Tag Archives: VOIP

MagicJack – Is It Worth The Money?

Popular guest writer Rick Robinette loves to fiddle with the latest technology gadgets. In this guest post, Rick gives you his take on MagicJack – the good, and the bad. See what you think.

MagicJack – A device that you plug into your computer’s USB port that enables you to use your broadband internet connection to make FREE local and long distance phone calls. A phone line (standard RJ-11) plugs into the magicJack from a phone. Initial cost is typically around $40 dollars the first year, then $20 a year thereafter. There are other pricing packages available, as well.



Recently while browsing in the local RadioShack, I could not help overhearing a man and woman asking the salesperson a lot of questions about the magicJack. What they wanted to do was replace the landline phones in their home with a magicJack and this salesperson was laying it on heavy; making it sound like this $20 device was the “ultimate” solution to replacing their landline phone service.

After detecting skepticism from these folks, I could not take it any longer and piped in. I said, “Listen, I have been a magicJack owner for over a year.  It does work; however you need to know this about magicJack”.

  • This device is dependent on the speed and reliability of your broadband connection and your computer. If the broadband connection and/or computer is under heavy load, then expect problems.
  • This device depends on your computer being turned “on”; however, the service does have voicemail which can be forwarded to an email account (in the event the computer is turned “off”).
  • Call quality can vary; however, on my setup the call quality is better than cellular and most of the time as good (sometimes better) than my landline. Again, this varies, based on the factors previously reflected.
  • I have experienced occasional software issues with the magicJack software, which is driven by the magicJack device itself. Often a reboot of the PC will make it behave itself. When you get this thing, get everything plugged in and follow the registration instructions to setup your “new” phone number.

  • This device will not work through the phone jacks in your house. The salesperson was definitely giving that impression. One thing you can do, is purchase a cheap cordless phone and plug the main base into the magicJack.
  • Services included are FREE local and long distance calls, FREE voicemail, FREE call waiting, FREE Caller ID and FREE Directory Assistance.  Again, this all varies based on factors previously reflected; however these services are included.
  • You are going to see thousands of “pros” and thousands of “cons” on this device. For example, [ SEE HERE ] .  All I can tell you is, it works for me.
  • You are going to read where magicJack computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads you see in the magicJack software.  In other words, this could be a privacy concern.
  • You are going to find at the magicJack.com website, it is geared toward marketing; not tech support.

Is magicJack’s VoIP for you?

In this particular case, I set up a “win-win” situation for these folks (the customer) and the salesperson.

Replacing your landline phones in your home with magicJack, is not a good solution; unless you are living on bread alone (which did not appear to be the case here). Using magicJack to supplement other services you have is a good solution. For example, I dumped my long distance and use MagicJack to make my long distance calls, which is really not that many compared to other people. We also have pay-as-you-go cell phones and can use them in a pinch, if necessary.

I then turned to the salesperson and asked, “What is your return policy? AND, If these people buy this and do not like it can they bring it back to YOU? At this point, I really got the look. Once that was out of the way, I told these people, take this home and play with it and play with it a lot.  If it does not suit bring it back to this guy. They ended up buying it!

To my readers, magicJack does work; however it depends on many variables. If you want to play with one, go to Walmart to buy it.  Their return policy is probably the best around. If you can’t wait and want a decent buy, then check [ HERE ] .

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Interconnectivity, Software, Telephone, USB, VOIP

Personal Privacy – A Dangerous Concept!

image It seems rather strange to think of privacy as a dangerous concept. But governments, worldwide, would have you believe that it is, and generally have been highly effective in convincing their citizens that privacy has limited individual benefits. Moreover, governments have been successful, in large part, in convincing people that too much privacy has serious social and security implications.

To experience this erosion of individual privacy in action all you need do is walk anywhere, drive anywhere, and you will be recorded with, or without, your knowledge or permission. Your behavior and your activities will be noted, and in many instances stored for later retrieval. You need go no further than your own home town.

Police in London, England, despite its thousands of CCTV cameras, estimated last year that just 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. All the while however, restrictions on invasion of individual privacy were thrown out the window. Despite this lack of effectiveness, London continues to add more cameras.

Virtually ever method of communication, including telephones and computers, can be, and are in fact, monitored by governments for “trigger” words or phrases. Web sites, email chats, and VOIP conversations are monitored for “suspicious” conversations, or activities.

It seems that most people (particularly younger people), have come to terms with living in this climate of little or no privacy; of uber surveillance – since we have been conditioned to believe that there is nothing we can do to change this reality.

The aftermath of September 11, 2001, has guaranteed that resistance to the government enforced surveillance society we now live in, is viewed with suspicion and hostility. Not only by government, but by individuals themselves. We are now the dogs in a Pavlovian experience – conditioning works.

I count myself amongst those who are genuinely concerned that the massive amounts of government data collection presents threats to our civil liberties and human rights – with good reason, I believe.

The idea that social control in the guise of patriotism, enhancement of security, and the protection of democracy is effective, is not new. Propaganda is a well established tool used to convince people to subvert their own best interests.

Those who are aware of history, a diminishing percentage of the population it seems to me, are familiar with Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels’s skillful use of propaganda ( a lie by any other name), helped Adolf Hitler acquire and maintain power, leading ultimately to World War 2.

In the final analysis, allowing government unrestricted control of our lives has proven, and will prove once again, to be disastrous. Thomas Jefferson, 200 years ago, had something to say on this issue of government power when he stated, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”.

The continuing erosion of our right to privacy cannot lead to a positive outcome. Democracy, as many of us have defined it in the past, is undergoing profound changes as we stand by and watch; participants in our own demise.

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Filed under cell phone, Communication, Email, Interconnectivity, Personal Perspective, Surveillance

YouSAB – The Best Way to Surf Anonymously

This is a guest post by Patrick Holm, in which he explains the benefits of YouSAB, a Secure VPN & VOIP messenger service, which is particularly effective for users living in countries that censor Internet content.

After reading Bill Mullins blog Iranian Surfers Downloading Anonymous Surfing Tool, I made a comment on our new service that can be used by Iranian web surfers (and other web surfers living under repressive regimes), to ensure them they can use the internet without fear of reprisal from government bodies.

These comments prompted Bill to invite me to describe our new software in the guest blogging section, which I have gratefully accepted.

image After living and working in the IT industry, in Dubai, for the last 8 years, (which has censorship of Internet content), some of my colleges and I, managed to create VPN software to allow freedom for all on the internet.

After encouraging responses from the YouSAB community, we formed a company called YouSAB Ltd, in alliance with the payment gateway provider Gulhmes Ltd, to provide a VPN service which is a little different from other VPN providers.

What is the YouSAB community?

YouSAB is a Secure VPN & VOIP messenger service that enables users to access and interact with their social and business peers, through totally secure downloadable VPN software.

Originating from a vision of freedom and security, YouSAB was born out of a desire to fundamentally change the way people communicate.

YouSAB Ltd, and Gulhmes Ltd, veterans of the Internet payment security and high tech security industries respectively, joined together to create an easy to use, consumer-centric, truly converged peer-to-peer service, enabling its users to take control of their on line security from one single place on their computer.

One of the main purposes for the development of YouSAB community was to take a conventional VPN set up, and provide more usable features the ‘every day person’ can use to remain safe while online, at a fraction of the industry price.


What is the difference between YouSAB messenger and other VPN providers?

One of the main differences of the VPN messenger compared to other VPN providers is; VPN messenger has taken the highly secured method of VPN and added an additional layer of security protection using proxy Dynamic TCP tunnels Network, so if the VPN network was ever comprised, Internet users would have the safety of a proxy network to keep them anonymous at all times. Coupled with these two layers of protection are a whole host of features that really make YouSAB Messenger stand out from other VPN providers.

These include the following:

A platform where YouSAB community users can use two forms of communication, VOIP and Messenger texting.

YouSAB messenger, as the name suggests, allows all of its users to invite and build a buddy list of all their YouSAB contacts that they wish to communicate with, via VOIP and messenger. All members’ accounts have in built VOIP and messenger features, so users can use both forms of communication to contact their business, or social contacts across the VPN network.

Both methods are highly secured, and both are totally anonymous to the outside world, with no third party monitoring communications. We have had several independent reviews of the speed of the service, and download quality is very acceptable and voice quality is comparable to Skype, and Call serve PC-PC. YouSAB accounts also have profiles where users can post business or personnel information about themselves, if they wish.

Once connected to the VPN network, you are provided with uncensored internet use, and a non traceable IP address.

YouSAB messenger unblocks all your favorite websites, which are deemed, unsuited for viewership by your Employer, Internet Service Provider or country Government E.g. VOIP providers, and Unblock Facebook. It also gives you a bogus IP address, which is non-traceable, even to a highly experienced hacker.

This program really works well for users who are using unsecured Wi-Fi hot spots, or people who want to file share without fear of authorities tracking their activity.

Prepaid card facility that allows to you purchase credit to use the service for as low as 3 Euro, minimizing the risk versus a yearly, or monthly, payment subscription.

The YouSAB messenger network, with its advanced features, was originally designed with the business network in mind. This was to assist in business activity at a fraction of the cost of normal VPN business networks. After been encouraged by good response from the public, based on YouSAB’s ease of payment, we decided to offer it to the public.

YouSAB is a micro pay as you use service, and is controlled by the payments solution provided YouSAB Intercard. This service is a highly secured form of collecting payments and it works in conjunction with the popular online merchant PayPal which handles all payments.clip_image001

Intercard payment solution controls the debits, or credits, to and from your YouSAB messenger account. Intercard is responsible of providing a clear and transparent service so you are able to understand at all times, what you have been charged, to the nearest micropayment.

Without getting into the complex workings of Intercard, the basic numbers that you need to be aware of are:

100 units of Intercard credit, is equal to 1 euro. This will allow you 40 hours of using your YouSAB messenger service.

Intercard will deduct 0.125 units every 3 minutes that you use the service, so you can be sure that you are getting value for money at all times.

YouSAB offers you different values of Intercard credit which are:

300 units which will give you 120 hours of use for 3Euro

500 units will give you 240 hours of use for 5 Euro

1000 units will give you 500 hours of use for 10 Euro

One of the best features of using Intercard is; you can use it to carry out balance transfers to and from your Intercard account. This feature was introduced as a test bed for our soon to be released online money exchange bureau, that users will be able to use to exchange online currency at favorable exchange rates e.g. PayPal to Web money.

These are just three main features for the YouSAB community, but we continue to work from feedback from our users (which we welcome), to further improve the service, so we that we can all retain our privacy while online.

Hope you liked the article, and if you want to download the software freely to test, you can do so here.

For further information checkout my site.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Communication, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Peer to Peer, Software, Surveillance, Video Calling, Windows Tips and Tools