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Click to see full-size![Disclosure: the author receives no financial incentive from magicJack, he's just a happy customer.] The first model of the magicJack (click the thumbnail photos to see them full-size) only worked if you plugged it into a USB port on your computer, and of course the computer had to be left running all the time if you wanted to make or receive calls on that line. Computers take a significant amount of electricity if left on all the time which adds up to real money, PCs can burn out, they can shut down automatically after a certain time, etc., and you lose your phone service: that was a deal-breaker for us. Another VoIP service, NetTALK, offered a similar device, which connected directly to your router. Neither magicJack nor NetTALK, however, would let us port our old landline phone number to their service. That's the way it was until a couple months ago....

When the magicJack PLUS appeared, they began offering number porting and you can connect it directly to your router! We ordered it on their 30-day free trial offer (they'll only bill your credit card after the 30 days are up), and it arrived in just a few days. To set it up, the instructions tell you to first plug it into a USB port on your computer, plug a phone into your magicJack PLUS, and select "Click Here To Register" when the menu pops up on your PC. [I have my PC configured to not run programs automatically from a USB device or a DVD, so I had to find the setup program and launch it, but then I easily registered our magicJack PLUS.] They assign a new phone number that you can choose any area code for, and you can start making free calls right away! Later you can go online to your account at the magicJack website, where you can port your old landline number. This is great if you want to use it for a U.S. phone number while you're travelling - especially overseas - so people in your home town can call you toll-free. We'll probably use that feature when we go on trips!

Hang in there! Remember: the mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground.

Click to see full-size!Next, I wanted to try out the connect-to-the-router method, so I plugged the magicJack PLUS into the supplied AC adapter, plugged that into the wall outlet, connected the supplied ethernet cable from the router to the magicJack PLUS, connected the phone cord from our old phone to the magicJack PLUS, and it worked just fine, without the computer having to be left on! We could make "free" phone calls anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, and if we put some money into our magicJack account, we could call to most overseas countries for two cents per minute.

But I didn't want to stop there. I wanted more for less: our landline was costing us about $35 per month with all the taxes, compared to the magicJack PLUS device and accessories that cost $69.95 including the first year's service ($29.95 for each additional year's service), and $19.95 for number porting, so I decided to port our old landline number to our new magicJack. After satisfying myself a few days later that magicJack was working OK, I went online to our magicJack account and ordered number porting. In the confirmation email, they said that you need an active phone number in order to port it, therefore do not contact your old telephone service provider to have your landline disconnected beforehand, so I didn't. I learned later that I should have contacted AT&T to tell them not to disconnect our DSL! As things turned out, it took me a couple hours to get our DSL reconnected.

Click to see full-size!So, here's our current phone setup: the AC adapter for our router is plugged in on the right, our magicJack PLUS and its AC adapter are on the left, and plugged into the magicJack PLUS are the ethernet cable to the router and phone line for our cordless phone base station. We don't need to leave a computer running all the time, just leave the router plugged in. If our electricity goes off for a few seconds - as happens maybe once every few months - the router will automatically reboot and our VoIP phones will be working again. Click to see full-size Because I have moderate hearing loss in one ear and severe loss in the other ear, we bought a set of three cordless phones that has volume controls and individual 30-number address books on each phone, plus an answering machine in the base station. The two remote handsets are in the kitchen and our bedroom.

We've made several free long-distance phone calls in the last week or so, and we're happy with our decision: the magicJack PLUS and number porting cost a little over $100 with taxes, shipping and handling for the first year's phone service, and each following year will cost us about $30. We'll be saving about $35 a month - or around $420 a year - on our AT&T bill. With magicJack you get free long-distance, a free phone number (or you can port your old phone number), free voicemail, free call forwarding, free caller ID, free unlisted number, free 411 information service, 911 service, and you can take your magicJack PLUS on trips so you can make free calls to the U.S. and Canada, and people at home can call you for free.

Click on Online PC Support for our worldwide help   &   Offsite Backup Services for securing your files!

Interested in upgrading your PC? Maybe you'd like to consider an upgrade to one of these, just for fun: The Top 10 Supercomputers, Illustrated. The "K" supercomputer, the fastest one of these babies, runs at 10.51 petaflops per second: that's 10.51 times a million times a billion (10,510,000,000,000,000) floating-point operations a second, four times as powerful as its nearest competitor. This hangar-size computer consists of 705,024 SPARC64 processors all wired together, and its electricity bill is $10 million a year.

The Security Blurb:
In The Rootkit Of All Evil - CIQ article, you'll learn that most smartphone makers have pre-installed "Customer IQ" spyware on their phones. Don't think it's flattering your high IQ when the Customer IQ setup program asks you some questions: it means they will begin tracking your movements, logging every phone call you make or receive, every app you run, and possibly even logging every keystroke you make on your smartphone. When you click on the "I agree" to the Terms of Service, you automatically allow CIQ to start running, and some makers have even removed the opt-out function. This appears to be a gross violation of privacy, don't you think?

Next time you're thrown in jail, keep in mind that Vulnerabilities give hackers ability to open prison cells from afar. Yes, jails and prisons that use software to control which cell doors to open can have their programs hacked into, if the guards are using the same computer network to access the internet, and especially if they haven't changed the password from the factory-preset one (duh!).

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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