Magic Jack Go review

Currently I have Ooma for a home phone service. They have great reviews and overall ratings on Amazon. I also have had great service with them. As a premier, they have an Android app with unlimited minutes (i.e. a cap does exist somewhere, just like with Magic Jack). But I noticed that Magic Jack has great reviews on Google Play. It’s time to give that a try off of Amazon.

The first thing is to figure out how to activate it. Unlike Ooma or Obihai devices that are detected off the router, Magic Jack doesn’t work like that. I’ve tried it and it didn’t work. But this YouTube video is very good and I followed the steps.

But there are two problems I ran into. I like to emphasize that you should first research the problems on Google or Bing. Enter the right keywords or phase. Don’t chat with the Magic Jack chat, as you might find the answer yourself much easier. Let’s look at my two problems.

  • After I went through the PC activation process, I plugged the Magic Jack into my router. But I was getting a number 1 – no Internet connection message – via the phone. Now it was time to try an experiment. The Ethernet cable that came with Magic Jack is flat. My Ooma device is also connected to my router – no problem. What is the problem?  It was time to substitute a standard cable I had lying around. It was round in diameter – not flat like the Magic Jack cable. Now I had Internet connection. My advice? Use another standard cable to substitute for the Magic Jack provided one. If you don’t have one, go to Walmart, Target, Myers, Sam’s Club or Costco and buy one.
  • The second problem was aloud humming noise that occurred – after a few hours. But a Google search came up with articles at Magic Jack humming noise 1 and Magic Jack humming noise 2. The answers they suggested centered around grounding. Time for an experiment. First I tried plugging the Magic Jack into different outlets – no change. Then I swapped the cordless phone from Ooma for my Magic Jack. Then I hooked up the corded phone into Ooma. Ooma now had the humming noise and Magic Jack was fine. The answer was to go to Walmart and purchase a Vtech cordless phone for the Magic Jack. Problem solved.

I’ve made some communication tests with the Ooma, Magic Jack and Google Hangouts dialer app. The quality is quite good, but I also run the VOIP phones off a hi-speed cable setup. Ooma premier has many more bells and whistles then Magic Jack. But Magic Jack is not bad, if you follow the steps I recommend. The only issue with the Ooma app was there was no end call button.  Support had me uninstall and install it.  I think they should have it available as an update – like other apps.

Anyway, here is a tip. When you access Facebook, web, etc. at home, you are going off the mobile network and chewing away at data caps. When they are reached, the data is then throttled (i.e. slowed down). If you have a router and set up a home network, the cell phone can connect to it at home. So if you connect to your home WiFi (or public WiFi with a VPN app), it uses that to connect to Internet, etc.

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Three Tips for Choosing Android Apps

Recently, I decided to upgrade my cell phone to an Android smart phone. Unlike Windows, IOS and Android are basically Unix derivatives. If I go to the Quota discussion entitled Are IOS, Android, Macintosh, and Linux, all related to Unix? at Is Windows the only off-league operating system? , the answers confirm my hypothesis. And the Forbes article entitled  Is Unix Now The Most Successful Operating System Of All Time? mentions, “Yes, it is true that both Apple at +0.4%‘s iOS and and Google  at .45%‘s Android are variations of the basic Unix Operating System. And 900 million concurrent users might indeed be the largest number of people using an operating system yet.”

Phone

But Android is the current market share holder. The Apple Publication Mac Rumors confirms this in iOS and Android Combine for 96.3% Smart phone Market Share in Fourth Quarter at Smart Phone market share. It mentions that,”The latest numbers from research firm IDC reveal that the smart-phone market continues to be a largely two-horse race between iOS and Android, which accounted for 19.7% and 76.6% market share in the fourth quarter respectively.

So if you are going with the Android apps and Android phone, here are some tips I discovered to be useful:

Asian market and antivirus

Let’s look at antivirus. In reality, you can get by without an anti-virus on a Unix cloned operating system. But to have an extra layer of protection, it’s worth while to add one – especially a good free one. There’s a good article entitled  20 Best Free Android Security and Privacy Apps 2015. I’m running with a candidate from Asian called 360 Security, which is a leading company in China at China security. But any one in the article is good or ones with many high ratings, downloads and many reviewers on Google play.

You should only run and install one antivirus solution. Otherwise, they might fight against each other and consider the other one as enemies. I have also played with Bit Defender, Avast and AVG on the PC before. They are also good. Ccleaner compliments 360 Security for cleanup and speed boost.

Instant Messaging

The other Asian market comes with instant messages. I have both Whatsapp and Line installed. Whatsapp was purchased by Facebook for nineteen million. In a Forbes article entitled Line Takes On WeChat, As Whatsapp Watches at Smart phone instant messaging, it said this,” Just a month after word emerged that Japanese mobile messaging giant Line had found a China partner, new reports are saying the company is preparing to formally enter the market in the next few months. “

I believe in having two variations of the same tool available – except for anti-virus. Line and Whatsapp fit the bill. And Line is another Asian innovation.

Conserving resources

In the PC world, I like Google Chrome and Firefox. But I stay away from Google Chrome on my PC, as it likes to autostart itself. Even if you take care of this in the Windows start-up menu, Google Chrome will reset itself on continued usage. Therefore, I go with Firefox.

But mobile providers like to cap or limit you total monthly bandwidth. The fastest browser is Opera Mini, which is developed initially by a telecoms company in Norway. I prefer it for Android, but Chrome or Firefox for the PC or Android vi WiFi.

Any tips for our audience

My Boost Mobile plan only covers the US, while Ooma and Google Voice covers US and Canada.  However, I can call Canada via Mobile and WIFI spots via:

  • Google Hangouts Dialer App.  You must have a free Google Voice account set up.
  • The MagicJack App.  They have gotten good marks on Google Play and  Amazon – better than the Ooma mobile app.  I’ll need to test it.

Any tips you can think of? If so, please share them.

Switching to Android? Why You Won’t Miss Your iPhone

Since their beginning the debate has raged: Android or iPhone?

 

Apple got the jump on the smartphone industry with its release of the iPhone in 2007, but Android quickly followed a year later with the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1. What most people don’t realize is that Google’s Android team had been secretly working on a different design with a keyboard and smaller screen that was scrapped with the release of the original iPhone. They completely re-designed the product and released the G1 in late 2008.

Thus began the battle among cell phone designers and manufacturers. In 2010, Apple dominated the smartphone market with a 28 percent share compared to Android’s 9 percent, according to a study by Nielson. However, a mere three years later, Android held the majority share with 51 percent while Apple had 43 percent, according to research conducted by Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

 

Android invasion, Sydney, Australia

Android invasion, Sydney, Australia (Photo credit: Pranav Bhatt)

So what caused this skyrocket in popularity? From the start, the Android team was committed to doing something different. They set out to create a platform that would apply to a wide variety of phone carriers and manufacturers. This allowed the potential development of a multitude of different phones all carrying the Android platform.

 

However, they were not always confident in this choice. When they came up with the concept, they were a little concerned because their greatest strength could easily become their biggest weakness. If multiple hardware developers all chose to use their operating system, there potentially could be a greater increase of miscommunication, leading to a snowball effect that ended in disaster. Luckily, this wasn’t the case.

Over the years, the Android team has been able to accommodate the variety of hardware designs and specifications as their popularity grew. Since their first major update in 2009, named Cupcake, Google has focused on improving consumer functionality while continuously expanding resource allocation. The first update incorporated increased support for camcorder and camera functions as well as Bluetooth and software upgrades. Now, as new technology is added, the Android software gets updated and released as quickly as possible so that users can enjoy the benefits of stronger, faster and more reliable innovations.

The latest updates to versions 4.3 (named Jelly Bean) and version 4.4 (Kit Kat) included several upgrades to make user interaction more intuitive and efficient. Improvements to touch responses and typing intuition on the keyboard allow for quicker response and better communication. Software updates to the camera system allow users to take 360 degree photos. Wireless printing and streamlined multitasking make business applications more user friendly, and improved voice recognition enables improved hands-free accessibility.

But, software is not the only update to the Android devices. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are incorporating a wide variety of new technology including a stylus for improved note taking and Galaxy Gear for increased connection with less distraction.

The future of Android shows all kinds of possible technological combinations for the future, and why they have taken over the smartphone market. So, do you miss your iPhone now?

Is WhatsApp a Threat to Mobile Calls?

 

 

 

Llamadas en WhatsApp

 

The growing rise in the number of users of WhatsApp has thrown the obvious question – will it be a threat to mobile calls? Well, it is still early days to predict any such outcome for the mobile app that has created a renewed interest in mobile based VoIP systems. WhatsApp is continuously working towards new upgrades that would make it even friendlier for iOS7. VoIP calls are now the latest offering from WhatsApp and it wants to be among the top newsmakers this year.

 

The new version of WhatsApp promises to be different in terms of the features but the looks and overall feel will remain unchanged. There are changes that would change the game in the VoIP world. Yes, finally WhatsApp is bringing the VoIP calls into its application and this will be direct challenge to the users of other services like Skype. The revolutionary VoIP calling facility was long awaited for and finally it is being integrated with the latest updates. The call can be initialized by opening to a flight or an open chat on the iPhone. You will be able to automatically dial the contact when you see his/her name flashing on the top. The VoIP calls will be initiated through a new icon called the WhatsApp Call.

It can be said that the VoIP feature offered by WhatsApp will take away a bit of the shine from mobile calls but to say that it would completely kill the same will be an overstatement. Mobile calls have their own charm and that I really feel cannot be overrun by the VoIP feature in WhatsApp. It is also interesting to note that not everyone is accessing WhatsApp whereas there is hardly anyone who does not make mobile calls.

 

Sizing up WhatsApp and Twitter

Sizing up WhatsApp and Twitter (Photo credit: Tsahi Levent-Levi)

Over the last two years, WhatsApp had witnessed phenomenal fan-following and popularity and obviously no other app could match its popularity. It is interesting to find out that there are many other apps that are performing really well but none has been successful like WhatsApp. WhatsApp has been able to create a loyal fan-following for itself through a variety of one-to-one chat and group chat options. Mobile phone calls can’t really be replaced by the apps like WhatsApp as there are a number of elements that makes mobile calls much better than the VoIP calls.

 

Mobile phones will not require the internet connection on the phone to place calls but for the VoIP to be active on WhatsApp, users will have to switch on the internet. The internet connection on mobile phones also suffers from the same connection problems which are bound to affect the call quality. VoIP calls are heavily dependent on the type of internet connection and if there is even a simple problem with the connection, the call quality immediately takes a beating. This is where mobile calls score higher than the VoIP calls through mobile apps like WhatsApp.

Mobile calls are not under any real threat from the latest smartphone apps like WhatsApp because it still is the most reliable means of communication. Neither is it affected by weather nor does it have to rely on the internet connection for placing calls. Irrespective of the users, the mobile phones can be used for calls by anyone but to run complex apps like WhatsApp, users need to have a level of understanding about using mobile applications. The only real threat would be the cheap call costs that is often associated with VoIP but once this barrier too is overcome by mobile phone companies, apps like WhatsApp will not be able to provide much of a competition.

Author Bio:

Michelle Patterson has been learning and writing about the new IP based communication technologies on One Communication Blog. She loves sharing information about VoIP. Read her post to keep yourself updated.

 

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1 Up 4 Mobile: How to Increase Your Smartphone’s Battery Life

One smartphone user at Android Forums says their phone stays on for about “48 hours,” lasting about “4-5 hours” if they use it heavily (for browsing videos, game-playing, and other tasks). Another says they get about “10 hours” out of their phone’s battery if they use it for less intense activities like e-mail and surfing the web.

smartphone weight training

Regardless of the model of phone or service you’re using, your smartphone’s average use and battery life are probably about the same. But really, we all want to get a little bit more use out of these devices before having to scramble to the closest outlet in hopes of plugging in before the screen goes black.

Steps to Increase Your Smartphone’s Battery Life

Here are the three top battery life-enhancing actions PC World recommends:

Reduce Screen Brightness

If your phone has an auto brightness feature, turn it on. That’s a start, but what works even better is manually turning the brightness setting as low as you can tolerate.

Minimize the Screen Timeout

“Screen timeout” describes how long it takes for your screen to dim after receiving input. Every second counts, so the shorter you can make yours, the better.

Turn Off Blue-Tooth Radio

It’s always listening unless you turn it off. Save your battery an additional hour of life by turning off the blue-tooth radio listening feature on your phone.

Tip: Before purchasing your next mobile device, be sure to research battery life features ahead of time. Don’t just ask the sales rep. For example, T-Mobile includes battery life information for its Google Nexus 5 on its website, which boasts a talk time of 17 hours. The provider also has its own “Battery & Power” support section on its website that addresses battery mode, energy savings tips and more for each device they offer. Check with your mobile provider’s website to see its own tips on good battery saving practices.

Apps and Accessories That Really Help

You can significantly increase your smartphone’s battery life by using any number of apps and accessories (and avoiding others). Some you should check out and be careful for:

Wakelock Detector

Be warned – this app is for hardcore users. You already know what Wakelock is (even if you think you don’t). It’s an Android-only feature that wakes the CPU from deep sleep. This can be caused by a number of features and functions on your phone, and Wakelock Detector helps you manage them all. The waking kills your battery, but this program helps you monitor it for free.

Battery-Draining Apps

An article at Mashable recommends you get rid of these 9 apps, or at least minimize your use of them: Carat, Facebook, any map app, your camera app, any weather app, Skype, Twitter, Square Wallet, and Angry Birds (or any other game).

Cases with Built-In Batteries

These cases, like the Powerskin (Power-Skin.com) for the Blackberry Z10 ($80), have a built-in battery. The power source doesn’t switch. Rather, the case battery charges your smartphone’s battery when it runs low. The Powerskin is just an example. These cases exist for all major types of smartphones. If you have a less popular model, you may not be able to find a case like this, however.

Smartphones won’t be increasing their battery life any time soon, but if you follow these tips, and keep your eye out for new accessories, you’ll get more life out of your battery than the average user.

Dorothy Morgan

Tech journalist, mobile guru, runner

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Carry On Success: Tools To Manage Your First International Flight

You’ve been dreaming of this trip for years and the time to embark is finally approaching. From soaking in the great art of Paris to soaking in the Caribbean sun, your first international trip is one of life’s greatest adventures. But, first you’ll need to tackle your first international flight and despite what the cliché says, getting there is not half the fun. With long security lines, cramped seats and an overwhelming urge to “just get there already”, flying internationally is the necessary struggle that precedes great joy. To make it to your destination rested and in good spirits, you’ll need a few tools to help you mange the long flight.

Tablet – Loaded With Apps

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you select an Android or Windows device, tablets are the final travel accessories. Not only are tablets capable of doing everything a laptop does, they are much easier to travel with. Plus, they will prevent you from being that guy at airport security who holds up the entire line by struggling to take his laptop out of a bulky case. Tablets are lightweight and slim enough to slip easily into a carry-on or purse, and they don’t need to be taken out at the security checkpoint.

Packing your tablet with apps is almost as important as packing your luggage. Remember as a kid when you packed a bag of games, magazines and books to keep yourself entertained on road trips? Loading your tablet with apps is the same thing, only it’s less bulky. Though some airlines are starting to offer Wi-Fi on planes, it’s safer to download all the books, movies and games you need before boarding, and stick to apps that can be used offline. The Kindle app is Amazon’s digital bookstore with over a million titles. Though the app is free, you’ll need to buy whatever thrillers, mysteries and cheesy romances will help you pass the time. If you’d rather have a story read to you, Audible offers a wide range of titles for purchase through the free app. For movie and television lovers, Google Play Movies & TV is a free app that allows you to buy episodes, series or films. You can stream your selections while waiting to board or download them for some mid-flight entertainment. The Word Search app condenses the classic travel game into the palm of your hand, while Temple Run and Candy Crush both offer mindless ways to pass the time. They are all available at the Google Play store.

Portable Charger

Half PCI Express Wifi N

Half PCI Express Wifi N (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Halfway over the Atlantic and halfway through your e-book is no place for your battery to die. You’ll be forced to spend the next several hours staring at the seat back in front of you and wondering if the characters got out of that precarious situation or found true love. To make sure your devices stay charged, grab a portable charger, like the MyCharge Powerbank USB Charger from Bestbuy. These handy devices, which start at just under $30, can charge your tablet or cellphone midair, even when you don’t have access to an outlet. It’s also a good idea to charge your devices at the airport before boarding. Get to the waiting area of lounge early and try to grab one of the coveted seats near an outlet so that you can board the plane with greatest power on all your devices.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

From the chatter of the people in the seat behind you, the crying baby a few rows up, the clanking of the drink cart, the endless whir of the engine, and the incessant whoosh of wind, there is no escaping noise on a long international flight. In addition to making it difficult to rest, all those constant sounds lead to noise fatigue and leave you feeling exhausted and stressed. Noise canceling headphones, such as the Bose Quiet Comfort series, which starts at $299 at Best Buy, dramatically reduces noise, allows you to rest comfortably and helps you walk off the plane ready to explore your

Madeline Margaret
Madeline is a full-time hobby woman. She loves everything from playing the ukulele to sewing custom Native American Apparel Destination.

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Reflections on the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia

I used to work at Motorola’s cell phone division, as a software engineer. It was before Google purchased them. During that time, the biggest competitor was Nokia. Samsung was really not in the running back then. Here’s a couple articles announcing Microsoft acquisition of Nokia.

SYJ: Nokia

SYJ: Nokia (Photo credit: bfishadow)

If you read the BBC article, Samsung holds a 24.7% market share, with Nokia having 14% and Apple 7.3%. As one  of the BBC commentators said in part, “In truth there is not so much difference between the top few phones.”

In an article entitled In The Smartphone Wars It’s iOS Vs. Android And Windows Phone Vs. The Rest In The Smartphone Wars It’s iOS Vs. Android And Windows Phone Vs. The Rest, it mentioned this: “However, given what IDC revealed today, we can essentially view the market as a three-way war, but not one in which Windows Phone has even begun to challenge the incumbents.” Since this article came out in August 2013, I wonder how much inroad Windows phones are making?

The article also makes this summation: “So a simple way of viewing the smartphone market is that Android is consistently adding friction to Apple’s products, which are seeing their market share fall as the market itself expands more quickly than they ship. And that Windows Phone, while still a distant third place player, has managed to functionally cement itself as a player in mobile.”
The BBC article says this:

“Critics say the firm has been too slow to respond to the booming market for mobile devices. It launched its Surface tablet PCs last year, but sales of the devices have been relatively slow.”

“Analysts said that the company wanted to make sure that it got its strategy right in the mobile phone market.”

Apple Inc.  New Headquarters

Apple Inc. New Headquarters (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

I’m a guy who runs dual Windows 7/Ubuntu machines. I’m also one who refuses to go Apple, until you get an Apple Store less than ten miles from where I live. In fact, they better have a store in the same city I live in. So I gravitate to Android devices.

Patent stuff

When Google first brought Motorola Mobility, articles speculated that a key factor was Motorola’s large patent inventory. Did Google use any of that patent inventory against Samsung? Don’t know. But I’m sure that Nokia has a large patent inventory, which Microsoft can use again either Samsung or Google. I just wonder if they will leverage it?

The smart watch

Then Samsung is busy developing a smart watch, according to a news report I watched. The commentators were wondering if folks would want it. An article came out entitled How Smart Can a Watch Really Be?. As the article mentioned, “Today, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Gear, a three-hundred-dollar smartwatch the company hopes will change all that.” They also say this: “So there remains a strange undercurrent of hope that somebody—Apple—will figure out, soon, some grander vision for wearable technology, transforming it from something that people have vaguely imagined into something people intensely desire.”

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