Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Amazing New Tech Discoveries

          That doesn't mean I discovered the products, but rather I found out about them later than sooner because they have been around for a few years. Out of certain necessities, my discoveries are of FreedomPop cell phone service and the MagicJack Android app.
          For the past 15 to 20 years, I've used prepaid cell phone service from Virgin Mobile and AT&T with no data plan and each call and text message cost a few cents. Since I hardly use my cell phone for calling and messaging, it has worked well for me so far, specially that Virgin Mobile only cost me $20 every three months and AT&T, not much more at $25, as long as I didn't use all of those credits within the three months. I mostly use MajicJack on my home computer to make phone calls (more on this later).

          I signed up for Freedompop maybe last year or earlier this year but never used their service, but finally bought a refurbished phone from them about 2 months ago. However, after activating the phone, I just let it sit unused. Finally last week, after almost draining my credits with AT&T due to more text messages than usual, I tried the LG Volt 2 phone I bought from FreedomPop. By signing up for their service, I get 200 minutes of free calls a month, along with 500 free(!) text messages, and also for free - 500 megabytes of data on 4G LTE! I know, I know, those are paltry numbers for a lot of people who mainly use their cell phones for calls, messaging, the internet, and social media, but for me who uses wi-fi most of the time, those paltry numbers are more than enough. And did I already say that it's free? To save on data, I downloaded Facebook Lite and set it to only show low resolution photos which didn't seem to make too much difference to look at on a small phone as compared to  high resolution photos. What helps a lot is that the 4G LTE only kicks in when I'm out of wi-fi range (I wasn't aware of this before because I never had a data plan). I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to use all of the 500 megabytes of free data in a month, but it doesn't roll over to the next month, but that's ok because, didn't I already say it's free? Ha Ha Ha! Besides I don't intend to use that data to surf the internet, maybe just for social media and email. I used this free data a few days ago by checking in my location 3 times on Facebook while out for a run. So if anyone of you saw those check ins, that's the reason why. Not that I will, but if I wanted to, I can also now play Pokemon Go out of the confines of wi-fi, LOL! I read it only consumes about 10 megabytes per hour.

          Ok, so much for FreedomPop. Now my MagicJack which I've been using as my VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone for the last 5 years or so for only $20 a year for unlimited calls within the U.S. and Canada. This the reason why I've saved so much by using my prepaid cell phone sparingly for calls.
          Last week, the MagicJack app on my computer stopped downloading my contact list, but I considered that a minor inconvenience. Then today, I couldn't connect to the service despite trying the usual solutions like restarting the app, disconnecting and reconnecting the dongle, or rebooting the computer. Awhile ago, I had seen that they had an Android app, but I never downloaded it. Since I couldn't connect to the service via computer, I decided to read more about the Android app. Turns out, if you are already a subscriber to MagicJack, you can use the Android app for no added cost to make calls via wi-fi. So I downloaded it and gave it a spin. Hmm, very interesting. I entered my username and password and it immediately identified me and my VoIP phone number. I made a phone call to another area code and to my surprise (I don't know why), it connected flawlessly. Yay! In case I can't connect via my PC ever again, at least I have a back up. Not only that, the Android app also allows me to send and receive free text messages as long as I'm on wi-fi of course. I also tested that by texting from my prepaid cell phone to the FreedomPop phone and vice versa. No problem.
          So I just finished testing something else just a few moments ago. I turned off the wi-fi on the phone with the MagicJack Android app to see what would happen if I sent a text message to it with the wi-fi off. Lo and behold, the message was waiting for me after I reconnected to the wi-fi!
          Small technological conveniences like these still keep amazing me. I can't wait for teleportation so I don't have to drive to and from work or fly to and from other places for vacation! Good times!

No comments: