Friday, July 27, 2012

Magicjack

Magicjack.  Have you heard of it?  I think it was a couple of years ago when I first heard it mentioned by a friend who was visiting the Philippines from the US.  He excitedly mentioned that he had Magicjack and asked if I had the same.  "?" - was the look I must've given him.  What was it for?  He said I could use it to call people in the US for free.  "Mmm!"  -  my look changed into one of more interest.  Tell me more.  Since we didn't have the time nor he the patience, he told me look it up on the internet.

But my interest wasn't followed-through and when we got home I forgot about looking up Magicjack on the net.  I did hear it mention again when the grandmother of one of Joselyn's classmates mentioned that she had Magicjack and used it to call family in the US.  This time, back in March of this year, armed with a little more information on the subject, I didn't give her the ? look I had given my friend.

It was only in the later part of March when my cousin and aunt from LA visited us that I found out what Magicjack actually is.  It is a gadget that you purchase (so it's not totally free, but for me it was since my cousin bought it for us :) and you attach to your computer and hook up to your phone line.  You can look it up on magicjack.com, since they can explain in better, pictures and all, plus I don't have the patience.

Why so much hype about this device when we have other ways of communicating like video chatting over the internet, which is really free?  This device seems to have captured a market of its own.  Ever since my Mom left and went back to the US I have constantly been using it to call her and other relatives almost daily.  There were times when the internet was down or our computer kept crashing that I couldn't use Magicjack.  But I guess they've found a solution to this by inventing Magicjack Plus so you no longer need a computer.  This is great for non-techies or those who don't use computers or are not connected to the internet.  It may astound a lot of us who are always armed with some kind of gadget, that there are people who either choose or do not have the money or interest in getting on the internet.  My mom for one, who can afford to buy a computer, doesn't have one where she lives in San Francisco, so Magicjack gives us a way to talk to her without worrying about rising phone bills.  My aunt, Nanay Vicky, who lives in LA, is in a similar situation.  Some of the older generation are still not adept with the internet or using computers and it may take them awhile to learn.  They still prefer the old-fashioned phone call rather than turning on the PC, clicking on a site, pressing this and that to see and talk to someone.  It may be a learning curve that they can no longer climb.  I would love to teach my Mom, but she's at a stage that when she uses the computer she would rather play Text Twist or some other computer game than have me teach her something new.

So it is that I am grateful to my cousin, Tess, for buying magicjack and giving me a connection with my Mom that we somehow didn't have when she was here in person.  On the phone, talking for even 30 minutes a day, is something that we look forward to.  We talk about anything and everything, and it is during these times that I feel very close to her, even if she is thousands of miles away.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Revisiting" Seattle

My passion for writing is still with me, though I need a lot of practice with most of my thoughts remaining in my mind.  Time to share some of them...

Facebook has become such a hit, surpassing yahoo email and friendster.  My inbox in Yahoo is mostly filled with advertisements or junkmail.  I get only on occassion actual email from friends, who wish to write in more "secret" or less public mode than facebook.  So after a few seconds of checking my yahoo mail, I then go to facebook, to get a quick update on friends and make my own posts or comments.  You can spend literally hours on facebook or on FB as it is more commonly referred to.

I read that FB's new profile Timeline will be compulsory.  I have seen some friends' profiles have already been updated with the new Timeline style.  So I looked into it yesterday and tried it out.  One feature has you tagging a map of the places you've been.  I first tried to tag one picture from when I was still living in Seattle and when I typed in "Seattle, Washington", there right at the click of my mouse was a close-up road map of Seattle.  I clicked and dragged the map as if I was actually there and unconsciously I was brought back in time to the places I travelled, the sidewalks I walked and the roads I drove with the people I was with.  It's been awhile since I've had that feeling and tears were in my eyes.  Homesickness?  How could I be homesick when I have long since called Philippines my home?  But it was some sort of longing that I still feel up 'til now.

Oh how can I not miss or love a place that I have called home for over 12 years?  It was beautiful to tour the place even if it was only in cyber-mode, with the images flashing in my mind, but with my fingers clicking the roads and my mouse going over them as if I was actually on those roads.  I longed to be there, to actually be there.  To see the places again, to drive the streets, to smell the air and see the trees... to relive that time. 

The names of the streets, even if they were just numbers... 88th st, Wallingford, 45th St, NE, NW, Ballard where we ate at our favorite Thai restaurant, Greenlake, Golden Gardens, I-5, UW...

But for now, reality sets it.  It's not easy to get a visa back to the US.  Plus I have my family and we would want to travel together.  What fun that would be!  For my kids to see the places which they have only heard snippets of stories about.  Maybe some day... maybe.