You can't secure what you don't acknowledge.SM

Saturday, May 23, 2009

MagicJack - Great concept, awful execution

You may have heard that AT&T is dropping its CallVantage VoIP service. I'm not too upset since their service has been mediocre and my enhancement requests have been ignored. As of late I've been searching for an alternative solution. I'd heard some good stuff about the MagicJack and thought I'd give it a try. It was a "free" trial so what did I have to lose?

Apparently several hours of my life that I'll never get back.

After some trials and tribulations, I never got my MagicJack working on the computer I needed it to work on. It had promise. The dialog I pasted below is the real reason I'm returning it. With their "excellent" customer no-service, MagicJack has earned itself a top placement in my "Most Idiotic Technical Support Award". Read along - if anything - for the humor of it all. I've highlighted some key parts of the conversation.

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with 'Abraham'

Abraham: Hello, how may I help you?

Kevin: Hey, I keep getting "Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard" and can't get my PC to recognize the device.

Kevin: It worked fine on another Windows XP system - just not this one.

Abraham: I see.. let me assist you with that.

Abraham: Is the magicjack plugged in right now?

Kevin: Yep...

Abraham: Are you using the USB extension cord?

Kevin: no

Abraham: OKay.. please unplug your magicjack and plug it back into a different USB port

Kevin: FYI, I downloaded and ran your upgrade software...also made sure Autorun is enabled.

Kevin: Done...same problem.

Abraham: Thank you for that information..

Abraham: Please click on start button then click on run then type in devmgmt.msc

Kevin: I'm there.

Abraham: Then click on the "+" sign beside the Universal Serial Bus controllers

Kevin: OK

Abraham: May I know how many entries you have there Kevin?

Kevin: 15 including the TigerJet device

Abraham: OKay.. please right click on the first entry then click on update driver

Kevin: OK...the "Welcome to the Hardware Update Wizard" loads

Abraham: Okay.. did you already update the first entry there Kevin?

Kevin: I clicked update driver on the 1st one, yes

Abraham: Okay.. please do the samething with the remaining entries there Kevin

Kevin: so just click "update driver" on each one and nothing else?

Abraham: Yes please, that will help top scan your magicjack into your system

Kevin: OK...done.

Abraham: Are you done with all the 15 entries there?

Kevin: yes.

Abraham: Okay.. is the dial pad visible now?

Kevin: No - I still have a window "Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard"....nothing's going to come up if my computer is not recognizing your device. That's what I need your help with.

Abraham: Okay, run this upgrade this time

Abraham: Please click the link to download and run the magicJack upgrade (applicable for both XP & Vista):


Kevin: It's telling me the same thing as before: Warning you need to connect your magicjack into USB

Abraham: Okay.. please double click on "my computer" icon then locate the 2 magicjack drives there

Kevin: There are no drives....there will not be any drives until my computer recognizes the magicjack. Until the "Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard" stops coming up when I insert the magicjack. :-)

Abraham: Can you plug in your magicjack at the back panel of your computer?

Kevin: Which back panel? I've tried every USB port...same results.

Abraham: At the back panel of your computer Kevin

Kevin: I have no idea what you're talking about. The magicjack only goes into a USB port, right? I've tried every USB port.

Abraham: regarding this issue, let me transfer you to the higher level of support, would that be okay with you?

Kevin: that'd be great!

Abraham: Thank you for your patience. I will transfer you to a higher level of support. Please hold while I transfer you.

Chat InformationPlease wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with 'Wendel'

Wendel: Hello Kevin, this is Wendel and I will be the one to assist you further with your concerns.

Wendel: Please hold while I will review your previous chat. Thank you!

Kevin: OK...

Wendel: Is the magicJack still plug in?

Kevin: yes..

Wendel: Are you using the USB extension cord?

Kevin: no

Wendel: Okay

Wendel: Please unplug your magicjack and plug it back again after 30 seconds into another USB port.

Wendel: Please inform me if you see any error message once you plug the magicjack

Kevin: I still have a window "Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard"

Wendel: OKay

Kevin: If there's a way I can just get the drivers for this device and point Windows to them I can probably get this resolved....any way that's possible?

Wendel: Please go to "My Computer ", see if you have two magicjack drives in there.

Kevin: I don't

Wendel: No magicJack drive?

Kevin: Correct

Kevin: That's not going to happen until I get Windows to recognize it and stop popping that Window up.

Wendel: Press the windows button in your keyboard ( between CTRL and ALT ) then press R. Type devmgmt.msc and press OK

Kevin: I'm there

Wendel: At Device Manager window, click + to the left of Disk drives. (Do you see YMAX MagicJack USB Device/Tigerjet Harddisk USB Device?)

Kevin: Nope - just my local hard drive

Kevin: I do see TigerJet USB Composite Device under USB Controllers

Wendel: Do you see Disk Drives?

Kevin: Yes - it just has my local drive

Wendel: Is the blue light still On?

Kevin: yes

Wendel: Please click the link to download and run the magicJack upgrade (applicable for both XP & Vista):


Kevin: It's telling me the same thing as before: Warning you must plug magicjack into USB

Wendel: Plug in your magicJack. Now right click on “My computer” and select “Manage”. In there click on “Disk Management”. On the right side you should among other things see two drives. One is called “magicJack” and the other is called either “Phone” or “Vista Only”.

Kevin: My C: drive and my CD-ROM drive show up...that's it.

Wendel: Do you have another computer?

Kevin: I do - as I said above, it works fine on my 2nd computer but I need it to work on this one.

Wendel: Did you try to use an AC-powered USB hub with that computer?

Kevin: No...same setup. Hey, I'm going to have to go you really think there's any chance this is going to work on my computer?

Wendel: Please do use an AC-powered USb hub on that computer so that it will boost the power of your USb port

Kevin: OK...I'll try that. Thanks for your help.

Get a sense I had a to repeat myself a few times once the second level support guy came on to help me? Golly....

Attention all you entreprenuers out there: It's great to follow in the steps of people like Don Borislow (the founder of the MagicJack) but never ever stop at the product. Your success is going to be determined just as much by how good your employees are and how well you treat your customers.

End of story.


  1. I use magic jack the free trial it is not as easy as 123 when ever I need to reboot my computer I got to do the same steps all over start run regedit delete control alt delete end process and run as new takes about 15-20 min to get it up and running grandma could never get this going after reboot
    but the weirdest thing I called home one day my wife ansered she could not hear me when she hung the phone up music started playing I called back and she didnt have anything playing weird
    but anyways made me think about security could someone get in my computer through magicjack where did the music come from?

  2. Sounds like a question for the MagicJack support folks. Yeah right! :)

    As with anything that's connected to your computer that has two communications on the Internet, there's got to be some risk.

  3. WTF!~ you got a small brain mn, you should have researched eveything about that product before buying it. Now you are complaining and making use of this blog site to tell everyone how stupid you have been... hahahahahha

  4. Isn't the 'net a wonderful thing!

  5. Hi,

    I have found a lot of reviews about magic jack here.

    Also this Magic jack video is funny...

    Take care.

  6. Well I have two magicjacks. One for personal use and one at work. The one at work is used by various individuals when they travel to foreign countries to give them a local phone number without long distant charges.

    So far on the home phone I have not had a single problem after 8 months. I plugged it into my computer and it just worked.

    The business one has worked on everyones computer without any problems at all and has traveled as far away as India and the middle east. Sometimes on wireless networks in Hotels it can be a little choppy when other patrons are using the wireless service.

    A good product.

    One other note during a medical emergency 911 was called via the magicjack at my house. The ambulance arrived 5 minutes later.

  7. Kevin - I had decent results with MJ, but never quite perfect. Then I got the Magicjack Plus in the high hopes that eliminating the connection through my PC might help things. It SURE DID.

    The Magicjack Plus doesn't require a PC to operate, and connects directly to any LAN port on your router.

    All I can say is...this Magicjack Plus thing has been flawless this past week. Very fast, always up, nearly flawless conversations with others on land-lines, cell phones and other VoIP circuits. The reason I say nearly flawless conversations is that with connections to cell and VoIP phones, you're never quite sure if a stutter or disconnect is caused by your end or theirs. But in two hours of use the first day, except for the cell phone connection which was moving and in a location known to drop calls every day, this thing had zero break-ups, disconnects or echo. That's better than any other phone except the Verizon FiOS land-line.

    To be truthful, I didn't expect much. I've had VoIP from two providers, plus a sometimes choppy experience with the USB Magicjack. But my main reason for trying this was to knock down my Verizon Triple Play as it's crept up to $183 a month as their prices keep climbing as they pass more and more regulatory and other fees which used to be included onto my bill. I will not be raped by this company any more. So I'm researching this and other alternatives. My intent is to go over-the-air plus over-the-net for TV, or at least get rid of what I can and trim my expenses to the bone. Between my 3-user AT&T cell phone and FiOS bills, I've been paying over $4,000 a year to these service providers. So I'm plenty motivated.

    I know there are lots of variables - the PC, the OS, the USB hardware vintage and certainly the speed, QoS and latency of my ISP connection. But all I gotta say is this - FANTASTIC. This thing actually works, and I get solid, stable and chop-less connections (so far) with it.

    My only last question is...can I safely take credit card information from my clients over this connection without worrying about being snooped?

    I'll try to post back again in another month with an updated review.