The Ramblings of Jeff & Gilly...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just say no to "MagicJack"!

You've probably seen the ads. Phone service with unlimited calls all across the US and other countries for only $20 per year. The only requirement is that you have a high-speed Internet connection.

What you get is a small device resembling a USB flash drive, with accompanying software. The premise is sound. This device uses your high-speed Internet to connect to the MagicJack computers, thus giving you dial tone for your telephone.

Now, the cons. And there are MAJOR cons.
1. The only tech support you get is a useless chat window with a MagicJack "tech", who can't do anything except read from a script.
2. There are no phone numbers to call, no humans to talk to.
3. The service isn't available everywhere. Oh, you could get it, if you want to, but the whole point is that you should get a number that is local to the city you live in. Here in AZ, you have very limited choices.
4. After performing research on the Internet, I finally tracked down the telephone number for the parent company of MagicJack, which advises me to wait on hold for the next representative. All that happens is that the on hold message is looped repetitively. No human ever answers the line.
5. Oh yeah, can't forget this part. Your computer must be on at ALL TIMES in order for this device to work. If the computer goes off, then there goes your dial tone.

I think these people had a sound idea for new technology, but lack the ability to support the demand for technology such as this. Everyone is eager to save as much money as possible these days, and if this device would have worked the way they claimed, then I would have been waiting in line to sign up. But I think they were seriously overwhelmed by the reponse they received, and are therefore unable to support everyone. Either that, or the people behind MagicJack are serious morons who are only out to steal your money.

Unless you're in a large, metropolitan area, and are willing to sign up for a service with no technical support should you encounter problems, then steer clear of this scam.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Front yard transformation!

It's taken about 4 weekends of work, but we finally have cleaned up our front yard. We've removed some plants, modified irrigation systems, and even changed our "grave" to an authentic landscaped mound, complete with tree and flowers.

The top picture is a shot of our front rose bed. It used to have just bare dirt, and no real definition to it. As you can see, we've added some colored landscape rock to it. Brown saddleback, if memory serves.

Next up we have a picture of our former grave. More landscape rock, as well as a little reshaping, with a bottlebrush tree and two purple lantanas. One lantana made for a midnight snack for some rabbit, so that was replaced. The other is growing, but had been snacked on before, too. Will have to wait and see if we need to replace it. You'll also notice that the oleanders have been significantly trimmed, bringing them back down to a normal height. I don't think oleanders are supposed to be taller than bamboo!

Finally, we have a front shot of the house from the street. From this picture, you can the big, green blob of a plant that used to be on the right side of our driveway has been removed. That thing was so disgusting that there was mold underneath it. Giliane was very glad to see that thing removed.
The next thing we're going to be doing is having some smaller river rock delivered and put a narrow border along the driveway. We've seen some examples of that and think it would look very nice!

The final step for the front yard would be to trim the oleanders on the other side of the yard. They aren't nearly as bad as the behemoths that were recently scaled back. But there's more of 'em. **sigh**

No rest for the weary!