First I know many of you will appreciate the humor in the fact that schools in Dublin have been closed today and tomorrow due to snow. Less than 2 inches of snow!
Second since in Dublin I’ve been trying a new online phone service called Magic Jack: http://www.magicjack.com
Magic Jack is a piece of equipment and service that will give you very cheap phone service. You just plug the equipment into a USB port on your computer, then plug a phone into the other side; set up service and away you go. I set it up at home and got a US number. I think I paid $20 for a year of service. Now I can call anyone in the US and they can call me on this number. If I’m not connected they get my voicemail, which is part of the $20 service.
Like Skype the quality is not consistent. I’ve had 30 minute phone calls that were clear as a bell, usually made at night or on the weekend. I’ve had other times (working hours) where the quality has been shaky and where I am cut off every 3 minutes.
What I do like about Magic Jack is that I can make the calls on a phone, not headphones. So even when the quality is not great it seems better than international Skype calls. Voicemail messages are emailed to me. That’s a huge plus. The price is right. Skype is great for video. I think the Skype to Skype calls might have the best consistent quality – but for every day use – especially for friends and family (where it’s OK to call back every 3 minutes) I’m leaning towards the Magic Jack.