.

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Dec 11, 2008, 12:23 AM)
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