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Magic Jack: Secrets Of Success?

magicjackusbwidgetSome time ago in a informal VUC post-call session Karl Fife brought up Magic Jack as a topic of discussion. He felt at the time that they were very possibly doomed to failure by their business model. I doubt that this is the case, and laid forth the logic of my belief. Well, earlier a recent thread over at BroadbandReports.com hinted at support for my theory.

It helps to start out understanding Magic Jack and their business model. Simply put, you pay $40 in the first year to establish an account and get the Magic Jack device. Thereafter you can make calls over your broadband by plugging a traditional phone into the MJ dongle, and the dongle into your PC.

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Overview of Portable USB Speakerphones

For the past few years a little USB speakerphone has been a constant fixture on my desk. This fact was initially driven by my UK-based coworkers who have a habit of using Skype. Most of the Skype traffic was simply IM, but once in a while it would escalate to a voice call. In those cases I needed a suitable audio device, but it wasn’t routine enough to merit keeping a headset immediately available.

usp-speakerphones

Over time I started to see increasing value in using other soft phones as well. At first it was for the convenience of being able to effectively turn any PC I happened to be working on into a phone. The scope of this sometimes goes beyond telephony. For example, I’ve used a USB audio device to record screencast training movies. Since server class motherboards often don’t have built-in audio interfaces, using a USB attached device makes it possible to record the narrative of the training on the host system along with the screencast.

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Review: Plantronics .Audio 615m USB Headset

audio615mSo after months of badgering people about G.722 based wideband capabilities in soft phones I’ve settled on using Counterpath’s Eyebeam v1.5 as my principle soft phone. I have it installed on my laptop and netbook, both systems that travel with me all the time.

Having finally found a soft phone that I lets me take advantage of the wideband capabilities of our hosted IP-PBX installation I was left to consider the audio I/O requirement in support of Eyebeam. To address this need I’ve recently been experimenting with both wired headsets and USB speakerphone devices. I started with the Plantronics .Audio 480 analog headset as detailed previously.

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