MagicJack Expired

I recently allowed my MagicJack to expire without renewing it.  Why?  Back in July of last year we sold our house.  When we moved out, we did the usual change of address cards, moved our utilities, etc.  When we went to move our phone service from Del City, to Midwest City, they would not allow us to transfer our phone number.  This was not like moving to new metropolitan areas or other states. This was moving to a neighboring city in the same metro area.  These cities are separated by a single street.  The phone number that I have is the same number that my parents had in the 1960’s.  It became available and I requested it in 2006.  This left us with the choice of losing that number or changing our phone service over to Vonage.  Just in case you are unfamiliar with Vonage, they are a voice over IP (VoIP) provider where there is a box that connects to our Internet router.  All phone calls in or out of our home, go through the Internet.  Vonage also has a feature where you can log into their web site and enter your home address for 911 calling.  This way, if you have an emergency and have to dial 911 and cannot complete the call, your address will be registered with the appropriate authorities.

To someone outside our home, they never know the difference.  The dial our number and the phone rings.  When we dial a number, we have a regular dial tone but there are no phone lines coming to the house.  At least the phone lines that are coming to our house are dead.  Vonage allowed us to port our current phone number to their service and then we could take the box anywhere in the world.  We would never have to change our phone number again…even if we moved to England.  Since their service is not free and requires us to pay $25.99 per month, it made no sense to renew the MagicJack since it already had unlimited long distance to 60 countries.  Actually, by the time all of the regulatory fees are added to the service, we end up paying $36.00 and some change per month for the service.  Let me be clear about this… I have read many stories about how people have been unhappy with Vonage but we have not had that experience.  I have nothing but good things to say about their service.

We were very happy with MagicJack’s service as well.  Our letting it expire had nothing to do with our satisfaction of service.  It was more a sense of realizing that since we HAD to pay for service to keep our number and it already had long distance, there was no point in paying for another service even if it was as cheap as MagicJack.  I have many relatives that do have MagicJacks and are very happy with them.  In fact, my dad uses it exclusively as his home phone.  He set up a computer in a storage building and wired it directly into the phone line wiring.  All jacks in the house have a dial tone from it.  My brother and sister, and cousin have one too and love them.

I just read an article a couple days ago on Techcrunch about how Google Voice is now going to allow people to port their phone numbers over to Google Voice for $20.00.  That sounds like a great idea and I am very excited about that.  The fact that Google Voice is free is exciting but it makes me have a bit of hesitance to porting my number over there.    The reason for this is that Google cannot be making ANY money on this and will at some point either have to discontinue the service or start charging.  I have read that Google has only mad the promise of free service through the end of 2011 anyway. That is not to say that it will not continue beyond that but it could.  Like I said above, my family and I are very happy with Vonage service so unless they really treat us wrong, or raise their rates, we will probably stay with them.   We may at some point renew our MagicJack or purchase a new one for our children as they move out.  Since they will likely have Internet where ever they go, it would be a cheap way to make phone calls.  I really battled with myself about whether to renew the service anyway but since we are so financially strapped while trying to build a new home, I decided not to.

I will be the first to tell you that as one that loves Voice over IP, I think Vonage, MagicJack, and Skype are all very good products.  Skype would be my first choice for computer to computer calling but would be my last choice for computer to regular phone calling.  This is because for the average user, it is not feasible for people to leave their computers on and wait for an incoming phone call.  The same argument could be made for MagicJack.  The way we used MagicJack was to use an old computer that was wasting away and run nothing but the MagicJack on it.  Then we would plug a cordless phone into the jack.     There is a new device called NetTalk that makes both of them a bit obsolete.  Where MagicJack is $19.99 a year for unlimited calling, NetTalk is $29.99.  They both require you to purchase the small devices that includes the first year of service but the NetTalk does not require a computer at all.  This is a huge advantage over all of them.  I have not tried NetTalk myself but have read many reviews online that recommend them.

I use most of these services on a regular basis and would recommend them all. Whenever I call my dad’s phone number, he answers it and I sometimes forget that it is a MagicJack.  Since it sits in a computer out in a shed and connects to his phone wiring, it seems like he has regular phone service.  We do the same thing with our Vonage service.  If someone were to come over to our house, they would see a phone plugged right into a wall outlet so they would never know the difference.  With Skype, we can use unlimited video and audio calling so I have many family members that use it.  It is a great time to be a phone customer.  I can call the weather line in Jerusalem Israel and it does not cost me anything.  I have all of the common features included like caller ID, call block, three way calling, selective call block, call forwarding among many more.  It is difficult to imagine that we all use to pay outrageous prices to call our family out of state.  Now I can call them for free and talk for hours without costing a penny.



We Did It


The day has arrived where I did the unthinkable.  Today my wife, son, and I bought an iPhone 4 and switched our service over to AT&T.  This was a painful decision for me and I hope it was the right one.  I have been very critical of Apple’s products over the years and yet it looks like I have gone against my own word.  Actually I have not…  My complaints about Apple products have been solely about their prices, not the quality.  I would never argue that Apple makes poor quality products but that their products are over priced.

My opinions have not changed at all.  Overall, Apple still over charges for their products.  My last phone, the Blackberry Curve 8900 was purchased two years ago today.  You can see where I posted about it May 3, 2009 and I was very proud of it.  Unfortunately the phone had to be replaced twice and even at that, the phone was locking up with a white screen many times a day the last couple weeks.  I paid a lot of money for that phone and ended u being disappointed.  The time came where I was forced to make a decision about what phone I wanted to replace it with.  I was really leaning toward an Android powered device.  The problem is that I did not have any assurance that I would have any better service than my Blackberry.  The iPhone 4 was the same price as the Android device that I was wanting.

I made a decision to go with the iPhone because my dad still has the original and it still works.  I knew that it would force me into using iTunes but I thought it would be worth it if I could get it tow work for the length of the contract.  So far I have about 12 hours of ownership of this phone and I really do like it.  This does not surprise me because I never had a problem with their quality.  It is my opinion that if the two phones had a competitive price the iPhone or any Apple product would be a viable option.  Unfortunately this is not the case most of the time.  I would argue that my opinion has not changed about Apple.  Yes, I am happy about my phone but I still think that in most cases Apple charges too much for their product.  The reason that I get so irritated is because it seems like Apple fans tend to act as though they are part of some “cool”, “elite” group that is so much better than everyone else. I know that not all Apple fans are that way but some of them are.  With equal or competitive prices on their products, I do believe they are very good.

As you can see from the picture, I bought the new white phone although the Otter Box Defender case is black.  That case is very expensive for what you get.  Other than the price, I am very pleased with it.  I wanted the white one but I thought that if I had to go to a meeting, it may be too much of a distraction.  I felt like I had to get a thick case because this phone is just too expensive to risk dropping it on the floor.  I feel like I am holding the most delicate piece of gold and cannot risk breaking it.  The case makes the phone nearly twice as thick but it is well worth it.

Among the many free applications (apps) that I downloaded, there is one that was not free but very cool.  It is called Radarscope.  As a severe weather enthusiast, I am really impressed with the real time weather radar at more than 150 locations around the United States.  I am certain I will get my money’s worth out of this purchase.  I also installed the Ham Radio Echolink app.  This one is very cool as well.  I can’t say enough how much I like the Facebook and Twitter apps.  It really makes it easy to keep in touch with people.  I really like the Gmail sync where it synchronizes my contacts, calendar, and emails.  Again, my preliminary review of this phone is a very strong, positive one.  My wife and son have similar feelings about theirs.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I am very impressed and would recommend the iPhone 4 to others.


I went ahead and re-opened my Facebook account as it gives me more control over the content unlike Friendfeed.  I left all the other social networking sites closed.  Of all  the sites that I really do love to use, I would say Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook.   The rain is moving back in today and I love it.  I should have been raised in Seattle because it can never rain too much for me.  I just found that many of my church members including the Pastor is on Twitter as well.  I already had them on Facebook and they use it pretty heavily.

Looks like Obama made a comment yesterday that said something about you being able to put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig.  Everyone is saying it was aimed at Sarah Palin and I do believe it was though you could make the argument that since he paused before saying it, that it was a spontaneous thought with no calculation behind it.  They fired back and said that McCain had made a similar statement in 2007 when referencing Mrs. Clinton.  And the drama continues.  There is a reason that I usually turn the TV volume down the moment theys begin discussing politics.  Oh well, it is the same thing over and over again.  I will certainly be glad when it is over as you know that it will continue after the election regardless of who wins.

I have been attending a class at work and it has two more days.  It is called Item Unique Identification (IUID).  This is an initiative to assign a unique identification number to every piece of equipment that is either $5,000 or more.  Other items can be added if the program manager deems it necessary to keep track of them.  They used our government identification cards called the common access cards (CAC) as an example of how each of us has an unique number and no other person has this number.  This is reminiscent of Revelation chapter 13, versus 15-18.  I know this is not what it is but sure does give you the creeps.  The government has put this program into place that all items acquired by the government will have these scannable marks beginning 1 Jaunuary 2004.  What gives me the creeps is that never before in history has there been the technology for Revelation 13:15-18 to make sense.  The point being is that the technology is here. The next two days of this class we will be doing practical application.  I must say this overview class that I went to was easily the most boring class I have ever been to.  Razor blades should be issued upon entry for those that just want to end the pain ;-).  Other than this and school there has not been too much going on.

Historic Photos of Oklahoma City

It has been no secret that I love my hometown of Oklahoma City an I am very proud of what it has become.  We have spent years fending off stereotypes people have of us throughout the nation  As our leadership’s vision continues to grow, our city reaps the harvest of those actions.  In recent days the National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced that our city is at the top of the list for obtaining a new franchise after the support we have given to the New Orleans Hornets after Hurricane Katrina.  Our dilapidated downtown. has begun to revive itself with new life.

With this new life, I wanted to look at our past and stumbled on a book by Larry Johnson, Historic Photos of Oklahoma City.  Larry Johnson, a reference librarian for the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City has compiled many historic photos of Oklahoma City and put them in a very nice hard back book with narrative descriptions of the photos.  Some of these photos go back to the 1800’s and tell a story of the early days.  Some of the buildings in these pictures are still there and they reveal the history behind them.  This book is a walk through history in Oklahoma City showing the good times and the bad.

As most are aware, OKC has a long history with the aviation industry and one of the photos shows a primitave biplane flown by Charles Willard in the Capitol Hill area as early as 1910.  As one that has spent most of my life in Oklahoma City, I learned a lot from this book.  Many of these pictures are full page high resolution for their day.  This book follows a timeline from the early days until more recent times so one can follow the history of our great city.  I think this book is a wonderful addition to any collection.  It is well put together and has a historic look that is even pleasant to look at in your library.

This book can be purchased through many of the large retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Target, and Alibris.  The book is published by Turner Publishing Company from Nashville, TN, and Paducah, KY.  As a person that is very proud of my hometown, I would certainly recommend this book.

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Tags: OklahomaCity, photos, book, Larry Johnson, Historic Photos of Oklahoma City