Magic Jack Complaint

Magic Jack Complaint

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(UPDATE) To My -Magic Jack Costs Me $54.97 In Electricity! Review - Magic Jack VoIP


I wrote a review for the Magic Jack VoIP service a few months back. Since then the same users have kept making fake accounts over and over again saying stupid things. So I thought instead of writing the short review, I would revise the complaint with every bit of the details that I can; so that if you don't believe me, you can try it for yourself. Which if you think I get a kick out of posting fake reviews; then you truly have not read any of my other reviews. Because all of the reviews I have written both Pro and Con are meant to help others out in some way.

I bought the Magic Jack from the web site and it shipped a few days later. It arrived within a few days and I hooked it up. The install is very easy, just plug it in and let it download and install some drivers. That part is easy. The service itself works well. Very clear calls and no static. It did bother me that I had to leave my computer on all of the time to use the service. It also annoyed me that the software wanted to pop-up every time the computer was Turned-On, A Call Was Made, Or A Call Was Received; but I found software that stopped that. You still have to sit through the splash-screen at start-up, but with the free third-party blocking software that can be found by doing a Google search, it prevents the Magic Jack software from constantly popping up. Besides the Electricity rates, the fact that my computer was open to Hacker attacks 24/7 worried me a lot! Since I wouldn't be there to stop the Hacker, they could just tear my computer apart. Not to mention anyone who came into my house, now had access to my private info. And NO! A software Firewall isn't going to offer you complete protection! Even a Hardware Firewall isn't perfect. But I still ran my computer; not 24/7, but most of the time. When my electricity bill came in, it was $54.97 higher then any other month going back over a year. So I decided to get ride of the Magic Jack, but I chose instead to try it for one more month on the idea of running my PC Turned-Down. Which I did, and while the rates were lower, they were still at least $20.00 higher a month (I Can't Give An Average Because I Didn't Run The Service For The Needed 7 to 8 Months.) But since these 2 monthly bills were both higher then any other bill, it makes sense it was my PC being on 24/7. Because while you can tune your PC to turn off power to the Hard-Drive, DVD-ROM Drive, ect; you can't let it goto Sleep or go into Stand-By Mode; because the Magic Jack won't work. So the PC HAS to remain on in such a way where it uses a bunch of power. The problem I have with all of this is that Magic Jack could create a router that would act like a Basic-PC and do these things without the hassle and added cost. The unit would cost more, but it would pay for itself within a month or two.

So The Pros:
1. Cheaply Priced Service.
2. Easy To Install & Setup.
3. Clear Calls, With Minimal Hiccups (Depending On Data Speeds)

Cons:
1. Since the PC must by on to use the Magic Jack service, you will incur higher Electricity rates (RATES WILL DEPEND ON PC TYPE, PC AGE, ACCESSORY LOADS, LOCATION AND RATES FOR YOUR AREA, PERFORMANCE OF YOUR PC AND OTHER FACTORS. NO 2 CIRCUMSTANCES ARE THE SAME
SO FREAKIN STOP COMPARING MY RATES, WITH YOURS!!!!!!!)
2. Software Is Annoying! It wants to pop-up often. It has banners promoting Magic Jack services. Very slow start-up loading time, with drawn-out splash-screen.
3. PC must by ON to use the service. Can NOT be in Stand-By, or Sleep-Mode. 24/7 access to the Internet leaves your computer exposed to Hackers.
4. While there is Tech Support, it comes in the form of TEXT support through their web site. And the few times I asked for their help, they didn't have any idea what I was asking for. But the service is so cheap, so this problem isn't that major.
5. Since VoIP is Data Packages being send over the Internet, they CAN BE HACKED. And YES! VoIP services have been hacked; you can read reports of them. So while trying to eavesdrop on a Cell Phone or Landline call is difficult, it isn't all that hard to do with VoIP. I don't know how safe Magic Jack is, because there isn't much in the way of tech info, but it is still something to think about if your telling someone something that you don't want others to hear.

So is Magic Jack worth it? Yes and No. If your PC is on 24/7 anyway and you either have it Locked-Down, or just don't worry about hackers or eavesdropping. And if higher Electricity rates aren't that big of a deal, then it would be good. Or if you only plan to turn on your PC when you want to make calls; then it is a very good service. But, if you take into account the lack of security, the annoying software, the higher Electricity rates, on and on, then you might want to wait until the creators of Magic Jack make a Router that doesn't need a PC to operate.

Magic Jack isn't a bad service, it is just too problematic right now to for (((ME))). And, this is again MY review. So I'm sick of getting these people who don't even own Magic Jack who keep putting me down, or making it seem like I am lying. Which I shouldn't say "People", I should say "Persons", because it is the same 2 or 3 persons making fake account after fake account bashing my reviews. If you don't believe what I am saying, then go buy the device for yourself! No one is stopping you! Then you can post your own review, then see what it is like to post an HONEST review and catch H*LL for it! But if you took the time to go read through some forums, you would see my problems are VERY COMMON and not just some simple nagging that I chose to make up!


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Comments


BLUEBIX says: (3 years ago)
 0
IT HAS BEEN MY EXREIENCE THAT MJ SENDS MY UNANSWERED CALLS YO MY EMAIL ADDRESS AND ARE PLAYABLE ON MS MEDIA PLAYER. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR COMPUTER 24/7. YOU CAN STILL GET YOUR CALLS, YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IS YOUR SNSWER MACHINE.

HOWEVER, I BOUGHT A SECOND MJ IN AUGUST OF LAST YEAR, BOUGHT THE WARRANY AND HAD TO HAVE MY PHONE NUMBER CHANGED THROUGH MJ ($10.00) BUT LAST FALL, I BELIEVE IT WAS IN SEPTEMBER MJ DID A MASSIVE UPGRADE TO THEIR SYSTEM AND EVERTHING WAS DISCONF^%$%$&&^$CKTED. I LOST MY CONTACTS AND THE WHOLE SYSTEM WENT TO S^%#%^$#%^%^$#^%*#T. I HAD THE WARRANTY AND USED IT. I HAVE TRIED FOR AT LEAST TWO MONTHS TO ACTIVATE IT. NOW I FIND THAT AFTER SEVERAL..."!!!ON-LINE CHATS!!!", IT WAS ACTIVATED ALL ALONG, BUT WITH THE ORIGINAL NUMBER. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NEW NUMBER I PAID FOR? I'VE HAD SEVERAL ON-LINE CHATS WITH THE GODLESS C*+&CKSUCKERS AT MJ AND HAVE BEEN CUT OFF SERVERAL TIMES. IT DOESN'T MATTER, I ALWAYS HAVE TRIED TO BE CIVIL. BUT IF YOU TELL THEM SOMETHING THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR, "!!!GOODBYE!!!"

BEWARE OF MAGICJACK



2lives2fly says: (4 years ago)
 0
Hello all, I bought a magicjack at Radio Shack, that was back in Sept. 2009. I returned it within the 30 trial period for a full refund. My main complaint it would drop out, even after adjusting PC to remain on (not go into stand-by). I checked IRQ's, memory locations for conflicts, Device Manager (hardware settings), BIOS to make sure all USB was 2.0 (no legacy 1.1). The thing I'm greatfull to MJ, for? It got me to do a search and find the greatest product out there today:netTALK Duo (ex-tk6000). Its like the author of article suggested, a device that doesn't require a PC (unless you want to hook it up that way), it plugs into Router/switch. The dev. uses USB for either PC. or small power supply (included), an rj-45 for ethernet and rj-11 for phoneline. Also lots -n- lots of local area-codes and pre-fixes. Check it out, bye



2lives2fly says: (4 years ago)
 0
Hello all, I bought a magicjack at Radio Shack, that was back in Sept. 2009. I returned it within the 30 trial period for a full refund. My main complaint it would drop out, even after adjusting PC to remain on (not go into stand-by). I checked IRQ's, memory locations for conflicts, Device Manager (hardware settings), BIOS to make sure all USB was 2.0 (no legacy 1.1). The thing I'm greatfull to MJ, for? It got me to do a search and find the greatest product out there today:netTALK Duo (ex-tk6000). Its like the author of article suggested, a device that doesn't require a PC (unless you want to hook it up that way), it plugs into Router/switch. The dev. uses USB for either PC. or small power supply (included), an rj-45 for ethernet and rj-11 for phoneline. Also lots -n- lots of local area-codes and pre-fixes. Check it out, bye



jmarie says: (4 years ago)
 0
The problem I have run into is the 50 call per day limit (51 calls is excessive and the next day they turn off your service). Even short calls such as when you get an answering machine count toward your limit. Magicjack then required I pay 19.95 to turn my service back on.

Their software should include a call counter so you know when you are running close to your daily limit.



addy1020 says: (5 years ago)
 0
Buddy, you are theoretically correct in many aspects of your review, however your energy usage is quite strange. EngineerG is correct in his math. If you prefer practical, I just purchased a "Kill-a-Watt" energy meter and my computer draws 25 watts, (45 watts with a 24" LCD). (FYI power is very low b/c it is a laptop - my desktop draws 60watts). Regardless, those values equal roughly $20 and $55 as a 24/7/365 cost.



ccovert says: (5 years ago)
 0
Hello, you could try encryption software or if you are going to get Windows 7, get the version with bitlocker. Then keep the system locked. Use the firewall on your router and desktop and lock it down to just the needed ports to function. But the main issue is the OS, keep it patched and up to date. You could get one of those netbooks, they are cheap enough and am I sure much more quiet.



JJRHTRF says: (5 years ago)
 0
Please put your facts together better. A computer, when idle runs well below 100W (with the monitor off). However, assuming you were actually doing some processing in the background, let's call it 100w. Power costs 10-15 cents/kwhr. That means you are using 1-1.5 cents per hour. A month has 720 hours in it. Thus it would be close to impossible to use more than $10 for electricity. One would hope that some of this time, you might actually be computing and thus should be deducted from your calculation. Magic jack has its problems, however, this is not one of them.



BenJacobsen says: (5 years ago)
 0
What's the name of the software that blocks the popup? I won't say our solution will work for everyone because I know it won't, but we use a mac (negating most of the hacker concerns) and we also just turn the computer off whenever we're not home or at night when we're asleep. We use magic jack because the cell reception is terrible at our house, but our cells WILL ring at night if it's an emergency. During the day we're both at work, so the computer is off and calls go to voicemail. So our computer isn't on any more because of this service in our usage. But the software is VERY annoying, especially if someone is using that computer while another makes a call (typing and dialing at the same dime don't work).



namronyam says: (5 years ago)
 0
If your PC is using $54+ of electricity per month, you should trash it and a PC built in this decade. Are you serious?

I don't have MJ and don't know if it is good or bad, but your analysis is seriously suspect.



lizzie60 says: (5 years ago)
 0
I am not able to receive or make calls with my Magic jack. I am about ready to call the whole thing off. I have spent countless hours on chat with those people and not one of them has yet fixed the problem, which has been going on for a week. I think I will stick with just my cell and forget this thing.



FaithSilverwolf says: (5 years ago)
 0
I have myself just purchased the Magicjack and have found that it is a cheep easy to set up and use devise i don't have the pop up issue with the software however i do have a issue with Comcast blocking some of the ports that Magicjack needs to operate with that being done my call quality is in the toilet I aldo have found that there is a issue with customer service they take you around and around and around in circles when you need help and the standard lines are here is an email with your password try that after like 10 copies of that email or It must be your phone try a different one what if some of us only have one phone that is brand new oh and they tell you to change USB ports often too what if your computer only has one port like mine does as I have a Laptop from Dell with only one USB Port are they going to tell me that my laptop that runs XP needs replacing as well as my phone. I found CS very frustrating to say the least and I also have the Bonus of Living in Washington State where they don't offer the 509 area code. All things considered I think this is a great service when all the factors come into cohesive order and make it work like it should for now I am going to try changing my router and internet service to see if that will help fix the issue as this will pay for itself even if i only use it in emergancies as I can always find a Highspeed internet connection to get ahold of my bestfriend to have her get ahold of my boyfriend in extreme emergancy to have him come get me and my cats so as a back up or emergancy phone call to long distance it pays for itself already as i can use it anywhere.



innalin says: (5 years ago)
 0
GOOD for You standing up...I for one appreciate your thorough report. Its very clear & helpful.



revviv says: (5 years ago)
 0
I love Magic Jack. My problem is that I cannot get a live agent to chat with me. I returned my unit to Radio Shack because it kept telling me to plug it in to usb when it was already plugged in. I want to notify Magic Jack of the exchange but I can not reach them.



AreYouSeriousDude says: (5 years ago)
 -1
"24/7 access to the Internet leaves your computer exposed to Hackers."

omg, not Hackers!!!!

That's an ignorant and sensationalist argument. Your computer is safest when you're not using it. If you get a virus/trojan or any other "Hacker things", it's because of something you did, 999 times out of 1000.

Hackers are not trying to get into your computer while you're not looking. It's 2009. Educate yourself.



locolocoloco says: (5 years ago)
 0
Look buddy a very small computer called "thin client" consumes only 9 watts of electricity, does not need a monitor or any other accesories, you dont talk shit on the phone so who cares about your calls, a thin client computer is a flash drive software os loaded on it so no information can be stoled and internet you are paying for unlimited anyway? so be smart and dont give money to big companies for the same bad service anyway. bye, thin client pc no monitors no ads right? see you



MyThoughts says: (5 years ago)
 0
I bought the Magic Jack with high hopes from all I had heard about it. When I put it into my computer, (this is a high end fairly new computer), it did not work. I could not use it at all, the quality was so bad that you could not hear who you had called and they could not understand you. I know computers and did everything I could with my computer to make it cleaner and faster. I then went online and did everything that Magic Jack suggested. Nothing worked. Then came the Tech Support, it is the worst I have ever encountered and you do it all typing it in and being typed to, you cannot call for any reason. I was on for a total of seven hours over three days. I talked to seven people and four of them were 'advanced techs'! They keep having me do the same things, when I said that I had done them the day before they said 'please just do it', meaning that they read from a script and knew nothing past that. After all this time and hours online with them I asked them to replace the item. They said they would but then!! I received an email from them saying that they were going to charge my credit card for the total amount and not give it back until they received my broken Magic Jack. I wrote telling them what I thought about this way of doing business and am waiting to receive the replacement. Do not buy one of these, they seem interested only in getting you to buy one and then you are pretty much on your own. My mother bought one and said it did not work. Stay away from Magic Jack, Bad Product, Bad Tech Support and Bad Service. Joseph



jake899 says: (6 years ago)
 0
I had the same problem but worse. I couldn't even even get the thing started. Couldn't get help. I sent it back.



leombrua says: (6 years ago)
 0
I have the same complaint as this review. This week when I dial a call,it rings then goes back to dial tone.Then when someone calls me on my magic jack,I pick up and it goes back to dial tone.



BDCUSA says: (6 years ago)
 0
Oh, something I forgot to address for "itsme..."

No, they do not have an eyeball inside your computer just because there is the little icon in the System Tray (the area next to the clock on a Windows-based computer). That is there letting you know, essentially, that the hardware is connected and active. You may see other icons there as well such as a golden circle with a stethescope for Norton Antivirus or a set of five bars indicating signal strength as detected by your wireless adapter.



BDCUSA says: (6 years ago)
 0
Folks,

I've come back by here and noticed that some have asked questions that I will be glad to address to the best of my abilities.

First, loneshadow, MagicJack is marketed basically to those who cannot afford the "high" cost of a hardware-based solution such as Packet8 and Vonage. Thus, it is very doubtful that they will come up with something real in the future. For those who really want to go the software VoIP route, rather than pay for MagicJack (money for the device plus some sort of contract fee, whether monthly or annually), just go with something that is precisely the same and is free: Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger (and use the voice chat feature in either of these programs) or Skype. MagicJack is not a real phone line nor is it a hardware-based VoIP solution. All it does is allow a person to use the telephone handset instead of a microphone and speakers plugged into the computer. Whoopie! If I am concerned about privacy (as a handset would permit only me to hear the caller), I'd buy a headset and use it with Yahoo Messenger. A decent headset is about $20, considerably less than the cost of MagicJack (especially in the fact that there are comparatively few headaches with use of Yahoo Messenger as compared to MagicJack).

Next, troutbum66, at first, I thought you were addressing me with your commentary. However, after reading it entirely, I see that you were directing it toward the original poster (try harder). I must say that, I agree with you that he was wrong in many details and, thus, the reason that I put up my detailed posting. :-)

Repsol24179, I'm glad that my informative posting could be of service to you. If you have any questions about other potential solutions, please feel free to let me know. As I indicated in my review, I will not put my email address up here to prevent spam but you can easily get it off my website. It's posted on every page in the upper right corner. My business website address is www.bdcusa.com

Finally, itsme, there is always a chance that an Internet connection will be hacked. That is just a matter of fact. However, what is the chance that a hacker is going to be interested in hacking your specific Internet connection? Very little. Hackers aren't hacking just for the fun of it. They want to find a way to get money, whether it be with pop-up generators that try to get people to give their credit cards for worthless "anti-virus" or "anti-spyware" programs (that actually further infect the systems rather than help clean them up) or with fooling people into giving their information at supposedly legitimate bank websites. (Hint: look at the address bar when the website comes up. If it's not your bank's website address, do NOT put anything into any field on that website! An example: if you bank at Wells Fargo and the website does not contain wellsfargo.com directly before any slashed information such as "www.wellsfargo.com/online-banking/login.php" or something similar, it is NOT real! Enter nothing and close that website.)

Anyway, back to what I was saying: using MagicJack carries practically no more potential for being hacked than does any other VoIP solution. The only difference would be that there is the potential for hackers (if they really care to listen to you) to have another way to do so if they are in your immediate area: if you hook up a cordless phone to the MagicJack, then the hackers can pick your conversation up on the airwaves rather than trying to hack into it through the computer connection. Will a hacker care to hear you talk with your aunt Sally about sister Lucy's pregnancy? No, probably not. He will move on. :-)

The one advantage that a hardware solution does have over a software solution is that it actually requires a broadband connection and, thus, there is a greater likelihood that one will have a router (which means a good, solid, reliable hardware firewall). A software solution (such as MagicJack) can be used over a dial-up connection and the best that one can do with such an Internet connection is a software firewall (such as Windows Firewall, Norton Internet Security, ZoneAlarm, etc.). Software firewalls are easily bypassed. The best hackers can disable them within about 5 to 10 seconds.

My professional opinion in my original post below (as these posts are in reverse-chronological order, with the newest being at the top) still stands. Get a real VoIP solution such as Packet8 or Vonage. (When compared to Vonage, Packet8 is cheaper, has more service areas, and has very good customer service. They also happen to be with whom I subscribe for my business. You can check them out at www.packet8.net )

If you happen to have any further questions about routers, Internet security, antivirus solutions, or anything else, feel free to email me. I'll gladly share what information and experience I can.



itsme says: (6 years ago)
 0
Hello.
I am quite concerned about the hacking issue.
If someone is listing, that's one thing.
Is someone is hacking into my computer, that's another.
I got the jack to see if I could
use it in place of my T-Mobile
wi-fi.
It allows me to call over the computer, through a wireless router
but cost me every month.
Do you know if magic jack is similar?

I noticed that the tray icon stays on my computer, unless I unplug the jack.
Does this mean that they basically have an eyeball inside my whole computer, if they want to?

So many questions...
Computer Security is my biggest issue.
Is this a big problem potential with magic jack?
Does Vontage or T-Mobile pose the same security issues?



Repsol24179 says: (6 years ago)
 +2
Thank You so much for the information on the MJ. My wife and I were looking into it until i found your logical review. Thanks to you. I believe you have saved us alot of headaches. Again thank you!



troutbum66 says: (6 years ago)
 +2
Folks, this guy is dead-nuts right on across the board. I'm an absolute computer illiterate but every single thing he says (except I cannot compare electricity bills as I am returning the product and disputing the double-billing they did to my debit card and subsequently to my credit card which they required after telling me they were unable to bill a debit card)is accurate from not working at all unless your computer is fully fired up and running to dismal - useless in - pseudo-customer support via chat IF YOU CAN MAKE YOUR WAY TO THIS. Product is utterly utterly worthless!!!!



loneshadow says: (6 years ago)
 +1
thank you for the review it was informative and indeed i have decided to wait till there is a router for magicjack. why shorten the life of my comp and raise my electric bill to save a few dollars. is there any word of them creating such a router so your comp can be off?



BDCUSA says: (6 years ago)
 0
I wish to say some things in regard to the review as well as in regard to the MagicJack service. I'll start with the service.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a wonderful technology that has been in development for many years. However, there is no software solution (e.g. MagicJack, Skype, etc.) that does the same level of job as a hardware solution (e.g. Packet8, Vonage). If one wishes to get top-notch service with few problems, then going with the albeit more expensive hardware option is the way to go. Between the two (Packet8 and Vonage), I have found that Packet8 is cheaper, gives better quality service, and has local service in many more locations (last count here in Kansas was over 60 localities for Packet8 as opposed to only three for Vonage). However, this is not a review of those providers.

MagicJack is a low-end, low-quality software solution. The USB dongle is nothing more than a glorified cable adapter that allows a telephone line to be hooked into a USB port. All the work of doing the conversion of the audio to data packets is done by the software, not the dongle. Because of this, there are many factors that affect the quality of the calls that are actually completed. (1) Speed of the processor that is available to MagicJack. This is affected by everything else that is running on the machine at the time, not to mention the overall speed of the processor to begin with and the OS that is being used on said machine. (Vista is MUCH more resource-hungry than Windows XP, for example.) (2) The amount of RAM that is available on the machine at the time. To use the service, software must be utilizied and, as such, it must be loaded into memory (RAM) to do its job: converting between data packets and audio in both directions as well as establishing the "phone call" and keeping it active until the completion of said call. If the machine has limited RAM, then Windows will try to use "virtual memory" to make up for the shortage. Virtual memory is the "swap file" that is located on the hard drive. File access is much slower than memory access (milliseconds (thousandths) as opposed to nanoseconds (billionths) and, therefore, if the software ends up utilizing some of the swap file, performance will go straight into the toilet. (3) The speed and quality of the Internet connection is of concern. If one tries to use MagicJack (or any other software VoIP solution) over dial-up, the quality will be atrocious! VoIP typically needs a stable 56Kbps to provide a good quality "phone call." Dial-up is not able to do that. While dial-up modems are capable of going up to 56Kbps, the phone companies have a limit of only 53Kbps being possible under pristine conditions. In nearly 30 years of telecommunications experience and 20 years of experience in owning a computer sales and repair service (in which I am not only the owner but also a field technician), I have never seen anyone who can maintain a top-notch dial-up connection for more than a minute or two, let alone at all times. The most common speeds are somewhere betweek 33kbps and 48Kbps, which puts MagicJack et al. in a deficit situation right from the start. Add to this the problem of bad copper wiring that is all too common in "the last mile" to the person's premises, especially the wiring in the walls of most buildings, dropped packets are common and every dropped packet means that some of the phone call is dropped. If one is lucky, the packet is able to be sent again. (If Magic Jack uses UDP instead of TCP, then re-transmission is not possible.) Hardware solutions do not have the problems associated with dial-up connections because they cannot be used with anything less than broadband. They also do not have the problems of processor and memory limitations since computers have nothing to do with them: they are devices that plug into one's router and then a regular telephone is connected to the VoIP device. Hardware solutions still have the problem of dropped packets, though, but this is less frequent since they operate over broadband connections (e.g. DSL, cable, Community Wireless, etc.).

Also, while on the subject of broadband, something else that can become an issue is the fact that many ISPs actually limit VoIP traffic going through their systems, so the quality of the connection could easily be reduced by the ISP in question itself. After all, the service is there for Internet connectivity, not speaking with Aunt June. (I personally don't agree with this concept but I mention it because it is a matter of fact and the way that ISPs look at it. Add to that the fact that many broadband ISPs also provide telephone services, this is a way to keep their direct competition more at bay.)

Now another point I should make about call quality is the sound hardware that one has on the computer, most notably the speakers and microphone. If one uses the freebie microphones that come with many sound cards and/or webcams nowadays, then voice quality going out will probably not be all that wonderful. In addition, if one doesn't position the microphone correctly (either keeping it too far from his mouth or erring the other way and "eating" the microphone (as is common with those who have no experience with microphone usage), then the pickup from the microphone is going to be terrible. (Look at where the microphones are held by talk show hosts, news reporters, public speakers who stand behind podiums, etc. They have their microphones about six inches from their mouths.) If the speakers hooked up to the computer are lackluster (such as the cheesy speakers built into some LCD monitors), the quality of the sound received will be just as lackluster.

Now, as for the power issues, it is true that any software-based system such as MagicJack requires that the machine be turned on and in normal mode (not standby) at all times to be ready to receive and make phone calls at all times. Just like a cellular phone, it will not work if it is turned off. Thus, if one does not normally leave the computer on at all times, then the electric bill will be higher, yes, as stated by EngineerG just above. Further, EngineerG's math is essentially correct, though I've not seen a 200-watt computer in a long time. Most computers nowadays, even though they have 500-watt power supplies or larger, tend to use about 300 watts even when just sitting and idling. However, that's a minor point. What I wish to say is that the USB device that MagicJack itself does have a very minor effect on the power consumption. All the rest is the computer CPU, hard drives, monitor, etc. The reason being that a USB-powered device is limited to only the amount of power able to be passed through the USB port. That is 500mA at 5VDC, which equates to 2.5 watts of power. To use a single kilowatt-hour (Kwh) of power, which averages around 8 cents the US, the MagicJack would need to be connected to the computer for 400 hours (about 17 days). Assuming that it is plugged into the computer and the computer is turned on for an entire month, MagicJack itself will be responsible for only about 14 cents of power over that month. Thus, the MagicJack itself is not responsible for the power usage but, rather, the computer itself is. If we assume 300 watts of power usage (including the MagicJack) and the computer is turned on 24 hours a day for the 30-day billing cycle, then the computer will have used 216Kwh in that time, costing $17.28 for that month (assuming 8 cents per Kwh again).

A point that I would like to make, from the arena of logic, is why would one wish to have the computer on at all times anyway? When one sleeps (6-8 hours a night), one can turn off the computer since I am sure that he will not be sleeping next to it and be ready to take a call while deep in slumber. Further, when one is at school/work, why leave the computer on? It makes no sense. So, as one can see, if one wished to do so, there are plenty of hours during which the computer could be turned off and not affect the ability to receive calls when one is actually around to receive them. This would save a lot of money on the electric bill. ;-) Presuming that one is asleep for, say, seven hours and is in university classes for five hours, that would mean that the amount of time the computer could be off would be a full 12 hours each day. The $17.28 above could be literally cut in half if one had the machine on only during the times that one is potentially at home.

In conclusion, while I do not feel MagicJack (or any similar software VoIP solution) is adequate, if one wants to give something to the kids as a toy or just have something more to plug into the computer just to say they can, then go for it. If one wishes instead to have a true alternative to POTS (Plain Old Telephone System, aka Ma Bell), then go with a real VoIP option such as Packet8 (which can be found at www.packet8.net). Based on what I have seen of user complaints regarding lack of adequate support, not to mention the few people with whom I've worked who have been very disgruntled by the lack of quality or capability to make successful "phone calls," I cannot say that I feel this is a good solution for the general public.

I hope this information is helpful. If anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to answer them. You can reach me through my business website at www.bdcusa.com




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