Enter the magicJack.
The magicJack is a USB device that has a regular old phone jack on it. This way you can plug a regular telephone into your computer and make free domestic phone calls (and very cheap international ones!). It's quite small -- about the size of a Zippo lighter and a little bit thicker.
My dad started carrying these in his store, and brought one home for my mom to activate and test. She got it going with no problem and started telling me how wonderful it was. The international rates to The Netherlands (and much of the rest of Europe) are 2 cents per minute which is quite a lot less than the phone card rates she was getting previously. I was really only half listening to her about how wonderful it was because we already had the other VOIP service and I wasn't really sure this would be any better.
We ended up meeting the guy that invented the device when we were in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. It somehow came out that I didn't actually have a magicJack for myself and they gave me one to try out.
I gotta say, I am impressed.
Here's how to get started:
- You purchase your magicJack through the website (or a retail store such as RadioShack) for around $40.
- Try not to swear as you cut open the impossible to open package (seriously guys, why must the packing on this kind of thing be SO ANNOYING).
- Plug the magicJack into an open USB port on your computer and let the software install.
- Follow the prompts on the software to set up your account and choose your phone number.
- Verify the e-mail address that you signed up with.
- Plug any old telephone into your magicJack and make your first call!
As with anything, you'll have both your pros and cons. Here are the main points I noticed.
Cheap phone calls Work for Me! I'd love to hear what others do for long distance, especially for international calls.
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