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Archive for July, 2012

I never thought I’d miss a phone’s ring, but it turns out that I missed mine.

After living with only a cell phone for the past 10 months, I missed some important calls because I can’t hear the cell phone when I leave it in another room or when I’m asleep.

The NetTalk Duo is small and easy to set up.

So I looked at my options. A land line was my first choice, but I didn’t want to pay $40 a month and then pay long distance charges on top of that. VoIP was the next choice, but I didn’t want to pay $30 a month for that either. Magic Jack seemed like an option when they came out with Magic Jack Plus, but every article I read about Magic Jack always had a slew of comments from dissatisfied customers.

I let the issue sit until last week when two things happened. I missed another important call and I discovered that a friend gave up her land line 3 months ago for a VoIP system she bought online from Amazon. So I did some more research and found NetTalk Duo. All of the articles I read said the system was easy to set up and you could plug it straight into a router without leaving your computer on. It’s portable too and I can plug it into a computer if I need to on the road.

The best part was it was $20 less than Magic Jack and most of the comments on articles about it were positive. So I bought one with free shipping from Amazon. It arrived in 4 days and I set it up this evening.

Setup was really easy. First go online and activate your account using a username and password that come in the box with the equipment. You get to pick your own username and password, then set up the address for e911 use and pick the area code and prefix of your phone number. (Porting your existing land line number is an option, but I think you pay extra.)

It comes with all the cables you need, but you do have to supply your own phone. Once you go through the online setup, you connect your phone to the box, connect the box to your router with an Ethernet cable and plug in the power cord.

Then you wait. A solid green light next to the Ethernet plug tells you it is connected to the internet. A blinking yellow light tells you that it is working on your setup. When it’s all configured, your phone will ring once to let you know it’s done.

That’s the theory any way, but after two hours the yellow light was still blinking and my phone still hadn’t rung. I went to their online help forum.  It wasn’t all that helpful but I did find a thread that noted that the system doesn’t work well with AT&T phones. (Guess what brand mine is?) I filled out a trouble ticket asking how much longer I should wait.

And then I decided to call my new number from my cell. The phone didn’t ring but I didn’t get an “out of service” message either, so I picked up the phone and there was a dial tone. I dialed my parents’ number and my dad answered. I helped him figure out if his computer was infected by the DNS Changer bug and it wasn’t. He and my mom said the sound was clear, much better than when I use Google chat, which is probably another blog post later on.

I called my oldest sister after that and we talked for a half hour. She said the call was clear and I had no problems hearing, which is amazing when you consider I have 50% of normal hearing when I don’t have my hearing aids in.

When I was done talking to my sister, I called my cell phone and it rang. Then I grabbed my cell and called my new phone and it rang. Success.

So now I have a phone ring I can hear and no batteries to charge. Up next is an uninterpretable power supply so that the phone works when the power goes out. The power hasn’t gone out in the 10 months I’ve been in my apartment. But I was a Boy Scout in my youth. Be prepared. I wonder if I can find one that’s solar powered.

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