Showing posts with label MagicJack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MagicJack. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Just renew magicJack for another 5 years

It's time for renewal.   Today I received a 5-year promotion plan offer from email notifications.  This good deal is only for renewal and used once only.  The total charge for 5-year (plan renewal) is $150 order + $13.50 admin = $163.50 plus tax if any.  This exclusive offer is not present on the magicJack homepage.

My experience with magicJack

I have been using magicJack since 2009, and I am happy about it.   My magicJack device over a decade is still working.   A few years ago, magicJack even made its mobile apps available without additional charges.  The app won't require the magicJack device plugging into a computer as long as the Internet connection is available.  It is a very good feature on-the-go without carrying around the magicJack device.  The bad of the app is that it keeps popping up the new feature alert (such as using Bluetooth for communication) when the new feature cannot be auto-enabled due to phone settings.  I hope that this can be improved sometime soon.  

magicJack app can run on a very old android device with at least Android 4.4.  But for Apple devices, it requires at least IOS 13.  It means your devices must be quite modern. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MagicJack: Contacts list is empty and drives inaccessible

MagicJack has done some upgrade within these two weeks that cause some users' contact list wiped forever (see their current announcement or the captured image). In addition, the MagicJack drives are no longer accessible after the softphone has been up and running; both drives occupied by MagicJack become "CD Drive" and "Removable Disk" while the softphone is in service.

Drives while softphone is loading right arrow Drives after softphone is loaded
MJ drives before softphone is loaded MJ drives after softphone is loaded
Accessible Inaccessible

I am lucky still to find my contacts list file in the device. Yours may still exist. See my how-to for details.

From now on, all the profile information including the contacts list and the call history will be stored in the MagicJack server. Thus, your softphone may indicate "Contacts list is empty" after the upgrade regardless of the file existence in your device. Currently there is no way to upload the list to the server but manually input yourself.

How to access the MagicJack device to find your contacts list

  • Unplug the MagicJack if currently connected.
  • Wait a few seconds for your system to clear the device.
  • Hold down the SHIFT key and then plug your MagicJack device in. DON'T RELEASE THE SHIFT KEY WHILE YOU'RE PLUGGING IT IN BEFORE YOU HEAR THE USUAL DEVICE CONNECTION SOUND. The SHIFT key will temporarily disable the softphone auto-run. Therefore, you should see two drives named "magicJack".
  • Go to the drive which contains a folder called "magicJack" as well. Usually it is the 2nd one. Your contact list is stored in AddressBook.xml

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thinking to extend my MagicJack service to 5 years

magic jack I have been using MagicJack almost for a year. I am thinking to extend the service to 5 years. Unfortunately, the charge of 5-year service plan has been increased from $59.99 to $69.99. If I have have know this, I could have extended it earlier to save my $10.00. Still, this 5-year plan deal is better than the one provided by AT&T, Time Warner or other phone service companies. The most importance is that I am satisfied with their phone quality but I have to bear with their poor support service including Web one.

Note that beginning of this post, I switched to use the image hosting service from ImageShack instead of PhotoBucket because PhotoBucket has imposted a storage limit to free accounts.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

MagicJack: pros and cons

MagicJack (MJ) is a USB Internet phone device using the processor chip from Tiger Jet acting as an adapter that allows you to plug in a regular phone and then use, or directly use the provided softphone via your computer with a speaker and a microphone ready. The device is Windows compliance so there is no driver needed. Any new driver update will be automatically detected and distributed via Windows update.

I purchased it because I was suddenly required 100% travel due to the department transfer and I began disliking my new task. I was thinking to leave the company by starting my job search journey. Since I had the company cell phone, I could simply forward all my personal calls to my cell because my home phone was a basic land line without any feature. Thus, I would like to have an economic solution. MagicJack is the solution I chose. If you have stable high-speed Internet connection, the phone quality will be as good as a regular land line. MJ works like other VoIPs like Vonage but with much lower cost. You can use it wherever you are including internationally, and unlimited calls are free to made within/to the US and Canada.

I am a MagicJack user and use it every day now. I would like to share some thought and experience here. You may find them useful to decide if MagicJack is right for you.

Pros Cons

Driver Needed No, MagicJack is compatible on Windows and Windows compliance. Thus, there is no driver needed. Any new driver update will be automatically detected and distributed via Windows update.

Easy Installation Unlike its advertisement on TV (i.e., no installation), MagicJack requires software download and installation. You must sign-up an account as soon as you have softphone installed and then activated it before you can make a call. This is based on my experience. I have 3 laptops and 1 desktop at home; they all required manually software download and installation.

Cost and Features Low cost. The first year subscription including the device itself is $39.95 + shipping and handling ($9.95 for USA user). Up to this moment I am writing (April 25, 2009), each subsequent subscription per year is only $19.95 and $59.95 for 5 years. Unlike a landline or other VoIPs, the price here is final without additional tax or subcharge. The cost includes all the needy features: unlimited local and long distance call, 411 directory assistance, voice mail, call waiting, 3-way calling, call forwarding, 911 service, and Do-Not-Disturb.

Total Call Minutes No limit on total call minutes. Unlimited calls can be made within the United State and Canada. But the duration of each call is limited to 2 hours.

Quality of the Call and Connectivity The service provided by MagicJack is VoIP relying on Internet connection. Thus, your Internet connection stability is the key to your call quality and connectivity. I have a stable, high-speed Internet; I found the call quality is as good as a landland. I usually talk to my family about 2 hours during weekends (but there is time limit per call; 2 hours max). Within these 2 hours, my call is never interrupted nor dropped. I am happy with the call quality and I have no problem on the call connectivity.

Phone Number Like other VoIP phone service providers (e.g., Vonage), MagicJack provides you a phone number. You can choose the number that you want including the area code.

Windows Only MagicJack cannot run on any other platforms but windows only.

Computer-Dependent MagicJack goes offline when your computer is off. In addition, you have to log in onto the system and let the software (i.e., softphone) load before use. MagicJack provides you a call log (via softphone) but the missing call will not be captured when the computer is off unless the person leaves you a message. Any left message will be directly delivered to your email box via a WAV file.

Software-Dependent You cannot make a call if your softphone is not ready. You have to wait until your softphone is completely loaded. Seeing "Ready to Call" on the softphone doesn't mean you can make a call. You may still have to wait a few seconds. Although you are able to use a regular phone to make calls, the softphone is the actual interface sitting between your phone and the device (i.e., MagicJack). Thus, if the softphone is not running, your phone will not work, and you will never know if there is a missing call unless the person leaves you a message. Only when the softphone is up and running, all calls timestamp will be kept in your call log.

Any Hardware Conflict Yes, at least I found that MagicJack is conflict with my USB TV tuner. As soon as I plug the TV tuner in, the MagicJack softphone won't work without unplugging and re-plugging. The same problem occurs when you start or reboot the system with the TV tuner and MagicJack attached. If you make a call without hearing the phone dialing after you have keyed in all the numbers, it indicates either your softphone is not ready or you have hardware conflict issue.

Consume More Drive Labels MagicJack is a USB device but it consumes 2 disk/drive labels. If you have a lot of external USB drives (e.g., USB thumb drives), some of them may not be recognized because MagicJack takes their original drive labels. To resolve this, you need to specifically change the drive labels either on MagicJack itself or the USB drives via Computer Management.

Configurability No, there is not much you can configure MagicJack except for the call forwarding via their Web-based interface. You cannot configure the greeting message if you don't like it (sorry, I cannot find a way to do it). And you cannot change the time zone either. Thus, the time shown on the call log doesn't reflect your actual time. I have no idea which time zone is.

Customer Service Unlikely you will speak to a live person over the phone but live-chat with their technical support 24/7 or via email query. Frankly, I don't find them much helpful on the issue I had. MagicJack will provide you a contact number when you have a billing issue but you need to chat with the technical support first. The attitude of the customer representative in the billing department is horrible. The one I talked to was impatient and unpleasant. The more I spoke to her, the more I got frustratetd. See my another comment on MagicJack.

Time Limit Per Call Each call is limited to 2 hours. Otherwise, the call is automatically terminated and then what you can hear is the dial tone. You can continue with your conversation by placing the call again.

Other Issues

  • Dial Tone Problem: Having a dial tone doesn't mean you can make a call immediately! Sometimes you may need to unplug the MagicJack and plug it back in order to resolve the issues. Without a dial tone when you try to make a call happens daily. From my experience, it could occur once a day at least. Hanging up and then pressing the button again sometimes may resolve the problem. Otherwise, replugging Magicjack should work.
  • Late Response: Don't immediately make a call when the softphone is first loaded and indicates "Ready to Call". Give more seconds before use; otherwise, most likely you need to hang up and call again. There is always a delay on the softphone.
  • Popup Softphone: Owing to its software dependent, every time a call runs in or you try to make a call, the softphone will pop up even if you have minimized it to the system tray. It is very irritating. In addition, after having hung up the call, 2 or 3 seconds later, the softphone will pop up in front of every application. I find it very disturbing.
  • Cannot Do System Standy or Hibernate: You cannot put your system to sleep by doing either standy or hibernate when you have MagicJack attached.
  • MagicJack Won't Auto-Start after Logoff: If you log off your account and then log in later, you need to manually start MagicJack.

Updated on October 17, 2009
An additional note: since MagicJack is via VoIP protocol to send voice, your traditional fax machine may not work with VoIP line. I have recently run into this problem. For the detail of why faxing and modems don't work well over VoIP, see here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cheated by MagicJack

I ordered MagicJack (MJ) on Feb 22, 2009 Sunday when I saw their ad on TV. I am sure that I remember what the ad said because the ad was repeated several times. I wasn't making my decision right away to order it. I made it almost last minute.

What the TV ad said is: $39.95 for the device and one year free subscription. The ad sounds more attractive to say that making an order via the phone number advertised on the TV now would waive shipping and handling. The product provided money back guarantee for 30 days free trial. It also emphasized that within the trial period, the customer could send it back at their expense without paying the shipping cost. Thus, it was absolutely no risk.

Well, I was cheated. Besides $39.95, there is always $6.95 shipping and handling fee. Their representative claimed, the ad maybe said that I could get my money back including shipping cost. The S&H is not free. Okay, I listened incorrectly. The following is the page when I first activated MJ and logged in. It clearly said that S&H is free. Even now, the page is still there. But they said they don't know what I am talking about and claimed the page could be wrong. Gosh, unbelievable!

Their automatic ordering system is horrible and not easy to use. They cannot get my name right and they have my incorrect email address. There is no confirmation number when I placed an order so I wouldn't know if the order is done successfully. When I first received MJ, I called the customer service for installation. It is not as smooth as it is claimed on TV. At the same time, I inquired my account information and asked when I would receive my billing statement; the customer service replied that there is nothing to worry. When I activated MJ, I would sign up an account at the same time. The billing statement will be sent to my account later. Up to this moment, I haven't received my statement yet but my credit card was charged already on the 30th day from the date I placed an order.

I called their billing department for questions. Their real person attitude is horrible. She helped nothing but referred me back to the customer service (via live chat). My account was billed under different name and different email address. It was why I have never got my bill. Lucky them, they have my credit card right!

Chatting to their customer service twice about account data correction, they said they had informed the accounting department to have my file updated and may try re-send me the statement. An email for correction will reach me within 24-48 hours. 4 days already and I hear nothing from them. Their issue service is very bad!

Luckily their phone service is not bad - it is the only comfort.