[SATLUG] $200 Laptops Break a Business Model

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Mon Jan 26 12:07:12 CST 2009

> "You also understand and agree that use of the magicJack device and
> Software will include advertisements and that these advertisements are
> necessary for the magicJack device to work ... Our computers may
> analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance
> of the ads."  (http://www.magicjack.com/tos/)

The ads flash inline on their softphone app. Frankly, I haven't looked
at them yet. I'm not concerned if they look at my phone numbers I am
calling, knock yourself out, I can't imagine any useful information
on that - and not that AT&T and other phone companies aren't doing
the same thing, who knows. I am just not that paranoid. 
> Microsoft could learn  from these guys.  Not only is it ad-driven (or
> will be shortly), they tell you up front that they WILL spy on you to
> keep the service running.  I imagine tampering with the software to
> block the adware/spyware portion will result in deactivation of your
> account.  These guys aren't maintaining infrastructure and a help
> center on $19.95/year per subscriber without some additional means of
> income (i.e. ads and marketing data).  I also found some other
> complaints regarding customer service (or lack of) and the inability
> to make simple changes to your account in a timely manner (like e911
> dialing).  Their ToS even states that they are not required to provide
> 911 dialing and therefore it is a "best efforts" feature.  Thanks
> guys!

I am trying to replace my landline with a cost-effective solution.
I still got a cell phone for emergencies, and don't have to be worried
about that part. 

> around.  If you buy a $200 PC and a $125 copy of Windows (student
> edition) to keep it legal, your cost for the first year is now $365 or
> $30/mo, and you have to put up with ads and spyware.

Don't forget the broadband bill! Right now I spend $20/month, the notebook
would pay for itself in the first year. I don't use student editions for
windows, all of UT provides free MS software to all their students and
faculty, not that that is a good thing, it's just one of those contracts
they came up with. For me, it's irrelevant, since there will be a Linux
driver sooner or later. For now, I don't have to pay for Windows, and
a travel PC is something I always wanted.  Mac OSX will also work. Most
people already have one or the other and leave their computers on 24/7
anyway, so there is no additional cost.  For some people (like myself),
this is a great deal.

> Sorry for the negative rant, but most things that sound too good to be
> true normally are :)

I am actually quite happy with the thing now that I have it working.


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