Saturday, April 25, 2015

Communication - VOIP?

[April 17, 2015] Friday


Since I'd already planned to take the day off, we just continued our mission preparations today. President Jensen had recommended some VOIP services to enable us to make "landline" calls, so we went to Best Buy to get some information.

The worker there was very knowledgeable, and pointed out a couple of different ways we could go. We decided to get the MagicJack device, which plugs into our computer USB port. We also got an old style handset phone, which plugs into the MagicJack. We took it home and hooked it up, and now have VOIP!

Instead of communicating the VOIP number, we also decided to hook it up to my Google Voice number. That way, we can give out one number that can be connected to whatever number we need. That gives us quite a bit of flexibility. We don't know, yet, if we'll get cell phones in Bolivia to use in communicating there, or if that will connect to Google Voice, but we'll figure it out.

I also started looking at a laptop to take with us, so I can track finances, edit this blog (I know, I can do it from my iPad, but it's quite a bit more difficult there, even with a USB keyboard.) I thought long and hard about an Apple MacBook Air, but reports are that Excel doesn't work as well on a Mac, and I'm pretty stuck with Excel. I've tried Google Sheets, and I don't have time right now to convert everything and figure out what works and what doesn't. The collaboration features are nice, but I don't really collaborate much when I'm working on my spreadsheets, so that will wait. So, I'll probabaly get a Windows 7 ultrabook - for $50, you can downgrade from Windows 8.1, and since Windows 10 isn't quite out yet, I figure I'll stick with something tried and true for a while.

We also asked about international voltage converters. The guy at Best Buy pointed out that the iPad chargers we already have are ready for 220V, they only need a different adapter, which slips right onto the wall charger. Pretty slick. We can charge any USB chargeable device with this charger, and won't need a bunch of different converters and adapters. President Jensen indicated that they have converters in the hospedaje, so we're hoping that we're good to go on the communications front.

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