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Friday, August 23 2019 @ 11:11 pm EDT

MagicJack - I'm A New Fan

Internet & Technology By DON WINNER for - I finally picked up a Magic Jack while I was was up in New York on this most recent trip. Now, my parents can just dial a local call and presto - we're connected. It looks like this is even going to be cheaper than Skype, which is still pretty damn cheap. Anyway, if you want to call me my new Magic Jack number is (845) 514-9893 based in Kingston New York out of respect for our family's forefathers who landed in that area in about 1654 or so. I looks like I'm going to become a new fan of Magic Jack. Add me to the list.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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MagicJack - I'm A New Fan | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
MagicJack - I'm A New Fan
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 04:48 pm EDT

Question Don ..Did you have to activate it in the states or did you do that back in Panama??

MagicJack - I'm A New Fan
Authored by: Don Winner on Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 08:05 am EDT

Exactly. I took my laptop with me to New York and activated the Magic Jack there. Once I returned to Panama I plugged the Magic Jack into my primary base unit in the office, and it came right up with the same number and settings. I don't know if you can buy and activate a Magic Jack here in Panama with the same results. Maybe someone who has done it can jump on and talk about their experience. For me, I had seen people talking about Magic Jack and I wanted to get one, and literally just saw them at Best Buy and decided to pick one up on the spur of the moment. I wasn't planned that way or anything, it just worked out that way.


MagicJack - I'm A New Fan
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 10:57 am EDT
If you are interested in going another route may I suggest using the services of VOIP company Callcentric. They have as they call it “Dirt Cheap Numbers” that can receive unlimited phone calls for only $2.95 a month. Combined with an unlocked Grandstream, Linksys, or Snom telephone adapter (try Best Buy or Ebay) you can use your Callcentric account without having to leave your computer on 24 hours a day (my main reservation with Magic Jack).

I have two Callcentric numbers, one connected to a telephone adapter at home and one that I forward the number to my Panama mobile number/office number which is billed at 12.5 cents per minute for mobile and 2.5 cents for Panama landlines. Used in tandem with a Google Voice number, I have one number that rings me at my Panama home, office, and mobile phone along with my US home and mobile number (when activated) all at the same time.

I am always within reach to all the important people in my life outside of Panama for a little over $6 month.

A writer for the Panama Blog at Harvard

MagicJack - I'm A New Fan
Authored by: Don Winner on Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 11:23 am EDT

OK, Smart Alex at Harvard, I have a request. Could you do that again, but this time a little slower for those of us who are not nearly as smart as you. In other words, exactly what the hell are you talking about? And don't take that the wrong way, please. I'm being sincere. You obviously have discovered a better solution and I would like to pass that on to everyone.

For starters, this is the first time I've ever heard of Callcentric. Who are they and how does it work?

You also talked about an "unlocked Grandstream, Linksys, or Snom telephone adapter." Telephone adapter for what? Does that plug directly into your router or something? Does it stay turned on even if the computer is turned off?

You said something about "Used in tandem with a Google Voice number." Again, what the hell are you talking about. This is also the first time I've ever heard the expression "Google Voice."

Dude, you are so way far out there ahead of the rest of us, I'm just asking that you slow down long enough to give us a chance to catch up. I'm paying a flat annual rate for Magic Jack which is going to be cheaper than what I was paying for Skype, so that's good. If you have an even cheaper solution, then I'm all ears. And, thanks in advance for taking the time... Just talk slowly, explain things two or three times for us old farts, and talk to me like I'm stupid. Really.


MagicJack - I'm A New Fan
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 06:49 pm EDT

Check this out it kind of explains pictures. Pictures work real good for me....LOL

By using a router out of your modem you skip having to run the phone thru your computers USB port so you can have phone service 24/7 as long as your internet service is on. Just never turn your modem off or your router..Should work great with your Panamnet service that you have Don.

I just bought my magic jack and will be back in Dec and give it a go.


MagicJack - I'm A New Fan
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 09:38 pm EDT

First let me start off by saying sorry for being so abrupt in first post. Hopefully I can explain myself better this time around. Callcentric is a VOIP company, Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying a phone company that works via the Internet. Basically how it works, voice calls are converted into digital packets that are transmitted through the Internet and then reconverted back into a normal voice at the final destination of your call. (i.e. Grandma Sally in Wisconsin).

There are many VOIP companies out there, one of the largest is Vonage and Cable Onda has this very same service down here in Panama but its not very good. After doing some research I found Callcentric as they have a low monthly fee of $2.95 for a basic phone line that allows for unlimited inbound phone calls (If Grandma Sally calls, you can talk for hours as all inbound calls are included in the $2.95 monthly rate). Callcentric also has an option that allows you to make outbound phone calls and you are billed based on the destination. For the US its 2 cents a minute (So Call Grandma Sally and tell her to call you back if she has unlimited calls in the US) Callcentric has a nice little feature that lets you forward your US number to any number in the world and you only pay the outbound call rate for that call. For example a phone call forwarded to a Panama landline number is 2.5 cents a minute or a forward to a Panama mobile number would cost 12.5 cents a minute. Technically it doesn’t even have to be a Panama number as you can forwarded it to your local German mobile number for 13 cents a minute while you are on vacation in Germany. Its that flexible.

As far as the telephone adapter goes, this is what converts your voice into the digital packets that are sent through the Internet. There are several manufactures that make these, however the most important aspect is that it be unlocked. As cell phone companies can lock cell phones to a specific carrier, telephone adapter can be locked to work with only one company. It is very important that you purchase one that is unlocked, as it will allow you to work with the VOIP COMPANY of your choice. As I mentioned before, you can try EBay or something like Best Buy. I purchased my unlocked Grandstream Handytone from another VOIP company, VoiceStick for $40. Again make sure it is not locked!

In order to use a telephone adapter, you are going to need a router (something everyone with a broadband connection should have regardless if they are going to be using VOIP or not). A router is basically a splitter that allows you to share your internet connection with several devices such as computers and a telephone adapters – while providing a hardware security firewall (necessary to keep most hackers from entering your computer). You are going to run an Ethernet cable (the cable that connects to your modem that looks like a giant telephone line is an Ethernet cable) from your modem to the router, and two more Ethernet cables from the router to the telephone adapter and the other to your computers (you are going to still want to use the internet, right?). Connect a normal phone line to the telephone adapter and the other end to a normal house phone and PRESTO…you now have a US phone number in Panama!

Google bought a little software company that made a great product called Grand Central, and renamed it Google Voice. The beauty of Google Voice is that Google gives you a FREE number that you can give to your acquaintances. Phone calls made to that phone number are forwarded to any phone number in the United States (for example your Callcentric number) for free. If you are a person that has multiple phone numbers this works great as you can set your Google Voice number to ring at all those numbers. In my case I have two Callcentric numbers, a US mobile phone number and my home number in New York listed with Google Voice. So if Grandma Sally calls my Google Voice number I can answer her call at home in New York, at home in Panama, atop of Cerro Ancon in Panama (anywhere you get signal) on my Panama cell phone or my US prepaid T-mobile cell phone account (this is another handy tip that I can discuss on another day)…it doesn’t’ matter where I am as Google Voice is forwarding Grandma Sally’s call to all four numbers. Google Voice also has many other fancy features such as the ability to transcribe your voice messages and it allows you to send and receive text messages in the US for free.

Is Callcentric less expensive than Magic Jack? Yes and No. It really depends if you are planning on leaving your computer powered on 24 hours a day 7 days a week just to be able to receive any possible phone call. When you factor in the wear and tear on the computer plus the electricity cost…Callcentric is much cheaper as it does not require a computer to function. All you need is a little electricity to run the telephone adapter and your internet connection….as long as those two things are running you can receive phone calls any time of the day. However if you only going to be using your phone to call every once in a while back to the US and every one knows you are going to have you Magic Jack connected between the hours of 2pm and 3pm to receive calls; then Magic Jack is by far the better solution.

Final Breakdown.

Magic Jack is great if you are looking for a low cost way to make phone calls back to the US and don’t mind being attached to your computer.

Callcentric (or another VOIP company for that matter) allows you via telephone adapter to use your regular phone as a regular phone…only its a US number (or UK, Canada..Callcentric has different options) that works while you are in Panama.

Google Voice…there is no excuse not to have one if you have more than one number…get on the wait list as soon as you can!

Hopefully that explains things a bit clearer for everyone. If not write me at alexander.arauz[at] and I will be more than happy to assist anyone that needs further help. Thanks for reading and say hi to Grandma Sally for me.

PS...Mr. Winner, I love your site and I read it everyday so keep up the good work!