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Joel, I have been very happy with both Magic Jack and Google talk, honestly I don’t use the Magic Jack much, since I’m off grid I don’t leave my computer or network on when I’m not using it, so I don’t plug in the dongle unless I need it, it’s more a back up for me to use when needed, it’s much more convenient to use the Google talk, plus it’s free, I’ll decide if I want to keep my Magic Jack when it comes time to renew, I paid for the 5 year program so I have some time to decide :)
I believe AT&T cell phones probably work best out here, well where I live, nothing really works, there are “spots” where they work somewhat, I would just want it for when I travel outside of my area. I’ll check into the one you use, I could afford $10 a month, do they have a data plan? It would be nice to be able to check my email while out of town too…
My mailbox isn’t at the end of my driveway, I’m in what might be considered a private community, there is a long drive getting into my community, there are around 200 full time residents living here and another couple of hundred part timers, we have named streets but it’s all considered private property once you cross the first cattle guard coming in on the ranch road, this used to be all ranch land then it was subdivided and sold off in 5 acre (or larger) plots of land. The mailboxes are next to the highway at the beginning of that ranch road, they are like apartment mailboxes instead of individual mailboxes. The mailboxes used to be in the middle of our community at the country store (now defunct), but there was an “incident” that happened many years ago, it caused the law to have to close off our community for a while, there was a hostage situation and standoff, that’s when they decided to move the mailboxes to the highway.
UPS and FedEx do come into our community and will deliver door to door IF they can, there are some roads that are 4 wheel drive only, very steep, very rough and that’s in good weather, if you live on one of those roads, or the weather is bad, they will deliver to our community center in the middle of our community. They usually call us and let us know if they had to drop something off elsewhere.
I’m politically conservative, I have several news sources online, Drudgereport, Fox, I’ll also check sites like CNN, Google news, Yahoo news and other sites… I’ll look at MSNBC for a laugh, or to see what the “other side” is discussing… I know all of them have their own slant on news, whether it be liberal or conservative, I prefer the conservative side but still do not take everything at face value.
I do have all of my communication eggs in one basket, BUT I have great neighbors and friends out here, if I need to make an important phone call or my internet is being flaky I can go to their house and make whatever phone calls I need, and my next door neighbor has satellite, so even if my internet is down, his is usually up so I can at least check my email.