July 20, 2013

How to Make Magic Jack Text You when You Get Voicemail

I'm one of those people who don't enjoy the bleeding/leading edge of technology as evidenced by my using an almost smart Tracfone and the original Magic Jack for my telephonic needs. From time to time, I want to be notified on my Tracfone when I get voicemail on Magic Jack. This system also works to notify me of specific email as it arrives in my desktop's email application, the oldie but very goody, Eudora. Oh, and I use Windows XP. If your configuration is different, or even if it isn't, your mileage may vary.

BTW, I searched the web, tried numerous programs, several approaches, and this system is the result. Thanks especially to Make Use Of and The Frugal Berry for having the info I needed.

Here's the setup:
  1. On your original Magic Jack panel above the red End button, click the MY button, log in, go to Call Features, and click Voicemail via Email and turn on that feature. I don't remember what the steps are and I don't want to mess it up because it's working, so you'll have to figure it out. Use an email address "captured" by an email application with filters and a way to run an application on your desktop. In my case, Eudora's filters have an Action called Notify Application.
  2. Test to make sure Magic Jack is sending email to that address when a voicemail is left.
  3. Figure out what the email address is for text messages being sent to your phone. Typing in your 10-digit cell phone number in place of each  CellPhoneNumber, try emailing a very short message to:,,,,,,,,
  4. At least one of these should leave a text message (also called SMS) on your phone. To find out which one, open the text and reply to it. Ta da! You have the email address for texting your phone.
  5. If you don't already have a way to send email from your system's command line, find a free application such as SendEmail, play with it until it works (or doesn't; then start searching for another one such as Blat).
  6. Write a batch file containing the paths, switches, etc. to send an email to your cell phone. Mine looks like this:

    REM call bat file from Command Prompt with c:\textfromMJ.bat
    "c:\program files\sendemail\sendemail" -f -t -u MJ -m MJ -s -xu -xp emailpassword
      && exit
    Save it as as plain text with the .bat extension anywhere you like (the root directory is/was traditional). Substitute your own info where the italics are' Test it. Test it. And again until it works OK.

    Your phone may be different, but on my unopened text messages there's an identifier of sorts that says FRM:xx, where xx is the first 2 digits of the sending email address, in this example, MJ. I don't need to open these texts to know that Magic Jack has a new voicemail message. The address following SendMail's -f switch can be anything you like as long as it looks like a real email address (
  7. OK, now set up your Eudora filter to catch Magic Jack's email messages and send you a text when that happens. The mspaint notification opens a graphic on my desktop that is much easier to see than the tiny MJ vmail button. cmd /k c:\textfromMJ.bat is the command to send the email-as-text-message to your phone.

  8. Test. Test. Test.
Please use the comments to share your configuration and experience with this little "tutorial." Thanks!

PS: I just set up a filter that catches responses to Craigslist messages. wahoo.

September 11, 2012

Hacking my 2013 calendar

Since I started teaching knitting and quilting classes at Joann's, I've needed a small planner in which to keep track of things. The first year I made my own, and the next year I found one by that worked even better. Unfortunately, the style is discontinued. So my search for an inexpensive monthly/weekly smallish tabbed planner has been in progress for a while. I am pretty picky.

Then I ran across another Carolina Pad calendar in the back-to-school section. It was nearly perfect. $4. Tabs. Month and week pages. Squares big enough. The whole thing close to small enough. The downsides:  Wire binding. Curling corners on the plastic covers. Too many months (18) and unneeded reference pages making it too thick. Here are two Before pictures, borrowed from Carolina Pad's online store:

See that big wire binding just waiting to be squished, catch on things, and help rip pages.
The weekly pages are big enough to record ideas, expenses, and student info.
My options were to keep looking, design and make my own, or hack this one. You know which from this post's title.

The front.
Here you can see a new plastic binding and the ends of the elastic that holds the calendar closed. I have a few coils around because I have a punch for making spiral bindings. It turns out that metal comb bindings like the one on this calendar are spaced at exactly twice the distance as the spiral bindings, so I threaded the plastic coil twice through each hole. My original thought was to repunch everything, but there lies madness if every punch is not perfect. Avoiding madness is a good thing.

The back.
On the back you can see the long section of elastic (mine is 5/8 inch, I'd have used narrower, but this was the only black elastic I had). It keeps the corners of the covers from curling. Using a craft knife, I cut small slits in the cover (you can place them on the back cover if you want the long elastic on the front), inserted the elastic, glued it, clamped it, and waited overnight. Here's a close-up of one corner of the inside front cover:

Placement of the elastic.

How long should your elastic be? How long did I make mine? Long enough to hold the calendar closed without stressing the elastic or curling the book. My book is 3/8 inch thick and 8 inches high, I figured that 8 inches plus 2 inches fold-over twice (12 inches total) would work fine and it does. The elastic has to stretch 3/4 inch (twice the thickness of the book). When you glue, make sure the elastic is NOT wrapped around the book.

Shown just because are the new binding from the inside, the tabs I didn't have to make myself, and the nice big squares on the monthly calendar pages.

One thing checked off my shopping list.